Sunday, December 9, 2012

Page 233 rec# 185 To prepare a thick soup of einkorn ot hulled barley

      Einkorn is a much larger grain than that from which bread is made; in Lombardy a lot of it is found and used for making tourtes and flans, as I say in the book on pastry in the appropriate recipes. Cull through it, then, and clean it or dust and set it to soak in warm water for ten hours, occasionally changing the water. Set it to cook in a fat meat broth in a tinned copper or earthenware pot, adding to it yellow saveloy or ordinary sausage or else a piece of salt pork marrow to flavor it. Then add cinnamon and saffron, cooking it on the coals away from the flame with the pot stopped up. Boil for no less than two and a half hours. Serve with cheese and cinnamon onver it.That soup should be quite thick,
     In the same way you can make it with hulled barley, which needs to boil a lot more than the einkorn, although both of them do call for a long cooking. Both of them can be combined with cheese, eggs, pepper, cinnamon and saffron.

     I soaked the barley for a while but not nearly the 10 hrs, I changed the water twice I think. I boiled it in plain water for a bit then added in a fat lamb broth, cinnamon and pepper. Cooked until thick and served with cheese stirred in.

Next time I will follow closer to the recipe, but despite that it was tasty.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A post for Anna

GoED post mortem
Peascods in lent (GHwJ):
900 gm of figs is enough for ADD(80 people)
soaked with 1 cup wine and 1 cup water add a cup of water in the morning and boil.
used sultanens
 some dates min 100 gm
instead of deep frying try baking
3 pie crust recipes not enough for filling
roasted until falling apart! very lovely, rubbed in spiced for cameline meat bruet and then seared  doused in vinegar added a little water (could use apple juice) . Low temp oven (200f) for 7 hrs for just under 6kg of beef
Sop of onions (GHwJ):
Everyone really loved it, just onions cooked down in butter, never did add the water to it.
Barley( from Scappi):
soaked and rinsed but not nearly long enough or enough rinsing. Added a fat lamb broth, cinnamon, and pepper. Tasty, could use less cinnamon and more pepper. Any fat broth would be nice!
Elizabethan bisket bread :
strongly flavored, 20 gm anise seed and 20 gm coriander mix up in the measure, should have had less coriander, or more anise, depends on how you look at it.  1/3 batch about 8-10 waffles 1/4 waffle is fine per person. "Flavor is intense" needs lots of butter when cooking, Need to double check measures and proportions.
Goose (Scappi):
The meat was tasty, moist and tender, cooked until the bird was falling apart. Boiled in salt water. Left no salty taste, lovely way to cook a goose and have it be non greasy.
Boiled in the goose broth, a little too salty. Next time thin the broth with water or another non salty broth.
Egg pie (GHwJ):
made triple the crust at the same time, 1 cup flour to 1/3 cup fat(butter) used 8 eggs and 6Tbsp rosewater
The pie itself had 12 eggs per with 3 Tbsp of rosewater and 3 Tbsp sugar.
Over cooked, but getting there in terms of flavor. next time, less sugar and a little more rose. I think 4T and 2T
Herb fritters:
simple, take any amount of flour and add herbs until mingled in a savory amount, add yeast and warm water then set aside. the longer this sits the better the flavor I have discovered. There are no real amounts or proportions it is very much an eyeball and taste sort of thing. I used herbs of provence (blend) added dill, salt pepper and parsley.
these were again wonderful especially with the dark honey!
Spinach fritters (GHwJ):
2700 gm chopped spinach
I think 4 eggs
I sprinkled in dry bread crumbs until I got a texture that was stable and would hold together
I used a generic tea spoon to measure and used 5-6 or cinnamon and the same amount of ginger I used 1/2 as much mace and sprinkled in some black pepper and salt.
It is a basic beer batter for them to be fried in, like a pancake batter with beer and flour only.
This is the begining of my "notes to self" about th emenu for GoED
*The Good Housewifes Jewel
Missed a day on my challenge but am still doing ok I think :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sharing the fun

A more mundane post but what the heck :)

This last weekend I spent the bulk of my time in the kitchen with 3 wonderful people! Shelly, Angela and Mark. Two of these people ( Shelly and Mark) I will be taking in under my wing and they will be my cooking students! Nothing formal but I will be having them assist me from begining to and on the feast and food for the Turmstadt "Arts in April" event.

This is cool and hard at the same time! I am used to doing it all myself, but this will be cool!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More GoED food

As mentioned before I was unhappy with the egg pie, I felt it was over cooked and needed more flavor. I may try and reduce the sugar and that may help also enhance the rose flavor.

The second food I was disappointed in was my Tart de Bry, It came out with a stranger texture than usual. Oh I know how that happened. Too high of heat, made the pie fluffier than usual. I enjoy it more when it has a denser texture than the light texture it had. It was closer to quiche or soufle' then what I am used to. The taste though was still delicious.

I was quite happy with the rest of the foods, when I first made the ginger bread I was worried that it had not turned out "right" but as it set the texture improved quite well.

Timing: I was unhappy with the timing this weekend, though it was not because my food was not ready, it was more that the hall was not ready. Without a hall steward it was difficult to keep time, I was "behind" on Sunday morning by 1/2 an hour but again, foods were done and could have been sered but the hall was not ready and I did not have the information I  needed to plate the foods. Once I had that info the food began to flow out of the kitchen in a relatively steady stream. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Garden of Earthly Delights: food

As far as events go I always like this one, I wish I could spend more time talking with people but I love cooking too. I got to do a lot of both this weekend too! I had some very cool and very interested kitchen helpers!

Saturday lunch:
     Turkey salami  
     Spicy beef salami
     Turkey breast
     Hard boiled eggs
     Sliced Bread
     Cheese Pie (with sour cheery and black currant jam on the side)

Saturday supper:
    Roast beef
    Sop of onions
    Peas with walnuts
    Cucumber salad
    Elizabethan gingerbread
    Baked pears with cinnamon and sugar

Sunday Feast:
     Rice boiled in goose broth
     Carrots and Parsnips
     Spinach fritters
     Herb Fritters with honey
     Egg pie

     Peascods in lent
     Elizabethan biscut bread (done as waffles)

I was happy with most of the food. The dish that disappointed me was the egg pie, though I have been working on it. In this version I upped the rosewater but it still did not have the flavor I was looking for, seems it will have to be even more. I am happy with the crust though :) I did in my opinion over cook these pies and maybe that contributed to the lessening of the flavor.

I had been sick for the week leading up to it and still not at 100 percent. Sunday I crashed and my Mistress and Shelly (one of the fabulous kitchen helpers) finished the desserts for feast.

Everyone was full and seemed to enjoy everything so I would say success.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

So you wanna be a cook pt 4 (bites continued)

Now with a weeded list in hand we weed some more! It would be great if we had all the time in the world to cook what we like but realistically feast is only a few hours long and not a day long or weekend long event. So it is time to look at what can be accomplished in the time we have. How much oven time is needed, how many pots can you have on a stove and how long will each dish take to stage and cook and serve.

I try to imagine if I had to make this feast ALONE, what would I need? How long would it take? Could it be done? You never know how many volunteers you will get, so if possible line them up in advance.

Don't take too big of a bite! It is OK to be ambitious, but not to the detriment of you health or the feast. One of my first feasts was a disaster! only 2/3 of the dishes got made, we had problems with the ovens, with a hand mixer that was electrocuting me, and in the middle of all of it my not quite year old son spiked a fever that almost put him in the hospital! I remember a disaster, everyone else remembers the meat! or the grey stuff! I was learning at the time and hadn't taken any of the things mentioned in my last 3 parts into consideration. I lived and learned and hopefully you won't have to repeat my mistakes. If you, it is OK, we all make mistakes!

It is better to take small bites. KISS is a great rule. Keep It Simple Stupid! Not that you or I are stupid but it gets the point across. By keeping it simple if you fall over dead, or have an accident before the event then someone else can take over and pick up the pieces. This is best accomplished with a drop dead deputy. If you have one, communication is key! Keep them in the loop with all of your planning, have them help. Write everything down! No matter how "common sense" it seems, write it down or it will get forgotten. I forgot to write down salt on my shopping list once, common sense says I need it. Shopping in my third store of the day in the cold and wet with two kids meant I forgot it. It happens to everyone so don't let it get you down.

Once you start building a time schedule you can see what will fit and what won't. Remember to allow time for things like, food, drink and the bathroom. If your schedule is too tight it will be stressful and stress isn't fun. Plan in breaks to sit down and relax, even if it is 10 minutes.

Relax, this is supposed to be fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So you wanna be a cook...(pt 3 , big bites, small bites)

At the end of my last post I left you with thoughts on biting off more than you can chew. This is a very important aspect of cooking.

I realize I need to take a few steps backward with you, and I may edit my first post I might note this for future teaching, but trust me at this point this is important information!

What is your kitchen facility like? How many stoves? ovens? Sinks? Counters? How large are the aforementioned items? Where are you outlets? How is the wiring? (never thought this would make a difference until it did!). How many refrigerators? Do they work? Freezers? Storage space? Do they have a coffee maker? Do they have pots? What sizes? Serving equipment? Don't forget serving spoons, forks and knives!These are all questions you should have answers to before you tackle what still lies ahead? Visit the facility if you can, take notes! Take pictures! Ask Questions!

So, are we prepared? We have our information and research has given us oodles of recipes. Now what?

Now we see what is possible! Eliminate the improbable first. It may seem like a cool idea to serve a gilded cow head when you first hear of it but think about the cost, the time and the likelihood that someone will actually eat it, maybe not such a good idea after all. Weeding your prospects down isn't easy but it is essential. Rarely is there a kitchen with enough oven space that every remove can have an oven dish, or with enough stove space for 20 pots, especially large pots.

These are the things to keep in mind as you weed down your list.

I must cut this short, real life is interfering with me :)
     I will continue tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So you wanna be a cook... pt 2 (research)

To research or not to research.. that is the question.

Yes folks, now that you have a theme, and a budget it is time to decide how to spend that money!

Firstly, how much of your food are you aiming to be period? All of it? One meal? One dish in every meal? Once you know how many dishes let the research begin.

There are a few ways to go about this, like all things it is determinded by the amount of time you have and the effort you want to put in, as well as skill level. Not everyone is ready to delve into untranslated or even translated (if needed) text to redact their own recipes.

How "true" to period you are is entire up to YOU! and your comfort level. If you are most comfortable with period-ish recipes, or recipes made from period ingredients with period methods go for it. If you like to use period sources and recipes but haven't reached a level where you like to or want to redact your own, this is good too. If you are at the point of using direct sources or translations and working your own redactions, again, it is all good. No matter what school you subscribe to if you are comfortable with what you are doing you will be less stressed and things will go smoother.

When I started I knew very little, I relied on what I had seen other places and what people had told me. Of course when I started there was no internet. I kept to a few simple rules and ideas: No potatoes, No tomatoes, and No bell peppers. I cooked stews with barley, served with simple breads. I stuck to basic meats of beef, chicken and pork, and while this is not completely off I have learned at this stage that at least 2 of the three "forbidden" foods I mentioned are found within period, but they are not widespread, they are very time and location specific. If doing a feast from those places AND time then by all means use them!

My next foray came after I moved to Drachenwald. I had no period cookbooks of my own and neither did anyone near me. So I turned to the next best thing, the internet! Not that there was a ton but there were two sites that got me started and provided me inspiration:
       Cariadoc's Miscellany:
and Stefan's Florilegium:
From these two sites I found recipes, other peoples work and redactions but they got me started. They helped me learn how to do , and even how not to do things sometimes.

I branched from there to period texts, translated to or in English as this is my "mother tongue" I am slowly becoming proficient enough with German that I can delve into those soon. I have started to redact my own recipes, even those that have "been done" before as no two people see things the same way. This way of doing things is a slower process. Often you must cook a recipe several time before you get it to where you believe it's taste is.

How involved you want t to be is up to YOU!

I think I have given enough to think about for now... I will have more :) (next will be about not biting off more than you can chew.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

So you wanna be a cook... pt 1

This in no way is a definitive piece of work. I am sure there is much stuff that could be added as well as taken away for some. I am writing to put together less of a "How to..." then I am a "this is my thought process maybe it will help you " sort of thing.

First, No matter how much advice you get everyone will make mistakes! If it is your first or fiftieth feast we all forget something, miss time a dish, have equipment failure etc... Accept it when you start and it will be easier to deal with when it happens. Also in this case when nothing does go wrong you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Second, Everyone has a different method that works for them. Find your own method. Take bits and pieces from everyone who has come before you. If they tell you something it is because they have likely been there and done that. If a rigid schedule is your thing, go with it! If you need less structure then give yourself plenty of room to move in. The only "perfect" way is your own way.

On to the beginning...

So, you have volunteered to cook :) Congratulations let the stress begin! Oh, and the fun ;) After the excitement has worn off and you find yourself facing that ever increasing number guests, relax. Take it one step at a time.

I would hope that when you volunteer you already have an idea of what type of event it is. Casual, formal, large, small, intimate, early, late, themed, the list really is endless. If you do not know or a theme has not been set work with the event steward in order to determine this together. Nothing is worse than planning a Norse feast for a 14century English event, or the reverse! Along with theme is know your budget. How much per person, times rough estimate number of people, equals feast budget. Make sure to account for a price difference for children if there is one.

I keep saying "feast" realistically in this kingdom (Drachenwald). This is your "food budget" as most events are all inclusive for food. Travelers fare Friday night, 2 Breakfasts (Sat and Sun), Lunch Saturday and feast Saturday night. If you are splitting the duties with other cooks it is very important that a few things happen. You either need to be in charge of all the money and the purchasing, which would mean getting detailed shopping lists and budgets from your other cooks, or you need to separate the funds into separate pieces for the other cooks to be in charge of. You should always know how much money is allotted to your meals. Both ways have advantages. If you are in charge of all of the food and the money it is easy to slide the 15 euro you are over for breakfasts into the feast budget for an extra desert or to offset a price increase in ingredients. If you have split the budget and the cooking it is harder to have that sort of "play" but it is still very manageable.

Example: your "food budget per adult(14+) is 12 euro and for kids (5-13) 6 euro. You expect 50 people. 36 adults and 14 kids. 36 x 12 = 432 euro 14 x 6= 84 a total food budget of 516 euro. Now if you break this down to meals. you could say Fri night = 1.5 euro pp, Breakfasts 2.5pp euro, Lunch 2 euro pp, and that would leave 6 euro for feast. You could then Multiply by your numbers and get seperate budgets for each meal.

OK, now that we know what type of feast we are looking for and what our budget is the research fun can begin! but that will be next time... this is enough to digest for now.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Yes, I think I just made up a word :) What is acceptable to substitute in a recipe. Like for like is the theory but how "alike" really are 2 different food. In a recipe that calls for oranges a reasonable substitution is lemons, right? On the basis of them both being fruits and from the citrus family. You wouldn't use apples? or grapes? or would you?

My thought process right now is regionality, If a recipe were to come to you from far away and all the ingredients were "exotic" would you just not try? or would you substitute? If you never knew the flavor of an orange would you make the leap to a lemon? If you knew only that it was a fruit would you choose a more local or easier to get fruit.

Once upon a time naive me thought that all cheese with holes in it was Swiss cheese, when I moved to Germany I found out I was wrong. There is also Emmentaler and Masdamer and many others. They taste similar and are constructed the same but why are they not Swiss cheese? because they are not from Switzerland. Now I gues sthis should have been obvious to me, but it wasn't. I just never thought of it in that way.

So now I ponder where the food comes from. Cheese, meat, sausage, all of it. What is "local" to where it was made and what is generic enough about it to make it cross regional and sometimes cross cultural.

While watching "Tales From the Green Valley" I realized how it played a large part in their lives. Ruth was making cheese and mentioned that the "cottage type" cheese was one of the few soft cheeses. It seemed wrong when she said it but maybe that was the only type known to the English, this will require delving into. I know though that in Italy there were several types of soft cheeses that are mentioned by Scappi. It seemed reasonable to me that they would be found everywhere. No?

Too much to think about, too much thoughts lead to more research. There are not enough hours in the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 day challenge

Post number one only minimally about SCA, food or feast planning. Let us see where the wander will take us, shall we?

I have decided to undertake a 30 day challenge and mine is to commit to one post a day here for the next 30 days. Hopefully something relating to SCA, feast planning, research, food, or etc...

So, let me try to open my brain a little today. What is on my mind? Feast! Garden of Earthly Delights to be precise. I know, cutting it a bit close since it is after all this weekend! Normally my process starts Months in advance and this was no exception, though I have hit a few snags. Holidays, sickness and apathy have all worked against me at some point in this process. I have lists of recipes to try, to redact and to work with. I just haven't been bothered to put it into any sort of cohesive "plan", and "plan" is usually my problem.

How am I fixing this? Well to start I hit the sales papers. Next I am sticking to basic and simple foods and flavors. Three, deciding that I am OK using these people as guinea pigs! Yes folks you will be eating some foods that are just as new to you as they are me! :)

The atmosphere of GoED has always been one of "try it out!", Sort of hard to do with foods and a small kitchen, though people are more than welcome to drop in and watch or even help! I think my "table" will be my kitchen. It will mostly be me on my own in there as most everyone else will be busy so the key really will be simplicity. The other key will be prep, stuff I can do ahead of time.
Hmm, I will not be able to post on Saturday so I will have to go a day longer or double post on a day :) I should be able to post Friday and Sunday without problems. Maybe I can get one in on Sat morning.

Well off and running!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Helpful hint # 1

While preparing for the recent holiday, I was just thinking of small things I do to make my life easier and figured I would start putting some of them down, not all of them are genius but to me they have been life savers.

I will start with garbage! Here at home I have a semi large container which when it is full is to heavy for me to move. So, when I start I put in my plastic bag and then a paper bag. This does 2 things: one keeps sharp objects from poking through my plastic and creating a mess and two when the paper bag is full then I take it out and it is not too heavy for me to lift!

Now to just do this more often in my feast kitchen!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recipe mix up..

.. but still tasty!

I have been reading so many recipes lately they seem to be blending into one! Last night I tried out an egg tart from The Good Houswife's Jewel. I swear while I was in the store I remembered that the recipe called for a handful of green herbs to be tossed in, so I grab a package of each of what is fresh and off I go.

I get home and being prep, meaning I pull out the book and look at the recipe. No herbs. No herbs? I read it again, I double check the page and then check the other recipe I was going to do as well. No herbs! Of course I had already taken a bit from each and chopped them up, so I tossed them in anyway! Wasn't bad, but if an herb tart is what you want leave out the rosewater that is called for in the recipe and sweet/savory in this case do not really mix.

Any way, I will write here the original, what I did, and what is planned for next time.

     The Good Housewife's Jewel pg 76 A Tart of Eggs
Take twelve eggs and butter them together. Then strain them with rosewater; season it with sugar. Then put it into your paste. And so bake it and serve it with sugar upon it.

12 eggs beaten together (+2 egg whites so not to waste them from the paste)
about 2 Tbsp of rosewater
a handful of chopped green herbs (sage, chive, rosemary, parsley, dill)

 1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp rosewater
Bake in a 170c - 180c convection oven for 30 - 40 min (I was bad and did not time exact)

Results were tasty though all the herbs settled on the top. Though this worked to our adavtage as we took off the top layer and sprinkled it with sugar to try and get a taste for the original.

Next time:
Next time skip the herbs! Increase Rosewater, likely double it, and add sugar. I will keep the paste as it was very tasty and a good compliment to the egg.

Friday, November 9, 2012

progress, slow but moving

I have made it through two books now and have looked into leads for my Spanish portion of the meal.

I got a notebook with movable dividers and have been using it to keep notes and track things. Today I sat down and allocated myself 2 pages per recipe for my testing and redacting phase of the recipes I have found in The Good Housewife's Jewel. Now to make a shopping list and get cracking on the trying them out!

I have a seperate section for stuff to research, words, ingredients, substitutions etc... I will start with some of that later.

Sorry for so many posts and what seems to be so little content. I am trying to keep track of my thought processes as it is such a big project :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Almost another book down

I am most of the way through extracting ideas from my Italian cookbook. As Scappi breaks his book into "Books" and not chapters I have one book left, I am intrigued and scared at the same time as it is his book on Pastry! I need to keep in mind the amount of time I will have to prep foods as well as the fact that I will not be able to personally oversee the kitchen. I am simply redacting the recipes for a professional kitchen's use. We will do prep work for them, but not the cooking. This makes me so scared! I just want things to be good, I am not even aiming for perfect!

I have a plan, a cunning plan :) I have enlisted a scribe to be my partner in crime, but more on that later :)

Off to do something useful, I think.

Monday, November 5, 2012

1 down

sigh, one down and many to go. Though it does mark progress. What am I doing? I am working on creating the feast for 20 year celebration in Drachenwald! Scared to death but moving ahead. It will be a 16th century Grand Feast, with 4 courses. I have decided to chose from the countries of England, Germany, Italy and hopefully Spain (if I can find enough material that I can read to work with.)

1 down? I have made it through my choice of English cookbook! A facsimile copy of The Good Housewifes Jewel. I have approximately 11 recipes to test in order to choose my final 3 or 4 for the course. One is chosen so that leaves me with actually only 2 or 3 to choose.

I have plunged back into Scappi for my Italian course and have asked around for some materials for Spain. I am hoping to be able to provide variety and substance to the people and I am hoping to meet or exceed the expectations that are placed on this coveted position. I am scared as hell at failing! but will carry on and try not to look at the big picture just the baby steps needed top get there right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Food failure is food success!

Greetings all!

I can now tell you why I have been so busy and lax lately. My husband was elevated to the order of the Laurel this last weekend and his squire brother made a Knight. I have been busy helping with organizational things as well as planning some "treat" to have. To this end I was brought back to a previous "food failure" that I had, Elizabethan Biscuit Bread is thy name.

The first time I conceived to cook it, it was a joint effort. My good friend and I were competing against another team in an open fire competition. The recipe struck us and so we began to cook! We glanced at the recipe i think twice in total which is likely our first mistake, we looked to the redaction maybe a time more. So it was not until we were finished that we saw we had made our mistake.

The original recipe is as follows:
     Take one pound of flower,& one pound of sugar, one ounce of annisseeds, half an ounce of coriander seed, mingle these together, take viii eggs and beat them verie well, then put in your stuff, then beat it alltogether very wello, then take dishes and annoint them with butter & put stuf into them, Let the oven be as hot as it is for manchet, when it is browne at top turne it, & set it againe, if you will have uit light put the yolks of viii eggs more to it & beat the sugar with the eggs, before the flower bee put in.

Now where I found this recipe unfortunately only states "A recipe from 16th century Elizabethan England." I must further look for it though. So the original source is unknown to me. The source for the inspiration for the person is no longer locatable as well. I am digressing.

So with a quick glance we measure 1 for 1. Yes we measured, not weighed the flour and sugar. It was a tasty and lightly crisp cookie that resulted, but not what was intended, but still a success. So my memory of these being a nice little cookie I contemplated plates of them for the vigils. Being that I wanted it all done for Friday I started making them on Thursday so they would be fresher. I pulled out my book, and began to read, slower this time as there was no hurry, it dawned on me what we had done. I mean we re read the recipe at home and had discovered it much earlier but this time it really began to settle in. We had done it wrong and now I was faced with a challenge and dilemma. Do I do it wrong again and get what I expect, or do I do it right and not know what to expect?

Do it right won me over, I had the period recipe to work with and therefore did. I got out my scale and measured my flour and sugar first. I had yolks left over from a previous project and so opted for the "lighter" version. Problems arose when I measured my spices, to a modern palate this would have been overload! and so here I did deviate in favor of wanting people to actually eat them and scaled back but keeping the ratio. I noticed instantly that this batter was "wetter" than the previous ones I had made and thus would be harder to "form" and I also noticed that my oven would not be needed. I took the tact to butter a pan and cook them like pancakes! Well while they were turning out tasty and coming along they also stuck to my spatula on turning so not easy, and then it struck me, not pancakes but waffles! This would be wonderful in a waffle iron. My large problem came in the debate of weather they would hold well until the following night and my determination was it would not hold and while I would have loved to make them I did not want to be making them fresh before the vigil.

Now, we all know that for most recipes measure is important but in baking it is the key. All baking is formulaic and each small derivation is a catastrophe or success in the making.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sca Politics post

Greetings to you your Majesties as well as our most noble seneschal,
I have been having a hard time formulating this letter so if it rambles a bit please forgive me.

First I am against the release of the Queens arms, second, I am OK with the release of the arms for the Prince and Princess.

I am not against change, in fact I am all for change! As long as I believe the change will do more good than harm. This subject is already doing great amounts of harm throughout the Kingdom and it is saddening me. People on both sides of this "argument" have had their feelings hurt and their toes stepped on. Harm is all done some people might say, I am not so optimistic I believe the worst is yet to come. We will see a decline in numbers as those who have already been placed "on the fence" by the harsh drive toward period practices leaving holes in our society, if indeed the precedent is put in place. On the other hand we may just as well lose that number in people who do not see us as period enough, or see us as archaic and static if the change does not take place. We are in a place of damned if if we and dammed if we don't. There is no easy answer.

I believe strongly in "playing period" but it is a standard I hold myself to and not everyone else. We are a Recreation (Rec- reation not re- Creation) society, not a reenactment group for a reason. We are hobbyists who pay to play in a group that so many others within Europe get paid to play in! We already have trouble keeping up numbers in various regions, Central being the hardest hit by the military draw down as well as a bad reputation that is over 20 years old. The saying where I am from is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", There are so many other aspects of our society that need tending to, so many more places that all this energy could have gone into to get us two steps ahead, instead of one step behind.
I know it is off topic but it will hopefully get some of my point across. I do not believe in inspirational equality, and I do not know how you can reconcile your drive for a step closer to period practice while advocating a step away from period practice. The true fact is at that point it is picking and choosing what period practices you will embrace or not. While there are instances of same sex "co rulers" they were familial and for a period of time, or there was a council that ruled until a regent was of age. Among the Russians there would an "uncle" or someone of blood relation to pull the strings of the "idiot czar" because he was not mentally capable of doing so himself. One monarch was killed by his constituents and people in a horrific manner and no one thought twice because he was in period "an abomination of God". To have period practices is to hold to period values as well. Is this the equality that is sought? This is period practice, but we do not want to see it in our society.
We choose as a society instead to see a consort who can stand strong under their own banner or if they chose, to stand together under the kingdom banner. The truth is the King has no banner, There is the Kingdom banner and the Consort's banner. If anything we should be angry that the fighting consort is denied something that belongs to them other than their victory on the field. Other than the honor of having placed either their loved one or their friend on the throne, having chosen them for whatever their reasons may be to be the one to rule alongside them as equal. Which by the way is a non period practice, The consort was and still is modernly a window dressing, but in our society we accept them as equal. Taking away the Consorts banner does not give them equality in a "period perfect" group, it strips that equality from them.
In 1 week, I will sit on the sidelines of a glorious tournament. In 1 week, I will be sitting pensive wondering who will be the heirs to the Black Dragon throne. In 1 week, it could be me. As many have spoken from a consort point of view and the dreams we have had of proudly being able to display the arms that we hold dear as a symbol of the Consort. I have never thought it wrong, un period or demeaning to want to sit beneath that banner, I still do not find it to be any of those things.

I keep feeling like I have more to add but it will not come, so for now I leave this missive to your hands.

Yours in service,
Magdelena Grace Vane

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Modern food thoughts #1

(hand written in the states and transcribed now)

I guess I have spent too much time while in the US watching food network. Though in some ways not I have been enjoying the competition element of the show "Chopped". A show that starts with 4 contestants and a mystery basket with 4 ingredients and a timer to make an appetizer. The next round it is 3 contestants and a new basket to make an ente and the third and final round is 2 contestants and a new basket to make a dessert. After each round a contestant is "chopped" frm the competition. I am trying to think of ways to run a competition like this with medieval foods and an outdoor setting! This would be fun!

Anyway what really prompted me to put pen to paper is the breakfast I just had. I have always thought it was the one meal of the day that a person couldn't majorly screw up, but I was wrong! How does this relate to the show? Well, on the show they are usually talking about finding a harmony of flavors with the 4 ingredients or making them some how part of a whole. My breakfast was not part of a whole. It was horrid! the eggs tasted plain, no butter or bacon grease flavor, the sausage was from a box frozen and overcooked, and the homefries were seasoned to heavily and only on one side of them and no onions! though that may be a local thing.

All of this though did get me thinking of medieval cooking and the fact that while redacting we are looking for balance of flavors. Stepping out of the box and going out on a limb to try to achieve what we think is "their" flavor. Stepping beyond the modern palate and into the unknown.

My first venture was balancing mint and garlic in an eggplant dish (talk about in an earlier post) Trying to balance the heat of garlic with the coolness of mint and not have one overpower rthe other and also not having them muddle together into a mess.

How do we do it though? I know I have talked about the "to taste" before, and how will we ever truly know what "to taste" is, but have our mouths changed that much have our tastebuds "evolved"? Probably not. We still crave the 3 same basic things that have kept us alive for millenia, Salt, Fat and Sweet. These flavors are still the ones that appeal to us the most.

Back to the breakfast I ate, my eggs had little flavor. Why? Probably for 1 they were old and 2 they were not cooked in enough fat or a flavorful fat like olive oil, butter or bacon grease. Try this experiment at home, cook 4 eggs, in the first barely wipe the pan with a vegetable oil so it won't stick, second use butter, the third use bacon grease and the fourth use olive oil. you only need about a teaspoon to fry in but the more the better :) My bet is that the higher fat eggs will traste better and that overall the palate will be happiest with the one cooked in bacon fat because it gets both fat and salt. The most common fats of the time for cooking were rendered anomal fat, butter and olive oil. They were used to cook the food as well as enhance flavor of foods.

The media talks about diet and obesity and why it  is on the rise but rarely does it talk about the why of it. Talk to a person who is "dieting" and they will talk about food, the foods they crave, the foods they miss most because they feel they have to cut them out, and most often you will find that they are sweet, salty or fatty or a combination of flavors like chips that are salty and fatty or cookies that are sweet and fatty. The something and fatty is the perfect combo as fat transports flavor.

Anyway just thoughts....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Elderberry custard from Apicius, a starting point.

Nothing was really measured so this is all guess work on ammounts.

I use 1 bowl, large that held icecream, filled with elderberries that I had picked and washed then frozen. roughly 16 cups  would be my best guess.

20 eggs (whole and beaten)
2 cups of white wine
1.25 cups of raisin liquor (would have used more if we had had it)

250 gm liqid honey

1 tsp sea salt

4 oz of butter in leiu of oil

again rough estimates but a starting point to work with for redacting, this recipe will be tried again!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cooking for a small weekend

This past weekend was a smallish event hosted by our canton and the Accedemy of Defense. It was held at Schloss Callenberg, actually the hunting lodge beneath the schloss. We had less than 30 people and a lovely time. As life is crazy right now I kept to a simple menu, I was trying to keep to recipes I had made before but shoved that aside to make a Dessert from Apicius and some herb fritters. Mind you, the herb fritters is a recipe I found on another web site but all proportions were made up on the spot!

Dinner Friday night was my staple of lentil stew.

Breakfast was mostly traditional German, brotchen, cheese, meats, jam, and butter, but I added in a treat :) Baked beans! yummy!

Saturday lunch was a Brie Pie (I used camembert) and chicken with lemons and oranges. This is the same luch I served for Crown tourney held in the same place in spring 2011.

Feast was served in a buffet style which most people seemed to like with the small crowd we had.
Breseola from Scappi, though I played with the cooking method again as I stewed these in broth, grape must (which I made last year from the directions in Scappi) and for lack of verjuice i use a bit of brantwein vinegar. I am not really sure what the englis equivelant would be, it is a part wine part apple vinegar that is mild and tart. It has also become my go to vinegar for most recipes. The meat was so tender it could be cut with a spoon! Next attempts will be over the fire!

Kohlrabi: boiled in water with oil, salt pepper and saffron

Buttered Noodles


156. Frytour of erbes. Take gode erbys; grynde hem and medle hem with flour and water, & a lytel zest, and salt, and frye hem in oyle. And ete hem with clere honey.
- Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.

I couldn't rightly tell you what I did, I bought a 5 kg bag of flour, took what i needed to make 5 pie crusts from it and the extra to roll them out, then used the rest of the bag for the fritters. I tossed in handfulls and pinches of whatever was green (all I had was dried herbs) in my spices, added some chopped green onion and mixed it together. Added salt , and then my mistress mixed yeast with warm water I would guess about a tablespoon or 2 with 8 cups at least. Mixed that into the flour and herbs and then let it set on the counter, The consistancy was thick but not so it stuck to the spoon, It rolled off (not cleanly) and "dropped" nicely. We left the mixture on the counter bubbling away for a few hours. They were fried in Raps oil, in english rapeseed or canola. Next time olive or lard! They were a HUGE hit! even with the honey on them, It was a lovely blend of sweet and savory which seems to be becoming a thing with me.

and desert from Apicius, Elderberry Custard pg 98 in my translation.

A dish of elderberries, either hot or cold is made in this manner. Take elderberries wash them; cook them in water, skim and strain. Prepare a dish in which to cook the custard, Crush six scruples of pepper with a little broth; add this to teh elderberry pulp with another glass of broth, a glass of wine, a glass of raisin wine and as much as 4 ounces of oil. Put the dish in a hot bathand stif the contents. As soon as it is getting warm, quickly break 6 eggs and whipping them, incorperate them, in order to thicken the fluid. when thick enough sprinkle with pepper and serve up.

Substitutions and changes abound were made! lol. I didn't have raisin wine though I can get it, I had raising liquor which was made from raisin wine. We did not use the pepper as my mistress summizes that they are not talking about black pepper but without the original latin text we could not confirm so we went without. This was TART! in the begining and so some honey was added to "tone it down". We placed it in the fridge to set. It was lovely in the end! Very enjoyable and well worth working on more. The custard did weep but not terribly and it dod not keep it from setting. It could be that less liquid could have been used.

All in all

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doublewars, 3 days of cooking over a fire

Ok so DW is a 10 daqy evenet and I cooked more than just the 3 days but .. 3 days of planned period meals cooking in priod pots. Nothing fancy mind you. The first day was chicken with milk and honey, rice, carrots and salad. The second was boiled meat puddings, barley and parsnips, and salad. The third day was sausages with apples and onions, bread dumpling and salad.

Salad consisted of mixed greens and spinach dressed with vinegar, oil and a few dry herbs.

All the food came out tasty!

My new pots are AWESOME!!!!! They are replicas built from a find in Bad Windsheim and are glazed on the inside only. They cooked very well and made me happy!

I did do some period recipes on a fourth day for a competition, I made cheese fritters, cameline meat bruet and elizabethan gingerbread. Of all this food I manage to only get 1 picture and that was of the gingerbread!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend tid bits

ok, this is late I admit it. A few weekends ago I spent some time with my Laurel and we tested a couple of recipes. Stuffed kohlrabi from Scappi and Spinach fritters from The Good Housewifes Jewel. Both of them and notes follow.

Ok To make fritters of spinach.

We sort of just winged it as we went along so there are no ammounts or anything.
Original text:
     Take a good deal of spinach and wash it clean. Then boil it in fair water. When it is boiled take it forth and let the water run from it. Then chop it with the back of a knife, and put in some eggs and grated bread. Season it with sugar, cinnamon,ginger and pepper, dates minced fine and currants. Roll them like a ball and dip them in batter made of ale and flour.

     Take a large bag of spinach and wilt it. Press the water from it and roughly chop. Add in the dates, eggs and spices. Roll them into balls the size of ping pong balls. Dip them in a batter of ale and flour made into a batter just thicker than pancake batter. Heat oil to frying temp, fry them quickly only until they are browned.

     These were tasty!

Scappi: Book 3 recipe # 241 page 364
To cook a stuffed kohlrabi bulb

Get a bulb of kohlrabi that is not woody and, without peeling it, better than half cook under coals. Then take it out, peel it, make a hole in its middle and fill it with the above mixture. Braise it the way the stuffed  onion of recipe 232 is done. Instead of cooking it under the embers or coals you can also parboil it. Mind particularly , though, that the bulb is of a young kohlrabi.

The mixture spoken of is from recipe 240.
Mix old walnuts that are not rancid, ground with a small clove of garlic, breadcrumb soaked in hot water, mint, marjoram, burnet and parsley, those herbs beaten, raisins, pepper, cinnamon, and a little eel flesh which is ground in a mortar.

1.5 to 2 cup of bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1 cup walnuts

@1/2 water or broth to moisten bread crumbs, more if they were dry

1 Tbsp fresh cut parsley
1/2 tsp mint (dry)
@ Tbsp cinnamon (ground fine, found to be too much)
1/2 - 2/3 raisins
1 tsp marjoram (dry)
2 1 Tbsp salt

The kohlrabi were roasten in a 350degree oven (on the bottom, no pan no oil nothing)
cooked for 1 1/2 hrs then the oven turned off
Skin is tough, do not measure doneness by skin but by internal pressure and depth the fork goes in.

peel, and "core". I used a paring knife 1st and took out a cone shape wedge, using a spoon I scraped out the walls to about a 1/4 inch thickness (in some places it was thicker for fear of taring the flesh)

stuff with stuffing

oil their outsides and place some oil in the pan

Braise until done (about another hour at 350 degree)

Lovely when cut into quarters! The stuffing really stays in place.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Time is fleet of foot and steady of course

It has been way too long since I updated my forays into cooking. My stumbling block started as an "after event review" that I just couldn't get right in my head or in words. I really had wanted to talk about the feast I had been prepping for but tripped over words. So now, I am just jumping in.

Accademia Della Danza: food review.

There was plenty as usual. The reviews, If someone had something bad to say about it they didn't tell me (and I wish they would). The person who matters most though was very pleased, and that is ME! I am extremely happy with everything from taste to execution! It was a wonderful job and I in no way did it alone! I had my share of help, Lady Petronilla of London, Lady Mechthild Quarttermart, Lord Erich Olavsson Haane, Lord Silvein Morgan, Lady Alyna Morgan and Lord Edward de Cantia who was the hall steward and arranger of servers. I could not have done this without all of them.

I have no better way to do this then just publish the "post mortem" I sent to my Laurel (Countess Judith if people don't know and wonder). So here it is for your ponderance. If you were at the event and would like to provide me feedback I would be ever so appreciative.

1.) What went well? What will you do the same next time? Consider logistics, staffing, purchasing, pre-shopping, etc.


            All in all I think things went well again. A much bigger success this time. All courses got cooked and served. Food was warm and on time. The biggest things that went "wrong" were very minor and or out of any one person's control.

            Next time I will make my lists and do what I can to make a similar timeline that allows for a slow and steady work pace with time for breaks.

            Purchasing, there are a few things that I can do here differently but all in all I will do it about the same way. I love my lists!

            Kitchen staff was Awesome if erratic. Petronilla was there from start to finish and a Huge help! Also the surprise of Erich made life easier. Alyna and Silvein were very helpful especially at serving time. It takes 4 people to serve (which is what I thought it would) 2 to dress and load the elevator 1 for dishes and 1 to take things out of the oven and prep the next items. The erratic ones were Silvein and Alyna who both suffered from health troubles early in the day. Even without them in the kitchen as a constant we did very well and were very successful. I would use the same crew again.

2.) What were the major crises that arose? How did you handle them? How would you handle them differently next time? Consider logistics, staffing, purchasing, pre-shopping, etc.

I cannot think of a single "major" crisis . There were a few mini crisis's but nothing tragic.

The list includes:

            Discovering too late that the cream I bought didn't make it to the cooler and therefore the site.

            Discovering too late that I miss counted eggs and was 8 short (I was able to make up the difference in the dish with egg whites.

            No Turkeys, while this one was ultimately settled it was scary to be needing to re evaluate an entire course!

            My serving bowls went missing. While not a tragedy it is unsettling to have happen. Thankfully they were just out my sight and hubby found them. It would have been no big loss and we would have managed just fine without them. Petronilla had brought her supply as well and so we had plenty to go around.

            Illness, while I was not struck the same way other people were I did have a few moments on Friday where I thought I might have issues, and there was one moment on Saturday where the smell of the eggs drove me out of the kitchen. Friday I was able to take a nap and Saturday had plenty of time for us to work steadily but not hurriedly.

            The "one" person. Sigh, in my mind this is my biggest failure, especially as she came from the US. I worked hard with lists and the advanced notice of the dietary restriction. I just didn't realize how pervasive milk was in my menu and it really wasn't milk it was BUTTER that was the problem but as it is a milk allergy and not intolerance this created in my mind problems. Though she assured me everything was fine I still feel like a jerk and that I failed.

3.) Of the aspects that went wrong, which were the result of planning issues, which were the result of site issues, and which were the result of staffing issues? (i.e. what lead to the "failure")?

            The cream is a "planning failure" despite my lists It seems I am either destined or determined to leave at least 1 thing behind!

            The egg miscount, just that. A miscalculation despite counting and counting and counting. I used paper, my head and a calculator so I am just not sure here.

            Turkeys, this one did solve itself. I was able to call around and find that my area had none but Alyna was able to check and found them for me. Had they not been found I would have looked through the recipes for one that would have been an acceptable substitute. I had a small bit of panic but no major meltdown or anything about it.

            The serving bowls, this one makes me laugh, while I was upset I was not stressed as I knew that Petronilla had quite a few bowls and that if need be we could wash between removes.

            Illness, this one is out of anyone's control. It happens. Had I gone down to the dreaded yuck Petronilla knew all the dishes that were being cooked, there was a clear timeline posted and all my notes available to her to complete the job.

            The "one", planning and paying closer attention. I looked at my ingredients dozens of times but didn't look at my most base ingredients, there was butter in my pie crusts, I cook things in butter, butter is everywhere! lol. ok not so funny but a little funny. When it comes to allergies and dietary restrictions I need to pay closer attention to the little things.


4.) In terms of the dishes themselves, how satisfied were you with their result? What would you do differently for them?

            I was very satisfied with the results of all the dishes! They were great, I have had only one person say anything "bad" about them and that was that they weren't sure about the chickpeas but that they usually aren't their thing anyway. I am still getting comments and praise about the food and it is Wednesday!

            Though I did have 2 interesting experiences, After last year no one said anything bad to me about the food including person "A" who this year said to me they were unsure if they wanted to have feast because of last years. Sigh, this is a person I know and would have expected to say something if they thought it was "that bad" they told me this as a reference though to praise the job I have done this year. The second was again people who were there last year and had said again that the food from last year was good but I had outdone myself and they were looking forward to next year to see what I do.

5.) Did the food meet your goals? If not all of them, which ones were achieved, and which were not?

                The food more than met my goals. The only thing I was unhappy with was that the chickpeas stuck  in the beginning but I was able to get them unstuck and keep them from sticking further.

                Because of my miscount on eggs the pumpkin ended up with more white than it should have had changing it a little but not allot. I was still very happy with the results.

                The Turkeys were a HUGE hit, more so than I expected actually and even with sending them whole to the table for "presentation" and ease on us, they were well received.

                The Kohlrabi seems to have been viewed with some skepticism but not allot was returned to the kitchen out of 8 bowls I had 2 bowls left over and I think 1 of those was from high table where there were only 3 adults eating. This would have been a very expensive dish If I hadn't had the pine nuts left from something else.

                I heard great things about the eggs which is what I was hoping for. They were not your standard stuffed eggs and I think people liked that. I did hear some about the raisins in them nothing terribly negative, the person I overheard admitted they don't care for raisins to begin with.  I do not think the count was too off but could have been adjusted down slightly.

                The rouladen, what can I say about  meat stuffed with meat.  The flavor is very close to last years but the experience of them is different, only 1 person said they liked last year's better with the hardboiled egg yolks. Thorvaldr noted that they should be served with a sauce, then I pointed out they were in a bowl of it. lol, forgot to ask what he thought of them after that.

The broccoli had no leftovers and that says something. More than one person remarked that the texture had been perfectly preserved. I think this is the dish that made me proudest. I was so scared of over or under cooking it as both are easily done.

Portions were very under control  though the rouladen could have been cut in half. I would not have been comfortable cooking less of anything but the chickpeas maybe the kohlrabi.

This year I worked to improved communication, I sent Edward a copy of the time plan as it would apply to him in advance so he had a to look it over and see if there were any problems with it from his point of view.

I also had a plan this year to give him. I posted it outside the kitchen for anyone to look at as well as a copy of the menu.

I knew the menu very,  very well . It was easier for me to keep track this year of what was done and what needed doing by using a folder that had my recipes in it as well as the time schedule. When someone asked what to do next if I did not immediately know I had something to reference and it helps allot. I also tried to stay on one task at a time as well as keep others on one task at a time.

Going in Thursday helped, not with the cooking as much as I was able to take the time to set things up and organize, I got some foods done as well but having the time to unpack and sort things really helped. It meant more time for me to work on the food. I could get up early Friday and start immediately. Without that there would have been more of a time crunch and the nap I needed to take would not have been possible. Potentially leaving me much worse off.

I had a clock! It was one of the important things for me. Last year I had a hard time with time and knowing what time it was. With a clock I was more able to keep focused. Knowing what time it was an how much time I had helped immensely!

We had less garbage! I have no clue really how that happened. Though it was in my mind it was not my top concern.  There is only 1 thing I processed at home and that was the pumpkin.  Everything else was processed on site.

Friday, February 10, 2012

book 3 p376 rec# 273 To cook stuffed eggs

            It seems tradition at this point to serve filled eggs of some sort at every feast and who am I to buck a tradition like that. These are definitely a twist on it though. Baked in butter and dressed with a sauce made of orange juice i had my doubts but yet again Scappi did not disappoint me.

            Cook eggs as in the previous recipe [hard boil them], but they should be firmer. Shell the, split them in two lenthtwise, and dig out the yolk. Grind it in a mortar with sugar mixed with raisins, pepper, cinnamon, raw egg yolk, a little salt, orange juice, and beaten mint, marjoram, and burnet. Fill the hollow of the egg white with that mixture, then put the eggs, with their filling upwards, into a shallow, lidded tourte pan with enough butter to half cover them. Cook them with fire under and above them. When the mixture has set, serve them dressed with a sauce made of verjuice, sugar, orange juice, and cooked raisins. Alternatively, when they are slightly undercooked, pour over them a sauce made of ground almonds with a little breadcrumbs and raw egg yolks moistened with verjuice, sugar and cinnamon. Bring everything to a boil together, tasting it to see that it is both bitter and sweet. Then serve it rather hot with the sauce over it and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

            As I am not providing you with the recipe previous to this one (at least not yet) . I have made a note that the eggs should be hard boiled.

My experiment was tasty, even with the absence of the burnet. It is just damned hard to find here and with the weather having set it I didn't get a plant in time but I have a lead on where to get one.

I started with 9 eggs (one didn't survive the boiling and for those outside of Germany, eggs come by the 10). 

I peeled them and cut them, dug out the yolk and placed it in a bowl. My mortar would not have been large enough. I added 3 Tbsp of OJ 2 raw yolks 1-1/2 Tbsp of sugar 1/8 cup of raisins (actually sultanens as I could not find raisins in the store and was out at home) I cut them with a pair of kitchen shears to make them small. I used about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and marjoram and only a scant 1/4 tsp of mint (not wanting to overpower anything).

For the size pan we used (not sure how big) we used about 125 gm of butter melted. This was just about enough to half cover them.

Because the oven was occupied by our other experiment we placed the eggs on the middle rach at 180 for about 15 min. When checked we discovered this was not sufficient time at this level in the oven so we switched places of the experiments placing the eggs closer to the bottom. This done they were there 15 more minutes.

We dressed them at the table with plain orange juice as I realized that I left my verjuice at home and had not even remembered to pick up grape juice!

All in all tasty! Will need less time in a hotter oven and I think the burnet will do interesting things for the flavor but like mint will have to be used prudently.

All in all life is good!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book 2 page 141 rec# 14 To make stuffed bresaola and croquettes from loin of beef

This is my recipe that I thought I had gotten then realized I made a reading error.

     Get the leanest part of the loin and cut it up into slices a hand in length, four fingers wide and a knife's spine thick. Beat them on both sides with the spine of a knife, splash them with a little vinegar, and sprinkle them with fennel flour, ground salt, pepper and cinnamon, piling them up on top of one another for two hours so that they absorb that mixture better. Cook them on a grill with a slice of fat salted bacon on each one: that is done to keep them from drying out. When they have been turned two or three times and you see them coloring, they are served soft like that with orange juice over them, or else a sauce made of  vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. If you do not want to cook those brisavoli on the grill, fry them in rendered fat or lard.
     Should you wish to make stuffed croquettes, as mentioned, with a knife pound some of the loin with the same ammount of pork fat and proscuitto, adding in two cloves of garlic, egg yolks, a little cheese, pepper, cinnamon, beaten parsley, mint and wild thyme. With that mixture stuff the bresavoli , rolling them up like waffer coronets and puttinh them on a spit with a thin slice of pork fat and sage leaves between each one. When they are almost done and taking on a little colour, put them into a pot with a little broth, must syrup, verjuice and raisins, and finish cooking them with the pot stopped up. When they are cooked they need to be served with their sauce over them. You can also serve them without stewing them, letting them finish cooking on the spit; but they can also stew in a pot or braise in the oven, and cook in all the ways that the above tenderloin is done.

The underlined passage is the one I am refering to as my "mistake". Somehow when I read it I sort of glanced over it and intrepreted it as to treat the meat the same way as above and that is to beat it with the spike of the knife. When I got to the eggs I did wonder why and how. How would raw yolks work in this recipe. I didn't need to bind anything together. The fat would bind the proscuitto and that would be fine. Then I remembered an English recipe that had called for hard boiled egg yolk and that made sense so I went with it. At that time I mixed pork fat (bacon grease) with the hard boiled egg yolk and spices to create the "stuffing", I layed the proscuitto thinly cut onto the meat and rolled it up. They wrere tasty! People loved them and I never knew anything was wrong. Until...

I re read the recipe to prepare for the upcoming feast, just to refresh my memory and there is was like huge neon letters! I was an idiot! At least in my mind. What I had missed was that you chop up someof the loin, which is lean so you add fat and use the egg yolk to bind it. It made so much sense and was so much clearer! So of course I had to try it out.

What I did was to take 500 gm of ground beef from the store this already contains fat so I did not add extra. I bought 2 packages of rouladen with 3 in each package. I mixed the beef with the spices and divided the mixture into 4 portions. To two of them I added mozzerella just cutting a fresh ball into quarters and using 1/4 of a ball in 2 of the portions. To the other 2 portions I added Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp per portion. I set rolled 2 rouladen with the mozzarella and 2 with the parmesan (I was cooking for someone who is jewish so no proscuitto). With the other 2 portions (1 mozzerella, 1 parmesan) i added in proscuitto. we used toothpicks to mark what was what for tasing.

They all tasted pretty good. With Proscuitto was better than without and the consensus was that the parmesan was better than the mozzerella. Another note was that they did need more fat so I will try with a higher fat content ground beef.

So my next try at the recipe will look like this.

For 8 rolls
500 gm high fat ground beef (85%)
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp parsley                                                                 All spices are to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed mint
1/2 tsp thyme
6 thin slices of proscuitto chopped small

place 1/8 of mixture onto the roulade, patting it down even and flat.
use a toothpuck to hold it shut or place seam side down.
place in a pre heated (180 deg celcius) oven
cook for about 20 - 25 min depending on thickness of the rolls.

I am still just "winging " the sauce :)

The second recipe later...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Can't belive I missed THAT!

OK, while reviewing my recipes for the upcoming event I was re reading and transcribing and making a shopping list when a lightening bolt struck. I had read something completely wrong! lol... In my recipe for the bresaola (which I have not yet posted), I read a sentence that led me to believe that I needed to use hard boiled egg yolks in my filling. Upon re reading the passage I realized that I needed to stuff them with meat and raw yolks where the binding agent! lol... So, off to the drawing board. I hope to bust out a batch of them tomorrow night so I can see how they taste! Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What the heck is that? #1

Now I have heard the word Burnet before but have never seen, or tasted it. To me it wass one of those illusive ingredients that i just made do without cause it was easier at the time. Now that I am a little more serious about the cooking I am doing I realized that I was going to have to look up what this thing is and see if it is still available or if from the information I could find an appropriate substitute.

It started like this, go to wikipedia, type in Burnet then read. As I was reading I discovered that Burnet comes from a huge family of plants and finding the righht one might be tricky. I sort of just jumped place to place looking at the different types of plants and what they are used for, anything not cullinary or native to the US I threw out immediately .

I started with the Pimpinella  (Pimpinella major, common name Greater Burnet-saxifrage or Hollowstem Burnet Saxifrage, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the genus Pimpinella belonging to the Carrot family (Apiaceae).) as that is what I had gotten translating Burnet to German. I found while looking through it that it is the genus of plants of which Anise is a part of. Then I found that Sanguisorba has many different species. The list Follows:
Sanguisorba alpina
Sanguisorba annua
Sanguisorba applanata
Sanguisorba armena
Sanguisorba canadensis - Canadian Burnet
Sanguisorba caucasica
Sanguisorba cretica
Sanguisorba diandra
Sanguisorba dodecandra - Italian Burnet
Sanguisorba filiformis
Sanguisorba hakusanensis - Hakusan Burnet
Sanguisorba hybrida
Sanguisorba magnifica
Sanguisorba menendezii - Canary Islands Burnet
Sanguisorba menziesii
Sanguisorba minor - Salad Burnet
Sanguisorba obtusa - Japanese Burnet
Sanguisorba officinalis - Great Burnet
Sanguisorba stipulata
Sanguisorba tenuifolia - Asian Burnet

Needles sto say I looked at them all to deduce what the next step would be. Weeding out what was obviously not it! I threw out any thing that was native to North America as well as any that did not have a cullinary usage. Leaving me with still a good amount of options. The three I reduced down to are:

Pimpinella saxifraga:
The Burnet Saxifrage is a plant, Pimpinella saxifraga of the family Umbelliferae a native of the British Isles and temperate Europe and Western Asia. It is neither a Burnet, which its leaves resemble, nor a Saxifrage although it has a similar herbal effect as a diuretic.
One of the better known recipes that includes burnet Saxifrage is Grie Soss (Grüne Soße = Green Sauce) made famous in Frankfurt, Germany. This sauce includes traditionally at least seven of the herbs parsley, chervil, dill, chives, cress, sorrel, burnet saxifrage and borage.
Sanguisorba officinalis:
(Great Burnet) is a plant in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Rosoideae. It is native throughout the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America.
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1 m tall, which occurs in grasslands, growing well on grassy banks. It flowers June/July.
anguisorba officinalis is an important food plant for the European Large Blue butterflies Maculinea nausithous and M. teleius.[1]

Sanguisorba minor:
 (Salad burnet, Garden burnet, Small burnet, burnet) is a plant in the family Rosaceae that is native to western, central and southern Europe; northwest Africa and southwest Western Asia; and which has naturalized in most of North America. It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 40-90 cm tall, typically found in dry grassy meadows, often on limestone soils. It is drought-tolerant, and grows all year around.
It is used as an ingredient in both salads and dressings, having a flavor described as "light cucumber" and is considered interchangeable with mint leaves in some recipes, depending on the intended effect. Typically, the youngest leaves are used, as they tend to become bitter as they age.
Salad burnet has the same medicinal qualities as medicinal burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis). It was used as a tea to relieve diarrhea in the past.
It also has a respectable history, called a favorite herb by Francis Bacon, and was brought to the New World with the first English colonists, even getting special mention by Thomas Jefferson

As I am looking to purchase this herb in Germany I went back to my trusty translator

der ausgewählten Wörter im Trainer
13 Treffer
Unmittelbare Treffer
Substantive (3 of 3)
burnet [bot.]
burnet [bot.]
burnet [bot.]
the next course was to search Sanguisorba minor (which was on my list of 3)


  der ausgewählten Wörter im Trainer
60 Treffer
Keine unmittelbaren Treffer

Keine Grundformen ableitbar

Weitere Treffer

Substantive (60 of 60)

euphrasy [bot.] rare

eyebright [bot.]

burnet [bot.]

salad burnet [bot.]

borage [bot.]

common borage [bot.]

borage [bot.]

common borage [bot.]

common sage [bot.]

garden sage [bot.]

kitchen sage [bot.]

sage [bot.]

lungwort [bot.]

vervain [bot.]

fumitory [bot.]

lungwort [bot.]

common sage [bot.]

garden sage [bot.]

kitchen sage [bot.]

sage [bot.]

lungwort [bot.]

lungwort [bot.]

lungwort [bot.]

borage [bot.]

common borage [bot.]

common sage [bot.]

garden sage [bot.]

kitchen sage [bot.]

sage [bot.]

balm [bot.]

common balm [bot.]

lemon balm [bot.]

sweet balm [bot.]

burnet [bot.]

salad burnet [bot.]

burnet [bot.]

salad burnet [bot.]

calendula [bot.]

pot marigold [bot.]

rosemary [bot.]

balm [bot.]

balm [bot.]

bee balm [bot.]

common balm [bot.]

lemon balm [bot.]

sweet balm [bot.]

This gives me allot of options to try out! This is where I am now on it.