"The House of Rest;" a dinner scene, with bread & frumenty being eaten
Cooking in a large kitchen.
The following recipes are examples of food that can be prepared in your home to give you a ‘taste’ of food from the medieval and early modern period. These are all found on the website www.godecookery.com
and the original recipe (as it was written at the time), it’s ‘translation’ (into modern English) and a redaction (for your use) are included.
I hope you enjoy these and share them with friends and family!
A Potage of Roysons
PERIOD: England, 15th century
SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279
DESCRIPTION: An apple-raisin pudding
A potage of Roysons. Take Raysonys, & do a-way þe kyrnellys; & take a part of Applys, & do a-way þe corys, & þe pare, & bray hem in a mortere, & temper hem with Almande Mylke, & melle hem with flowre of Rys, þat it be clene chargeaunt, & straw vppe-on pouder of Galygale & of Gyngere, & serue it forth.
GODE COOKERY TRANSLATION:
A Pudding of Raisins. Take raisins, & take out the kernels, & take some apples, & take out the core, & pare the skin, & smash them in a mortar, & mix with almond milk, & mix with rice flour, so that it's very thick, & strew on galingale & ginger, & serve.
* 1 cup raisins
* 1 1⁄2 cup Almond Milk
* 1 Tbs. sugar
* 1 tsp. mixture of galingale & ginger
* 4 tbs. rice flour (or unbleached white)
* 4-6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
Boil the apples & raisins until the apples are very soft; drain well. Mash the fruit and place in a pan with the almond milk, spices, and sugar. Cook over medium heat. Add the flour and continue to cook until "clene chargeaunt" (very thick). Add flour as necessary. Sprinkle top with ginger just before serving. Serves 6-8.
Almond Milk can be made according to the instructions at www.godecookery.com, or you can substitute with the modern Swedish method of making almond milk by flavoring whole milk with almond extract.
Can't find galingale? Use ginger as a substitute.
Basic Meat Pie
DESCRIPTION: Basic recipe for a medieval/Renaissance-style meat pie
Medieval meat pies usually consisted of beef, pork, venison, or fowl, or a mixture of those meats. The meat was either broiled or boiled, then used in small bite-sized chunks, or else reduced to a paste by mashing or "mortaring," and mixed with other ingredients. To make a basic medieval meat pie, choose your meat - a nice roast or even a cheaper cut will do nicely. Don't use pre-ground raw meat (such as hamburger) - it will completely change the taste of your product. Use about 1 1⁄2 lbs. for a pie that will feed 6-8 people. Broil or boil it until tender, remove from the broth or drippings and let cool. Chop in bite-sized chunks, mince very small, or chop small and pass through a food grinder or processor to achieve a paste. Mix into the meat any of the following: egg yolks (for liquid and binding), raisins, currants, nuts, cheese, dates, figs, a splash of wine, seasonings (ginger, salt, pepper, etc.) - be creative and have fun! Mix these ingredients either with the meat chunks or blend them in with the meat paste and place in a pre-baked pie shell. The final mixture should be a little too moist and just slightly runny - it'll stiffen up when baked, and the extra moisture will keep the pie from going dry. Liquid to use: egg yolks, wine, broth, etc. Medieval pies (sometimes called "bake metis" in Medieval days) were often topped with either a pastry shell (often called a "coffin") or "byrdys." (Medieval man had a reputation for eating practically anything with wings! "Byrdys" could be any small bird, ranging from swallows, sparrows, to game hens. For the 21st c. kitchen, small cooked chicken pieces such as small thighs or the "drumstick" section of the wing will do nicely.) After preparation, the pies can either be cooked at once or frozen in the raw state to be thawed & cooked later. When baking time comes, keep them in the oven until the pastry is golden brown. Meat pies can be served hot, at room temperature, or even chilled from the fridge.
RECIPE FOR BASIC MEDIEVAL/RENAISSANCE MEAT PIE:
* 1 1⁄2 lbs. meat (beef, pork, venison, rabbit, poultry, etc. or any combination), parboiled and in small chunks, ground, or mashed
* 1 9" pie shell (lid optional)
* cooked chicken pieces (wings, thighs, etc.) (optional)
* 4 egg yolks
* 1⁄2 to 1 cup meat broth (quantity depends on the dryness of the other ingredients - use your discretion. The final mixture should be on the wet side.)
* splash of red or white wine
* 1 to 2 cups TOTAL of any of the following, separate or in combination: minced dates, currants, raisins, minced figs, ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.), grated cheese, etc. The variety of ingredients & the total amount used depends on personal taste.
* 1⁄4 tsp. salt
* 1⁄4 tsp. pepper
* 1 - 2 Tbs. TOTAL of any of the following spices, separate or in combination: ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cubebs, galingale, etc. The variety of spices & the total amount used depends on personal taste.
Mix well all ingredients except chicken. Place in pie shell and top with either a pastry lid or the cooked chicken pieces. Bake in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling set. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6-8.
PERIOD:England, 14th century
SOURCE: Utilis Coquinario
DESCRIPTION: Traditional medieval rice dish
Tak þe two del of rys, þe thridde pert of almoundes; wash clene þe rys in leuk water & turne & seth hem til þay breke & lat it kele, & tak þe melk & do it to þe rys & boyle hem togedere. & do þerto whit gres & braun of hennes grounde smale, & stere it wel, & salte it & dresch it in disches. & frye almaundes in fresch gres til þey be browne, & set hem in þe dissches, & strawe þeron sugre & serue it forth.
GODE COOKERY TRANSLATION:
Blancmange. Take two parts of rice, the third part of almonds; wash the rice clean in lukewarm water & turn & boil them til they break and let cool, & take milk and add to the rice and boil together. Add white grease & ground dark chicken meat, & stir well, & salt it and place it in dishes. Fry almonds in fresh grease until brown, & set them in the dishes, and strew on sugar & serve it.
* 1 cup rice
* 3 cups Almond Milk
* 1 cup ground cooked chicken, dark meat only (legs and thighs)
* dash salt
* 1/4 cup fried slivered almonds
* sugar to garnish
Bring to a boil the rice, milk, & salt. Reduce heat, stir in chicken, & cover; allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy. Garnish with almonds and a sprinkle of sugar.
Judging by the many versions of this recipe that appear in period cookbooks, it is certain that most (if not all) medieval cooks were at least familiar with this dish. By the strictest definition, Blawmanger (also known as blankmanger) is any bland, white pottage based on almond milk, and (except for a few fish-day versions) contains ground poultry, thickened with rice flour; the standard English flesh-day version was ground capon (or chicken) with rice and almond milk. In some recipes the poultry is in chunks, rather than ground up. Today's modern blancmange is a type of rice-pudding dessert, much beloved by the English, and only bears a slight resemblance to its medieval forerunner.
PERIOD: France, 14th century SOURCE: Le Viandier de Taillevent
DESCRIPTION: A black pepper sauce
Grind ginger, round pepper and burnt toast, infuse this in vinegar (var.: and a little verjuice) and boil it.
* 2 cups red wine vinegar
* 1 Tbs. ginger (see note)
* 1 Tbs. pepper (see note)
* 1-2 cups bread crumbs made from burnt toast
Bring the vinegar to a boil; reduce the heat slightly, and with a wire whisk, beat in the spices. With the whisk slowly begin to beat in the bread crumbs until you reach the thickness of sauce that you desire. Continue beating until you have a smooth consistency and the mixture has again returned to the boil. Remove from heat and serve as an accompaniment to meats and poultry.
This very tart sauce may startle a few people, but many love its sharp and unique taste. Feel free to adjust the spices to your personal taste - some may enjoy using less pepper and more ginger, etc. The sauce can be as thin as a gravy or as thick as a dip. It goes wonderfully with venison and roasts.
This bibliography includes all works used in the researching of this workshop.
Albala. Ken. Eating Right in the Renaissance.Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
Paston-Williams, Sara. The Art of Dining: A History of Cooking & Eating. London: National Trust, 1993.
Scully, Terence. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. New York: Boydell & Brewer, Ltd., 1995
Ozment, Steven. Flesh and Spirit: Private Life in Early Modern Germany. New York: Viking, 1999.
Sass, Lorna J. To The Kings Taste: Richard II’s book of feasts and recipes. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.
Hieatt, Constance B.; Brenda Hosington and Sharon Butler. Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. Second Edition. Tornto: University of Toronto Press, 1996
Pounds, Norman and John Greville. Medieval City: Greenwood Guides to Historic Events of the Medieval World. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005.
Hildegard. Hildegard's Healing Plants: From Her Medieval Classic Physica. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.
Harvey, John H. “Vegetables in the Middle Ages.” Garden History, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Autumn, 1984): 89-99
Roper, Lyndal. "Going to Church and Street": Weddings in Reformation Augsburg.” Past and Present, No. 106, (Feb., 1985): 62-101
Laudan, Rachel. "Birth of the Modern Diet." Scientific American Special Edition 16, No. 4 (Dec., 2006 Special Edition 2006): 4-11.
Munro, John H. “The Consumption of Spices and Their Costs in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe: Luxuries or Necessities?” University of Toronto, Economics Department. 1983. <http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm>
Kempe, Alfred John Esq. F.S.A. “The Loseley Manuscripts and Other Rare Documents: Illustrative of some of the more minutes particulars of English History, Biography and Manners from the Regin of Henry VIII to that of James I” Google Books, July 20, 2008. <http://books.google.com/books?id=GFULAAAAYAAJ>