To Stew a Small Salmon, Salmon Peal, or Trout

To stew a small Salmon, Salmon Peal, or Trout.
Take a salmon, draw it, scotch the back, and boil it whole in a stew-pan with white-wine, (or in pieces) put to
it also some whole cloves, large mace, slic’t ginger, a bay-leaf or two, a bundle of sweet herbs well and hard bound up, some whole pepper, salt, some butter, and vinegar, and an orange in halves; stew all together, and being well stewed, dish them in a clean scowred dish with carved sippets, lay on the spices and slic’t lemon, and run it over with beaten butter, and some of the gravy it was stewed in; garnish the dish with some fine searsed manchet or searsed ginger.
Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, 1660.

Take a salmon, draw it, scotch the back, and boil it whole in a stew-pan with white-wine, (or in pieces) put to
it also some whole cloves, large mace, sliced ginger, a bay-leaf or two, a bundle of sweet herbs well and hard bound up, some whole pepper, salt, some butter, and vinegar, and an orange in halves; stew all together, and being well stewed, dish them in a clean scoured dish with carved sippets, lay on the spices and sliced lemon, and run it over with beaten butter, and some of the gravy it was stewed in; garnish the dish with some fine grated manchet or grated ginger.

Ingredients

1 trout, cleaned 4 bay leaves
1 orange, sliced in two 1 tbs thyme leaves
250 mL white wine 2 tbs parsley
125g butter ½ tsp pepper
½ tsp cloves 1tsp salt
½ tsp mace 1 tbs sliced ginger
Slices of toast (optional) 1 lemon, sliced (optional)

 

  1. Stuff the cavity of the trout with the cloves, mace, pepper and herbs.
  2. Put the trout in a shallow pan with the wine and half the butter, and add enough water to cover the fish.
  3. Squeeze out the juice of the orange into the pan, and add the halves to the pan as well.
  4. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. You will know the fish is cooked when the eye goes opaque.
  6. To serve, cut the crusts off the toast, if using, and line a serving dish with the toast and the lemon. Lay the fish on top, then dot the flesh with the rest of the butter, and pour over some of the cooking liquid.

PB300005
Trout with orange

Salmon with Orenge
Salmon with orange. This was cooked for a feast, and it was easier to bulk cook ready cut salmon fillets than an entire fish.

 

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
May, Robert (1685 edition) The Accomplisht Cook.

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Cheries in Conserve (Preserved Cherries)

Take suger and Cheries a like Quantity put as much water to yor suger as will wet yt, and boyle yt till yt allmost come to suger again, then stone yor cherries and put them in and two every pound of them put 3 spoonfulls of the Juice of Red Respice wth them let them boyle so fast that the sirop may boyle upp above the Cheries till they are boyled enough, sciminge of yt as the scum ariseth, as soone as you take them of the fier put them presently into a dish of either silver or earth there let them stand until they bee almost cold then put them upp. (Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book)

Take equal quantities of sugar and cherries. Put as much water to your sugar as will wet it, and boile it until it almost come to sugar again, then stone your cherries and put them in. To every pound of cherries put 3 spoonfuls of the juice of raspberries. Let them boil so fast that the syrup may boil up above the cherries until they are boiled enough, skimming off the scum as it rises. As soon as you take them off the fire put them into a dish of either silver or earth. There let them stand until they be almost cold then put them up.

Ingredients

450g cherries, stoned 40mL raspberry juice
450g fine sugar approx. 60mL

Method

water

  1. Put the sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan and add just enough water to turn the sugar into a stiff paste; how much water will depend on how hot and humid the day is.
  2. Over a low heat, dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has completely dissolved to syrup, stop stirring, and allow the syrup to reach 114ᵒ (soft ball stage).
  3. Put the cherries and raspberry juice in the syrup and return to the boil. Keep watching until the syrup boils up over the cherries, as described in Lady Fettiplace’s recipe. This is actually when the syrup gets to around 114ᵒ (soft ball stage) again.

    IMAG0269

  4. Allow to cool before serving or storing in a sealed, sterilised jar.

Notes

  • Raspberry juice has quite a tart flavour, and it was probably added to cut through the extreme sweetness. However, it’s quite hard to get hold of proper raspberry juice unless you juice them yourself. Do not add raspberry cordial instead; it is too sweet and actually doesn’t taste of raspberry juice. If you can’t get hold of proper raspberry juice, use rosewater instead as a period appropriate substitute.
  • Use good quality sugar to make this recipe. Cheap sugar can result in the syrup having an unpleasant, grainy texture.
  • Feasts in the Tudor and Stuart periods ended with a banquet course, a gathering of the most favoured or important guests, where they were served a range of sugary confections. A dish like this would have been considered a wet sucket, and served in its syrup. The cherries would have been eaten by spearing them with the end of a spoon.

Cherries in preserve

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Spurling, Hilary (2011). Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book

Buttered Colleflowre (Cauliflower in Cream Sauce)

How to butter a Colle-flowre.
Take a ripe Colle-flowre and cut off the buddes, boyle them in milke with a little Mace while they be very tender, then poure them into a Cullender, and let the Milke runne cleane from them, then take a ladle full of Creame, being boyled with a little whole mace, putting to it a ladle-full of thicke butter, mingle them together with a little Sugar, dish up your flowres upon sippets, poure your butter and creame hot upon it strowing on a little slict Nutmeg and salt, and serve it hot to the table.
John Murrell, A Booke of Cookerie, 1621.

How to butter a Cauliflower
Take a ripe cauliflower and cut off the florets, boil them in milk with a little Mace until they are tender, then pour them into a colander, and let the milk run clean from them, then take a ladle full of cream, being boiled with a little whole mace, putting to it a ladle-full of thick butter, mingle them together with a little Sugar, dish up your florets upon sippets, pour your butter and cream hot upon it, strewing on a little sliced Nutmeg and salt, and serve it hot to the table.

Although this is technically a seventeenth century recipe, the ingredients and methods were available in the sixteenth century, so this recipe would not be out of place at a late Elizabethan SCA feast.

I first found this recipe in Madge Lorwin’s Dining with Shakespeare. (p 103)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower 150 mL cream
500 mL milk 50 g butter
1 tsp powdered mace 2 tbs sugar
Salt ½ tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Break the cauliflower into florets.
  2. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, but still a bit crisp in the middle.
  3. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE MILK OR IT WILL BOIL OVER AND MAKE A TERRIBLE MESS.
  4. To make the sauce, heat the cream, butter and sugar, stirring well to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Don’t let it boil, or the cream will curdle.
  5. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE CREAM MIX OR IT WILL BOIL OVER AND MAKE A TERRIBLE MESS.
  6. To serve, pour the sauce over the cauliflower, and sprinkle with nutmeg and salt.

Notes

  • Cauliflowers were introduced to England in the late sixteenth century (Brears, 2016, 288), and would have been seen as a novelty.

Buttered_Colleflowre

Further Reading

Brears, Peter. Cooking and Dining in Tudor and Early Stuart England. Totnes, 2016.
Lorwin, Madge. Dining with Shakespeare. New York, 1976i

Prunes in Sirrop

32. To make Prunes in sirrop
Take Prunes, and put Claret Wine to them, and Suger, as much as you thinke will make them pleasant, let all these seethe together till ye thinke the Liquor looke like a sirrop, and that your Prunes be well swollen: and so keep them in a vessell as ye doe green Ginger.
John Partridge, The Treasury of Hidden Secrets, 1653

To make Prunes in Syrup
Take prunes, and put them in claret wine and sugar, as much as you think will make them pleasant. Let all these simmer together until the liquid looks like a syrup, and the prunes are swollen, and keep them in a vessel as you do green ginger.

This recipe illustrates one of the great truisms of research – it often pays to track down the original to verify the facts. I first read this recipe in Peter Brears’ Tudor Cookery, which specified the recipe came from John Partridge’s 1573 Treasurie of Commodius Conceites and Hidden Secrets. This work contains many sweet recipes, and you can find a good transcript at David Myer’s Medieval Cookery site here. However, when I searched the transcript of Commodius Conceites for this recipe, I couldn’t find it; not only that, “syrup” was consistently spelled “syrope.” I even went to Early English Books Online to search the facsimile – I still couldn’t find the recipe. After a lot of searching, I finally found the recipe above – in a 1653 reprint, the text of which can be found here. Commodius Conceites went through several reprints and revisions(Holman, 2002, 2), and I would say the Prunes in Syrup recipe was added in one of these.

This is a very easy, indulgent recipe, and the prunes in a pretty jar make an excellent gift. Although it is a recipe from a seventeenth century source, it would be fine to serve this at a SCA Elizabethan period feast.

Ingredients

250g prunes 500mL merlot 125g sugar

Method

  1. Soak the prunes overnight in the merlot so they rehydrate.
  2. Drain the prunes, reserving the merlot.
  3. Put the merlot and sugar in a pan and over a low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Return the prunes to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook until the liquid has thickened and reduced to the desired consistency.
  6. You can make the prunes ahead of time and store in a sealed, sterilised jar. They can be served hot or cold.

Notes

  • I like to use wine made from merlot grapes as these are very close to the grapes used to make medieval claret. They are one of the oldest varieties (Shotman).

Prunes_In_Syrup

Further Reading

Brears, Peter. Tudor Cookery. Swindon, 2002.
Holman, S.R. “Introduction,” The Treasury of Hidden Secrets

Shotman, Sarah. Wines of History – Claret