Tourny-Basket-art - 11/24/01
"Filling the Tourney Basket" by Lady Caointiarn.
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:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
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.
Mark S. Harris
AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Filling the Tourney Basket
The Kitchen Wench Way
By Lady Caointiarn
Tourney Season !! and the air is filled with possibilities. Time to plan and think ahead -- which events will be weekend long, which will be day long? Generally, any and all events that feature a Feast may not offer lunch. Some day events may not offer a meal at all. Now is the time to decide how to fill the Food Basket with wholesome goodies that will quiet the tummy grumbles, keep the fighters fortified, and still keeps a medieval flavor until the feasting begins. Something besides the old tried and true hunk o' sausage and block o' cheese with a loaf of bread.
Let's start with a meat fortified dish to satisfy the Carnivore -- Meat pies are a good choice: They are made to serve cold, they can be hand carried, and they are easy to prepare.
Taken from A Miscellany (6th edition):
"How one prepares a chicken in a pie: (Pastellum) One should cut in two a young chicken and wrap it in whole leaves of sage, add cut bacon and salt. And wrap the chicken in dough and bake it in the oven like bread. In the same manner one can make all kinds of fish pies and pies of fowl and other means."
There is a similar recipe in Le Menagier, as well as in Das Buch von Guter Spies that states: "breasts of hens or other good meat."
This is a very easy redaction. This is the basic recipe cited above, but use your favorite meats & seafood with your preference for spices and experiment (just like it states in the original!). Your imagination and the weird food tolerance of your family only limit the variations. Each Pastellum equals one serving.
Chicken parts, boneless & skinned
salt & pepper
Bacon slices (or pieces)
pie (or bread) dough
egg wash (optional)
Cut your chicken parts into 3 -4 oz pieces (roughly the size of a deck of cards).
Roll out your dough to an appropriate thickness. Pie dough should be about 1/8" thick, bread dough about 1/4" thick. Cut your dough into rectangles about 3" X 6" (or 4" X 8" depending on the dimensions of your chicken pieces).
On each rectangle, on one side lay a piece of chicken, salt & pepper it as you like, layer a sage leaf or two, and wrap a slice of bacon around the chicken & sage. If you are using bacon pieces, start the layer process with a piece or two of bacon, and top the layering with bacon pieces.
Wet the edges with cold water, fold the dough over the meat filling, and press down the edges. Brush the top of dough with egg wash.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet in a 350F oven for 35 - 45 minutes.
Once cooled, the Pastellums should be refrigerated & kept in a cooler until served.
NOTES: The bacon is to keep the meat moist, you may opt to keep the skin on the chicken pieces to do this, or place the bacon between the meat & skin. The oven temperature & time may vary depending on the dough used, so keep an eye on your oven to see that the crust doesn't burn. If you haven't any sage leaves, substitute crumbled sage or your favorite poultry seasoning(s).
Maybe what you need is a way to use up the leftovers from the week. A Meat Pie, such as what was served at Solstice Court, December 1999 in Loch Salann, and again at the Side Board for April Crown Tourney 2000, may be your answer. This was originally taken from Ancient Cookery, but other variations of a meat pie can be found in Pleyn Delite (379) and Two 15th Century Cookery Books (p 41). This recipe makes a 9" deep-dish meat pie, that will serve 8 generously.
A Meat Pie
12 oz each: beef, chicken and pork, cooked & cut small (or any combination that yields 1 1/2 lbs to 2 lbs of meat)
1 cup stock
1 cup raisins
2 apples, peeled & sliced
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs Cardamom
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs ginger
2 Tbs butter
2 pie dough rounds (for 2 crusts)
Mix together all the ingredients except the pie dough. The mixture should be wet, but not overly runny. If it seems too dry add additional broth or water.
Place one pie round in pie plate. Pour in the meat mixture. Cover with 2nd round, crimp & seal edges. Slice vents in top crust, brush on egg wash, and bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour (or until brown).
Once cooled, the pie should be refrigerated & kept in a cooler until served.
Again, the key words are: adaptation and variation. Don't hesitate to make any recipe I share YOURS. Family not fond of ginger? Don't use it. Do you want to use all beef? DO IT! As a rule, don't hesitate to use more (or less) spices or ingredients mentioned in redacted recipes. We really don't know how much spices/ingredient amounts were used. Moreover, similar recipes are found in the different cookbooks mentioned above. I use educated guesses after consulting my big fat cookbooks for similar recipes, and experimenting on my own family & friends.
To fill the rest of your Food Basket, consider Sliced cucumbers or asparagus in Vinaigrette, marinated mushrooms, pickles, olives, fresh fruits, or a Salat. Combinations of what greens and herbs to use can be found in Pleyn Delite (#44) and Forme of Curye (p 115), as well as other Medieval Cookery books.
Ingredient list for Salat: Spinach, leafy lettuces, borage (leaf & flower), parsley, cabbage, sage leaf, garlic, onions, leeks, cucumber, mint leaves, fennel, rosemary, and edible blossoms.
All this you can clean and prep, toss into a plastic zip bag, and keep cool in the cooler along with the meat pies. It doesn't need a lot of refrigeration, just enough to keep it cool, and stay crisp. Pair your Salat with your favorite oil & vinegar dressing in a tightly covered jar to pour on just before serving. Haven't a favorite dressing? Consider these two (adjust them to suit your taste):
Mustard Dressing (for 6 servings)
Blend well together:
1/4 cup each: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs coarse grain mustard
salt & pepper
Honey Tarragon Dressing (for 6 servings)
Blend well together
1/4 cup each: honey, olive oil, and lemon juice
1 tsp fresh tarragon
salt & pepper
A few thoughts about bread: Bringing a loaf along with butter is always a favorite staple. A good dense whole grain loaf with a chewy crust is what the poet that wrote: "A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou" knew could ease any tummy grumbles. This is the time to splurge for the best at your favorite bakery. There are many varieties to choose from. Try bread made from different wheats, barley, oats, rye, millet, or a combination of any of these. Accompany your loaf with butter, honey, olive oil, fruit preserves, or soft (fresh) cheeses with favorite herbs mixed in.
Finally, make yourself a list of the other items you may require in your Tourney Food Basket, and keep it with your basket. Such items include: plates, utensils (serving & eating), cups, a ground cloth or blanket, perhaps a cover cloth to disguise the cooler or non-period looking container, and napkins. Use cloth napkins, they are so much better than any other option. Save the good damask or linen ones for the Court Feasts. Cloth napkins purchased at thrift stores and garage sales are very nice and can be bought for a pittance. Don't worry about "matching", this IS a picnic. Moreover, should one stray, you're only out the 2pence.
Then, of course, there is always hunk o' sausage & block o' cheese.
Read! Redact! Enjoy!
Atlas, Alia. Das Buch von Guter Spiese. 1994.
Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books. Early English Text Society, Oxford University Press. 1964
Friedman, David (Cariadoc) A Miscellany 6th edition. 1991
Hieatt, Constance & Sharon Butler. Curye On Inglysch. Early English Text Society, Oxford University Press. 1985
Hieatt, Constance & Sharon Butler. Pleyn Delit. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 1979
Nichols, John, ed. Ancient Cookery. London, 1790 (included in the Hieatt & Butler volume above)
Power, Eileen. The Goodman of Paris (Le Menagier de Paris). Harcourt, Brace & Company. 1928
Copyright 2001 by Karen O., (kareno at lewistown.net). 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.