Today I was inspired by my apprentices Eluned ferch Ango and Lucia d’Enzinas. For Alais’ recent elevation, Eluned made little cheese tarts from “A Feast of the Low Countries” (lookaside.fbsbx.com). They were delicious and dead simple. When I realized I had some ricotta and honey that needed to be used up, I made my own. The original recipe is from ms KANTL Gent 15, second part (W.L. Braekman, Een niew zuidnederlands kookboek uit de viftiende eeuw. Scripta 17, Brussels, 1986, recipe no. 75).
English translation: To make cheese pastry. Take fresh cheese. Strain it with cream and lots of sugar. Fill the bowl completely. If you want to make it green, pound p0rsley and hyssop and a little thyme with the cheese and strain it together, then it will be green. If you want, you can add some coleseed-oil in white bread without custard (?) or melted butter.
Because I was feeling lazy, I used purchased pastry shells. I took one pound of ricotta cheese and mixed it with a half cup of honey (which is a reasonable substitute for sugar, especially since I had only very refined sugar in the house). Then I spooned the mix into the pastry shells and popped them into the oven to bake until the crusts were browned. That’s it.
The other recipe I tried was a cold sage sauce from Menagier de Paris (translated by Gina L. Greco & Christine M. Rose, Cornell University Press, 2009, p. 314). This recipe is the September page of the Ealdormere Cook’s Guild 2016 Calendar, a project organized by Lucia. Sadly, I left the calendar at my office, so I redacted my own recipe tonight.
Grind well some ginger, cassia buds, grains of paradise, and cloves, and do not strain. Then grind bread moistened with the broth from the chicken, plenty of parsley, some sage, and a little saffron among the greens to make them bright green, and sieve (and some sieve hard-boiled egg yolks with this). Add some good vinegar and ladle over the cooked poultry. Place quartered hard-boiled eggs atop the poultry, and pour the sauce over it.
I chopped a generous handful of sage and about half a bunch of parsley, then ground them in my mortar with a bit of chicken broth. Then I added the ground greens to a bowl with more chicken broth. In total, I used about a cup, but would reduce that in future. I added in 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, grains of paradise and cloves, a pinch of saffron, about 4 tablespoons of bread crumbs, one egg yolk, and a teaspoon of verjuice (a gift from Lucia).
I expected the sauce to be very strong tasting with all those spices, but it was actually quite pleasant. I should have tried for a more artistic picture, but I was hungry; it made a lovely supper poured over a piece of leftover chicken with some rice on the side. As a bonus, I have enough left for several lunches.