Espinacs; Spinach

Si vols fer espinacs sens agua, pren los espinacs e deneja’ls be, e puis llava’ls e fe’n dos o tres trossos. E hages una olla, e mit-hi una llossada d’oli, o’ segons que seran aquells a qui n’huaras a dar. E puis prem-los be e mit-los en l’olla, e mit-hui un poc de sal en guisa que no n’hi haja massa , entro que sien fusos; e estrijolats-los.

If you want to make spinach without water, take the spinach (leaves) and clean them well, and then wash them and make two or three pieces of them. Take a pot, and put in a large spoon of oil, or according to the number of those you will serve it to. Then squeeze them well and put them in the pot, and put in a little salt, but in a way so it is not too much, until they have melted, and cut them up.

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

Simple fried spinach. This recipe reminds us that not everything served in finer homes was elaborate or fanciful.
1 lb fresh spinach or chard
3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp salt

Rinse spinach, drain or spin well.
Tear larger leaves into small pieces.
Heat pot, place oil in pot.
Add the spinach and salt, be certain to stir to keep the bottom from burning.
Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 178-179. Print.

loaf of meat wrapped in cheesecloth, cut in half to show the filling, on a plate for service

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Du_Fait_de_Cuisine/Du_fait_de_Cuisine.html

Recipe 64

 

I read a recent chefs’ text book a few years ago that made me pretty unhappy. It was that old saw about “ate bad meat, used lots of spices.” Lemme tell ya, I have a lot more respect for Medieval cooks than I do for the author of that well regarded book.

It’s hard not to go on a tirade, but if you are unfamiliar with historical cooking, let me assure you that people had the same gastric systems we do, and things that would make us sick would have made them sick. No amount of spices could fix it. Frankly, no one was going to throw good, expensive spices on bad food.

That out of the way, we get to the Green Meat.

This is a form of meatloaf, which is intended to be rolled in caul fat, like a crepinette. It’s to be wrapped in the layer of fat, then spitted and grilled, while being painted with parsley juice to turn it green.

I tried for some time to find the caul fat, and wasn’t able to get it locally. I have a line on it now, but the shoulder of mutton wouldn’t wait a few weeks.

The original recipe is quite long. It’s a set of instructions for making a relatively small amount of meat into a large, festive dish for a crowd.

First, we refresh the meat, taking it from the salt it is preserved in and rehydrating it.

After poaching it, the meat is carefully removed from the bones, taking great care to avoid damaging the bone structure.

It’s minced, blended with the other ingredients, and reformed into a shoulder-shaped loaf on the same bones, then wrapped carefully with the caul fat and roasted.

While it is roasting, it’s to be endored, painted, with the juice of parsley, a popular food coloring.

Having no caul fat, I chose to wrap the meat in cheesecloth, though a terrine also crossed my mind. It was not optimal, but it did work, and we are excited to do it again once we have caul fat in stock.

The resulting dish is a rather elaborate meatloaf, which extends the dish, assures that the meat is of the same quality throughout the dish, and be humorally appropriate for the largest portion of diners.

In fact, at the end of the instructions, there are a few suggested dishes named for in case any diners might have an infirmity, to allow them to have better balanced humors in order to enjoy the shoulder of mutton as well.

The directions are very long. The results are Green Meat.

 

Shoulder and or leg of mutton, rinsed. If salted, then soaked for a time.

Simmer in salt water, then cooled.

Remove the meat completely from the bone, but do not separate the bones.

Mince brie (or Crampone) cheese, add parsley, marjoram, hyssop, and sage.

The spices are ginger, grains of paradise, and some whole cloves to embellish with.

Eggs, saffron, and caul fat, figure it would take four to do a full sized leg of mutton.

Small skewers or toothpicks to pin the cauls on.

Parsley, eggs, and flour for the coloring layer

And an admonition not to overcook the batter in such a way as to lose the green coloration.

I had no choice but to diverge from the recipe in a few undesirable ways.

Our mutton shoulder was poorly cut, so I decided not to build back onto it. The bone would have lent a lot of flavor and helped keep the meat moist, as well as giving the appearance of the original shape.

I used cheesecloth, rather than caul, in order to be able to do the dish at all. Because of this, I used parsley juice alone, rather than egg/wheat batter as a gilding. These choices strongly affect the texture of the dish.

I could not cook over an open fire on a spit, because the grill is under several layers of snow. The cheesecloth would have caught fire anyhow.

What I did was not optimal. Let’s call this a test run worth discussing, not a final.

I am posting it because it was so good, and so easily adapted to feast or picnic use, that it would be rude to keep it to myself for a moment longer.

We had a whole shoulder of mutton, but a couple of shanks would do quite well here for a more modest service, intended for a smaller number of people.

Chiquart Mutton (2) Chiquart Mutton (4) Chiquart Mutton (5) Chiquart Mutton (8) Chiquart Mutton (10) Chiquart Mutton (13)

*if using caul, look for notes after the recipe

1,5 LBS mutton, simmered in water or simple broth

4 oz brie cheese, chilled and minced.

2 raw eggs

2 oz parsley, picked and minced

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

1 tsp sage

1/2 tsp hyssop

3/4 tsp dried ginger

3/4 tsp grains of paradise

1 1/4 tsp salt

12-20 whole cloves

saffron

These instructions are for the simplified iteration using cheesecloth.

Mince the cooked mutton. I used knives, but a processor will do an admirable job.

Beat the eggs, add the saffron to them. Set aside for the moment.

Add the herbs and spices, but not the cloves. Fold together with the cheese. Blend in the eggs to make a homogeneous loaf, not too wet but well stuck together.

Prepare the cheesecloth by dipping it in the broth you  cooked the meat in.

Lay the meat on the cheesecloth, fold it into a tidy parcel.

Mince the rest of the parsley, put it in the blender if you have one. Use a tad of water to help it along. (I don’t have a blender. I used a mortar and pestle. Don’t do that.)

When the parsley is pretty liquid, paint it onto the cheesecloth. Wait a moment for it to saturate, and paint on the rest.

Place the cloves on the surface, piercing the fabric, and roast the loaf on a pan with sides at 350 for about an hour.

*If you are using caul, rinse the caul, stretch it out, and paint it with an egg or two, to help seal it and help it stick to the meat.

Make parsley juice as above.

Blend  two eggs with a quarter cup of flour, and fold in the parsley juice.

Fold the loaf into it, and pin it shut. Paint it with the flour, egg and parsley mixture,

pierce it with the cloves, and roast as above.

To do it properly, you will have closer to 6 pounds of meat, reformed on the bone, which will roast at 200* for 5 hours. The recipe multiplies up pretty well, but you will need more eggs, and several toothpicks to pin on the caul.

Green meat was really tasty. We were disappointed by how much cheese we lost to the cheesecloth, though not surprised.

 

 

Top; canned. Left, dried. Bottom right, dried and soaked.

73 Take chiches  wrye hem in askes al nyght other al a day, other lay hem in hoot aymers. At morowe waische hem clene in water, and do hem ouere the fire with clene water, Seeth them up  and do therto oyle, garlek hole safroun, poudour fort and salt, seeth it & messe it forth.

 

Take chickpeas and set them in ashes and embers all night or all day.

Wash them clean in water, seethe them up,

add whole garlic, oil, powder fort, and salt.

Simmer together and serve.

 

I had a few options for this, though not the one I was most interested in; I do not have fresh chickpeas.

I first split a bag of dried chickpeas, and soaked half overnight.

Then I roasted the soaked peas, the still dry from the bag ones, and a tray of canned peas.

I treated the three iterations the same, as I wanted to see what different results I got.

The ones which had been soaked then roasted wound up tasting a lot like soggy, cooked corn nuts.

Those which had not been presoaked were reminiscent of uncooked potatoes in texture, with a bit of the nutty notes from the soaked and roasted iteration.

The canned peas were just about halfway between the two.

TL; Canned. TR: Dried and soaked. Bottom, Dried, not soaked.

TL; Canned. TR: Dried and soaked. Bottom, Dried, not soaked.

If I can get fresh chickpeas, I might revisit this dish.

I used powdre fort which was a very kind gift from a friend. It was pleasant.

spices measured for the dish.

Working with what I did for the dried, unsoaked peas, here’s what we did;

 

1 bag chickpeas, picked over.

1/4 c olive oil

1 TBS garlic, whole or minced

1 tsp powdre fort

1 tsp salt

1 pinch saffron, to taste

Roast peas for a few hours at 250*. They won’t change color.

Simmer them in water for an hour. Add salt.

Continue simmering, add spices and saffron.

Keep an eye on the water level.

When you taste and find them fully cooked, add the olive oil

and raise the temperature on the pot slightly.

Cook off excess liquid. Stir til incorporated.

The flavor is quite nice. The texture is a bit potato-like.

 

finished dish in a terra cotta vessel

Stewet beef to potage. Take faire ribbes of beefs, or elles take other gode beef, and smyte hit on peces, and wash hit clene and do hit in a pot, and put therto a lytel watur, and a gode dele wyne; and take onyons ynogh, and mynce hom, and do therto, and gode herbes, cut hom smal and put therto; and take bred stepet in brothe, and draw hit thurgh a streynour, and do hit therto, and cover hit wel, and let hit wel sethe; and do therto pouder of cloves and maces, and colour hit with saunders ; and in the scttynge down do therto a lytel vynegur medelet wyth pouder of canel, and serve hit forthe, and do therto raisynges of corance.

Take fair ribs of beef, or else take other good beef, and smite it in pieces.
Wash it clean and put it in a pot.
Put in a little water, a good deal wine, and onions enough, and mince them,
and good herbs, cut small.

IMG_5169
And take bread steeped in broth, and draw it through a stainer, and add it, and cover it well and let it seethe.

pressing soaked bread cubed through a strainer to create a thickener
Add powder of cloves and maces, color it with sanders.
When serving, add a little vinegar blended with canela cinnamon and some currants.

2 lbs beef
1/2 c water
1/2 bottle wine
2 c onions, chopped
1 TBS marjoram (winter supply of herbs is limited, use what you have)
2 C coarse bread cubes, dried
1 C broth (I used chicken)
1/4 tsp whole cloves, crushed well
1/4 tsp blade mace, crushed well
1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp canela cinnamon, blended together
1 tsp currants per bowl

Rinse the beef, cube it if it is not already cubes, and place it in the pot.
Add the water, apply heat.
As it begins to simmer, add the wine, onions, and marjoram.
Put the lid on.

Place the bread cubes in the broth, allow them to soak it up.

After about an hour of gentle simmering, remove the lid.
Put the bread cubes into a strainer, put the strainer in the pot, and push the
bread through.
Add the spices and salt.
Replace the lid, allow the dish to continue to simmer on low until tender.
Be careful that the thickened sauce does not stick and burn.
Depending on the cut of beef, this could be brief or it could be a while.

At service, fold the vinegar and cinnamon through the dish, then dress each serving with the currants.

Being that the pot is to have a snug lid, the wine broth will not boil off. This means that in order to thicken, a rather larger quantity of bread was required to thicken
than might seem usual. Then again, the bread I had was pretty airy.
You can use less liquid than I did.
I used a barolo, because it is what we had.

We loved this dish.. until we added the vinegar. The fundamental issue is that we used an excellent wine, but the vinegar we used was not made from the same wine. There was a flavor clash. It is likely that most pantries of the time would often have wine and vinegar from the same source materials.

It calls for Sanders. I don’t use sanders.

There was another issue, which is the ropy nature of cinnamon and vinegar blended. I am not terribly fond of that texture.

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?ancie:39:BF

9 dumplings, about an inch in all directions, on a plate.

 

To mak hattes in flesche tyme:

To mak hattes in flesshe tyme mak a paiste of pured
flour, knodene with yolks of eggs and mak a stuf of
vele or pork sodene tender and ground with yolks of
eggs putther to mary diced and dates mynced smalle
and raissins of corrans with sugur saffron and salt and
pouder mellid to gedur in paiste and wound foilles of
the brod of a saucere as thyn as ye may dryf them and
dryf them that the bredes may cuver to the middes of
the foile then turn them to gedur that the bredes of
the inor sid met all about and lesse the bred and turn
upward without in the manner of an hatte and close
welle the eggs that they hold full ther in and luk the
stuf haue a good batter made with yolks of eggs and
flour of whet the open sid that is downward luk ther
in that the stuf be clossed and so set it in hot grece up
right and when the battur is fried lay them doun and
serve them.

To make hats in flesh time, make a paste of pure
flour, kneaded with yolks of eggs and make a stuffing
of veal or pork poached tender and ground with yolks of
eggs. Put thereto marrow diced and dates minced small,
and currants and sugar, saffron, and salt, and
powder melded together in paste and wound foils of
the breadth of a saucer and thin as you may draw them and
draw them that the breads may cover the mids of
the goil, then turn them together that the breads of
the inner side meet all about and lease the bread and turn
upward without in the manner of a hat, and close
well the eggs that they hold therein, and look therein
that the stuff be closed and so set it in hot grease up
right and when the batter is fried lay them down and
serve them.

To make hats in flesh time, make egg pasta.

Make a stuffing of veal or pork seethed tender,
with egg yolks, diced marrow, minced dates,
currants, sugar, saffron, salt and “powder” melded together.

all of the ingredients laid out, most of them measured in individual containers.

all in place

Put the stuffing in the dough following rather elaborate instructions which
lead to a dumpling shaped like a hat.

Hattes (14)Hattes (15)Hattes (16) Hattes (17)

 

Make a batter of yolks and flour. Dip the tops of the dumplings in the batter to
be certain the dumplings are all sealed.

Hattes (18)

Fry them til they are pretty and serve them.
I did not poach my meat, as it was preground.
I did not roast my marrow bones. If they smell in any way of ammonia, do not use them.
Whether the yolks are to be preboiled or not for this dish is a question. As most dishes from the basic cuisine do call for hard cooked yolks, I made the assumption. My preferred proportion is 1 yolk per ¼ lb of meat to be used. I find that more than that can be mealy, while less is not up to the task of keeping a dish moist while helping flavors interact.
We had quite a discussion on the nature of Powder. The book this is from has all kinds of powders, with it sometimes referring explicitly to salt, or saffron, or ginger, but sometimes with no signifiers.
I opted for pepper, as it figures regularly in the book as a companion to salt.

If you choose to freeze a part of the recipe, do so before battering, and reduce the batter quantity by the portion appropriate. Place the sealed dumplings on a sheet and freeze them solid, the move them to a bag for storage. They can be fried directly from frozen.

I placed the number that fit in my fryer at a time, which happens to be 8.

The batter destroyed my frying oil, It could not be saved for other dishes. We did not mind.

The Recipe;

2 packs of won ton wrappers (about 50 in the pack, contained egg and nothing weird)
1.5 lbs pork, veal, or as a modern sub, turkey, poached then ground, or simply ground.
6 hard boiled egg yolks, mashed well.
3 oz bone marrow, minced
¼ c currants
¼ c dates, minced
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp pepper
1 pinch saffron (you can skip it. We like it. We tasted it.)

For the batter;

For the batter, I used raw yolks. The word is spelled the same way, which was no clue, but I have seen many recipes for a modern whipped egg yolk batter which is quite pleasant, and impossible with cooked yolks.

6 raw yolks, whipped til they turn creamy and pale
add ½ c water, slowly, while continuing to whip.
Add ½ c cake flour or similar, slowly and gently. It will hold well for about a half hour.
Reserve the whites to glue the dumplings shut.

Frying oil, at least an inch deep, and all of the equipment needed for safe frying

For the dumplings;
Blend the entire list of ingredients til it is evenly distributed. Fry a tidbit and taste for seasonings, I am known for a very light hand with salt.

Place a half of an ounce (I used a disher) of meat in the center of each wrapper. Glue the four corners together, making a little pyramid. Seal the sides.
When they are all done,
dip the pointy tops in the batter.

Fry til they are a pale golden color. Drain on a towel, and serve.

 

In discussion, we agreed that a cameline would have been an excellent side, of course depending on the cameline.
This led to a lively debate on the nature of Poudre Lombard, at which point we retired.
To mak sauce camelyn for quaylle

To mak sauce camelyne for quaile, tak whyt bred
and drawe it in the sauce in the manner of guinger
sauce with venyger put ther to pouder of guinger
canelle and pouder-lombard a goodelle and ye may
draw alitille mustard ther with and sesson it up with
mustard that it be douce salt it and colour it with
saffron and serue it.

http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/napier.txt

IMG_5143

Beef is stunningly expensive, so it needs to go a long way when we get it. It is winter right now, a time when we long for slow braises which fill the air with the aromas of warmth and comfort.

There are only two of us, though, and while it is possible to make Stew For Two, it’s not so much fun. I also find it frustrating to have a mass quantity of something with a very strong flavor profile, as meals can get repetitive after a while.

This dish is quite simple. It’s easy to ignore for hours, it’s easy to use in many different ways.

It’s very mild, so it will match quite nicely with many options of sides, and the beef flavor will shine.

The wine you choose will be important here, as the goal is a brightness from the verjus. A new wine is appropriate, something with a bit of acid such as a “two buck” or taverna wine.

 

beef in a cryopac, and the ingredients for the dish measured and arrayed in dishes.

A rather large bounty of beef

25. Verjuice soup of chicken or whatever meat you wish.

BROUET DE VERJUS DE POULLAILLE OU DE TEL GRAIN COMME
VOUS VOULDREZ. Cuisiez en vin, en eaue et en verjuz tellement
que le goust du verjus passe tout l’autre, puis broyez
gingenbre et des moyeulx d’oeufz tous cruz grant foison,
et passez tout parmy l’estamine ensemble, et mettez boullir;
puis gectez sur vostre grain, quant il sera friolé, et mettez
du lart, au cuire, pour luy donner goust.

 

Cook in wine, water, and enough verjus that it tastes mostly of verjus. Add some pork fat to give flavor.

Crush ginger and bread, and moisten with egg yolk, and strain this through a cheesecloth.

Boil it and throw it onto your meat, when it is browned.

4 LBS of beef (or a whole lot less, it’s OK)

2 cups wine

1 cup water

1 cup verjus

4 oz pork fat, prosciutto rind, or other barding,

1 teaspoon dried ginger powder

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 raw egg yolks

Wash the beef and place it in a vessel of the size that seems best; close but with room for wine and some simmering space. Be sure the lid fits well.

beef tenderloin in a pot, curled up to fit.

Layer the fat over the meat, if you wish to use it.This fat is partly to protect the meat, partly to allow the richness to melt in. Higher collagen cuts will rely less on this, though they would still benefit. A layer of cheesecloth with olive oil would work for a very lean cut in which you prefer not to add pork.

Add the liquids and permit to simmer until the meat is fully cooked. I choose to simmer it til the meat falls apart, much like for Ropa Viejo

about to disintegrate, the meat has shrunk.

Remove the meat, allow the broth to cool slightly,

Blend the ginger with the breadcrumbs, and fold some broth into the bowl of breadcrumbs,

Allow them to soak up the broth for a time, then add them to the pot.

Separate your eggs, and either fold them cautiously into the pot of cooled broth, or temper the broth into the eggs, then

add them to the pot.

Simmer the broth with the egg yolks and bread crumbs til thick.

Meanwhile, in a pan, sautee your meat and allow it to brown. The instructions are pretty clear that the meat and broth should be separated before the broth is thickened.

Another choice is to allow the meat to settle in the pot and brown within the broth, but I find this lends a somewhat burnt taste. I believe this might have been a not-unknown  method, as there are several notes explaining how to remove the burnt taste from a brewet as required.

Serve the meat well sauteed, with the thick, seasoned sauce.

 

Please note; There are many translations of this dish which are written differently. There are other varietions of instruction in related books, some calling for more specific seasonings.

I disagree firmly with the instruction placed in one translation of this recipe to brown the meat before braising, as the entire mindset of Medieval cookery is counter to that method, for humoral reasons.

I will go more into depth on humours some other time.

 

Scully, T. (1995). The art of cookery in the Middle Ages (p. 223). Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press.

http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/vi-vat.htm

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/prescotj/data/viandier/viandier415.html#viandier18

a freshly baked pie in a pan. Covered in dried fruit in a geometric pattern, it is in a ceramic dish.

The Good Housewife’s Jewell

To make a veale pie.
Let your Veale boyle a good while, and
when it is boyled, mince it by it selfe,
and the white, by it selfe, and season it with
salt and pepper, cinamon and ginger, and
suger, and cloues and mace, and you muste
haue prunes and raisons, dates & currantes
on the top.

I used a prefab pie crust. There. I said it. I used a prefab, came in a box, frozen crust, leftover from my Mom’s thanksgiving baking, and I won’t do it again. It was a false expediency and unpleasant to work with.
That aside, the rest of the pie was pretty lovely.

We scored a nice ceramic pie pan from a clearance rack, and a breast of veal from a confused vendor, and the rest of the goods we had in stock. (I had the thought of tracking how long my staples last, but because we are feeding so few, I don’t think it would help anyone.)

The breast of veal went into a pot of water which seethed for about 30 minutes on low.
After the pink of it faded and it stopped looking raw around the bones, I allowed it to cool while I prepared the pie crust.
I opted not to blind-bake this crust, though I normally would. To blind bake, prepare a crust, place it in the pan, and bake til brown. Sometimes weights such as beans (cannot be reused for anything else) or specially made ceramic balls are needed to keep the shell from blistering or pulling away from the pan.

While this was happening, my dried fruits, which are very very dry, were soaking up some wine. I sliced the dates the long way to ensure they had no pits, as well.

I received a lovely new mortar and pestle, which made much shorter work of my whole spices than anything prior. The shape of the pestle is very aggressive. I actually achieved fully powdered whole cloves for the first time!

Then I began to prepare the meat. I boned the breast of veal as best I could, and rather than putting the meat into a grinder, I took two knives and whacked it methodically til it was fully minced. This process took about 10 minutes, mostly because I took my time and was very careful.

Unfortunately, my veal had very little fat. It’s so hard to get, and so expensive, that there was no way to source veal fat without some serious gymnastics.
I had to get some form of binder, carrier, and moistener into the dish without use of the fat which naturally would have come with a more appropriate cut, and chose egg whites. Therefore this recipe is a more distant adaptation.

1 breast of veal, about 2.5 lbs w bones
2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
3 leaves of mace
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

½ cup gewurtztraminer (or what is on hand)
6 prunes
6 dates
1TBS raisins
1 TBS currants

1 pie crust
Heat oven to 350*
Place dried fruit in wine. Set aside.
Roll the pie crust into the pan. Cover with a dampened linen towel or plastic wrap.

Place meat in poaching vessel, almost cover with water. Simmer, turning as needed, til it no longer shows evidence of having rawness.
Remove from heat, allow to cool. (return bones to liquid to make broth after boning meat out, for another dish)
When the meat is cool, mince it or grind it.

a ball of chopped meat in a bowl. It is about the size of a grapefruit. Being parcooked, it is an unappetising color.

parcooked meat, hand minced.

Measure spices, grind or crush if needed, place in a bowl.
Add the egg whites to the same bowl, and whip until the spices are evenly incorporated.

two bowls, one of fruit in wine, one of careful, measured piles of spices in a bowl.

dried fruit soaking, spices ground and measured

Fold the eggs into the meat until evenly incorporated.

Place the meat mixture into the pie crust, and decorate with the soaked dried fruits. Feel the fruits as you go for pits.

Bake at 350* until your meat thermometer gives a 140* reading.

We had this pie with the pear dish posted last week, which was a nice match. (Good Housewife’s Jewell has an iteration called To Preserve Wardens.)
It held overnight in the fridge very well, and reheated admirably.

two slices of pie on plates to be served, the remainder of the pie in the baking pan.

The pie was aromatic and lovely.

This is an excellent picnic dish.

IMG_5128

Peres in composte

To mak peres in composte tak a good quantite of
canelle and sugur and set it on the fyer to boile and
draw yt throughe a stren then lesk dates thyn and put
them ther to in a pot and boille wardens and pair
them and put them in the ceripe put ther to sanders
and boile them and alay them up with chardwins and
salt it and mak yt doucet and chargaunt and put it out
of the vesselle in to a treene vesselle and let it boille
then pare smalle raisins and tried guinger and temper
it ij dais or ij nyghtes with wyne then lay it in clarified
hony cold a day and nyght then tak the raisins out
of the hony and cast ther to peres in composte and
serue it furthe with a cold ceripe.

To make pears in compote, take a good quantity of canele cinnamon
and sugar, and set it on the fire to boil.
And draw it through a strainer, then lest (slice) dates thin and put
them thereto in a pot and boil wardens and pare them and put them
in the syrup put thereto sanders and boil them and lay them up with chardwins (cardoons? Noooo) and salt it and make it sweet and thick and put it out of the vessel into a green-wood
vessel and let it boil,(how, without lighting the wood vessel on fire? Hot rock?) then pare small raisins and prepared ginger and temper it for two days or
two nights with wine, then lay it in clarified honey cold a day and night then take the raisins out of the honey and add thereto the pears in compost and serve it forth with a cold syrup.

Ahh for convoluted instructions with embedded subrecipes!
This is for spiced, preserved pears in a heavy syrup. It can be canned months in
advance of need. It reminds me most of those red spiced apple rings that used to sometimes come with diner food, except good.

First, if you do not keep your ginger peeled in wine in the fridge or freezer, go peel some ginger, put it in wine, and toss it in the fridge. (I store ginger in the fridge very long term peeled in a small jar of vodka. This doesn’t have the same flavor, so I minced my preserved ginger and put it in the wine for a few hours.)

this picture includes dates. Please ignore the dates.

this picture includes dates. They were not included in the container pictured

Then shop for still-hard pears. Many pears, when ripe, will almost disintegrate, we are looking for some structure.

When the ginger has sat in wine for a couple of days, it is time to go.

The first time I made this dish, I poached my pears whole, then chopped them. This worked out pretty poorly, as not everything cooked evenly, and it wasn’t so pretty as it could be.

IMG_5122

Now I slice my pears into rounds, and use a small cutter to remove the core of each slice.

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The heavy syrup is made from equal amounts of sugar and water, with a quarter teaspoon of salt per quart of water.

I took three whole sticks of cinnamon, which I consider to be quite a good quantity, and crushed them coarsely. They went in the pot with the sugar, water, and salt, and stayed til the syrup took some color and the pot smelled festive.

Pears in Compost 2

Then I poached my pear rings in the sugar syrup. Having already prepared my ginger, I threw it in with the raisins, and when all was cooked through, I canned the dish in a half gallon glass jar.

This is a pretty good side dish, and can also go very nicely with cream desserts. Different types of pears have different results. I used Anjous, a rather modern pear. Forelles, if you can get them, stand a stronger chance of being appropriate to the dish.

Note that I do not use Saunders, which is Sandalwood powder. It’s endangered, bad for humans, and not food. If you need the dish red, I would use other dyes. Though color is called for, I think it’s not strictly required.

6 pears, hard.
2 c water
2 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 sticks cinnamon, crumbled or crushed

 

2 Tbs raisins, tempered in honey

6 dates, sliced thin (I don’t always use them, they can be too sweet)

2 Tbs ginger, tempered in red wine

Slice pears into discs of about 1/4” thick. Pop out cores using small punch.

Simmer water, sugar, salt together with cinnamon. Do not allow to boil.

Place pears in syrup, do not raise temperature.
Add ginger to the pot.

Simmer until they are flexible but not longer.

Place in sterile canning jars, pouring raisins in as you go.

Process and preserve. Serve with boiled meats (or vanilla ice cream!)

Hard boiled eggs are ubiquitous. Part of a fast lunch, an ingredient in a green or mixed salad, they are dead common. Eggs are pretty portable and stable once they are cooked.

One modern variant on hard boiling eggs, particularly when large quantities are required, is to oven roast them at 300 for a half of an hour, Another is to roast them even longer, at about 200*F, for a full 5 hours.  Eggs are popular at a wide range of doneness, whether fully cooked through with a fully yellow yolk, or closer to soft boiled with a set white and runny yolk.

 

Recipe 153 calls for simply placing the raw egg on the coals, and turning it with a watchful eye til they are sweating, therefore done.

156 steps it up a notch, by asking the cook to crack the shell. That prevents turning and also allows the humidity in the egg to leave through the newly made cracks, so the tell of sweating shells is gone.

156 Get whole fresh eggs, put them on live coals, and strike them on top with a stick so they break, and let them cook; and when this trifle is cooked, take it out and put a little vinegar and parsley on top. They are good.

I don’t have a coalbed right now, and it is miserable out so I am not going to make one. However, I have a fair substitute.

Instead of building a woodfire, I put a thick layer of salt into a pan. This salt is only used for creating a hot bed, and can be used over and over.

six eggs lying on their sides, with the top side shattered. They are embedded about a quarter of the way deep in fine salt.

salt should be thick enough not to touch the pan, and must be preheated.

The salt is thick enough that the eggs, nestled comfortably in it, will not touch the pan itself.

The pan and salt get preheated in the oven, to about 300*.

6 eggs are placed in the hot salt and placed into the oven. At about 5 minutes, start watching for the smallest signs of browning. At no more than 12 minutes, remove them.

Allow to cool, and serve in shell, one or two per person as a side dish, with some red wine vinegar.

Honestly, other than for discussion, it is not worth doing this dish unless you have a decent coalbed going for other reasons. It’s easy to cook the eggs past rubber, and when properly done, they are not more interesting than a hard boiled egg.

 

 

I didn't mean to make a Pokeball.  Cotija cheese, a line of spices, and an undressed area.

Piglia tre pani he levali la crosta he gratali molto bene he metteli supra una tavola, he metteli atorno una libra he meza de bona farina; he mete cum lo dito pane quatro ho cingue oca he batile bene cum lo cultello risguardando sempre lo pane cum la dita farina; he quando te parirache sia minuto como (f* 8r) anesi confetti, pone ogni cosa in uno sedazo he cacia fora la farina; poi falli secare alo sole ho alo focho; et quando li vorai cocere, coceli in brodo de carne, he fallo ghialdo cum saffrono; he falle bullire adasio per spacio de meza hora; et mette de sopra le menestre caso he specie.

Take the crusts of three loaves of bread. grate them, set this on a table and lay out a pound of and a half of fine flour around it; and put five eggs in with the ground bread and beat that well with a knife, always being careful (to coat) the breadcrumbs well with the flour; and when you have lumps that look to you to be the size of candies aniseed, put everything into a sieve and discard the (excess) flour; then dry them in the sun or by the fire. When you want to cook them, use meat broth made yellow with saffron; boil them gently for half an hour, serve them up garnished with cheese and spices.

 

The book commentary says “think ditallini.” I disagree. I think “couscous.”

This is about the easiest recipe I have made to date, but it relies on a couple of factors.  Use of a food processor is extremely helpful for ease of production.

I saved the crusts from several loaves, and staled them in a low oven while it was cooling from making some other dishes.  I crushed them and processed them, then ran them through a coarse strainer to make sure they were of a size.

 

bread crusts stacked and placed on baking sheets to dry

making breadcrumbs

The first time I made this, I worked from the proportions in the book. Knowing I had 5 eggs of indeterminate size and a pound and a half (not modern pounds! only 12 oz lb, so 18 oz in modern parlance) of flour, I started with a half pound of bread crumbs. There was a lot of tweaking, as I made this dish on dry days and more humid days, and each time the proportions changed.   Be prepared to add more eggs or flour, but do not add more breadcrumbs, as the addition will become gummy and harder to recover.

After several batches, the following numbers are pretty reliable in a medium processor, and result in both a quantity that comfortably fits an oven and that feeds 4 people an ample portion.

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1 c (150g) home made breadcrumbs (I do not suggest commercial, they have quite an ingredient list)

3 eggs, about 150g  to coat, a fourth in reserve for in case.

1/2 c (100g) farina, fine semolina, or other very fine low gluten flour, as needed.

To serve the dish, I needed

about a half gallon of nice broth, or a quart of stock. This is most of the flavor in the dish, so if it tastes good the dish will as well.

Saffron if you like it (I like it!)

4 oz ricotta, farmers cheese, queso fresco, or other creamy new cheese

1 tablespoon Spices as you prefer. I chose black pepper, canela, and clove.

 

Place the breadcrumbs in the processor, and add the eggs. Whir until you have  a homogeneous paste. It should look gritty, like concrete, rather than soupy.

Add flour until the mass separates into tiny pellets. If they seem too small or incompletely coated, add more egg then more flour until you feel you have a pleasantsize and presentation of pasta. Remember that too large a pellet will be difficult to dry, and uneven in an elegant serving.

Spread out evenly on baking sheets and place in the bright dry sun, or alternately, place in a low oven for several hours, There will be quite a bit of shrinkage. I choose to turn the pasta several times, to avoid clumping and aid drying.

coarse pellets laid out on two pans to dry in the oven

thin layers dry faster

You can now store the pasta in a cool dry container, such as a mason jar in the fridge. or a zip bag in the freezer.

 

In order to prepare the dish for service, put about a half cup of broth per person into a pot, and add the optional saffron.

When the broth is warm, add a quarter cup of pasta per person to the pot, and watch carefully, Add more broth as needed, as the pasta absorbs. I prefer the dish dry, but you may prefer it with more liquid. I prefer not to stir overmuch, just enough to prevent clumping.  I find it works much better to add pasta to broth, rather than the other way.

hot broth in a pot, the pasta is being poured in slowly while stirring to prevent clumping

gently adding the pasta do the broth

If there is too much broth, you might allow it to simmer down, but if there is not enough broth and you are running low, water will not ruin the dish.

To serve, place in a warmed bowl, top with a dollop of milky cheese, and sprinkle with spices. Alternately, this would be a lovely bed for a roast or braised dish.

There is a fair amount of room to adapt this dish, whether by using an herb or vegetable broth, or making it more brothy or more fluffy by changing the broth proportions. The only things that cannot be adjusted are that it is unabashedly an egg and wheat dish.