Archive for March, 2011

This recipe is from Sabrina Welserin’s 1553 cookbook, available on-line at http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html. I wish I could find out something about this cook. I love tongue. It’s a dish I associate with Alsace and Lorraine, where I first had it as a teenager. This dish isn’t anything like the tongue I ate there, but it fits perfectly into the food preservation theme of my A&S 50 challenge. I won’t make nearly as many as suggested in this recipe, but I do plan to make a trip to my favourite halal butcher this weekend to see if I can get one or two. Thanks to my apprentice Lucia, who posted this recipe.

If you would make good pickled tongue. They are best made in January, then they will keep the whole year
First take twenty five tongues or as many as you will and take them one after the other and pound them back and front on a chopping block, then they will be long. After that pound salt small and coat the tongues in salt. Take then a good small tub and put salt in the bottom, after that lay a layer of tongues as close together as possible, put more salt on them so that it is entirely white from salt. In this manner always place a layer of tongues, after that a layer of salt, until they are all laid out. Then weigh them down well so that they are covered by the brine and allow them to remain for fifty days, afterwards hang them for four days in smoke. When they have smoked enough, hang them next in the air, then you have good smoked tongue.


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Well racked mead

I have now racked it a total of three times, and carbonation has slowed down significantly. I think I’ll add some Bentonite to see if I can get more clarification before bottling.

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The mead has been bubbling for ages with no perceptible change, but I noticed there was some yeast collecting at the bottom of the carboy so I decided to rack it into a new carboy last night. This morning, there is an even thicker layer at the bottom of the new carboy, and carbonation has slowed slightly. I think I’ll rack it again tonight to see if there are further improvements. I had a quick taste last night and flavour-wise it’s on track, I think.

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The mead is still bubbling away, so I decided to add more must as I was getting concerned about just how wildly alcoholic it might be, with little honey flavour. When I first started playing with mead, I was convinced it was a science. I have now decided it is more of an art so am having fun adjusting the recipe as I go along, just like I would if I were cooking. This time I added a kilogram of unpasturized organic wildflower honey, with an appropriate amount of water. I’m not a honey connoisseur, but this tastes quite nice.

I went to an SCA event in Peterborough yesterday and spent several hours gossiping and naalbinding. As a result, the main part of the second work sock is done, and the heel is almost ready to be joined to the foot. I had hoped to do complete it today, but ended up doing housework instead. Tomorrow…

Part of the chatting at the event revolved around Charlie Brown (thanks to a friend who was decorating a yellow tunic with dark brown herringbone stitches). As a result, I want to make a ball. I would love to make one about the size of a soccer ball, but I’m not sure I could document one. These websites have some useful information about balls: http://aelflaed.homemail.com.au/doco/balls.html and http://www.larsdatter.com/games-ball.htm. The first focuses on construction and rules, while the second has many images of ball games. I’ll see how big a ball I can manage, and then maybe I’ll make myself a set of juggling balls. Though I have many modern juggling sets, I have never gotten around to making my own.

The last idea that came up during the day was to find ways to use up broken arrows (it was an archery event). I took a few to use as spindles. I’m thinking seriously about teaching a class on soapstone spindle making at an upcoming camping event – that would use up more arrows. I’m also trying to think of things one could make – bodkins, pack needles or naalbinding needles, cloak pins or hair pins, etc.that could be used as largesse. They might even make good basic bobbins for bobbin lace. I’m not sure how many of these things I will make, but I’m going to add a challenge on using up arrows.

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Twice now, I have gotten up in the morning to discover that the airlock has blown right off the carboy. It did stay on last night though, and the bubbling has subsided somewhat. The mead is also starting to clear. There may be hope for it yet.

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Gina to the rescue

Gina, who makes lots of mead, suggested I try to salvage the mead by clearing off the stuff on top and putting the liquid into a new carboy. I have just finished washing everything with bleach, moved the liquid, and added two packets of yeast plus two Campden tablets.

When I washed out the old carboy, I could see lots of dead yeast in the bottom. The new yeast started bubbling immediately and it already looks much better. If it fails again, I’m out a bit of yeast. This is not a bad deal since there is nasty rainy weather outside, and I really didn’t want to drive out to the country for more honey.

Thanks Gina!

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Mead fail

My mead didn’t seem to be bubbling the way I had hoped, but it was a busy week and I haven’t had time to think about any sort of fix. This morning I noticed what appears to be green mould.

Why is it that the mead made without any actual knowledge turned out okay, but the mead made with proper ingredients and some attention to detail failed? I suspect it may have been a problem with my yeast – too old, not enough?

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