We've been to or been invited to a couple of parties since we've moved to Heidelberg, and been to or been invited over to people's places for dinner. We've also had a number of newer SCAdians enthusiastic about the idea of trying some medieval recipes, and I've wanted for awhile to expand my horizons in that realm a bit further with a view towards someday being prepared to cook a lunch for a smallish event. All of that came together this weekend when we put out an open invitation to people to come and cook on Saturday (and Sunday morning) and then eat Sunday afternoon. I picked an afternoon slot because I wanted enough time to make hot dishes in the morning, and reheat or finish anything we hadn't finished the day before, but didn't want to be so late that people would come expecting a full meal.
At SCA night last month I handed Marika The Book of Sent Sovi
and told her to note down the recipes that looked good. I also figured that we'd make the chicken fritters
that we'd made before, since then I had at least one recipe that I knew worked, and I've wanted for a long time to try some of the things in the two Anglo-Norman culinary MSs edited in Speculum
. So we had rather a mixed bag, but the theme was mostly "Spanish" (from the Anglo-Norman cookbook I specifically picked "Spanish Food" to complement the theme).
I decided I didn't want to do any large meat dishes, but simply do a number with chicken breasts in them and the rest be vegetarian. We were really lucky that of all the people who said they were coming we had no serious allergies, and only two intolerances to work around -- one doesn't eat wheat, another pine nuts.
The cooks came in waves on Saturday, which turned out to be a good thing because while our kitchen is big it's not that big, and while I'd planned 7 dishes to do that day, there were often times when we were all hanging around twiddling our thumbs. It was really quite relaxed.
What I did in advance was type up each recipe on a separate piece of paper, so there was lots of room left for us to put notes regarding quantities, substitutions, and method. Afterwards, I sent each recipe down (we had the meal out in the courtyard -- thank goodness the rain held off! -- because there's no way we could fit that many in our apartment!) with each dish so that people could both know what was in each dish, and see just how little, in some cases we had to go on.
So, here are the dishes, with the translations of the recipes into modern English and then my notes from our versions. Throughout, we used store-bought almond milk (unsweetened) and apple cider vinegar for verjuice or sour grape juice. Unfortunately, we ended up without saffron, so we just went without.Boiled Chicken with Lemon SauceBook of Sent Sovi IV
If you want to make lemon sauce, make almond milk of peeled almonds with chicken broth. Cook it in a good pot with ground spices, ginger, and saffron, and a lot of white sugar and lemon juice. And let it boil a lot. This sauce should be colored, and it should be served with roasted or boiled chickens, and it should have plenty of sugar and lemon juice, so that each of the flavors attracts the other. And flavor it with salt, spices, verjuice, and sweetening.
Boil 6 chicken breasts for 10 minutes. Cool, and slice thin. For the sauce, mix apple cider vinegar, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, fresh ground black pepper, sugar, lots and lots of lemon juice, and ~400ml almond milk. Boil over low heat until the sauce turns slightly syrupy.
Rio was in charge of this, so I have no idea what the relative proportions were except that there were a lot of ground cloves -- there was no worry about having no saffron, because there is no way the saffron could've overcome the brown of the cloves -- and the end result reminded me very much of mulled lemon juice. It was amazing -- sweet and sharp, spicy and vinegary, and excellent over the chicken. It was a favorite, and I'm so glad we have leftovers!RavioliTwo Anglo-Norman Culinary Cookbooks
Take fine flour and sugar and make pasta dough; take good cheese and butter and cream them together; then take parsley, sage, and shallots and chop them finely, and put them in the filling; put the boiled ravioli on a bed of grated cheese and cover them with more grated cheese, and then reheat them.
Marika brought her pasta machine so I put her in charge of that. Her basic pasta recipe involves 2 cups white flour, 3 eggs, a pinch of salt, and a dash of olive oil, to which we added 1-1 1/2 T white sugar according to the recipe. Mix, and let sit for 15 min.
For the filling (which we made in two batches because I didn't know how far one batch would go; the quantities given are for the two batches together), mix 400 g frischkäse with 6 shallots finely chopped, ~4 T unsalted butter, two bunches parsley (mix of flat-leaf and curly) finely chopped, and dried sage (because we were unable to get fresh).
The ravioli were made and then boiled and then layered in a glass baking dish with ~300g grated parmesan. This then sat in the fridge overnight and soon after people started arriving I splashed olive oil over the top and put it in the oven at 200 C for ~20min until the cheese started melting and some of the raviolis started browning. This was also really well received.Eggs with Parsley SauceBook of Sent Sovi, X and XI
If you want to make parsley sauce with eggs, take onions, parsley, water, salt and oil, and set it to cook. And grind a little of the onions and parsley and spices, and grind it and mix it with some broth; and set it to boil with verjuice. When you take it from the fire, put it in and stir it, and put it cleanly in bowls.
If you want to make parsley sauce in another way, take eggs beaten with vinegar and put them in a good pot with the broth and with the sauce [i.e., from the previous recipe], and put it to boil and stir continually with a large spoon. When the pot is boiling, take it from the fire. Flavor it with verjuice, salt, and spices, and one can put in a little sweetening. The eggs that you serve at the table should be fried whole, served in bowls on top of the parsley sauce, for this is how they require it.
The idea of mixing the eggs into the sauce seemed complicated to me, so we didn't. Also, I couldn't really figure out how to make 7 fried eggs stretch amongst ~30 people (I realized rather too late that we should've had 1-2 l more almond milk and 1 package more eggs than we actually had). So, Sunday afternoon I co-opted someone who knows how to hard boil eggs (Jan), which we then sliced and served with the sauce. The sauce was 2 white onions, finely chopped,1 1/2 bunch chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1 C water, 1/4 C apple cider vinegar, lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper, all cooked together with a small amount (1/4 - 1/2 t ?) of bouillon.
At one point I tried to take some out and grind it in the mortar and pestle, but that didn't really work, so I didn't bother any further. This was stored in the fridge overnight and served cold. It was not to my taste at all, but both Joel and Markus picked it out as one of their favorites.Garlic CheeseBook of Sent Sovi XVIII
If you want to make garlic cheese, take dry white cheese and grind it together with garlic. When it is well ground, put in a little oil or mix it with lukewarm water that has not boiled. If you put in four or five egg yolks, it will be even better, especially if it is served with meat.
We weren't serving with meat, so we omitted the egg yolks. I also didn't remember that it specified "dry cheese" when I was shopping, so I ended up with 200 g frischkäse, into which 1 head of garlic was pressed. If you like fresh garlic, this was awesome; it was great spread over bread.Tender ChickpeasBook of Sent Sovi LII
If you want to prepare tender chickpeas, wash them well. Take almond milk, and cook them with the milk and oil and salt; and put in one or two onions scalded with boiling water. When they should be cooked, put in parsley, basil, marjoram, and other good herbs, and a little ground ginger and a little sour grape juice. This is the way to cook them when they are tender, but not among the first [of the season.]
If you want to prepare the most tender ones, boil the almond milk with oil, salt, and new onions, and the herbs listed above and ginger and sour grape juice. Put in the chickpeas, washed with hot water, and they’ll be done right away.
We parboiled 3 white onions and then roughly chopped them. These with 5 cans of chickpeas were put in a pot with enough almond milk to cover (in retrospect: too much), with a splash of olive oil, about 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, a good deal of fresh basil, dried marjoram (we didn't have fresh), ground ginger, and apple cider vinegar. Cook until the chickpeas are tender.
We made this yesterday, but then I reheated it today before serving.Chicken Fritters With CheeseScappi's 16th C Italian book via Maggie's redaction (see link above)
Cut chicken breasts into strips and boil for about 10 min. Shred them with two forks. Break two balls of fresh mozzarella into pieces and mix it with the chicken. Grate about an equal amount of parmesan and add along with 2 T cinnamon, 2 1/2 T sugar, and fresh black pepper -- lots and lots and then some more. Mix in 4 eggs until it all holds together. Make a paste of another 4 eggs and enough flour (we used rye so that Ayme could eat them) to have a thick paste (better thick than thin). Roll fritter mixture in balls the size of egg yolks, coat in paste, and fry.
We made these yesterday and then served them cold (except for the ones eaten hot off the pan.)Mushrooms in SauceBook of Sent Sovi XVII
If you want to make sauce of mushrooms that are boild, pressed, and fried with oil, make the sauce like this: take onion, parsley, vinegar, and spices, and mix it with vinegar and a little water. Make pieces of the mushrooms, to fry, or serve with a fried mixture, and then put them in their sauce, or serve them grilled with salt and oil.
I realized this one rather sounded like the parsley sauce for eggs, but over mushrooms instead, so I decided to just cook everything together. 2 large white onions, chopped, ~600 g sliced mushrooms, 3/4 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (parsley was one thing we had to go out and buy more of mid-day yesterday), 3/4 C water,cinnmon, cloves, pepper, ginger, salt: Fry onions in olive oil with a dash of cider vinegar, add mushrooms and parsley and spices and cook down.
These were made the day before and served cold.
These next three dishes were served hot, and so made soon before guests arrived.Broom PuddingBook of Sent Sovi XXIV
If you want to make broom pudding for fast days, make almond milk and strain it and put it in a good pot. After that, take flour made of ground rice and pass it through a sieve of silk, and then mix it with the milk; it should be nice and clear, so it cooks well. Then, when you have to take it from the heat, put in saffron so that it turns the color of broom. Take cinnamon and cloves, and put them in to cook whole; there are some who do not want the pieces to appear: take a good cloth and wrap the spices inside. Boil it all the while. You can put in, if you wish, a bit of old oil. Then, at the end, take cleaned raisins and put them in the pot. Flavor it with salt.
It should be quite thick, like porridge, and it should have a lot of sugar, to overtake the flavor of the rice and almonds. And you can put in, per every four bowls, a pound of almonds and as much rice as fits in a mustard bowl. If one likes it, one can put in toasted pine nuts, and these one leaves to boil. After that, one distributes enough pudding for the bowls. Take care that before you put in the pine nuts, they [the pudding] should be a little cooled off.
ARG! I just realized we forgot the raisins! Ah well.
This one rather confused me, until I decided that it must in fact actually have rice in it, even though it doesn't state it explicitly, so I decided to make it like a risotto/rice pudding. This is the one dish we would have really liked the saffron for, since the result was very white, and should have been yellow, like a broom flower.
Heat oil in a stock pot, and toast ~1 C risotto rice in the oil until translucent. Add 1 liter almond milk and some (2-3 T?) rice flour, 1 T white sugar. Cook the rice until it is thick and creamy. I ended up adding in maybe ~1 C more broth (we'd run out of almond milk), to keep it liquid enough until the rice was cooked. Towards the end, I put in two cinnamon sticks and a few shakes of whole cloves, plus some salt. The result was thick and creamy and sweet.Spanish FoodTwo Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections
Almond milk, rice flour, capon meat, a measure of ground pistachio nuts put on top, seasoned with ground cloves, to enhance the aroma of the pistachio nuts; the color, yellow.
Yeah. That was the whole recipe.
We sliced 4 chicken breasts and boiled them in some almond milk with rice flour and 1 C chicken broth (again, insufficient almond milk at this point), alongwith 1/2 t ground cloves. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens. Serve with chopped pistachios on top.
This one was surprisingly good.Slices of CheeseBook of Sent Sovi XLIV
If you want to serve slices of soft cheese, make slices of the cheese that are quite large. Then take the leavened dough, as it is said above [in the previous recipe] and mix it with egg yolks and beat it a lot with a spoon. And then spread it over and under the slice of cheese, and put it in the pan with the grease said above. Turn it over often. When it should be cooked, take it out and put sugar over and under it.
This one was another hit. I took two balls of fresh mozzarella and drained on a paper towel, then sliced in about ~3mm slices, and drained some more. The dough was made from 2/3 C warm water with 1 t sugar and 1 packet of yeast, left to proof, and then mixed with a scant amount of rye flour (all that was left) and ~1 - 1 1/2 C rice flour (rye and rice again so it was wheat-free). Add 1 egg, and then enough more warm water to form a thinnish paste (not liquid, but too sticky to be kneadable dough). This was left to sit and bubble, being stirred occasionally, while we waited for other things to happen. Then, just as everything else was being plated up, Joel heated up vegetable oil, coated the slices, and fried them. He said the trick was to (a) make sure the oil was hot enough and (b) only turn them once, otherwise the dough splits and the cheese oozes out.
All told, we served 32 people (4 of which were kids, and some of whom were late-comers and thus didn't get much) for a total of about 55EUR. If I had had about twice that and doubled many of the recipes, I don't think anyone would've gone hungry. Many thanks to my co-cooks: Joel, Gwen, Marika, Rio, Nicole, Mike, Ayme, Jan, Julie, Anji, Autumn, Joël! Note that "I" in these recipes mostly refers to my decisions, not my actions -- much of this was physically done by these lovely people.