I blame Hollywood. The popular image of medieval and Tudor food is all fat, gouty nobles with meat grease dripping off their chins, waving haunches of venison which of course would be stiff with spices because they didn’t have fridges and the meat was off. In between gargantuan flesh fests they would oppress peasants and maybe ravish a maiden or two before getting their comeuppance from a hero of gentle birth who lived in a treehouse. Continue reading
This pie is my interpretation of one in Thomas Dawson’s The Good Housewife’s Jewel, first published at the end of the 16th century, and the latest in my new series of historical recipes. I’ve followed his suggestions for both pastry and filling as faithfully as I can, because although Dawson gave more detail than many of his contemporaries, there’s still plenty of room for guesswork and because I’ve adapted it to modern tastes. Continue reading
Yes, I’m doing a LOT of reading for my new historical recipes project. But while I research and refine and generally faff about, I don’t want to leave you all hanging, so today’s recipe is for a medieval staple, verjuice. Continue reading
I‘m lucky enough to live in an old and rather beautiful home. It’s Tudor, with the oldest part dating back to around 1500, although like most houses of its sort it’s been altered and added to over the centuries. We have witch marks on the beams, elaborate Elizabethan chimneys and parchment-written deeds which, sadly though responsibly, the previous owner donated to the county records office for their preservation.
Living here has increased my interest in historical recipes and I thought it would be good to recreate some in a way that reflects the house and the periods it has lived through. Continue reading
This recipe is based on one from a wonderful old cookery book called Adam’s Luxury and Eve’s Cookery. Published in 1744, it is the earliest book I’ve seen which is largely vegetarian. The first half (Adam’s) is devoted to kitchen gardening, and the second (Eve’s) to recipes. It wasn’t a feminist era. Continue reading
“Take medlars that are rotten, strain them, and set them on a chaffing dish of coals, season them with sugar, cinamon, and ginger, put some yolks of eggs to them, let it boil a little, and lay it in a cut tart. Being baked, scrape on sugar.” The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, 1660/1665. Continue reading
Ahem. I say Tudor-style because it’s a pale imitation of the incredibly elaborate pies our ancestors would knock up on feast days and it’s not an authentic recipe. But verily, it tastes really good. Continue reading