I think it counts as health food. It also falls under leftover buster.

I have been making quelquechoses this way for probably almost 10 years. It gets a lot of compliments, even when it doesn’t flip neatly.

A couple of things; the recipe after this in the book says you edit the ingredients and still be within the parameters; other meats, other vegetables.

I don’t add meat, because I don’t want to.

Quelquechose makes for a dense, rich breakfast or late supper.

 

To make a quelquechose, which is a mixture of many things together, take eggs and break them, and do away with one half of the whites, and after they are beaten put to them a good quantity of sweet cream, currants, cinnamon, cloves, mace, salt, and a little ginger, spinach, endive, and marigold flowers grossly chopped,, and beat them all very well together; then take pig’s pettitoes sliced, and grossly chopped, and mix them with the eggs, and with your hand stir them exceeding well together, then put sweet butter in your frying pan, and being melted, put in all the rest, and fry it brown without burning, ever and anon turning it til it be fried enough; then dish it up upon a flat plate, and cover it with sugar, and so serve it forth. Only herein is to be observed that your pettitoes must be very well boiled before you put them into the fricassee.

 

4 whole eggs

4 yolks

1/3 c heavy cream

1/4 c currants

1 lbs spinach (or kale, or cabbage, or chard) washed and torn, if needed

1-3 endives, depending on size, chopped

1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 cloves

4 or so blades of mace

a few chunks of ginger

bowls of separate ingredients

If you have pigs feet or other leftover meat cooked to the point of falling apart, reduce the spinach by half, or add another egg and yolk per 1/4 lbs.

 

Crush and combine the spices.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the cream into the spices and blend them, then put the spices into the cream.
Add the currants to the cream as well, particularly if they are dry.

Fold the cream into the eggs.

Heat a 10-12″ pan, add a decent quantity of unsalted butter, about 2 TBS.

While the butter melts, fold the vegetables into the eggs

Pour the mixture into the pan. I have put a lid on top to help it set up more quickly, as flipping the omelet can be problematic.

omelet that broke while flipping

I used a nonstick pan, but it stuck. I ate it anyway, because it tastes very good.

I don’t add sugar for the dinner version, but I do for the party version.

 

 

Mustards!

	I took all of the books I could find, and used all of the mustard recipes 
I could within them.

	If I missed some, please mention it so I can go back.

	Some books didn't have any, and some were harder to find or identify than others.
a stack of several books, two jars of mustard seed, several vinegars.

This project took some preparation,
and was a lot of fun.

	My first order of business was to set basic concepts and ground rules for the project. 
With the plan being to use a dozen mason jars, I decided to
  • use whole mustard wherever I could, and grind it. stick with yellow mustard for flavor
  • limit myself to one ounce of seed per jar where possible,
  • not use salt unless called for specifically (it never was)
  • comparison unless brown were specified
  • start them all at the same time, rather than trying to get them to finish at the same time

On to the books.
Guter Spise had mustard as an ingredient, but not as a result.

NeapolitanRecipe 32; 
Not a "mustard," but it is called one.
 Not being a condiment, this will happen another day.

	Recipe 121: Mustard seed soaked in wine or must. 
The description is what passes for scathing, the author seems to have considered this a
 required waste of ink.
 As for flavor, it's simply an acidic whole-grain mustard. 
Grinding the seed, allowing it to mature for some months in a cool room,
 and serving with a cheese course make perfect sense to my palate.

	Recipe 122: Start by steeping the seeds, 
then blend with blanched almonds and must syrup or verjus, then strain, thicken, and add spices if so desired.
  	In steeping, the seeds doubled in size and absorbed about 150% of their dry weight in water.
 Aroma is cheeselike, but it is quite mellow, and would be lovely with cheese, 
dried fruit, or with poultry. It's honestly a lot more pleasant than expected.
        I made the “must” variant, using must from a local vinegar shop.

	Recipe 123: balled mustard for trips. First soak the seeds 
(again, 150% absorption rate) then grind with raisins and spices, form into a ball, and dehydrate on a board. 
This is to be used on the road. To use it, grate it into "verjus or must or wine or vinegar."
	A mortar and pestle was the only functional tool for this, as the spice/coffee grinder 
could not get to the seeds. The wet mustard mixture was too sticky to bounce around enough to get smacked up.
	I added the cinnamon and raisins, and crushed the mustard bit by bit until the
 raisins were no longer visible. Then I rolled the mass into little balls and allowed them to dry in a warm drafty spot for two days.

Libellus de arte coquinaria;P 87, Recipe 8 Another Sauce;
 I passed on this one, as it was too similar to a couple of others and I am low on seeds.

	P. 88, Recipe 9 Another One; This one is fun. It calls for the seeds to be
 ground with honey, cinnamon, and anise. The honey really helped in the mortar and pestle, it kept the little seeds from bouncing 
around so much.  Smells great. I added an ounce of plain red wine which has vinegared on the counter, which it
 absorbed quickly. Being done and marked as being "good for three months," I will check and add more vinegar 
if needed.
 Flavorwise a week later, the mustard strength is tempered by cinnamon, not as sharp, has a backbite. 
Good for smoked meats, ham. It's deep dark and earthy, yet refined.

Goodman of ParisP 188 Sauces Not Boiled; There are two listed in
 one notation, one for making mustard to be used at once, the other for when you have time to allow it to mature.
 I chose to work with the "At Leisure" variety.  It very simply calls for the seeds to be soaked in vinegar overnight,
 ground, then have any spices left from making spiced wine added. Not only is this frugal, it seems it
 would add lovely complementary flavor. 

	P 196 has the recipe for hippocras, which gives proportions of
 spices to be added. I do not use ginger, and have no galangale, so I used the cinnamon, grain of paradise, and nutmegs, 
soaked them in wine overnight as well to emulate the "used and discarded" bit, and folded them in the next day.
 The blend being very tight (dry), I added some of the seasoned wine as well.  On tasting, it was a bit generic and acidic,
 though the spices did add some depth.

	P 195; About halfway down this page of preserving foods is a mustard recipe as a 
sub-recipe for preserving root vegetables.
 It starts by asking for "for every 500 nuts", which gave me a key for weights and measures.
I worked out that 500 almonds is just about 16 ounces, and that the measure in use at the time was nominally 12 ounces.
 This made working out the measures of spices far easier.
	I added the anise, coriander, and caraway, but have no fennel seed.  All of this went into a processor,
 which didn't help much. When I added the vinegar it started to work, and eventually I got something smoother.
 It absorbed almost all of the liquid right away.
	There is a note to add horseradish at the end of this recipe, I am not yet decided 
whether I will.
 It appeard to be to be a note to add this to the full recipe for preserving root vegetables, 
rather than to the subrecipe for the mustard portion. (a question mark)
	On tasting, we agreed that this is much better as an ingredient than a separate sauce, 
it wanted and lacked the depth and lushness of the other items involved in making a proper compost.
 I will make it again when I have root vegetables to preserve, and judge it again.

Sent Sovip 81 Recipe XIX; I was tired of the mortar and pestle, 
and the processor isn't good at little seeds. I tried a sesame-seed mill, it nominally worked.
 At least it hulled the seeds, if not actually breaking them down to powder.
 	I cracked the seeds and poured hot water over them. Then I strained them and did it again. 
I could not grind the seeds (I am done in), but did fold in the same weight chicken broth as dry mustard seeds. 
I added a tenth part honey, as those recipes with proportions of sweetener seem to work out to 1:10 sweetener:mustard by dry weight.
	Being blanched and not having vinegar at all, I am quite curious as to how this one will work out. 

	On tasting, we agree that this was a waste of mustard seeds. Flavorless and lacking in any character, 
we kind of felt let down.
 	There is a comment in Sent Sovi on making French mustard just as there is in Neapolitan, 
but not only does the author reserve personal opinion, there is a suggestion to add fruit syrup.
I let that one pass.
 
English Housewife
         mentions mustards, but the tastiest looking one is meant as a poultice for sciatica.
 (not to imply that it looked tasty!)
Cury on Inglisch 
	p 131 recipe 150 Lumbard Mustard; Finding this one is hard. 
I find this book to the the most frustrating of all of them to hunt through, it's a combination of the organisation and the fonts.
 	Grind the seeds, I whacked them with a meat-flattener, then switched to a rolling pin. 
Eventually I had to admit defeat, half of the mustard weight is powdered. I added the honey, the wine and the vinegar, 
and must thin it with wine at use.  HOT! Horseradishy. Awesome for sausages, smoked meats, or ham, 
it has all of the characteristics we desire from a spicy mustard. 

Martino; The Art of Cooking
	P 135: Just as scathing as Neapolitan's comment,
 this one simply remarks on French mustard "It is merely thinned with bitter or sodden wine. This is French mustard- for what it's worth."
 ooh, spiteful!

	The recipe on 78 for "Red or Violet mustard" is for the plant, not the seeds, and not a condiment but a dish.

 Two weeks later, I went back to check on them all.
several
 pint canning jars of different mustards, all labeled.

keeping things orderly

	Neapolitan Recipe 121 About the same; this would be a fine base for a mustard,
 but it isn't by any means usable in this state.

	Neapolitan Recipe 122 Fermented and grey, I think this was best at three days.
 I stand by my suggestion for service with a cheese plate with dried fruit.

	Neapolitan Recipe 123
	Libellus de arte coquinaria;  P 88 Still pleasant,
 but nothing to write home about. This did not live up to expectations, sadly.

	Goodman of Paris P 188 Way past prime, unfortunately. 
I think a week in the fridge is all it is good for. It is uninteresting, 
particularly compared to how rich and pleasant some of the others are.
 Goodman of Paris P 195 It got funky (musty smelling.) I will make this in the fall when I have root veg out of the garden.

	Sent Sovi p 81 About the same, but still less than interesting. 
Thin and plain.

	Cury on Inglisch p 131 Has lost nothing of it's charm. 
It is a good and interesting option. We used it up first.
 REVISITING NEAPOLITAN 123
 There were some interesting points on this one.
From one ounce of mustard seed I have two ounces of completed mustard balls. They are quite light and airy from the hulls
 of the mustard being so coarse.
 They have a lovely aroma, and look quite sensibly portable.
superball-sized balls drying on a paper towels
They took about two days to dry properly
 After drying on the counter for several days, I decided to test a couple of variables.

 I placed three balls each in separate jars, and covered each with 10x its weight in liquid.
 One was steeped in red wine, one in red wine vinegar, and one in verjus. 

 12 hours later, I looked in on them, they had not dissolved, but had soaked up some liquid.

 The Vinegar one I mashed with all it's liquid, it was far too runny.
 The Verjus, I poured off all but a volume equivalent to the still-whole ball, and mashed. Still too runny, 
though a useful consistency.
 The plain wine, I poured off all of the liquid, and mashed just the ball. It was a slight bit thick, very spreadable. 

 My suggestion is to soak with enough liquid to cover, separate, mash, and add back the used soaking liquid as 
needed for the consistency you prefer.

 Flavors and aromas were slightly different, though the character was similar enough between the three to be functionally interchangeable. 

 The wine had the most heat and sweetness, the verjus was sharpest, and the vinegar was pretty well balanced
 between the two.
A half hour later, the sweetness lingers.

The English Housewife

Gervase Markham pp 76-77

This loosely written recipe calls for “a neck of veal, or a leg, or marrow bones of beef, or a pullet, or mutton.”
Versatility is good.

(oops! No final picture! We ate it!)

It’s a simple meat-in-a-pot affair, poached, skimmed well (albumen, the white to brown frothy stuff, is a form of protein which is unappealing) and thickened by pressing trimmed, broth-soaked bread through a sieve.
Then fruits and spices are added, the dish can be optionally colored with turnsole or sanders (a red food dye made from the wood of a tree), and served on by first putting sippets, soup-toasts, then layering on the broth, meat, “and the fruit uppermost.”

We had very nice shoulder of mutton, everything called for except currants, and a bitter cold day which needed soup.

a bowl with meat, and another with dried fruit and sliced bread. A small pinch-bowl has the cloves and mace blades.

Everything ready to use.

After trimming and rinsing the meat into the pot and simmering in plainb water for about an hour, I took some of the hot broth and started soaking the sliced, staled bread. The recipe called for de-crusting the loaves, I should have obeyed. I figured a modern baguette would have a more tender crust than a manchet. Oops.

Soaked bread being pressed over a bowl. The broth pressed through is very starchy, to thicken the pot.

pressing bread

After pressing the bread in to the pot to add starch for body, I added the fruits and spices and let it cook a while longer.

dried fruit being placed into the pot of hot broth, which appears white from the starch of the just-pressed bread.

adding fruit

Not being interested in adding sanders to the whole dish, I did a side-by-side to show the difference between plain and enhanced. Interestingly, the sanders somewhat emulsified the broth.

two identical bowls, one with broth, the other with a little sanders blended in. The one with sanders is slightly redder, and the floating oils are emulsified into the broth.

there is a visible difference.

 

We agreed that the quantities of fruit called for made the dish excessively sweet. This is a situation I have run into frequently, with a single ingredient having quantities and none of the others being specified. It makes sense to me that these are “key” ingredients, suggesting proportions for other items, and that the recipes are intended to serve rather more than two people.

When I make this again, I will use 1/8 (modern) fruit per pound of meat, a proportion which I am comfortable with.

Recipe:
3 lbs mutton (or something)
6 oz prunes
6 oz raisins
3 oz currents (subbed with more raisins)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mace blades
3 whole cloves, cracked

Ratings;
+ almost any protein
+ simple stovetop, minimal fuss
+ inexpensive common ingredients (mace is cheap in Indian markets)
+reasonably quick to cook.
– not obvious use of bread product, needs clear gluten warning.
– cloyingly sweet as written
– don’t leave spices loose as I did, put them in cheesecloth. Someone will be unhappy.
– the resulting broth is not an ingredient. It’s a final product, which will not be easy to cannibalise for future recipes.

In spite of the “more minuses than pluses,” the pluses are of greater value, in my mind.
This simple dish takes one burner, three separate moments of attention, and has a very limited ingredient list.
It would be very nice on a cold winters’ day to tide one over ’til dinner.

I’m making it again this week, just way lighter on the fruit.

The English Housewife

Gervais Markham

edited by Michael R. Best

 

It’s a nifty book. While quite modern for my own purposes, it’s a solid bridge to understanding historic mindset for the modern person.

Containing all kinds of guides and instructions for the typical housewife, advice ranging from how to cure internal bleeding to how to dye cloth, it also has a section on cooking. The whole book is geared towards the Rennaisance equivalent of a ranch or farmstead.

 

Many seasonings and flavors considered old fashioned at the time are here, though there are some hints of dietary changes.

The recipe I worked with from this book is “Another of Liver” page 72-73.

It asks the cook to “boil a liver til it be hard as a stone,” and then to grate it on a bread-grater.

This wasn’t a shocking idea at the time, grated, cooked liver was used as a thickener in several recipes I have run into.

After the liver is cooked, cooled, cleaned and grated, it’s to be mixed with the thickest, best cream you can get, 6 egg yolks, bread crumbs, seasonings, suet, dried fruit, and “a good store of sugar.”

 

all of the ingredients in a container to be mixed and placed in a "form"

cooled, grated, and being mixed

After being put into “forms”, it’s to be boiled. I used cheesecloth and a string, and suspended it on a makeshift support to keep it off the bottom of the pot. In doing some more reading, it seems that flouring the cheesecloth would have been wise as well.

I boiled it like a Christmas pudding, and when set, followed the next set of directions.

 

a cheesecloth bag in a pot of boiling water, resting on chopsticks

makeshift forms

The recipe calls for the pudding to be boiled as “before showed”, which called for checking recipes number 32 and 33 on the previous pages.

These both called for the now-boiled pudding to be removed from the forms, and to be toasted before a fire.

Not having a spit, I toasted the pudding in a pan with a butane flame.

 

a freeform craggy mass, toasted to varying shades of brown.

after toasting

 

I like liver, but this one was challenging. It is just too sweet and too greasy to be enjoyable either as a sliced protein or a spread pate.

I ate some, but… not much of it.

The texture is  very fine, and the basic seasonings are lovely, but the huge quantity of fruit, sugar, and fat take this to a place that is we call “dessert.”

 

I have made a “to my taste” version in the past, which is more of a tarte. I use no suet, lots less sugar, and more pepper.

When made in a bain-marie in tartlets, or in small tart-shells, baked, it can come across as more of a pate variant, there is always some in the house.

 

Ratings;

+ clear window into the historic palate

– commonly unpopular main ingredient.

– Very rich, very sweet.

– very fiddly, labor intensive.

– can be adapted into something modernly palatable, but then it’s modern, and

not very helpful in sharing the historic perspective.


I would very definitely make this for a small group of 12-20, as part of a larger menu.

It is interesting, it is evocative, and it is informative.