The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Specialty Store: Vom Fass

I was taken to a new place full of culinary goodness on 1-27. The place is called Vom Fass, which roughly translates to "from the barrel". As the name suggests the store originates in Germany and specializes in selling specialty oils, vinegars, liquors, scotch, pretty much anything aged that you can drink or cook with.

I purchased 2 types of oils (Thistle and Madonia Olive oil) I purchased 2 balsamic vinegars as well (an Apple blend and a Lemon and Ginger blend). You get to go around the whole room and try all the oils and vinegars and the Scotch (but the employee serves you)! It was a lot of fun and I could see myself buying lots at this store! Everything was highly tasty!

February Recipe: 2 Lenten dishes

Both dishes looked like a lot of fun so I made both of them the February recipe. You can cook one or another or both, whatever you choose.

Flownys in Lente

PERIOD: England, 15th century SOURCE: MS Douce 257 CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: Almond Cream Custard Pie

For to make flownys in lente, tak god flowr & make a god past; & tak god mylk of almandys & flowr of rys other of amydoun & boyle hem togedere that they be wel chariand. Wan yt is boylid thykke take yt vp & ley yt on a feyre bord so that yt be cold, & wan the cofyns ben makyd tak a perty & do vpon the coffins, & kerf hem in schiueris; & do in hem god mylk of almandys & fygis & datys & kerf yt in fowre pertys, & do yt to bake & serue yt forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.

Fake Fish and Calf's Ears
The original text as given in the manuscript. KANTL 15, vol.1, recipe 64.

Om gheuormde wijs te maken in die wasten ende oeck calfsoeren.
stoet jn enen mortijer vijf of sees appellen schon gheschelt sonder kersel huijs ende doter jnne van ghestoten amandellen of gheroost pepercock met een luttel sofferaens ende backt dese jn olye of mackt groten wijs backse gheuerwet ende van gheghat jnden ouen
Item calfs oeren maeckt aldus nempt gheplet deck sausijer ronde maeckt dat dobbel ende dan slaet die tve langen eynden te samen ende dan nempt scherp eynde tussen tve wijnhgheren ende steckt jrst dat runt ende en luttel daer nae met allen ende als dit stijf is nempt dat wijt ende doet daer jnne vanden vorseyde stof sonder sieden ende dijnt dat.

To make formed fish during lent and also calf ears

Crush in a mortar five or six apples, peeled and cored. Add sugar, ginger and cinnamon, and add some pound almonds or toasted gingerbread with some saffron. Bake this in oil. Or make a big fish: bake this in the oven, painted and with some holes in it.

Calf ears are made thus: Take the flattened dough, rounded like a saucer. Make it double, and take the two long ends together. Then take the pointed end between two fingers, and put first the rounded end in [the boiling oil], and shortly afterwards the whole. Take it out when it is crunchy, and put some of the afore mentioned stuffing in it without boiling [it], and serve it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

February recipe ideas

I decided that January was simply going to be a wash and not stress about it and move onto February. Anyone have any dishes that they would like to suggest? Any culture/ time/ food stuff?

Please make suggestions in the comment section.



Sunday, January 6, 2008

Alinore's redaction - Stwed Beeff

I spent most of last week pondering the idea of the plum mixture used in the plum tarts tweaked slightly to be used as a sauce for meat. I thought it would be exceptionally tasty, and so I did a little searching around Gode Cookery to see if there were any recipes there that agreed with me. I found this recipe for Stwed Beeff.

I had all the ingredients but the currents, and I decided that dried plums would be just as lovely in this dish. I had planned to be using my oven all day, and this looked like the kind of dish that would be improved by low, moist heat cooking, so I decided to use my crock-pot for this.

I diced up an onion and put it in the bottom of my crock-pot mixed with half a cup of fresh loosely chopped parsley. In a separate pot I took 2 cups of red wine and added 1 cup of chopped dried plums, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 long pepper cone and 1/4 c. sugar and boiled it down to a syrup. I decided to use long pepper rather than regular pepper in this dish because I thought the floral notes in it would accent the fruitiness of the plums. I browned a couple pounds of beef short ribs in some olive oil, then placed them in the crock-pot, pouring the syrup over the top. About 5 hours later, I decided that they were tender enough and sliced the meat from the bones. I strained the sauce and spooned most of the fat off the top, then reduced it to about half and poured it over the meat.

I thought it was extremely tasty. I think this sauce may become a new staple around our house for pouring over roasts when you want a slightly different flavor. It wasn't overly spicy and the fruit and wine blended together with the meat and onions to make a rich thick sauce that was very lovely.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

To prepare a plum tart to be served vpon Twelfth Night

Bonjour, c'est Merouda. There you have it, my little 12th night feast. Food fit for a noble in my dining room. The picture's a little blurry, of course, because I was taking it by candlelight. The food was very good. The meal consists of:

Meatballs, Chicken, Armored Turnips, Artichoke hearts, Beets, Yogurt, Strawberry preserves, Raisins, Almonds, Plum tart, and washed down with a Riesling. It sounds like a lot, but I was careful to serve myself only tasting portions of most of it, as one would expect a 12th night feast to have a lot to taste. :-) And yes, I was in period-style clothing. I'm home alone tonight, all my holidays sucked at some level or another, and I wanted at least one fest my way.

The meatballs started out as Poume d'Oranges but as I found I didn't have this and didn't want that, it morphed so many ways that I couldn't list out a redaction if I wanted to. The only thing I wanted to note was that this was the first time I ever followed the instruction to boil a meatball and then bake it. Yeah. Dry. Very dry. I won't do that again, I don't care how medieval it is.

The armored turnips? I've done this dish a bunch of different times, usually following one of the many redactions on the web. I have yet to find a redaction that I really like. I'm thinking, I should like it: I like turnips. I like cheese. I like the usual array of spices. But no, nothing yet. Most of the redactions I have seen feature cheddar, so this time I tried a mix of Parmesan and Swiss, and stuck with freshly ground pepper for the spice, as I had over-salted the parboiling water. I liked this version best, but still feel like this dish just is not as good as it should be.

And the last of the dishes that I actually want to discuss is, of course, the plum tart.

Note the heraldic decoration on the pie! This is the badge of Sept Pendray. If you look at the first picture in this article, you can see a tile decorated with a colored version of the badge. Next heraldic food experiment; colored pie crust.

Delish, delish. Has passed the Miguel-san test, which surprised me a little, since he wouldn't even try Tarte of prunes, included in the entry here. This time, however, I had to chase him away, because he was ready to sail into the filling with a spoon.

I worked according to the first recipe cited in the December recipe entry. There are at least 3 egg yolks in this recipe, and that's three too many for me. Here's my redactions and my experiments!

18 or so prunes
1.5 cups red wine plus extra as needed.
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1 t oatmeal
commercially prepared pie crust without egg

Simmer the prunes in the wine upon the stove until the prunes are plump and soft. Mash the plums into the wine, then stir in sugar and cinnamon. Taste, add a little more sugar, wine, cinnamon if you think you need it--we were fine with 1/3 c sugar and 3/4 t cinnamon, and I had added wine as needed to keep the total liquid at about 1.5 cups. When you have it to your taste, turn off heat and quickly grind 1 teaspoon of oatmeal with a mortar and pestle. Add to syrup/mashed plum mixture to thicken it up a little, return to heat briefly if needed.

Regarding the crust: I searched carefully through the pie crusts at my store. All of them were made with unreasonable amounts of animal fats, so the best I could do was choose something egg-less and not the same brand I bought last time (with its fat content so high that the quiche crust tasted like grease). The receipt could be understood as enclosing the pie in a double crust, but I didn't understand it that way, I thought it could also be said to be decorated. I was also very interested in the possibility of using this recipe as a traveling dish, so I decided to use 1/2 of the top crust to make a sort of turnover. I used the remainder of the top crust to decorate the pie. The seeblatt crust, empty pie crust, and filled turnover all went into the oven at the same time, and all cooked up pretty well. I poured the filling into the baked crust, slipped the seeblatt into the middle, and It Was Finished.

I haven't eaten the seeblatt-decorated pie yet, but the turnover was just wonderful. I would say that it would be an excellent period sweet for a tourney dinner.