Shire of Dragon’s Mist Cooking Guild/Dinner Party
July 12, 2002
 
Bring feast gear, utensils, and a chair. Please come prepared to reimburse the cook.
Thanks to Aetheria for doing the vegetarian research.
 
Menu & recipe redactions
 
Recipes from “An English translation of Ruperto de Nola's "Libre del Coch" by Lady Brighid ni Chiarain” found online at: http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-MANUSCRIPTS/Guisados1-art.html (cookbook is from 1529)
 
Planned menu:
Chicken dish:      29. Another Pottage Of Coriander Called The Second Celiandrate
Beef dish:                        124. Meat Casserole 
2 Vegetable side dishes  46. Pottage Of Onions That Is Called Cebollada
                          86. Chopped Spinach 
Dessert                            165. Pottage Called Peach Dish  
Beverage:                         water or wine or BYOB
 
 
29.               Another Pottage Of Coriander Called The Second Celiandrate 
 
The translated recipe:
Take grains of dry coriander, and clean it and grind it well in a mortar; and then take well-peeled almonds, and grind them well with the coriander; and when everything is well-ground, put these ground spices with it: cinnamon, ginger and cloves; and when it is well-ground, blend the sauce with the juice of sour oranges and sweet white grapes, so that it is not very sour, and put it on the fire to cook; and sample the taste, which must be between sour and sweet; and the color of this sauce must be a gray color.  And this sauce is good for roast partridges and chickens; and upon the sauce [put] sugar and cinnamon.
 

Redaction for #29:

2 tsp dry coriander (ground)

1.5 cups almonds (blanched & peeled)

1 tsp cinnamon (pd)

2 tsp ginger (pd)

1/2 tsp cloves (pd)

juice of sour oranges (1/2 cup orange juice w/ 1/4 lemon juice added, I find Minute Maid OJ to be most sour)

1 cup juice of sweet white grapes (Welches white grape juice)

finish with sugar/cinnamon
12 chicken thighs, oven roasted with a little Powder Forte (period spice blend, not in this cookbook)

 

Put almonds in food processor and add ground coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, then pulse. I had coriander from local Indian market which I had ground in my spice grinder previously. Add orange/lemon juice and grape juice slowly. Move nut mix to saucepan. Stir well and put on stove to simmer. Sample, it should be between sweet and sour. Serve over roasted chicken. Finish with sugar/cinnamon.

 

Comments:

I overcooked the chicken some (having been paranoid that I hadn’t defrosted the thighs enough) so it was a bit tough. The little sauce pan I used was overflowing with the sauce, so next time use a medium-sized saucepan to give it room to simmer. This came out as a really thick nut paste, so I’m thinking another ~1/4 cup of OJ and another ~1/4 cup of grape juice (to start, maybe even more) would have given it a better saucy consistency. It definitely clung to the chicken as it was, which was good. There’s no way to get my food processor to process almonds down to paste (like I imagine would have been done with a mortar and pestle) so this was a little gritty from the fine nut texture. The taste was good but the sauce was most definitely brown. The group consensus was that a gray sauce (see recipe direction) would be unappetizing and we were glad the sauce was brown. We were thinking maybe the citrus acid content or grape juice content, or even difference in color of coriander in period would change the color. Good overall. Easy precook. Good for feasts.

 

 

 

124.         Meat Casserole 
 
The translated recipe:
You must take meat and cut it into pieces the size of a walnut, and gently fry it with the fat of good bacon; and when it is well gently fried, cast in good broth, and cook it in a casserole; and cast in all fine spices, and saffron, and a little orange juice or verjuice, and cook it very well until the meat begins to fall apart and only a little broth remains; and then take three or four eggs beaten with orange juice or verjuice, and cast it into the casserole; and when you wish to eat, give it four or five stirs with a large spoon, and then it will thicken; and when it is thick, remove it from the fire; and prepare dishes, and cast cinnamon upon each one.  However, there are those who do not wish to cast in eggs or spice, but only cinnamon and cloves, and cook them with the meat, as said above, and cast vinegar on it so that it may have flavor; and there are others who put all the meat whole and in one piece, full of cinnamon, and whole cloves, and ground spices in the broth, and this must be turned little by little, so that it does not cook more at one end than the other.  And so nothing is necessary but cloves and cinnamon, and those moderately.
 

Redaction for #124:

Beef chuck top blade roast, 3 lb, after de-marbling, probably 2.0-2.5 lbs of meat, cut into walnut sized cubes

Hormel low sodium bacon, 4 pieces

1 can Swanson low sodium beef broth, 14oz.

2 tsp Fine Spices (Fine Spices is a spice blend from this same cookbook, see the glossary under “fine spice”)

Saffron (I ran out of saffron doing another recipe so did not include in this version)

1/2 cup orange juice (Minute Maid)

3 eggs beaten with 1/2 orange juice

Cinnamon to taste

 
Fry bacon until fat comes out, remove fried bacon. Add cubed meat and fry in bacon fat. Add broth and spices and orange juice and cook until meat starts to fall apart and liquid reduces. Then take eggs beaten with orange juice and stir into the meat until it thickens into a gravy/coating. Finish with final sprinkle of cinnamon.
 

Comments:

I de-marbled and cubed the meat the night before the dinner party and having extra orange juice I let the meat marinate overnight in orange juice then drained before adding to pot, I don’t think the marinade helped it at all. “Meat” in this cookbook should really be mutton, but I substituted beef. I got a really good deal on this small roast (see finance section below). This probably could have cooked a little longer over a lower flame to get more tender. Would be great over rice or bread.
 
 
46.               Pottage Of Onions That Is Called Cebollada 
(We’re twitching this one to make it vegetarian)
 
The translated recipe:
You will take onions, peeled and well-washed and cleaned and cut them in large pieces; and cast them in a pot of water that is boiling; and when they have boiled once or twice in the pot, remove them from the pot and squeeze them between two wooden chopping blocks; and then gently fry them with melted good fatty bacon or with bacon grease, moving them about with a spatula, and stirring them in the frying pan with said spatula which is of wood.  And if the onions become at all dry, cast in good fatty mutton broth until the onions are well-cooked. And then take almonds which are well-peeled and blanched.  And grind them well in a mortar, and then mix them with good mutton broth and strain them through a woolen cloth. And then cast the almond milk in the pot with the onions.  And mix it well. And then cook them well until the onions are cooked with the almond milk. And cast into the pot some good cheese of Aragon, grated, and mix them well with a haravillo as if they were gourds. And when they are well-mixed with the cheese, and you see that it is cooked, prepare dishes, first casting into the pot a pair of egg yolks for each dish; and if you wish, cast sugar and cinnamon on the dishes, and it is good.

 

Redaction for #46 (vegetarian variation):

3 large Onions (2 yellow, 1 red)

3 tbsp Olive oil (substitute for good fatty bacon/bacon grease)

1 can Swanson Veggie broth, 14oz (substitute for good fatty mutton broth)

3/4 cup Almond milk (1 cup blanched and peeled almonds to 1 cup liquid is my base recipe, used veggie broth)

6 oz shredded Parmesan/Romano blend cheese (substitute for Cheese of Aragon)

(No egg yolks used in this version)

Sugar/cinnamon mix to finish

 

Clean & peel onions and cut into quarters. Place into boiling water then remove and drain well (squeeze if necessary). Then fry onions in olive oil and add a little veggie broth if they start to get dry. Add almond milk to the onions. Mix well and cook a little. Then add grated cheese and stir. Add sugar/cinnamon at serving if desired.

 

Comments:

I lost most of a bag of onions to rot because of the heat that week I was cooking. I used 2 remaining white onions and another red onion originally slated for modern salad. It turned out to be a nice color mix but I don’t know if it would have been done in period. The dish does not specify the color of onions at all. Countess Morwyn says the direction “and when they have boiled once or twice in the pot” means that the pot would have been moved on and off the fire to bring it up to boil once or twice. I boiled for about 10min and then drained well, skipping the squeezing between wood blocks step which I have tried in the greens recipe from this same cookbook. Didn’t see that it helped much with the dish. I did press well in the colander to drain. No one knows what a “haravillo” looked like but it may have been a tool like a potato masher that broke up food. I skipped that and just stirred with a spoon. The veggie stock and just enough but not too much cheese really made this dish.

 

 

86.               Chopped Spinach 
(We’re twitching this one to make it vegetarian)
 
The translated recipe:
You must take spinach and clean it, and wash it very well, and give it a brief boil with water and salt; then press it very well between two chopping-blocks, then chop it very small.  And then gently fry it in bacon fat; and when it is gently fried, put it in a pot on the fire, and cook it; and cast in the pot: good broth of mutton, and of bacon which is very fatty and good, only the flower [the very best] of the pot; and if by chance you wish it, in place of the broth, cast upon it milk of goats or sheep, and if not, of almonds; and take the bacon, and cut it into pieces the size of fingers, and cast them in the pot with the spinach; and depending on what the season it is, if you wish, cast in fresh cheese; you may do it likewise, like the abovementioned slices of bacon; and if you put in a great deal, do not put it in until the spinach is entirely cooked, and cast this in a little before dishing it out; and if you wish also to cast in tender raisins which are cooked, you can do it all around the spinach; and if you do not wish to put in these things, neither bacon nor grated cheese of Aragon, cast parsley and mint with it likewise; and the spinach will be better.
 
3 bunches of fresh Spinach
1/2 tsp Salt

3 tbsp Olive oil (substitute for good fatty bacon/bacon grease)

Swanson Veggie broth, 14oz can (substitute for good fatty mutton broth)

1 cup Almond milk (1 cup blanched and peeled almonds to 1 cup liquid, used veggie broth above)

1/2 cup golden Raisins (reconstituted in hot veggie broth)
2 bunches fresh Parsley
0.6 oz fresh Mint
 

Redaction for #86 (vegetarian variation):

Clean and wash spinach and boil in salted water. Drain and press in colander and chop fine. Then fry spinach in olive oil and cook while stirring, then add veggie broth and almond milk and stir well. Then add reconstituted raisins, cleaned & chopped parsley, and cleaned & chopped mint, and stir until done.
 

Comments:

This is the variation of the dish in the last sentence of the recipe. I got the proportions on this all wrong. It came out as mint and parsley with a little spinach. Three big bunches of spinach boils down to a handful of the stuff while the parsley keeps its shape and bulk fairly well (and I clean parsley pretty harshly not liking the stems at all). 0.6 oz of fresh mint is only 4-5 sprigs of the herb but it went a loooooong way. In repeating this dish, I would double the amount of spinach, half the amount of parsley, and only use ~6 individual mint leaves. I used golden raisins because I like them better than the regular brown variety. This wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good either. The most disappointing dish of the night.

 

 
165.               Pottage Called Peach Dish
(We’re twitching this one to make it vegetarian)
 
The translated recipe:
You will take the peeled peaches, and cut them into slices, and cook them in good fat broth; and when they are cooked, take a few blanched almonds and grind them; and when they are well-ground, strain them rather thick with that broth. And then cook this sauce with sugar and a little ginger, and when it is cooked, cast in enough pot-broth or that which falls from the roasting-spit.  And let it stew well for a little; and then prepare dishes, and upon each one cast sugar; and in this same way you can make the sauce of quinces in the same manner; but the quinces need to be strained with [the] almonds, and they should not be sour, and likewise the peaches.

 

Redaction for #165:

Peaches, 12 large, peeled, pitted and sliced

Almond milk (also substitutes for pot broth); (1 cup blanched & peeled almonds to 1 cup liquid, I used water)

Sugar; white granulated, about 1/2 cup (the peaches were fairly sweet and didn’t need a lot of sugar)

Ginger; 7 teaspoons powdered (from Tony the Spice Guy, i.e., the Good Stuff)

 

Put peeled & sliced peaches into a large pot and cook in almond milk. Add sugar and ginger and stir. Cook on low, occasionally stirring and using a wooden spoon to mush up peaches. Add more almond milk if needed. Let cook down until gloppy.

 

Comments:

I added about 2 tsp of ginger to start and let cook about an hour while I was prepping other food. Didn’t seem quite enough so I added more, waaaaaay too much! It still tasted good but the ginger afterburn was pronounced. Further testing found that the overly ginger version was fabulous over vanilla ice cream, but that’s not exactly the period effect I was going for. I’d recommend a bit more sugar and about 3 tsp of ginger for the amount of peaches. Also I was trying to make a sauce so I broke up the peaches but letting them stay in whole slices would make a better looking dessert if served in individual bowls.

 

 

Dinner Party Finances

 

Chicken            $4.36 chicken thighs (12 pk)

Sauce               $3.99 grape juice; $2.00 orange juice

Beef                  $4.95 roast (good special!); $3.99 bacon; $.99 broth; $1.79 eggs

Onions              $5.45 onions; $.99 veggie broth; $2.69 parmesan cheese

Spinach            $3.98 spinach; $1.99 mint; $.50 parsley; $.99 veggie broth; $2.79 raisins

Peaches            $2.89 peaches

 

All the almonds used were leftover from a previous cooking endeavor, about a pound of almonds were used over the course of the five dishes..

 

Total:                $44.34/11 people = $4.03/per person. (8 + myself people were in attendance. I asked for $3.50/person reimbursement and since there were some leftovers I think this was fair in the long run). This wasn’t real meal portions, but a good taste of everything and then folks could have seconds if they liked.

 

Many thanks to Oriana (and Tangwystyl) for doing all my dirty dishes, not just the ones from the dinner party prep. Wow.

 

***End***