Monday, February 17, 2014

Side Notes #1

Side notes, ya know, those things you don't think of until after you have already made your post or find out later and don't feel like editing to add. That is what this is and I am likely to have many of them so I have decided to number them.

This one in particular is about the mustard experiment. What I had intended to start that post off with was by sharing my deep and profound respect for professions in period who hand ground things. I tried to grind mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle and wow! I have neither the strength nor the callouses needed to be as effective as I need to be. My hat is off to them, or it would be if I wore a hat. With this in mind I was talking to my husband about it and he offered an Idea i had not thought about until then, they likely "milled" their spices. I know a simple thought but for some reason it just did not occur to me to be a logical one. They had small mills at home, hand held ones for grinding small amount of flour, why would they not have used them for spices or other things of a dry nature that they wanted "powdered".  I began to think about Scappi and his reference to fennel flour and the hard time I had  trying to grind dry fennel by hand. Why wouldn't a mill have been used, one of the hand size ones would be easy to use as well as easy to clean. It seems like such a simple solution.

Now do I have any proof, no, or maybe I should say not yet. While I am not going to run right out and hunt  I will now have an ear open to the information if I happen to stumble across it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mustard take 1

XLII Mustard and good mustard
If you want to make mustard, take the hot fat which has fallen from a roasted capon or other meat.  Take mustard seeds and grind them well, when they are well (finely) ground put them to soak in well boiled water.  Then take vin cotto* and mix everything (including the fat) and let it boil a little together, etc.
For another way to make a delicate mustard.  Take split (chopped) mustard seeds and wash them well with boiling water and temper (mix) them with vin cotto and add sugar, and powder with (ground) cloves, etc.

* Vin cotto – this reduced grape must syrup can be found in speciality gourmet stores, sold as mosto cotto, saba or cooked wine.  It has a sweet, tangy grape flavor.
*This translation is not my own

Experiment part 1

We ground by hand 37 grams of mustard seed
Added that to 1c of boiling water
1/2 c vin cotto^
2Tbsp chicken fat^

^I started with 2 ltr of 100% grape juice, no sugar added, reduce on a low simmer to 1 1/2 c
^ I roasted legs lightly covered in olive oil with salt and pepper on a broiler pan to catch the fat. The fat was put in the fridge over night to separate it from the Fond (the part that jellies). Use the fat only none of the jelly

Placed on a low simmer to reduce down.

Added 16gm more of lightly crushed seed to the mix.

After the addition the mustard began to thicken up. A finer grind of the seed would create a smoother texture. The taste is nice and comparable to a good German sweet mustard.

Taste is nice, texture is grainy.

The second simmer took between 1.5 - 2 hours.

Next investigations should include a mix of pre-ground mustard, hand ground and whole kernel. Another thing to try will be the addition of spices (cloves, pepper, ginger cinnamon etc...)