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Drgn-Drmt-fst-art – 11/28/05


An overview of the Dragon Dormant Baronial Investiture feast held in L'Ile du Dragon Dormant on March 5, 2005, cooked by Lord Petru cel paros Voda.


NOTE: See also the files: headcooks-msg, salads-msg, frogs-msg, pasta-stufed-msg, ribs-msg, sugar-paste-msg, cabbages-msg, Romanian-ckbk-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                 AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed,  9 Mar 2005 21:59:12 -0500

From: patrick.levesque at elf.mcgill.ca

Subject: [Sca-cooks] (LONG!) Dragon Dormant Baronial Investiture,

        March 5

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org, EKCooksGuild at yahoogroups.com


Here's an overview of the feast held in L'Ile du Dragon Dormant on March 5. I

had the honor of being in charge of the kitchens that day. Here is the menu I

planned (the original recipes and sources follow at the end of this message):


1st remove : Bread with Cheese Spreads and grapes


2nd remove :

        -Veal and Fowl Torta

-(vegetarian alternative : carrot, parsnip, turnip and cheese pie)

        -Salad of Lettuce, Mint and Parsley


3rd  remove : Finger Food

        -Frog Legs with green sauce

        -Raviolis with goat cheese and spinach


4th remove :

        -Pork Side Ribs in a Sour Cherry and Garlic Sauce

        -Brussels Spouts



5th remove :

        -Swan-shaped creampuffs

      -sugar paste dragon




We had opened 200 on-board places, which were all filled.


I actually took a week off work before the event to pre-cook some items (pies,

raviolis, cream puffs, cheese spreads, green sauce).


I had prepared a detailed schedule for kitchen work on feast day. The schedule

was pushed back from the outset, as the butcher who was supposed to get me 75

pounds of pork ribs actually forgot to place the order. I had to run around

town, emptying 3 butcher shops of their ribs and losing a good hour in the

process, before I got to the event site.


Things went rather smoothly from then on. I could count on the help of Her

Excellency Ardenia (thanks again!) and on that of a newcomer named Simon, who

turned out to be quite kitchen-savvy as well. My lady and my man-at-arms formed

the rest of my core kitchen crew.


The event site included two conventional ovens and six electric burners. I

rented an extra 6 portable burners as well as 4 tabletop steam warmers. These

proved invaluable, as food could be assembled early on and still served warm

later. (and given that they are cheap to rent, they will probably form a

permanent part of my future feasts here!)


The feast was supposed to begin at 7 PM - Court dragged on and we began serving

food at 8. Although we had only one minor glitch during feast (the raviolis

stuck together while boiling) we fixed it by turning everything instead into a

ravioli-dumpling soup :-) (Quick thinking, Ardenia!). We also had to re-arrange

the service order: the sprouts and mushrooms were served with the frog legs, and

the soup with the ribs.


Unfortunately, the promised feast service crew never materialized, so service

had to be handled by one individual from each table. This complicated logistics

somewhat in the beginning, but it all worked out fine in the end.


The feast ended with a bit of pre-arranged drama between King Thorson and I.

King Thorson complained that the feast was not fit for a baronial, much less a

kingly table: The dishes included (including quails, pheasant, frogs, ribs,

etc...) could be found in the estates of any lowly lord. I begged His Majesty

for one last chance, promising to offer him a food he had never tasted before.

He warily agreed... I then called in the last dish, a dragon made out of sugar

paste. His Majesty happily snapped the neck of this creature, seemed satisfied

with the taste, and I was allowed to live :-))


(This was my first experiment with sugar paste. The details lack finesse but

hopefully I'll be able to refine my technique. you can see pictures here:




Over all, the feast seems to have been well-received. The food was gulped down

and very few was left over (a bit more of the salad came back than of the other

dishes, though...) To my surprise, the frog legs disappeared very quickly!


I tried to base the feast mainly around 15th century Italy (with the notable

exception of the two dessert dishes). Next time, however, I want to improve the

period atmosphere by including more period elements around the feast

(handwashing, carving, period food presentation perhaps) and possibly factoring

in humoral theory in the selection of food items (yay! research!)


Now here is, as promised, more information on the menu:




Recipe sources, description,  notes and redaction (if any)


  I am first of all greatly indebted to Mistress Helewyse de Birkestad for her

public translation of the Anonimo Veneziano, from which I have taken a few

recipes. They are reproduced ith her permission.


I used Terence Scully’s translation of the Cuoco Napoletano and Mary Ella Milham

translation of De Volputa Honestate et Valetudine (excerpts provided under the

‘Fair Use’ copyright clause).


Cheese Spreads (Apicius)

Original recipe  {315} Melcas: cum pipere et liquamine, uel sale, oleo et



Notes : Melcas : with pepper and liquamen, or salt, oil and coriander, Melcas

is a form of cheese curds made from milk and vinegar. For convenience’s sake

(as making cheese for 200 is an ordeal I’m not willing to tackle right now)

I’ve used instead drained cottage cheese, mixed with the appropriate



Veal and Fowl Torta (Veal pies in a baking dish - Cuoco Napoletano #71)

Translated Recipe : Get meat from the haunch of a calf, chop it up with a little

veal fat and a little cured ham; when thus chopped up, put it in a pot or baking

dish away from the fire, and have it well skimmed; you can put in pigeons,

thrush, and other small birds and cockerels; when these meats are half-cooked,

get a small onion and chop it well, a little lardo, a small amount of good

spices and raisins, put this into the pot and cook it a little more; then get

verjuice, beaten eggs and more good spices and put everything together in the

baking dish nd let it finish cooking; and you can put in four or five whole

egg yolks. Note that the cook must be judicious in using those ingredients in

quantities appropriate to the amount of the meat and according to his master’s



Notes : I’ve left out th cured ham in an attempt to have a pork-free dish.

Instead I addded a bit of salt with the spices to compensate. The pies include

veal,  beef (to lower the cost somewhat) chicken, quails and pheasant. The

original recipes does not mention dough, however, it is possible to cook this

as a meat pie, especially since the following recipe (#72) is very similar in

ingredients (omitting the raisins, but adding saffron). Since these were

presented as 9-inch pies (as opposed to full-sized tortas) I did not leave the

cooked birds whole but included only the meat. I also skipped the extra egg

yolks, which are implied to be optional.


Salad of Lettuce (Platina, Book IV #2)

Translated Recipe :  « ...Put it in a dish, sprinkle with ground salt, pour in a

little oil and more vinegar and eat at once. Some add a little mint and parsley

to it for seasoning so that it does not seem entirely bland... »


Notes : Well this is pretty straightforward too,  isn’t it?


Frog Legs (Platina, Book IX #41)


Translated Recipe : .. »We let the legs of those which are captured be stripped

of skin and soaked a night or day in fresh water. Then when they have been

rolled in meal, we fry them in oil. When they are fried and put in a dish, my

friend Palellus covers them with green sace and sprinkles them with fennel

flowers and spices...


Notes : The frog legs are bought frozen. When thawed, I roll them in beaten

eggs, then in a mixture of flour, breadcrumbs, thyme and oregano, before frying

them in oil.

I serve the green sauce (also from Platina, see below) on the side.


Green Sauce (Platina, Book VII #6)

Translated Recipe : Grind together a little parsley, thyme, chard or other

fragrant herbs, a moderate amount of ginger, also of cinnamon, and a bit of

salt. When they are ground soak in sharp vinegar, and pass through a sieve

into a bowl. If garlic pleases you, add more or less according to taste.


Notes : Also fairly easy to recreate. I replaced the chard with mint (easier to

find) and added garlic, of course!


Raviolis (Anonio Veneziano #LXIII)

Translated Recipe : If you want to make ravioli with herbs or with other things,

take herbs and peel (strip from stalks) and wash well.  Put them to boil for a

little time (parboil) and pull them out (of the pan) and squeeze out all the

water.  Beat them with a knife (chop) and then in a mortar (grind).  Take fresh

strained cheese, eggs and strong and sweet spices and mix these all well

together and make a paste.  Then take a thin layer of pasta, in the way of

lasagna sheets, and tke a large measure (spoon) and make the ravioli.  When

they are made put them to cook and when they are well cooked powder them above

with enough spices and enough good cheese and they are very good.


Notes : the only herb I’ve used is spinach (prepared according to the recipe,

with a little helps from modern kitchen implements). Goat cheese has been used

for the stuffing, parmesan for dusting. The eggs have been dropped out of the

recipe as these were made in advance and frozen. I have adhered to Mistress

Helewyse’s theory that the raviolis here are probably boiled in water

and salt.


Sour Cherry and Garlic Sauce (Platina - this is taken from two recipes, Book

VIII #18 and 19)

Amalgamated Translated recipe : #18 : Add to semi-crushed almonds or nuts as much as you want of clean garlic, and grind at the same time, as is sufficient,

sprinkling continually with a bit of water so it does not produce oil.  Put into

the ground ingredients bread crumbs softened in meat or fish stock, and grind

again. If i seems too hard, it can be easily softened in the same juice.



.. Do not soak in water or juice, but in the must of red grapes, pressed by

hand and cooked for a half hour. This can even be done with cherry juice.


Notes : I use sour cherry juice, out of necessity (it is the only affordable

cherry juice I could find locally). I boil it down by one half. This is

necessary as otherwise your sauce will have a nice Pepto-Bismol

pinkish tint.


I prefer a more liquid texture, rather than pasty, so I go easy on the almonds

and breadcrumbs. (It is possible, of course, that the Pepto-Bismol pink color

and pasty texture were desirable elements in period. Other interpretations

are plausible).  For both these recipes no usage is specified - whether they

area side dish or incorporated into a dish is not always specified in this

chapter. I have used this sauce is baste the meat before a final run in the

oven. It adds a nice, colorful and tasty finish to the ribs.

The ribs themselves are boiled in red wine an water. This is a common practice

for boiling meat in period.


Sprouts of Health (Anonimo Veneziano #XXII)

Translated Recipe : If you want to make sprouts of life, take the rounded

cabbage sprouts and boil them for a little while.  When they are a par-oiled

take them off the heat and strain away all the water.  And then fry them well

in plenty of fat.  Take verjuice, parsley, water, spices and salt and mix them

well together before putting them on top (of the sprouts), and let them boil

well togethe.  Then take a little marjoram, temper it with water and put it

above (the dish) and it will be good.


Notes : the fat used here is butter, out of concern for vegetarians. Otherwise

this recipe is pretty easy to follow. Verjuice was unavailable and has been

substituted by white wine vinegar.



Mushrooms (Anonomo Veneziano #XXV)

Translated Recipe : If you want to make mushrooms, take dried mushrooms and put

them to soak in hot water and wash them well.  Then boil them a little and make

them cook how youwant and prefer.  Then take onions and herbs and season with

strong and sweet spices, and then add the mushrooms and fry everything

together.  Take unpeeled almonds and grind them and then put on top of the

mushroom dish, alternatively you can add verjuice and it needs to be served hot.


Notes : thankfully we have fresh mushrooms all year round! I skipped the first

part of the recipes. The mushrooms were sautéed in oil with the onions, herbs,

spices (cloves, nutmeg and pepper) and garnished with powdered almonds.


Swan-Shaped Creampuffs


Notes : This is where I break with the Italian tradition. There are recipes for

whipped cream as snow in Sabina Welserin (#55) or in the Ouverture de Cuisine,

and as Trifle in Ladyes Delight, amongst other sources. Sabna Welserin’s

recipe is interesting in that it serves the the snow on a slice of bread.


There are fewer recipes for ‘pâte à chou’ (creampuff dough). You find one

variant in Welserin as well (#85) and another in the OOP ‘Délices de la

Campagne’ (1655) nder ‘Chou’ or ‘Poupelain’. You also find one in ‘Ouverture

de Cuisine’. These recipe call for cream instead of water. There is one English

recipe (from ‘A Book of Cookrye’ – 1591) which does employ water in the making

of the dough. (My thanks to HL Johnnae for pointing this out)


The swan-shape pastry is shamelessly swiped from the Larousse Gastronomique.

Although I can not prove its appearance in period, this is the kind of sotlety

that would have been amusing during a feast.






Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 09:23:21 -0500

From: patrick.levesque at elf.mcgill.ca

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] (LONG!) Dragon Dormant Baronial Investiture,

        March 5

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Selon Samrah <auntie_samrah at yahoo.com>:

> Petru, your feast sounded wonderful! Creative and tasty!  Just a few

> questions.  What was the charge for the feast (especially with the exotic

> stuff)?  Were you happy with what you charged vs. your closing expenses?

> Where are you located mundanely? (If memory serves, you are someplace in

> Canada, but just in case senility has set in...)

> Samrah


Thank you for your comments!


The budgeted charge for the feast was 10$ a head. (the rental kitchen stuff was

not included in that amount, but added to the site fee). The feast was for 200,

giving me 2000 (Canadian $, of course) to work with).


I was way under-budget. The feast actually cost slightly over 1400$, so about 7$

Canadian per head. Bulk-shopping does wonder to a budget! :-)) (and quite

frankly, we'll need the money to pay for all the regalia!!!). Still, had I

known, I would have added more game to the pies, and maybe prepared another

fancy dish just for the fun of it. (Turtle soup, anyone? :-))


I'm located in Montreal, so fortunately everything I needed was close-by - the

food wholesaler do not actually require tax # or official status, everybody can

drop by and buy what they need (taxes are not applicable to food items, except

goodies such as chips, sodas, cookies, etc...)


I'm pretty happy with the result. I would have liked to have more equipment in

the kitchen (who wouldn't???) to serve more fancy stuff, but as it was I think

I did fairly well with what was at my disposal. Kitchen space was a bit cramped

but There was an unused storage room right next to it where we could set-up

everything for service instead.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org