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Barons-Taste-art - 5/21/10


"To A Baron's Taste - Period and period style recipes" by Baron Hrolf Herjolfssen, O.P..


NOTE: See also the files: DYKIP-Food-art, easy-p-recip-msg, Intro-P-Cookg-art, Medievl-Pasta-art, cb-novices-msg, cookbooks-bib, cookbooks-SCA-msg, Fabulous-Fsts-msg, online-ckbks-msg.






This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org





To A Baron's Taste

Period and period style recipes


by Baron Hrolf Herjolfssen, O.P., Strategos tous notious okeanous


Second (and much updated) Edition


Current 30 April 2010


This started out life as my way of keeping track of feast recipes that I had cooked and liked.  It became especially important after my copy of How to Cook Forsoothly was borrowed forever.  Although it is still mainly that, it now includes food that I have eaten and very much enjoyed.  The emphasis throughout is on taste, the periodicity of the ingredients and (where possible) the simplicity of the recipe.  Most of the Middle-Eastern recipes, although often taken from modern cookbooks, have been cross-checked against the cookbook of Al-Baghdadi (a writer in Egypt) or other sources.  Otherwise, they are eclectic in time and place and include ancient Greek and Roman dishes.  There are even a couple of modern recipes that are done in as period a fashion as is possible (much like making a 'new' period dance).  Alas, this easy of making does not mean that they are quick to produce, merely fairly novice proof.  After all, I am doing much of the cooking.


Having had a computer crash and going through the experience of losing most of my updates to the original, I decided to take the opportunity to go back to basics and to do a major revision of this book in light of further experience.  I have tried to expand on the information that I have included in the notes following each recipe.  This includes updates on making things gluten-free and any side information that I think might be of interest and a better guide to where the recipes originated (when I can remember).  You will see some recipes that use modern ingredients.  I have tried to include more period adaptations for those who want them more authentic, but still want the same tastes.


It should be noted that several of the meat dishes are actually a form of meat ball.  This seems to be a universal dish.  It was tempting to add Narn Spoo (and I do have the relevant recipe book) and see if anyone noticed.


This is a living recipe book and I change it as people find better ways of making the recipes in it.  I am always happy to add more.  Like me, the recipes here have a definite emphasis on the Middle East.  This makes them very suitable for prior preparation and for eating on warm days.  Many can be served cold at picnics and wars.  I have to thank the cooks of the Barony (and much further afield) who have contributed several of these recipes.  Bon appetit and, in the words of our Baroness: "Num, num, num."








Cacik (cucumber and yoghurt salad)

Cold Pork Pies

Hedgehogs (meat balls with almonds)


Keftethakia (meat balls)

Keftethes apo ton Pontis (meat balls)

Koupepia (stuffed vine leaves)

Lamb and Honey Triangles

Meatballs (squirrel balls)

Mother's Pickled Fish

Pasteles (stuffed pastries)

Tiropitakia (cheese triangles)


Fish dishes


Scillas (prawns)

Salmon poached with its own sauce

Smoked Fish Pie




Bezelye Çorbasi (split pea soup)

Fish Ball Soup

Havuç Çorbasi (carrot soup)

Minestra di Pasta e Ceci (pasta and chick pea soup)


Rota (barley & fruit soup)

Soupe à l'Oignon

Veal Soup

Viking Fish Soup


Poultry and egg dishes


Egg Pie

Eggs in Mustard Sauce

Farsed chicken

Numidian Chicken

Tiropatinam (soufflé)


Meat dishes


Armenian Lamb

Beef and Vegetables in Gravy Casserole

Beef Nicoise

Caneline Beef Pie

Hrölf's Eastern Meat

Mawmenye (lentils and lamb)

Meat Pies

Melitzanes Moussaka

Pickled Pork Stew

Rotolo di Pasta Farcita (stuffed pasta roll)

Stewed Cabbage and Bacon

Venison in juniper berry sauce


Vegetable dishes


Apecian Carrots

Borani Chogondar (beetroot salad)

Boolawnee (fried leek pastries)

Cucumber Salad with Mint

Greek cabbage with spinach and herbs

Kosher Dill Pickles

Leekes with Walnuts



Rice with Pine Nuts and Almonds

Salata Eliniki (Greek salad)

Spanish Mushrooms

Tabouleh (burghul and parsley salad)





Blanc Manger Party

Blue-vein Cheese and Pear Tart

Dates cooked with Honey

Ember Day Tart

Mince pies

Kataifi (shredded nut pastries)

Leche Lumbarde (1)

Leche Lumbarde (2)

Lokum (Turkish Delight)

Mixed Dried Fruit in Syrup

Perys Cofins


Tartes de Pommes (spiced apple pie)



Cakes, biscuits & breads




Dundee Cake

Honey cheesecake

Honey and almond cheesecake


Kataif(shredded nut pastries)

Marchpane cakes

Old English Seed Cake

Spiced Bread

Thor Cake

Twelfth Night Cake





Brother John's Lemon Beer



Lemon Mead


Roman Spiced Wine


Sharbat Albaloo (cherry sherbet)







Fruit mince recipe

Herb Rub

Khandrajo (eggplant filling)

Lathoxitho (salad dressing)


Scappi's Spice Mix

Tatbila (meat filling)



Brother John's Lemon Beer


3 lemons                                                                                               1 gallon of water

340g sugar                                                                                           1 teaspoon cream of tartar


Take three lemons and cut off most of the rind.  Cut in half and place in a pot with the water and sugar.  Boil for half an hour.  Press out the juice still in the lemons using a ladle and spoon.  Add the cream of tartar and stir well.  Allow to cool.  Fill bottles through a coarse sieve to allow some pulp through. Screw cap down solidly to retain effervescence.  Keep until the pulp floats to the top.  This will take time if at room temperature, being perhaps several weeks, and will vary from bottle to bottle.  It will only take 36 to 48 hours if kept at a temperature of 30 to 35ºC (85 to 95ºF).  If doing this watch the pulp as this is a good indication of progress.  It is ready if you are only just able to unscrew the cap without the contents escaping.  It is important to keep the beer chilled from then on.  


Notes: How long it will keep is uncertain as it is usually drunk quickly.  Keeping it too long, especially out of refrigeration, will usually result in burst bottles or contents being too ready to leave the bottle or too strong in flavour.  This is a sparkling lemon drink, which is not too sweet and is effectively non-alcoholic.  It is best drunk chilled.  It goes well with lamb and greasy dishes.  Source: Brother John, Innilgard May AS XVIII


Lemon Mead


3 to 41/2 kg honey                                                                            2kg liquid malt

Juice of 1 lemon                                                                                Some black tea

Up to 2 gallons of boiled water                                                    One packet of brewer's yeast

One packet of yeast nutrient (or just use sugar)


Boil honey in some water for 30 - 40 minutes.  Do the same with the malt.  Pour into a sealable carboy and add the tea and lemon.  Fill with boiled water allowing a couple of litres of space at the top.  Put the lid on and allow the mix to cool.  Add yeast and yeast nutrient.  Towards the end of the first fermentation, taste it.  It is possible to add some black or brown sugar, boiled in water, in little amounts to 'tickle' the alcohol higher.   The process takes up to six weeks depending on the temperature.  If a head is desired, add a little sugar when bottling.



Mother's Pickled Fish


1 kg flake, king fish or other firm fish in boneless fillets      1/2 cup water

1/4 cup (or more) of oil                                                                   Dill

3 large sliced onions                                                                         1/3 cup of tomato sauce

1 teaspoon tomato sauce                                                                1/4 cup vinegar

Large bay leaf                                                                                    Chopped garlic to taste

10+ peppercorns


Cut fish into small, bite-sized pieces, roll in flour and cook in oil.  While cooking the fish, sprinkle with salt.  They can also be salted after taking them out of the oil.   Drain and cool.  Slice onions and sauté in oil for a short while.  Add the sauces, paste etc and season to taste and cook for about 7 – 10 minutes.  Let cool. When it is cold then put a layer of fish and a layer of sauce etc into a jar.  Make this at least a day before eating.



Greek cabbage with spinach and herbs


4 tablespoons olive oil                                                                      1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves finely chopped garlic                                                       2 medium zucchini, wiped & thickly sliced

450g young green cabbage, finely chopped                             Pepper

225g spinach, washed dried and roughly chopped                 Salt

Generous handful mint or coriander (or 2 heaped teaspoons of dried)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic until it begins to soften.  Add the spinach, zucchini and herbs.  Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring now and then to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.  The vegetables should be well cooked but still retain a little crunch in their stalks.  Season dish to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.  


Notes: One portion serves six people.  Source: British Museum publication page 30 (since lost).  The tile was something like Feasts from History.



Leekes with Walnuts


30 to 36 small fresh leeks                                                               3 cups coarsely ground walnuts

1/2 cups beef broth                                                                           3 teaspoons vinegar

11/2 cups white wine                                                                       11/2 cups of walnuts (quartered if possible)

3/4 teaspoon salt


Wash, trim and coarsely chop the leeks.  Simmer them slowly in broth and wine for 12 minutes in a covered pot.  Add salt, sugar, ground nuts and vinegar, simmering for another 7 minutes (uncovered).  Spoon the mix into bowls and garnish with the quartered nuts.  Serve dish warm.


Notes: One portion serves 30 to 36 people. Source: Fabulous Feasts p142.



Leche Lumbarde (1)


11/2kg dates (pits removed)                                                          11/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

6 cups sack, port or sherry                                                            12 hard boiled eggs, mashed or crumbled

11/2 cups dark brown sugar                                                          6 cups hard brown bread, grated or crumbled

9 tablespoons plain flour                                                                 21/4 tsp cinnamon


Gently boil dates in wine for 10 to 12 minutes.  Pour off half the liquid (which can be kept and added to ricotta cheese as a sauce for fish).  Add sugar to the dates and return to a low heat for 2 to 4 minutes until mixture is thick and stiff.  Remove from pot and place on a breadboard or strong 'kneading' surface, lightly floured.  Evenly sprinkle on the ginger, cinnamon, eggs and half the grated bread.  Moisten the hands with warm water and knead mixture.  Roll it into cylinders or logs and then roll the logs in the remaining breadcrumbs to evenly coat them.  Chill for at least three hours. Serve by cutting into rounds about a centimetre thick with a sharp, moistened knife.  


Notes: You can use date sugar instead of the brown. This will give a stronger taste.  The best alcohol to use is the sack, but it is often hard to get.  Next best is the sherry.  Never use whole-grain bread.  One portion serves 30 to 36.  Source: Fabulous Feasts p138.



Rota (barley and fruit soup)


3 cups pearl barley                                                                           2 cups tart apple slices, cut thin

11/2 cups minced dried apricots                                                   24 cup s chicken broth

3 teaspoon ginger powder                                                              11/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch pepper                                                                                       3 cups fresh peas

2 tablespoons plain flour (optional)                                              2 tablespoons butter (optional)


Simmer all the ingredients (except the peas) in a large covered pot for 3/4 hour.  Add peas and continue for another 15 minutes.  Serve hot.  For a thicker soup make a roux of the butter and flour (melt the butter and gradually stir in the flour until frothy).  Add this to the soup, stirring well.  Cook for another 5 minutes.


Notes: One portion serves 30 to 36 people. Source: Fabulous Feasts p145.



Mawmenye (lentils and lamb)


1.7 kg lean lamb, cut into 1 cm cubes                                        3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper                                                                         11/2 teaspoon dried basil

11/2 teaspoon salt                                                                             3 cups diced turnip

3 cups currants                                                                                  2 cups coarsely cut figs

2 tablespoons butter for sauté                                                       3 cups chicken broth

3 cups dry lentils                                                                                12 cup s beef broth

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                    golden plant material (eg dandelion flowers) as garnish


Salt and pepper lamb and brown in melted butter.  Add the chicken broth simmer for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.  Drain.  Wash and pick over lentils to get out any stones etc.  Bring lentils to boil in beef broth, reducing heat to low, simmer for 15 minutes.  Combine cinnamon, salt and basil and tip into the diced turnips.  Add the turnips, currants and figs to the lentils and cook very slowly for 10 minutes.  Stir lamb into the lentils.  Turn into serving bowl and garnish.  


Notes: Experience suggests that it is best to cook this in batches and combine them before serving.  Each batch will serve between 30 and 36 people.  Source: Fabulous Feasts p164.



Farsed fowl


11/2 teaspoon basil                                                                           11/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary

11/2 teaspoon thyme                                                                        2 teaspoon salt

2 cups figs, cut small                                                                        6 cups uncooked oats

2 cups dried apples, cut small                                                       11/2 cups beef stock o r dry white wine

2 tablespoons butter                                                                         2 raw apples

11/2 lemons

3 pheasants or large roasting chickens of about 2.25 kg (or 6 smaller birds)


Preheat oven to 190º C (375º F).  Mix basil, rosemary, thyme and salt with oats.  Mix in dried apples and figs.  Stir stock into oats and fruit.  Stuff the birds. Rub their skin with butter.  Bake them for about 2 hours or until very tender. Grate apple peel and reserve.  Remove core and discard.  Chop or cut the apple into small slivers and mix well with apple peel.  Squeeze lemon juice onto the apple to prevent browning.  Remove stuffing from bird.  Mix in raw apples and serve immediately with warm fowl.  


Notes: Each batch will serve 30 to 36 people.  Source: Fabulous Feasts p180)



Lemonwhyt (lemon rice with almonds)


3 large unblemished lemons                                                           2 cups coarse ground almonds

3 cups raw rice                                                                                  2 cups currants

6 cups water                                                                                       11/2 teaspoons salt

11/2 teaspoons cinnamon                                                               3 tablespoons butter

3 cups dry white wine                                                                     1 cup fresh peas



Finely grate the skin from the lemons.  Cut the lemons, thoroughly squeezing the juice and removing most of the pulp.  Reserve the skin, juice and soft pulp but discarding the pips and membranes.  In a large enamelled pot, bring to boil the water, rice, salt, cinnamon, butter and lemon.  Reduce the heat to simmer until most of the fluid is absorbed (about 10 minutes).  Stir once or twice while simmering; otherwise keep the pot tightly covered.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Slowly simmer the almonds and currants in white wine for 7 minutes. Fluff rice gently with a fork.  Add wined almonds to the lemon rice.  Stir in fresh peas.  Very slowly simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  If the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add small amounts of boiling water.  Garnish with a teaspoon of honey on each portion as it is served.


Notes: To be more medieval, this recipe should actually use dried split peas that have been soaked and reconstituted.  Do not use leatherwood or any other strongly flavoured honey.  Each batch serves 30 to 36 people.  Source: Fabulous Feasts p180.



Valencye (fried Valencia oranges)


12 large seedless eating oranges                                                 12 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg                                                                        1/2 teaspoon powdered mace

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                    3 cups plain flour

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder                                                    3/4 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons brown sugar                                                            3 cups oil for sautéing

3 raw eggs                                                                                           11/2 cups milk (or a bit less)




12 tablespoons mustard                                                                   12 tablespoons dark brown sugar


Carefully peel the oranges and separate the sections.  Strew on a mix of the sugar, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon.  Prepare a thick batter by uniting the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.  Blend 6 tablespoons of oil, the eggs (well beaten) and the milk.  Stir this liquid thoroughly into the dry mixture. If the batter is too thin, add a small amount more of flour.  If it is too thick to evenly coat the orange segments, add a touch more milk.  Chill the batter for 11/2 hours.  Heat the remaining oil in a heavy skillet until hot, not smoking.  Dip orange sections in batter to coat thoroughly.  Drop into hot oil and fry until nicely browned.  Serve warm with mustard and brown sugar in separate spice dishes.  


Notes: I like to use dark brown sugar.  I think that it has a better taste.  However you can use any sugar you want for this and caster sugar may be the easiest to use.  One batch will serve 30 to 36 people.  Source: Fabulous Feasts p180.



Marchpane Cakes




2 cups plain flour                                                                               11/2 cups white or caster sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                25ml almond flavouring

3 level tablespoons butter                                                               1 egg




125g chopped almonds (one packet)                                          quantity caster sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).  Sift together the flour, salt and sugar.  Cut in the butter as if for a piecrust, add egg and flavourings.  Rub together.  Roll into small balls in the sugar and almond mixture and flatten with the base of a glass onto baking paper on oven trays.  Bake for about 15 minutes, according to the size of the biscuits, or until golden brown around the edges.  Remove and let cool on racks.  These will be very soft and crumbly when they first come out of the oven.


Notes: These are a very hard biscuit rather than a cake.  I actually prefer to use one cup of almond meal and one cup of flour, instead of just flour.  This will make them a trifle harder but gives a better flavour.  I also usually use almond meal instead of chopped almonds for the dusting.  If you are using gluten-free flour they will be softer.  They will keep for a long time.  Each batch serves around 30 people.  Source:  How to Cook Forsoothly p62.



Apecian Carrots


30 - 40 large whole carrots                                                            2 cups sack

2 teaspoon Worcestershire or Vietnamese fish sauce         2 cups melted butter

3 cups brown sugar - can be part honey


Heat oven to medium.  Clean the carrots and cut into large pieces.  Cook in wine and a small amount of water until done.  Drain and place in a shallow pan.   Combine remaining ingredients with the water and wine that the carrots were cooked in and pour over the carrots.  Place in oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until the carrots are glazed.


Notes: One batch serves 30 people.  This dish can also be done by rough cutting the carrots and putting them in a saucepan with the other ingredients, covering and bringing to a boil until soft.  Source: How to Cook Forsoothly p35.



Pickled Pork Stew (or pie filling)


3kg pork silverside (pickled pork) from supermarket           10 whole cloves

4 cinnamon or cassia quills                                                            3 heaped tablespoons garam masala

2 oranges                                                                                             4 large onions

500 ml port (approximately)                                                          3 teaspoons gravy powder

Pepper to taste


Cover the pork with water; then add spices and zest & juice oranges.  Cook as per instructions on the packet of pork.  Strain and keep the liquor.  Allow to cool so that it can be handled.  Cut into 2cm cubes.  Chop the onions and put in a large pot.  Sauté them with a little butter until clear.  Add diced pork.  Add the port and enough of the strained liquor.  It should be not too dry and not to wet.  You can add more later if needed.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45min.  Add the gravy powder and check for pepper.


Notes: If you are making this as a pie filling use less liquor and more gravy powder.  If you are making it as a stew, then use more liquor and less gravy powder.  One batch will serve around 30.  You can extend this to 40 by adding more liquid and more thickening.  Source Sir Guillaume d'Oze.



Egg Pie


12 eggs                                                                                                 500ml cream

1/2 a leek                                                                                             100g of washed spinach leaves

1/2 a small wheel of camembert                                                  salt to taste


Base: combine the eggs and the cream making sure all of the yolks are broken.  When they are well combined pour into a very well greased tin or tray.


Flavourings: cut leek into small crescents and camembert into small thin chunks wash the spinach.


Add the flavourings to the base and stir gently so as to evenly distribute the flavours.  Add a little salt for seasoning.  Cook at 180º C for approx 25min.  Check by shaking the tin.  If the middle is not firm then it requires a little longer.  Allow to cool and slice.


Notes:  Don't add pepper as it will react with the eggs and turn them green.  You can use any flavour combinations you like.  Don't be afraid to experiment eg bacon and cheese; salmon, capers and onion garnich with a little sour cream; pear and blue cheese.  Disposable aluminium trays are usually available with lids, which makes the dish easy to transport to an event.  If the dish is done in a tray this will easily give 16 wedges.  Source: Sir Guillaume d'Oze.



Blue Vein Cheese and Pear Tart


One sweet flan or pie crust                                                           1 small pear (diced)

Handful of diced blue vein cheese                                              2 eggs

1/2 cup of milk                                                                                   pinch cinnamon

Pinch powdered mace                                                                     pinch powdered cloves


Take the flan or pie crust and into it arrange the pear and cheese.  In a small bowl break the eggs, whisk in about the milk and add the spices.  3/4 fill the pie with the egg mixture and bake in a preheated 180˚C oven until the filling no longer wobbles when jiggled.  Let the pie cool before serving, preferably to room temperature.


Notes: This is an interesting blend of sweet and tart but will only work if the cheese is smooth and not too overpowering.  Serves about 8 pieces and is ideal for a picnic or pot-luck. Source:



Stewed Cabbage and Bacon


500g bacon                                                                                          1 large cabbage, shredded

300ml white wine                                                                              salt to taste


Slice the bacon into thin batons and fry in a little oil in a deep pot until nicely coloured. Add the cabbage and stir allowing the cabbage to wilt slightly.  Add the wine and stir.  Cover and leave; occasionally checking and stirring, until the cabbage is wilted and translucent.


Notes: Serves about 50 people.  Source: Sir Guillaume d'Oze.



Herb Rub


Handful of fresh sage                                                                      4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Bunch of thyme                                                                                 at least 20ml olive oil (as dark as you can get)


Pick all leaves etc so that there are no stems, rough chop and place in a blender with olive oil. Pulse blend this, adding more oil as needed until the consistency of smooth thick cream.


Notes: Use this as a rub for lamb roasts.  This amount should do two roasts of around 2.5 kg. After rubbing on, place immediately in the oven.  Source: Sir Guillaume d'Oze.



Perys Cofyns


This dish is best prepared in three parts;


30 hard fresh pears                                                                          2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 lemons, their juice


Pre-heat your oven to 177ºC (350ºF).  Cut the pears in half along their long axis making boat-shaped coffins.  Carefully cut out or scoop out the pits and core allowing 1 to 11/2 cm of uniform wall to remain.  Coat the pears with lemon juice to prevent discolouring.  Sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.  Place in oven for 5 to 10 minutes allowing the pears to go from hard to firm.  If they get too soft, they will not hold the fillings.  Set aside to cool.


11/2 cups lentils                                                                                 3 cups or more of beef broth

3 small stalks of chopped celery                                                  3/4 finely chopped and pitted dates

11/2 teaspoons salt                                                                           11/2 teaspoons crushed dried basil


Wash the lentils and place in a deep pot with celery, salt, dates and basil.  Add enough beef broth to cover by about 5 cm.  Bring to the boil and cook over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Add stock or boiling water as necessary to prevent sticking.  Lentils should be just tender, still holding their shape but double their raw size.


3 cups whole bramble berries or similar fruit                          6 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

1 small cup of water


Wash berries and remove stems.  Place all ingredients in a deep pot and bring to a quick boil.  Berries will rise to the surface and pop. Remove them when about a third have done so.  Allow to cool.  Scoop a tablespoon of lentils into each pear and top with a teaspoon of berry mix.


Notes: This is a tricky dish to get right, but once you have done so it is easy.  In other words try it out first.  I think that the sugar gives a better taste, but the honey tends to make a better sauce.  One batch will serve 30 to 60 people (depending if they get one or two halves).  Source: Fabulous Feasts p180.



Honey cheesecake


450g cottage cheese or fresh Mizithra                                      3 tablespoons honey

Juice of 2 lemons                                                                              4 eggs

1 tablespoon orange flower water                                               1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

23 cm short-crust pastry flan case, baked blind


Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF).  Put the cheese with the honey, lemon juice, eggs and orange flower water in a processor and mix thoroughly.  Add the cinnamon and mix thoroughly.  Spoon the mix into the pastry case.  Bake cheesecake for 30 minutes or until it is slightly or lightly tanned.  Serve it warm.


Notes: Do not use leatherwood or any other strongly flavoured honey.  One will usually serve 6 to 8.  If it is pre-cut you might stretch to 16 if you can carve finely and have other desserts.  Source: British Museum p32.





1)  Crush honeycombs and steep them in water.  Strain them and place the liquid in earthenware vessels until it is fermented.  Wooden kegs are considered preferable for storing strong mead as the longer it is stored, the mellower its flavour.


2) Mix one part honey and three parts water.  Boil slowly over a low flame until about one third of the original liquid has evaporated. Skim the surface and place into a cask.  Place in a cool place.  The brew should be tasted as it goes.  It will be ready to drink in about three to four days.  If it is too sweet add some lemon juice; if too tart, more honey.  Instead of these proportions, try honey, apple juice and water; 1:1:2.  Fermentation may take up to thirty days.  In some recipes, the cask is allowed to stay open in a warm room and stirred occasionally.  Various spirits or crushed berries may be added to change the flavour.




4 litres of water                                                                                 1.8kg pounds of honey

6 cloves                                                                                                2 sticks cinnamon

Juice and peel of two lemons                                                        Teaspoon of activated yeast


Boil combined ingredients slowly for thirty minutes. Strain into an earthenware crock, leaving plenty of room for expansion.  After the mixture cools, add the yeast.  Store in a cool place (about 13ºC or 55ºF) for at least a month.  The crock should be covered with a towel.


Notes:  These are various mead recipes from a book called The Magic of Honey.



Cameline Beef Pie


31/2 kg cubed lean beef                                                                  11/2 cups vegetable oil for sauté

5 cups boiling water                                                                         1/2 cup cinnamon

3 teaspoon nutmeg                                                                            11/2 teaspoon thyme

11/2 teaspoon sage                                                                           8 x 230mm (9") unbaked pastry shells & lids

2 1/2 cups honey                                                                               5 cups currants

2 cups ground almonds                                                                    2 cups white wine

Cinnamon sugar (4:1 cinnamon: sugar)                                     8 cups raw cranberries, stems removed

Extra cranberry sauce if wanted


Heat the oil and sauté the meat in it.  In boiling water, dissolve the cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and sage.  Add this to the sautéed meat and cook for a while to allow the flavours to work.  Remove from heat and drain, reserving liquid for pie and sauce.  Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).  Line the bottom of the pies with cranberries.  Drizzle honey over the berries.  Evenly distribute the currants.  Arrange the meat pieces over all.  Add 7 tablespoons of reserved liquid to each pie.  Cover with the pastry lid, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce with fork.  Sprinkle edges of the pie with cinnamon sugar.  Bake for 40 minutes until the crust is slightly browned.  Add almonds and wine to half of the reserved broth and simmer for 7 minutes to make a side sauce.  Add more reserved liquid as necessary, sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream.


Notes: Cranberries are not period, but this is how I received the recipe.  We have made it with blackberries and brambleberries.  This amount will serve 48 to 64, depending on how much food you have.



Bezelye Çorbasi (split pea soup)


225g split peas, soaked overnight                                                2 bay leaves

25g butter                                                                                             1 teaspoon salt

1 thinly sliced onion                                                                          1/2 teaspoon black pepper

225g fine chopped spinach                                                             1 chopped carrot

A little milk                                                                                          2 teaspoons fresh chopped mint

Pinch dill weed                                                                                   Pinch asafoetida

Pinch powdered mace                                                                     Stock (optional)


Drain the split peas.  Half fill a large saucepan with water or stock, add the split peas and bring to the boil.  Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and fry until soft.  Add the onion and butter to the split peas together with the carrot, bay leaves, mace, salt and pepper.  Simmer until the split peas are almost tender.  Add the chopped spinach, mix well and continue to simmer.  Add a little more water or stock if necessary.  When all ingredients are tender, remove the bay leaves and purée the soup in the blender.  Return the soup to the saucepan and thin to the required consistency with a little milk.  Stir in mint and dill weed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  


Notes: This is a Turkish recipe from Anatolia.  Traditionally it is served with a bowl of natural yoghurt.  An Arab version omits the spinach and replaces the carrot with a finely chopped stalk of celery.  If using dried or strong mints such as spearmint, only use 1 teaspoon.  Caution; this soup will stick to bottom of your pot, so keep stirring.  One batch serves 10.



Havuç Çorbasi (carrot soup)


3 tablespoons butter                                                                         1/2 teaspoon dill weed

450g chopped carrots                                                                      1.2 litres water

1 teaspoon salt                                                                                   level tablespoon flour

75 ml milk                                                                                            1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper                                                             2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts


Melt half the butter in a saucepan; add the carrots and sauté for a few minutes until well coated with butter.  Add 300ml water together with salt, pepper, sugar and dill weed.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the carrots are very soft.  Drain the carrots, retaining the liquid.  Place the carrots in a blender and purée until smooth.  Bring 1.2 litres of water to boil in a large pot.  Add the purée, stir well and continue simmering.  Add retained liquid as desired Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour.  Slowly add milk and stir until smooth. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remover from the heat, add the egg yolks and stir until well blended and smooth.  Add some of the hot soup, a little at a time, stirring constantly until well blended.  Return the mixture to the main pot, stir and heat through.  Do not allow this to boil or it will curdle.  Serve sprinkled with walnuts.


Notes: This is a creamy Anatolian soup.  Caution, it is very prone to stick to the bottom.  Once at the hall and warming it before serving, stir continuously over a low heat.  It serves 6 in these quantities





These are various beers.  They all use the same recipe, varying the ingredients to change the type.


Light Lager


1.35kg light dried malt                                                                     110g cracked crystal malt grain

900g sugar                                                                                           40g hops

Lager yeast                                                                                         22.5 litres water


Heavy Lager


1.8kg light dried malt                                                                        140g cracked crystal malt grain

900g sugar                                                                                           40g hops

Lager yeast                                                                                         250g dried malt

22.5 litres water


Best Bitter


1.35kg light dried malt                                                                     110g cracked crystal malt grain

900g sugar                                                                                           50g hops

Lager yeast                                                                                         110g dried malt

22.5 litres water




3kg liquid malt extract                                                                     85g hops

Lager yeast                                                                                         22.5 litres water


Place grain (if used) and hops into a muslin bag in 4 litres of water and boil for 30 minutes.  Run the hot liquid into the fermenter, rinse the bag with another 4 litres of cold water and combine the liquids.  Dissolve malt and sugars in the fermenter and make up to 1 7 litres with more cold water.  Add yeast when the temperature is below 30ºC (86 °F).  Fit the airlock and leave in a warm place to ferment.  Top up to 22.5 litres after 3 days; then ferment to completion.  A hydrometer should show a specific gravity of around 1,000 (higher for heavy lager).  Run the beer into sterilised bottles, adding 1 teaspoonful of sugar to each and cap with crown seal.  Beer is ready to drink in three weeks, but will be much better after 3 months.





5 onions                                                                                                10 tablespoons oil

500g bacon pieces                                                                            1 medium cabbage, shredded

2 bunches celery, chopped                                                             15 litres beef stock

Teaspoon pepper                                                                               300 gm beans (borlotti or similar) soaked overnight

Teaspoon salt                                                                                     Medium knob garlic

500g broken macaroni                                                                     5 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon dillweed                                                                          Large pinch saffron or mace (as preferred)

750g vegetables in season, carrots go well                              Grated parmesan as garnish


Put the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and fry for a few more minutes.  Stir in the cabbage, celery, beef stock and beans and bring to the boil.  Season well and simmer, covered for 21/2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender.  Add the remaining ingredients to the soup and continue to simmer for a further 20 minutes.  Once at hall, stir continuously while warming.  Serve garnished with cheese.  


Notes: Celery was not used in soups until well out of period, so feel free to leave it out.  Similarly carrots were not used before at least the Twelfth century, or much later in England.  One batch serves 40.



Fruit Mince Recipe


250g suet or melted butter                                                             125g currants

125g raisins                                                                                         125g sultanas

125g mixed peel                                                                                 90g rough chopped almonds or walnuts

185g apples                                                                                         125g pears

250g lemons                                                                                        250g oranges

60g melted unsalted butter                                                             1/2 cup brown or raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice                                                               1/4 cup brandy

1/4 cup sherry                                                                                    1/4 cup port or cherry brandy


Shred suet finely (if used).  Chop the dried fruit if necessary and peel and finely chop the apples and pears (or grate them using the largest grating hole). Remove rind from lemons and oranges then squeeze the juice.  Mix together very well; then pack into clean jars.  Top with paraffin wax, airtight lids or a couple of layers of plastic held in place with elastic bands.  Stand for about 1 month before using.  Shake the jars a few times during the first few weeks to help the softening process.


Notes: This is about as traditional an English recipe as there is.  To emphasise this, this version was taken (roughly) from a Women's Day of 18 November 1981.  It makes about 6 to 7 cups of mince.



Mince Pies


4 cups plain flour                                                                               1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt                                                                                             310g butter

2 tablespoon caster sugar                                                               2 egg yolk

2 tablespoon cold water                                                                  Fruit mince

Lightly beaten egg white for glazing


Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.  Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces.  Add the flour and, using your fingertips, rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Beat the sugar, egg yolk and water together and pour into the flour mixture.   Using a fork, mix into the flour until the mixture clings together in a ball and comes away from the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, or board, and knead lightly to make a smooth and fairly stiff dough. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using.


Cut off about a third of the pastry and roll out thinly.  Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut into rounds of about 5 cm diameter for the lids.  Set aside.  Roll out the remaining pastry in the same way and cut into rounds the same size or a little larger than the lids.  Ease these rounds gently into the lightly greased tartlet tins, taking care not to stretch the pastry.  Place a heaped teaspoon of fruit mince into each lined tartlet tin and cover with the smaller rounds.


Using a sharp knife; make a slit or hole in the top of the pies and chill in the fridge for a further 30 minutes.  Brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg white.  Bake in a hot oven (200ºC or 390ºF) for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the pastry is cooked.  Notes: Again this is from Women's Day of 18 November 1981.  It makes about 30.



Fish Ball Soup


A larger leek, thinly sliced                                                              A fair lump of ginger, thinly sliced

10 tablespoons of soy sauce                                                          20 plump beans, sliced

20 fresh mushrooms                                                                         A couple of teaspoons of salt

10 generous tablespoons of very dry sherry                            20 cups of a very weak stock (beef will do fine)

21/4kg boneless fish


Prepare the food the night before the feast.  Mince the fish and fashion it into balls a bit over 1/2 an inch in diameter (OK a bit over a centimetre).  You should end up with about 150 if the size is right.  Put aside.  Place the stock and the ginger in a large pot and boil.  When boiling, slowly and gently add the balls.  Stir softly so as to not break up the balls.  After a few minutes, add the soy, the salt and the sherry.  Simmer for a few minutes and then take off the heat.  Take the vegetables separately to the feast, already prepared and mixed.


At the feast, heat the soup until it boils, stirring gently.  Add the vegetables, return to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes only.  Serve immediately.


Notes: Suitable as a first dish to get everyone started.  You can use sack instead of the dry sherry and fish sauce instead of the soy.  One batch serves 50.



Honey and Almond Cheesecake


1 cup white sugar                                                                              1/4 cup sifted flour

1/4 cup butter                                                                                     1/4 cup honey

1 lb cream cheese                                                                             5 separated eggs

1/2 cup King Island thick cream                                                  1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon almond extract                                                             1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Large tin of apricots in syrup                                                        4 dessertspoons gelatine



Cream the butter and sugar until well blended.  Add the cheese and then cream until fluffy.  Blend in the flour and honey then the egg yolks.  Beat well (it is almost impossible to over beat it.  It should run like custard).  Add the cream and the almond extract and again beat well.  Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry.  Lightly fold in the egg whites and then fold in the almond meal with a few strokes.  Pour into a well-buttered 23cm (9") round deep container.  Put on a low rack in a pre-heated 160° C (325° F) oven and bake for 1 hour.  Turn off and allow the oven and cake to cool for one more hour. Remove, allow to cool (which will take at least two hours) and then add the topping.


Cover the top of the cake with apricots.  Make a sauce by placing the syrup, the dark sugar and water in a pot and bringing to the boil. You will need enough to completely cover the apricots and fill up the tin, so adjust the amount of water accordingly.  You should need less than a cup.  When boiling, add the gelatine and stir until dissolved.  Squash any lumps against the side of the saucepan.  Make sure the mix is smooth.  Pour over the cake and allow to cool. When cool, refrigerate.


Notes: I have always made this with King Island Cream, but any good natural thick cream will do.  Cut into small pieces.  This is incredibly rich and people will only want small pieces if you have fed them adequately before hand.  One will usually do for anything up to 60 or 80 people.  This comes from the British Museum cookbook – many years ago.  There should be no problems making this gluten-free, but I haven't yet done so.





500g sultanas (or raisins for a stronger taste)                         250g sugar

2 lemons                                                                                               41/2 litres boiling water


Put sugar and sultanas in a large bowl.  Cut lemons and squeeze juice into mix. Cut the (now juiceless) lemons into half again and throw into the mix.  Pour boiling water over and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Cover and stand for 24 hours.  Strain, removing the lemon rind and pips, and serve.  Keep the fruit and mix with whipped cream and sprinkled with nutmeg and mace as a 'poor man's fool'.


Notes: Children love the sultana version.  It has a quite delicate flavour.  It works for travel and taking to tourneys.  This mix, once complete can be frozen, so you can make it as a concentrate.  Only use 1/4 of the water above.  When drinking, add 3 parts water and stir well.  Source: Tournaments Illuminated.



Spiced Bread


1kg white flour                                                                                   250g sweet butter

Water                                                                                                    250g currants

120g sugar                                                                                           A little mace


Mix water with flour until it forms a thick paste.  Mix in well with all other ingredients.  Form into a loaf shape and bake in a moderate to hot 190°C (374°F) oven until done.  


Notes: Sweet butter is salted butter.  This could be done in a bread tin, but if stiff enough should not need it to form a low loaf.  Source:  The Ladies Cabinet.





28 to 32 sheets filo pastry                                                              11/2 cup melted sameh or unsalted butter

Nut filling

2 egg whites                                                                                        1/2 cup castor sugar

2 cups coarsely ground walnuts                                                   2 cups medium ground almonds

1 teaspoon rosewater


Attar Syrup


2 cups granulated sugar                                                                  11/2 cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice                                                                    2 teaspoon rose water


Stack 7 to 8 sheets filo pastry on a flat surface, keeping the remainder covered with a damp tea towel.  Brush top sheet of stack with butter, lift sheet and replace on stack, butter side down.  Brush top with butter, lift two sheets and turn over on stack.  Repeat until all sheets are buttered, lifting an extra sheet each time.  The top and bottom (outsides) of the finished stack should remain unbuttered.  With kitchen scissors cut the buttered stack of filo into squares (I get 24 to a sheet).  


Beat egg whites until stiff and beat sugar in gradually.  Fold in nuts and rose water.  Butter top of filo square (optional) and place a spoonful of nut mix in the centre.  Gently raise the corners and fold into a lily shape.  Place close together in a buttered 25 x 33 cm baking dish. Place into the centre of a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 30 minutes, reducing this to 140°C (285°F) and cooking for a further 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, dissolve the sugar in water over heat, add lemon juice and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stir in rose water and cool.  Spoon syrup over the hot pastries and leave them to cool.  They should sit at least a day before eating should absorb all of the attar.


Notes:  The quantity of filo pastry is usually one and a third packets for each batch.  Always cover your remaining pastry with a damp cloth while you are making one batch.  If your health food shop uses standard scoops then the quantity of nuts should be a bit under a level 'scoop' when buying.  This is a variant for Persia and points east.  A Greek baklava is thicker and the sheets of pastry are flat with the nut mix between every few sheets and an attar using honey.  This was because they adapted the recipe from Arab sources and were poorer and could not get the sugar.  A Sudanese version can be made by adding peanuts and sultanas to the filling and rolling the pastry in cylinders like small spring rolls.  Those I cook for prefer the Persian version as it is not as cloying as the Greek.  I find that one batch will suffice for around 20 people, but you should have 72 pieces from it.



Veal Soup


2 cups of dried mixed soup vegetables                                      5 onions

200g butter                                                                                          5 cups beef stock

25 cups water                                                                                     2.2 kg of veal bones with some meat on them

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper                                       3 cloves of crushed garlic

Two bay leaves                                                                                 2 good pinches of powdered mace


Soak the dried vegetables overnight.  Chop the onions finely and sauté in butter within a large pot until they are clear.  Add the other ingredients and bring to the boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for a two hours or a bit more (depending on volume) with the lid on.  It has been cooking long enough when the meat is readily removed from the bones without the cartilage dissolving. Remove all the bones and gristle.  


Notes: This reheats readily.  It can readily be made the previous day, and the excess fat removed (if desired) when it is cold.  I leave it.  It serves about 60 people.  Source: I made it up to when I wanted a meat soup and the veal bones were cheap.



Old English Seed Cake


185g butter                                                                                          2 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup castor sugar                                                                         3 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons caraway seeds                                                           1 tablespoon ground almonds

1/4 cup milk


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the yolks and whisk together well.  Gradually add the creamed butter mixture.  Sift the flour and add to the mixture alternatively the ground almonds, caraway seeds and milk.  Turn into a greased 23 cm x 12 cm (9" x 5") loaf tin.  Bake in a moderate oven (180ºC) for approximately 1 hour until golden brown and firm to touch.  The top can be sprinkled with extra caraway seeds before cooking, if desired.



Venison in Juniper Berry Sauce


500g venison as either steaks or sausages                               1 teaspoon brandy

200g juniper berries (fresh)                                                           1 sliced ripe pear

2 tablespoons olive oil                                                                      juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoon port wine                                                                    salt and pepper


Marinate the meat for at least 2 to 3 hours in the olive oil, brandy and lemon juice. Season the meat and marinade with salt and pepper to taste.  Rotate so that all meat gets some soaking.  Pat dry and grill or roast as preferred.  Reserve the marinade into a saucepan.  Just before it the meat is cooked, add the berries, port and the pear to the marinade to make a sauce for the meat.  Warm this and either pour over the meat or place beside it.


Notes: Try this one out at home first, with a small quantity, to master your timing with the sauce.  Depending on your supplier, 500g of venison should be around 10 sausages.  You only need about 15g of berries if they are dried, but you will need to soak them in water before using them.  If you use dried berries, add the water that you soak them in as well.



Ember Day Tart


225g onion, skinned and halved                                                    10 leaves o f French sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dry)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley                                                       225g cream cheese

50g butter                                                                                             25g sugar

25g raisins                                                                                            1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pieces of ginger (per taste)                                                        225g short-crust pastry (or 1 sheet of pre-rolled)


Parboil the onion, sage and parsley in 1 litre of water (takes 2 to 5 minutes).  Drain well and chop finely.  Mix together with non-pastry ingredients.  Line a pie dish with the pastry.  Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F / gas mark 4) for 30 to 40 minutes.


Notes: This only makes one tart that will give a medium portion to about 10 people. It is adapted from a 15th Century recipe by a 'Cooking with Onions' book.


"If leeks you like, but do their smell disleek, eat onyons and you shall not smell the leek.  If you on onyons would the scent expelle, eate garlicke, that shalle drowne the onyons smelle."  16th Century adage.





2 kg mince                                                                                           1/2 cup red wine

11/2 cups finely chopped dates                                                    1/2 cup raisins

5 egg yolks                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

11/2 teaspoons ground ginger                                                       2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


Toss everything into a bowl.  Blend thoroughly with your hands (yes it is messy).  Roll into small balls, place on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for about 50 minutes at 180 °C.


Notes: Serves about 50 as a nibble food.  The raisins work best if they are chopped into smaller pieces. These are often referred to in Ynys Fawr as Squirrel Balls.



Kosher Dill Pickles


4 gallons water                                                                                   1.5 cups salt

3 packages of pickling spice                                                          30 garlic cloves

6 large dill weeds                                                                              11/2 cups white vinegar

A few buckets of cucumbers                                                       6 x 1 gallon jars


Boil together the water and the salt and allow them to cool.  Layer the pickles in crocks and pour in water and vinegar.  Seal and cover for eight days in a cool place.  Refrigerate after that.  Sterilise jars and put pickles in.


Notes:  Source: Duchess Susan



Meat Pies


2 rolled roasts of beef                                                                      Lots of claret

2 onions, chopped fine                                                                     Good handful of button mushrooms

12 cloves                                                                                              3 teaspoons nutmeg

5 teaspoons thyme                                                                            6 teaspoons marjoram

2 to 5 slices of dry bread                                                                Short-crust pastry for bases and puff pastry for tops

A little milk


Take the rolled roasts and place in a large pot with water.  Bring to the boil and half cook the meat.  This takes about 45 minutes. Take the meat out of the water and let cool for a while.  Take some of the water into another pot and add the onions.  Cook until tender.  Drain onions and set aside.  Take the meat and dice into small cubes.  Place the meat into a large pot (without the water).  Cover the meat, by about 3/4, with claret and add the herbs and spices.  Cook on a low heat until the meat is falling apart. This can take up to 3 or 4 hours).  Shred the bread and toss into the mix when cooked to soak up liquid and thicken the mix.  Thin slice the mushrooms.  Line greased deep muffin tins with short-crust pastry.  Place 2 or 3 slices of mushroom inside each compartment, add a teaspoon of cooked onion, then fill with meat. Pack it in.  Place puff pastry tops on, pierce once to allow steam to escape and brush with milk.  Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is cooked.


Notes:  Makes up to small 50 pies, depending on size of roasts.  This recipe can be changed and adapted to different meats.  For instance, if making a venison pie, add some juniper berries instead of the nutmeg.



Scappi's Spice Mix


24 cinnamon sticks                                                                           25g cloves

15g dried ginger                                                                                 15g grated nutmeg

71/2g grains of paradise                                                                  71/2g saffron

15g soft brown sugar


Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar.  It will keep for 3 to 4 months.


Notes: This is a mix specified by Bartolomeo Scappi, cook to Pius V (1566-72) in his book Opera dell'arte del cucinare.  This was one of the first, and most influential, Italian cook books.  This was meant as a spice mix to be used on meat.





1/2 nutmeg, grated                                                                            1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon coriander seeds                                                        1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon cloves                                                                          A small piece of cinnamon

Seeds from 6 green cardamoms                                                  1 teaspoon ground chilli

2 tablespoons of paprika


Grind all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.  It will keep for 3 to 4 months.


This is a hot mix specified in many Arab dishes.  Most spice mixes labelled 'Moroccan Spice Mix' are actually Baharat.  In this form it is late period.  For earlier period usage I would suggest substituting Grains of Paradise or Guinea Grains for the chilli and a small amount of saffron for the paprika.  The paprika was only used to provide colour.



Viking Fish Soup


The head of a large fish                                                                  1 small haddock

2 teaspoons salt                                                                                 pepper

2 tablespoons flour                                                                            cup of milk

1 litre of cold water


Wash the fish and place in a pan with the water and salt.  Boil and skim the froth off the top.  Add pepper and leave to simmer for 40 minutes.  Strain the mixture in a coarse sieve, to get rid of the bones and put the stock back in the pan.  Mix the flour and the milk and add to the stock.  Boil until thickened.  Add more salt or pepper to taste, serve with warm baps (white bread rolls).


Notes: One batch will serve 6 people.



Roman Spiced Wine


1 litre of red wine                                                                              3 tablespoons of honey

Cinnamon                                                                                             Nutmeg

Black pepper                                                                                      A litre or less of water

Other powdered spices to taste (possibly mace or cloves)


Put the wine in a container and add water to taste.  Stir in the honey until it dissolves.  Add a pinch of each spice and stir thoroughly.


Notes: It is important to state that wine was always drunk watered.  The mark of a drunkard was that they imbibed neat drinks.  Source: British Museum.



Dates Cooked in Honey


12 dates (preferably fresh)                                                            12 half walnuts

4 tablespoons honey                                                                         salt

Black pepper


Peel the dates and take out the stones.  Replace each stone with a half walnut. Sprinkle each date lightly with salt.  Melt the honey in a pan and gently cook the dates in the honey for 5 minutes.  Arrange on a serving dish and spoon more honey over the dates.  Sprinkle with a little black pepper.


Notes: Never use a strong flavoured honey with this.  Clover will go well.  Do not worry if you are using dried dates and it disintegrates into a gooey mass (and it usually does).  It still tastes good.  All you will need is a bowl for diners to wash hands in.  Source: British Museum.



Numidian Chicken


6 chicken pieces                                                                                1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coriander seed s                                                      4 dates, chopped small

4 tablespoons chopped nuts                                                           2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons wine vinegar                                                            1 cup of chicken stock

Pinch of pepper                                                                                 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

1 slice of dry bread, crumbed


Put the chicken pieces in a roasting dish and brush them with the oil.  Sprinkle with pepper and cover with a cooking foil (OK, so the Romans didn't have cooking foil - but I will bet you don't have the terracotta roasting dishes that they used.  Roast for half an hour at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).  While this is happening, put the other ingredients into a pan and simmer for 20 minutes to make a sauce.  Put the chicken on a dish and cover with sauce.  


Notes: This dish should be accompanied by cabbages or beans.  One batch serves 6 people.  Source: British Museum.



Eggs in Mustard Sauce


1 egg per person                                                                                For each egg: 25g butter

For each egg: 5 ml (small teaspoon) mustard powder          For each egg: 5 ml (small teaspoon) vinegar

For each egg: pinch salt


Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes.  While this is happening, put the butter in a small saucepan and gently melt it.  When the butter starts to turn brown, remove it from the heat.  Stir in the salt, mustard and vinegar. When the eggs are ready, remove the shells, cut them in quarters and place on a warm dish.  Warm up the sauce again and pour over the eggs.  


Notes: This is a Tudor dish.  Yes, late period Western food from me.  My excuse is that they taste good.




2 eggs                                                                                                    15 ml (3 teaspoons) aniseed or caraway

100g sugar                                                                                           175g plain flour


Beat the eggs.  Add the sugar and aniseed (or caraway) and beat again.  Stir in the flour to make a thick dough.  Knead the dough on a floured board.  Make the dough into rolls 1cm wide by 10cm long.   Tie each strip into a single knot. Drop the knotted dough (6 at a time) into a pan of boiling water.  They will sink to the bottom, so use a spoon to help them float to the top.  When the knots have floated for a minute and swelled, take them out of the water and let them drain on a wire rack.  Put the knots on buttered baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C (350°F o f gas mark 4).  Turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes until they are golden brown.  


Notes: Also Tudor and the same excuse.  I haven't made this for a while and forget how many you get, but I would suggest that this will only do a few people.



Rice with Pine Nuts and Almonds


500g cooked basmati rice                                                               salt and black pepper

60g pine nuts                                                                                       60g slivered almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                     60g seedless raisins, currants or sultanas

Sesame oil                                                                                           Butter


Once you have the rice cooked, stir butter through it and keep it warm.  Fry the pine nuts in the oil.  The nuts require only a couple of minutes frying and burn easily.  Put the hot buttered rice into a serving dish.  Add fruit and almonds.  Stir in the pine nuts and season to taste with salt, pepper and cinnamon.  


Notes: Basmati rice gives the best flavour, but more plebeian versions can be used. Best if served hot, this is a quick and cheaper version of pilaf.  One portion should serve 25 to 30.



Armenian Lamb


1 tablespoon oil                                                                                  1kg fillet end of leg of lamb

30g butter                                                                                             2 medium sized onions (sliced)

1 clove garlic (chopped)                                                                 1 tablespoon plain flour

1 teaspoon ground cumin seed                                                     1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

600 to 850 ml stock                                                                          2 tablespoons tomato purée

Salt and pepper to taste


Cut the meat from the bone and divide into 2 cm cubes.  Heat the oil in a sauté pan, or deep flameproof casserole, drop in the butter and, when foaming, brown the meat a few pieces at a time.  Remove the meat, add the onions and garlic and cook slowly for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time; dust in the flour and spices and continue cooking a further 3 to 4  minutes.  Stir in the tomato purée and 600 ml of stock, away from the heat, and blend until the mixture is smooth.


Return pan to the stove and stir mixture until boiling; reduce the heat, add the meat to the pan, cover and cook for 45 to 60 minutes on top of the stove or in the oven at 175ºC (350°F or gas mark 4).  Stir the mixture occasionally, adding the reserved stock, if necessary, and season to taste.


Dish up the meat on a serving dish, piling it up neatly.  Reduce the gravy to a thick sauce, if necessary and spoon it over.  There should be sufficient to moisten it.  


Notes: Arrange pilaf at each end of the dish or serve it separately.  Serve a green salad in season.  This recipe will also work for goat (or kangaroo), but you will need to pay attention to the meat not drying out (there is a lot less fat in the other meats).  The use of tomato and allspice places this as a late sixteenth century food.  If you want an earlier version, substitute half of the amount of tamarind paste for the tomato, a little more stock (for the liquid) and powdered mace.  This should serve around twenty-five to thirty people as a part of a remove.



Cacik (cucumber and yoghurt salad)


1 large cucumber or 2 small ones; peeled and diced            salt and white pepper to taste

2 or 3 cloves garlic (or more if desired)                                    450 ml yoghurt

1 tablespoon dried crushed mint (or 3 finely chopped tablespoons of fresh)


Sprinkle diced cucumber with salt, and leave in a colander to drain for 1/2 hour.  Crush garlic with a little salt.  Mix a few tablespoons of the yoghurt with the garlic, then mix in the rest and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the mint.  Drain the cucumbers and mix in.  


Notes: Sweet Greek yoghurt will work best with this.  It is a nice refreshing cold food and feasters will use a lot of flat breads when eating it.  One batch makes enough for 20 people as a side dish.  Source: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.





90g butter (or more if desired)                                                     2 small onions

500g basmati rice                                                                              900 ml chicken stock (or vegetable)

Salt and pepper                                                                                  170g currants (washed)

170g raw pistachio nuts                                                                  Large pinch of asafoetida


Melt two-thirds of the butter in a large, heavy-based, saucepan; add the onion and cook slowly until golden brown; stir in the rice and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.  Pour on the stock, add salt, pepper and asafoetida and bring it to the  boil.  Move to a large casserole dish, cover and cook in the oven at 190°C (375°F or Mark 5) until the rice is tender (about 20 minutes).  It does not matter if the rice forms a crust on the sides of the casserole, stir this in.  Add extra stock to moisten, if necessary, and put the rest of the butter in the casserole, with the currants and pistachio nuts, forking them in very carefully.


Notes: One quantity will (just) serve 30.  For the omnivores add a meat, either Armenian lamb or Hrolf's Eastern Meat.  If pistachios are not available, you can substitute shredded almonds.  If you do this, increase the amount of currants and asafoetida.  This is one of my favourite dishes.  You seem to never be able to make enough of it.  Do not use 'normal' rice for this dish.  Most Australian grown rice is a Japanese cultivar and will give totally the wrong result for any period food.  European (risotto-style) rice is also wrong.  Jasmine rice is acceptable, but will give a more Indian taste.  Pilaf appears in many period stories and recipe books.  This one is based more on Afghani tastes, but would also be eaten further west into Persia and perhaps Anatolia.



Mizithra (cottage cheese)


10 cups whole unhomogenized milk                                            3 teaspoons salt

2 rennet (junket) tablets                                                                  1 tablespoon cold water


Heat milk in a heavy pan until warm and stir in salt.  Remove from heat.  Crush the rennet tablets in a small bowl, add the cold water and stir until dissolved. Slowly pour the rennet liquid into the milk, stirring gently.  Cover the pan with lid and leave at the side of the stove, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.  When set, break up curds by stirring with a whisk of spoon.  Let the curds settle. Line a colander or large sieve with a double layer of muslin or cheesecloth (yes folks, the real use of cheesecloth).  Ladle curds into this.  Collect whey in a bowl if desired.  Let curd drain for a while, then scrape d own cheese on sides of the cloth and tie the ends of the cloth together.  Suspend from a fixed object and leave to drain for another six hours at room temperature, then suspend from a shelf in a refrigerator (or outside in a sheltered place if you live in a cool climate) with a dish to gather remaining whey.  Leave for another 12 hours to drain thoroughly.  Turn out of cloth and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Notes: Your main problem with making this is getting the milk.  You need a cow, or friendly farmer with one, as it, for legal reasons, cannot be sold in Australia at retail.  This will keep for 4 to 5 days.  With minor variations, this recipe will be found all around the Mediterranean and through the Middle East.  One batch makes about 600g of cheese.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Tiropitakia (cheese triangles)


375g feta cheese                                                                               1 cup ricotta or mizithra

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley                                                     2 teaspoons finely chopped mint (optional)

2 or 3 eggs                                                                                           freshly ground black pepper

375g filo pastry (one packet of 22 sheets)                               3/4 cup melted butter


Crumble feta cheese into a bowl, and combine with mizithra cheese, and then mash finely with a fork to blend thoroughly.  Add parsley, mint, and pepper to taste. Lightly beat 2 eggs and stir in the cheese.  Mixture should be soft but still hold its shape.  If it is too stiff, add another egg.


Cut each filo pastry sheet into 3 strips, each about 13 x 30 cm in size.  Stack on a cloth and cover with another folded, dry, cloth. Place a moistened cloth on top.  Take a strip of filo and brush lightly with butter.  Fold in half lengthwise and brush again with butter. Place a generous teaspoon of the cheese mixture towards the bottom edge of strip and fold edge of strip diagonally over filling so that bottom edge is in line with folded edge, forming a triangle.  Fold up once and then fold diagonally to opposite side.  Continue to fold in a triangle until the end of the strip.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Place the finished triangles on lightly greased baking sheets and brush tops lightly with melted butter.  Bake in a moderately hot oven (190° C or 375° F) for 20 minutes or so or until puffed and golden.  


Notes: These are best if served hot.  One batch makes about 60 for a normal feast so double this to allow about 2 each.  These can be made and cooked well before and re-heated at the event.  If possible heat them up only one or two layers deep to keep them as crisp as possible.  This is a great recipe for novice cooks to give confidence with their ability to create something tasty.  Although readily found, the source for this version: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Tabouleh (burghul and parsley salad)


3/4 cup of fine burghul                                                                    2 cups cold water

2 cups chopped parsley                                                                   1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions

1/4 cup finely chopped mint                                                           1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice                                                               11/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with 1/4 cup lemon juice


Place burghul in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract the moisture.  (Note that this can be done in a period fashion by placing in several layers of cheese cloth or muslin, gathering the edges and squeezing). Meanwhile, prepare the parsley.  Wash well, shake off excess moisture and remove thick stalks.  Wrap in a tea towel (or muslin) and place in a refrigerator to crisp and dry.  Put burghul into a mixing bowl and add spring onions.  Squeeze mixture with hand so that burghul mixture absorbs the onion flavour.  Chop parsley fairly coarsely, measure and add to burghul with mint. Beat olive oil with lemon juice and stir in salt and pepper.  Add to salad and toss well.  The mixture of salt and lemon juice is served in a jug as a dressing to be added to individual taste.  


Notes: Burghul, also known as bulghur wheat, is a rice substitute used through the Middle-East in ways similar to couscous.  It originates from the Persian word for "bruised grain".  Burghul is wheat that has been firstly cooked (either par-boiled or steamed), the outer layers of bran removed, and then ground into various sized grains.  One batch notionally serves 8, but it is usually used as a side dish.  Variants are found throughout the literature and history of the Middle East.  This version is from: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Keftethes apo ton Pontos (meat balls)


500g veal mince                                                                                 250g pork mince (a bit fatty is preferred)

3 thick slices of stale bread, crusts removed                           1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped                                                        3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon chopped mint                                                                1 teaspoon chopped basil

1 egg                                                                                                      1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda                                                    11/2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper                                                         Flour to coat

Oil for frying


Combine the meat.  Soak the bread in cold water.  Squeeze dry and crumble into a mixing bowl.  Add garlic, herbs, egg and vinegar. Blend in soda, salt and pepper.  Add the meat and blend lightly and thoroughly, using hand if necessary.  Chill for 1 hour.  Shape into balls the size of a walnut and deep fry.  Serve hot or cold.  Instead of making into balls, these can be made into patties 5cm in diameter and shallow fired for 4 to 5 minutes each side.  


Notes: These work as a nibble food for a first remove starter.  One batch serves 6 for a main meal.  This recipe's source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Sharbat Albaloo (cherry sherbet)


500g sour or other cherries                                                            11/2 cups water

Granulated sugar                                                                               Strained lemon juice


Wash the cherries, remove stems and seeds.  Place in a pan with water and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes or until cherries are soft.  Strain the cherries through a sieve set over a bowl.  Leave for 30 minutes or longer if there are more, to drain thoroughly.  Measure juice back into pan and add an equal volume of sugar, which is one cup of sugar for one cup of juice.  Add lemon juice and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar.  Boil uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes without stirring.  Skim when required.  Cool and bottle.  Store the syrup at room temperature.  To serve, mix 1 part of syrup with 4 of water.  Add ice to taste or refrigerate.


Notes: This is a refreshing traditional Persian drink.  Traditionally the chilling is done with snow.



Hrölf's Eastern Meat


250g aged mutton, goat, camel or wallaby                               1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic

1/2 a heaped teaspoon of crushed ginger                                 quantity butter



Slice your meat up finely and fry until well done in the butter and other ingredients.


Notes: For the butter, unsalted works well - but this is not essential.  This is intended to be used with Pilaf or Cous Cous.  I could not find a recipe and made one up that fit what I had read in period texts.  While the wallaby is non-period, it gives a nice and very lean meat that, I am told, closely resembles camel.  It is usually referred to locally as 'hopping camel'.  If using goat, try to get lucerne-fed animals rather than feral or scrub fed.  The flavour is more delicate and complementary to the rest of the dish.  Avoid lamb as it is too fatty and will spoil the flavour.  This will provide enough meat for one quantity of pilaf.



Tartes de Pommes (spiced apple pie)



250g flour                                                                                             1/2 teaspoon salt

75g butter                                                                                             2 tablespoons shortening or lard

4-5 tablespoons cold water


Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt.  Add the butter and shortening or lard and cut them into small pieces.  Rub with fingertips until the mixture resembles crumbs, stir in enough water to make a pastry that is soft but not sticky and knead lightly until smooth.  Wrap and chill 30 minutes.  Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F).



5 dessert apples                                                                                 3 chopped dried figs

1 chopped onion                                                                                 2 tablespoons butter or oil

75g (1/2 cup) raisins                                                                         175ml (1/4 cup) sack

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                         1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon crushed aniseed                                                       pinch of saffron infused in a tablespoon of boiling water


Fry the onion in butter or oil until soft, but not brown (2 to 3 minutes).  Peel the apples, core and chop up two of them and mix these two with the onion, figs, raisins and two -thirds of the wine.  Grate the remaining apples and mix at once with the remaining wine, so that they do not discolour.  Add about a third of this mix to the raisin mix.  Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, aniseed and half the saffron and liquid into the remaining grated apples.


Roll our just over half of the mixture and line a 22cm (9") pie tin.  Spread the raisin mix in the bottom.  Put the spiced apple mix on top and press it well down.  Roll out remaining pastry to form a lid, place it on top and seal the edges.  Brush the top of the pie with the remaining saffron liquid and make a hole in the centre for steam to escape.  Bake until pastry is browned (50-60 minutes).  Serve hot or cold.  


Notes: If you cannot get sack, any sweet white wine will do, even port can be used. The original recipe is from Taillevent (c1312-1395).  It reads "Cut up each apple and add figs and put in well-cleaned raisins and mix them together, and put in onion fried in butter or oil, and wine and some pounded apples, soaked in wine, and with the remaining apples, crushed, put saffron and a little of various spices - cinnamon, white ginger, anise and purslane if you have it; and make two large bases of pastry and put the mixtures in together, and press a thick layer of apple down well with the hand, and the other mixture, and after put on the lid and seal it and gild it with saffron and put it in the oven and cook it." Source: Great Cooks and Their Recipes p21.



Minestra di Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chick Pea Soup)


500g chick peas                                                                                 3 anchovy fillets

Salt and pepper                                                                                  1 small branch fresh rosemary

5 tablespoons olive oil                                                                      2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

300g small cannolicchi (or any small pasta)                             1 cup water


Soak the chick peas overnight in cold water.  Next day drain and place in a saucepan with fresh cold water to cover, add salt and rosemary.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.  Take the anchovies and drain them, soak in milk, rinse and chop.  Meanwhile, fry the oil, garlic and chopped anchovies in another saucepan.  Stir in the water and allow to cook for 20 minutes.  Add the chick peas with their cooking water.  They should be tender, but still whole.  As soon as it comes back to the boil, add the cannolicchi from a height of about 15cm.  Stir in carefully and let cook for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.  Check for salt, then add a generous quantity of fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.  


Notes: This is a traditional Italian dish to be eaten on All Souls Day in memory of the dead.  It is one of the most ancient of pasta dishes.  A version called laganum et ceteris was eaten by the Romans.  One batch serves 6.  Source: Perfect Pasta.



Blanc Manger Party


90g spinach or parsley                                                                     75g (1/2 cup) mulberries, black currants or blackberries

1 litre milk                                                                                            Pinch saffron

175g (1 cup) whole blanched almonds, finely ground           175g (1 cup) cream of rice

100g sugar                                                                                           1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon lard or shortening                                                     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)                                        1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)


Lightly oil a 1.25 litre (5 cups) peaked jelly mould.  Discard the stems from spinach and/or parsley, thoroughly wash them, squeeze dry and coarsely chop them in a food processor.  Pick over the berries and crush them in a small bowl.  Pour equal amount of the milk into four saucepans.  Add the spinach and/or parsley to one pan, the crushed berries to the second and the saffron to a third.  (The fourth is to remain white.)  Bring the first three pans to the boil, cover and remove from the heat and leave in a warm place to draw the colours into the milk (takes about 10 minutes).  Strain each batch of coloured milk into a clean saucepan


Bring the four pans of milk to a boil.  Remove them from the heat and stir into each pan an equal portion of the ground almonds, cream of rice, sugar, lard and any of the optional spices being used.  Return to the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 10 minutes).  The mixture should just fall easily from the spoon.  Pour one coloured portion into the mould and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon dipped in water, pressing the mixture well into the crevices of the mould. Repeat with each of the other coloured portion, cover the mould with waxed or greaseproof paper and chill overnight or until firmly set.  A short time before serving run a knife around the edge and turn onto a platter.


Notes: Here 'Party' is in 'Parti-coloured'.  This is unusual in that it contains no meats or chicken and is more like a modern version, despite being 14th century. The original used bugloss or sunflower for red; azur fin for blue; parsley or herb bennet for green and saffron for orange.  One batch serves 8 as a sole dessert item.  Source: Great Cooks and Their Recipes p20.





250g chick peas                                                                                 50-90 ml fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste                                                                  50 ml olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin                                                                            2 large cloves of garlic (crushed)

Parsley to garnish


Soak the chick peas overnight in cold water.  Drain and simmer in fresh cold water until really soft, which usually takes more than an hour, adding a little salt towards the end of the cooking.  Cool a little and put in a liquidiser with the rest of the ingredients and add enough of the cooking water to achieve a so ft cream.  You must add the flavourings gradually and taste often.  It should have a sharpish taste.


Notes: Serve in plates garnished with sprigs of parsley and a dribble of olive oil. Accompany with pita bread.  One batch serves 6 as an entrée.  Source: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.



Rotolo di Pasta Farcita (Stuffed  Pasta Roll)


500g chopped and cooked spinach                                              210g ricotta cheese

2/3 cup chopped best baked ham                                                2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten                                                                                    Pinch of grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper                                                                                  31/2 cups flour

4 eggs                                                                                                    Orange blossom or rose water


Parmesan cheese as garnish or a small quantity cinnamon, nutmeg, ground vanilla and sugar


Mix the chopped spinach with the ricotta, ham and Parmesan.  Add the eggs and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and set aside.  Make pasta with the flour, eggs and salt and roll it out into a thick sheet no wider than the width of the pot it will be cooked in.  Spread the filling over the pasta sheet carefully, to within about 4 cm of the edge.  Roll it up tightly, then wrap in a clean white cloth.  Tie the ends very securely.  Boil a large saucepan of water with salt, rosewater or orange blossom water in it and carefully lower in the pasta roll.  Don't let it sag as this will undo the tightness of the roll.  Boil for an hour.  Remove from the water and drain the roll.  Unwrap it and slice it neatly on a platter.  Sprinkle with either Parmesan or the sweet spices mix and serve.  


Notes: One log will be about 23cm long and should give about 18 slices.  This way of serving pasta originated during the Renaissance when the meal, as we know it today, was evolving.  It was served between the starters and the meat course. Source: Perfect Pasta.



Mixed Dried Fruit in Syrup


120g each: dried apricots, figs, peaches, prunes, cherries

60g each: blanched almonds, pistachio nuts, pine nuts, seedless raisins

Quantity sugar


Wash and soak the dried fruits overnight.  Use a larger proportion of any fruits that are preferred.  Put in a large pan with the nuts.  Cover with water, sweeten to taste and slowly bring to the boil.  Simmer gently until all fruits are well cooked.  This will be at least 11/2 hours (depends on quality of fruit).  


Notes: Serve warm or chilled.  As a solitary dish this will serve 6, but it is very rich in taste and will serve a lot more as a part of a remove.  At a feast, use for about 12 to 18 people.  References to this sort of dish occur through much of the Middle East.  For this recipe the source is: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.



Cucumber Salad with Mint


Several cucumbers                                                                           Quantity of fresh mint

Salt                                                                                                         Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon orange blossom water


Peel cucumbers and slice thinly.  Sprinkle with salt and let juices drain for 1/2 hour.  Dress with a vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with finely chopped mint.  


Notes: Wild thyme can also be used instead of mint and a teaspoon of orange blossom water added to the dressing gives a pleasant perfume to the dish.  Source: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.





Olive oil                                                                                                Wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


Combine in a bowl and beat well or put in a jar and shake well.  Shake or beat just before using.  Use over any cold Greek or Cypriot salad.  


Notes: This is a standard Aegean salad dressing.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.





120 ml oil                                                                                              120g melted butter

120 ml warm water                                                                          1 teaspoon salt

500g plain flour


To make the dough, put the oil and butter together in a small heatproof bowl and heat over boiling water until the butter has melted. Mix in warm water and salt, and pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add flour gradually, stirring slowly with a knife and then your hand, until the dough forms a soft, rather greasy ball.  A few tablespoons more flour may be required. The dough should be handled as little as possible, so stop mixing as soon as it holds together.  


Once the dough is made, take walnut-sized or egg-sized balls and hollow out with a finger.  Shape into little pots by pinching and smoothing up the sides.  Fill with a filling (either Tatbila or Khandrajo) and cover with flat lids of dough a little larger than the diameter of the pots.  Secure by pinching lid and pot edges together.  Pinch and fold over the overlapping edges of each pot to make a festoon edge.  Paint the lids and sides with a mixture of egg beaten in 2 tablespoons water and place on an ungreased baking tray.  Bake in a pre-heated slow oven (160 °C / 325°F) for 30 to 35 minutes until the dough is well cooked and the pasteles are a warm golden colour.  


Notes: Muffin tins can be used instead to help retain the shape.  Number varies with size, but should make about 30.  This is a common Sephardic Jewish recipe.  It is similar in most respects to the Raghîf Alsinîyyeh described by al-Baghdadi. Source: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.





1 medium or large onion                                                                 2 tablespoons oil

500g lean lamb or beef, minced                                                   2 tablespoons pine nuts

Salt and black pepper                                                                      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cumin or coriander


Gently fry the onion in the oil until soft and a pale golden colour.  Add meat and fry lightly until it changes colour.  Stir in pine nuts and fry for another 2 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and whichever other spice you use.  Sugar may be added if desired.  Moisten with about 5 tablespoons water (the meat will otherwise be too dry to be a filling).  Cook for a few minutes more until the water is absorbed and the meat tender.  


Note: this is a filling for Pasteles.





500g unpeeled aubergines, cut into small cubes                     1 large onion, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper                                                                      2 tablespoons oil

1 tamarind or a level teaspoon of tamarind paste


Sprinkle cubed aubergines with salt and leave them in a colander for about 1/2 hour to allow the bitter juices to drain away.  Rinse well and squeeze lightly.  Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the onion to a dark golden colour.  Add the aubergines and fry lightly until tender and a little coloured.  Add tamarind and some water and season generously with pepper.  Add salt only if needed, taking into account that the aubergines are salty already.  Simmer gently, covered, until vegetables are very soft and then squash lightly with a fork.  


Notes: This is usually made today with tomatoes.  The result should come out somewhat like ratatouille.  It is a filling for Pasteles.



Salada Eliniki


Onion rings or chopped spring onions                                        Sliced radishes

Cucumber slices                                                                                Feta cheese

Kalimata or other black olives                                                      Anchovy fillets (optional but not usually left out)

Chopped fresh dill or parsley                                                        Pickled capers

Quantity of Lathoxitho


Wash greens well, shake off excess moisture and wrap in a tea towel.  Place in a refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to dry the greens and make them crisp.  Break up greens or shred coarsely using a very sharp knife (to avoid bruising the greens).  Place in a bowl and add other ingredients as required.  Sprinkle on herb and add dressing just before serving and toss.


Notes: Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Keftethakia (meatballs)


2 eggs                                                                                                    4-5 slices of stale white bread

Water                                                                                                    1 large onion, grated

1 tablespoon ouzo                                                                              2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1-2 teaspoons chopped mint (optional)                                      2 tablespoons grated Kefalotiri or parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt                                                                                 Fresh ground black pepper

1 kg (2 lb) fine ground beef or lamb                                           Flour (for coating)

Oil (for frying)


Beat eggs lightly in a deep mixing bowl.  Remove crusts from bread and discard. Soak bread in cold water and squeeze dry.  Crumble into eggs and add onion, ouzo, herbs, cheese and seasonings.  Leave for 10 minutes.  Add meat and blend lightly and thoroughly.  Cover mix and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Shape into meat balls the size of a small walnut, coat with flour and deep fry in hot oil, a few at a time.  Drain and serve hot or cold.  Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.  


Notes: If used as a side dish, enough for about 12.





500g Kataifi pastry                                                                           1 cup melted unsalted butter




1 cup coarsely ground walnuts                                                     1 cup coarsely ground almonds

1/2 cup caster sugar                                                                         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves                                                           1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon brand y




2 cups sugar                                                                                        11/2 cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice                                                                    Thin strip lemon rind

4 cloves                                                                                                1 piece cinnamon bark

1 tablespoon honey


Bring kataifi pastry to room temperature, in its package, before attempting to loosen strands.  Take an eighth of the pastry strands and spread out on a board to make a 18 x 25 cm rectangle with the strands running lengthwise.  Using a pastry brush, dab some butter over the strands.  Combine nut filling ingredients well and spread about 2 tablespoons of filling along one narrow edge.  Roll up firmly into a neat roll.  Repeat with remaining pastry and ingredients.  Place close together in a 20 x 30 cm slab cake pan or baking dish.  Brush top with remaining butter.  Bake in a moderate (180°C / 350°F) oven, one shelf above centre for 50 to 55 minutes until golden brown.  


Meanwhile, dissolve sugar in water over heat.  Add lemon juice and rind, cloves and cinnamon.  Bring to boil and boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in honey, strain and cool.  Pour cooled syrup over hot pastries, cover and leave to cool.  Cut each roll into 5 pieces.


Notes: Kataifi pastry (in Turkish kadaif, in Arabic knoafa or k'nafi) can be made, but this is not something for the novice and it is best bought.  It is usually packaged in plastic and keeps well in fridge.  One batch makes 40 pieces.  This is a sticky dessert like Baklava – and disappears as fast.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Melitzanes Moussaka


1 kg eggplant                                                                                      Salt

Meat sauce

1 large onion, chopped                                                                     2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons oil                                                                                1 kg ground beef or lamb

1 large tamarind or tamarind paste                                             1/2 cup white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley                                                     1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar                                                                               Salt and pepper

Cream sauce

1/4 cup butter                                                                                     1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk                                                                                          ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon

1/4 cup grated Kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese                       salt and pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten


Cut eggplant into 5 mm thick slices with skin on.  Sprinkle with salt and leave for an hour.  Wash and dry gently with paper towels.  Shallow fry the eggplant in oil until it is lightly brown.  Stack on a plate once cooked.  Gently fry onion and garlic in oil for 10 minutes.  Add meat and brown over high heat, stirring well.  Add remaining meat sauce ingredients, seasoning to taste and adding water and more tamarind if too dry. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  


Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes.  Add milk at once and bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Let sauce bubble gently for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in nutmeg or cinnamon, tablespoon of cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover top of sauce with buttered paper if not required immediately.  Grease an oven dish, 33 x 23 x 5 cm and place a layer of eggplant slices in the base.  Top with half the meat sauce, add another layer of eggplant, remainder of meat and finish with eggplant.  Stir beaten egg into sauce and spread on top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake in a moderate (180°C / 350°F) oven for 1 hour.


Notes: It cannot be emphasised too much not to leave the salt on the eggplant longer than an hour.  One of my greatest feast disasters is when someone doing cooking for me left it for a few hours – and then didn't tell me until it was served. If used on its own, this quantity will serve about 8 people.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Leche Lumbarde (2)


250g dates                                                                                           1 cup sack

11/2 cups sugar                                                                                  21/2 dessertspoons powdered ginger

21/2 dessertspoons powdered cinnamon                                   Breadcrumbs from about 10 slices of bread


Make your breadcrumbs the day before to get them nice and dry.  Cover the dates with sack and boil until it forms a thick paste and then mix in a little more sack. Blend and add sugar and spices.  Return to pan and boil until it is ofa consistence that will allow it to be formed into balls.  You will need  to add the breadcrumbs to get it stiff enough to form.  Cool completely and form into balls.  If too sticky, roll in more powdered spices until dry.  


Note: This was a Crusader version of some of the sweet dishes they found in the East.  For the sugar it is best to use Jaggery (real palm sugar) or otherwise 'Date Sugar', otherwise dark brown sugar if you cannot get these.  If you cannot get sack use a dry sherry. When storing these, avoid having too many layers as they will squash.  They will keep almost forever.  If they get dry, put big drops of sack on each one and leave for a day.  This is my preferred version.



Boolawnee (fried leek pastries)




2 cups plain flour                                                                               1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cold water




2 leeks (3 cups chopped)                                                                2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon powdered coriander (or curry)                           3 teaspoons oil

Oil for frying


Sift flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add water.  Mix to a firm dough and knead for 5 minutes until elastic, dusting with more flour if necessary.  Wrap in plastic film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.  


Cut most of green tops from leeks, halve lengthwise and rinse well to remove all traces of soil.  Remove roots and dry with paper towels.  Place flat on board, cut along length at 5 mm intervals then across to dice.  Measure leeks in a cup measure and then place in a bowl.  Add salt and coriander or curry and knead with hand to soften leeks.  Stir in oil.  Roll pieces of dough into balls the size of a large hazelnut and roll thinly into a 10 cm circle.  Place 2 teaspoons of leek filling in centre of circle; moisten pastry half way around edge with water and fold over filling.  Press edge to seal well, and using the end of a thimble (the traditional method) or a coffee spoon make little crescent-shaped marks around the edge.  Fry 3 or 4 at a time in hot oil until golden brown. Drain and serve hot or warm.


Notes: One batch makes about 32.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.





375g preserved vine leaves or 60 fresh leaves                       1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons oil                                                                                500g fine ground lamb

250g finely ground veal                                                                   1/2 cup rice

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley                                         2 teaspoons finely chopped mint

11/2 teaspoons salt                                                                           Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice                                                               1 tablespoon butter

2 cups light stock




2 tablespoons butter                                                                         2 tablespoons flour

11/2 cups chicken or lamb stock                                                  2 eggs

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice                                                      Salt

Fresh ground white pepper


Rinse vine leaves (whether fresh or preserved) in cold water and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes in lots of 3 or 4.  Remove to a basin of cold water with a slotted spoon, then into a colander to drain.  Gently fry onion in oil until soft.  Lightly mix lamb, veal, rice, onion and oil, herbs, salt and pepper until well combined.  Place a vine leaf, shiny side down, on a work surface. Place about a tablespoon of mixture near stem end, fold the end and sides over stuffing and roll firmly.  Snip off stem if necessary.  Line base of a pan with 6 leaves (use damaged ones) and pack Koupepia close together in layers. Sprinkle each layer with a little of the lemon juice. Cover top of rolls with remaining grape vine leaves.  Add the butter and stock to pan with any remaining lemon juice.  Cover pan with lid and place over medium heat.  Bring to a slow simmer; then simmer gently over a low heat for 11/2 hours.


To make the sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in flour.  Cook 2 minutes without browning and stir in stock.  Stir constantly until sauce thickens and bubbles.  Beat eggs in a bowl until frothy and beat in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Pour the hot sauce into the eggs gradually, beating constantly.  Return sauce to pan and stir over a gentle heat for 2 minutes to cook the egg.  Care must be taken as sauce may curdle.  If this happens, sprinkle a little cold water into sauce and beat with egg whisk.  Drain rolls and arrange on serving dish.  Serve sauce in a separate container.  


Notes: May be served cold without sauce.  One batch makes 48 rolls.  Source: The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook.



Beef Nicoise


Bacon pieces                                                                                      Garlic

Carrot                                                                                                    Onions

Parsley                                                                                                  Mixed herbs

200 ml tamarind syrup                                                                     2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper                                                        12 olives

1 kg caserole beef                                                                            Olive oil


Cut up beef.  Heat oil in casserole dish and fry bacon and brown the meat.  Add carrots, onions, parsley, herbs, tamarind and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir until it is simmering.  Put lid on casserole and cook in oven at 180°C for 21/2 hours.  Check for moisture content after first hour and add water if needed.  Add olives and cook in the oven for a further 20 minutes uncovered.





Powdered cocoa beans                                                                   Honey

Chilli powder                                                                                       Corn (maize) flour

Powdered cinnamon                                                                        Vanilla essence

Powdered cloves                                                                               Water


Add quantities to taste; mix thoroughly and serve hot. This should have a very spicy taste.  


Notes: This recipe dates to 1519 and is the only period way to eat chocolate.  It was quite popular in Spain for quite some time.



Beef and Vegetables in Gravy Casserole


11/2kg beef                                                                                         30g dripping

11/2 tablespoons flour                                                                      2 cups beef stock

Chopped vegetables as available                                                 Herbs as desired


Cut meat into pieces, taking off the fat.  Put casserole on a hot plate and melt dripping, then brown the meat.  Remove meat and stir flour into the hot fat and cook until browned.  Allow to cool, stir in stock until blended then boil while stirring.  Add the vegetables and herbs to the gravy and place the browned meat on top.  Cover and simmer gently on stove or in oven at 160°C for 2 hours.


Notes: Serve with rice.



Smoked Fish Pie


1kg parsnips                                                                                        3 rashers of bacon, chopped

1 litre of milk (approximately)                                                       6 tablespoons flour

90g butter or margarine                                                                  Pepper to taste

3 bay leaves                                                                                        125g mushrooms

2 large onions, chopped                                                                   2 tablespoons grated strong cheese

11/2 teasoons thyme                                                                        1kg smoked fish

Puff pastry                                                                                          1 boiled egg (optional)


Grease and line a pie dish with puff pastry.  Peel and chop parsnips and cook in water until tender.  Drain and mash with a little of the milk and butter.  Set aside. Soak fish in cold water for about an hour (this helps to remove some of the salt).  Place fish in a pot with bay leaves and cover with milk.  Poach fish until tender; then lift out of milk to cool.  Keep the milk mixture.  When the fish are cool, remove skin and 'flake' the fish ensuring that every bone is removed.  Place onion, bacon and butter in a large pot and simmer gently until the onion is soft.  Add flour and pepper and stir well.  Leave on heat for a minute; then slowly add milk mixture, stirring until smooth giving a white sauce effect.  Stir until it thickens a little, remove the bay leaves and discard them.  Add mushrooms, cheese and thyme.  Stir in.  Add flaked fish and stir in.  Add parsnips and stir in.  


Spoon the mixture into the pie shell.  Bake in a moderate oven until heated through. A chopped boiled egg can be added to the pie before adding the fish if desired.


Notes:  Almost any fish can be used for this, even eels.





3 figs in heavy syrup                                                                        8 cloves

1 piece of dried bitter orange skin (5 x 7.5 cm)                      15 cm of 1 cm cinnamon stick

8 peeled almonds                                                                               1/4 cup raisins

1/4 teaspoon cardamom                                                                  500g sugar

2 cups beer                                                                                          11/4 litre of vodka, gin or other period 'pure' spirit

1 fresh range peel, chopped                                                          1 bottle of full-bodied red wine


Boil the spices in the beer for 25 to 30 minutes.  Strain away the spices and add sugar.  Some extra heat and / or a cup of wine may be needed to completely dissolve the sugar.  Add the rest of the wine and the vodka and serve hot (but below 70ºC (160°F) so as to not remove the alcohol) with raisins and almonds in small cups.  


Notes: Serve this to your little Vikings after the battle – not before.  I am fairly certain this is not period, but it is Scandanavian 'traditional'.





1 gallon apple cider (non-alcoholic)                                            8 cinnamon sticks

1 lemon and 1 orange, washed and sliced                                1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon allspice (note late period only)                            1 gallon white wine

2 cups rum


Simmer the non-alcoholic ingredients together for 1 to 2 hours; then add the wine and rum about 10 minutes before serving hot.  Do not make this too hot – you will lose a lot of the effect.


Notes: Although the name and the concept is a period one, this version is either very late period or out of period.  Allspice and rum are not really available until late Tudor times.  Earlier variants should use uisce beatha (Irish whisky, named as such after 1405) or some other form of aqua vitae (distilled spirits – available at least from 1100 in England and perhaps as early as the 6th or 7th century).



Tiropatinam (a kind of soufflé)


500 ml milk                                                                                          6 eggs

3 tablespoons of honey                                                                    some ground black pepper


Sweeten milk with honey, add eggs and mix until smooth.  Cook on low heat until stiff, sprinkle on pepper and serve.


Notes: One batch serves 4 as a main dish.  This is a Roman dish from the British Museum.



Scillas (prawns)


500g cooked and prepared large prawns                                  1 teaspoon green pepper

1 tablespoon lovage                                                                          1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds

2-3 tablespoons vinegar                                                                  4 to 5 hacked hard-boiled egg yolks

100 ml liquamen (a salty Roman fish sauce – use either Worcestershire or Vietnamese fish sauce)


After peeling, cook the prawns in a pan.  Remove, but keep warm.  Into the same pan put the pepper, celery seeds and lovage.  Cook briefly.  Put the other ingredients in and mix thoroughly.  Pour the mix over the prawns and serve immediately.  


Notes: Another Roman dish from the British Museum for four as a main course.



Lokum (Turkish Delight)


4 cups granulated sugar                                                                  41/2 cups water

1 teaspoon lemon juice                                                                    1 cup cornflour

1 to 2 tablespoons rose water                                                       Red food colouring

1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds; unblanched                      3/4 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar                                                            Additional 1/4 cup cornflour


Combine sugar, 11/2 cups water and lemon juice in a thick-based pan.  Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, brushing sugar crystals off side of pan with a bristle brush dipped in cold water.  Bring to the boil and boil to soft ball stage, 115 degrees Celsius on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat.  In another thick-based pan blend cornflour, cream of tartar and 1 cup cold water until smooth.  Boil remaining 2 cups water and stir into cornflour mixture, then place over heat.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles.  Use a balloon whisk if lumps form.  Pour hot syrup gradually into cornflour mixture, stirring constantly.  Bring to the boil and boil gently for11/4 hours. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon and cook until mixture is a pale golden colour.  Stirring is essential.  Stir in rose water to taste and a few drops of red food colouring to tinge it a pale pink.  Blend in nuts if used, and remove from heat.  Pour into a lightly oiled 23cm square cake tin and leave for 12 hours to set.  Combine icing sugar and the 1/4 cup cornflour in a flat dish. Cut Turkish delight into squares with an oiled knife and toss in sugar mixture. Store in a sealed container with remaining sugar mixture sprinkled between layers.  


Notes: Cooking time is 11/2 hours and one batch makes about 1 kg.  This is simple but fiddly.  If you have done it right it is so much better than almost any commercially available version.


Orange Lokum: Use 1 to 2 tablespoons orange flower water instead of rose water; use orange food colouring.


Vanilla Lokum: Use 2 teaspoons vanilla essence instead of rose water and colouring, and stir in 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds or chopped walnuts. Do not blanch almonds.





100g plain flour                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Generous pinch of salt                                                                     3 eggs

1 tablespoon of sugar                                                                       Milk to mix


Sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt.  Whisk the eggs lightly with the sugar and stir into the flour mixture with just enough milk to enable it to pour. Beat well until bubbles form.  Grease and heat a girdle.  Pour tablespoons of the mixture on to it, tilting to spread thinly.  As soon as the bannocks are golden brown underneath, flip them over and brown the other side.  Cool on a wire rack.


Notes: If you are making these using gluten free flour you will need more milk than otherwise.  I cook these in a heavy iron frying pan, four at a time.  Serve cold with butter and honey in bowls alongside.  Dip the bannock in honey and eat immediately.  Do not use a flavoured honey (unless you can get a heather honey).  These are traditional Scots fare that is very suitable for camping events.  One batch will make 12.  Original source: The Great Country Cookbook.





50g butter                                                                                             50g sugar

2 eggs                                                                                                    350g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda                                                1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Fat or oil to deep fry                                                                        Castor sugar and (optional) cinnamon to cover


Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and gradually beat in the eggs.  Sift the flour with the bicarbonate and cream of tartar and fold into the mixture to make a soft, scone-like dough.  Rollout the dough thickly and cut into 15cm long narrow strips.  Take three strips and plait them together. Repeat until all used up.  Deep fry a few at a time in hot fat or oil until they are deep golden brown.  Drain well on absorbent paper and serve warm sprinkled with sugar (add cinnamon to the sugar if preferred).  


Notes: We refer to these as Viking donuts.  Check your first batch to see if they are cooked through.  You will end up working on the colour of the resulting pastry. After making this a few times we discovered that you need about 11g of egg to 25g of flour.  This works out to at least 5 medium eggs in a double batch.  One batch will makes about 12 (which are not enough).  If you are using gluten free flour, forget about plaiting them.  You will end up with a sticky batter that is best with two people moulding it.  One (preferably the one with cooler hands) makes rough walnut sized lumps which are left for a few minutes.  The second person (with the cleaner hands) then quickly smoothes the lumps into balls which are deep-fried, drained and then tossed in the cinnamon mix.  These are a Scots recipe from the Highlands and Isles, which appears to have a Viking derivation.  Original source: The Great Country Cookbook.



Twelfth Night Cake


225g butter                                                                                          225g castor sugar

4 eggs                                                                                                    3 tablespoons of brandy or rum

225g plain flour                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg                                               225g currants

225g seedless raisins                                                                        75g chopped blanched almonds

1 dried bean (optional)


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Whisk the eggs with the brandy and beat gradually into the mixture.  Sift the flour and spices and add a little at a time, with the fruit and nuts.  Beat until well mixed.  Add the bean.  Line a 25 cm cake tin with buttered paper (or 2 x 20cm tins).  Put in the mixture and smooth the top.  Bake in a cool oven (150ºC, 300ºF, Gas Mark 2) for 3 to 31/2 hours (with the two smaller tins this is 21/4 hours).  The cake is cooked when a thin skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  


Notes: This cake is 'traditional' in England.  The cake is served at the beginning of the feast and the person who gets the bean is the Bean King – the Lord of Misrule – for the night.  The first Bean King in Lochac was appropriately Llewen the Unruly at his first event.  Original source: The Great Country Cookbook.



Lamb and Honey Triangles


2 tablespoons cooking oil                                                                1 large onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped                                                        2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger

250g minced lamb                                                                             Freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg                                                                        1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                    1 tablespoon sultanas

1 tablespoon tomato paste                                                              1 tinned tomato cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon honey                                                                           1 tablespoon wine vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds                                       1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 teaspoon fresh mint

8 sheets filo pastry                                                                            90g melted butter

Sesame seeds, optional poppy seeds or flaked almonds as a garnish


Heat oil in a large (preferably non-stick) frying pan over a medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally until light golden; or about 6 minutes.  Remove from pan, set aside.  Increase heat and return pan to stove, add a little more oil if dry. Add lamb and cook, stirring to break up, until lamb is no longer pink.  Return onion mix to pan with all remaining ingredients except almonds, mint, filo and butter.  Cook over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally until any excess liquid evaporates off; about 5 minutes.  Remove and place in a bowl.  Cool completely and then stir in almonds and mint.  Place a sheet of filo on a work surface.  Cover remaining filo with a damp cloth to prevent drying out.  Cut sheet in half lengthwise and brush each sheet lightly with melted butter.  Fold each sheet in half to make two strips and brush with butter.  Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in lower left corner of each strip and fold filo over the filling, enclosing it and forming a triangle.  Continue to fold strip to form a neat triangular package.  Place on baking tray and brush with butter and sprinkle with garnish (if you are using it).  Repeat until filling is used up.  Cover and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to bake.  Preheat oven to 180°C.  Place triangles in oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  


Notes: Obviously tomato is not a period fruit.  To be more exact, use a tamarind and tamarind syrup in slightly smaller quantities.  One batch will make 16.



Borani Chogondar (beetroot salad)


3 medium sized cooked or pickled beets                                   2 cups natural yoghurt

Ground black pepper                                                                        Vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried mint                            Mint to garnish


Peel and cool beetroot if freshly cooked.  Cut fresh or pickled beetroot into 1 cm dice.  Reserve about 1/4 cup of diced beetroot and mix remainder into yoghurt with salt and pepper to taste.  If using fresh beetroot, it may be necessary to add a little vinegar or lemon juice to sharpen the flavour.  Blend in mint; rub dried mint to a coarse powder if this is used.  Cover and chill.  Place in a serving bowl and garnish with reserve beetroot and mint leaves or powdered dried mint.  


Notes: This is one of those dishes that you first add to a feast to increase the number of simple dishes that you have and you are not sure if anyone will eat it.  Each time we made it we increased the amount and it was all eaten. Notionally this serves 20 the first time around.  You adjust for local tastes with experience.



Spanish Mushrooms


4 kg fresh and firm mushrooms                                                   1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup each red wine, cider and balsamic vinegar                  1 cup lemon juice

6 cloves sliced garlic                                                                        3 tablespoons dried basil o r a handful of fresh

Salted water


Put mushrooms in salted water and boil for 10 minutes, drain and store.  Mix other ingredients and pour over mushrooms.  Cover and store in a cool place.  Notes: To take to the hall, the dressing may be poured off into a container and re-added at the event.  One batch serves around 50 people.



Soupe à l'Oignon


250g large white onions                                                                  6 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoon flour                                                                              21/4 litres beef or veal stock

1 cup milk                                                                                            Salt and pepper to tast

85g Gruyere or similar, grated                                                      bread sticks


Peel the onions (underwater to avoid tears).  Place the 4 tablespoons of butter in a deep saucepan to melt, but not brown.  Toss in the onions and turn with a wooden spoon until they are an all-over golden colour.  Dust with the flour. Continue stirring and add the stock little by little.


Increase the heat as the stock is added.  Go on stirring until the soup boils.  Turn down and leave to cook gently for 10 minutes.  Bring the milk to the boil and add to the soup, stirring in well.  Add salt & pepper.


Properly we should then either put the soup in a large pot in the oven, or in bowls for individual service, cut the bread up into rounds and arrange them on the surface and cover with cheese mixed with some pepper, pour the rest of the butter (melted) over them and heat until cheese lightly browns.  Given what we are doing, the best way is to prepare the bread on a tray, put the cheese etc over it and heat it in the oven and only add to float on the soup when we are serving.


Notes: This is the original peasant version of French onion soup.  I first had this in a small eatery near the Arc de Triomphe and this version follows their recipe.  I ate it every night we were there.  Done well it is magic.



Salmon Poached in Its Own Sauce


Whole salmon, filleted with skin on (4kg)                                 Olive oil

500g or more of butter                                                                    Salt and pepper

Semi-sweet white wne                                                                    Lemon juice

Dill, both fresh and dried                                                                Dry bread

Balsamic or white vinegar


Carefully remove all pin bones with tweezers or small pliers. This is time consuming, so allow for doing it properly; Pin bones are found in some surprising places, discover them by running your fingers tips along the inside of the fillet until you feel the projection of bone (they are rather like boar bristles or cat whiskers) depress the area of flesh around the bone gently so that the end protrudes clear and grab with the pliers or tongs and apply smooth gradual pull (do not yank, as they will just break off), the bone will hold for a second or two and then slide out without need of added force.  Trim the fillet of excess skin and throw out, trim off excess fatty flesh around the edges and reserve.  Keeping in mind that a very sharp knife is critical to working with fish, commence to cut individual portions by laying the fish skin-down on the cutting surface and making one clean cut for each piece.  Make sure you cut through the skin before lifting off the work area.  Making some pieces larger, and some smaller, works better when serving than having them all the same size.


Into a very hot skillet add a small measure of olive oil to keep the butter from burning over-quickly and also a good glob of butter.  Allow to melt and sizzle as you swirl the pan on the heat to make sure the butter evenly coats the pan. Salt the butter lightly.  Place the individual salmon portions skin down into the skillet (use your hands, for best results, but beware of the heat and spitting butter). You can fit in as many portions as will not touch each other but make sure you leave enough room to easily flip the portions over.  If they touch, these areas will look discoloured and bad.


Turn down the heat by half.  The skin should sear within 10 to 20 seconds, now add a good cup of semi sweet white wine (Lambrouska works well), some lemon juice and a goodly sprinkle of dried dill.  Add some salt and fresh ground pepper over the top of the salmon portions, and use a gentle swirl of the pan to mix all juices and leave for a minute and a half to two minutes.  Using two narrow spatulas gently flip each portion so that it is skin side up and continue to cook for around 3 to 4 minutes.  


Remove portions from skillet and serve onto trays, skin side up to show the sear marks, and allow to stand in a warm place for the short time till serving with a sheet of foil loosely laid on top to retain the heat of the topmost portions. Do not stack more then two deep on the platter.  These are fragile and should arrive at table looking good.  Reserve the cooking juices aside, if you need to do multiple passes of cooking in the skillet then wipe clean and dry and start anew with all new ingredients.  Do not cook new portions in old juice in the pan.


For the sauce you use the salmon meat that did not come away from the carcass with the filleting and also the fatty meat reserved earlier.  Make sure there are no pin bones or skin.  Cook this in a thick-bottomed saucepan in the juices reserved from earlier as well as good lump of butter (lots is good) and some fresh wine as well.  Boil to a pink-cooked look and add some fresh lemon juice and a good quantity of fresh dill.  Add extra salt and pepper.  Using a Bamix or a blender, mix this up into a sauce.  It should be possible to get a passable result by using a potato masher instead of a powered kitchen tool, but the results will not be as consistent.


Return to the saucepan and reduce the juices on low heat for a while.  Take a fine cheese grater and grate in some bread, crust and all.  Slightly stale French bread sticks work well.  This is a thickening agent, so do not use too much, about 1/4 cup is adequate for even a large feast.  Stir together and add a slight dash of balsamic or white vinegar just as the pot is removed from the heat.  Taste and decide if it needs to be thinned down slightly or 'freshened' with a tablespoon worth of new white wine and serve.


Notes: Fish continues cooking internally once it is taken off the heat, so do not overcook it in the pan.  If you test a piece fresh out of the pan and it is still 'rare' in the centre then it is perfect, the fish will cook itself through in the several minutes it is plattered up and waiting to be served. This is really important, and the reason why so much SCA-served fish is overcooked.  The dish looks best when the sauce is ladled onto the plate and the salmon portion is served skin side up atop it.  If you have time, add a tiny display sprig of fresh dill to the top of each portion.  One fish of 4kg will serve around 25 people.  This recipe has no medieval antecedents.  We were left with an event where the feast steward was taken to hospital and left no recipes.  We had a stack of ingredients and no directions.  This is the result.  The feasters enjoyed it and we have since made it a couple of times.



Dundee Cake


350g plain flour                                                                                  1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder                                                             200g butter

200g castor sugar                                                                              4 eggs, beaten

225g sultanas                                                                                      100g seedless raisins

100g currants                                                                                      Milk to mix

50g blanched almonds, split (optional)


Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder.  Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in the flour mixture then the dried fruit and sufficient milk to give a heavy dropping consistency.


Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom with a double layer of baking or greaseproof paper.  Pour in the cake mix and level the top.  If you are using almonds, arrange them in a neat pattern on top with the rounded sides uppermost.


Bake in a moderate oven (180ºC, 350ºF, gas mark 4) for 45 minutes and then reduce the heat to cool (150ºC, 300ºF, gas mark 2) for a further 11/2 to 2 hours.  Test by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake, which will come out clean if the cake is cooked.  Leave in the tin until quite cold and then strip off the base paper and store in an airtight container or wrap in Glad-wrap.


Notes:  I have only made this in a gluten-free and nut-free variant for those with allergies.  I increased the amount of milk to what I thought should be there and increased the amount of butter a bit.  This is supposed to be left sealed for 2 weeks before serving, but with gluten-free flour it is best only leaving it a couple of days. Original source: The Great Country Cookbook.





1 kg veal or beef mince                                                                  1 kg pork mince

1 tablespoon powdered ginger                                                      1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon

1 egg (beaten                                                                                      5 slices of fresh white bread (as crumbs)

50g slivered almonds (or a bit more)


Mix the meats with a fork in a bowl.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  Add spices and mix.  Knead in breadcrumbs.  With a rounded dessertspoon full of mix, make into balls and place on a greased tray.  Put 6 slivered almonds into each one, like a hedgehog's quills.  Cover them with lose cooking foil and place into the middle of a oven pre-heated at 180ºC.  After about 5 minutes remove the foil. If there is no foil or if they are placed at the top of the oven the almonds will burn.



Thor Cake


450g medium oatmeal                                                                      Pinch of salt

15g ground ginger                                                                             Pinch of ground mace

Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg                                                       100g chopped mixed peel

225g butter                                                                                          225g soft brown sugar

100g black treacle or molasses                                                    1 egg, beaten


Combine the oatmeal, salt, spices and peel in a large bowl.  Warm the butter, sugar and treacle until the butter melts.  Add to the flour mixture with the beaten egg and beat together until smooth.  Pour into a greased and lined 20 cm square cake tin.  Bake in a moderate oven (160ºC, 325ºF, gas mark 3) for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm to the touch.


Notes: Keep for at least a week before serving.  This is sometimes referred to a Ginger Parkin and is a traditional cake in the English North Country now served around Guy Fawkes Night (although it dates from far earlier) with elderberry wine.  This is a very heavy cake. Do not hit anyone with it.  It tastes good though.  It can even be served with custard or sauces as a dessert.  Original source: The Great Country Cookbook.





Cold Pork Pies


Pastry coffyns

450g plain flour                                                                                  Pinch of salt

100g lard                                                                                              300ml hot water

Beaten egg to brush                                                                         4 x 450g jar jars, floured




1kg shoulder of pork                                                                        1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper                                                                         1/4 allspice or powdered mace

1 teaspoon gelatine




Sift the flour and salt into a warmed bowl and make a well in the centre.  Bring the lard to the boil in the water, stirring to make sure it is completely melted and pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix quickly, first with a wooden spoon, and then with the hands, until smooth and free from cracks.  Divide the pastry into four and shape three quarters of each portion quickly, raising it around the four floured jam jars while still warm.  Keep the remaining pastry in a close sealed container or Glad-wrap and allow the coffins to set in the refrigerator until firm. Carefully ease them off the jars and place on a baking tray.  Shape the remaining pastry to make four lids.




Bone and dice the meat.  Use the bones and trimmings to make a strong stock.  Toss the meat in the mixed seasonings and spices and pack into the pastry cases.  Cover the tops with the lids, dampen the edges and pinch the edges decoratively.  Brush the tops with beaten egg and make a small steam vent.  Bake in a hot oven (220ºC, 425ºF, gas mark 7) for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderate (180ºC, 350ºF, gas mark 4) for a further 11/2 to 2 hours.  Cool.


Dissolve the gelatine in 1 tablespoon of very hot water. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the strong stock and carefully pour into the cold pies until it comes level with the steam vent.  Chill.


Notes:  Serve cold.  For a later period version you can use 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of black instead of just the black.  There are references to cold pork pies going back to Roman times.  This recipe originally from: The Great Country Cookbook.





Tart, firm apples                                                                                Sugar (optional)


Spread your apples in rack in the sun for a while.  When they are brought them in crush in a wooden press or box. Squeeze out the juice.  This is best done by putting the fruit in a pillow case and running through a mangle with wooden rollers.  Put into a fermenter, stone crocks or bottles, seal and allow the juice to ferment.  Add sugar after fermentation only if you want a sweet cider.  Scrumpy takes about 3 months to ferment and should be used before it is nine months old.


Note: Scrumpy should never contact metal (even when crushing or cutting the apples).  Warning – this is dangerous stuff.




300ml sack                                                                                          6 tablespoons brandy

4 tablespoons castor sugar                                                             600ml double cream

Grated nutmeg as a garnish


Stir sack, brandy and sugar in a bowl until sugar dissolves.  Gradually whip in the cream.  When thick put in bowls to serve and garnish with grated nutmeg.


Notes: one batch makes six servings as individual desserts.  You can change to sack to a Frontenac or other dessert wine.  There are many references to and recipes for this delightful dessert.


Copyright 2010 by Cary J Lenehan, 16 Maweena Pl, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia. <lenehan at our.net.au>. 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.


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