Aquapatys (Braised Garlic)

AQUAPATYS.
Pill garlec and cast it in a pot with water and oile. and seeþ it, do þerto safroun, salt, and powdour fort and dresse it forth hool.
The Forme of Cury 77.

AQUAPATYS.
Peel garlic and cast it in a pot with water and oil and seethe it, do thereto saffron, salt, and powder forte and dress it forth whole.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Garlic as a side dish! Foods such as garlic were regarded primarily as peasant food, however the presence of oil (presumably olive oil), saffron and the spice mixture powder fort makes this super luxurious garlic. You might be concerned about eating whole garlic, however boiling the garlic removes the enzymes that give it the sharp taste and cause the garlic breath. It becomes very soft and quite sweet.

Ingredients

2 whole garlic bulbs 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup water 1/4 tsp ground cloves
15 mL olive oil 1/4 tsp ground saffron
1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Break apart the garlic bulbs into individual cloves, and peel them.
  2. Put the garlic, oil and water into a pot, and bring to the boil. Cook the garlic until it is soft, around 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the garlic, arrange on a platter and sprinkle over the spices and salt.
  4. Serve warm.

Notes

  • “Powder fort” is a spice mix that translates to “strong powder.” Hieatt and Butler suggest pepper and cloves (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 208-209).
  • To make this more luxurious, you could use chicken stock to cook the garlic. I suspect the original recipe specifies water to make this recipe suitable for fish days.

Aquapatys - C14 recipe of garlic as a vegetable

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.

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Iowtes of Almaund Mylke (Green Soup)

IOWTES OF ALMAUND MYLKE.
Take erbes, boile hem, hewe hem and grynde hem smale. Take almaundus iblaunchede; grynde hem and drawe hem vp with water. Set hem on the fire and seeþ the iowtes with the mylke. and cast þeron sugur & salt, & serue it forth.
The Forme of Cury 89.

Jowtes with Almond Milk.
Take herbs, boil them, hew them and grind them small. Take blanched almonds, grinde them and drawe them up with water. Set them on the fire and seethe the jowtes with the almond milk, and cast thereon sugar and salt, and serve it forth.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

A soup like this would have been served on less formal occasions, however the almond milk gives it a touch of luxury and expense that would have put it beyond the reach of most people.

Ingredients

approx. 1kg mixed green leaves and herbs(see notes) 2 tbs sugar
300g blanched almonds 1 tsp salt
1L water

Method

  1. To make the almond milk, soak the almonds in the water for several hours.
  2. Put the almonds and water in a blender, and blend on high speed until the almonds have been reduced to meal and the water is cloudy.
  3. Strain the almond milk. You can use the left over almond meal in a pottage, or as a filling in a tart. However it will not have much flavour. Set the almond milk aside.
  4. Remove any thick or tough stalks from the leaves. Put the leaves into a pan with a small amount of water. Steam the leaves until they have wilted.
  5. Chop the leaves roughly, then add to a blender with the almond milk. Blend until the leaves and herbs are completely incorporated into the almond milk
  6. Add the blended soup to a pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and salt, and stir well to mix.
  7. Can be served hot, or at room temperature.

Notes

  • “Jowtes” is another word for pot herb, or herb that gets added to the pot to be eaten cooked. (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 196).
  • Because I have a garden with many medieval plants that aren’t commonly available, I was able to use a large variety of different leaves in my green soup. I was able to use chard, sorrel, wood avens, horseradish leaf, borage, wild celery, winter savoury and wild thyme, as well as more common herbs parsley, chervil and sage. If you don’t have access to a wide range of interesting medieval leaves, I would suggest using silverbeet, beetroot leaves or turnip leaves. Or possibly even kale, but I really don’t know why you’d bother.
    Chard Sorrel Avens
    Chard (Beta vulgaris) Sorrel (Rumex acetose) Wood Avens (Geum urbanum)
    Horseradish leaf Borage Wild celery
    Horseradish leaf (Armoracia rusticana) Borage(Borago officinalis) Wild celery(Apium graveolens)
    Winter savoury Wild Thyme  
    Winter savoury(Satureja montana) Wild Thyme(Thymus serpyllum)  
  • You may think it odd to use cold water rather than hot to make the almond milk. The resulting milk has a far stronger flavour, as the flavour is not evaporated out as steam, which is what happens when you use hot water. It is far better to make your own almond milk rather than bought almond milk, as the flavour is far better. However use the blanched almonds rather than almond meal, as almond meal loses much of the essential oil when it is ground and stored, and that’s where the flavour comes from.
  • In period a mortar and pestle would have been used to reduce the jowtes to a paste so they mix with the almond milk better; this is probably why they were boiled first.

Jowtes
The soup here has a slight red tinge from the chard. Using different leaves produces different coloured soup.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
(add to end of Book Depository link – )
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.

Tarte of Ryce (Rice Tart)

To make a Tarte of Ryce.
Boyle your Rice, and put in the yolkes of two or three Egges into the Rice, and when it is boyled, put it into a dish, and season it with Suger, Sinamon, and Ginger, and butter, and the iuyce of two or three Orenges, and set it on the fire againe.
Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswife’s Jewell, 1596.

To make a Tart of Rice.
Boil your Rice, and add in the yolks of two or three eggs into the rice, and when it is boiled, put it into a dish, and season it with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, butter, and the juice of two or three oranges, and set it on the fire again.

 

Except for the eggs, all the ingredients in this dish were imported, so it would have been quite a status dish. Fortunately for us, these ingredients are cheap today, so this is an excellent feast dish, particularly as it is quite easy to make. Although the recipe is called a Tart of Rice, there is no mention of pastry aside from putting the flavoured rice into a dish; the recipe below puts it into a pastry case, and the rice mixture sets well as a tart filling. However, I have served the rice by itself as a side dish, and it was extremely well received (and quick to make!).

Ingredients

1 quantity shortcrust pastry 1 tsp ginger
200g rice ½ tsp cinnamon
3 egg yolks 2 tbs sugar
250mL orange juice 50g butter

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry to approx. 4mm thickness and line a greased pie plate with it.
  2. Prick the bottom of the tart shell. Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with weights. Blind bake the tart shell for approx. 12 minutes in a 200° oven. Remove the paper and weights when finished.
  3. Return the tart shell to the oven and bake for a further 6 minutes, to firm the base. If necessary, line the rim of the pie with foil to stop it browning too much.
  4. Rinse the rice in cold, running water until the water draining from the rice is clear.
  5. Cook the rice in lightly salted water until it is still slightly firm in the centre.
  6. Drain the rice, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.
  7. Spoon the rice mix into the tart shell and press down lightly.
  8. Bake the tart in a 180° oven for about 20 minutes, or until the rice filling feels dry and firm.
  9. Serve hot or cold.

Notes

  • Although this is a sweet dish, it would have been served alongside savoury dishes, most likely in the second course.
  • Rinsing the rice before cooking it removes excess starch from the rice, which means it doesn’t go gluggy when cooked. If you are worried about wasting water, hold the strainer over a bucket to catch the rinsing water – gardens love it.

 

Tarte of Ryce

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Black, Maggie (1996). The Good Housewife’s Jewel

Sauce for Soft-Boiled Eggs (Apicius 7.17.3)

In ouis apalis: piper ligusticum nucleos infuses; suffundes mel acetum, liquamine temperabis.

Sauce for soft-boiled eggs: pepper, lovage, soaked pine nuts; pour on honey, vinegar, flavour with liquamen.

This text and translation are taken from Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock’s Apicius (2006).

This is one of the earliest historic recipes I ever cooked, over 20 years ago (eek); I used the version from Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa’s A Taste of Ancient Rome, which is one book I would highly recommend as a beginner’s guide to ancient Roman food and cooking. This is a great recipe to serve in the first course of a feast – both the eggs and the sauce can be prepared well ahead of time.

Eggs were an important food in the ancient world – even city dwellers with a small yard could keep chickens, and hen eggs could be produced in large quantity. They were regarded as aphrodisiacs (Dalby, 2003, 126).

Ingredients

4 large eggs 2 tbs honey 1/2 tsp lovage seed
50g pine nuts 1 tsp fish sauce 1/2 tsp pepper
100mL wine vinegar

Method

  1. Dry fry the pine nuts over a medium heat until they start to turn golden. Keep stirring constantly. When they are golden, remove from the heat and soak in half the vinegar for at least 6 hours.
  2. Put the eggs into a pan of cold water, then put over a high heat and bring to the boil. As soon as the water comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and leave it stand for 4 minutes.
  3. After 4 minutes, remove the eggs from the hot water and immediately plunge them into ice cold water. Leave them to cool completely.
  4. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine the soaked pine nuts, pepper and lovage seed, and process until the pine nuts have been crushed to the desired consistency (I like them still a bit chunky).
  5. Add the honey, the rest of the vinegar and the fish sauce to the pine nuts, and stir well to combine.
  6. Remove the eggs from the cold water and peel them, then slice each egg in half.
  7. Arrange the halved eggs on a plate, then pour over the pine nut sauce.

Notes

  • Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a plant that appears frequently in Roman cooking. It has an extremely strong celery scent. Sally Grainger (2006, 24) and Patrick Faas (1994, 151) believe the seeds were used more frequently, as it is usually listed amongst the spices in Apicius. I feel either the leaves or the seed can be used, as they both have a similar taste, however the seed is probably more appropriate in this recipe. If lovage leaf or seed is unavailable, celery leaf or seed is a good substitute. I grew the lovage in my garden.
  • Liquamen is a fish sauce, probably thinner in texture than the better known garum. (Grainger, 2005).
  • This method of boiling eggs comes from Heston Blumenthal’s Heston at Home (p107). I find it avoids the problem of the eggs cracking in the water as can happen if they are put in hot water to begin with, or left in boiling water, and also ensures the egg does not overcook. If you prefer a less set yolk, leave them in the boiled water for less time.
  • Putting the eggs into cold water to cool does three things. First, it completely stops the cooking process so the yolk does not overcook and become powdery, and the white stays tender rather than becoming like rubber. Second, it allows the eggs to cool without that unattractive grey ring forming about the yolk. Finally, it makes the eggs easier to peel cleanly as the membrane surrounding the egg separates from the shell.
  • If you want to read more about the science behind the gentle cooking of eggs in their shell, check out Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, p 87-88.
  • It is much easier to peel an egg that is slightly older. As eggs age more air is absorbed into the shell, and pushes the egg slightly away from the shell. However, avoid really old eggs, as they don’t taste good, and have more chance of having the unattractive grey ring form about the yolk, even if you cook it gently.
  • To test the freshness of an egg, put the egg in a bowl full of water. If the egg lies on the bottom, it is very fresh. If the egg stands on its narrow point with the broader end sticking up in the water, it is less fresh but still fine to use, especially in a recipe such as this. If the egg floats, throw it away, as it is stale.
  • Both Sally Grainger (2006, 57) and Ilaria Giacosa (1994, 47) both suggest processing the pine nut sauce to a completely smooth paste. However, I prefer the sauce to still have a little texture – I think it looks more appealing to have diiferent textures in the sauce.

Eggs in Pine Nut Sauce

Further Reading

Click on the links below to order directly from The Book Depository.

Dalby, Andrew (2003). Food in the Ancient World.
Faas, Patrick (1994). Around the Roman Table.
Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini (1994). A Taste of Ancient Rome.
Grainger, Sally (2005). “Towards an Authentic Roman Sauce.” 2005 Oxford Food Symposium
Grainger, Sally (2006). Cooking Apicius.
Grocock, Christopher and Grainger, Sally (2006). Apicius.
McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking.

(Elinor Fettiplace’s) A Tart of Spinage (Spinach Tart)

To make a tarte of spinage.
Take the spinage & boile it in water till it bee soft, then straine it, & put to it the yelks of vi eggs, & some rosewater and corrance, & sugar, & some sinamon, & ginger & some butter. boile it on the fier, a good while, before you put it in the paste.
Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, ed. Hillary Spurling.

To make a tart of spinach.
Take the spinach & boil it in water until it be soft, then strain it, and put to it the yolks of 6 eggs, & some rosewater and currants, and sugar, and some cinnamon, and ginger and some butter. Cook it gently on the stove for a good while, before you put it in the pastry.

Spinach was introduced to England some time in the reign of Henry VIII – a 1654 herbal noted it was not long introduced to England (Dalby, 2012, 101). It was probably one of the many foodstuffs introduced through increased contact with Spain, where it was introduced by the Arabs. The earliest Spinach Tart recipe I am aware of is from 1545 (see ((A Propere Newe) Tarte of Spinage). There are many recipes for spinach tart – they were clearly a novelty so I feel they should be part of any Tudor era feast.

This recipe is slightly sweet, but not overly so, and is quite pleasant.

Ingredients

1 quantity shortcrust pastry 60g currants 1 tsp powdered ginger
2 bunches spinach (approx. 500g) 50g sugar 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
6 egg yolks 30mL rosewater 50g butter

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry to approx. 4mm thickness and line a greased pie plate with it.
  2. Prick the bottom of the tart shell. Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with weights.  Blind bake the tart shell for approx. 12 minutes in a 200° oven. Remove the paper and weights when finished.
  3. Remove the stalk and the central vein from the spinach leaves and chop into strips.
  4. Put the spinach in the pan with a little water, and over a medium heat, steam the spinach. It will rapidly lose volume. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  5. Remove the spinach from the pan and squeeze out some of the water between tea towels or kitchen paper.
  6. Return the spinach to the pan with the egg yolks, rosewater, currants, sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Over a low heat, stir well to break down the spinach and mix the ingredients.
  7. When the spinach, eggs, currants, rosewater, butter and spices are well mixed, remove the pan from the heat and spoon the spinach mixture into the tart case.
  8. Bake the tart in a 180° oven until the filling has firmed, approx. 30 minutes.

Notes

  • Ideally this recipe should be made with true spinach (Spinacia oleracea) rather than silverbeet (Beta vulgaris) which is often sold as spinach. Silverbeet was well known throughout medieval England and wasn’t the novelty true spinach was.
  • Elinor Fettiplace’s instruction “to boile” can be quite confusing. Often she actually means “simmer,” and you generally have to work out the meaning from the context. In this case, because of the egg yolks, I feel the spinach mixture has to be simmered, as boiling would cause the egg yolks to curdle.
  • If possible, use whole dried ginger that you grate directly into the mix – the flavour is so much better!

Elinor Fettiplace's Spinach Tart

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Ahmed, Anne (ed) (2002) A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye
Dalby, Andrew and Dalby, Maureen (2012) The Shakespeare Cookbook
Spurling, Hilary (2011). Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book.

Pickled Mushrooms

TO PICKLE MUSHROOMS
Take your Buttons, clean ym with a spunge & put ym in cold water as you clean ym, then put ym dry in a stewpan & shake a handfull of salt over ym, yn stew ym in their own liquor till they are a little tender; then strain ym from ye liquor & put ym upon a cloath to dry till they are quite cold. Make your pickle before you do your Mushrooms, yt it may be quite cold before you put ym in. The pickle must be made with White-Wine, White-Pepper, quarter’d Nutmeg, a Blade of Mace, & a Race of ginger.

Take your Buttons, clean then with a spunge and put them in cold water as you clean them, then put them dry in a stewpan and shake a handful of salt over them, then stew them in their own liquor till they are a little tender; then strain them from the liquor and put them upon a cloth to dry until they are quite cold. Make your pickle before you do your mushrooms, so it may be quite cold before you put them in. The pickle must be made with white wine, white pepper, quartered nutmeg, a blade of mace, and a race of ginger.

Contrary to popular belief, there were some vegetables that were extremely popular in Elizabethan times. One dish that was becoming more popular was the Sallat, which like modern salads were composed of leaves, vegetables such as cucumbers and mushrooms, nuts and dried fruits. They were arranged to look beautiful on a plate, but of course there were times of year when popular sallat foods simply weren’t available. This is where pickling recipes like this one would have come in – in the autumn when mushrooms were plentiful, they would have been gathered and pickled en-masse to be available all year round.

Ingredients

1.5kg mushrooms 1 tsp white pepper corns
500mL white wine 1/4 of a whole nutmeg
approx. 1/2 cup of salt 1/2 tsp mace
1 piece dried ginger

Method

  1. In a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the pepper corns and mace. Using a grater, grate the ginger and the nutmeg (grate a whole nutmeg until you have used a quarter of it).
  2. Put the spices and the wine in a pot and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, then leave to cool completely.
  3. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stalks.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a heavy bottomed pan, then throw the salt over them. Heat the mushrooms well and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have coloured and shrunk considerably. A lot of liquid will leach out of them.
  5. Strain the mushrooms, and put on a towel so they can dry and cool.
  6. When both the mushrooms and pickling wine are completely cool, put the mushrooms into a sterilised jar and pour over the pickling liquid. If there is any spice residue, pack this on top. Ensure the mushrooms are completely covered by the liquid.
  7. Keep the jar of mushrooms in a cool, dark place and leave to steep – the longer they steep the better.

Notes

  • Lady Fettiplace would not have had access to fresh ginger, and if you can find whole dried ginger it’s a revelation. I found some in an Indian grocers and it smells incredible.
  • Mace and nutmeg come from the same plant, Myrstica fragrans. Nutmeg is the seed in the middle of the fruit, and mace is a lacy membrane that surrounds this seed. Even though they come from the same plant, they have quite different tastes, and you can’t really substitute extra nutmeg for mace.
  • You will lose a lot of volume from the mushrooms as you are stewing them in the salt. We lost over 600g of weight – at the end of the process, we had 830g of mushrooms after starting out with 1.5kg.

Pickled mushrooms

Further Reading

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

Mushroom Pasties

Mushrooms of one night are best, if they are small, red inside and closed at the top, and they should be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled, and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil, cheese and
spice powder. The Goodman of Paris (trans. Eileen Power)

This is probably the first medieval recipe I ever cooked, with the newly formed Mordenvale Company of Cooks (though we didn’t have a name at that point), using the recipe in Maggie Black’s Medieval Cookbook, except we varied the amount of cheese. Since then I’ve cooked it many times, because it provides a great vegetarian option that can be made vegan easily, and non-vegetarians tend to love it too.

One of the great frustrations with medieval recipes is ingredients like “spice powder.” What spices?! It is probable that each medieval cook had their own preferred blends. Maggie Black suggests mustard and pepper, which is delicious and what I use most often when I make these. However, it is probably not what the Goodman intended, and he does have another recipe for “spice powder.”

Item,take half a quarter of clove wood, called stem of cloves, half a quarter of cinnamon, half a quarter of pepper, half a quarter of ginger, half a quarter of nutmeg, half a quarter of grain of paradise, and reduce them all to powder.

I would suggest a 1/4 tsp each of cloves, pepper and grains of paradise, and a 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and ginger to create the spice powder.

Ingredients

1 quantity fair paste 30mL extra virgin olive oil
500g button mushrooms 1 tsp Goodman’s spice powder
125g cheese (choose your favourite type)

Method

  1. Chop the mushrooms finely and soak in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Then drain them well.
  2. Grate or crumble the cheese through the mushrooms, then add the oil and spice powder, and salt to taste, and mix well.
  3. Roll out the fair paste to around 3 mm thick, and cut into 6 square shapes.
  4. Spoon a portion of the mushroom mix into the centre of each paste square, and brush the edges with water or egg to help the edges stick.
  5. Press the edges of the fair paste together well, ensuring there are no breaks in the pastry or the edges.
  6. Put the pasties on a lined baking tray, and bake in a 200°C oven for around 15 minutes, or until they are golden and smelling yummy.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

Notes

  • Grains of Paradise, or Melegueta pepper, is native to west Africa, and became very fashionable in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. However it had fallen out of fashion by the sixteenth century. You can find it from specialist spice merchants.
  • If possible, buy your spices whole and grate or grind them together – you will get a lot more potency from your spices.
  • Maggie Black’s recipe uses mustard and pepper. It is a very tasty combination, and the Goodman did love mustard, however the spice powder described above is probably what he meant.
  • If the mushrooms are small and young enough, it’s not necessary to peel the mushrooms or remove the stems, unless you’ve gathered them from the wild and you don’t know what’s happened to them.
  • Terrence Scully (2002, 97) suggests it’s not necessary to parboil the mushrooms; however once when I made them I forgot and the mushrooms were unpleasantly leathery in the final pasty.

Mushroom pasties

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.

Anon., trans. Eileen Power. The Goodman of Paris.

Black, Maggie (2012). The Medieval Cookbook.

Scully, D.Eleanor and Scully, Terence. Early French Cookery.