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Irish-Vik-fst-art - 6/26/01


The feast for an SCA event centering on the Norse Viking attacks on the British Isles, particularly Ireland.


NOTE: See also the files: Ireland-msg, Norse-msg, fd-Ireland-msg, fd-Norse-msg, fd-Scotland-msg, Scotland-msg, Wales-msg, fd-Wales-msg.





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                             Thank you,

                                   Mark S. Harris

                                   AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                        stefan at florilegium.org



Boat Wars, April, AS35

by Lady Bonne de Traquair

Buckston-on-Eno, Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia


Karen Lyons-McGann      April 2000 Durham, NC


Boat Wars is an annual event based on the theme of the Vikings attacking the

Isles.  The Isles are accepted to be the various small islands decorating

the British, Scottish and Welsh coastlines, or Ireland itself.  There is a

growing body of knowledge about foods available due to the Viking era Dublin

archeological digs, and information on the stomach contents of 'bog men' and

from burial sites all over the British Isles is also available.  But,

there's no recipe information better than references in tales, making strict

accuracy impossible.  The lines below identified as 'Source'  do not

indicate anything about the recipes, which are a collection of traditional

and modern Irish/Scottish recipes, with a sprinkling of later medieval

recipes documentable to other lands.  And one Roman recipe.   It refers only

to the documentation of the main ingredients in the source 'Land of Milk and

Honey: The Story of Traditional Irish Food and Drink',  Brid Mahon, Poolbeg

Press, Dublin, 1991.  Ms. Mahon is a folklorist, she has used tales, songs,

letters and diaries as well as the archeological research about to create a

history of what the Irish ate, and how that diet changed with various

invasions and occupations, from the Vikings, to the Normans, to the British.


Below are my research notes, including notations about further research I

would have liked to have done. Soon after the event I began arranging to

move across the country, so following up in those books first requires

locating them in California, or getting them through Inter Library Loan and

I haven't put out the effort yet!  I also needed some information from my

deputy cook that I have not yet received.  I'll update this file when I can.


COURSE 1  (Other than the Mushrooms, which are simple, and Parsnip Cakes,

which are troublesome, this course is all prepared in advance.)


1. Pickled Quail Eggs

2. Baked Mushrooms

3. Samit Cheese (Fresh Cheese w/herbs)

4. Buttermilk Oaten Bread

5. Boiled Ham

6. Cisti Meacan Ban (Parsnip Cakes)


COURSE 2  (Except for the bread these were all made on site.)


7. Brotchan Rua (Leek and Oat soup)

8. Wheaten Bread

9. Marog Mheacan Dearg (Carrot Pudding)

10. Kailkenney (Kale and Barley)

11. Fried Beans from The Forme of Curye

12. Roast Rib of Beef w/ Pepper Sauce


COURSE 3 (Made on site)


13.  Honey Custard

14.  Berries




1. Pickled Quail Eggs

Ingredients: Quail Eggs (canned in water), vinegar, peppercorns, cloves,

ginger, salt, sugar


Method:  Rinse eggs and pack into sterile containers.  Boil vinegar and

spices, pour over eggs, seal.


Recipe Source: Traditional, multiple recipes found, with varying spices.  I

chose to use this combination because it sounded good to me.


Historical Notes:


Source:  Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 118-121  (all sorts of eggs mentioned,

including the eggs of many wildfowl, though not quail specifically)


Follow up source: The Banquet of Dun na nGedh, John O'Donovan (trans), Irish

  Archaeological Society, Dublin, 1842, 1-22 (story over a war supposedly

fought over a basket  of goose eggs)


2. Baked Mushrooms

Ingredients: 12 Mushrooms, 2 oz butter, salt, pepper


Method:  Serves 4

Choose large, flat mushrooms. Wipe them with a clean cloth, peel them, and

cut off the stalks close to the crowns. Do not wash them unless absolutely

necessary.   Butter a fireproof dish and lay the mushrooms edge to edge,

dark side up. Sprinkle with salt  and pepper and put a small piece of butter

on each one.  Cook in oven for 20 minutes (350 F), (Gas mark 4)  Pile on a

hot dish and pour on the gravy which has run from them.


Recipe Source:  Recipes from the Orkney Islands, Edited by Eileen Wolfe,

Gordon Wright  Publishing, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1978  pp. 60, by T. Gorn,



Historical Notes: remark on pickled mushrooms, from the 16th C. followed by

discussion of use by 'ordinary country housewife' stewed in milk, with a

good dab of butter and salt and pepper. or, when fully opened and just brown

underneath, cooked on a gridiron, or fried with bacon.


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 108


3. Samit Cheese (Fresh Cheese w/herbs)


Ingredients: Milk, Rennet, Fresh Herbs


Method:     (Get from Bryn)(Soft Fresh cheese made in advance of feast.) chop

herbs and mix into the cheese.  Serve with bread.


Recipe Source: (Get from Bryn)


Historical Notes:   Dairy Products a large part of the early Irish diet


Source:  Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 4 (archeological evidence) 55(goat

cheese), 91-2 (list of cheese types and names, 109


follow up on Aisling Meic Con Glinne--The Vision of Mac Conglinne, Kuno

Meyer (trans) London, 1892, 5-113     Curds?


***the list of herbs has gone missing and shall have to be re-researched.  



4. Buttermilk Oaten Bread

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 1/3 cups rolled oats (ground), 1 1/4 cup

buttermilk, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt


Method:     soak the ground oats in the buttermilk several hours or overnight.  

Mix the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk and oats and mix.  If necessary,

add a little more buttermilk to make the mixture into a soft dough.  Knead

the dough until it is smooth, about 10 minutes.  Roll into a round about 2

inches thick, and lay it on a well-buttered baking sheet.   With a sharp

knife, cut into quarters. Bake in a pre-heated 375 F oven for about 25

minutes or until golden.


Recipe Source: The Good Cook: Techniques and Recipes  Breads, Time-Life

Books, 1981 (follow  up on their source ''Irish Recipes Traditional and



Historical Notes:    With baking soda, this recipe is NOT period.  All my

oatcake experiments met with very little enthusiasm from experienced oatcake

eaters, my husband and our friend.  My husband is British with a Scottish

mother, and didn't approve of any I made.  Our friend is American but lived

several years as a child in Wales, he was polite, but obviously not happy

with them.  I didn't like them either.  I wanted an oaten bread of some

sort, and so used a modern recipe rather than waste food and effort on

something even the two most likely to appreciate rejected.


Source:  Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 3 grown 500 BC, 5, 62 (oatmeal 62, 65.  

Oatmeal  breads 5, 68, 72, 73) also cakes, jelly, porridge, sowans  

Buttermilk, pp. 5, 85 (in addition  to cows and goats, also deer, and sheep)


Follow up Source: Coir Anman Irische Texte, III, Stokes and Windisch (eds),

1897, 285-440,  legend of Nia Segamain  Tripartite Life of St. Patrick,

Whitley Stokes, (ed and trans) from the Book of Lismore,  Oxford, 1980


****In the end, logistics prevented even serving this modern oaten bread.  

The wheaten bread was moved up to this course, to go with the cheese and the

soup had to go without bread.****


5. Boiled Ham

Ingredients: (Used Smithfield Brand Country Ham, saved label to copy, now it

is gone)


Method:     Soak overnight, boil, cool, strip off rind and fat.  Slice and

serve cold at site.


Recipe Source: Traditional. (Serving cold ham dicatated by site



Historical Notes: smoked ham might be more correct than a salt cure ham.


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 4, 58, 61, 118, curing 58, 69


Follow up Sources: Department of Irish Folklore MS 1071, 137; 433, 127;

1862, 113, 142;  444, 92

The Aran Islands, JM Synge, 1907, 528


****mustards were on my original menu plan, and then completely forgotten

until the feast was going out to the tables!****


6. Cisti Meacan Ban (Parsnip Cakes)

Ingredients: 1 lb parsnips, 1 Tbs. flour, salt, pepper, mace, 1 Tbs. butter,

1 beaten egg, 8 Tbs.  bread crumbs, oil for frying


Method:     Serves 4  (more if cakes are smaller)

Cook and mash the parsnips, combine with the flour, seasoning and butter in

a large bowl and  blend well. Mold into flat round cakes about 2.5 inches

in diameter and .5-.75 inches thick.   Dip into the beaten egg, toss in

bread crumbs and fry in a frying pan until golden brown on both  sides.  

Drain well before serving.


Recipe Source:  In an Irish Country Kitchen, Clare Connery, George

Weidenfeld & Nicholson Ltd., London,  1992, pg. 83


Historical Notes:


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 107 'Some varieties of parsnips and

carrots were  known in early Ireland. In Lives (see below) we read how St.

Ciaran  of Saigher used parsnips as a relish, while Mac Conglinne in his

12th C Vision gives a marvelous description  of '...a forest of tall leeks,

of onions and carrots stood behind the house.'


Follow up Sources: Lives of the Saints, Whitley Stokes, (ed and trans) from

the Book of  Lismore, Oxford, 1980;  Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century,

Edward MacLysaght, Dublin and Cork, 1939




7. Brotchan Rua (Leek and Oat soup)

Ingredients: 1/2 lb leeks, white and green parts, 4 Tbs. butter, 2/3 cup

steel cut oats or oat groats, 3  3/4 cups water or  vegetable stock, 1  3/4

cups milk, salt, pepper, mace, 2 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped


Method:     Serves 6

Trim and wash the leeks well. Chop finely across their length.  Melt the

butter in a large  saucepan and add the oats.  Fry gently until well

toasted, then stir in the stock and milk.   Bring to a boil and add the

leeks and seasoning.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes until the leeks are  tender

and the oats cooked.  Adjust the seasoning and serve sprinkled with the

finely chopped  parsley.


Recipe Source: In an Irish Country Kitchen, Clare Connery, George Weidenfeld

&  Nicholson Ltd., London,  1992, pg. 53


Historical Notes:  supposedly a soup enjoyed by St. Columba, see Florilegium

for remarks by others on cooks list


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, leeks, pp. 106; milk, 4,5,6, 40, 56, 84-97;

oats see above; St. Colm Cille (Columba) 44, 47,  48, 106, 120


Follow up Source: Whitley Stokes mentioned above


8. Wheaten Bread

Method: (Get from Bryn)

Ingredients: (Get from Bryn)

Method:(Get from Bryn)

Recipe Source:(Get from Bryn)


Historical Notes:  Early law bairgin banfuine - woman's cake = two fists

wide, one fist thick, bairgin ferfuine--mans cake = twice that, bairgin

indriub was kept for guests before whom a  cut loaf should never be placed.


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 69


Follow Up Source:  Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish. I, II, III,

Eugene O'Curry, Dublin and New York, 1873


9. Marog Mheacan Dearg (Carrot Pudding)

Ingredients:  3/4 lb of carrots, 6 eggs yolks, 1/2 cup butter, 2 Tbs. heavy

cream, 1/2 cup ground almonds


Method:  Serves 4-6

      Wash and peel the carrots, leave whole and cook in boiling water until just

tender.  This  will take about 8 minutes. Drain the carrots and dry off any

excess moisture.  Grate on a course  grater.  Beat together the egg yolks

and sugar until rich and thick in texture and pale cream in  color.  Beat in

the cream.  Soften the butter until the consistency of thick cream, but not

melted.   Beat into the egg and sugar mixture along with the carrots.  Stir

in the ground almonds.  A few drops of orange-flower water can also be

added.  Pile into the pie dish, bake at 400 F for 20  minutes, then reduce

to 350 F for a further 35 minutes.


Recipe Source:  In an Irish Country Kitchen, Clare Connery, George

Weidenfeld & Nicholson Ltd., London,  1992, pg. 153


Historical Notes:  (reference by C. Connery in book above) 'Take three large

carrots give  them a good warming in boiling water then take them out and

grate them take the yolk of twelve eggs very well beat half a pound of

sugar half a pound of butter melted three of four  spoonfuls of sweet cream

and beat all the ingredients together you must put puff dough  round your

dish you may improve it by putting in a quarter of a pound of blanched

almonds  pounded let the sugar be the last thing going in.' 1709 receipt

book of Charles Echlin from County Down


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp.  5, 107


follow up Mac Con Glinne reference


***grating the half cooked carrots gives an entirely different, and better,

texture than grating and then cooking the carrots.***


10. Kailkenney (Kale and Barley)

Ingredients:  1/2 cup rolled oats (1 cup barley)*, 1 lb. kale, 1/2 cup

chopped green onions w/ tops, 4 Tbs. butter,  1/2 cup meat broth or water,

salt & pepper to taste, 1/4 cup light cream, 1/8 tsp. freshly grated  nutmeg


Method: Serves 4

      Toast oats in a small dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned,

about 3 minutes.   Remove from heat, set aside.  Wash kale, strip kale

leaves from their stems; cut into fine slivers.  SautÈ green onions in 2  

Tbs. melted butter in a large saucepan until tender.  Add kale and broth or

water.  Season with  salt and pepper.  Cook over moderate heat, covered,

about 12 minutes, until just tender.  Add  cream, nutmeg, 2 tablespoons

butter and toasted oats, mix well.  Cook 1 or 2 minutes.


Recipe Source:  'A Bonnie Scottish Cookbook', Kay Shaw Nelson, EPM

Publications, Inc.,  McLean, VA, 1989, p 71.  *('Recipes from the Orkney

Islands' has a similar recipe using barley.  I have substituted  barley for

variety as oats appear so often in this menu and barley is also appropriate

to early Ireland/Scotland )


Historical Notes:


Source:  Land of Milk and Honey, pp. 5, 107, 'Charlock or praiseach bhui, an

edible weed that when boiled resembled leafy brown kale was used from the

12th C and possibly  much earlier. '


follow-up sources: Mac Con Glinne


11. Fried Beans

Ingredients: 1 lb of split fava beans (2 1/3 cups) 8 cups water, 1/4 cup

oil, 3 lg cloves of garlic chopped fine, 2 medium onions parboiled and

minced. 1  1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground cubebs, 1/2 tsp.  ground cumin.


Method:  16 servings

      Soak the beans overnight and cook them until tender.  heat the oil and

brown the onion and garlic. Add beans and brown approx. 20 minutes,  

stirring often.  Season with salt and spices and serve.  This recipe works

well for large  quantities by baking in an open roaster in the oven on

375-400 F, turning occasionally.


Recipe Source:  'A feast at Carrick Fergus' by Lady Hauviette March, AS 35


Historical Notes: The Forme of Curye, A Roll of Ancient English Cookery,

1390  'Benes y fryed  Take benes and feep he almoft til pey berften, taken

and wryng out wat clene. do to Oynons  yfode and ymynced and farlec pw. frye

hem i oile. o i grece. do to powdo douce. sue it forth.'


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, pp 4, 'from Norman times, peas and

beans...:, 6 'The Norman Invasion of the 12th C brought with it a new

pattern of eating with a dependence on cereals,  beans, peas and bread.',

107 'While there is evidence that the Vikings of Dublin used some  species

of coarse black beans, peas and beans were not generally known or used in

pre-Norman times.


follow up source: the web site with Dublin archeological information


***I discovered only recently that the fava beens should have been skinned.  

Oh how troublesome, but the skin is tough and somewhat bitter.  Should I

prepare it again, I'll buy pre-skinned fava beens.***


12. Roast Rib of Beef w/ Pepper Sauce

Ingredients: 1 rib roast of beef, 2  1/2 to 3 lbs; 2 Tbs. black peppercorns,

10 Tbs. water, salt


Method:  Roast the meat on a rotisserie, or under the broiler but not too

close to the heat, to an internal temperature of 120 degrees F/48 degrees C,

turning from time to time. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, crush the peppercorns in a mortar or grind them coarsely in a

spice grinder.  Add them to the water, bring to a boil, and simmer for

several minutes.  Add salt to taste.  When the beef is done, let it rest for

at least 5 minutes in a warm place so that the juices  will be more evenly

distributed.  Carve into even slices, sprinkle with salt and serve with the  

boiled pepper.


Recipe Source: The Medieval Kitchen, Odile Redon, Francoise Sabban & Silvano

Serventi,  Translated by Edward Schneider, The University of Chicago Press,

1998, p110


Historical Notes:  From above: #54,  'Assatura  bouina, cum costis iuxta

dorsum acceptum, simpliciter in ueru assatur et cum bullito pipere  

administratur'  'Roast of beef, taken from the ribs near the spine, is

simply spit-roasted and served with boiled pepper.'  according to Redon et

al the author also writes 'In general, all the  meats that should be boiled

in water are the flesh of pork, beef and mutton.'  as beef was 'cold'  and

'dry'.  But perhaps the boiled pepper is intended as a corrective element so

that the meat  may be digested.'  Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi

omnio cibaria, #388


Source: Land of Milk and Honey: The Story of Traditional Irish Food and

Drink, Brid  Mahon, Poolbeg Press, Dublin, 1991,  beef pp 5, 6, 52, 55

'tributes paid in kine', 56, 57, 61, 62

cattle pp. 3, 52, 55, 62

Cattle Raid of Cooley, 3, 55, 91


follow up source: The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, The Four Masters,

John O'Donovan  (ed), Dublin, 1845-51

St. Ciaran and 'the book of the Dun Cow'




13.  Honey Custard

Ingredients: 2 cup milk 1/4 cup honey 3 egg yolks, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg or



Method: combine the milk, honey and eggs, pour into individual molds or

serving dish, bake  uncovered at 325 F for 1 hour or until set.


Recipe Source: The Roman Cookery of Apicius, John Edwards, Hartley & Marks,

Washington  DC, 1984, pp. 175


Historical Notes:   below


Source: Land of Milk and Honey, p 5 moat of custard in Mac Con Glinne, 71

The  Norman lords brought '...baked custards in pastry with dried fruits'


14.  Berries

Ingredients: 1 lb mixed berries, frozen, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. ground ginger,


Method:     serves 8

      Thaw berries, mix w/ sugar and ginger.


Recipe Source: speculative, from below


Historical Notes:  Source: Land of Milk and Honey,  bilberries (rel.

blueberries) 4 'The markets of medieval Dublin offered. . .', 105, 133, 134

blackberries 4, 23, 104, 139

gooseberries not indexed

raspberries 4

strawberries 4, 105


***The berries were intended as a seperate dish, but it was quickly discoved

that they were excellent as a sauce for the custard.  Equally delicious as

breakfast the next morning. ***



Copyright 2000 by Karen Lyons-McGann, Irvine, CA. (Gyldenholt, Caid). <oftraquair at hotmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<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