Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

DYKIP-Startrs-art - 10/31/09


"Did You Know its Period? Part 6: Starters and Appetizers" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.


NOTE: See also the files: easy-p-recip-msg, cheese-goo-msg, eggs-stuffed-msg, finger-foods-msg, fried-cheese-msg, nuts-msg, jumbals-msg, pretzels-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



This article was first published in "The Barge", the newsletter of the Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir.


Did You Know its Period?  Part 6: Starters and Appetizers

by HL Rowan Houndskeeper

Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir


I hope by now you are getting the idea that many medieval foods aren't so strange to our modern palate.  Yes there are some medieval dishes that the average modern Midwesterner might be reluctant to try – such as Eels in Aspic (Gale of Fyssh from Forme of Cury, English 14th c.) and Sheep's Penis (Schapenpenis voor de lekkerbek from Wel ende edelike spiise, Dutch, 15th c.).


Then again, many average Midwesterners (ok – me specifically) are also unwilling to eat liver, sushi, and beef curry – all of which are all perfectly normal modern foods served at our American dinner tables.  I hope that this series of articles has convinced you that serving period food is just another type of cooking cuisine, sort of like choosing to cook Cajun, Tex-Mex, or Italian for dinner. There are plenty of medieval recipes available that, while perhaps unusual, are certainly not that "strange" or "over-spiced" for a modern palate.


I hope you are interested in trying some of the recipes that have been presented in these articles for yourself.  During war season there are plenty of party coordinators who look for people to make a batch or two of some medieval dish. In this article I present several "modern" medieval foods that are all appetizer type dishes good for serving at such parties.  If you are looking for other ideas for medieval "snacks" to make for the party at the next war, or for your own dinner party, remember that any of the pies I mentioned in previous articles can be made up as bite sized tarts rather than 9" pies easily enough.  The meatballs, sugar candy, and any of the deep fried dishes mentioned in previous articles also make good party food – and did you know that it's all period? :-)


Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese = Rarebit  

Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye, Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton: and, if you will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to Incorporate them; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread. You may scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

- The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, Opened (1669 English)



It's Post-Elizabethan English, London dialect – I shouldn't need to translate it for anyone.



8 oz Asiago cheese, cubed

8 oz cream cheese, cubed

8 oz bacon, fried and crumbled

8 oz butter

1/2 medium onion, diced

freshly ground white pepper

French bread


Sautee the onion in a portion of the butter until caramelized.  Add the rest of the butter, bacon bits, and cheeses.  Allow all ingredients to melt together over medium-low heat. Continuous and vigorous stirring with a fork or small whisk is required to counteract the tendency of the butter to separate from the cheese.


Brown slices of French bread in a toaster or the oven.  Serve the rarebit by spooning generously over the bread and sprinkle with the white pepper on top.  Serves 4.

This recipe was mentioned on our local email list as a period example of a dish similar to Welsh Rarebit or Fondue.  While the original recipe is actually out of period, Digby is a commonly used source in the SCA.  It is very familiar to brewers since it contains one of the earliest collections of recipes for fermented beverages. My redaction of the Savory presented here produces a good thick rarebit suitable as a dinner party starter or even a simple entrŽe.  The redaction from Cariadoc's Miscellany, which is available on Cariadoc's website, is slightly different and produces a creamy cheese sauce that he suggests using over vegetables.  

Stuffed Eggs = Deviled Eggs

Cook fresh eggs for a long time so that they are hard. Then take the egg from the shell and split it though the middle, so as not to damage any of the white. When the yolks are removed, grind up part of it with good cheese, and with raisins; save the other part to color the mixture. Likewise also add a little finely cut parsley, marjoram, and mint. Some put in two or more egg whites with spices. With this mixture fill the whites of the eggs and when they have been stuffed and closed, fry them over a gentle flame, in oil.


When they have been fried, add a sauce made from the rest of the yolks pounded with raisins and moistened with verjuice and must, add in ginger, clove, and cinnamon and pour over the eggs and let them heat a little while together. This has more harm than good in it.

Platina: On Honest Indulgence (1475, Venice)



8 whole hard boiled eggs

2 egg whites, raw (optional)

2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram, minced 

2 tsp dried mint leaves, minced 

2 tsp dried parsley, minced  

2 tsp dried chives, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 

1 1/3 tsp raisins, minced (optional)

3 Tbls grated Farmers cheese

2 tsp verjuice


Sauce (optional)

leftover yolk filling

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp clove



additional grated cheese (for sprinkling)


Hard boil the eggs and cool completely.  Peel carefully, trying to avoid damaging the whites.  Slice each egg in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolk.  Set aside the whites.  Crumble up the yolks, add the spices and cheese, and mix well.  Add the minced raisins if you are using them.  Stir in the verjuice.  The filling should have a consistency that allows it to bind together - almost creamy.  Add more verjuice or raw egg whites in small amounts at a time if necessary.

You now have three options for finishing the stuffed eggs – 1) following the original period recipe, which involves frying the eggs;  2) a modified version of the period recipe that bakes the eggs in the sauce; or  3) skipping the sauce all together.


Option 1: Fill the egg white halves with the yolk mixture. Since you are going to reassemble the eggs you don't want to stuff the egg halves very full - no fuller than the original yolk was sized and preferably a little less.  You will have leftover filling.  Add to this leftover filling the cinnamon, ginger and clove, then thin the mixture using a little verjuice and water in a 1:1 combination to achieve a thin sauce.  Gently warm the sauce. Reassemble the eggs with toothpicks so they appear whole, then pan fry them gently in oil.  Lay them out in your serving platter and top with the warm sauce.


Option 2: Fill the egg white halves with the yolk mixture. You can either reassemble the eggs with toothpicks so they appear whole, or leave them as egg halves.  If you are going to reassemble the eggs you don't want to stuff the egg halves very full - no fuller than the original yolk was sized.  In both cases you will have leftover filling.  Add to this leftover filling the cinnamon, ginger and clove, then thin the mixture using a little verjuice and water in a 1:1 combination to achieve a thin sauce.  Arrange the eggs (reassembled whole or halves) in a greased baking dish, and pour the sauce over them, sprinkle with additional grated cheese, and bake at 350ˇ until golden brown and heated through (~ 15 minutes).


Option 3: Skip the sauce and stuff the egg halves a little fuller, using up all the filling.  Arrange the egg halves in a greased baking dish, sprinkle with additional grated cheese, and bake at 350ˇ until heated through (~ 15 minutes).  Note that you must bake the eggs due to the use of raw egg white in the filling.  If you choose not to use the egg white as a binding agent in the filling you can serve these without baking them.


These deviled eggs are a bit drier than the modern ones we are used to and don't have the mustard flavor of modern deviled eggs, relying instead on herbs for flavoring and verjuice or egg white for the binding in the yolk filling.  You can serve these stuffed eggs as picnic-ready deviled eggs, or add the sauce to produce a fancier dinner party appetizer.  Made either way any leftovers can be used to make a delicious egg salad for sandwiches (just chop up the leftovers and add mayonnaise).


A couple of hints for cooking and peeling your eggs:  Using older eggs rather than fresh eggs will make them much easier to peel.  Soaking the hard boiled eggs in cold water before you try to peel them will also make it easier.  




Dulcia domestica: palmulas vel dactilos excepto semine, nuce vel nucleis vel piper tritum infercies. sales foris contingis, frigis in melle cocto, et inferes.

               Apicius: De Re Coquinaria (~5th c. Roman)



Little home confections: palm fruits [dates] are stuffed, after the seeds have been removed, with a nut or with nuts and ground pepper, sprinkled with salt on the outside and are candied in honey and served.



4 lbs dates, pitted

2 c whole almonds, blanched

2 c honey



Stuff each date with 1 almond. Sprinkle stuffed dates with salt. Place in a baking pan, cover with honey and bake at 325ˇ F for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let sit until cooled. Remove dates from honey before serving.


Here is a "modern" popular party appetizer that is (pre)period and easy to make – easy enough that no one should ever pay the prices the deli counter asks for them.  As good as the almond stuffed dates are though, you might want to experiment with other nuts like pecans or pine nuts, or even stuff them with a coarsely ground nut mixture.  


Preserved Peaches

Nim Pfersig/ shel un schneidt sie voneinander/ und thu den kern herauss/ bestrau sie auf beyden seiten mit weissem Zucker/ der klein gestossen ist/ legs wiederum auff ein saubers Sib/ das fein new ist/ leg die Pfersig darein/ und bedecks mit einem duennen schleyer/ sez in die Sonn/ dass die Maden nich dazu kommen/ und sehr es offt amb/ so wirts fein trucken von der Sonnen/ so kanstdu es auffheben/ und fein trucken auff ein Tisch geben.

Marx Rumpolt, Ein New Kochbuch (1581, German)



Take peaches/ peel and cut them apart/ and do the pit remove/ sprinkle them on both sides with white sugar/ that is pounded small/ lay it again on a clean sieve/ that is fine new/ lay the peaches therein/ and cover it with a thin veil/ set in the sun/ that the maggot do not reach it/ and look at it often/ so will it dry fine from the sun/ so you can store it/ and fine dry on the table set it.



10 ripe peaches

1/2 c sugar


Wash peaches.  "Peel" peaches by plunging into boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then immediately plunging into ice water.  The peach skin should peel off easily.  Cut peaches in half, remove the pit, and slice the peaches. You should get ~6 slices per peach.  Sprinkle both sides of the peach slices with sugar.  Dry them in your dehydrator (135ˇF for ~12 hours) or in the oven (150ˇ for ~4 hours) on cookie sheets or baking stones.  Peaches should be pliable when finished drying.  Store in an airtight container.


Bowls of dried fruit are an easy party appetizer.  Here is a period recipe for how to make the dried fruit.  While the period recipe uses sun drying, we have the modern option of using the oven or an electric dehydrator, speeding up the process considerably (sun drying takes several days).


               This period recipe is specifically for peaches, but you can reasonably extrapolate that the same technique could have been used for any of the fruits available in period such as apples, pears, plums, or grapes.



Cariadoc's Miscellany: A Collection of Medieval Recipes, 9th edition. Cariadoc and Elizabeth (David Friedman and Betty Cook) http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html


Platina. On Honest Indulgence (De Honesta Voluptatae). A little work on foods and honest indulgence by the very learned man Platina : Printed with the work and care of Father Laurentius de Aguila for the Distinguished Duke Peter Mocenicus. Venice, 1475. Evans, Susan J. Falconwood Press. 1989.


Marcus Gavius Apicius. Libri decem qui dicuntur de re coquinaria.  at


translation available at: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Apicius/7*.html


Apicius, Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome (Apicius de re Coquinaria). trans. Vehling, Joseph Dommers, New York: Dover Publications, 1977


Marx Rumpolt. Ein New Kochbuch. 1581. transliteration and translation M. Grasse 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.  http://clem.mscd.edu/~grasse/GK_Rumpolt1.htm


Copyright 2009 by Teresa Roberts, 9900 Juniper Ct. St Louis MO 63123. <tkroberts at toast.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

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

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org