Archive for December, 2015

There are lots of images of medieval pretzels, and even a few recipes for pretzels, but little archaeological evidence. However, earlier this year, there was an announcement of actual 300 year-old pretzels!


This is more of a link dump than a proper post, for now. I’ll come back to pretzel making when I have more time.

Images: http://www.larsdatter.com/pretzels.htm

One of the images in the larsdatter link seems off: I think the one she wanted to include is this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Konstanzer_Richental_Chronik_Pastetenbaecker.jpeg



The woodcut image in this article gets used a lot, but I haven’t yet been able to track down the source. It is part of a larger woodcut with a portable oven. It’s interesting to note just how often pretzels show up in pictures of portable ovens. http://www.newyorkcarver.com/inventions5A.htm


Read Full Post »

The English Housewife by Gervase Markham has two liver pudding recipes.

33. Puddings of a hog’s liver. Take the liver of a fat hog and parboil it, then shed it small, and after, beat it in a mortar very fine; then mix it with the thickest and sweetest cream, and strain it very well through an ordinary strainer; then put thereto six yolks of eggs, and two whites, and the grated crumbs of near hand a penny white loaf, with good store of currants, dates, cloves, mace sugar, saffron, salt, and the best swine suet, or beef suet, but beef suet is the more wholesome, and less loosening; then after it hath stood a while, fill it into the farmes, and boil them, as before showed; and when you serve them to the table, first boil them a little, then lay them on a gridiron over the coals, and broil them gently, but scorch them not, nor in anyt wise break their skiuns, which is to be prevented by oft turning and tossing them on the gridiron, and keeping a slow fire.

36. Another of liver. Take the best hog’s liver you can get, and boil it extremely till it be as hard as a stone; then layt it to cool, and, being cold, upon a gread-grater grate it all to powder; then sift it through a fine meal-sieve, and put to it the crumbs of (at lest) two penny loaves of white bread, and boil all in the thickest and sweetest cream you have till it be very thick; then let it cool, and put to it the yolks of half a dozen eggs, a little pepper cloves, mace, currants, dates small shred, cinnamon, ginger, a little nutmeg, good store of sugar, a little saffron, salt, and of beef and swine’s suet great plenty, then fill it into the farmes, and boil them as before showed.

I cheated a fair bit on this one because I started out with turkey liver. I had cooked it with my Christmas turkey, but don’t like plain liver and needed to use it up. I grated the liver through my cheese grater, then added about 3/4 c of bread crumbs and about 1/8 c of milk and cooked the mix until it was thick. I added in a whole egg, a pinch each of pepper, cloves, mace, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, saffron and salt, one date chopped very small, 1-2 Tsp sugar and about 2 Tbsp of lard. I left out the currants and cream because they had been used up with other Christmas cooking and I guessed it would be okay without. I filled my casing and put it on to boil.

Sadly, the casing broke and some of the filling escaped, but that allows me to assure you that this pudding tastes amazing! I was unprepared for how tasty and un-liver-like it would be, without being disgustingly sweet or spicy. I look forward to grilling what remains tomorrow.





Read Full Post »

My sister and her partner decided to raise a few chickens this year, so I was gifted with a chicken. Even better, I was gifted with 48 chicken feet, plus 24 each of livers, gizzards, and possibly hearts.

If there are hearts, they will get barbecued, Brazilian-style.

The livers will go into some sort of puddings or possibly  raphioles (http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/nboke55.htm).

The feet might be boiled up as an accompaniment for Turnip Kugel (Food and Drink in Medieval Poland, by Maria Dembinska, p. 183).

Or there’s this to use up feet: http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/lessons.html

The gizzards will go into Garbage, along with more livers and some of the feet : http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/garbage.html.

I definitely need to make garbage! It’s one of those recipes I remember looking at years ago, and being certain I would never try.



Read Full Post »

This recipe comes from Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah (2003)

Nasralla quotes The Cuisine of Ancient Mesopotamia p 37 by Bottèro as a source for a Sumerian text revealing that the ancient Mesopotamians knew how to fill intestine casings with meat of some kind. By the medieval period, they were called maqaniz or laqaniq (now called mumbar). Some were made for immediate consumption, such as those filled with a mixture of meat and eggs, or chicken. Others (known today as bastirma) were filled with a spicy mixture of pounded meat and were meant to be kept for at least a month. Bastirma meat is ground, mixed with lots of spices and garlic, stuffed in casings, and then hung in a dry, ventilated area way from direct sunlight.

Other recipes use caul, the transparent thin layer that surrounds the stomach. Al-Warraq, the 10th C Baghdadi cookbook writer uses it in one of his recipes (sadly, I don’t have a copy, so now I NEED to buy this: http://www.amazon.ca/Annals-Caliphs-Kitchens-Nasrallah/dp/9004188118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450659619&sr=8-1&keywords=caliph%27s+kitchen, as the recipe is found on p 57). A 14th C recipe for Shara’ih (strips of meat) also uses it:

Pound lean meat. Add pepper, mastic, Chinese cinnamon, caraway, salt and oil to it and make it into cakes. Wrap them in the wrapping (ghishawa – the caul fat) of the fine fat which is on the stomach. Then put them on a skewer and grill them on a low fire and eat them. (Medieval Arab Cookery: Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry & Charles Perry: Prospect Books, 2001, p 375).


2 lb lean ground meat (you can add a little olive oil if it’s too lean)

4 cloves garlic, or to taste, grated

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp chili pepper, or to taste

In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients, then cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to blend. Stuff the meat into casings and flatten the sausages to make them 1/2 inch thick. Hang to dry, or you can freeze them. To cook, slice the bastirma into 1/2 inch wide pieces, then cook in a skillet. You can serve it wrapped in bread as a sandwich, with slices of salad vegetables and a squeeze of lemon, or you can leave in the skillet and add beaten eggs, reduce heat and cook until the eggs are set. Divide the eggs into wedges and wrap in bread with salad vegetables and squeeze of lemon.




Read Full Post »

Suffed Pork Caul (W69)

Next, take a pork caul and put it on a pot. Grind lean meat in a mortar, add eggs and white bread. Place this in that caul, sprinkled with herbs. Add bacon, [diced] small. Take hens and all kinds of preserving seasonings; chop them small, with the liver and giblets of the chickens too. Then compress that filling into a lump and bind it together with bands made from its intestines. Roast it well. Cut it into morsels, as game. Make a sour syrup for it.

The editors (Grewe and Heiatt) suspect that this may be two recipes mixed together, or garbled in some other way. They speculate that the sour sauce might be something like egredouce. I suspect that it may be a variant on the third recipe (below) which has been compared to Chiquart’s parti-coloured sausage.

A Grilled Cake with Chicken Filling (W70)

Next, take eggs and flour. Make it into a thin dough: onto a gridiron, pour [the] eggs beaten with flour. Roast hens, and take all the meat from the bones. Chop the hens with other meat, pound them in a mortar, adding eggs and bacon. Place this on that sheet. Press into it the bones from the hen drumsticks. Sprinkle this with eggs, saffron, and other herbs.

The authors found this strange too, because the batter would be too thin to support the chicken mixture while it all cooks on a gridiron. I would do the recipe with a griddle pan to get something like crepes, then wrap them around the mounds of chicken, stick in a drumstick, coat with the eggs and spices, and then bake until done. It would be a form of sausage on a stick.

Pancake with a Sausage Filling (W71)

Next, take eggs and beat them, and take three large intestines of a swine. Fill one full with parsley and eggs, another with eggs without yolks and with bacon, the third with yoks and saffron. [Cook] them in a kettle until they are hard; then [remove] the casing and slice [the sausages]. Make a thin sheet of eggs in a pan. Place [the egg sausages] in this, alternating one yellow, one green, one white. Make a red lung mush and put it on top of this. Over all this, place on top a sheet made of well beaten eggs with flour that….

This recipe is incomplete, but appears to be feasible. Melitta Weiss Adamson cites the Vienna Codex 4995 as a source for a lung mush recipe and some of them, containing blood, could be red. I have found a 16th C Max Rumpolt recipe that refers to lung mush, but not how to make it (recipe 138 suggests using morels instead of lungs: http://home.earthlink.net/~al-tabbakhah/misc/23GermanMushroomRecipes.html).

Grewe and Heiatt suggest that this recipe has some parallels with Chiquart’s recipe 56 for Mortoexes (Chiquart’s ‘On Cookery’ A Fifteeth-century Savoyard Culinary Treatise, edited and translated by Terence Scully, Peter Lang Publishing: New York, 1986), p 87):

To instruct the person who will be making the Mortoexes, he should get kid and calf crows and was and clean them very well and put them to cook in good clean water; when they have cooked enough, take them out onto good clean work-tables and drain them well, then chop them up very small; when they are all chopped up, add in herbs, that is to say, sage and hyssop – both in moderation – and marjoram, too, and a great deal of parsley which has been culled, cleaned and washed; chop them into the meat, and very good cheese as well, though not too much, and salt, too, and spices: white ginger, grains of paradise, pepper – not too much – and saffron to give it color; then get eggs and add them in. Mix all of that together, and then, when it is boiling, make the Mortoexes. See that he has kid and calf cauls – and if there are not enough, get sheep cauls – and make sure they are good and clean, then stretch them out on good clean wooden tables; when they are stretched, get eggs and rub them on them. When this is done, get the filling, put it on them, and make the Mortoexes in the same way as ravioli (see below): wrap them up in the cauls, and then put them to cook on the grill. And if he should want to make them party-colored, that is, in green and yellow: for the green he should get a lot of parsley, enough for the quantity he would like to make green, take the leaves, wash them well then put them in the mortar and grind them strongly; then he should add in some flour and some eggs in an amount for the quantity he wants to make, then strain that very carefully; when this is done, he should take the Mortoexes he wants to make green and drop them into that green mixture and move them around in it, then return them to dry on the grill. When they have dried and are ready, these Mortoexes are served up when it is time to serve them.

This recipe is similar to the 14th C Italian Liber per cuoco (http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/frati.htm):

XLVI. Mortadelle bone e perfette, etc.

Se tu voy fare mortadelle toy lo figato del
porcho e la suo reta over raixella, toy lo figato
e falo alessare e quando è cocto trailo fora
e toy herbe bone e pever e ove e caxo e
sale tanto che basta, e toy lo figato e queste
cosse e bati ben insieme in mortaro e
fay pastume e distempera cum ova e con un
pocho de la lesaúra del figato, e poy toy la
reta e fay le mortadelle, e quando sono fatte,
frizili in bono onto colato; quando sono fricte
dali caldi a tavola.

and Martino’s Mortadelle (https://siglindesarts.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/mortadella/).

Ravioli  (Form of Cury IV: 94 from Cury on Inglysch, The Early English Text Society, 1985)

Rauioles. Take wete (sweet) chese & grynde hit small, & medle hit wyt eyren & saffron and a god quantite of buttur. Make a thin foile of dowe & close hem therin as tuteetes, & cast hem in boylyng watur, & sthe hem therin. Take hote buttur melted & chese ygratede, & ley the ravioles in dissches; & ley thi hote buttur wyt grated chese binethe & aboue, and cast thereon poudur douce.

Frankly, I’m not convinced I see the connection between the ravioli recipe and putting mortrews into a caul (I usually just tie them shut), but I always love an excuse for ravioli.



Read Full Post »

Recipe XLIV, The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval recipes from Catalonia. Edited by Joan Santanach. Barcino. Temesis: Barcelona/Woodbridge, 2008, pp 124-125.

Llesques de Formatge

Si vols donar llesques de formatge ben gras, fes llesques del formatge be grosses. Aprés hages de la pasta llevada, com damunt és dit, e mescla-la ab vermells d’ous e fes-ho molt debatre ab una cullera. E pus unta’n la llesca de formatge dessus, e mit-la en la paella ab del greix damunt dit. Gira-la adés. E, quan serà cuita, trau=la e mit-hi sucre dessus e dejus.

Slices of Cheese

If you want to serve slices of soft cheese, make slices of the cheese that are quite large. Then take the leavened dough, as is said above (in the previous recipe) and mix it with egg yolks and beat it a lot with a spoon. And then spread it over and under the slice of cheese, and put it in the pan with the grease said above (in the previous recipe). Turn it over often. When it should be cooked, take it out and put sugar over and under it.

Technically, this is more of a fried bread dough with cheese in the middle than a grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s distinct from cheese fritters which use grated cheese mixed with the dough.

My version:

I used about a tablespoon of my sourdough starter with a large egg and enough flour to make a dough (approximately 1 cup). I used the whole egg because the previous recipe referred to used whole eggs, not just the yolks. I stirred it with a spoon, but then kneaded it like I would a bread. The dough was a little softer than bread dough, but not too much. I divided the dough into four pieces and stretched each out with my hands until I had rounds about 3-4 inches in diameter. Then I sliced some softer cheese (Monterrey Jack, because that’s what I had on hand – Mozarella would have been really good too) onto two of the rounds. I topped them with the other two and pinched the edges to seal them. Next, I heated a few Tbsp of oil in a frying pan, as I didn’t have the pork fat called for in the previous recipe. When the oil was hot, I added the cheese slices and turned them regularly until they were golden brown on each side. I finished them by sprinkling sugar on both sides of the cheese slices.



The verdict:

These are like a slightly sweet, cheese-filled empanada or pupusa. I think I would like the dough to be a little thinner, but I’m pleased the cheese didn’t break through; thinner dough would take some practice. As I’m not a huge fan of sweets, I found these to be bland but not too bad. I really liked the sugar on them, much to my surprise.



Read Full Post »