Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

From the desks of Vatel, La Varenne, and Company


C_Ruark
 Share

Recommended Posts

eGullet member Lisa Grossman (Balmagowry) co-wrote a historical recipe book based upon meals/food mentioned in the Patrick O'Brian series of Aubrey/Maturin novels. The setting of the books is in the British Navy in the early 19th century.

It's a fun read with some very odd dishes. I gave it as a gift to a friend who actually made a very bland cornmeal dish from the book.

"Lobscouse and Spotted Dog "

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday was the monthly get together & cook historic recipes night chez Eden. The menu was almost entirely from Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) Sorry no pictures.

To roast on the spit and on the grill shoulder of mutton

(Lamb stuffed with cheese & fresh herbs)

To fry fresh peas with the skin and without

(Fresh peas with pomegranate sauce)

Cauliflour in sour orange sauce

(cauliflower served with sour-orange vinaigrette)

Even I, avowed hater of most brassicas, liked this dish

To make a dish of rice of Lombardy roasted with meat of pullets, cervellate and egg yolks.

(casserole of rice, cheeses, chicken and dried-sausage/salami)

I want to revisit this as a timbale & see if I can get it to unmold nicely...

To make tart with diverse materials from Napoli called “Pizza”

(Dried-fruit & nut custard tart :wub: )

Pan unto con provatura fresca

From "La singolare dottrina" di M. Domenico Romoli

(fresh-mozzarella cheese toasts with cinnamon sugar & rosewater)

Really successful night. all the recipes will need futher refinement, but they were quite good. Most of these recipes have the original text available in English online from one site or another, if anyone else wants to try them as well.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I missed this on account of being away and dense.

What I wouldn't give for a complete english translation of Scappi. Given the importance of his work I am surprised that this hasn't happened. Surely there are enough Ph.D. students in the world to have done this?

Anyway, recipes would be good and what do you mean, no pictures!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I missed this on account of being away and dense.

What I wouldn't give for a complete english translation of Scappi. Given the importance of his work I am surprised that this hasn't happened. Surely there are enough Ph.D. students in the world to have done this?

Anyway, recipes would be good and what do you mean, no pictures!?

As a long term project a full English of Scappi is on my list to do (with a fellow researcher). we even have some preliminary work done, but right now I am focusing on finishing my Anonimo Toscano translation. 14th c. Tuscany is where it's at man :laugh: Oh and this weekend I realized that someone really needs to catalogue the names of all the kitchen implements in scappi's illustrations!

Unfortunately whenever we have cooking night here, most of my attention gets grabbed by either explaining points in the recipes, or finding people kitchen equipment, leaving no attention for pictures. however, one of my friends is planning to make the pizza again this weekend, I will ask her if she can grab a shot, and all of these recipes need further refinement, so I will try harder to get photos next time...

Here's the stuffed lamb recipe draft by way of atonement:

To roast on the spit and on the grill shoulder of mutton

Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) recipe text here

Combine:

1/2 c chopped italian parsley

3 cups domestic parmesan, shredded

3 tbsp crisco (forgot to buy lard :sad:)

3 eggs

1/2 tsp pow forte

Stuff into

3 lbs bonelless leg of lamb (was 3.4 lbs, but cut a little out of center to make room for stuffing)

Roll & Tie, salt, then bake at 350 for about 2 hours

Notes: use less stuffing. Probably won't serve well in bulk because stuffing oozles out so much, you can't make pretty slices easily, or guarantee everyone gets both meat & filling Tasted FABULOUS! try adding other herbs next time, also use real lard

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Georgin side dish tonight, pink pancakes. Not my favourite era in English cooking, but an intersting one. Many commentators see this period as a Golden Age of English cooking, but I think that it is were the rot set in for all the deliciousness of individual recipes.

Be that as it may, Mrs Raffald's "Pink Pancakes" (1769) are pretty good in a modern setting. They are made from beetroot, cream, brandy, eggs, flour and nutmeg. Here they are served with dill cured salmon from The Summer Isles Smokehouse near Ullapool and sour cream with wanuts, lemon and horseraddish.

gallery_1643_978_174724.jpg

gallery_1643_978_574640.jpg

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a first try at an early Scottish recipe Adam PM'd to me:

from Lady Castlehill's manuscript (pre-1712) 'To make a rice florendine'

gallery_20334_1469_21611.jpg

This is basically an eggy rice-pudding with minced apples and rosewater baked in puff pastry. It was perfectly nice, but I would do it differently if I revisit it. First of all, it should be completely covered by puff pastry, the parts that I had exposed became a little dry on the top, and secondly I would bake it at a lower temp to avoid scrambling the egg mixture if possible. It's also really important to spice it heavily so the flavors still come through both baking & being wrapped in a crust...

quite good with fresh vanilla ice-cream though!

Adam I love the color & texture combinations on those pancakes!

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, recipes would be good and what do you mean, no pictures!?

One of my compatriots revisited the Pizza recipe last week, and just sent me a photo, so here's what our 1570 Pizza looks like (bottom right) The lidded pie is a Tarte of Flessche, with pork, chicken, currants, etc.

gallery_20334_1469_27027.jpg

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway, recipes would be good and what do you mean, no pictures!?

One of my compatriots revisited the Pizza recipe last week, and just sent me a photo, so here's what our 1570 Pizza looks like (bottom right) The lidded pie is a Tarte of Flessche, with pork, chicken, currants, etc.

gallery_20334_1469_27027.jpg

Eden,

As always, I am salivating. That tart looks awesome! What's on a 1570's pizza btw?

Chris

"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eden,

As always, I am salivating. That tart looks awesome! What's on a 1570's pizza btw?

Chris

Here's a translation by yours truly of the original Text from our good friend Scappi:

To make tart with diverse materials from Napoli called “Pizza”

Get 6 oz of sweet almonds, peeled, and 4 ounces of sweet pine nuts peeled, and 3 ounces of freh dates lacking seed and 3 ounces of fresh figs, 3 ounces of raisins without seed and all things ground in the mortar. Spatter with a turn of rosewater such that if forms like paste. Add with these materials 8 fresh raw egg-yolks, 6 ounces of sugar, 1 ounce of pounded cinnamon, an ounce and a half of must, made into powder, 4 ounces of rosewater and make what comes of everything into a composition. Have the baking pan with a layer of pasta royal, and the tart layered about not too thick and put the composition in the pan, mix with 4 oounces of butter, make it no more tall than 1 finger and without a cover. Make it cook in the oven and serve it hot and cold as you please. In this pizza you can put every sort of seasoning.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK a demo in producing a pudding in a cloth. Pre-modern ranges much cooking was either done over an open fire or slightly later and enclosed firebox. Meat was roasted on a spit in front of the fire (meat cooking in an oven is "Baked"), or boiled in a large pot over the fire. Puddings were originally cooked in animal guts, as they make good, cheap, readily availble vessels. These guts either gave you long sausages of various lengths (using the intestines) or a round pudding (if using the stomach for instance). The haggis is the last British version of one of these early boil in the stomach puddings.

Sometime during the 16-17th century the stomach was replaced to a large extent with a cloth. It has been suggested that this was to avoid the fllavors associated with the gut, but it is equally likely that people wil less access to guts were now making puddings and neaded a replacement.

Even until quite recently Sussex was known as the region in England where this practice was cooomon and even gave its name many of these puddings boiled in a cloth.

"Sussex Pond Pudding" is still popular with people that like to make "Traditional English Food", the modern versions is now made in a bowl and contains a whole lemon with a butter/sugar sauce. The "Pond" is said to be the butter sugar sauce that runs out of the pudding when cut.

This is a 17th century version, the oldest I have found, you can see that the pond was originally something quite different.

From “The Queen Like Closet” by Hannah Wolley, 1672.

"To make a Sussex Pudding

Take a little cold cream, butter and flower, with some beaten spice, eggs, and a little salt. Make them into a stiff paste, then make them into a round ball, and you mold it, put in a piece of butter in the middle; and so tye it hard up in a buttered cloth, and put it into boiling water, and let it boil apace till it be enough then serve it in, and garnish your dish with barberries; when it is at the table cut it open at the top, and there will be as it were a pound ["pond"] of butter, then put rosewater and sugar into it and so eat it.

In some of this like paste you may wrap great apples, being pared whole, in one piece of thin paste, and so close it round the apple, and through them into boiling water, and let them boil till enough, you may also put some green gooseberries into some, and when wither of these are boiled, cut them open and put in rosewater butter and sugar."

First the cloth, I use a good grade of calico, the cloth is first boiled for a few minutes then well floured to water proof the container.

gallery_1643_324_512981.jpg

I have departed from the pastry in the origianl as I am not great with pastry, I find it easier to get a lighter pastry with suet, so instead of an all butter pastry I use a 50:50 blend of the two. Butter is frozen then coarsely grated. Fats are mixed with dry ingredients, then made up into a firm, but not crumbly dough.

gallery_1643_324_526926.jpg

The dough is placed on the floured cloth, which is put into a bowl (which makes it easier to shape the pudding). As you can see I am making the apple version. I depart from the recipe in a few ways, first I stuff the apple with mince meat (Francatelli's 19th century lemon mince meat, now a year ols the best I have come across) and I use orange water, not rose water to flavour the apple.

gallery_1643_324_131459.jpg

The apple is completely enclosed in the pastry, excess is squeezed off (I have taken it out of the cloth to demonstate this), then firmly tied up and boiled for about two hours. Always put a plate in the bottom of the pot to prevent the pudding from burning on the bottom.

gallery_1643_324_742380.jpg

gallery_1643_324_789369.jpg

gallery_1643_324_138348.jpg

gallery_1643_324_789340.jpg

After two hours the pudding is turned out, as you can see it is an unattractive blob, so while not mentioned in this recipe I have glazed it with sugar, which wa a common practice with dumplings.

gallery_1643_324_778636.jpg

gallery_1643_324_396450.jpg

gallery_1643_324_337273.jpg

Suet pudding crusts are very light, anybody that thinks they are stodgy has not had a well made version. It takes a light hand and boiling in a pudding cloth produces a lighter textured crust then using a pudding bowl.

gallery_1643_324_495620.jpg

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adam - you're some kind of evil genius. You need to be stopped before more people fall under your spell.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Adam! I confess I have been intimidated by these bag puddings, and your demo makes them seem far more accesible.

May I suggest a variant filling for another day? I think the tasty filling from Digby's not-quite-contemporary Pippin Pudding would work perfectly with your recipe:

A PIPPIN-PUDDING

Take Pippins and pare, and cut off the tops of them pretty deep. Then take out as much of your Apple as you can take without breaking your Apple, then fill your Apple with pudding-stuff, made with Cream, a little Sack, Marrow, Grated bread, Eggs, Sugar, Spice and Salt; Make it pretty stiff. Put it into the Pippins; lay the tops of the Pippins upon the Pippins again, stick it through with a stick of Cinnamon. Set as many upright in your dish as you can: and so fill it up with Cream, and sweeten it with Sugar and Mace; and stew them between two dishes.

pulled from The Project Gutenberg edition of Digby

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Several German books I have suggest that, when cooking dumplings/puddings in a pudding cloth, one should leave plenty of extra cloth at the top of the pudding, and tie this extra cloth around a ladle which is then laid across the top of the pot. The pudding is thus suspended in the boiling water without having to add a plate at the bottom of the pot to avoid burning, and the pudding can be pulled out easily when done.

I must say that I haven't actually done this. I would prefer to have my pot covered, and I don't see how to do that easily with a ladle lying across the top. Nonetheless, I thought it might be worth mentioning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ladle thing is also suggested in English texts, but I have not done this. I might if I make a quaking pudding or other similar tender pudding though. The Germans still make a hugh range of excellent puddings/dumplings, I especially like the apple versions.

This a "Clootie Dumpling" from my recent Highland trip. A "Cloot" is the Scottish for "Cloth". It looks like a Christmas pudding but is much lighter in texture and less rich. Absolutely delicious too.

gallery_1643_1679_37800.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adam - you're some kind of evil genius. You need to be stopped before more people fall under your spell.

From another Evil Genius:

Ha ha ha, oh my God! I almost didn't do it, I almost didn't do it! I thought, is this in bad taste? But you know what, I went for it. I went for it and I'm so glad I did! Ooooh, worth it, totally worth it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night was another foray into the bounty of Italian Renaissance recipes.

Here's a photo of a salad we made from Christoforo d Messisbugo's 'Libro de arte coquinaria' of 1548. Listed among the menu items at the begining of the book is an entry for "salad of endive radish, rampion & citron".

gallery_20334_1469_163846.jpg

As you can see, we used both red and "white" endive, which was just lovely as a contrast. note that lacking rampions we used daikon radish as I had read that rampions are similar to white radishes. (If anyone who has tried them wants to give me a better description please do!) In place of citrons we used lemons. though we cut them ultra fine they still were a little difficult to eat because of the rind. Next time I will either parboil them and cool first, or soak them in lemon juice for an hour or two to try & soften the rind up so they will be closer to the texture of real fresh citrons. (wish I could just mail order citrons!) We dressed each component in it's own bowl & then plated to be sure they were dressed nicely but also looked pretty...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Medieval ginger cheesecake :wub:

From the emminent Maestro Martino of 15th century Italy we made a torta Bianca on Thursday.

The orignal text says roughly "mix fresh cheese with egg-whites, sugar, butter, milk & ginger, bake it in a pie crust, then sprinkle it with sugar and rosewater when it's done"

those chunks on top are the garnish of candied ginger.

here's a photo gallery_20334_1469_63265.jpg

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used a mix of grocery store ricotta and fresh mozzarella, with both fresh and powdered ginger in it. (My friend Nicole's brilliant idea)

It's SO good! makes a great breakfast too :laugh:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Dinner went 14th century and French tonight

Well actually similar dishes are found in English and Italian recipe collections from the same period, but this is from Le Viandier by Taillevent (Guillaume Tirel) from the end of the 14th century. Some of you may recognise the name.

BLANC BROUET DE CHAPPONS. Cuis en vin et en eaue, puis

despeciez par membres, et frisiez en sain de lart, et puis

brayez amendes et des brahons de voz chappons, et des

foyes, et deffaictes de vostre boullon, et mettez boullir sur

vostre viande; puis prenez gingenbre, girofle, garingal,

poivre long, grainne de paradiz, et deffaictes de vinaigre, et

faictes bien boullir ensemble, et y fillez moyeulx d'oeufz

bien batuz; et soit bien lyant.

If Old French isn't your thing then try this:

Cook them [capon] in wine and water, dismember them, and fry them in lard. Crush almonds with some capon livers and dark meat, steep in your broth, and put to boil on your meat. Take ginger, cloves, galingale, long pepper and grains of paradise, and steep in vinegar. Boil well together, and thread in well beaten egg yolks. It should be well thickened.

Here are the spices. From the clockside from the clove, ginger, long pepper, grains of paradise and galingale. Although I can get the ginger and galingale in the fresh state here, I decided to use the dried versions in this instance.

gallery_1643_978_685061.jpg

After pounding, this is the resulting powder. All of these spices are "hot" and a quick taste comfirmed this, sort of a medium chilli sort of heat. This fits into the notion of balancing of the humours, which was the medical theory at the time, the hot/dry spices complimented the cold/moist chicken. Maybe even a dish for old men with young wives...

gallery_1643_978_693608.jpg

So the chicken browns nicely in lard (thank god for Polish delis), while the sauce is prepared seperately. Yay pressure cooker.

gallery_1643_978_66741.jpg

The finished dish. Also served with a green sauce from the same period. It is very similar to extant green sauces, except maybe that it is thickened with bread. Green sauce was good, but I didn't get the spice mixture right (a common issue with this type of cooking) - too much ginger. Also, I need to get an immersion blender.

gallery_1643_978_621797.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lovely!

One of my fellow culinary history enthusiasts refers to French/English medieval food as "all brown glop" :raz: I think this is an excellent example of just how wrong he is.

I think you're using James Prescott's translation of Taillevent, yes? I generally prefer his translation to Scully's although I love all the other data in the Scully book...

I do wonder a bit, based on other similar recipes, if it wasn't supposed to mean "Put the almond & livers to boil with some broth and then combine that with the spice & egg"? Not dissing Prescott's translation, but rather wondering if Taillevent drifted from HIS source recipe as so often happens in the transmission of medieval recipes over time.

Edited by Eden (log)

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a lot of gloop yes, but if it is brown then something is wrong as there is usually a big emphasis placed on bright colours or whiteness.

In this case I reckon that there is a transcription error as the use of egg yolk and almonds is redundant - as they are both thickening agents. I lot of very similar recipes say things like 'if you have no almonds, then use egg yolks'.

Also, these are not 'recipes' as such, more memory aids for professional cooks, I I think that a lot of very obvious things will be left out - which unfortunately doesn't help modern day cooks. I think that if you follow individual 'recipes' exactly then you will end up with some pretty nasty food, better to read many similar recipes to get an overall 'feel' for what is intended (he says while ducking the faux wimples through his way).

Very nice cheesecake, similar tarts are still being made in parts of the UK, which is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well yes egg & almond would be redundant, but they often use both almonds & bread crumbs so that doesn't seem to be out of the realm of possibility. and IF i'm right & the liver was supposed to form part of the sauce then that would have been a thickener as well.

(FYI to any fellow liver haters, this technique does NOT make the sauces I've tried so far nasty & liver flavored at all - no idea why not...)

not to toss faux wimples, because I think that much of the time you're right, but at least some medieval recipes seem more detailed and actually intended to walk you through the making of the dish. Not detailed to the level of modern recipes with speficic quantities, but at least along the the lines of your grandmother teaching you to make biscuits...

However yes many of them are more like a modern note that "when I make Macaroni & cheese I add a little asiago and some worcestireshire sauce" which is all you'd need to know because of course you already know how to make Mac & Cheese...

Yes my friend has a bee in his bonnet. the number of medieval recipes that go on about how to make food in interesting colors is significant but apparently not convincing for him. Sometimes once someone has formed an impression, no amount of hard evidence can change it :wink:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having gotten his permission, here are James Prescott's comments re the Bruet after I sent him the link to this thread:

Many thanks for forwarding this.  Extremely interesting.  You wrote:

>  I do wonder a bit, based on other similar recipes, if it wasn't

> supposed to mean "Put the almond & livers to boil with some broth

> and then combine that with the spice & egg"? Not dissing Prescott's

> translation, but rather wondering if Taillevent drifted from HIS

> source recipe as so often happens in the transmission of medieval

> recipes over time.

I'd certainly be inclined to agree with you.  In my translation I was

very careful not to make gratuitous alterations even when the direct

translation seeemed suspect.  Leave that up to each and every cook,

because they might get it right and I might get it wrong.

If one drops the three words "on the meat" then what is left makes

a lot of culinary sense, and that's certainly what I'd try first when

trying to recreate the dish.

The capon is already boiled then fried.  A second boiling seems

excessive to me in this case, besides ruining the lovely texture

of the fried capon.

The use of multiple thickeners is not unknown -- we have three in

this recipe (almonds, liver, eggs), and I'm fairly certain that's

not a mistake.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting stuff. As well as a thickening agent the almonds are a flavouring agent. Even modern sweet almonds will give you some 'almond' flavour if the almond milk is held in the raw state for a few hours. Based on my experiences in Morocco, I'm guessing that medieval almonds contained a resonable percentage of bitter almonds, so maybe even a stronger flavour?

Like the proportion of spices used, another thing that isn't written in the recipes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...