Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1 day on an open fire

This year I attended Double Wars in Sweden as part of a "girls trip" trio :) It was a blast but meant that I did much less real cooking than I normally do. I did get creative with cous cous and roasting chickens but nothing too out of the box. I saved that for my 1 day.

I was asked by my laurel to cook lunch for the laurels that would be in attendance at the event, I gladly accepted the task and started searching for my inspiration. What I came up with was to roast a chicken in the manner that Scappi uses to roast turkey, Breseaola finished 2 ways, chicken fritters  and a dried fruit compost. I had pasta boiled in milk and a fresh cheese on the list as well but made an error in the grocery store (Swedish is not a language I speak) and was unable to complete those dishes, so I didn't.

My day was an early one, I was up at 8 am to prep some things and get the coals going, once they were hot I started wood on the side but knew the chicken would take longer so use charcoal to get it started.

My trouble with the fresh cheese and pasta started the night before when I opened the container to find I had purchased something that was closer to Keifir and not regular milk. I decided to try it anyway having read several things on line about using buttermilk and yogurt to make cheese. This simply took too long to drain and was ready on Thursday so I divided it and set chives to half and dill with thyme to the other half. A few people were able to try it on Friday at Hovdala and everyone who tried it responded well. This being the case though I could not see making the pasta as it would have been boiled in milk and this was not milk. So without stress or much ado I dropped the idea of making the pasta and began work on everything else.

The turkey process is described elsewhere on my blog as is the breseaola which was finished 2 ways, over the fire on the grill and in a pot with broth, grape must syrup and vinegar. The new dishes were the fig compost and the chicken fritters (which I will detail in further posts). The lunch was filled out with sliced bread and a platter with cut cucumber, grapes and sliced apple on it.

When collecting the leftovers I was asked if I would like to put them in the Laurels Prize Display and so I did. It was fun sitting with the food and having people taste it and getting to talk about it for a few hours :) I even got a few picky kids to try the "medieval chicken nuggets" and 1 came and got a second piece! My biggest surprise though was in the end when Mistress Helwig came to me to give me her prize for my display. She was impressed with my explanations and tastes. I was truly both shocked and honored to have been chosen by her.

I think I surprised another one of the laurels who remarked that they were impressed that I had taken on such an intimidating task when I said I didn't find the task intimidating at all. In fact I was quite relaxed. I didn't stress about the missing milk I just carried on with all the other dishes. The dish that caused me the most stress or worry was the whole roasted chicken and my biggest worries were that it would be dry, or over cooked on the outside and uncooked in the middle but as it cooked along the worry faded and I became very relaxed with it. I was proudest of the chicken fritters I did not expect them to be as wonderful as they were. Fresh and hot was the best, cooling down but still warm they were still tasty and even cold they were still palatable. A huge success in my book despite having only glanced through the recipe and mostly just winging the measurements.

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