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 The Great Historical Bake Off

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nordmann
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PostSubject: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 08:41

Having chanced upon the "Buch von Guter Speise", a collection of 14th century German recipes, I figured maybe it's time to see how well we'd all fare (pardon the pun) should we be dropped into any century and had to prepare a dish the locals would like, for which the ingredients were available, and which was eminently do-able with the kitchen tools of the day. High class or low class fare doesn't really matter as long as you can justify every component of the meal and its preparation.

So here's the deal. It's the year '50 slap-bang in the middle of any given century from the year dot to the 20th century. Everyone can take a century that hasn't been taken already (one dish per century). Let's see what a pan-millennial banquet might look like!



I'd better begin with 1350 so, since I have the good Buch before me. Here's one that sounds eminently feasible, with thanks to "Euriol of Lothian, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism" who made the discovery here;

Salmon and Chicken Pastries: (transcribed by Hans Hajek)

Diz ist ein gůt spise von eime lahs

Nim einen lahs, schabe im abe die schůpen, spalde in vnd snit in an stuͤcke. hacke peterlin, selbey, Nim gestoͤzzen yngeber, pfeffer, enys, saltz zvͦ mazzen, mache eynen derben teyk noch der groͤzze der stucke vnd wirf daz krut vf die stuͤcke vnd bewirke sie mit dem teyge. kanst du sie gestemphen in ein forme, daz tů. so mahtu machen hechde, foͤrheln, brasmen, vnd backe ieglichez besunder in sime teyge. ist ez aber eins fleischtages, so mahtu machen huͤnre, rephuͤnre, tuben vnd vasande mahtu machen, ab du hast die formen, vnd backe sie in smaltze oder suͤt sie in den formen. nim von den bruͤsten der huͤnre oder ander gůt fleisch, so wirt die kunst deste bezzer vnd versaltzez niht.


Translation: (by Alia Atlas)

This is a good food of a salmon

Take a salmon. Scrape off the scales. Split it and cut it into pieces. Cut parsley (and) sage. Take ground ginger, pepper, anise. Salt to mass. Make a dough (possibly freshly made as opposed to sourdough) also the size of the piece (of salmon). And throw the herb on the piece. And surround it with the dough. Stamp it in a form if you can. Thus you may make pike (and) trout. And bake individually in a dough. However, if it is a meat day, then you may make hens, partridge, pigeon and pheasant. If you have the forms, and bake them in fat or boil in the forms. Take from the breasts of the hens or other good meat. So will the art be the better and do not over salt.

My Interpretation:

2 pound Salmon and/or Chicken (skinless & boneless)
1 tsp. ground anise
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped 1 pound pastry dough (File Dough can be used)
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine herbs and spice. Cut meat into 8 pieces (roughly 4 oz per piece). Section dough, if necessary, into 8 pieces and roll flat. Rub herb and spice mixture evenly onto meat pieces. Wrap pieces of meat in dough and place on baking sheet. Cut vent holes in dough. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden brown and meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Let pastries rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 09:47

Imagine it is the last day of 1853 and you have been invited to dinner. This, however is not just any dinner, it is the Iguanodon Dinner, held at the Crystal Palace, South London, inside the concrete model of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkin's Iguanadon.
The Menu (for 20 guests) is as follows:

Quote :
Soups.

Mock Turtle.    Julien.   Hare.
Fish.
Cod and Oyster Sauce.   Fillets of Whiting.   Turbot à l’Hollandaise.
Removes.
Roast Turkey.   Ham.   Raised Pigeon Pie.
Boiled Chicken and Celery Sauce.

Entrées.
Cotolettes de Moutonaux Tomates.    Currie de Lapereaux au riz.
Salmi de Perdrix.       Mayonnaise de filets de Sole.

Game.
Pheasants.     Woodcocks.    Snipes.
Sweets.
Macedoine Jelly.    Orange Jelly.    Bavaroise.
Charlotte Russe.    French Pastry.   Nougat à la Chantilly.
Buisson de Meringue aux [Confiture ?]

Dessert.
Grapes. Apples. Pears. Almonds and Raisins. French Plums.
Pines. Filberts. Walnuts &c, &c.

Wines.
Sherry. Madeira. Port. Moselle. Claret.

Recipe for the Day.
To modern eyes, this dinner seems to offer a great deal of food for twenty people, but the practice of the time was that each guest would make choices from the menu, as we would today in a restaurant. A mere glance at the menu makes me feel sated before I start, so how about a nice fruity jelly today?

Maçedoine Jelly.
Strawberries, raspberries, grapes, currants, and cherries, are the only fruit that can be used raw for a macedoine; but it is to be observed, they should be perfectly ripe; eaches, apricots, apples, and pines, require to be boiled in syrup before they are put into the jelly: in the first place, have a good clear jelly prepared, rather sweet for a macedoine, because raw fruit takes off the sweetness ; put a little jelly into a mould, which you set on the ice, then array the fruit variously, according as your fancy suggests ; then pour in some more jelly; when that is firm, lay more fruit and jelly, and continue to do so till you have filled the mould to the top; keep the jelly in the ice till dinner time, then dip the mould into hot water, turning it into the dish you
intend to serve : in winter, you may make a handsome macedoine with preserved fruit, such as greengages, peaches, pineapples, plums, and cherries.
The Young Cook’s Guide… I. Roberts.1836






Copper pie form

As a result of the invention of the sprung metal pie form. these 'French' raised pies became very popular in the nineteenth century These useful moulds were sold by braziers and kitchen equipment retailers, who marketed a great variety of designs. Because of the support the metal form afforded the pie during baking, it was possible to use a finer pastry than the old fashioned hot water crust which had been used since medieval times.  Earlier pie makers had to raise their pies entirely by hand.



Currie de Lapereaux: this is from a modern recipe site, But I assume the preparation would be much the same as 160 years ago;


Rabbit Curry

Description/Notes:

Delicious tender rabbit in a curry sauce served on a bed of rice

Ingredients:
• 1 rabbit, skinned and jointed

• 1 lb.(450g) onions, sliced

• 1 tsp. curry powder

• 2 oz. (50g) butter

• juice of half a lemon

• flour for dusting

• 8oz. (225g) long grain rice, cooked

Cooking Instructions:
1. Dust the rabbit joints in flour then fry in the butter until browned

2. Fry the onions for a few minutes then dust with the curry powder and a little flour

3. Place the rabbit joints in a saucepan and add enough water to cover

4. Bring to the boil , add the spiced onions and simmer gently for about an hour and a half or until the joints are cooked

5. Squeeze the lemon juice over the rabbit then serve hot on a bed of rice
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 11:24

It is Lent 1550 and Edward VI is King of England. This precocious prince of the protestant reformation has got all his churchmen preaching sermons about abstinence, and the City of London constables out enforcing the strict non-meat rules. The meat markets and butchers' shops are all closed and everyone is getting bored of the all-fish diet. But with a good cook one can still indulge in yummy fare:

Nese Bekys

Take Fygys and grynd hem wel, than take Freyssche Samoun and goode Freyssche Elys wyl y-sothe, and pyke owt the bonys, and grynd the Fyssche with the Fygis, and do ther-to powder Gyngere, Canelle, and take fayre past of Flowre, and make fayre cakys ryth thinne, and take of the fars, and lay on the cake, and close with a-nother, then take a Sawcere, and skoure the sydis, and close the cake, and Frye hem wyl in Oyle; and if thou wolt haue hym partye, coloure hym with Safroun, Percely, and Sawnderys, and serue forth for a gode fryid mete.

(The original manuscript recipe in the Bodlein Library actually dates from the middle of the previous century, but such fare, especially combining fruit and fish, and my suggestion of disguising it as something else was typical of early Tudor cuisine, before Elizabeth's time when everything had sugar in it).


12oz ready made shortcrust pastry
8oz fresh salmon fillet
6oz fresh eel (or white fish fillet eg cod, whiting or coley)
6 dried figs
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg to glaze


Roll out the pastry and cut into 4" dia rounds.

Rough chop the fish and figs, then add the seasonings and blend together to a rough paste. Put a blob of paste into each pastry round and shape into balls (or as I do make into fig-shapes which could also be painted brown/purple with food colouring to even more resemble whole figs). Make a small hole or two in each ball.

Now either deep fry like somosas, as in the original recipe, or as I do glaze with egg and bake at 200° for 15mins until browned and then lower the temperature to 180° for a further 15mins. Serve hot.

One could make similar "fruits" with other fruit and meat combinations: pork & apple, duck & plum etc. to make a fake bowl of fruit ... but not for Lent!


Last edited by Meles meles on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 22:04; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 11:53

Shaping up well - salmon and chicken pasties, curried rabbit and fish/fig balls in pastry. I'm getting hungry already. That's the 14th, 16th and 19th centuries accounted for so far.

I'm going to be audacious now and go for burgers - 4th century Roman style lifted from the "Apicius", a list of recipes compiled towards the end of that century (named after a 1st century gourmet Marcus Apicius) and which later became one of the first ever popular books in print, coming out just three decades after the Guthenburg Bible and running it a decent second in the European best-seller lists of the day (providing a fair indication that people's priorities haven't changed much in the meantime). The crucial ingredient is caroenum, a very popular ingredient in the Apicius of which we now know very little indeed except that it was probably ground grape must rendered as a syrup, and used much like they used that other great lost ingredient garum. The French roll is a modern substitute for unleavened bread of the day, though as it is saturated in wine first you could probably use a sliced pan and get away with it.

ISICIA OMENTATA

(Apic. 2, 1, 7)

Ingredients:
------------
500g minced meat
1 french roll, soaked in white wine
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
50ml Liquamen (can be replaced by 1/2 tsp salt + a little white wine)
some stone-pine kernels and green peppercorns
a little Caroenum
Baking foil

Instructions:
-------------
Mix minced meat with the soaked french roll. Ground spices and mix into
the meat. Form small burgers and put pine kernels and peppercorns into
them. Put them into baking foil and grill them together with Caroenum.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 12:03

Miam, miam ... but you want to be careful of that caroenum - if it was a syrup of ground grape must it was probably boiled down in lead vats. The Romans thought lead vessels essential equipment for making all grape/wine syrups since it gave a particular sweetness ... due to the dissolved lead tartrate.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 13:08

From 1750 two recipes for Salmagundi ( until 5 minutes ago, I hade never heard of this )


Salmagundy
A Golden Oldie from Food History News

Salmagundi is a 17th & 18th century composed salad of cold chicken with anchovies, boiled eggs, green beans, boiled onions, grapes, and dressed with a vinaigrette.

"To Make Salamongundy"

Take two or three Roman or Cabbage Lettice, and when you have washed them clean, swing them pretty dry in a Cloth; then beginning at the open End, cut them cross-ways, as fine as a good big Thread, and lay the Lettices so cut, about an Inch thick all over the Bottom of the Dish. When you have thus garnished your Dish, take a Couple of cold roasted Pullets, or Chickens, and cut the Flesh off the Breasts and Wings into Slices, about three Inches long, a Quarter of an Inch broad, and as thin as a Shilling; lay them upon the Lettice round the End to the Middle of the Dish and the other towards the Brim; then having boned and cut six Anchovies each into eight Pieces, lay them all between each Slice of the Fowls, then cut the lean Meat of the Legs into Dice, and cut a Lemon into small Dice; then mince the Yolks of four Eggs, three or four Anchovies, and a little Parsley, and make a round Heap of these in your Dish, piling it up in the Form of a Sugar-loaf, and garnish it with Onions, as big as the Yolk of Eggs, boiled in a good deal of Water very tender and white. Put the largest of the Onions in the Middle on the Top of the Salamongundy, and lay the rest all round the Brim of the Dish, as thick as you can lay them; then beat some Sallat-Oil up with Vinegar, Salt and Pepper and pour over it all. Garnish with Grapes just scalded, or French beans blanched, or Station [nasturtium] Flowers, and serve it up for a first Course."

[From Hannah Glasse, The Art of cookery...1747, p. 59-60]

Mrs. Glasse's recipe is very similar to Henry Howard's 1726 instructions in England's Newest Way in all Sorts of Cookery...which suggests veal, pickles, sorrel, spinach, chives, horseradish, and barberries. Still others from Glasse use apples, cucumbers, celery, watercress, pickled red cabbage, and pickled gherkins for vegetables, and pickled herring, cold pork, duck, or pigeons for meat. Mrs. Raffald, The Experienced English Housekeeper...[London, 1775, p. 280-281] endorsed pickled herring and garnishes of butter in a pineapple shape. Dressings were usually oil and vinegar or lemon, and sometimes mustard.

The Salad:
2 heads romaine lettuce
2 breast of cooked skinless chicken, (and/or your choice of cooked duck, veal, or pork)
4 boneless cooked chicken thighs
1 lemon
2-4 hard-boiled eggs
3-4 anchovies

For garnishing and augmenting, your choice of the following:
flat leaf parsley
pearl onions cooked
green beans blanched and frenched
red and green grapes
pickled red cabbage
watercress
spinach
pickled gherkins
edible flowers

Vinaigrette:
1 tbs. prepared mustard
4 tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Shred the lettuce and lay on a platter. Cut the cold meat in julienne, slice the lemon thinly, dice or slice the eggs. Arrange the meat, lemon, and eggs on the lettuce. Add to the platter your choice of parsley, onions, green beans, grapes, watercress, pickled cabbage, gherkins, and edible flowers Mix vinaigrette and dress the salad with it, or serve the dressing on the side.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 14:14

I have come across salmagundy Trike, but used as a noun to mean a mixture of things, bits and pieces, something like the Scots clamjamfry, rather than a dish. It's not difficult to see how the meaning could have migrated.


Shall we now go off to 15th c. Naples for something a bit more familiar and easier to reproduce?
I don't think I fancy vermicelli boiled for an hour though.

Source [The Neapolitan Recipe Collection, Terence Scully (trans.)]: 

17. Vermicelli. Falli cocere in bono brodo grasso per spacio de una hora, he poi falle menestre he metti de sopra caso permesano gratato cum specie dolce; he primo falle ghialdi cum zaffrano. Et similiter potrai fare de le Lasagne


Vermicelli. Cook them in good fat broth for an hour, then set them out garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and mild spices; first make them yellow with saffron. You can make lasagna in the same way.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 15:23

This recipe can be for practically any century, so lets make it 1150; the good old oatcake;
Quote :
Traditional Scottish Recipes
- Oatcakes/Bannocks

Oatcakes are a very traditional part of the Scottish diet. They were cooked on a griddle (a flat iron pot placed over the fire) but nowadays a heavy frying pan is used.  



Ingredients
4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat, if available)
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
Additional oatmeal for kneading

Method
Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate and pour in the melted fat into the centre of the mixture. Stir well, using a porridge stick if you have one and add enough water to make into a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly as the paste is difficult to work if it cools. Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place in a heated pan which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.

An alternative method of cooking is to bake them in an oven at Gas5/375F/190C for about 30 minutes or until brown at the edges. The quantities above will be enough for two bannocks about the size of a dessert plate. If you want more, do them in batches rather than making larger quantities of mixture. Store in a tin and reheat in a moderate oven when required

Could the oatcake be the cake that Alfie burned?
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 15:36

1050 ... Edward the Confessor was the saxon king of England, but he had been brought up in Normandy and so although this is before Duke William’s invasion there were inevitably considerable Norman influences at the English royal court.

Accordingly I have taken inspiration from a scene depicted on the Bayeux tapestry which clearly shows cooks making a stew and grilling steaks on spits over hot charcoal:



The actual recipes come from the 14th century English cook-book, ‘A Forme of Cury’, but I’m sure such ordinary fare as the simple bbq and meat stew hadn’t much changed much from a few centuries earlier, although the language – venison, beef, mutton – is of course that of the conquering Normans rather than the Saxons.

To make Stekys of venison or bef.

Take Venyson of Bef, & leche & gredyl it up broun; then take Vynegre & a litel various, & a lytil Wyne, and putte pouder perpir ther-on y-now, and pouder Gyngere, and ate the dressoure straw on pouder Canelle y-now, that the stekys be al y-helid ther-wyth, and but a litel Sauce, & then serue it forth.


Fairly thin lean beef or venison steaks for grilling.

For the basting sauce:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (the original recipe calls for 'various', that is verjuice which was a tart, acidic juice made from unripe grapes or sour apples),
1-2 tablespoons of juice from Seville oranges – optional (this isn’t in the original recipe but is mentioned in a similar French 15th century recipe),
a good slug of red wine,
generous pinches of ground black pepper, ginger and cinnamon (as with the Seville oranges there is no reason why these exotic spices would not have been available to the English royal cooks, and especially after the 1st crusade, to many other English-Norman lords).

... to be served with 'gode bred in tranches', and ....
 
Mounchelet – [A spicy veal or mutton stew]

Take veel otherwise motoun and smyte it to gobettes. Seeth it in gode broth; cast therto erbes yhewe gode won, and a quantite of oynouns minced, powdour fort and safroun, and alys it with ayren and various but not let it seeth after.

I suggest:
2 lbs boned veal, lamb or mutton for stewing (neck, chuck or skirt etc),
4 cups chicken or other meat stock,
2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped,
1 tablespoon chopped parsely,
½ teaspoon each of dried chopped rosemary, thyme, marjoram,
½ teaspoon each of ground ginger, black pepper, cumin, coriander,
a pinch of saffron (although with everything else that's there this does seem a bit of a waste so I'd be inclined to omit it),
1 cup white wine (again in place of the verjuice),
2 tablespoons lemon juice (to get the eggs to froth but also to assist the white wine in standing in for the original verjuice - a Norman cook would probably have just whisked his 'ayren' after adding a spash of verjuice),
2 eggs (or egges, eggys, eyroun or ayren).

Fairly obvious but ... cube the meat, add to the stock and bring to the boil. Skim if needed. Then add onions, herbs, spices and wine. Reduce heat, cover and simmer very gently until the meat is tender (a good hour or so). Finally beat eggs with lemon juice until blended. With the pan off the heat gradually add the egg mixture stirring constantly to thicken. And as the original says - do not reboil - or the egg will separate out.


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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 20:45

For this millennial feast we don't yet seem to have much in the way of puddings, cakes and desserts, and so I propose, for 1650:


To make a Cake the way of the Royal Princess, the Lady Elizabeth, daughter to King Charles the firft.

Take half a peck of Flower, half a pint of Rofewater, a pinte of Ale yeft, a pinte of Cream, boyl it, a pound and a half of Butter, six Eggs (leave out the whites) four pound of Currants, one half pound of Sugar, one Nutmegg and a little Salt, work it very well, and let it ftand half an houre by the fire, and then worke it again, and then make it up, and let it ftand an hour and a half in the Oven, let not your Oven be too hot.


Quite clear instructions I'd have thought and I do really think it gains something with the 17th century long "s" that looks like an "f. That particular recipe appears in:

 The Queens's Clofet Opened.

Incomparable fecrets in phyfick, chyrurgery, preferving and candying &c.
Printed for Nathaniel Brook at the Angell in Cornhill, 1655.
Tranfcribed from the true Copies of her Majefties own Receipt Book by W.M. one of her late fervants.

Vivit post funera virtus.

.oOOo.

(W.M. is generally supposed to be Walter Montagau who was the confessor and almoner of Henrietta-Maria, wife then widow of King Charles I, in England and subsequently in exile in France).
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 08:47

The centuries are rolling in folks -



Let's go back to the so-called "dark ages" for a surprising one. It is 650 CE. Islam, aided by local Christians and Jews, is about to become both the religion and government of Persia, currently in the last year of an increasingly despised Sassanian rule, though the locals may not yet appreciate that fact. Instead those living in the fertile plains and valleys from Media to Persepolis are more concerned with their harvest that year, including that marvellous crop from the Indus river imported into their lands by Alexander the Great and once thought by his soldiers to be miraculous ("honey without the bees"). This plant, which they know as "qand", when dried and ground produces dark brown granules that make everything sweet once mixed with other ingredients. Cakes and sweetmeats have become a local speciality (one that their new Muslim masters will soon transport around the world). But particularly popular, especially with children, are the "test cakes" - small flattened pieces of dough used to check the oven's warmth and extracted once they become crisp. These "kababayani", often containing fragments of glazed fruit, raisins or other extra sweet ingredients, are the world's first cookies and an established after-dinner dessert.

Which gives us so far:

350 - Isicia Omentata (spice burgers)
650 - Kababayani (Persian cookies)
1050 - Venison/Beef Steak served with Veal/Mutton stew
1150 - Oatcakes (Bannocks) served a l'ecosse
1350 - Salmon and Chicken Pie
1450 - Vermicelli (served with Parmesan cheese and spices)
1550 - Fish and Fig in Pastry
1650 - Princess Elizabeth Cake
1750 - Salmagundi (chicken salad)
1850 - Curried Rabbit
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 09:35

The oatcakes can be moved to any century if a better one for 1150 turns up.

Re the rabbit curry, I put this in as it's often thought curry didn't arrive in Britain until the 1960s and rabbit is a meat which has gone out of fashion.
Sort of half tempted to put in rabbit pie for 1950 as per the song "Run Rabbit Run"
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 09:38

Placenta - layered cheesecake - as given in Cato's 'De Agricultura' written circa 160 BC (can we go BC? ... if not I'm sure it was still being enjoyed in 50 AD):

Placentam sic facito. Farinae siligineae L. II, unde solum facias, in tracta farinae L. IIII et alicae primae L. II. Alicam in aquam infundito. Ubi bene mollis erit, in mortarium purum indito siccatoque bene. Deinde manibus depsito. Ubi bene subactum erit, farinae L. III paulatim addito. Id utrumque tracta facito. In qualo, ubi arescant, conponito. 2 Ubi arebunt, conponito puriter. Cum facies singula tracta, ubi depsueris, panno oleo uncto tangito et circumtergeto unguitoque. Ubi tracta erunt, focum, ubi cocas, calfacito bene et testum. Postea farinae L. II conspargito condepsitoque. Inde facito solum tenue. Casei ovilli P. XIIII ne acidum et bene recens in aquam indito. Ibi macerato, aquam ter mutato. Inde eximito siccatoque bene paulatim manibus, siccum bene in mortarium inponito. 3 Ubi omne caseum bene siccaveris, in mortarium purum manibus condepsito conminuitoque quam maxime. Deinde cribrum farinarium purum sumito caseumque per cribrum facito transeat in mortarium. Postea indito mellis boni P. IIII S. Id una bene conmisceto cum caseo. Postea in tabula pura, quae pateat P. I, ibi balteum ponito, folia laurea uncta supponito, placentam fingito. 4 Tracta singula in totum solum primum ponito, deinde de mortario tracta linito, tracta addito singulatim, item linito usque adeo, donec omne caseum cum melle abusus eris. In summum tracta singula indito, postea solum contrahito ornatoque focum de ve primo temperatoque, tunc placentam inponito, testo caldo operito, pruna insuper et circum operito. Videto ut bene et otiose percoquas. Aperito, dum inspicias, bis aut ter. Ubi cocta erit, eximito et melle unguito. Haec erit placenta semodialis.

Seems quite straight forward:

Placenta to be made thus: 2 pounds of wheat flour for the base, 4 pounds of flour and 2 pounds of prime groats [a modern cook could perhaps use semolina] for the tracta [layers]. Soak the groats in water, and when it becomes quite soft pour into a clean bowl, drain well, and knead with the hand; when it is thoroughly kneaded, work in the 4 pounds of flour gradually. From this dough make the tracta, and spread them out in a basket where they can dry; and when they are dry arrange them evenly. Treat each tractum as follows: After kneading, brush them with an oiled cloth, wipe them all over and coat with [olive] oil. When the tracta are moulded, heat thoroughly the hearth where you are to bake, and the crock. Then moisten the 2 pounds of flour, knead, and make of it a thin lower crust. Soak 14 pounds of sheep's cheese - sweet and quite fresh - in water and macerate, changing the water three times. Take out a small quantity at a time, squeeze out the water thoroughly with the hands, and when it is quite dry place it in a bowl. When you have dried out the cheese completely, knead it in a clean bowl by hand, and make it as smooth as possible. Then take a clean flour sifter and force the cheese through it into the bowl. Add 4½ pounds of fine honey, and mix it thoroughly with the cheese. Spread the crust on a clean board, one foot wide, on oiled bay leaves, and form the placenta as follows: Place a first layer of separate tracta over the whole crust, cover it with the mixture from the bowl, add the tracta one by one, covering each layer until you have used up all the cheese and honey. On the top place single tracta, and then fold over the crust and prepare the hearth . . . then place the placenta, cover with a hot crock, and heap coals on top and around. See that it bakes thoroughly and slowly, uncovering two or three times to examine it. When it is done, remove and spread with honey. This will make a half-modius [about 4 pints] cake.

... although Cato's quantities seem to be a bit out: 2lbs of soaked groats will not absorb 4lbs of flour, and by my calculations the quantities he gives for the base would, when rolled out, give a cake several feet across! But with just a bit of modification it would make a yummy goat's cheese and honey layed cheescake.


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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 09:39

Not quite Spam, Egg, Chips and Beans; from 1954;

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 09:52

For a minute there, MM, I thought you were posting Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe for pate.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 12:04

I think I'd better stick up for the dark ages again and also make up for our paucity of starters at this feast of ours - this time from (let's say) the year 750 and we'll throw in a perennial favourite amongst the ordinary citizenry of the Byzantine empire, called after the "kakavi" (a three legged cooking pot with an ancient pedigree in Ionia), and a dish which still features as a popular choice in Greek and Turkish kitchens today. In 750 it would have graced tables from the lowliest peasant's hovel up to the emperor Constantine (dung-face) the Fifth's marble dining halls.

Kakavia

This is a fresh fish soup, which is improved by having as many different varieties of fish as possible. You can make it with salt or fresh water fish, but you will need at least 3 or 4 varieties for the best results.

1 cup scallions or leeks, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 stalk fennel, sliced
3 sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
2 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
4 pounds of fish (3 or 4 different types)
1 pound shrimp
1 pound mussels or scallops in the shell (well scrubbed)
thick slices of home made bread

Saute onions in oil until soft. Add fennel, herbs, wine and water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour stock through a sieve and squeeze out the juice from the vegetables and discard the fibers. Return to the pot and bring to a boil. (For a richer stock, ask the fishseller for the heads and bones from your fish and add them to the water for the initial boiling. Remove when you strain out the vegetables. Or you could add a bottle of clam juice instead of some of the water). Lightly salt the fish and let stand for 10 minutes, then rinse and lower into the boiling liquid. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops or mussels and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Toast the bread slices and place them in large soup plates or bowls. Place a variety of fish and some of the broth in each dish.

Oh, and don't forget your dollop of garum on top!



Which gives us so far (only seven centuries/dishes to go!):

50 - Placenta (layered cheesecake with honey)
350 - Isicia Omentata (spice burgers)
650 - Kababayani (Persian cookies)
750 - Kakavia (soup made from at least three different fish)
1050 - Venison/Beef Steak served with Veal/Mutton stew
1150 - Oatcakes (Bannocks) served a l'ecosse
1350 - Salmon and Chicken Pie
1450 - Vermicelli (served with Parmesan cheese and spices)
1550 - Fish and Fig in Pastry
1650 - Princess Elizabeth Cake
1750 - Salmagundi (chicken salad)
1850 - Curried Rabbit
1950 - Spam Bake with Peaches
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 12:42

850 AD, Viking Apple Bacon:

Apple Bacon
400 g (1 lb) bacon, fresh or cured
1 tbsp lard or butter, if needed
2 onions, sliced
2-3 apples, cored and sliced
pepper
a few whole cloves
Cut the bacon into slices and fry them in a large fryin pan at medium heat. Turn them over a
couple of times and fry until crisp. Remove from pan, add lard or butter if needed and fry onion
rings and apple slices with the spices at low heat until they are soft and beginning to color.
Return the bacon to the pan, stir and let warm through.
Serve with freshly baked bread

These sound quite tasty:
http://nvg.org.au/documents/other/vikingrecipes.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 12:57

150 AD, the Ancient Greek/Roman Pizza, Staititai:

Quote :
Imagine Mediterranean food in ancient times before the discovery of the new world and foods like the tomato and red pepper made their way to Europe. Staititai, a Greek flatbread made with an ancient grain related to wheat called spelt, may just be the ancestor of the modern pizza pie.
Athenaeus the 2nd century Greek philosopher described Staititai as "a type of cake made with spelt dough and honey...the moist dough is spread on a frying pan and on it are poured honey, sesame seeds, and cheese"



Ingredients:

1 cup proofed sourdough

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 to 4 cups flour

2 teas. salt




for the topping

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds


2 Tbsp. honey

16 oz. feta cheese

salt and olive oil to drizzle on top.




You can use bakers yeast instead of the sourdough if you prefer. If you would like to make your own sourdough starter, it takes a few extra days of preparation but its worth it. You can find instructions 'here'. If you would like to purchase a sourdough starter you can do that 'here'





Combine starter, warm water, one-quarter cup olive oil, flour and salt in a bowl and stir well. The original recipe recommends using a standing mixer with a dough hook, I do not have a mixer so instead I utilize a lazy, slow rise method where I mix all the ingredients together, cover and allow to rise for overnight for about 12 hours. In the morning I punch the dough down and then grease a mixing bowl; place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for about four hours. Divide the dough into quarters and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes while preheating the oven to 475. Press or roll out into disks aprox. 10 inches in diameter. I saved 1/2 the dough in the fridge to use another day, but you can use all of it if you would like.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil of the remaining olive oil over a medium-high flame in a cast iron skillet. Place one disc in the hot oil and fry for two to three minutes, flip it and fry the other side for two to three minutes. Add an additional two tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, and repeat the process with the remaining discs.

Once the dough has been fried to a golden brown, brush one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil on each of the two fried bases. Crumble some of the feta cheese evenly over each of the discs, drizzle each disc with one tablespoon honey and sprinkle them with one tablespoon sesame seeds and enough coarse salt to suit your palate. Line a baking sheet or baking stone with three to four sweet bay leaves, and place the staititai on top of the bay leaves. Bake at 475 degrees for five to six minutes. Serve hot, drizzled with additional honey if desired.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 13:05

3950 BC(E) approx! 

Ertebølle Fish Stew

Gently simmer cod steaks and unshucked oysters in water.
Season generously with garlic mustard seeds.
Serve.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 18:48

450 BCE - a nice drink of kumiss (fermented mare's milk) to wash it all down. Hippocrates notes that lactose intolerance was still common at about that date, so fermenting the lactose was still a good way of making dairy products nutritious. Alternatively, beer. Best estimates are that that has been around since about 5000 BCE.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 19:08

I don't think even Waitrose stocks mare's milk.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 09:13

Well I just had to add this dish....

For 250 AD - with Imperial Rome at the height of its power and extravagance. (Actually this would really be better for 50 AD since this was the time of both Petronius, who was a friend of Nero, and Apicius - or at least one of that name). But anyway, to quote from Petronius’ Satyricon describing a lavish dinner ‘Trimalchio’s Feast’, written as a mockery of the wealth, ostentation and pretension of Imperial Italy ... (the narrator, Encolpius, is an educated vagabond who has managed to get himself an invitation):

"Now some really high-class appetisers came in. We had all got on our couches by this time – only our host was still missing. Trimalchio was to take the place of honour himself! The latest fashion? Anyway, on the trolley there was a Corinthian bronze donkey with panniers on its back, green olives in one, black in the other. Over the top of the donkey were two trays. Along the edge of them it said: ‘Property of Trimalchio’ and ‘x pounds silver’. These two dishes were joined together by little bridges soldered on, and they contained dormice glazed in honey and rolled in poppy seeds. There were sizzling sausages too, on a silver grill – and, under the grill, damsons and pomegranate seeds".

Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria, 'On Cooking', gives a recipe for stuffed dormice:

Glires: isicio porcino, item pulpis ex omni membro glirium trito, cum pipere, nucleis, lasere, liquamine farcies glires, et sutos in tegula positos mittesin furnum aut farsos in clibano coques.

Glires (dormouse): is stuffed with a forcemeat of pork and small pieces of dormouse meat trimmings, all pounded with pepper, nuts, laser (resin of the silphium plant), liquamen (the ubiquitous Roman fermented fishy broth). Put the dormouse thus stuffed in an earthen casserole, roast it in the oven, boil it in the stock pot.

..... Simple enough, although getting the silphium resin might prove difficult as the Romans harvested the silphium plant to extinction and it's not known exactly what it tasted like. In place of the dormice I suppose a modern cook could use rabbit, though squirrel would be a better substitute and used to be readily available where I lived in Surrey, and I have actually eaten real dormouse, Glis glis, once in Slovenia.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 22 Oct 2014, 11:54; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : annoying little typos)
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 09:21

It is 950 CE and Sicily has been under muslim rule for a half century. Its citizenry, proud of its ancient Greek and Roman heritage, enjoy a cuisine that reflects both of these venerably old traditions. However their Arab conquerors have introduced one dish that has taken the islanders' fancy (as well as oranges which have gone down pretty well too). Rice balls formed around savoury meat and vegetable centres (the more variety of which the merrier) and then deep fried so the crust becomes golden brown prove a huge hit - both as a staple on the dinner table and as portable snacks. Not surprisingly they are soon rechristened "Arancini" (little oranges). Long after the muslims have been ousted and the island has entered centuries of being dominated by a succession of new masters the humble but tasty arancino survives throughout as a popular dish - just as it still does today.



So, some prehistoric diversions aside (kill mammoth - drag - hack - chew)  our gastronomic progress from the year dot is:

50 - Placenta (layered cheesecake with honey)
150 - Staititai (honey, feta cheese and herbs spread on a baked pastry base a-la-pizza)
250 - Glires (stuffed dormouse)
350 - Isicia Omentata (spice burgers)
650 - Kababayani (Persian cookies)
750 - Kakavia (soup made from at least three different fish)
850 - Viking Fried Apple and bacon served on fresh Bread
950 - Arancini (fried rice balls with savoury fillings)
1050 - Venison/Beef Steak served with Veal/Mutton stew
1150 - Oatcakes (Bannocks) served a l'ecosse
1350 - Salmon and Chicken Pie
1450 - Vermicelli (served with Parmesan cheese and spices)
1550 - Fish and Fig in Pastry
1650 - Princess Elizabeth Cake
1750 - Salmagundi (chicken salad)
1850 - Curried Rabbit
1950 - Spam Bake with Peaches

In three centuries time we can print off our menu!
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 10:01

1250 AD, and a recipe for Lenten Chicken;

Quote :
13th Century Monks Lenten Chicken

Ingredients for two portions:

8 oz chicken breast fillets without skin
2 eggs
4 oz soft or semi-soft cheese (such as Cream Cheese, Ricotta, Brick, Havarti or Monterey Jack)
8 tablespoons clear chicken broth
4 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Salt and ground white or black pepper to taste  

Cut the chicken fillets into long flattened strips

Fry gently in the butter, season with salt and pepper

Boil the eggs until they are medium hard, with a 'soft' yolk

Allow to cool, peel and halve

Bring the chicken broth to the boil, mix the cream and flour until smooth, add the hot broth gradually to the mixture, stirring constantly

Return to pan and stir while heating through for about 2 to 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper

Add half of the cheese to the mix, continue stirring and if necessary add more salt and pepper

Pour the sauce into an oven proof dish

Layer chicken pieces over sauce

Place egg halves on chicken

Cover the eggs with the remaining cheese and cook until the cheese has melted

Serve with a green salad, Warm or Cold potato salad, green beans or spinach.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 11:03

A rich creamy 'Lenten' chicken dish? Monks, eh ... whatever happened to fasting and going meat-free throughout Lent ?   Rolling Eyes In my day they'd only have had bread and a little dried fish ... Just wait 'til the Reformation comes - things will be different then I can tell you!
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 11:58

Meles, on double checking the original meat was Beaver Tail;

Quote :
Beaver Tails, were used.

This the monks reasoned was possible because as a beaver spent a great deal of time in water it could therefore be grouped with Fish, so whereas meat from land animals, such as pigs, cattle and birds, which also covered chicken, was banned during a fast it was permitted to eat something from 'the sea'. Or water at least.

Tastes have changed so it is doubtful many people would now knowingly eat beaver, and despite a recent mini-boom in their population in areas of eastern Germany they have been an endangered species in the country for some time.

This 13th century recipe from a monastery in Mainz, the south-west of the country, has been adapted to be made with chicken breasts and traditionally they are cut to vaguely resemble a beaver’s tail.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 12:26

1250 - this date possibly still confined to Normandy but not too long afterwards it seems to have crossed the channel........




Poume d'oranges
PERIOD: England, 13th century | SOURCE: B. L. Additional 32085 | CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: Pork meatballs made to resemble oranges

ORIGINAL RECEIPT:
1. Poume d'oranges. Ceo est une viaunde ke est apelé pomme de oranges. Pernez char de porc, ne mye trop gras ne trop megre, e festes couper creu, e festes braer en un morter, e metez dedenz le moel de l'oef cru; e pernez le bro, si festes boiller; e puys pernez le blaunc de l'oef e oyngnez vos meinz; e puys pernez hors la char e festes roundes soelez cume oingnun, taunt come vos volez, e festes boiller en cel bro; e puys pernez les hors e metez chescun parmy une broche ke nul ne tuche autre; e puys metez au feu pur rostir; e pernez deus esqueles, e metez le blaunc en une esquele e le moel, e festes oyndre les poumes kaunt it sunt charnis parmy; e pernez sucre e jetez desus kaunt il sunt tret hors de la broche; e puys dressez.
TRANSLATION FROM TWO ANGLO-NORMAN CULINARY COLLECTIONS:
1. Oranges. This is a dish which is called "oranges." Take pork, neither too fat nor too lean, and cut it up raw; grind it in a mortar and add raw egg yolk; then take broth and bring it to a boil; then take the white of an egg and rub it on your hands; then take out the meat and make round balls, like an onion, as many as you wish, and boil them in the broth; then take them out and arrange on spits so that they are not touching and put them to roast on the fire; and take two dishes and put the white of an egg in one and the yolk (in the other) and coat the "oranges" when they are rolled therein; take sugar and sprinkle it over them when they are removed from the spit, and then serve.


Didn't Heston B. make something like these?
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 12:37

@Triceratops wrote:
Meles, on double checking the original meat was Beaver Tail...

Beaver tails? From Germany? … Oh so you think that makes it alright, eh? Pah! Expensive fancy foreign titbits, that's what they are ... have you seen the price of beaver’s tail in Morissons? And just ‘cos the Pope’s said they’re 'fysshe' doesn’t mean they are! Mark my words, come the Reformation, things are gonna change.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 13:07

@ferval wrote:
1250 - this date possibly still confined to Normandy but not too long afterwards it seems to have crossed the channel........

Poume d'oranges......

That's interesting ferval, a very similar dish called simply 'pumpes' appears in the 15th century. This is essentially also deep-fried pork meatballs, and I'd always wondered about the name. But now I suspect 'pumpes' is just a corruption of 'poume d'oranges' ... and now that I look at it again, there's a very similar 'fake fruit' dish that appears in several 15th century recipe collections called 'pommes doré', ie gilded apples, which again are just fried pork meatballs but specifically coated in a batter coloured yellow with egg yolk?


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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 13:09

What's it going to be for 1250 then? Lenten chickens or false fruit? Can't see our chef being willing to serve then as a single dish (and he's already at the end of his proverbial thether skinning the dormice all morning).
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 13:16

He's skinned the dormice!?! Quelle horreur .... the skin's the best bit! Let's face it, you don't get that much meat on a dormouse.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 14:45

This is an account of a East Roman Ambassador, Priscus,invited to dine with Attila c 450AD, no specifics as to recipes unfortunately;

http://spad1.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/dinner-with-attila-the-hun-c-ad-450/
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 16:16

@nordmann wrote:
What's it going to be for 1250 then? Lenten chickens or false fruit? Can't see our chef being willing to serve then as a single dish (and he's already at the end of his proverbial thether skinning the dormice all morning).

Go with Ferval's "oranges" as we have chicken elsewhere on our menu.

450AD, a Roman recipe for Pear Souffle:

Quote :
PATINA DE PIRIS (Pear Soufflee)

(Apic. 4, 2, 35)

Ingredients:
------------
1kg       pears (peeled and without core)
6         eggs
4 tblsp   honey
100ml     Passum
a little bit oil
50ml      Liquamen, or 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp   ground cumin
ground pepper to taste

Instructions:
-------------
Mesh cooked and peeled pears (without core) together with pepper,cumin,
honey, Passum, Liquamen and a bit of oil. Add eggs and put into a
casserole. Cook approximately 30 minutes on small to moderate heat.
Serve with a bitt of pepper sprinkled on the soufflee.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 19:21

We seem to be a bit short on greens for our 5-a-day so here's something to correct that omission.


550 CE       Taken from a letter from Anthimus, the Byzantine physician, to Theoderic on the subject of diet.





Mustard Greens


Mustard greens are good, boiled in salt and oil. They should be eaten either cooked on the coals or with bacon, and vinegar to suit the taste should be put in while they are cooking.




1 1/4 lb mustard greens (including smaller stems) 
3 tsp oil 
4 tsp vinegar
1 tsp salt 
4 slices bacon

Wash mustard greens. Boil stems 2 minutes, then add leaves, boil 6 more minutes and drain. Fry bacon or cook 6 minutes in microwave. Heat oil, add greens and stir, then add salt and cook 5 minutes. Crumble bacon and put over greens with vinegar. Stir it all up and cook another 3 minutes.


I can only guess that Theo had to fry his bacon.






edit - I give up, I have no idea why the letters are so small and the formatting options show up. They're not there in preview.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Wed 22 Oct 2014, 19:35

That's a step in the right direction ferval. If we need crudites to balance the constitution, then the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus describes the diet of the Huns as follows:

'they are so little advanced in civilization that they make no use of fire, nor any kind of relish, in the preparation of their food, but feed upon the roots which they find in the fields, and the half-raw flesh of any sort of animal.'

Another writer, Priscus of Panium, a Thracian who was a Roman diplomat, however, describes dinner with Attila himself:

'Attila’s servant entered first with plates full of meat, and those waiting on all the 
others put bread and cooked food on the tables. A lavish meal, served on silver 
trenchers, was prepared for us and the other barbarians, but Attila just had some 
meat on a wooden platter, for this was one aspect of his self-discipline.'

One wonders of the cooked food on the silver trenchers maybe included patina de piris.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 08:35

The menu for our Feast of Ages is complete folks. Well done everybody! And we even managed a fair spread of starters, main courses and desserts too!

50 - Placenta (layered cheesecake with honey)
150 - Staititai (honey, feta cheese and herbs spread on a baked pastry base a-la-pizza)
250 - Glires (stuffed dormouse)
350 - Isicia Omentata (spice burgers)
450 - Patina de Piris (Roman Pear Soufflé dessert, popular with Gothic "tourists")
550 - Mustard Greens with Fried Bacon (Byzantine healthy eating)
650 - Kababayani (Persian cookies)
750 - Kakavia (soup made from at least three different fish)
850 - Viking Fried Apple and bacon served on fresh Bread
950 - Arancini (fried rice balls with savoury fillings)
1050 - Venison/Beef Steak served with Veal/Mutton stew
1150 - Oatcakes (Bannocks) served a l'ecosse
1250 - Poume d'Oranges (Norman pork balls cooked to resemble oranges)
1350 - Salmon and Chicken Pie
1450 - Vermicelli (served with Parmesan cheese and spices)
1550 - Fish and Fig in Pastry
1650 - Princess Elizabeth Cake
1750 - Salmagundi (chicken salad)
1850 - Curried Rabbit
1950 - Spam Bake with Peaches

Now we just have to cajole Meles meles into his kitchen ...
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:04

My son and dil took us to the aforementioned Hugh Fearnley Whittingsale's place in Plymouth and she has written on their blog, "Before saying goodbye we took Malcolm and Carolyn to the River Cottage Canteen, where we enjoyed a second beautiful lunch. Louis just had to try the nettle soup of course, while Sarah had the most delicious arancini."  I didn't realise it dated so far back (and indeed didn't really know what it was).

I would have liked to check my book of English cooking through the ages for this challenge, but just haven't had much time recently.  Congratulations all on a fabulous sounding feast.  (I will be full before the spam, fortunately.) Is there a connection between the modern use of placenta and this cheesecake?
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:26

Drinks! We’ve forgotten the drinks! …..


So to accompany the Roman contributions I suggest a good Falernian wine - indeed it was a Falernian that Petronious specifically had served at ‘Trimalchio’s Feast’. Falernian wines were consistently considered to be the very best of Roman wines but they were also expensive - as this price list/advert inscribed on the wall of a bar in Pompeii says:

For one ‘as’ you can drink wine
For two you can drink the best
For four you can drink Falernian

The very finest Falernian vintage was supposed to be the Opimian of 121 BC. This particular vintage was drunk, enjoyed and praised throughout the 1st century BC. It was also incidentally the principal wine served at the banquet given for Julius Ceasar in honour of his conquests in Hispania in 60 BC - that's a full 60 years after the grapes had been harvested, but clearly it had lost none of its charm. Indeed Marcus Terentius Varro (De Res Rusticae, circa 50 BC) clearly states that Falernian wines always improved and increased in value with age. Accordingly there’s no reason - other than they’d already been consumed - that a few residual amphorae of the 121 Opimian wouldn’t have still been in excellent condition and ready to be drunk in 50 AD, or even in 250 AD.

Any more requests whilst I’m at the bar?

What are your drink suggestions to go with,say, Trike's Spam-and-Peach-Bake:? ..... a pint of Watney's Red Barrel perhaps, a nice cup of Tetley's tea, a port and lemon, a sweet sherry, or maybe a glass of that oh-so-sophisticated new drink, Babycham?


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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:31

@Meles meles wrote:
Drinks! We’ve forgotten the drinks! …..


Aaaaaaaarggghhhh!!!!!!!!

MEAD
Quote :
Ingredients:

5l water (this needs to be unchlorinated). Tap water that has been boiled and allowed to cool is fine, but for your first batch you may be better using spring water.
 1.5kg honey
 1 tsp acid blend (obtained from home-brew shops on-line and some major chemists)
 1 tsp yeast nutrient
 1 packet champagne yeast (the type of yeast you use makes a huge difference to the final product but try this first)  

Note that almost all the ingredients above can be obtained from any shop specializing in home brews. As honey is the main ingredient in mead making, the quality of the honey used greatly affects the 'nose' and characteristics of the final product. Fragrant, flavour-intense, single-flower honey is more expensive than the generic blended kind, but will make a real difference to your final product. If the base honey is very intense in flavour then you can mix this with cheaper more generic honey to bulk it up.

Method

As with making ale sterility is an essential pre-requisite for making mead. The usual sterilizing agent is metabisulphite which can be obtained in powder or tablet form. The usual sterilization strength is 60g in 500ml lukewarm water. Sanitise containers by swirling sulphite solution over all the inside surfaces. Sanitise things like your spoon and thermometer by dipping them into a container of sulphite solution. There's no need to rinse off the sulphite, it's a commonly used ingredient in wine and won't affect the taste of your mead.

If you are using liquid yeast then you will need to prepare it beforehand. Skip this section if you are using dried yeast. The yeast culture needs to be prepared 2–3 days before it's needed. Most liquid yeasts come in a packet. First burst the blister bubble in this to release the yeast cells into a sugar solution where they will begin to multiply. Once the packet has swelled to about an inch think, open the packet and pitch (pour) the yeast into a sterilized 1l container half-filled with water, into which about 3 tablespoons of sugar have been dissolved. Shake the container well to aerate, and loosen the lid slightly to let some air escape.

Before doing anything else prepare your yeast. If using dried yeast boil some water and pour 200ml into a shallow dish, stirring-in 2 tbsp of honey. Cover with aluminium foil and allow to cool naturally to just below 37°C. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the surface of the water and allow to rehydrate for ten minutes. At the end of this time gently stir the yeast and set aside in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Measure the volume of water you need by filling your demijohn (or cider jar if you're using one of those) ⅔ full of water (should be about 3.3l) and pour into your stainless steel brewing pot. Bring this to a rolling boil and take off the heat. Begin stirring-in the honey. Next add the acid blend (which gives the finished mead a subtle fruitiness and balanced taste) and the yeast nutrient (honey is a fairly sterile environment and does not contain the amino acids that the yeast need to thrive. Yeast blend simply helps the yeast develop more quickly). Be careful when adding the honey to make sure that it dissolves quickly and does not burn on the base of your pot. Also be careful that the mixture does not boil over and scald you.

Cover the pot with some clean foil and allow to cool naturally to about 37°C. Place a sterile funnel in your demijohn and pour-in the honey mixture (this is known as must). Stir your yeast starter mixture and pout this into the demijohn. Swirl this to mix the ingredients then close this with a bung and a fermentation airlock. Set the demijohn in a warm place and wait. Within the next 24 hours, the airlock should be bubbling rapidly and foam should be forming on top of the liquid. These are all signs that you have a batch of mead in progress.

[Honey because of its low sugar content is essentially sterile. If you are willing to stir for a very long time then it is possible to add honey immediately to cold water. First warm your honey by placing the jars in warm water. Pour the honey into your water and begin stirring to dissolve. This will take a very long time, much longer than you think. It is important that all the honey has dissolved or you will start killing-off the yeast. This is more troublesome that the boiling method, but may give you a finer mead as the volatile compounds which give speciality honeys their distinctive flavours are not lost during a boiling process.]

Place in a cool dark place and monitor each day to check on progress. Over the next few weeks the bubbling will slow down and a layer of sediment (mostly dormant yeast cells) will build up on the bottom of the demijohn. When this sediment layer gets to somewhere 2–3 cm deep it is time to rack your mead (racking being the process of siphoning the liquid off the sediment). This step is important as leaving your developing mead on the sediment too long can taint its flavour. Sterilize a fresh demijohn and place this on the floor. Put your original demijohn on a counter, take of its bung and place your siphoning tube into this and hold it there. Exhale to empty your lungs and place the free end of the tube in your mouth. Suck until the tube is completely full of liquid, then quickly stick a clean finger over the mouth-end and lower it into the container. If you've done it right, the mead will be flowing up the tube out of the demijohn and down the tube into the other vessel. Stop siphoning when the volume of liquid in the original demijohn is low and sediment starts flowing up the tube.

You are now ready for the second stage of fermentation. This stage should be anaerobic (have as little oxygen present as possible). During racking make sure to disturb the liquid as little as possible and when the racking is done carefully top-up the demijohn with fresh water to that it is full up to the neck. Sterilize a bung, and plug the neck of the demijohn with this and a fermentation lock. During the slower period of fermentation, your mead should be exposed to as little oxygen as possible.

Continue to check on your demijohn each day. If the layer of sediment builds up to the original level it was before racking, rack it again. If the level of liquid falls below the neck of the demijohn, top it up with water. If a week or two goes by and you don't see any bubbles in the airlock, then fermentation is over. However, don't be too impatient as this can take between two and six months.

At this stage it is best to bottle your mead and let it age. This can be done in the demijohn itself if you have a tight-fitting cork (simply rack the mead into a sterile demijohn, top-up with water, add a cork and pound it in with a rubber mallet). Store the demijohn in a dark place until you're ready to drink. Alternatively you can rack the mead into sterilized flip-top bottles (like Grolsch bottles) which can be purchased at brewing supply shops or you can use screw-cap bottles and even wine bottles (if you have good fresh corks for them).

Your first batch of mead is now ready for drinking. Enjoy...
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:37

This bottle of plonk was buried with a Roman noble in 350CE in Speyer, Germany. It's still liquid, possibly drinkable (analysts disagree) and can be seen at the Pfalz Museum.



According to the Daily Mail article; Wine professor Monika Christmann said: ‘Micro-biologically it is probably not spoiled, but it would not bring joy to the palate.’

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:41

I'm just wondering if the tinned peaches might have still been on ration in 1950s Britain.

Perhaps;

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:52

India Pale Ale which developed during the 18th and 19th centuries for export to the sub continent;

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 09:55

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 10:15

No, no, the aspiring 1955 host, when serving the spam extravaganza, would have a fine bottle of Blue Nun chilled in the Fridgedaire and ready to pour into their newly acquired hock glasses.

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 10:59

A 17th century alcopop from 'The Queen's Clofet Opened' (1655):

The Cordial water of Sir Walter Raleigh

Take a Gallon of Strawberries, and put them into a pint of Aqua vitae, let them ftand so four or five daies, ftrain them gently out, and fweeten the water as you pleafe, with a fine Sugar, or elfe with perfume.


.... though I'm not sure how you're supposed to get a gallon of strawberries into just a pint of vodka.
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 11:25

The drink to accompany Viking Fried Apple and Bacon is optional (depends on what you've pillaged most recently). The drinking vessel however isn't:

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 11:53

Not one of these?

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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 12:01

Viking ladies probably used those in Viking lounges to drink their Viking Babychams.

(One baby blended in a Kenwood with eggs and turpentine - at least that's how I remember it tasting)
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 12:18

Nowt wrong with consuming turpentine .... Pepys thought it was OK:

Sunday 17 July 1664

"..... Walked home again, and there fell to read, and by and by comes my uncle Wight, Dr Burnett, and another gentleman, and talked and drank, and the Doctor showed me the manner of eating, turpentine, which pleases me well, for it is with great ease. So they being gone, I to supper and to bed."
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Historical Bake Off   Thu 23 Oct 2014, 13:38

A discussion about food and we have yet to mention His Noodliness;

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