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 Dish of the Day - II

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Meles meles

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Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 01 Jun 2017, 11:39

It’s been a few months since I last posted on ‘Dish of the Day’ and the original thread was getting somewhat long and cumbersome. So after that brief repose to let the first course settle I’m now picking the thread up again. As before it’s a culinary attempt to mark the passing of various historical dates, especially if they have a foody connection however tenuous, with a suitable dish or menu, often with some history of food and cooking thrown into the mixture as well.

Dish of the Day

As before ideas, suggestions, comments, and corrections are very welcome.

Bon appétit!

Last edited by Meles meles on Mon 05 Jun 2017, 13:02; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : an errant comma)
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 01 Jun 2017, 12:11

1 June 1533 – the coronation of Anne Boleyn

With Henry and Anne’s marriage having been declared legitimate just the day before, one might have thought her coronation would have been a rather hastily planned affair. Far from it. Henry spent an exorbitant amount of money on the coronation of his second wife and the planning was meticulate. His intent was to show all of Christendom that Anne Boleyn, not Catherine of Aragon, was his rightful queen, and that the child she carried (she was about six months pregnant) was his legitimate heir to the throne. The pomp and pageantry started on the 29th May with a vast river pageant, and continued on the 30th with a procession through the city. On the 1st June she was crowned in Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Cranmer followed by a grand coronation banquet in Westminster Hall.

This is Cranmer’s own account, in a letter written to Mr Hawkyns, the English Ambassador to the court of the Emperor Charles V, 27 June, 1533 [Harl. MSS. 6148. fol. 23].

"Now then on the Sunday was the Coronation, which also was of such a manner. In the morning there assembled with me at Westminster Church the Bishop of York, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Bishop of Bath, and the Bishop of St. Asaph, the Abbot of Westminster with ten or eleven more Abbots, which all revestred ourselves in our pontificalibus, and, so furnished, with our Crosses and Croziers, proceeded out of the Abbey in a procession into Westminster Hall, where we received the Queen apparelled in a robe of purple velvet, and all the ladies and gentlewomen in robes and gowns of scarlet according to the manner used beforetime in such business; and so her Grace sustained of each side with two bishops, the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Winchester, came forth in procession unto the Church of Westminster, she in her hair, my Lord of Suffolk bearing before her the Crown, and two other Lords bearing also before her a sceptre and a white rod, and so entered up into the High Altar, where divers ceremonies used about her, I did set the Crown on her head, and then was sung Te Deum. And after that was sung a solemn Mass, all which while her Grace sat crowned upon a scaffold which was made between the High Altar and Choir in Westminster Church; which Mass and ceremonies done and finished, all the assembly of noblemen brought her into Westminster HaIl again, where was kept a great solemn feast all that day; the good order thereof were too long to write at this time to you. … "

(… Cranmer then cuts to the real gist of the matter by impressing on the ambassador that he must get the message across to the Emperor that after the first clandestine marriage in December 1532 and the second, official, but no less private marriage on 25th Jan 1533, their marital state is entirely legal and above board despite only having been declared as such on the 28th May by Cranmer himself).

Cranmer’s letter is amongst the collection of  letters and papers, foreign and domestic during the reign of Henry VIII (vol 6 1533) that are available on line, and these contain a vast amount of information relating to the event. Some of these entries are just as simple summaries of the relevant document, but many others are transcribed and can be read on-line in full.  I’ve even found this sketched seating plan [Harl. MSS 41, fol. 12r]:

“A design and seating plan for Anne Boleyn's Coronation Banquet.”


Anne is seated alone at the centre of the top table under a canopy of state, only poor old Cranmer, still clutching his crozier, was allowed to sit at the far end of the same table: nothing and nobody was to blur the focus of the occasion. Henry VIII is decorously placed in an observation gallery above where he watched with the French and Venetian ambassadors. Notice that Anne is clearly depicted with her hair down which is how all Queens went to their coronation, and I think this is what Cranmer meant in his above letter by "she in her hair".

The duke of Suffolk as High Steward had responsibility for the banquet, a function that he discharged in a doublet and jacket dripping with pearls and mounted on a horse. Lord William Howard in crimson velvet was also on horseback, and he was deputizing for his brother, the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshall of England, who had been sent on an embassy to France, and he was in overall charge of the whole coronation.

From Harl. MSS 41, f. 2. B. M:
"Beneath the inclosure were four great tables, extending the length of the hall. At the first were seated those of the realm who have charge of the doors ; below them, at the same table, were many gentlemen ; at the second table, the archbishops, bishops, the Chancellor, and many lords and knights. The two other tables were at the other side of the hall : " celle du hault bout" was the mayor of London, accompanied by the sheriffs ; at the other were duchesses, countesses, and ladies. The duke of Suffolk was gorgeously arrayed with many stones and pearls, and rode up and down the hall and around the tables, upon a courser caparisoned in crimson velvet ; as also did my lord William, who presided over the serving, and kept order : they were always bareheaded, as you know is the custom of this country."

At the top table, standing on Anne’s left was her half-aunt, Anne Howard, Dowager Countess of Oxford, and on her right, Elizabeth Browne, Countess of Worcester. Their role was to stand beside the Queen's chair, and  "which divers times in the dinner time did hold a fine cloth before the Queen's face when she list to spit or do otherwise at her pleasure". There were also, "two gentlewomen sat at her feet, under the table, to do her bidding" ... they were probably in charge of the royal pisspot. To ease her during the lengthy proceedings, for she was six months pregnant, a comfortable inner chair had been purpose-made to fit inside the marble one.

From Harl. MSS 21,116, f. 48. B. M:
The appointment what number of officers and servitors that shall attend upon the Queen's grace, the Bishop and the ladies sitting at the Queen's board in the Great Hall at Westminster, the day of the coronation, as followeth :

Carvers : The earl of Essex  for the Queen ; Sir Edm. (Edward) Seymour for the Archbishop.
Cupbearers : Lord Derby for the Queen ; Sir John Dudley for the Archbishop.
Sewers : The earl of Sussex for the Queen ; Sir Thos. Arundell for the Archbishop.
Panters : Viscount Lisle, chief panter ; John Apricharde ; John Gislym.
[Butlers] : Earl of Arundell, chief butler ; Ric. Hill, Edm. Harvye. [Ewers] : Sir Henry [Thomas] Wyat, Jeffrey Villers, Henry Atkinson. Chief almoners for the Queen : Lord Bray, Sir Wm. Gascoyne .....

[and on through about three hundred names down to],

..... Officers appointed for serving the waste [ie the leftovers given to the poor]. Panter : Wm. Wilkinson. Clerk : Jas. Harington. Cook :John Hautcliffe. Larderer : John Dauson. Cooks for the "Worchouses"
[presumably cooks to arrange and prepare the leftovers for delivery to local almshouses];  John Birket, Ric. Parker, John Stevens, John Johnson, Steven God, Wm. Whitfeild.

The first course of twenty-eight dishes was ceremoniously carried in by eighteen newly-created Knights of the Bath, escorted by Suffolk and Howard, both on horseback, and to the accompaniment of “trumpets and hautbois”.

Only after the Queen had been served with her first two dishes, was the Archbishop served,  and then all of the other guests at the four long tables in front, all seated in strict order of rank starting from the right hand side of the Queen. The second and third courses consisted of a further twenty-four and thirty dishes respectively for Anne but there were fewer for the guests. The lavishness and magnificence of the food were provided from specially enlarged kitchens, and set off by a profusion of 'subtleties', with the the "wax ships" (model ships probably constructed in sugar and gum paste) singled out for particular praise. The whole banquet lasted several hours.

When Anne had finished the whole company stood while she ceremoniously washed her hands. She then moved to the centre of the hall where she was served by the Lord Mayor with a 'void' [a ceremonial closing 'digestive'] of expensive spiced confections, wafers, and hippocras in an ornate gold cup. Having drunk the hippocras she then presented the cup to the Lord Mayor and thanked him and his Aldermen for their efforts. She then left the Hall, no doubt exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure, and the company departed, the Lord Mayor clutching his golden cup.

But despite all the detail in state papers - who was there, who did what, who wore what, who provided it and how much did it all cost - there is no record of what was eaten. However I daresay it was the usual coronation fare of boar’s head, whole peacock, swan, sturgeon, pike, game birds, ornate pies, pastries, tarts and custards,  see Dish of the Day for 14 January 1486.

The only thing mentioned as passing Anne’s lips is the final cup of hippocras.

Hippocras was wine spiced with a variety of spices: typically containing cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, grains of paradise and long pepper. The various ingredients of the mix, or gyle as it was known, were bruised in a mortar and then left to steep in the wine, usually for a day and a night. Sometimes they were enclosed in a small bag weighted with a pebble to help it sink, otherwise the liquid had to be strained to filter out all the spicy bits. Some lazy vintners made their hippocrs by adding a few drops of the essential oils of the appropriate spices to the wine. Another way was to add to the wine a few drops of a preparation known as 'essence of hippocras'. This was made by extracting the flavour from the spices by means of distilled wine or aqua-vitae. Only a little of this strong extract was needed to transform an indifferent wine into a 'gallant hipocras'. The wines most commonly used were claret for red hippocras and white Spanish or Portuguese wines for white. I’m sure Anne got the very best hippocras possible.

At this time most oriental spices were still very expensive, so only the aristocracy and nobility were able to afford to drink hippocras. Taken at the end a meal with wafers and comfits as a digestive, it was most usually brought to table cold. Throughout Europe it was an important item in the court table ritual known as the void or issue de table, as as anne’s banquet. Later, when spices were more readily available, it became a popular drink at wedding and christening feasts but it was rarely ever a day-to-day drink.

So here's a Tudor English recipe for making hippocras, from 'The Booke of Kervinge and Sewing' (London, 1508):

"Take ginger, pepper, graines, canell, sinamon, sugar and tornsole [a plant related to, but distinct from tournesol, the common sunflower, used for its purple-red dye] than looke ye have five or sixe bags for your ipocras to run in, and a pearch that your renners may ren on, than must ye have sixe peuter basins to stand under your bags, than look your spice be ready, and your ginger well pared or if it be beaten to pouder, than looke your stalkes of sinamon be well coloured and sweete: canell is not so gentle in operation, sinamon, is hotte and dry, graines of paradice be hot and moist, ginger, grains, long pepper ben hot and moist, sinamon, canell and redde wine colouring.

Now knowe yee the proportions of your ipocras, than beate your pouders, eache by them selfe, and put them in bladders and hange your bagges sure that no bagge tough other, but let each basinge touch other, let the first basin be of a gallon, and each of the other a pottell, than put in your basin a gallon of red Wine, put these to your pouders, and stire them well, than put them into the firste bage, and let it ren, than put them in the second bagge, than take a peece in your hand and assay if it be stronge of Ginger, and alay it with sinamon, and if it be strong of sinamon, alay it with sugar, and look ye let it ren through sixe renners, and your ipocras into a close Vessel and keep the receit, for it will serve for sewers, than serve your souvraign with wafers and ipocras."

On the occasion of a Queen Consort's coronation one would normally of course proclaim, "long live the Queen!" ... but as we all know Anne only lasted three years before she got the chop.

Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 13:10; edited 12 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 01 Jun 2017, 12:26

Since this was supposed to be the 50th of Sgt Pepper.

Quote :
This recipe for baked stuffed red peppers is a classic Woman's Weekly recipe from 1958. Stuff the peppers with bacon, egg and breadrumbs and sprinkle with plenty of cheese. These roasted peppers serves 6 people and will take around 1hr and 15 mins to prepare and cook. These delicious peppers work out at only 240 calories per serving - ideal if you're counting calories or looking for a healthy dinner recipe the whole family can enjoy. The delicious breakfast combo of the bacon and eggs means you can enjoy these peppers anytime of day. How about a hearty brunch, healthy lunch or light dinner.
•6 small-medium red peppers
For the filling:
•200g (7oz) streaky bacon, chopped
•1 onion, peeled and chopped
•Knob of butter
•30g (1oz) breadcrumbs
•2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
•45g (1½oz) finely grated Cheddar cheese
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 To make the filling: Put the bacon, onion and butter in a frying pan and cook gently for about 10 mins, until onion is tender. Take off heat and stir in breadcrumbs, chopped egg, half the cheese and some seasoning.
2 Set the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

3 Cut tops off peppers and pull out the cores and seeds. Rinse them well. Slice a little off bottom of peppers, if necessary, so that they stand up straight.
4 Spoon the filling into the peppers and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Stand them in a roasting tin, cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 mins. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 mins, to brown the tops. Serve hot with peas, or cold with salad.
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 07 Jun 2017, 23:05

7 June 1832 – The Parliamentary Reform Act (1832) became law.

Prior to this Act, parliamentary constituences were mostly based on ancient counties and boroughs. But by the beginning of the 19th century, while some ancient boroughs had very few, if any, voters and thus were basically in the control of the aristocratic landlord (so-called 'rotten boroughs'), others, such as the ‘village’ of Manchester had expanded over previous decades to have populations of many thousands yet were still represented by only a single MP. Moreover only men who owned considerable property could actually vote, and thus the franchise only extended to about 2% of the population..

There had been calls for reform long before 1832, but without success. The Act that finally succeeded was proposed by the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. It met with significant opposition from the Pittite factions in Parliament, who had long governed the country; and opposition was especially pronounced in the House of Lords, notably from the Duke of Wellington. Nevertheless, the bill was eventually passed,

London’s Reform Club was founded in 1836 by Edward Ellice, MP for Coventry and Whig Whip, whose zeal was chiefly devoted to securing the passage of the 1832 Bill. Accordingly the Reform Club was initially restricted to those who pledged support for the Reform Act, and the many MPs and Whig peers among the early members developed the club as the political headquarters of the Liberal Party. The Reform Club is famous for its restaurant, the menu of which still regularly featuring long-established favourites such as 'Lamb cutlets à la reform', a dish created in the mid 19th century by Alexis Soyer who was then the Reform Club's chef. But we’ve had that particular recipe here before (24 May 2016), so for something different and to reflect the battle to get the Reform Bill through Parliament, how about some ‘Whigs’ and ‘Torys’?

Wiggs or whigs were leavened buns that were lighter and richer than household bread, and they were always flavoured with carraway seeds, or caraway comfits. As a result they were not everyday fare but usually eaten only on special occasions. Elizabeth David was of the opinion that the name wigg was derived from an Old Norse word meaning wedge: because she could find no clues in old recipes about how wiggs should be shaped, she assumed that they would have been made up into a round loaf and then cut across to form the wedges. In reality, they were probably made up into various shapes, though Randle Holme in 'The Anatomy of Armoury' (1688) specifically says that wiggs were elliptical in shape.
From 'The Country Housewife's Family Companion' by William Ellis (London, 1750):

Whiggs -Take half a Peck of Flower, and mix it with an Egg-shell full of Carraway Seeds, and half a Pound of Sugar; then melt twelve Ounces of Butter in a Pint of warm Milk, and with three Parts of a Pint of Ale Yeast knead all together into a Paste, and after it has lain to ferment and swell, make it into Wigs and bake them. - Or, Take three Quarters of a Pound of Butter, and mix it with a Pottle of fine Flower, and half a Pound of Sugar, Nutmeg, Mace, and grated Ginger, four beaten Eggs and half a Pint of Ale Yeast, with a little Canary, if you please: These mix with a little warm Milk, and knead the whole into a light Dough, to stand about half an Hour before a Fire to ferment and swell; then just before they go into the Oven, wash the Wigs over with beaten Yolks of Eggs; if the Oven is quick in Fire, they will be baked in half an Hour on Tin Plates.

And for Tories ... this is from '365 Orange Recipes: an orange recipe for every day in the year' (Philadelphia, 1909):

Orange Torys - Grate all of 1 thin-skinned orange, rejecting the seeds; seed and chop 1 cupful of raisins, add ½  cupful of sugar, 1 beaten egg and 1 cupful of cracker crumbs. Roll puff-paste very thin, spread with the above mixture, cover with paste, cut in strips and bake in a quick oven.

Alternatively, if one is of the 'plague on both your houses' viewpoint, and seeing that tomorrow (8 June 2017) there is a General Election, there's always this recipe from 'Art of Cookery' (1774) by Hannah Glasse:

To Make a Westminster Fool.
Cut a penny loaf into thick slice, moisten them with sack, and lay them in the bottom of a dish; then take a quart of cream, six eggs beaten up, two spoonfuls of rose-water, some grated nutmeg, and a blade of mace, with sugar enough to sweeten it; put all these into a sauce-pan, st it over a slow fire, and keep it stirring all the time to prevent a curdling; when it begins to be thick, pour it into the dish over the bread. Let it stand till cold.

.... and to drink I suggest a cup of Earl Grey tea, named of course after the PM in 1832, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who pushed the reform bill through parliament.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Jun 2017, 17:38

Yesterday, but today or any day for the foreseeable future, a suitable dish to serve in 10 Downing St. would be humble pie but I suspect it would stick in the Maybot's gullet. Now 'humble pie' seems to have nothing to do with 'umble pie' unless it's a 19th c play on words since 'humble' is from the Old French for 'lowly' or 'insignificant' whereas 'umbles' are the innards of an animal but something like a particularly unappetising version of haggis in pastry seems like an appropriate repast for someone who has created such mayhem (pun intended).

Should her kitchen staff feel so inclined, here's a recipe from the Liber cure cocorum written in Lancashire around 1430.

Take tho hert and tho mydruv and the kydnere,
And hew hom smalle, as I the lere;
Presse oute the blode, wasshe hom thou schalle,
Sethe hom in water and in gode ale;
Coloure hit with brende bred or with blode;
Fors hit with peper and canel gode,
Sett hit to tho fyre, as I the telle in tale;
Kele hit with a litelle ale,
And set hit downe to serve in sale.

This version from Original Receipt in 'The Country Housewife and Lady's Director' by Prof. R Bradley, 1728 appears to very much like a mince pie of the original Christmas type and rather tasty.

To make Umble Pye. From Mr. Thomas Fletcher of Norwich.
Take the Umbles of a Deer and boil them tenderly, and when they are cold, chop them as small as Meat for minc'd Pyes, and shred to them as much Beef-Suet, six large Apples, half a Pound of Sugar, a Pound of Currans, a little Salt, and as much Cloves, Nutmeg and Pepper powder'd as you see convenient; then mix them well together, and when they are put into the Paste, pour in half a Pint of Sack, the Juice of two Lemons and an Orange: and when this is done, close the Pye, and when it is baked, serve it hot to the Table.

'Humble pie' seems to have taken off as a dish in its own right in various places around the world though and now recipes can be found using both sweet and savoury fillings. A restaurant in Melbourne serves an upmarket version which is An artfully arranged collection of chicken liver parfait, black pudding (blood sausage), sautéed calves sweetbreads, spinach with caramelised kaiserfleisch and veal jus.

'Humble' it is not.
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 12 Jun 2017, 12:00

As you say Ferval, the umbles were not necessaily to be thought of as just the lowly, unappetising bits 'left over'. Indeed, as the finest, the choice, the rarest, the tastiest, and most perishable parts of an animal ... they were were usually offered first to the principal guest.

The whole point about offal is that it doesn't keep as well as regular muscle meat, and so it needs to be eaten first while it is still very fresh. I suspect that as it deteriorates rapidly, butchers often sold it relatively cheaply to get rid of it quickly, although when it wasn't so fresh it could still be well-spiced and made into a pie, sausages, or potted meat ... and presumably that is how offal has come to be considered as lowly food. But again as Prof Bradley's recipe indicates, umble pie could still contain quite expensive ingredients, so it certainly wasn't food just for the poor.

Pepys in his diary for 11 November 1667 recorded, "This day I had a whole doe sent me by Mr. Hozier, which is a fine present, and I had the umbles of it for dinner." [ie the rest would keep but the umbles needed to be eaten straight away]. While on 8 July 1663 he wrote, "Going in I stepped to Sir W. Batten, and there staid and talked with him (my Lady being in the country), and sent for some lobsters, and Mrs. Turner came in [she was his neighbour: her husband, like Pepys, was a civil servant working in the Navy Office], and did bring us an umble pie hot out of her oven, extraordinary good, and afterwards some spirits of her making, in which she has great judgment, very good, and so home, merry with this night’s refreshment." [so he didn't consider umble pie as being unworthy to appear alongside lobster on the supper table even when he had guests].

That said however, Pepys, always the gourmand, did sometimes consider umbles to be rather disappointing fare. On 13 September 1665 he wrote, "I took boat, and in my Lord’s coach to Sir W. Hickes’s, whither by and by my Lady Batten and Sir William comes. It is a good seat, with a fair grove of trees by it, and the remains of a good garden; but so let to run to ruine, both house and every thing in and about it, so ill furnished and miserably looked after, I never did see in all my life. .... He did give us the meanest dinner (of beef, shoulder and umbles  of venison which he takes away from the keeper of the Forest, and a few pigeons, and all in the meanest manner) that ever I did see, to the basest degree."

I can't find the reference but I'm fairly sure there is a record of an alfresco banquent held for Henry VIII and Catherine Howard following a deer hunt. The dead stag was brought before the king and queen, where it was ceremoniously disembowelled and the bloody heart and liver ritually presented to Catherine. I'm not sure whether it was then cooked and eaten but such ritual actions are nevertheless very reminiscent of a sacraficial offering. For the ancient Greeks and Romans the liver was the usual offfering to the gods, as well as being used in divination and to verify that the sacraficed animal was pure and unblemished ... and old style butchers shops even today often display small animals, such as rabbit, hare, kid or suckling pig, whole and unbutchered with the liver, heart and kidneys still attached and displayed to show just how fresh the meat is. And of course foie de veau, calves' liver, is nowadays typically a very expensive dish often only to be found in the finest restaurants ... and usually cooked very rare so it has to be supremely fresh.

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 14 Jun 2017, 23:20

15 June 1215 – King John put his seal to Magna Carta. 

Drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebellious barons, the ‘Great Charter’ promised the protection of church rights; protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown; and all to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Although rescinded by John just a few years later, after his death the charter was re-established as part of English law, and was then typically re-affirmed by each monarch in turn ... although as time went by and Parliament passed new laws, it lost much of its practical significance. In any case the original charter was really only concerned with the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of the majority of the population at the time: the villeins who were bound for life to their feudal lord. Nevertheless the charter remained an iconic document even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th century and Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often being cited by politicians and campaigners.

Only three clauses of Magna Carta still remain on statute in England and Wales: those concerning the freedom of the English Church and the "ancient liberties" of the City of London (clause 13 in the 1215 charter), and the clause giving all freemen a right to due legal process (clause 39 in the 1215 charter), “No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.”

But amongst all the clauses protecting the rights of the church, the barons, and the freemen, as well as those curtailing the power of the king, there are - fortuitously for this thread - a couple of rather specific clauses that, in a rather oblique way, were concerned primarily with food.

Clause 33 – “All fish-weirs are in future to be entirely removed from the Thames and the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea-coast.”

This clause is unusual in that it demanded action to remedy an abuse apparently unconnected with the actions of the king or his agents, but rather seems to have been intended primarily to benefit the City of London, although it was extended to cover the whole of England. In the form complained of, these fish-weirs were substantial V-shaped structures of wood or sometimes stone set in riverbeds to catch fish by guiding them into central baskets or nets. They proliferated in the Thames where they helped to provide a ready food supply for London’s growing population. Like the entire population of the country, Londoners were supposed to eat fish instead of meat throughout the whole of Lent and on the numerous religious fast-days throughout the year. But by the 13th century the fish-weirs constituted serious obstructions to river craft both upstream and downstream of the city and were affecting the city's trade.

A fish weir with basket traps adjacent to a mill (from the Luttrel Psalter).

By ordering the removal of these fish-weirs Magna Carta effectively stopped most fishing activities along the river by individuals or small family enterprises, in favour of commerce conducted by merchants, guilds and other big businesses. The people of London lost their ready access to a major food source in order that the commercial movement by barge or ship, of wine, wool, grain and other goods, would be unrestricted. This of course forced a shift away from local river fisheries to larger sea-fishing businesses, and in turn to the industrial-scale salting and drying of sea fish on the coast for transportation inland. As a consequence poorer people throughout the country had to increasingly rely on stockfish and pickled herring, while fresh river fish, such as pike, salmon, bream, eels, lampreys etc would become increasingly obtainable only by the better off, who could either afford to buy from the few remaining inland fisheries, or who had private access to fishponds or waterways on their own land.

Here are some freshwater fishy recipes from ‘Forme of Cury’ (circa 1380), for tench, pike and eels:

Tenches in cyuee – Take tenches and smyte hem to pecys ; fry hem. Drawe a lyour of raysouns coraunce wiþ wyne and water; do þerto hool raisouns & powdour of ginger, of clowes, of canel, of peper; do the tenches þerto & seeþ hem with sugur cypre & salt, & messe forth.
Pykes in brasey – Take pykes and vndo hem on þe wombs and waisshe hem clene, and lay hem on a roost irne, þenne take gode wyne and powdour ginger & sugur, good wone, & salt, and boile it in an erthen panne; & messe forth þe pyke & lay the sewe  onoward.
Eles in brewet – Take  crustes of brede and wyne and make a lyour; do þerto oynouns ymynced, powdiur ginger & canel, & a litel water and wyne. Loke þat it be stepid. Do þerto salt; kerue þin eelis & seeþ hem wel and serue hem forth.

Another clause in Magna Carta (clause 23 in the 1215 document) states – “Neither township nor man is to be distrained to make bridges over rivers, except those who should of old and rightfully do so.”

This was not about maintaining the crossings of public roads over rivers, but rather it was about an abuse of royal rights whereby communities along rivers might be compelled to provide and maintain bridges and other crossings for the sole use of the king when he was hunting.

King John hunting a stag as depicted in a 14th century chronicle.

As well as hunting with dogs, John, like all the Angevin kings, was also a keen falconer, but unlike Henry II and Richard I he spent years at a time in England, travelling widely and always taking his birds with him. He appointed officials to look after rivers where he went hawking for river fowl, as his enjoyment of the sport depended on his being able to get exclusive access to river banks and to cross quickly from one bank to another. Although some communities, particularly those within Royal Forests, lay under a long-standing obligation to provide such bridges and crossings, it appears to have been widely extended during the twelfth century. During John’s reign the penalty for failing to provide a bridge had become fixed at five marks (£3. 6s. 8d.), a not inconsiderable sum, and the fine was usually imposed on the spot.  Both the practice and the large and arbitrary penalties resulting from it were clearly greatly resented as injurious not only to villagers but also to their lords, who risked being punished if their tenants did not supply the bridges demanded from them. Meanwhile, in order to protect their sport, both Henry II and King John forbade anyone else from hunting along all rivers where game abounded (it was termed putting the river ‘in defence’), for instance it is recorded that in 1213 the King had ordered the arrest of several fowlers found taking birds ‘within five leagues of our rivers' in Dorset. Clause 23 did not deny that the king could legitimately require bridges to be built at certain places, but aimed to curtail what seems to have become a limitless extension of this right. Furthermore there’s clause 47, which besides promising the deforestation of all land newly afforested, that is land that he’d commandeered for his personal hunting use, specified that the King was obliged to promise similar release for “all riverbanks that we have put in defence in our time”.

A 13th century falconer.

Interestingly, in the midst of the King's many political worries around the time he was being coerced into accepting Magna Carta, he was still fussing over seemingly trivial matters, such as his much-loved falcons. On Monday 16 March 1215 (just 13 weeks prior to Magna Carta) a letter was sent to John fitz Hugh in his capacity as constable of Windsor Castle. The instructions, with their reference to the gyrfalcon ”than which we have no better” almost certainly came direct from the King himself:

"Rex Ioh(ann)i fil(io) Hug(onis) etc. Mittimus ad vos per W(illelmum) de Merc' et R(adulphum) de Erleham tres girfalcon(es) et girfalc(onem) Gibbun(i), quo meliorem non hab(emus), et unum falconem gentilem, mandantes quod eos recipiatis et in mutis poni faciatis et ad opus eorum pingues capras queri faciatis et aliquando bonas gallinas et singulis septim(anis) eis habere faciatis semel carnem leporum, et ad mutas custodiend(as) queratis bonos mastiuos. Custum autem quod posuitis in custod(em) falconum illorum et expensis Spark(elini) hominis W(illelmi) de Merc' qui eos custodiet cum i. homine et i. equo comp(utetu)r vob(is) ad sc(ac)c(ariu)m. T(este) me ipso ad Getindton', xxi. die Marc(ii) anno r(egni) n(ostri) xovio."

"The King to John fitz Hugh. We are sending you, via W(illiam) de Merk and R(alph) or Earlham, three gyrfalcons, and Gibbun's gyrfalcon [presumably one of the hawks kept by a falconer named Gibbun] than which we have no better, and a 'gentle' falcon, ordering that you receive them and place them in the mews, and seek out fat goats for them, and from time to time good chickens, and each week ensure that they are fed on the meat of hares, and find good mastiffs to guard the mews. The cost that you incur in keeping these falcons, and the expenses of Spark(elin) the man of W(illiam) de Merk, their keeper, with a man and a horse, will be accounted to you at the Exchequer. Witnessed by the King himself at Geddington, 21 March in the 16th year of our reign" (1215).
[Charter Roll 16 John, m.6 C, TNA C 54/9 m.6.]

Besides being instructed to receive four falcons, one of them described as the best that the King possessed, John fitz Hugh was given detailed commands on the diet to be fed to these birds and to ensure the falcons' safety in their mews by obtaining the best guard dogs. This letter, along with several others, rather gives the impression that King John was inclined to micromanagement, in particular of those matters that lay closest to his heart: his jewels, his prisoners, his hostages, his hawks and his hounds.

Gyrfalcons, mostly obtained from Norway, were prized in particular for use against cranes, herons and other waterfowl. The King's insistence that his own gyrfalcons be fed on hare meat at least once a week accords with accepted custom whereby diet was intended to discourage fat, and training for falcons intended to fly against cranes and herons was undertaken with flight first against lures and then against live hares. Like the hare, the heron makes sudden twists and turns that the falcon had to learn to predict. Cranes, by contrast, escape through long straight flights. Of King John's love of crane hunting there is no doubt. In 1212, for example, the King fed fifty paupers in penance for each of the seven cranes that he had sinfully hunted on a Holy Innocents' Day (28 December).

How to prepare a whole heron or crane (from Harleian MS. 4016 (circa 1440):

Take a heron; lete him blode as a crane, And serue him in al poyntes as a crane, in scalding, drawing and kuttyng the bone of the nekke a-wey, And lete the skyn be on, & c; roste him and sause him as þe Crane; breke awey the bone fro the kne to the fote, And lete the skyn be on.
Crane yrosted – his sauce is to be mynced with pouder of ginger, vynegre, & Mustard.

Alternatively if you’re having trouble getting a whole crane or heron ... then here's a cake recipe “adapted from an old English recipe” which appeared in the 1988 edition of the 'Lincoln Cathedral Cookbook':

Magna Carta Cake.
8 oz (225 gm) stale white bread without crusts.
½ pt (250 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (2 x 15ml) rum
4 oz (125 gm) dried fruit
2 oz (50 gm) chopped candied peel
3 oz (75 gm) mixed chopped pecans, macadamias, almonds
Grated rind of 1 large orange and 1 large lemon
2 oz (50 gm) shredded suet
2 oz (50 gm) soft brown sugar
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) mixed spice
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) cinnamon
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) nutmeg
1 egg

Butter a 9” x 5” (23 cm x 13 cm) tin or ovenproof dish.
Break the bread into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl containing the milk and rum, and leave to soak for an hour. Beat out lumps with a fork.
Add fruit, peel, nuts, lemon and orange rinds, suet, sugar and spice and mix well.
Beat egg and stir into the mixture to give a soft dropping consistency.
Turn into buttered dish and bake in pre-set oven (350°F, 180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 1½ - 2 hours till crunchy on top and set underneath.

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 20 Jun 2017, 23:39

21 June 1791 - 'The Flight to Varennes' – Louis XVI of France, Marie-Antoinette, and their immediate family attempted unsuccessfully to escape from Paris.

After the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 the royal family had resolutely stayed well away from Paris at the Palace of Versailles. However in October, following an assault on Versailles, the revolutionary National Assembly ordered their evacuation to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, saying it was for their safety. But watched over by the National Guard and confined to the palace they increasingly felt themselves prisoners. Louis however still believed that most people in the countryside were loyal to him, and he had hopes that if they could get to the royalist forces under General Bouille that were then gathered at Montmédy near the frontier with the Austrian Netherlands, he could initiate a counter-revolution.

The royal party’s escape began in darkness around midnight on the 20th June to an ingenious plan organised mainly by Axel Fersen, a Swedish aristocrat, military officer and diplomat, who was a devoted admirer (and possible lover) of Marie-Antoinette. On Fersen's suggestion a royalist officer, the Chevalier de Coigny, had for some weeks been making frequent visits to the palace, always wearing the same plain coat and hat. When the time came, the plan was that Louis would wear an identical coat so that the guards would take him for the visiting chevalier. The royal children were all to be dressed as girls and the Dauphin’s governess, the Marquise de Tourzel, was to pretend to be a Russian aristocrat in charge of the whole group, while the role of the children's governess was to be played by Marie-Antoinette dressed in plain black. The King himself would pretend to be the Russian baroness’s valet.

Fersen’s scheme initially proceeded as planned on the evening of June 20th, however it was soon beset by a number of problems and delays. The king’s escape was delayed by a visit from the Marquis de Lafayette and Jean-Sylvain Bailly, who kept him talking longer than expected. Marie-Antoinette slipped out of the Tuileries as planned, but then spent some time wandering lost in the unfamiliar streets outside before eventually locating her waiting carriage. The king’s entourage, due to congestion in the streets, was forced to take a longer route out of Paris than originally planned and it was further delayed near the city gates by a wedding party. All these delays put them at least 90 minutes behind schedule once they'd all finally met up outside the city walls.

Fersen had wanted the party to use light coaches to cover the 200 miles to Montmédy as speedily as possible, with the king and queen travelling separately, but Marie-Antoinette insisted they must all be together, so Fersen met them with a large heavy coach drawn by six horses that could accommodate them all. Louis would not let Fersen travel all the way with them as he did not want to escape ignominiously conducted by a foreign soldier, so Fersen presently dropped out and the Royal family proceeded with just a driver, changing horses at points along the way. Even so, the heavy carriage could only go at little more than a fast walking pace and they were soon hours behind schedule and too late to join up with the loyal military escorts that Fersen had arranged to accompany them along the route.

Back in Paris, the King’s escape was discovered around dawn on the 21st by which time the King’s coach was probably in the vicinity of Châlons. A contingent of National Guard was immediately sent in pursuit, and fast couriers despatched to carry word of their flight. Word also spread quickly around Paris prompting an angry reaction, with widespread claims that Louis' disappearance was evidence of an imminent counter-revolution or foreign invasion. Some also accused high ranking city officials, including Bailly and Lafayette, of assisting the royal family's escape.

Meanwhile the King’s coach proceeded slowly on its journey and in the evening reached Sainte-Menehould (around 80 kilometres from Montmédy), by which time news of their flight had already reached the town ahead of them. According to one tale when they arrived at Sainte-Menehould, Louis, always attentive to the inner man, insisted they stop to sample the local cuisine. Whether this is true, or that they just stopped to change horses, it does nevertheless seem the they were rather complacent and incautiously got out of the coach. The local postmaster, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, had seen Marie Antoinette when he was in the army and he recognised her. He then checked the face of the party’s ‘valet’ against the King’s printed image on an assignat (similar to a bank note) and found them to match. He quickly rode on to Varennes, the next stop, and was there when the lumbering royal coach arrived at close to midnight. Drouet went straight to the town authorities insisting that the travellers were Louis and Marie-Antoinette. After some hesitation (their passport was perfectly in order – having been signed by the King no less), an elderly citizen who had once lived at Versailles was brought in. As soon as he saw Louis he instinctively bent his knee in homage and Louis admitted that he was the King. The game was up.

'The arrest of Louis and his family at Varennes', by Thomas Falcon Marshall (1854).

The royal party were held overnight and at 7am a large contingent of National Guardsmen arrived with orders to accompany them back to Paris. Just as they were all about to depart Varennes on the return journey, a squadron of royalist troops arrived and they contemplated an assault to rescue them, but fearing the King and his family would be massacred, the royalist officers refused to attack and withdrew, and so with a large armed escort the royal family set out back to Paris.

Whatever public affection the king had enjoyed in early 1791 was shattered by the events of June 20th and 21st. The royal family was returned to Paris and reinstalled at the Tuileries Palace, this time under a more visible guard. Their failed adventure triggered a rush of crude propaganda that ridiculed the royals and their fumbled escape attempt. There were widespread demands for the immediate abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a republic. Some went further and insisted the King be put on trial for treason against the constitution. It was widely believed that the Austrians had organised the royal escape and evidence was found in the Tuileries after the palace was stormed by a murderous mob in 10 August 1792. Following this assault, on the 13 August the royal family were sent to prison and on the 21 September the National Assembly proclaimed France a republic. Louis and Marie-Antoinette were tried for treason and both were found guilty, one of the main charges being that by they attempted escape to Montmédy they had tried to incite a foreign power to invade France. He went to the guillotine on 21 January 1793 and she met the same fate on 16 October. 

But returning to their attempted escape in June 1791, for ‘Dish of the Day’ I propose that speciality of Sainte Menehould that so tempted Louis XVI … it was a dish pigs’ pettitoes or trotters, and the town is still famous for its pieds de cochon:

A dish styled à la Menehould usually refers to something dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, then fried or grilled, and often with mustard on the side. The constant factor seems to be the breadcrumbs and it was already a classic way of preparing many dishes before Louis’ unfortunate last meal in freedom.

I can’t find a suitable English recipe for pig's trotters cooked in breadcrumbs, and anyway trotters aren't to everyone's taste, but there is this recipe for mutton in the "French Way, call’d, St. Menehout" from almost the right date, taken from Hannah Glasse's 'The Art of Cookery' (1796):

Mutton ... Another French Way, call’d, St. Menehout.

Take the Hind Saddle of Mutton, take off the Skin, lard it with Bacon, season it with Pepper, Salt, Mace, Cloves beat, and Nutmeg, Sweet Herbs, young Onions, and Parsley, all chopp’d fine; take a large Oval, or a large Gravy-pan, lay Layers of Bacon, and then Layers of Beef all over the Bottom, lay in the Mutton, then lay Layers of Bacon on the Mutton, and then a Layer of Beef, put in a Pint of Wine, and as much good Gravy as will stew it, put in a Bay-Leaf, and two or three Shalots, cover it close, put Fire over and under it, if you have a close Pan, and let it stand stewing for two Hours; when done, take it out, strew Crumbs of Bread all over it, and put it into the Oven to Brown, strain the Gravy it was stew’d in, and boil it till there is just enough for Sauce, lay the Mutton into the Dish, pour the Sauce in, and serve it up. You must Brown it before a Fire, if you have not an Oven.

Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 13:22; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 21 Jun 2017, 15:34

"Let them eat cake"." Qu'ils mangent de la brioche",
Following on from Meles' post about the Royal flight to Varennes, the above saying is usually attribured to Marie Antoinette.
This is a recipe for Brioche de St Genix, a Savoyard dish which should fill even the hungriest Jacobin:

1/3 cup sugar
40 almonds
3 drops red food coloring
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup warm whole milk, or cream (100 to 110 degrees F)
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing
2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rock sugar
For the pralines: Mix together the sugar, almonds, food coloring and 1/3 cup water in a pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; do not stir until the water starts boiling, then you can start swirling the pan gently. When the liquid starts to thicken, after about 5 minutes, stir continuously until you feel a caramel texture. Take the pan away from the heat and stir until the sugar crystallizes, 12 to 15 minutes. Place the almonds on parchment paper and let them cool.  

For the brioche: Stir together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the warm milk, butter and lightly beaten eggs into the flour mixture; knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours. Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of the dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl. Work your way around the circumference of the dough, lifting and releasing. Cover the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, during which time the dough may continue to rise and may double in size again.  
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. The dough must be cool to the touch, so only take out the dough immediately before you get started. Flatten the dough slightly, and then add 1 1/2 handfuls of the pralines in the center. Fold and shape the dough around the pralines so they are completely surrounded by the dough and both sides are closed. Flip the dough over so the new "seam" side is down and roll gently with both hands to shape and smooth out the dough.  
Place the dough on a greased baking pan and let sit at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.  
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  
Whisk together the remaining egg and sugar to make an egg wash. Cover the dough with the egg wash using a pastry brush and sprinkle with the rock sugar.  
Bake for 25 minutes with the oven door closed, then for another 15 minutes with the door open. This will ensure the brioche is baked evenly and does not brown too much on the outside.
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 21 Jun 2017, 21:56

"Let them eat cake". Yes, poor Marie-Antoinette, while she almost certainly didn't say that, or at least not in the way that it is usually remembered, it seems likely to now be stuck with her for eternity. And while Louis XVI certainly enjoyed his food he wasn't, despite how he was often portrayed, a fat, greedy, glutton. He certainly was nothing like his near contemporary the grotesquely, obese British Prince Regent, the so-called 'Prince of Whales', later George IV.

Marie-Antoinette was actually quite abstemious in her diet. Protocol demanded that the King and Queen usually dined daily in public, on which occasions they were served with an enormous number of elaborate dishes: all very rich, large, copious, expensive and beautifully presented. Louis generally tucked in happily, sampling this and tasting that, but often Marie-Antoinette, after nibbling a few mouthfuls just for the sake of etiquette, often excused herself and went to dine alone. She hated eating in public and especially under intense public scrutiny. For several years after their marriage she had failed to conceive and inevitably everyone at court was watching for any signs or reasons for this 'failing'. Although nothing is certain I suspect she had some form of stress-driven eating disorder, it wasn't classic anorexia nor bulemia, but she certainly wasn't always a healthily normal eater, even in later life after eventually producing the required heirs in abundance. In the privacy of her own apartments Marie-Antoinette usually ate just simple soups, bread (good white bread but not usually brioche), poached fish or chicken, and lots of vegetables, often in the form of cold, cooked vegetables, similar to what is nowadays called in French a Macédonie (I can't think what it is in English), that is, chopped french french beans, diced carrots, peas etc ... cooked, then allowed to cool and mixed together with a dressing.

Nevertheless for all her fairly simple tastes - at least in her personal food preferences - for their attempted escape from Paris she made sure that the already overloaded coach was fully supplied with ample packed-lunches ... and dinners ... and suppers ... and all with choices of wine ... and there was a bottle of brandy too. Amongst all these provisions there were several of her favourite vegetable 'Macedonie' dishes. But diced carrots and peas aren't the easiest things to fork off a plate at the best of times, and are near impossible to eat in a lurching carriage. But apparently Marie-Antoinette's personal cook (who was presumably in on the plot) had planned for this by setting her favourite diced vegetable salads in aspic jelly, just so they wouldn't roll off the plate if eaten on the move. This is often claimed to be the origin of things like vegetable or seafood terrines, although this is clearly nonsense as setting food in jelly had be going on for centuries, nevertheless it does show that someone at least was thinking ahead. If only Louis and Marie-Antoinette had stuck with their prepared picnic meals and not been tempted by some sizzling pig's trotters en route.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 23 Jun 2017, 14:00

23 June 1314 – The Battle of Bannockburn.

The Wars of Scottish Independence began in 1296 when a large English army invaded Scotland. Initially the English were successful under the command of Edward I, ‘The Hammer of the Scots’, and by 1304 Scotland had been conquered. But in 1306 Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne and the war was reopened.

Edward II came to the English throne in 1307 but was incapable of providing the determined leadership that had been shown by his father, and the English position soon became more difficult. Stirling Castle was one of the most important castles that was held by the English as it commanded the route north into the Scottish Highlands, and accordingly in 1314 it was besieged by Robert the Bruce's brother, Edward Bruce. Edward II mustered a large force and marched into Scotland to try and relieve the English garrison in the castle, but they were intercepted on the plain to the south of Stirling by a smaller army commanded by the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce.

The battle took place over two days. On the first (23 June) the English heavy cavalry charged several times but failed to break the Scottish formation and the day ended with neither side having gained the upper hand. Nevertheless the failure of the English to defeat the smaller Scottish force had affected English morale. On second day the English again launched an ineffectual charge but then they were steadily pushed back until eventually the English army broke. Edward fled with his personal bodyguard, eventually slipping away to Dunbar and then by sea back to Berwick, but for the rest of his army the defeat turned into a rout. Many were killed on the battlefield or by the pursuing Scottish army as they attempted to get back to England. Estimates suggest that perhaps only a third of the English foot-soldiers managed to get back to their own country, while overall Scottish losses were comparatively light.

The defeat of the English army opened up the north of England to Scottish raids and allowed the Scottish invasion of Ireland. These finally led to the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton. under which the English Crown recognised the full independence of the Kingdom of Scotland, and acknowledged Robert the Bruce, and his heirs and successors, as the rightful rulers.

The battle takes its name from the Bannock Burn (I think that's right, isn't it Ferval?), a stream that still crosses the plain south of Stirling castle ... although where exactly the battle was fought is still debated. A bannock is of course a heavy, unleavened barley of oatmeal bread (and so common wherever wheat, with it's higher gluten content, isn't the principal grain crop), ... baked on a griddle, a skillet or just a hot flat stone once the ashes have been brushed aside, and was it was just the sort of simple bread, easily cooked in the field, that was eaten by both armies on the eve of battle.

However for dish of the day, seeing as it is a major milestone in Scottish independence, I think something a wee bit special is required and accordingly a 'Selkirk bannock' should fit the bill. The Selkirk bannock is somewhat different to a traditional bannock - notwithstanding the deliciousness of ordinary bannocks - for it is a rich, fruity  and buttery tea bread:

The first reference to the Selkirk bannock in print seems to be in the novel 'The Bride of Lammermoor', by Sir Walter Scott (1819), where it is mentioned amongst the petticoat-tail shortbread and sweet scones as ‘delicacies little known to the present generation’. But barely a decade later Robert Chambers, a Scottish publisher, noted in 'The Picture of Scotland' (1827) that, ‘Before quitting Selkirk, it ought to be mentioned that it is famous for the manufacture of a peculiarly light and agreeable species of bread, called “Selkirk Bannocks”. The loaves were originally made of barley-meal, but are now composed of the finest flour.’ Many recipes resembling Selkirk bannock can be found in old Scottish cookery books under the guise of a bun loaf. For instance in ‘The Practice of Cookery, Pastry, and Confectionary’ (1820) Mrs. Frazer offers a recipe called a ‘rich half-peck Bun’, which is very similar.

The method of producing a true Selkirk bannock usually starts with a sourdough and requires one or two long fermentation periods before baking, however this quicker recipe, adapted from F. Marian McNeill’s book, ‘Recipes from Scotland’ (1947), produces something fairly similar without the need for long fermentation. At any rate it still makes a rich and soft tea bread.

Selkirk Bannock recipe adapted from 'Recipes of Scotland' (1947) as given on Scotsman Food & Drink

• 500g strong white bread flour
• 300g whole milk
• 50g unsalted butter
• 50g lard (you could replace this with 50g butter)
• 100g sugar
• 150g sultanas
• 7g fast action yeast (or 15g fresh yeast rubbed into the flour)
• 10g salt

1 - Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and sultanas in a large bowl. Melt the butter and lard over a gentle heat in a small saucepan, take off the heat and whisk in the milk.
2 - Pour this over the dry ingredients and combine. Knead gently for three to five minutes.
3- Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 1 hour or until 1.5 times its original volume. Alternatively you can add the raisins after this proving time when you shape the dough.
4 - Shape the dough to make it round, and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Leave to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
5 - When doubled in size bake in the centre shelf of a preheated oven (180˚C) for 30 minutes.

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 28 Jun 2017, 10:42

28 June 1914 – the assasination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip. Princip was one of a group of six assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić, a member of the Black Hand secret society. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's southern Slav provinces so they could be combined into a pan-Slavic state or Yugoslavia.  The assassins were armed and trained by Serbian Military Intelligence. Over the following six weeks those two shots echoed around Europe as the intricate network of international treaties and alliances drew one state after another down the slippery slope to the outbreak of the First World War.

On the morning of 28 June 1914, Franz-Ferdinand and his party arrived by train in Sarajevo where they were welcomed by the city’s Governor-General, Oskar Potiorek. Six automobiles were waiting but by mistake, three local police officers got into the first car with the chief officer of security; and the special security officers who were supposed to accompany their chief got left behind. The second car carried the Mayor and the Chief of Police of Sarajevo. Franz Ferdinand, Sophie, Governor Potiorek, and Franz-Ferdinand’s personal body guard, Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach, rode in the third car. Security arrangements within Sarajevo were limited. The local military commander, General Michael von Appel, had proposed that troops line the intended route but was told that this would offend the loyal citizenry. Protection for the visiting party was accordingly left to the Sarajevo police, of whom only 60 were on duty on the day of the visit.

The day’s program, timing and route they would take had all been published in advance in the local newspapers. After a brief inspection of a military barracks, the motorcade left the barracks at 10:00 for the town hall by way of the Appel Quay. It was here at about 10:10am that the motorcade passed the first assassin, Muhamed Mehmedbašić, who was in front of the garden of the Mostar Cafe armed with a bomb. But Mehmedbašić failed to act. A second assassin, Vaso Čubrilović, was positioned a few paces further down the street armed with a pistol and a bomb. He too failed to act. On the opposite side of the street near the  Miljacka River was Nedeljko Čabrinović armed with a bomb. As Franz Ferdinand's car approached Čabrinović threw his bomb but the bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street and exploded under the following car putting that car out of action and wounding 16–20 people.

Čabrinović promptly swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka river. However his suicide attempt failed as the out-of-date cyanide only induced vomiting, and the river was only 13 cm deep due to the hot, dry summer. Police dragged Čabrinović out of the river, and he was severely beaten by the crowd before being taken into custody. The Arch-Duke’s motorcade had briefly stopped following the bomb attack but now sped on towards the Town Hall leaving the disabled car behind. Three more conspirators were positioned further along the route but Cvjetko Popović, Gavrilo Princip, and Trifun Grabež all failed to act as the motorcade passed them at high speed.

Arriving at the Town Hall for a scheduled reception, Franz Ferdinand showed understandable signs of stress, interrupting a prepared speech of welcome by Mayor Fehim Curčić to protest, until he was calmed down by Duchess Sophie. The Mayor completed his address and Franz Ferdinand replied, adding a few remarks about the day's events and thanking the people of Sarajevo for their ovations, "as I see in them an expression of their joy at the failure of the attempt at assassination.”

Officials and members of the Archduke's party discussed what to do next. The Achduke's chamberlain, Baron Rumerskirch, proposed that the couple remain at the Town Hall until troops could be brought into the city to line the streets. Governor-General Oskar Potiorek vetoed this suggestion on the grounds that soldiers coming straight from manoeuvres would not have the dress uniforms appropriate for such duties. "Do you think that Sarajevo is full of assassins?" he concluded.

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie gave up their planned program in favour of going to the hospital to visit the wounded from the bombing. At 10:45 am they got back into the motorcade, once again in the third car. In order to avoid the city center, it was decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital. However, in the confusion the driver, Leopold Lojka, wasn’t told of the change in plan and followed the original planned route by turning right into Franz Josef Street heading towards the National Museum which was to have been the next stop.

Franz-Ferninand and Duchess Sophie leave Sarajevo Town Hall.

Meanwhile the remaining conspirators, after learning that the first assassination attempt had been unsuccessful, dispersed demoralised. Princip seems to have gone to a nearby café, Schiller's delicatessen, on the corner on Franz Joseph Street and Appel Quay, just across from the Latinska Bridge. It is possible that this was a deliberate move since it lay on the original planned route for the Archduke’s return journey from the Town Hall, but by now it seems no-one expected the royal party to return by the same route. Either way it was completely by chance that this was precisely at the point where the Archdukes' motorcade turned off the Appel Quay, mistakenly following the original route . Governor Potiorek, who was sharing the vehicle with the Imperial couple, called out to the driver to reverse and take the Quay to the hospital. Driver Lojka stopped the car close to where Princip was standing, prior to backing up. Princip stepped forward and fired two shots from a distance of "about four of five paces". The first bullet hit the Archduke in the neck, the second inflicted an abdominal wound on the Duchess. Princip was immediately arrested. At his subsequent sentencing he stated that his intention had been to kill Govenor Potiorek, rather than Sophie.

Both victims remained seated upright while being driven to the Governor's residence for medical treatment. As reported by Count Harrach, Franz Ferdinand's last words were "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!". Sophie was dead on arrival at the Governor's residence and Franz Ferdinand died 10 minutes later. It was their 14th wedding anniversary.

Immediately after the shooting. This picture is often said to depict the arrest of Gavrilo Princip but it is now generally thought to show the arrest of Ferdinand Behr, a bystander who was initially suspected of involvement in the assassination.

It was certainly by luck that Princip, having failed to act as the motorcade sped past on the way to the Town Hall, had ended up in a new position at Schiller’s delicatessen, exactly where the car would be briefly stopped by taking the a wrong turn. But there is also an oft-repeated tale that Princip only happened to be there because he’d gone into Schiller’s to get something to eat … this something even being sometimes described most specifically as a cheese sandwich.  I’d never encountered this story when I did O level history but I have come across it several times in recent years, both in TV documentaries and on several, otherwise quite reliable, websites. However none of the statements by Princip himself nor those by witnesses, made either directly after the event or under cross-examination during Princip’s  trial, make any reference to him buying food from the delicatessen or indeed even going into it.  However in interviews in the 1960s and 70s, when memories might well have dimmed, fellow conspirator Cvjetko Popović did state that Princip was inside the café having a coffee, while Princip’s brother said that Princip's girlfriend, Dragitsa, had rushed into Schiller’s and told him the Archduke's car was stopped outside. So Princip may well have been either waiting with intent, or drowning his sorrows, by having a coffee in Schiller's. But he most certainly wouldn’t have been eating a cheese sandwich which would have been a most unusual thing to eat in Sarajevo in 1914. However he could conceivably have been eating a Bosnian cheese  ‘pie’ either a sirnica made with cottage cheese, or a zeljanica made with spinach and cheese, and maybe this little embellishment has become translated into English as the cheese sandwich. So while the tale cannot be disproved there does seem to be a possibility that it was Princip’s need for a cup of coffee that put him exactly in the right place at the right time.

Moritz Schiller's delicatessen at the junction of Franz Josef Street and Appel Quay (the Latinska Bridge is just out of sight to the right). The x markes the spot where Franz-Ferdinand's car was stopped allowing Princip to fire from the pavement outside the cafe.

For 'dish of the day' these Bosnian specialities, which moreover can be eaten by hand in the street or in a streetside cafe, do seem appropriate. Cheesey sirnica or zeljanica are actually just specific varieties of a dish that is found throughout the Balkans, Turkey, the Levant and North Africa ... burek, or börek, byrek, byurek, boureki and brik, just to name a few variants. This is a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as phyllo (or yufka), and usually filled with a savoury meat, cheese, or vegetable filling.

The dish was well established at the Ottoman court by the 15th century when there were already detailed regulations applied throughout the Empire regarding the thickness of the crust, the type and quality of ingredients, and the price. It was via the Ottomans that the dish was introduced to the Balkans and Mediterranean, but it may originally have come from central Asia when the Turks migrated to Anatolia in the Middle Ages. Alternatively it may have its origins in Eastern Roman or Byzantine cuisine, since Cato the Elder included a similar layered pastry and filling pie, called placenta, in his De Agricultura (160 BC):
"Shape the placenta as follows: place a single row of tracta along the whole length of the base dough. This is then covered with the mixture [cheese and honey] from the mortar. Place another row of tracta on top and go on doing so until all the cheese and honey have been used up. Finish with a layer of tracta...place the placenta in the oven and put a preheated lid on top of it."

So for todays dish here’s a recipe for Bosnian burek. While Serbian burek is round and can be made with cheese, vegetables or minced meat, in Bosnia it is only called burek if the filling is meat - if the filling is of something else, cheese, spinach, pumpkin or whatever, it is called pita (pie). Bosnian burek is also typically wound in a distinctive spiral shape.

Manu's Menu : Bosnian Burek

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 29 Jun 2017, 21:47

A very informative entry Meles. You keep outdoing yourself with these. You're right about the details surrounding the assassination not being widely known (at least not in the English-speaking world) until relatively recently. And there are several things in there you've mentioned that I certainly wasn't aware of. In addition to that I also now have a craving for a greasy slice of cheese and pumpkin pita.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 30 Jun 2017, 09:50

MM, why don't you use these articles to start your own blog? Heaven knows, they are worthy of a wider audience and might eventually attract some advertising to give you a bit of income and could be linked to your B&B business as well. Already you have an archive ready to publish on the appropriate dates and it can't be that difficult given all these weans that seem to be making a career, and a living, from their vapid ramblings. Your contributions are both informative and engaging so why should we few be the only ones who get to enjoy them? Go for it, what's to lose?
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 01 Jul 2017, 06:29

Yes, I thought of a blog, too, ferval.  That seems to be where people put things of import these days, though I gather Facebook also has pages dedicated to specific subjects. 

I was wondering about a blog for myself, something about strokes and books/reading.  The latter something I have knowledge about foisted on me, and the other of which I have always been interested in. The trouble is I am something of a magpie, having some interest in many subjects but no deep knowledge of anything.  (Except, I suppose, the popularity of first names in NZ.)
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 05 Jul 2017, 14:45

@ferval wrote:
MM, why don't you use these articles to start your own blog?

In the words of the late Barry Norman "and why not?"


Eighty years ago today, this made it's first appearance:

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 07 Jul 2017, 08:39

Blogs ... yes I had been thinking of starting one linked to my b&b business as part of its website ... basically along the lines of the changing seasons, what's going on, local festivals, what's in season, mushrooms, bird-watching, flowers ... all that sort of thing. But it would be a fair bit of work to keep up with, and other things crop up.

Regarding 'Dish of the Day' I note I have just missed several key dates. American Independence was of course on the 4th July, although we have done that before. I'd also sketched out something for 2nd July to mark the passing of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act in 1928, which finally gave women in the UK electoral equality with men ... and the interesting links between the suffragette movement and vegetarianism. However I never got the time to finish it ... but it will keep until next year.

So now, and only one day late .....

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 07 Jul 2017, 08:58

6 July 1483 – The Coronation of Richard III.

The coronation that took place on Sunday 6th July 1483 was, only a fortnight earlier, unplanned. London was prepared for coronation, that of King Edward V on 22nd June, but that was fated not to take place. Edward had been declared illegitimate and his Protector asked to take the throne. It was also a joint coronation as Richard and his wife, Anne Neville, were crowned together. This was the first joint coronation in 175 years since Edward II had his wife Isabella of France crowned beside him on 25th February 1308. The absence for so long of a couple being crowned together was in part a testament to the upheavals of the previous century or more. So, perhaps, this joint coronation of a settled, mature couple, Richard being 30 and Anne aged 27, promised much. They already had a son to act as their heir. The omens were promising.

Richard III and Anne Neville.

With the exception of three earls who were minors, too young to attend, and a small handful of others, the entire English nobility turned out to celebrate the coronation. Notably absent from all the proceedings were of course the twelve-year-old Edward V and his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, who were both now lodged, close-guarded, in the Tower of London. In addition to the absence of these two princes there were several other notable anomalies full of both promise and foreboding, which, while masked by all the rapturous pageantry, were doubtless well noted by all those there. As ever the significance is in the detail and so I hope you’ll excuse the rather lengthy description of the coronation procession and banquet, although I find even the most minor of details fascinating in their own right. The coronation and banquet followed much the same pattern as that described above for the coronation of Anne Boleyn ('Dish of the Day' for 1st June) but whereas only 800 guests attended Anne’s coronation feast, at Richard III’s there were 3000 and that's without counting all the officials, ushers, cooks, and servants.

On Sunday 6th July, King Richard and Queen Anne processed from White Hall to Westminster Hall, walking on a carpet of vibrant red cloth. The master of the ceremonies that had now begun to unfold was Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham ... despite John Howard having just been granted the offices of Earl Marshall and High Steward of England, which usually would have made him the man traditionally positioned to oversee the coronation. Buckingham, though, had been instrumental in handing Richard the crown, and he was now determined to be second only to the King, though it is questionable whether second was ever going to be enough for this proud man. For Buckingham the coronation set a precedent of spoiled indulgence and naked ambition, that was soon to overflow into rebellion.

The spectacle proper began as the king and queen now walked the short distance from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. They walked barefoot, as was traditional, behind a large cross and members of the clergy. Anne, as was also traditional for a queen's coronation, wore her hair loose which is how she is depicted above. Just behind them Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, carried the blunt sword of mercy while next to him Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby, bore the Lord High Constable’s mace, and so he also walked in a position senior to all the other dukes and earls alike. (An odd turn of events for a man known for a lack of loyalty that was unpalatable to Richard. Stanley had been involved in a long feud over possession of Hornby Castle with Sir James Harrington. Richard had, as early as 1470, taken Harrington’s side in the affair yet chose to lavishly honour Stanley. Was this a nod to the inescapable political reality that Edward IV had worked within? Stanley headed a veracious, up and coming family that boasted a huge force of men upon which they could call. It may have been a genuine attempt to build political bridges. If he was to rule all of England, niggling local feuds would have to be put to bed. Either way, an old enemy was in a place of high honour).

Next came the Earl of Kent and Richard’s closest friend Francis, Viscount Lovell, each carrying a pointed sword of justice. Richard’s brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk, held the sceptre, and the King’s nephew John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, bore the orb. Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, solemnly bore the sheathed sword of state held upright before him. Finally came Surrey’s father, John Howard, Duke of Norfolk carefully holding the crown in his hands. Richard himself walked enrobed in a sumptuous purple velvet gown, a bishop at each shoulder and his train born without much humility by the Duke of Buckingham, while the Wardens of the Cinque Ports held the cloth of estate above the King’s head. With all the jewels, rich cloth and vivid, vibrant colours, and moreover the presence of nearly the entire English nobility, the message of a bright new future was clear for all to see.

Behind followed a series of earls and barons bearing the queen’s regalia. Anne walked behind with Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond holding her train. (Margaret Beaufort happened to be both the wife of Thomas, Lord Stanley and the mother of the final, glowing ember of Lancastrian hope in exile, the future Henry VII. Margaret Beaufort was a natural Lancastrian yet, although just a countess, she too walked ahead of any duchess). Richard’s sister Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, walked alone in state followed by a further 20 ladies of the nobility and a host of knights and squires.

As they entered Westminster Abbey, the space erupted with choral rejoicing. Divested of their ceremonial garb, the king and queen were anointed with holy oil by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury. When they had been enrobed in sumptuous cloth of gold, the elderly Archbishop lowered a crown upon the heads of the new king and queen. A solemn Te Deum was sung and High Mass was said. England was rejoicing in the king and queen that God had appointed to her.

They then all processed back to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet. The royal table was placed on a dais, and on the floor of the hall four further long tables were placed, one for the attending bishops, the second for the high ranking nobility, a third for the barons and the fourth for the ladies invited. In order of rank they all filed in and pledged their loyalty before the king and queen before taking their seat.

Who Sat Where

The Queen sat on the King’s left. On the King’s right was the seat for the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop was 79 years old and, tired by the lengthy Coronation rite, did not attend. But his 'deputy', the Bishop of Durham, William Dudley, sat in his place. Behind the Queen stood two noble ladies who held a cloth over the Queen when she ate or drank: the Countess of Surrey stood on the Queen’s right and the Countess of Nottingham stood on her left. The Countess of Surrey was Elizabeth Howard, wife of Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and daughter-in-law of John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshall. The Countess of Nottingham was Jane Berkeley, wife of William Berkeley, Earl of Nottingham. She was first cousin to Richard III as her mother and Richard’s mother, Cecily Neville, were sisters.

Two of Richard III’s squires sat at his feet during the banquet to give "any service needed" and I'm guessing since they were hidden under the table, that they were in charge of the royal pisspot. Anne also had two maids sous table, presumably for the same purpose. I'll bet there was much stifled giggling under the top table as inevitably their services would have been required at least once during the five hours of the banquet. I wonder though how did the elderly bishop of Durham manage as there is no record of any similar provision being made for him. (It's uncertain exactly how old William Dudley, the Bishop of Durham was, but he was probably well into his 60s and he died barely four months after the coronation on 29 November).

Four long tables were set up on the length of the hall. The first on the King's right hand side was headed by the Lord Chancellor and included all the bishops and prelates. The second was for all the senior nobility: dukes and earls (those that weren't involved in any official capacity), together with the King’s Chaplain and the Lord Mayor of London. The third table was for the barons and lesser nobility as well as the Judges, the officials of the Exchequer and other men of the law. The last long table was for the Queen’s ladies, including the Duchesses of Suffolk and Norfolk at the top end, and next to them the Countess of Richmond (Margaret Beaufort, whose son would topple Richard from his throne just two short years later).

In addition to those actually seated at the four long tables, there were separate seatings elsewhere for “the lordes and ladyes” and for “the comons.” Inside the Hall there were also two small stages, one for the minstrels and trumpeters, and one for the heralds, at the top end of the Hall in the corners behind the high table.

The Food

When everyone was seated, the first course was brought in accompanied by a fanfare of trumpets. Leading the procession of dishes to the top table were Sir Robert Percy as Marshal of the Hall, the Earl of Surrey as Steward, Lord Lovell as Chamberlain, and Sir William Hopton as Treasurer, the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal, and the Duke of Buckingham as the Great Chamberlain ... followed by seventeen newly-made Knights of the Bath carrying the actual dishes. First served was the King on gold plate, then the Queen on gilt plate, then the Bishop of Durham on silver plate. Once the top table had been served the first two dishes, the other four long tables were served, starting at the right-hand table ... and down until at the last to the lowest-ranked at the bottom end of the left hand table (although at least even the lowly baron's wives sat there had been invited and had got a seat ... and so were several cuts above the mass of the better sort of common people who, while they had been admitted, could only watch from the sides).

First Course
Potage: frumentie with veneson and bruett Tuskayne [Frumentie – a dish of boiled wheat, milk, spices etc with venison and potage/broth Tuscan]
Viand comford riall [Meat minced, spiced, pressed in a cloth, boiled and served in slices, “royal”]
Mamory riall [Small pieces of brawn, capon or partridge, “royal”]
Bief and moton [Beef and mutton]
Fesaunt in trayne [Pheasant with tail feathers displayed]
Cignett rost [Roast cygnet]
Crane rost [Roast crane]
Capons of hault grece in lymony [Fat or crammed capons in lemon]
Heronshewe rost [Roast herons]
Gret carpe of venyson rost [Shredded or sliced venison, roasted]
Grett luce in eger doulce [A large pike in a sweet-sour sauce]
Leche solace [A sliced jelly]
Fretor Robert riall [Fritter “Robert royal”]
Gret flampayne riall [a large pie or tart decorated with points of pastry “royal”]
Custard Edward planted [An open pie “Edward decorated” I wonder what that means]
A sotiltie [A subtlety]

That was the first course as served to the top table, everyone else got a slightly pared down version.

Before the second course of the feast was served there was the traditional bit of drama when the King’s Champion burst into the hall. Sir Robert Dymmock (whose family still hold the ceremonial position) rode in on a horse draped in red and white silk while he wore a suit of white armour. He threw down his gauntlet and issued the traditional challenge to any who doubted King Richard’s right to rule. With no challenge forthcoming, the Champion was served a goblet of red wine. Taking a draught, he cast the rest upon the floor and then, keeping the cup as his traditional reward, he rode from the room.

Second Course
Gely partied with a devise [A jelly, divided by a “devise”]
Viand blanc in barre [White meat decorated with ornamental gold or silver strips]
Pecokes in his hakell and trapper [Peacock with his neck feathers and tail plumage]
Roo reversed in purpill [Roe deer - turned inside-out?]
Runers rost [Roast rail]
Betorr rost [Roast bittern]
Peiene rost [Roast pigeon]
Partriche rost [Roast partridge]
Pomes birt [Birtles, sweet summer apples]
Scotwhelpes rost [Roast knot, a bird of the snipe family]
Rollettes of veneson farced [Rolls of venison, stuffed?]
Gret carpe and breme in foile [Great carp and bream in foil]
Leche frument riall planted [Sliced jellied frumentie “royal decorated’]
Frettour rosett and jasmine [Fritters flavored with roses and jasmine]
Tart burbonet bake [Unidentified baked tart]
Venyson bake [Baked venison]
A sotiltie [A subtlety]

There was intended to have been a third course which would have been served only to the top table, but by this time it was getting dark so it wasn’t served (presumably it all went as alms to the poor or largesse to the commons).

Third Course
Blaundsorr [Chicken or fish stewed in wine and spices]
Nosewis in compost [a dish composed of nuts in a spiced/sugared preserve of fruits or vegetables]
Venyson rost [Roast venison]
Telle in barre [Teal decorated with ornamental gold or silver strips]
Langettes de lyre [Tongue-shaped pieces of brawn]
Pety chek in bolyen [Small chicken in boullion?]
Egrettes rost [Roast egrets]
Rabettes souker rost [Roast suckling rabbits]
Quailes rost [Roast quail]
Briddes brauncher rost [Young birds roasted]
Freshe sturgion with fenell [Fresh sturgeon with fennell]
Creves de ew doulce [Freshwater crayfish]
Leche viole and canell [Sliced jelly flavored with violet? and cinnamon]
Frittour crispe [Crispy fritters]
Rosettes florished [Garnished rosettes?]
Oranges bake [Baked oranges]
Quynces bake [Baked quinces]
A sotilty [A subtlety]

Instead of the third course, the banquet went straight to the ceremonial “void” that is the formal closing digestive of hippocras (spiced wine) with darioles (spiced biscuits) and wafers. This was served just to the King and Queen by the Mayor of London (by a long-established right) in ornate gold cups which the Mayor kept as his traditional “fee”. Everyone then rose and paid final homage to Richard and Anne, who then retired to their private chambers. It was then dark, so probably about 21:00 and the whole banquet had lasted about five hours.

Here's a recipe for the very first dish served to Richard III and Anne, frumentie with veneson, taken from 'Forme of Cury' (written by Richard II's royal cooks in about 1385):

To make frumente. Tak clene whete [wheat] & braye [grind/crush] yt wel in a morter tyl þe holes gon of [til the whole grains are broken down]; seþe [boil] it til it breste [burst/swells] in water. Nym [strain] it vp & lat it cole [cool]. Tak good broþ [broth] & swete mylk of kyn [fresh cow’s milk] or of almand [almond milk] & tempere it þerwith [mix in]. Nym [strain] ȝelkys of eyren rawe [raw egg yolks] & saffroun [saffron] & cast þerto; salt it; lat it nauȝt boyle after þe eyren ben cast þerinne [don’t let it boil once the eggs have been added]. Messe it forth with venesoun or with fat motoun fresch [serve it with venison or fresh mutton].

And from the unserved third course there's the delightfully named, nosewis in compost, that is nuts in a type of chutney preserve ... for once something medieval not containing huge quantities of exotic meat (recipe again from 'Form of Cury'):
Compost. Take rote of persel [parsely root], of Pasternak [parsnip], of rafens [radishes], scrape hem and waische hem clene. Take rapes [turnips] & caboches [cabbages], ypared and incorue [pared and cored]. Take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast alle þise þerinne. Whan þey buth boiled cast þereto peeres [pears], & perboile hem wel. Take alle þise thynges vp & lat it kele [cool] on a faire cloth. Do þereto salt; whan it is colde, do hit in a vessel; take vinegar & powdour [a ready prepared mix of spices, but which ones isn’t clear] & safroun [saffron] & do þereto & lat alle þise thynges lye þerin al nyȝt, oþer al day [let is stand a night and a day]. Take wyne greke [Greek wine] & hony, clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard [ground mustard with honey, wine and vinegar, like prepared French mustard] & raisouns courance, al hole, [whole raisins] & grynde powder of canel [cinnamon], powdour douce [another prepared spice mix, this one probably containing sugar] & aneys hole [whole aniseed], & fenell [fennel] seed. Take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthen [an earthenware pot], & take þerof whan þou wilt [take from it whenever you want, it’s a preserve] & seue forth.

..... Or if that's all too much of a palaver there's always that stalwart of school-dinners, spotted dick.

Last edited by Meles meles on Fri 07 Jul 2017, 18:52; edited 10 times in total (Reason for editing : a long post so inevitably some typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 07 Jul 2017, 15:45

As erudite and interesting as ever MM, thank you. As well as enjoying the results of your researches, I amuse myself by trying to think of more contemporary dishes that could be descendants of your receipts. The first recipe, if the straining of the crushed boiled wheat means they retained the thickened liquid rather than the grains, then that, along with the stock, egg yolks and saffron, would make something very close to a classical veloute or perhaps a spicy sauce anglaise. On the other hand, if they chuck away the boiling liquor and bung in the grain then it's a very hearty soup if not fancy porridge. It's such a shame that there wasn't a medieval Delia to leave us idiots' guides with all the details of these instructions.
I notice that another of the dishes is jellied frumente sliced - cold custard?

As to the compost (compote?), were it made entirely from fruit rather than mostly sweetish veg with some pears, then it would be, more or less, mostarda di frutti, something of which I am rather fond although I buy it in jars from the Italian deli. As you can see from this recipe it's at least as much of a palaver to make today as it was in Richard's kitchen.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 07 Jul 2017, 17:04

The 'nosewis in compost' recipe reminded me of when I made a batch of Branston-type pickle, to a recipe I'd found online (Branston, quite understandably will not divulge how their chutney is actually made). Anyway I was forced by circumstance to substitute radishes and turnips for unobtainable swede/rutabaga. All this of course because jars of pukka Branston are obscenely expensive in France and usually only obtainable through specialist grocers. Anyway I made a large batch of pickle/chutney about 5 years ago, and still have about a dozen jars in the cellar. When first made they were rather 'raw' and sweet-sour-acid in flavour, but now having matured, mixed and ameliorated, they are, though I say it myself, rather fine and a very passable imitation of real Branston. I suspect compost also much improved with age.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 07 Jul 2017, 22:39

7 July 1928. Sliced bread is sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder, a jeweller from Davenport, Iowa, invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine sometime before 1912. But the prototype that he'd built was destroyed in a fire, and so it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine installed at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped" and went on sale for the first time on 7 July 1928 (which was also Rohwedder’s 48th birthday). Initially however their bread was slow to sell because the sliced loaves, although wrapped, were not tightly packaged, and so rather had the appearance of a loose pile of bread slices, rather than a neatly sliced whole loaf. Accordingly most bakers were sceptical about Rohwedder’s machine and doubted that customers would really buy bread that would go stale faster just so they wouldn’t have to slice it themselves.

But one baker, Gustav Papendick in St Louis, did buy the second of Rohwedder's prototype bread slicers. Papendick then promptly set out to improve it by devising a way to keep the slices together, at least long enough to allow the loaves to be wrapped. After failures trying rubber bands and metal clips, he settled on a method of steering the cut slices onto a shaped cardboard tray, which correctly aligned the slices, so allowing a mechanized wrapping machine to function. Sliced bread finally went mainstream in 1930 when 'Wonder Bread', a brand that had been launched nationally in 1925 by the Continental Baking Company, started selling all their 'Wonder Bread' loaves machine-sliced and mechanically packaged.

This photograph depicts a "new electrical bread slicing machine" in use at an unnamed bakery in St. Louis in 1930 ... and so it almost certainly shows Rohwedder's machine in use at the the Papendick Bakery Company.

As commercially sliced bread resulted in uniform and somewhat thinner slices, people ate more slices of bread at a time, and ate bread more frequently because of the ease of eating another piece of bread. This increased consumption of bread and, in turn, increased the consumption of spreads to put on the bread, such as jams and  peanut butter.

So, just by way of a light snack before bed, how about a sandwich made with thinly-sliced white bread? And in deference to yesterday's anniversary of Richard III's coronation, I guess that should be a cheese and pickle sandwich, made from Wendsleydale cheese and 15th century 'compost' pickle.
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 15 Jul 2017, 12:49

14 July 1789 - Bastille Day ... but I'm afraid I didn't come up with anything. However Trike, over on the 'Taste of History' thread mentioned the following, which I've taken the liberty (and égalité et fraternité) of re-posting here.

Trceratops wrote:

There is a fairly obvious 14th of July 1789 anniversary. Yes, Alexander MacKenzie reached the mouth of the river later named after him. MacKenzie thought it flowed to the Pacific, when, instead, it exited into the Arctic Ocean, he named it "Disappointment River".

This salmon recipe is given a Canadian twist by including Maple Syrup;

Serves: 4  
60g maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
450g salmon fillets

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Extra time:30min marinating  ›  Ready in:1hr  
1.Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
2.In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
3.Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the fridge for 30 minutes, turning once.
4.Bake salmon uncovered for 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve.
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 17 Jul 2017, 06:58

17 July 1917 – Three years into the First World War and with no end in sight, George V finally agreed to abandon all titles he held under the German Crown and to change all his and his family's German titles and house names to anglicised versions.

George V was a member of the German ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha by virtue of his descent from Albert, Prince Consort, husband to Queen Victoria. During WW1 anti-German sentiment was rife and it reached a peak in March 1917, when German Gotha long-range heavy aircraft began bombing London and other British cities. Much to the chagrin of the Royal Family, their name, Gotha, thus became well-known but unfortunately associated with the enemy’s bombardment of British civilians. At the same time, on 15 March 1917, King George's first cousin, Nicholas II of Russia was forced to abdicate, which raised the spectre of the eventual abolition of all the monarchies in Europe. George V and his family were finally persuaded to abandon all titles held under the German Crown and to change their German titles and house names to anglicised versions. Hence, on 17 July 1917, a royal proclamation was issued by which George V declared:

"Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor ..."

The name, Windsor, had a long association with monarchy in Britain through Windsor Castle, which had been a royal residence since the 12th century. Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor, and in reference to Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’, the German Emperor, Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to go and see 'The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha'.

"A Good Riddance", from Punch, 27 June 1917, commenting on the King's order to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family.

Which all brings us to the topic of desserts , puddings and cakes named after various branches of the British royal family when they still had their Germanic names. Naturally, a recipe from a royal chef would be appropriate, so from 'The Modern Cook' (1846) by Charles Elmé Francatelli, chef to Queen Victoria, here is:

Pudding à la Coburg.
For this purpose it is necessary to have some ready-baked brioche. This should be cut in circular slices, about an inch less in diameter than the mould intended to be used for the pudding; the slices of brioche must be placed on a dish, and soaked in maraschino. The sides of the mould should be spread with butter, and ornamented with dried cherries and candied citron; and previously to placing the pieces of brioche in the mould, let each of them be sprinkled with apricot-jam; the mould must then be filled up with some vanilla-custard prepared for the purpose, part of which must, however, be reserved for the sauce. This pudding should be steamed in the usual way for about an hour and a quarter, and when done, turned out on its dish, and the sauce poured over it.

... and also from Francatelli's book there's, 

Brown-Bread Pudding, à la Gotha.
Get ready the following ingredients: - Twelve ounces of brown bread-crumbs, six ounces of pounded sugar, six eggs, half a pint of whipped cream, some grated lemon-rind, a little cinnamon-powder, one pound of morello cherries, and a little salt.

Mix the bread-crumbs, sugar, the yolks of eggs, and whipped cream, the lemon, the cinnamon, and the salt, together in a large basin; then add the whipped whites of six eggs, and set this aside. Next, spread a plain mould with butter, and strew it with brown bread-crumbs; then, spread a large spoonful of the preparation at the bottom of the mould, and arrange a layer of cherries (with the stones left in) upon it; cover this with some of the preparation, and upon it place more cherries, and so on until the mould is filled. The pudding must now be placed on a baking-sheet, and put in the oven (moderately heated), to be baked for about an hour; when done, turn it out of the mould on its dish, pour a puree of cherry-sauce round the base, and serve.

In Saxony, it is customary to eat this kind of pudding as a cake, when cold; in this case it should be entirely covered with sifted sugar, mixed with one-fourth part of cinnamon-powder.

Windsor Pudding long predates the royal change of name but nevertheless still was named after the Berkshire town. This recipe is from 'The Cook and Housekeeper's Dictionary' by Mary Eaton (1822),

Windsor Pudding.
Shred half a pound of suet very fine, grate into it half a pound of French roll, a little nutmeg, and the rind of a lemon. Add to these half a pound of chopped apple, half a pound of currants clean washed and fried, half a pound of jar raisins stoned and chopped, a glass of rich sweet wine, and five eggs well beaten, with a little salt. Mix all thoroughly together, and boil it in a basin or mould for three hours. Sift fine sugar over it when sent to table, and pour white wine sauce into the dish.

Several other british families with Germanic names also followed George V's lead, probably the best known being the Battenburgs who changed their name to Mountbatten. Battenberg or battenburg cake, with its distinctive, two-coloured, chequer-board construction, despite its name certainly originates in England, and cakes of that type, albeit with other names, date back to at least the early 19th century.

The Battenburg name supposedly was adopted in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884, and certainly Cassel’s 'Dictionary of Cookery' gives a recipe for "Battenberg Cake" in the 1883 edition, but this for a more traditional iced fruit cake.

Battenburg Cake.
Crush four ounces of almonds with one egg and two table-spoonfuls of rum; then put twelve ounces of sugar with twelve yolks of eggs into a pan. Beat this until it is frothy, then add the crushed almonds, two ounces of currants, blanched and cleaned, and two ounces of mixed peel that has been passed through hot water.

Add slowly eight ounces of flour rubbed through a sieve. Mix slowly, putting in the ten whites of eggs whipped firm. Finish with six ounces of good melted butter. Cook in a plum-cake mould, buttered. Turn it out of mould to cool. Soak it in kummel, brush over with apricot jelly, and ice with fondant or syrup of kummel. Sprinkle the sides and top with chopped pistachios. Probable cost, 3s. 6d.

At the same time the distinctive two-coloured cake that we would nowadays recognise as a Battenburg cake had a variety of names such as "Domino Cake", "Neapolitan Roll"or "Church Window Cake" up until the early 1900s. For example this illustration for "Gateau à la Domino" appears in the July 1898 edition of the Victorian food and housekeeping magazine 'The Table', published and edited by Mrs Agnes Berthe Marshall,

The first modern recipe for a Battenberg Cake bearing the name seems to be this one which appears in the 'Saleable Shop Goods for Counter-Tray and Window' by Frederick T Vine (1907) which was a guide aimed at professional cake-makers:

No. 198 Battenburg Cake. Take the Genoese cake batter (Nos. 191 or 192), divide it in two; colour one half pink with carmine, and leave the other plain; spread separately over a sheet ofpaper and bake to about one inch thick. When done, take oflf the paper, and cut up into square strips; then lay them alternately chess-board fashion, sandwiching them together with any kind of preserve - for the bottom layer, say two white and one red in the centre; for the second, two red and a white in the centre; and on top of that the same as the bottom layer.

When you have fixed them all together so (Fig. 98), make up the Almond Paste (No. 11), roll it out in a sheet, and after spreading some preserve upon the built-up square of cake, roll it round outside of the cake. Pinch along the edges and decorate with the point of a knife or skewer, by scratching a design upon it. The almond paste must not be too thick, or it will not look nice. Then either cut the cake up into inch sections, or sell whole at 1s. per lb.

There's an interesting discussion all about Battenberg Cake on Ivan Day's Food History Jottings blog. As he says, "What is overlooked in all the Battenburg Cake myths is that there were actually two weddings between English princesses and Battenburg princes. The first was that of Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria's grandaughter, to Louis of Battenberg in 1884. The second took place the following year, when Louis's brother Henry married Queen Victoria's youngest child Beatrice. The bride cake illustrated is that presented to Henry and Beatrice at their wedding in 1885. When they cut this remarkable cake, I wonder if there was a pattern of red-white-red-white running all the way through it."

The cake for Henry of Battenberg and Princess Beatrice's wedding in 1885:

Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 18 Jul 2017, 08:19; edited 1 time in total
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Virgo Vestalis Maxima

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 17 Jul 2017, 10:02

Wow - that is the best cake I've ever seen.

Excellent post, as ever, MM.

PS I once saw a rather large man in Torquay wearing a tee shirt with this emblazoned on it:

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 17 Jul 2017, 10:54

Great stuff as ever, MM.

Do you know if battenberg cakes were called that throughout WWI, during that time when 'german' biscuits became 'empire' and 'german shepherds' turned into 'alsatians'? If it did, I wonder why it escaped semantic de-germanification?
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Meles meles

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 17 Jul 2017, 14:11

A good question, Ferval. I can find no evidence that battenberg cakes were renamed during WW1. Certainly recipe books published shortly after the war were still/again calling it battenberg ... but that doesn't mean that some people, perhaps nervous cake-shop owners who didn't want their windows smashed, didn't choose to call them something different during the war, and as I've said above, other names were in common usage at least until just a decade earlier.

Incidentally whereas modern battenberg cake is usually made as a simple 2x2 array, most old battenberg recipes suggest a 3x3 array, as in Frederick Vine's 1907 recipe given above. A 3x3 array seems to have still be de rigeur at least until the 1920s ... this photo is from Richard Bond's 'Ship's Baker' (1923):

But in the 1930s the number of squares seems to have increased rather than diminished if this photo of a 5x5 array battenburg (on the right) in the 1936 edition of Vine's book is anything to go by,

... although to be honest these are all from an exhibition of the bakers art, rather something the average home cook might be expected to rustle up for Sunday high tea.
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