Saturday, June 30, 2018

Recipe 3, Moorish Eggplant

Found in Libre del Coch, 1529 Ruperto de Nola, Spain. Translation by Lady Brighid ni Chiarain
Found on Stefan’s Florilegium
Recipe number, 52, Moorish Eggplant; Berenjenas a la Morisca
Peel the eggplants and quarter them, and their skins having been peeled, set them to cook; and when they are well cooked remove them from the fire, and then squeeze them between two wooden chopping blocks, so they do not retain water. And then chop them with a knife. And let them goto the pot and let them be gently fried, very well, with good bacon or with sweet oil, because the Moors do not eat bacon. And when they are gently fried, set them to cook in a pot and cast in good fatty broth, and the fat of meat, and grated cheese which is fine, and above all, ground coriander; and then stir it with a haravillo like gourds; and when they are nearly cooked, put in egg yolks beaten with verjuice, as if they were gourds.

Moorish Eggplant
315 gm eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp whole corriander crushed
180 ml meat broth
40 gm Gouda grated
1 egg yolk
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cut stem from eggplant and peel
Boil in salted water 10-15 minutes until soft
Squeeze as dry as you can
Heat oil in the pan
Add corriander and lightly toast
Add eggplant, fry for 5 min
Add broth
Bring to simmer
Add egg yolk blended with vinegar
Add cheese
Stir through and serve

This is one eggplant, serves 2-3 people

Friday, June 29, 2018

Recipe 2, Hodgepodge

Original found in, Ouverture de Cuisine, by Master Lancelot de Casteau Montois
Rough translation by Daniel Myers based on a transcription by Thomas Gloning
Dowloaded in PDF format from
Original: page 4
Take a thigh of veal and cut the meat next to the skin for one pound and a half of meat, take half a pound of beef fat and chop it well all together and put therein also some nutmeg, a quarter ounce of ginger, four raw eggs, a little salt, a little chopped good herbs with, if you make the meat like a little ham, and you put therein like the upright ham a little foot of capon for making the sleeve of the ham, then take pine nuts and plant them therein the ham all about and put it to cook in the oven, or over the coals: for the sauce take wine white or red and put therein sugar & cinnamon, nutmeg & pepper, currants, boiled orange peel and cut into strips like tripe and set to boil all together.

My redaction:
1500 gm ground beef
500 gm beef fat
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Ginger
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
80 gm mixed herbs ( parsely, sage, thyme, Marjoram)
100 gm pinenuts
500 ml wine (red or white)
1 orange ( going to use the peel only)
40 gm Currants
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix meat with the eggs, spices and herbs
Form into a loaf ( or 2)
Stud with pinenuts
Bake at 170c for an hour

Mix the other ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer
Serve on top of the loaves

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The first of 13 recipes from Coronation:Ravioli

Original found in, Ouverture de Cuisine, by Master Lancelot de Casteau Montois
Rough translation by Daniel Myers based on a transcription by Thomas Gloning
Dowloaded in PDF format from

Another Ravioli, page 20
Take a good handful of boiled spinach, a small handful of chopped mint withe the spinach, & press out well the water, three ounces of parmesan, four ounces of fresh butter, three egg yols, two nutmeg, half an ounce of cinnamon, & make little ravioli, & put it to boil like the others, & put on plate as you want to put with water & butter, parmesan & cinnamon thereon like the others, & serve them so when they are boiled two or three boiling thereon the plate.
Previos recipe starts with a paste of egg, wheat flour and butter. Make little covers.

My redaction
260 gm flour
3 med eggs

1500 gm frozen spinach ( when squeezed weight will reduce by half)
1 Tablespoon mint dried ( double if using fresh)
90 gm parmesan cheese
115 gm butter
15 gm ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 egg yolks

Extra butter, parmesan and cinnamon for dressing

Makes about 30 filled with 2 tablespoons each

Combine salt with flour
Add eggs
Blend together for a medium but not sticky dough
     If dough is too stiff add water, too sticky add flour
Cover and rest at least 30 minutes

Mix all ingredients together
    Can be made ahead without the yolks, add those just before using

Split the dough and rollll dough into two thin sheets
Spoon filling onto first sheet leaving the space of the handle of a wooden spoon between the mounds
Brush the other sheet with water and lay watered side down on top of the sheet with mounds
Working from the inside to outside seal between the ravioli by pressing down, trying not to trap too much air
Cut apart, flour them, set aside to dry a little
Cook in boiling water or broth for about 10-15 minutes

Serve topped with butter, parmesan and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Food for the soul, a mental health post.

For those of you only interested in my cooking adventures this post is not for you. I’m going to make a post about my mental health. I am not offended if you are not interested.

This last weekend I went to an SCA event. This in and of itself is not unusual. What was unusual is that it required me traveling alone to a region I had never been. For most people this is not remarkable, for me it is astounding. I am not an adventurer, at least not outside my kitchen. I love meeting new people, but I need to do so usually from a place of comfort and security. Something I have has precious little of in the past couple of years.

About 3 years ago my life shifted dramatically. I was betrayed at a visceral level and it had left deep wounds. Though those wounds are healing the scars are deep and red and angry still. I have been diagnosed with depression and ptsd, both I knew about going into therapy but now get to add anxiety and ocd to my list. These new two have made my life particularly hard but knowing they are there has made it easier to move on.

Anyway, I looked at the list of attendees and fretted, while there were many names I recognized as people I know, I did not know how people would treat me. I had been to event where people I had known quite well completely ignored me. This set up my anxiety to tell me to expect the same from those who knew me less well. I was comforted that 2 people who are family were making the trek from the US to be there. If all hell broke loose I knew they could help keep me together.
My ocd was piqued, I was cooking completely out of my element. A situation compounded by the fact that I was not allowed to actually cook the food, because I lacked a Bulgarian health certificate, and my translator did not receive her passport in time to come to the event. Side note, only 1 of the kitchen staff spoke any English.
My anxiety eased some when I arrived Wednesday night and was immediately welcomed in and made to feel wanted and not just a tag along to an already established group. As I met and greeted old friends I hadn’t seen in years, my anxiety began to rest and I settled into a comfortable place. Each new person I greeted made me feel more at home.
Cooking of course set off new anxieties. Those I mostly know how to handle and with a security blanket of friends and family I had the resources to tackle the challenges it provided. I had one moment where I could have broke down, one moment I could have lost it and in that moment I was rescued with kind words and a hug from a friend, and in that moment I knew what a true treasure I had in her. With that simple gesture I was able to take a deep breath and carry on.
The weekend turned out to be full of hugs and encouraging words. All the things my tired soul needed to be rejuvenated and encourage me to carry on. It was on my way to a friend’s house after my return flight home that I came to an astounding and humbling idea. There are those in our kingdom that are well traveled and well loved. I have seen them and am grateful to know some of them. I always envied them and their circle of friends. Their ability to go anywhere and have support and friendship waiting for them. I discovered, I am one of those people. It is a stunning revelation and it humbles me. I am grateful to all the people who look forward to seeing when my name is on a reservation list, no matter how long it’s been.  Your support truly means the world to me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lost in translation

Or in other words, surviving cooking when no one speaks the same language..
I knew going in that there was going to be a language barrier but we had a plan. I would have a translator on hand to help. Someone who both spoke the language and understood medieval cooking. Little did we know this plan would be thwarted. My translator didn’t receive her passport in time and we needed a plan b. So, we winged it!

Olga was a huge help. Her English was good, especially in comparison to my Bulgarian. She was with me Friday morning through lunch and got me through. Supper was being cared for by others. When done for the day I mentioned grabbing a couple of people and doing some prep. I thought we had sorted it, so when I arrived at the kitchen to start and set off the alarm on the refrigerator I was a bit surprised. Yet again, plan b. Wing it and trust.

Saturday morning I got up early, way too early! There is a reason I don’t do breakfasts. I got to the kitchen to start. I was working with Valara and Maria. Two super sweet women who spoke no English, or German for that matter, but with hands and pointing we did amazing things. Lunch came out great! 
Then, shift change happened, and in came the “senior” cooks. Gone was the laughter and smiles. These women were serious and stern, they meant business. If I didn’t understand she just said it louder and slower. Thankfully in the office across from the kitchen was Albana. She was a huge help but I could still tell I was frustrating these poor ladies. I had tried to indicate one of the dishes needed more seasoning and when I took it in hand to demonstrate one of them visibly restrained herself from slapping my hand. Another strain was being questioned on the use of cinnamon on meat and being told no. She told me no. I tried to explain it was essential to the flavor. In the end she put cinnamon on but must have thought I was daft.
All in all things went well. There were a few oddities and surprises as I sat in the hall having the feast served to me. I ould hear the reactions around me and it was quite nice to see and hear immediate feedback.

All in all I would do it again. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Food brings us together

A legend in the mundane culinarry world has passed on. The lesson he left behind, food binds us. It binds us in all we do, we all have to eat. It can be an ice breaker, it can be the cement for a long lasting relationship and it can open doors for cultural exchange.

In the SCA we engage in many ways, textiles, stories, fighting, but we all need to eat. In our hobby exploring and honouring cultural ideas and identities that are foreign to us not only in geography but in time, is not only cool but encouraged, discussed and enjoyed. In the end we all need to eat. I can only hope that the food I make in a small way helps facilitate this sort of openness and exchange.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A silver anniversary

June marks 25 years that Drachenwald has been a Kingdom, it also marks my being in the SCA for 25 years, and to celebrate both of these things I will be cooking. It may seem odd to most people to be excited to celebrate by cooking for 120 people but I'm not the average person.

So, the logical question now is what am I cooking? Let me answer that for you.

I have prepared the menu for Friday lunch, Saturday lunch and Saturday's celebratory feast.  While the lunch menus are comprised of tried and true recipes, the feast will bring all new flavors to the tables.

Now the menu:

May eggs

Moorish eggplant
Armored capon
Rice casserole

Pork in lemon sauce
Soup of peas

Pickled game
Preserved beets

Fritters of spinach

Candied lamb
Crowned triangles

Desserts will be on a sideboard.
Tart of strawberries
Tart of plums
Custard fritter
Fried figs
Crostata of peaches

The recipes are all from the 16th century and represent 7 of the countries of Drachenwald.

Germany, England, France, Spain, Denmark, Italy and the Ottoman empire.

While I redacted most of the recipes myself, I sought outside help for 3 of them.

The candied lamb and crowned triangles come from Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya bint abd'  al-Karim al-Fass of the Principality of the Mists in the Kingdom of the West.

The pork in lemon sauce comes from Drachenwald's own Master Giano Balestriere.

I chose each of these people based on recommendations and experiences with them. I understand my own allergies tint how I look at recipes as well as what I choose to cook and redact. In most cases this is not a problem but in such a case as the feast where I wanted a wide variety of dishes I turned to those with the experience to provide what I could not.