Thursday, February 4, 2010

Apology to readers

Two apologies, actually. First, I do intend to post here again in the future, but haven't had time or wherewithal for awhile. I appreciate those who check in occasionally and bug me to post more very much.

Second, due to abuses by trollers, I've had to enable verification on comments left by readers. Please don't let this keep you from posting a comment if you like! I just don't think anyone needs to see lines and lines of advertisements and spam posted here.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Creme Bastard and Malmens Bastard - ROTW 5

Parts of this were originally posted to the Dragon's Mist Cooks List on September 3, 2007.

My student showed interest in foods that had names offensive to modern sensitivities. I, of course, immediately though of creme bastard. The word bastard seems to have evolved into the modern custard when used in a culinary sense, but where's the fun in that? And while prowling around for electronically-locatable recipes, I came up with a bonus: Malmens bastard.

Creme Bastarde
From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books (I used the Google Books version)
Also found on the Medieval Cookery site (wish I'd known that before I cold-typed it in)
Take þe whyte of Eyroun a grete hepe, & putte it on a panne ful of Mylke, & let yt boyle; þen sesyn it so with Salt an hony a lytel, þen lat hit kele, & draw it þorw a straynoure, an take fayre Cowe mylke an draw yt with-all, & seson it with Sugre, & loke þat it be poynant & doucet: & serue it forth for a potage, or for a gode Bakyn mete, wheder þat þou wolt.
For those who do not read Middle English well:
Take the white of eggs a great heap, and put it on a pan full of milk, and let it boil; then season it with salt and honey a little, then let it cool, and draw it through a strainer, and take fair cow milk and draw it withall, and season it with sugar, and look that it be poignant and sweet; and serve it forth for a pottage, or for a good baken mete, whether that thou would.

Relying on the Middle English Dictionary, as always, I find that a 'baken mete' is a baked food. Custard...err, bastard tarts, anyone?

This recipe can be found in Pleyn Delit as well, but their version comes out sort of odd. An SCA feast cook experimented and found that you have to beat the eggs more than the PD version says, and that using a mixture of milk and cream was better. I thank Mistress Constance de la Rose, OL, Barony of Loch Salann, Kingdom of Artemisia, for her insight which I used in creating my version of this fine dish. Unwilling to make 'a grete hepe' I went with four 6-oz. servings (this recipe makes just about 26 ounces, actually). This is one of the dreaded 'stirring continuously' recipes, the sort that make me shudder to read, but I'm actually a bit lazy in the kitchen and find out that you can wander off for 20 seconds or so and nothing terrible happens, but only before and after it's boiled. When it's close to boiling, stay on it or you'll definitely regret it because it'll boil over in that three seconds of inattention for sure.

4 egg whites, well beaten
2 cups half and half (American oddity of half whole milk and half heavy cream)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
pinch salt
2 tsp sugar

Beat the egg whites until just frothy. Mix into half and half and bring to a boil slowly, stirring continuously. Cut the heat to low and simmer for about five more minutes, still stirring continuously. Add the honey and, yes, stir it in, then add the salt (for me this meant making one pass with the shaker). Remove from heat and let it cool a bit then pour through a strainer. My wire strainer worked fine, you're just getting little bits of milk scum and albumin out. Add the rest of the milk and the sugar and then beat it for a couple of minutes by hand or a minute on your mixer's lowest setting. Remember, it's cooked so if you want to test for sweetness (all the other recipes I've seen call for even more sugar than I used), it's safe.
Now, you can pour it into a serving dish or dishes and chill or into a glass dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Now, modern custards are put into a pan of hot water in the oven. I'm sure you can do that, but I forgot to. The result was browned edges and a skin, but the flavor and overall consistency didn't suffer at all (probably moreso from my frantic opening the oven and checking if it was done every three minutes than a lack of humidity).

Malmens Bastard
From A Fifteenth Century Cookery Book compiled by John L. Anderson
Also found on the Medieval Cookery site
Take a potell of clarefied hony, and a pounde of pynes, and I. pounde of Reysons of coraunce, Saundres, pouder canell, And .ij. galons of wyne or ale, and pouder peper, and cast al in a potte, And skeme hit clene; And þen take iij. li. pounde Almondes, and stepe to-gidre, And drawe hem þorgh a streynour; And whan the potte boyleth, cast þe licour to, & aley hit vp al stonding; And þen take pouder ginger, salt, saffron, and ceson hit vppe, and serue hit forth in a dissh al hote, and salt; And cast pouder ginger thereon in þe dissh, and serue it forth.
Modern English:
Take a potell of clarified honey, and a pound of pine nuts, and 1 pound of raisins of Corinth, saunders, powder canell, and 2 gallons of wine or ale, and powder pepper, and cast all in a pot, and skim it clean; And then take 3 pounds almonds, and steep together, and draw it through a strainer; And when the pot boils, cast the liquor in, and allay it up all standing; And then take powder ginger, salt, saffron, and season it up, and serve it forth in a dish all hot, and salt; And cast powder ginger thereon in the dish, and serve it forth.
The Medieval English Dictionary says a potell is a vessel of half the capacity of the associated gallon, so that's half a gallon of honey. Raisins of Corinth are currants. Saunders is sandalwood, a fragrant red wood used as a coloring and seasoning agent (you can buy it somewhere, but I don't know where - I got mine from Mestra Rafaella d'Allemtejo who is my 'connection' for spices and such things. Canell is cinnamon, and in fact the stuff we usually buy in the grocery stores is canell rather than true cinnamon, which is sweeter and more expensive. It makes sense that the almonds used would be crushed, as they're strained out and so should be there to give their flavor without texture. To 'allay it all up standing' means to cook, stirring, until thickened.

I haven't done this, for some pretty obvious reasons, the number one being quantity. There are two of us, me and my husband. This recipe would feed a crowd. Half a gallon of honey's also kind of expensive. I'll make this for friends sometime. We're very lucky in that most of the quantities are given. I can't actually see much more trouble reconstructing this than figuring out quantities of spices and how long to cook it, and the latter isn't too difficult if you've had enough time in the kitchen to figure out when stuff's thickened enough.

I do plan on figuring out how to make perhaps a quart or two of this stuff. It looks....yummy. Sweet and spiced and piquant with ginger and pepper (I think I'll use white just for the color value). I might need to substitute red food coloring for the saunders in tests, but have a bit I might use in the finished produce if there's enough. And if not, I'm sure Rafaella can hook me up.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

ROTW 4 - Pastez, baked onions and Vyolette

Originally posted August 24, 2006.

Mushroom Pastez
From Le Menagier de Paris - late 14th century
In French from an unabridged transcription from one of the many online locations.

CHAMPIGNONS d'une nuit sont les meilleurs, et sont petits et vermeils dedans, clos essus: et les convient peler, puis laver en eaue chaude et pourboulir; qui en veult mettre en pasté, si y mette de l'uille, du frommage et de la pouldre.

Item, mettez-les entre deux plats sur charbons, et mettez un petit de sel, du frommage et de la pouldre. L'en les treuve en la fin de May et en Juin.
In English from Janet Hinson's translation.
MUSHROOMS of one night are the best, and are small and red inside, closed above: and they should be peeled, then wash in hot water and parboil; if you wish to put them in pastry, add oil, cheese and powdered spices.

Item, put them between two dishes over the coals, and add a little salt, cheese and powdered spices. You can find them at the end of May and in June.
We're lucky to have mushrooms year-round (though living downwind from the growing and packaging plants can be unpleasant). I use white button mushrooms, since I'm not a real big fungus eater.

I've played with this recipe a lot and done everything from a full-sized pie to small hand-held tarts. I highly suggest the latter, as they beg for self-contained shells. Remembering that I'm abysmal with pastry, please feel free to adapt your own skills to the making of same instead of the egg roll wrappers.

a pound of firm, white mushrooms (anything from 12-18 ounces works)
salt to taste
1/4 cup grated cheese (something melty and white or fresh Parmesan)
spices to taste - Rafaella's Salsa Fina is best,
Rafaella's Duke's Powder II is almost as good
OR (if you haven't access to a medieval spice mixer):
a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, long pepper, grains of Paradise,
nutmeg, mace, galangale (pick three or more)
1 package pre-made egg roll wrappers (the large squares)

I've tried measuring the spices but they don't seem to respond well to a fixed amount. You'll need 1-2 teaspoons total, use your nose to discern if it be enough.

Wash mushrooms and cut in half, or quarters is very large. Apportion onto the pastry squares in amounts that'll allow you to fold and seal the pastry over them. Sprinkle salt over the mushrooms, then spices, then a bit of grated cheese. Fold and seal pasties.

Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased baking tin for 12-15 minutes. I like turning them after 10 minutes and then cooking until the top is brown.

Single pie variant:
Toss mushrooms with salt and spices, put into a 9" pie shell and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Will definitely fall apart when sliced.

Boiled Onions
From The Good huswifes Jewell - 1585 & 1596/7
Recipe from: 'All the King's Cooks' by Peter Brears

Unfortunately, the online copy of The Good huswifes Jewell is currently unavailable. Luckily, even without the original text, the person presenting the recipe is a food historian and in charge of the project which has brought the Hampton Court Palace kitchens back into working order and can be trusted to be as authentic as possible. Therefore it is his, not my, recipe I present here. It's excellent. The only alterations I've done is Americanizing the measurements.

1 lb. English onions (I used the smaller boiling onions)
3 oz. (6 Tbsp) raisins
1 tsp ground pepper
8 oz (6-8 slices) bread cut into 1" cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Peel and quarter the onions then simmer with the raisins, salt and pepper in the water for 15 minutes. Put the bread into a deep dish.

Beat the egg yolk and vinegar together and stir into the onion mixture just before pouring it over the bread. Sprinkle with sugar.

From A Fifteenth Century Cookery Boke compiled by John L. Anderson
(Yes, that's right, A... I own a single volume all kitted out like a kid's book)
Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte þer-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with þe same þat þe flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.
'the same' is apparently saffron, mentioned in the recipe above this one.

I get my amidon at Oriental Food Value on SE Insley just off SE 82nd in Portland. It's called 'wheat starch' and sold in the noodle aisle. Rice flour works better.

Pinch the stems off just behind the flower heads. Boil for about three minutes, drain and blot with paper towels to dry, and crush in a mortar. For every tablespoon of crushed flower you need a like amount of almond milk. Mix the flowers into the almond milk is a saucepan and heat over low temperature. Add rice flour by the spoonful, stirring and simmering like gravy, until you get a nice, thick consistency (cooked pudding). That's usually two tablespoons of flour to every cup of flower-almond milk mixture. Sweeten to taste (sugar is preferred) then remove from heat and pour into dishes.

I let it cool in a bowl in the fridge and it took on the consistency of instant pudding, so it'd be real nice in individual dishes. It was starchy with amydon and less so with rice flour and was quite like modern American puddings. And a terrific color and delightful flavor, tasting much like the violets smelled. It's labor-intensive, as all cooked puddings are, but the novelty was worth it. I made about a cupful each time, so it works well in small batches.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Recipes of the Week 7 - an eclectic collection

Originally posted to the DM cooks list on September 18th, 2007. I cross-posted this to some very novice cooks and so there are many beginners' pointers in the recipes and at the end.

Sorry about the eclectic collection, but these will be for the Beaverton Farmer's Market demo this weekend and I figured if I'm typing them in, I ought to be sharing.

Each are again experimentations from original sources which ended up being my own versions. As always, I have to back-engineer proportions, so don't been completely bound by the numbers. And they're all very easy, too.

As always, I used the online Middle English Dictionary to translate terms, even if the source from which I got the recipe included their own translations. Too many sources have said 'alows' was 'olives'... Turns out it's 'rolled around a filling', which translates pretty clearly to remoulade.

Also as always the appearance of thorn is relative to whether I had to do my own typing or got it from a cut and pasteable source because I still haven't learned how to generate thorn in this editor.

Alows de Beef or de Mouton (Remoulade of Beef or Mutton)
From A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke by John L. Anderson
Take fayre bef of þe quyschons, or motoun of þe bottes, & kytte in þe maner of stekys: þan take raw Percely, & Oynonys smal y-scredde, & yolkys of eyroun soþe hard, & Marow or swette, & hew alle þes to-gedder smal; þan caste þer-on poudere of gyngere & saffroun, & tolle þem to-gederys with þin hond, & lay þem on the stekys al a-brode, & caste salt þer-to; þen rolle to-gederys, & putte hem on a round spete, & roste hem til þey ben y-now: þan lay hem in a dysshe, & pore þer-on vynegre & a lityl verious, & pouder pepir þer-on y-now, & gyngere, & canelle, & a fewe yolkys of hard eyroun y-kremyd þer-on; & serue forth.

Take good beef of the rump, or mutton of the butts, and cut in the manner of steaks: Then take raw parsley, and onions small chopped, and yolks of eggs boiled hard, and marrow or sweet, and chop all this together small; then sprinkle thereon powdered ginger and saffron, and work (knead) them together with thine hands, and lay them on the steaks all abroad (spread across), and sprinkle with salt; then roll them up, and put them on a round spit, and roast them til they are done: then lat them in a dish, and pour thereon vinager and a little verjuice, and powder pepper thereon enough, and ginger, and cinnamon, and a few yolks of hard eggs creamed; and serve forth.

beef or mutton rump roast
butter (marrow, if you can get it - they were used interchangeably in
period so butter's authentic and might be the 'sweet' mentioned in the
yolks of hard-boiled eggs
white wine vinegar

For every pound of roast I find the following proportions to be y-now:
1/4 pound butter
4 egg yolks
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 small onion
1 tsp ginger, divided
1/8 tsp powdered saffron or 2 threads ground
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp verjuice
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
I don't measure the salt, I just sprinkle from the shaker

Soak a bunch of bamboo skewers or toothpicks in water for about an hour.

Cut the beef into 1/4 inch thick, palm-sized steaks. Combine parsley, onion, butter, half the ginger and half the egg yolks and mix together thoroughly with a fork or your hand. Lay a small walnut-sized piece of the mixture on each steak, sprinkle very lightly with salt, and roll the beef up around the filling, securing with a toothpick or threading onto bamboo skewers. Grill or broil a few minutes, turning once, until the meat is cooked. Place on serving platter and keep warm. Mix together vinegar, verjuice, pepper, cinnamon and other half of the ginger and egg yolks and mash together until well blended. Pour over beef rolls and serve.

Black Pepper Sauce
From The Viander de Taillevant Edited by Terence Skully, recipe 227
Crush ginger and charred bread and pepper, moisten with vinegar and verjuice, and boil.
Dark-toast 2 slices of whole wheat bread, crumble finely (food processor crumbs are great) and mix with 1/2 tsp. ground ginger. Stir into 1/4 vinegar and 2 Tbsp verjuice and then bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Serves 4

Cameline Sauce
From The Viander de Taillevant Edited by Terence Skully, recipe 155
To Make Cameline Sauce. Grind ginger, a great deal of cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, mace, and if you wish, long pepper; strain bread that has been moistened in vinegar, strain everything together and salt as necessary.
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground grains of paradise
1/4 tsp mace
1/8 tsp long pepper (optional)
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar

Soak bread in vinegar and then work with a fork until the bread falls apart completely. Mix in spices then press through a coarse strainer or food mill, or mix in food processor until smooth. Salt to taste.

Roast Onions
From Libro della cucina del secolo XIV
Take onions, cook them under the coals and then peel them, and slice them crosswise very long and very thin: add a fair amount of vinegar, salt, oil and spices, and serve.
Probably strong spices. I'd suggest a blend of three or more of pepper, long pepper, grains of paradise, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. I first saw this as a kind of warm salad, so the spices and liquid should augment but not drown the onions. Red wine vinegar should make it superb.

Apple Fritters English - 1381
From Seven Centuries of English Cooking Compiled and updated by Maxime de la Falaise, Grove Press, London, 1992.
For to make fritters: Nym flour and eyerin and grind pepper and saffron and make thereto a batter & pare apples and cut them to broad pieces and cast them therein and fry them in the batter with fresh grease and serve it forth.
Nym = take
eyerin = Eyeren = eggs

Apple fritters for lent

From Translation of Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.)
by Anonimo Veneziano, translated 2002 CE by Helewyse de Birkestad
Take the apples and peel them, then cut in the way of the host (thin slices) and make a batter of flour with saffron and add strained eggs, and put these apples in this batter; then fry with oil enough for it, powder sugar when they are cooked, etc.
For each apple you need 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp pepper (for English version), 1/4 tsp saffron (or 3 threads), and perhaps a bit of water to thin the batter. Beat eggs then mix in spices and flour. Let sit while you prep the apples so the saffron steeps into the mix. Pare, core and slice apples 1/4" thick. Dip each slice into batter and fry in 350 degree oil at least 1/2" deep. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for Italian version.

Magnificent fritters of the Emperor
From Translation of Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.)
by Anonimo Veneziano, translated 2002 CE by Helewyse de Birkestad
If you want to make fritters of the emperor, take the white of the egg and slices of fresh cheese, and beat with the white of the egg, and put a little flour and peeled pine nuts. Take the frying pan with enough grease, make it boil and make the fritter. When they are cooked, powder well with sugar and hold (serve) them hot, etc..
Options for the cheese include raveggiolo or tomino, in a pinch ricotta.

3 egg whites
1 cup soft cheese (9 ounces in weight before grating if solid)
1-1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons flour, sifted
oil for frying
sugar for dusting (superfine or powdered)

Beat the egg whites until stiff and foamy then fold in cheese, flour and pine nuts. Heat oil to about 350 degrees, drop batter in by tablespoonsful. When finished they'll float. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar.

A few general notes:

350 degrees of hot oil is good enough to brown a drop of batter before you count to six, but after you count to three using heartbeat speed. If you'd fry an egg in it, it's hot enough. Always watch frying things closely. The difference between done and charcoal is minuscule. Beware of spatters, slide heavy things in instead of dropping them, use a pot lid as a shield if you must drop, keep cold water or ice (nothing else!) at hand for burns.

Forks are best for mixing as you can control how the batter moves.

Pine nuts are available in the baking section with other nuts and in bulk in most stores with a bulk section.

Use wine vinegar, it's authentic.

Grains of paradise are available in some specialty shops as well as online. So is long pepper. In Portland, Oregon, Limbo on SE 39th Ave. carries grains of paradise and might carry long pepper as well.

Saffron comes ground or in threads. To use threads let soak in a bit of water of vinegar for a few minutes to release the color and flavor then beat into liquid and add to recipe. Powder can be added straight in but works well if also steeped before mixing into other ingredients. Threads are best; when I need ground I get out the mortar.

Verjuice is available in middle eastern groceries. In Beaverton, Oregon, Rose Market at the corner of SW Hall and Murray carries it. In a pinch substitute the tartest lemon juice you can get your hands on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cold Weather Dishes - ROTW 8

Originally posted 6 October, 2007

The weather has turned, today was gloriously cool and gray and damp, and I am inspired. Autumn is my favorite time of year; I feel more alive when the sun diffuses through the clouds and there's moisture in the air than any other time. Weather reports tout sunny days, I groan and go back to sleep. I hear rain, smell damp grass, catch a bracing but not too cold breeze and I'm outside, sometimes just standing there with my head back, enjoying it.
Then I come in wet, chilled, and hungry. :)

Payn Purdew
From: Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)
Payn pur-dew. Take fayre yolks of Eyroun, & trye hem fro the whyte, & draw hem throw a straynoure, & take Salt and caste ther-to; than take fayre brede, & kytte it as trounde rounde; than take fayre Boter that is claryfiyd, or ellys fayre Freysshe grece, & putte it on a potte, & make it hote; than take & wete wyl thin trounde in the olkys, & putte hem in the panne, an so frye hem vppe; but ware of cleuyng to the panne; & whan it is fryid, ley hem on a dysshe, & ley Sugre y-nowe ther-on, & thanne serue it forth.
Take fair yolks of eggs and separate them from the white and draw them through a strainer, and take salt and cast thereto; then take fair bread and cut it as a round slice; then take fair butter that is clarified or else fair fresh grease and put it in a pot and make it hot; then take and wet well the slices in the yolks and put them in the pan and so fry them up; but be careful of cleaving (sticking) to the pan, and when it is fried lay them on a dish and lay sugar enough thereon and then serve it forth.

This one's fun. I once had my entire collection of campmates shielding me from view lest someone want a herald while I was cooking them all payn purdew for breakfast.

Three egg yolks do two slices of slightly stale bread. Or if you use a biscuit cutter and get two rounds per slice, three yolks do four rounds. Beat the yolks up well and toss in a pinch of salt. Melt butter in a heavy skillet, being careful not to brown it. Dip the bread in the egg yolks like you do for french toast (plop in on one side, flip, make sure both sides are wetted) and then lay them in the pan. You can tip the slices up and check for brownness several times without harming the finished product. Keep extra butter nearby to replenish what's in the skillet, as the bread will soak up some of it. Serve with powdered sugar.

Beef y-Stywyd
From Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)
Take fayre beef of the rybbys of the fore quarterys, an smyte in fayre pecys, an wasche the beef in-to a fayre potte; than take the water that the beef was sothin yn, an strayne it thorw a straynowr, an sethe the same water and beef in a potte, an let hem boyle to-gederys; than take canel, clowes, maces, graynys of parise, quibibes, and oynons y-mynced, perceli, an sawge, an caste ther-to, an let hem boyle to-gederys; an than take a lof of brede, an stepe it with brothe an venegre, an than draw it thorw a straynoure, and let it be stylle; an whan it is nere y-now, caste the lycour ther-to, but nowt to moche, an than let boyle onys, an cast safroun ther-to a quantyte; than take salt an venegre, and cast ther-to, an loke that it be poynaunt y-now, and serue forth.
Take good beef of the ribs or forequarters and smite in good pieces and wash (put water over) the beef into a clean pot; then take the water that the beef was boiled in and strain it through a strainer and cook the same water and beef in a pot and let them boil together; then take cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs and minced onions, parsley and sage, and cast thereto and let them boil together, and then take a loaf of bread and steep it with broth and vinegar and then draw it through a strainer and let it be still, and when it is nearly done cast the liquor thereto, but not too much, and then let it boil once and cast saffron thereto a quantity (decent amount); then take salt and vinegar and cast thereto, and look that it be poignant enough and serve forth.
I've not made this recently, nor nearly often enough. Here's a ballpark of how I've done it - feel free to play with proportions to suit your tastes.

2 pounds beef shoulder steak or roast
plenty of water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp cubebs
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I like parsley, you might wish less)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp dried ground sage
6 slices whole wheat bread
3 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
1/4 tsp saffron (or two generous pinches)
salt to taste

Cube the beef, put in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Let cool until it stops boiling and then skim to remove whatever's on top of the water. Add spices, onions and herbs and bring to a second boil, reduce heat and simmer. Shred the bread and soak it in the vinegar and broth until it falls apart (if more liquid is needed, dip it from the beef). Run it through a strainer and add to the simmering beef. Drop in saffron and bring the mixture to a slow boil for a couple of minutes, stirring once or twice until it thickens. Salt to taste.

This is superb with fresh-baked breadsticks, rolls, whatever. The vinegar is odd to modern tastes at first, but it really adds something. I served it with breadsticks and my husband ended up dipping them because the bread-thickened broth sticks to them nicely. You can also do this is the crock pot. Rinse the beef cubes, drain, put in crock pot with barely enough water to cover them and the spices. Cook for 4 hours then stir in onion and parsley and saffron and cook another 2. Soak the bread in broth and wine and heat in a separate saucepan, stirring until thickened. Mix into the beef and serve.

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books
Take faire Cabochis, pike hem and wassh hem, and parboyle hem; then presse oute the water on a faire borde, choppe hem, and cast hem in a faire potte with goode fressh broth and with Mary-bones, And lette hem boyle; then take faire grate brede, and cast there-to, saferon, salt, and lete boyle ynogh, And then serue hit forth.
Take good cabbages, pick them and wash them and parboil them, then press out the water on a clean board, chop them and cast them in a clean pot with good fresh broth and with marrow bones. And let them boil; then take good grated bread and cast thereto, saffron, salt, and let boil enough. And then serve it forth.
I have one from Das Buch von Guter Spise I prefer, but this one's good as well.

The dense-packed cabbages we use for cole slaw seem unlikely for this recipe, though I've seen green ones in late period art. For this, I like savoy cabbage. For each cabbage you'll need about three cups of broth and one marrow bone (most grocery stores have them, if not in the cooler, ask), a quarter to half teaspoon of saffron (here it's for flavor more than color), and a couple of slices of dried bread made into crumbs.

Pick off the outer leaves, wash the cabbages, and drop into boiling water for half a minute. Take them out and drain them, discard the water. Chop the cabbage into manageable sized pieces and put into the pot with the broth. Sink the marrow bone(s) into the liquid and bring to a leisurely boil over medium high heat. When the liquid's rolling well, add the saffron and bread crumbs, stir it up well, then salt to taste. Turn off the heat and let the liquid go still, fish out the bone(s), and serve.

My husband thinks this is excellent alongside "anything with cheese in it".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Recipe of the Week 2: Chireseye - cherry pudding

Originally posted 12 August, 2007.

We've missed the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, which was June 24th, but cherries are still in season, therefore...

From Form of Curye by Samuel Pegge, reprinting recipes from a c1390
manuscript (my copy was downloaded from Project Gutenberg it can also be found online on cooking sites such as Medieval Cookery.
Tak Chiryes at the Fest of Seitynt John the Baptist and do away the stonys grynd hem in a morter and after frot hem wel in a seve so that the Jus be wel comyn owt and do than in a pot and do ther'in feyr gres or Boter and bred of wastrel ymyid [1] and of sugur a god party and a porcioun of wyn and wan it is wel ysodyn and ydressyd in Dyschis stik ther'in clowis of Gilofr' and strew ther'on sugur.
Take cherries at the Feast of Saint John the Baptist and do away the stones grind them in a mortar and after press then well in a sieve so that the juice be well coming out and put then in a pot and put therein fair grease or butter and bread of wastrel crumbled and of sugar a good part and a portion of wine and when it is well sodden and dressed in dishes stick therein cloves of gillyflowers and strew thereon sugar.
I decided to take the two unclear words to the online Middle English Dictionary and came up with the following results using Search the MED entries ---> Boolean search. This is what I returned:

ymyid -
(a) To crumble (bread, etc.), grate; ppl. mied, grated, crumbled; (b) of teeth: to grind, gnash; ?crumble, disintegrate.

So bread crumbs, as found in many current translations, seems correct.

Gilofr' - led me to the following, the header spelling having a hacek over the initial g -
gilofre (n.) Also gelofer, -fre, -fure, golofer, -fre & geriful, geraflour, joroffle. [OF girofle, gerofle, gilofre, girofre; ult. Gr.]
(a) The spice cloves; also, a clove; ~ clove, clove (of) ~ [see clove
n. (2)]; (b) a clove-scented plant; e.g., the gillyflower or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus) or the wood avens (Geum urbanum).

So cloves, as in the spice, seems incorrect and the gillyflower blossoms or clove pink blossoms is apparently more correct, which also makes sense when you think of the number of dishes of the time traditionally garnished with flowers.
Note that 'wastrel bread' is not the finest payndemayne white bread, but a less pure bread which might be similar to a mixed-grain or at least whole wheat bread. I have a favorite multigrain bread without that I get at the local Franz thrift store (usually off the freebie rack) which is my answer to wastrel that I used in this recipe though it has some non-period ingredients. Lady Eulalia de Ravenfeld in her gingerbread for Dragon's Mist A&S Defendership used a sourdough that gave the perfect feel of that type of bread, judged by my imperfect palate and knowledge of descriptions of period breads, that I highly recommend trying for this recipe.

Here's how I made this cherry bread pudding:

•2 pounds pitted cherries, washed and drained
•3" of Poulsbo bread (4 slices minus the entire crust I peeled off one slice and ate impetuously), reduced to crumbs in my stone mortar - I guess you could also use a food processor... :)
•2 tablespoons or so of butter (I started with one tablespoon then added when it seemed not enough and believe it was a full 2 tablespoons by the time I thought it be enow)
•1/2 cup of sugar (the recipe calls for lots of sugar, you might like less)
•3/4 cup wine, preferably sweet, color doesn't matter, I used red chablis OR unsweetened grape juice (if sweetened, halve the sugar, at least)
•more sugar for sprinkling - 1 to 2 tablespoons
•gillyflowers, washed and trimmed to 1" stem (sadly, I had none but checked, they're not toxic)

Mash the cherries to pulp. I used my trusty mortar again, then a strainer, but a blender or food processor will do the job. If no blender, my grandmother taught me to put the fruit between layers of cheesecloth and press hard with a rolling pin then put in a strainer and grind them through with a pestle or big wooden spoon, making sure you save the juice from the initial pressing as well. This is how we made grape and cherry jelly when I was a child.

Put the pulp into a heavy pot and smash the butter in with your handy spoon (you really want wood, it'll help you later), then mix in the bread crumbs and sugar and wine or juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch it, when the boil starts it'll spit some, so keeping the spoon around to stir occasionally as it heats is a good idea.

Take the temperature back down and simmer for awhile, stirring occasionally and gauging the consistency. When it thickens enough that it looks creamy and seriously clings to the spoon (anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how much liquid you used, coarseness of the bread, and the relative humidity in the kitchen) it's time to portion. I like putting it into individual dessert dishes in little mounds but it can go into a large serving dish as well. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

If serving immediately, garnish immediately. If not, refrigerate for at least half an hour before sticking the flowers into it or they'll end up wilting. The pudding plus flowers will survive in the fridge for about 24 hours (I had cornflowers to test the 'how do the flowers fare with this?' factor - the blue on red was gorgeous).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cooking Over Fire in the Rain

We're in the Pacific Northwet, so the idea of an SCA event on a day which began with driving rain daunted us not. Loading up fire pits, wood, pots, pans, ingredients and selves (and boots - were were going to a horse farm) we descended on the site and set up a couple of pop-up shelters out behind the barn for some respite from the rain. Naturally, though, the fire had to be in the open. I got both fire pits going, even though the rain drenched the newspaper I'd planned to use before I could light it. Paraffin fire starters were a blessing.

Over the shallow fire pit was seared lamb for one lady's lunch and then the rest of the lamb and a bunch of herbs and vegetables went into a pot for a thoroughly modern, but very tasty, stew. A couple of quinces also got speared and cooked over that fire. I took over the deeper, hanging fire pit with a Norwegian wafer iron and a 16th century recipe. Since one of the ladies had brought quince paste, I chose to make soft, crepe-style wafers rather than attempt anything crispy in the damp.

The precipitation thankfully let up while I was doing the actual wafer making. I was already soaked, though, so the main benefactor of the break was the consistency of my wafers. I love rose water, I love the taste, the smell, and I thoroughly love the scent of rose water enhanced wafers cooking over a fire pit. I chose one of Peter Brears' recipes because it was my very first time with the iron, making pastry over fire, and a late-period recipe so I wanted something I could trust. I trust Brears to have extensive hands-on experience with his recipes and to describe the outcome in detail. I wasn't disappointed.

I chose the recipe from Banquetting Stuffe:
2 egg yolks
1/8 pint cream
1/8 pint rosewater
1/8 pint water
8 oz. flour
Slowly beat the flour into the liquids, adding sufficient extra water to produce a creamy mixture.

I also added two or three tablespoons of sugar and about a teaspoon and a half of nutmeg.

Things to remember: Keep the iron hot and well-greased. I used spray stuff because I didn't want to risk my fingers buttering the iron between wafers. Keep the iron hot. I did this by resting it on the fire while stacking the cooked wafers. If you want them soft, keep them cool; if hard, put them near the fire and let them dry thoroughly. They're good warm when soft, not so good when cool. Next time I'll dry them, or get a tortilla warmer. I like rose water, so I used only about a tablespoon of plain water. We're also Americans, so 'cream' is a choice of whipping or half and half. I used the latter. They tasted lovely.

I highly recommend people try something like this new and different at events. Cook over fire, do it in the rain, field-test a recipe you've never tried before. It's a lot of fun and you attract people.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not Period - Beer Bread

I'm putting this here because someone's bound to ask me for the recipe and it's not appropriate for my medieval cooking mailing list.
Two sets of measurements here. Depends on what size bottle you have.

Beer Bread
4.5"x8.5" pan                       5"x9" pan
3 cups all-purpose flour 4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder 4 tsp. baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar 4 Tbsp. sugar
1 12 ounce bottle of beer or ale 1 pint beer or ale
3 tablespoons butter, melted 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
Sift or mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the beer and mix into a batter. Put into very well-greased loaf pan and pour the butter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in pan then turn out and finish cooling on rack. This is too dry to successfully cut while warm, but it's so good it's worth the crumbles.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Recipes of the Midweek

Another installment in the Recipes of the Week series, originally posted to the Dragon's Mist Cooks list on August 13, 2007.

Tourteletes in fryture (fig pastries)
Original text from: Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.
Take figus & grynde hem smal; do þerin saffron & powdur fort. Close hem in foyles of dowe, & frye hem in oyle. Claryfye hony & flamme hem þerwyt; ete hem hote or colde.
The following is my own version.

1/2 cup warm water
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron
1-1/2 cup flour
OR: pre-made won ton or potsticker wrappers

8 small dried figs
pinch saffron
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
scant 1/8 tsp ground cloves

1-1/2 cups honey
oil for frying

If making the pastry, mix together water, oil, salt and saffron then stir in flour a bit at a time. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 1/2 hour. Roll out dough to the thickness of a dime, cut into circles with a biscuit cutter.
Else use round won ton wrappers, which work extremely well.

Chop the figs thoroughly or use a food processor, you want them to be paste. Mix in the saffron and other spices well. Put a spoonful of paste on a dough circle and either fold over and seal, or place another circle atop and seal well.
Fry until brown in enough oil to float the tarts (deep-frying works fine). Bring the honey to a soft boil and skim off the scum. Brush hot honey over warm tarts. May be served hot or cold. Makes about 2 dozen.

Frytour blaunched
This recipe is a conundrum. My copy of Form of Cury (the online one) has a different wording than the one from Curye on Inglish. The original omits spices, the Cury on Inglish includes them. Here are both versions:

Facsimilie manuscript:
Take Almandes blaunched and grynde hem al to doust, do þise in a thynne foile. close it þerinnne fast. and fry it in Oile. clarifie hony with Wyne. & bake it þerwith.

Hieatt & Butler's version:
Frytour blaunched. Take almaundes blaunched, and grynde hem al to doust withouten eny lycour. Do þerto poudour of gyngeuer, sugur, and salt; do þise in a thynne foile. Close it þerinne fast, and frye it in oile; clarifie hony with wyne, & bake it þerwith.

My recreation:
1/2 cup warm water
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron
1-1/2 cup flour
OR: premade won ton or potsticker wrappers

1 cup almonds, blanched and ground
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup honey
1/2 cup good, slightly sweet red wine

oil for frying

If making the pastry, mix together water, oil, salt and saffron then stir in flour a bit at a time. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 1/2 hour. Roll out dough to the thickness of a dime, cut into circles with a biscuit cutter.
Or else use round won ton wrappers, which work extremely well.

Mix almonds and spices together. Put a spoonful of mixture on a dough circle and either fold over and seal, or place another circle atop and seal well. Fry until brown in enough oil to float the tarts (deep-frying works fine).
Bring the honey to a soft boil and skim off the scum. Stir in enough wine to make a sauce (you might not use it all). Thoroughly coat tarts with sauce (I like to dip them), and arrange on a baking sheet on parchment. Bake at 325 degrees for 5-7 minutes, serve warm.

Can't you just imagine the fig tarts in your cooler for events, or picnics, or soccer games? Who needs Hostess pies?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pears in Syrup

It's cooling down out there and I have the urge to make things which take awhile to cook and make the house smell good. My husband always looks at me a bit oddly when I suggest buying air fresheners. He explained why once, "The house should smell like cooking." Truly one of the most flattering things he's ever said to me.
The pears this year are truly awesome. If you can get to a farmer's market, I suggest you do so. The late-season pears are worth the trip. Even the ones in the grocery store are looking good, smelling good, tasting good...
And on that note, I present Pears in Syrup from three different recipes. Two are intended to se served from kitchen to table. The third is a preservative method which Peter Brears has reconfigured to make into a servable dessert. With the other pears in wine and colored pears recipes one finds throughout period, it's a logical progression.

Source: Curye on Inglish, Constance B. Hieatt & Sharon Butler (eds.)
Take peeres and pare hem clene. take gode rede wyne & mulberes oþer saundres and seeþ þe peeres þerin & whan þei buth ysode, take hem up, make a syryp of wyne greke. oþer vernage with blaunche powdour oþer white sugur and powdour gyngur & do the peres þerin. seeþ it a lytel & messe it forth.
What I've discovered of Greek wines, in period and currently, is that they tend toward dry and spicy, particularly the reds. I have saunders, but the idea of coloring with berries appealed to me so I mixed in both saunders and blackberries. I cooked two whole pears (slightly overcooked, actually) and ballparked the proportions. Using a small glass saucepan I laid the peeled (I left the stems on) pears on their sides and covered them with red wine, a handful of berries I'd smooshed up well, and about a teaspoon of saunders. When I could sink a fork into them easily I removed them and drained off the wine/berries/saunders. I didn't bother to rinse the pan and put in something between half and two thirds of a cup of ... ummm ... sweet vermouth (I had it on hand and am no wine connoisseur), about two tablespoons of sugar, and about a scant teaspoon of ginger. That I boiled until it reduced by about a third then turned the heat off. When it stopped moving I rolled the cooked pears in it (lost bits, since I'd overcooked them in the first place), took them out, stood them up in dishes, and poured the syrup over the top. They disappeared forthwith.

Wardonys in syryp
From: 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.
Source: Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books by Thomas Austin.
Take wardonys, an caste on a potte, and boyle hem till þey ben tender; þan take hem vp and pare hem, an kytte hem in to pecys; take y-now of powder of canel, a good quantyte, an caste it on red wyne, an draw it þorw a straynour; caste sugre þer-to, an put it [in] an erþen pot, an let it boyle: an þanne caste þe perys þer-to, an let boyle to-gederys, an whan þey haue boyle a whyle, take pouder of gyngere an caste þer-to, an a lytil venegre, an a lytil safron; an loke þat it be poynaunt an dowcet.
I have not cooked this recipe yet. I wish we could get wardons because I always feel whatever I'm using is way too soft for the described cooking methods.
While the recipe says to pare and cut the cooked pears, that might be more of an adventure in cooking than most of us really want to have. Perhaps it's just easier to so treat the raw pears.
A suggestion of proportions I've found looks to be workable:
3 pears
2 cups red wine
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. ginger
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
pinch of saffron

What I have done is make a cinnamon/ginger/wine/sugar/vinegar sauce for canned pear halves. I use a quarter cup of wine per pear half and season to taste, drop the halves in so they lay flat in the liquid, put in the fridge, turn over every so often until they take up the color, then serve. I suggest this as a nice way to dress up pears, but really, you (and I!) should try the authentic thing while the pears are still in the stores.

Pears in Syrup
From: The good huswifes Jewell, part 2 by Thomas Dawson, 1596
Source: Tudor Cookery by Peter Brears
To conserve wardens all the yeere in sirrop: Take your wardens and put them into a great Earthen pot, and cover them close, set them in an Oven when you have set in your white bread, & when you have drawne your white bread, and your pot, & that they be so colde as you may handle them, then pill the thin skinne from them over a pewter dish, that you may save all the sirrope that falleth from them: put to them a quarte of the same sirrope, and a pinte of Rosewater, and boile them together with a fewe Cloves and Sinnamon, and when it is reasonable thick and cold, put your wardens and Sirrope into a Galley pot and see alwaies that the Syrrop bee above the Wardens, or any other thing that you conserve.
Brears' reconstruction:
3 pounds pears
1-1/2 pint water
8 oz. sugar
1/4 pint rosewater
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon

Place the pears in a casserole and bake at 350 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours until soft to the touch. Cool, then peel. Simmer any liquor which runs from them with a syrup made from the remaining ingredients, add the pears, and simmer for a few minutes before cooling.

Tec notes:
To make the syrup bring the pear syrup, water, sugar, rosewater and spices to just barely a boil then simmer and stir until the spices color it and it thickens a bit. When it's a real syrup, add the pears and cook until nicely colored. Your kitchen will smell fabulous for days.
Brears has a picture of his version of this recipe in Tudor Cookery where he's stood the pear up in a small dessert bowl and surrounded it with alternating red and black berries. It's really gorgeous.

I'd love to hear about how others have interpreted and served these recipes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Missing Recipe

I missed a recipe from the farmer's market demo. Apologies to Fionna.

To make fine bread
From: The Good Huswifes Jewel, Thomas Dawson, 1596
Take halfe a pound of fine suger well beaten, and as much Flower, and put thereto foure Egges whites, and being very well beaten, you must mingle them with anniseedes bruised, and beeing all beaten togither, put into your moulde, melting the sauce over first with a lyttle butter, and set it in the Oven, and turne it twice or thrice in the baking.
This is another done with the sort of skill acquired from cooking from period recipes. All I can add is that your oven should be at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and you can translate what you know of making quick breads into this process.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Farmer's Market Demo

Yesterday we did a cooking demo at the Beaverton Farmer's Market in Beaverton, Oregon. I was assisted by the Honorable Lady Eulalia de Ravenfeld and her family, who had fire and roasted things, Lady Havoise de Rohan who sent Shrewsbury Cakes, and Lady Fionnabhair who sent sweet bread and Marmalat of Peaches.
Eulalia has a webpage with links to her research, cooking, and other things. She's been specializing in sweets and her marchpane is to die for.
Here I present the recipes which were used for the demo. I served the sauces with roasted beef for dipping, a modern form (cubes on toothpicks) of a perfectly period method (slices held in fingers and dipped into communal bowls).

To Make Marmelet of Peaches
From: The Good Huswifes Jewel, Thomas Dawson, 1596

Original Recipe:
Take your peaches and pare them and cut them from the stones, and mince them very finely. Steep them in rose water, then strain them with rose water through a coarse cloth or strainer, into your pan that you will seethe it in. You must have to every pound of peaches half a pound of sugar, finely beaten, and put it in your pan that you do boil it in. You must reserve a good quantity to mould your cakes or prints withal that of sugar. Set your pan on the fire and stir it till it be thick or stiff, that your stick will stand upright in it of itself.
We have no modern version of this. Lady Fionnabhair inghean Donnchaidh Guthrie, who made it for the demo, presumably worked from the original, as do I frequently. You just get comfortable cooking like that. Lady Fionnabhair presented it as a 'wet sucket', meaning in a spreadable form rather than freestanding and molded or cut into cubes. Marmalades began as sliceable treats and were served in that form before becoming spreadable near the end of Elizabeth I's reign.

Shrewsbury Cakes
From: John Murrell, A Delightfull Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1621

Original Recipe:
Take a quart of very fine flower, eight ounces of fine sugar beaten and sersed, twelve ounces of sweete butter, a Nutmegge grated, two or three spoonefuls of damaske rose-water, worke all these together with your hands as hard as you can for the space of halfe an houre, then roule it in little round Cakes, about the thicknesse of three shillings one upon another, then take a silver Cup or glasse some foure or three inches over, and cut the cakes in them, then strowe some flower upon white papers & lay them upon them, and bake them in an Oven as hot as for Manchet, set up your lid till you may tell a hundreth, then you shall see them white, if any of them rise up clap them downe with some cleane thing, and if your Oven be not too hot set up your lid again, and in a quarter of an houre they will be baked enough, but in any case take heede your Oven be not too hot, for they must not looke browne but white, and so draw them foorth & lay them one upon another till they be could, and you may keep them halfe a yeare, the new baked are best.
Modern version:
¼ C sugar
½ C butter
1 C flour
1½ tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp. rosewater
Cream the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Sift the flour with the nutmeg. Add the rose water to the sugar-butter mixture and stir in the dry ingredients only until just blended; then chill the dough, for ten minutes. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat the dough into a ball, then roll it out gently to 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out the cakes with a two- or three-inch round cookie cutter. Place them on an unbuttered cookie sheet and inch apart and bake at 350 degrees until slightly brown around the edges—from 12 - 15 minutes. Cool on a wire grille and store in an airtight tin.

Roast Onions
From: Libro della cucina del secolo XIV

Original recipe:
Take onions, cook them under the coals and then peel them, and slice them crosswise very long and very thin: add a fair amount of vinegar, salt, oil and spices, and serve.
Modern version:
2-3 medium sized onions, sweet or red
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
Peel the papery outer skin off the onions, place in a 350 degree oven directly on the bottom rack and roast for an hour to 90 minutes until soft to the touch. You may wrap them in foil to keep the juices in. Blend vinegar, oil and spices and let sit at room temperature while the onions cook to thoroughly blend flavors. Cool slightly, peel, and slice thin. Arrange on a large serving plate. Drizzle with spiced vinegar-oil blend and serve. Serves 4.

Black Pepper Sauce
From: The Viander de Taillevant, Edited by Terence Skully, recipe 227

Original Recipe:
Crush ginger and charred bread and pepper, moisten with vinegar and verjuice, and boil.
Modern version:
Dark-toast 2 slices of whole wheat bread, crumble finely (food processor crumbs are great) and mix with 1/2 tsp. ground ginger. Stir into 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 2 Tbsp verjuice and then bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.

Tournai-style Cameline Sauce
From: Le Menagier de Paris

Original version:
Note that at Tournai to make cameline they bray ginger, cinnamon and saffron and half a nutmeg moistened with wine, then take it out of the mortar, then have white breadcrumbs, not toasted but moistened them with wine strain them, then boil all together and put brown sugar last of all and that is winter cameline. And in summer they do the same, but it is not boiled.

Modern version:
1 slice whole wheat white bread
2 cups good wine (I use whatever I have, red or white)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground saffron
4-6 tsp. raw or turbinado sugar
Let the bread soak in the wine until it falls apart and then blend in the spices. Bring to a boil and stir in the sugar. It'll be sweet, so you might wish to add the sugar in increments and taste. I called my version 'medieval barbecue sauce' and it went over very well indeed.

From: Du fait de cuisine, by Master Chiquart

Original recipe:
A jance: and to give understanding to him who will make the said jance let him take a great quantity of fair and good fine white bread according to what he wants to make and make it into crumbs well and properly on a fair cloth; then let him take a fair, clear, and clean pot and pour in fat broth of beef and mutton, and let him check that it is not too salty; and then let him take eggs and mix them with the said bread and then put this gently into the said broth while stirring constantly with a fair wooden spoon; and also let him put in his spices, that is white ginger, grains of paradise, and a little pepper, and saffron to give it color, and let him flavor it with verjuice; and let him put all this to boil together and then dress it for serving.
Modern version:
2 cups rich beef broth, unsalted if possible
3 slices whole wheat bread, made into crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp grains of paradise
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground saffron
4 tablespoons verjuice
Put broth in heavy cooking pot. Beat egg, mix with bread crumbs, then stir into broth. Stir in spices and verjuice. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. This is alchemy, you can watch it change states as it cooks. This recipe makes a great deal of sauce, so you might wish to halve it, but it goes over well so perhaps not. As it cools it might form a skin, so watch it and stir frequently.

White Garlic Sauce
From: Libro de arte coquinaria, by Maestro Martino

Original recipe:
White garlic sauce. Take carefully skinned almonds and pound them, and when they are pounded halfway, add as much garlic as you like, and pound them very well together, adding a little cool water to prevent them from becoming oily. Then take crumb of white bread and soften it in lean meat or fish broth depending on the calendar; this garlic sauce can be served and adapted at will for meat days and days of abstinence.
Modern version:
I was very tired. I dumped a double handful of blanched almonds into the food processor and then dropped in seven peeled cloves of garlic and maybe a quarter cup of cold tap water and processed until small bits. I'd been soaking three slices of whole wheat bread in four cups of beef broth and dumped that into the food processor and ran it until it looked good.
That's about a cup and a half of almonds.
In retrospect I'd maybe cut everything back by three-quarters (my intended quantity was 'about a quart', which is an awful lot) for general serving. I recommend half a cup of almonds, two good-sized garlic cloves, a cup of broth and a slice or so of bread, pre-crumbed. It was fine as I made it, though.

I also prepped a Yellow Sauce, but never put it out. It's in the freezer.