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Italian-Feast-art - 1/10/10


An Italian-themed feast at the Pounce VIII event in the Middle Kingdom cooked by Mistress Helewyse de Birkestad in 2009.


NOTE: See also the files: Italy-lnks, Italy-msg, cl-Italy-msg, Ital-Ren-Dce-art, NP-Italian-fst-art, Nrmn-Scly-Fst-art, onions-msg, pasta-msg, wafers-msg, snow-msg, gourds-msg.





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Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Pounce VIII

Fri. Sept. 18 - Sun. Sept 20, 2009

~60 people served.





Primo Servizio -


First Course


Secoro Servizio -


Second Service


Terzo Servizio -


Third Service


Pane de latte et zuccaro   -


Bread of Milk and sugar


Lombo di bove arrostito -   


Roast beef in loin


Pere cotto in vino -


Pears cooked in wine


Uve de varie sorte -


Mixed grapes


Cipolle cotto sotto il   rosto -


Onions cooked under the   roast


Cialdoni -




Insalata di verdura -


Mixed green salad


Minestra di zucche   d'India -


New world squash parboiled   and fried in butter


Neve -


A dish of snow, cream   whipped with rose water


Ouve ripiene -


Eggs stuffed with cheese and   herbs


Maccheroni alla Romano -


Roman style macaroni pasta   layered with cheese and cinnamon


Conditti et confettioni a   -


sweet candied fennel seeds,   and candied ginger


Torta di Salmone -


Salmon and cheese tart


Mostardo Amabile -


Sweet and spicy mustard


Stecchi profumati -


scented toothpicks


Salza di melangranata -


Sour orange sauce








From: Louise Smithson <helewyse at yahoo.com>

Date: September 11, 2009 11:26:39 AM EDT

To: mk-cooks at midrealm.org

Subject: [mk-cooks] upcoming feast


So I am cooking a local feast in a little over a week (Pounce, http://www.catteden.com/pounce.html), and I've kind of been slacking with the planning.  Well I had a nice little nightmare last night that it was the day of the feast, 3pm in the afternoon even, and I hadn't even started shopping yet. OK so my subconscious isn't subtle sometimes.


The feast is for 60 paid feasters, for a total of about 75 total eating (including servers etc). The kitchen is OK, an electric commercial stove with two ovens (only one shelf each), a griddle and several electric burners (may take a while to bring stuff to a boil).


Here is the menu and a little bit about the execution of each dish, as you can see I am well ahead, and have pretty much planned a no brainer menu.  It is full of dishes that people will like, every single one is documentable and best of all much of the prep can be done in advance.  I plan on taking a nap next Saturday. :


Primo Servizio - First service

Pane de latte et zuccaro - Bread of Milk and sugar (Messisbugo) - Planning to make next week and bake at the Tuesday meeting place of the Toledo group, there is a commercial kitchen there.

Uve de varie sorte - Mixed grapes OR meloni rossi et bianchi – white and red melons (Scappi menu items) - planning to buy next Thursday at the farmers market, probably will end up with melons.  Will need cubing and plating only.

Insalata di verdura - Mixed green salad (Scappi menu items, Castelvetro) - baby greens dressed with an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing - about a ten minute prep time.

Ouve ripiene - Eggs stuffed with cheese and herbs (Anonymous Venetian) - planning to boil next friday, make the filling on Sat am, will need stuffing before service

Torta di Salmone - Salmon and cheese tart (Scappi) - because I taught a class on fish at feasts guess I'd better follow my own teaching.  Essentially a cooked fish is blended with cheese, eggs and spices and baked in a tart, served cold so can be made either on Friday or early on the day of.

Salza di melangranata - Sour orange sauce (Scappi) - orange and lemon juice with sugar, cooked to a syrup, will be canned early next week.

Secondo Servizio - Second Service

Lombo di bove arrostito - Roast beef loin (Scappi) - rubbed with garlic, salt, black pepper and fennel then simply roasted over onions.

Cipolle cotto sotto il rosto - Onions cooked under the roast (Scappi) - need cutting up, provide a bed for the roast.

Minestra di zucche d'India - New world squash parboiled and fried in butter (Scappi & Castelvetro) - will buy at the farmers market, need cutting and parboiling then sauteeing.

Maccaroni alla Romano - Roman style Macaroni - egg noodles boiled until tender, layered with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.  Always popular and simple to execute.


Mostardo Amabile - Sweet and spicy mustard (Scappi) - already made and canned.


Terzo Servizio - Third Service

Pere cotto in vino - Pears cooked in wine (Scappi) - done, got free pears from a friends tree, made a light sugar syrup with wine and followed the instructions for hot pack canning.

Cialdoni - Wafers (Scappi menu item, recipe from Markham) - will probably make these next week (probably Wednesday or Thursday), they hold well.

Neve - A dish of snow, cream whipped with rose water (Scappi menu item, Gallo) - whipped cream need to pack the stand mixer.

Conditti et confettioni a beneplacito - sweet candied fennel seeds, and candied ginger (Scappi menu item and method) - I'll buy the fennel seeds from the middle eastern store and the ginger from the local health food place.

Source material:

Castelvetro, G., Brieve racconto di tutte le radici, di tutte l'erbe e di tutti i frutti che crudi o cotti in Italia si mangiano. 1614, In Londra, M.DC.XIV.

Gallo, A., Le Vinti giornate dell'agricoltvra et de'piaceri della villa. 1575, Venetia: appresso Camillo & Rutilio Borgominieri.

Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.) * (Anonimo Veneziano)  * -- This version based on: Ludovico Frati (ed.): * Libro di cucina del secolo XIV.Livorno 1899.

Markham G.  The English Housewife.  Redacted recipe shamelessly purloined from www.medievalcookery.com, the excellent resource of Master Edourad Halidai.

Messisbugo, C. , Libro Novo Nel Qual S'insegna a' far d'ogni Sorte de Vivanda. 1557, Venetia.

Scappi, B., Opera : (dell' arte del cucinare).  Reprint. First published: Opera di M. Bartolomeo Scappi. Venice, 1570. 1981, Bologna: Arnaldo Forni. [20], 436 leaves [ca. 888 p.], [28] p. of plates.



Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2009 12:39:08 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Helewyse's last feast


Here is the feast report for Baroness Helewyse's feast last weekend.




I did my fourth ever SCA feast this weekend at one of our small local  

events (Pounce).  To make matters more complicated while working at a  

temp job on Tuesday I fell off a ladder and jammed my shoulder, this  

meant limited ability to lift, carry, roll, etc (in fact do anything  

that used the shoulder). Thank heaven for willing friends, students  

and ex-apprenti.


Lady Vashty bat Abraham - who helped me make over 100 wafers on  

Thursday, and the ginger drink, then helped me shop, tote, load my car  

and set the pavillion up on site

Master Giles fitz Alan - who came to help out with prep, cooking and  

service along with his charming partner

Faoileann - who also helped majorly with prep and kept the kitchen  

clean and the dishes to a minimum.

Lord Godfrey Thacker of Northumberland - helped with some of the prep  

on Saturday, then served as expediter for the feast, he also mopped  

the kitchen on Sunday.

Lady Magrat - another splendid expeditor, she also helped out a lot  

with cleanup after.

Lord Yoseph - My hall steward, organized the servers so that everyone  

got everything, and made sure that all servers helped with clean up  

and dishes too. It was so nice not to have to struggle for help after  



The meal served was as follows (with commentary after each dish).


First course:

Green salad - This took more time to plate than it did to make, baby  

green mix with a oil and vinegar dressing, total no-brainer.  We only  

served 2.5lb of salad to 80 people and I was still throwing it away,  

2lb next time.


Fresh melon - I hit the local farm market and picked up local  

watermelon and musk melons, these were cut by 12 on Saturday (cheap  

too).  There was one 9x13 pan of this left after feast.  But it was so cheap that I'm not sure it was a huge waste.


Stuffed eggs - these were boiled on Friday night, peeled on Sat am,  

then stuffed and plated around 5pm so they were ready to go with the  

service.  These were popular, what few were left after service were  

quickly grabbed up and made off with.


Salmon pie - I made pastry on friday am, and smoked the salmon in my  

stovetop smoker.  On site Vashty rolled out the dough (apparently  

rolling dough makes my shoulder hurt) and then blind baked the  

crusts.  The filling was mixed (parmesan and ricotta cheese, eggs,  

marjoram, mint, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper), put into the tart  

shells and these were baked.  The fridge had plenty of space (with a  

little re-organization) and these were put in to chill.  Sat am. the  

tarts were taken out of the pans, sliced and then wrapped.  All ready  

to go for service. This was the first time I had ever served fish at a feast, I bought a little under 7lb and it made enough pies for 1/6th  

of a pie/person.  About 40% of the pie came back.  I got feed back,  

those who liked fish and ate fish loved it.  Some who tried it said it was good, but not their favorite dish. And then of course there are  

the people who just don't eat fish.  Given the chance to do it over I  

would probably cook about 8 pies (instead of 13), cut them into 10  

pieces a pie and just let people know that there are some extras.   

However, I only ended up with 2 pies myself, the rest got bagged up by servers/feasters and taken home.  All in all I'm not unhappy with how  

it went.


Orange sauce - made on Thursday, orange and lemon juice with sugar.   

Simple renaissance sauce, meant to be eaten with the fish pie, but  

many people weren't sure where it belonged, I have a quart of it in  

the fridge.


Bread of milk and sugar - Made on Wednesday, and frozen, I had to have  

my husband help me with the rolling out bit, again shoulder did not  

care for it.  It all went away, people like it.


Second course

Sauteed squash - thank heavens for new world foods in renaissance  

cuisine, butternut squash (4 giant ones for $4 at the farmers mkt)  

cubed, parboiled for 5 minutes then sauteed expertly by Giles on a  

newly scrubbed flat top grill with lots of butter.  Thats it.  What is  

amazing is the number of people who want to know what you did with the  

squash that made it so good.  No leftovers.


Roman macaroni (locally called weezi mac) - commercial noodles cooked  

and layered with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.  I probably could have  

got away with only 5lb dried noodles instead of the 7lb I used.  The  

almost wo 9x13 pans leftover rapidly disappeared in ziplocs to servers  

etc. No leftovers for me.


Roast beef - giles butchered the sirloin removing all of the nasty  

gristle that this cut often had, resulting in 6 x 5lb roasts.  I was  

lucky in that there was a butchering place across the road that gave  

me some twine so I could tie them up.  I had originally intended the  

roasts to be in the oven at 5pm but in the end they didn't go in until  

nearly 5.30 and didn't come out until 6.45, but fortunately court ran  

over so we were fine.  They were pulled between 120-125 and got  

rested, so they were medium rare when sliced, but after sitting in  

pans before being plated they went to medium, they were still juicy  

and edible (thank goodness) next time I may pull ealier, that much  

mass of meat can hold a lot of heat.  Given the amount of meat left  

over I could probably have got away with buying either 3 smaller  

roasts or 2 larger ones.  Again though the servers were happy to take  

stuff home leaving me with a scant 1lb.


Onions cooked under the roasts - these were simply quartered and  

served as the bed on which the beef roasted, I bought 20lb and used  

15lb, this should have been reduced to 10lb.  I have about 7lb of  

roast onions in the fridge right now.  On the plus side I also have  

two quarts of the most amazing pan juice.


Sweet mustard - went over well, I had a little leftover.


Third course

Wafers - made by me and Vashty on Thursday, all gone


Pears cooked in wine syrup - canned over two weeks ago, we used four  

quarts, two quarts were unopened and not used and there was about a  

quart left over after people grabbed them.  I don't mind the canned  

pears will keep and as the only thing the feast budget paid for was  

the sugar and some of the wine (it was supplemented from my stocks) I  

don't feel bad.


Snow - I made an error and did not pack a big bowl to whip the snow  

in, but it came to peaks finally and went out with service.  There was  

a little left over after feast, but this was eaten with bread for  

breakfast on Sunday by a couple of people.


Overall impression - Probably one of my best organized feasts, I kept  

it simpler than normal, tried to plan ahead and make as much stuff in  

advance as possible.  This kept food prep and cooking on the day to  

minimal, and also made for a less stressful kitchen. The feasters as a  

whole enjoyed everything (the exception being the salmon pie) and left  

the table satisfied.  There were still a few overestimations in the  

amount of food needed per person, but nowhere near the amount of  

leftovers as compared to some of my earlier attempts. Having a few,  

highly qualified, self motivated staff was sufficient and goes to show  

how well a feast can run if you plan appropriately. There were no  

disasters, all the ovens and facilities worked as advertised, the only  

spanner in the work was my dodgy shoulder which let me know on Sunday  

that I had overdone it the day before.





Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 05:47:48 -0700 (PDT)

From: Louise Smithson <helewyse at yahoo.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Squash was Re:Helewyse's latest feast


I suggest that "Helewyse's latest feast" would have been a more accurate and less alarming subject line.



I didn't follow all of the discussion of Squash in Scappi. Do we know

that New World squash was cooked in the fashion Helewyse describes?






The mode of preparation is mostly taken from the lean day recipe for squash and also from comments in Castelvetro and also Mattioli (full refs below). Essentially I left out the flouring bit, due to feast mass production considerations and substituted butter for oil as it wasn't a feast day.


From Mattioli we have (emphasis mine in bold):


One can find other than these of ours (gourds) in Italy those that are served all the winter, of various sizes, shapes and colors. These new (as they are called) came from the Indians; some of these, called sea gourds, have been in Italy for longer. All of them, however have the shape of a melon, but some are very large, others large, others small, and others medium, some are segmented like melons, and others have ribs inside the floret, they are borne on stalks, well lifted and distinct, and a strong shoot, and several are round, others flat, others tending towards long, of various colors, the which of them there are truly so many of note today that I cannot possible describe them all. All these species produce leaves somewhat larger than ours, coarser, and ragged like a hand, attached by large and rigid stems, and of a similar form to living leaves. They have tendrils which are large, sharp, angled and hairy, which slide across the ground for a long

way and vine (like beans) up into trees, hedges and trellises like ours. The flowers are similar to the lily, only yellow and much larger. One harvests them in the autumn and serves them then all the winter in food. They produce large seeds, like almonds, flat and white, and within is a meat which is sweet and gentle. They taste sweet and not bland like ours, but they are tasty without seasoning them with condiments and aromatic spices.


Excerpted from Castelvetro section on pumpkins:

The small ones can be cooked whole in salted water then cut up and put in a covered pot with melted butter and salt and pepper and left to soak up the flavors.  Everyone enjoys them this way.


From Scappi,

To make various dishes with Turkish squash, Chapter 220, 2nd book, Scappi

Take the Turkish squash in its season, which begins in the month of October and lasts through all of April, and clean it of the skin and of the innards. Cut it into pieces and parboil it, when it is parboiled chop it with a knife and put it to cook in good meat broth, thicken and enrich it with grated cheese and beaten eggs. One can also prepare it with onions in the same way that one prepares our squash as described above. Be aware that if the squash is firm it will be much better, and to store them one should put them in a dry and airy place. And they (the squash) should not have any holes in them anywhere, because air will lead them to putrefaction. In this way one can make dried skin of Savonese squash, after they are parboiled in hot water and left to soak in cold water.


To fry our gourds Chapter 227, 3rd book, Scappi

Take the tender smaller gourds, peel them gently then cut in slices across, and when they are cut sprinkle with fine salt and let them rest for a bit above a table.  Press out carefully all the water and flour with fine flour and fry in oil and serve hot thus dry with sugar above or with pounded verjuice grapes, with sprouts of fresh fennel, a clove of garlic and bepper, and if you don't have new verjuice used aged.  One can also cover them with a sauce made of basil shoots, and sweet fennel and walnuts tempered with verjuice.  In this way you can make the marine squash (new world) after they are cut in thin slices and parboiled in water and salt.


Mattioli, P., I discorsi di M. Pietro Andrea Matthioli,... nei sei libbri di Pedacio Dioscoride Anazarbeo della materia medicinale. 1597: Felice Valgrisio.

Castelvetro, G., Brieve racconto di tutte le radici, di tutte l'erbe e di tutti i frutti che crudi o cotti in Italia si mangiano. 1614, In Londra, M.DC.XIV.

Scappi, B., Opera : (dell' arte del cucinare). Reprint. First published: Opera di M. Bartolomeo Scappi. Venice, 1570. 1981, Bologna: Arnaldo Forni. [20], 436 leaves [ca. 888 p.], [28] p. of plates.


<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