8th June XXXVII (2003)

This annual feast celebrates the first ever event held by the Shire of Adamastor, which, for diverse reasons, ended up being held in an ex-cowshed. Consequently I have tried for simple, humble, vaguely peasant fare in this feast. While I have looked at recipe redactions from Pleyn Delit and Take A Thousand Eggs, these have been mostly for comparison, and redacted versions below are my own, working from the original.


Broth Saake

A broth of chicken with dates and spices.
(Harleian MS 279 - English, 15th century)

Bruette saake. Take Capoun, skalde hem, draw hem, smyte hem to gobettys. Waysshe hem, do hem in a potte; þenne caste owt þe potte, waysshe hem a-gen on þe potte, & caste þer-to half wyne half Broþe; take Percely, Isope, Waysshe hem, & hew hem smal, & putte on þe potte þer þe Fleysshe is; caste þer-to Clowys, quybibes, Maces, Datys y-tallyd, hol Safroune; do it ouer þe fyre; take Canelle, Gyngere, tempere þin powajes with wyne; caste in-to þe potte Salt þer-to, hele it, & whan it is y-now, serue it forth.

I've included Broth Saake because I made it for the first Adamastor feast; it was the first medieval dish I ever cooked. Since our numbers at that first feast ended up nearly double what we were expecting we had to thin it out with lots of extra white wine, causing it to be dubbed "cirrhosis of the liver chicken". The version I served at the more recent Cowshed was considerably less vinous.

6 chicken breasts, with skin and bone
2 chicken stock cubes in 250ml water
250-500 ml white wine
generous handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp each of cloves and ground cubebs
1 tsp each of mace, cinnamon, ginger
pinch of saffron
8-10 whole dates

Simmer chicken pieces in half wine, half chicken stock, together with parsley, cloves, cubebs, mace, dates and saffron. When chicken is almost cooked (30-45 mins), remove from broth and cut into bite-sized chunks, removing bone and skin. Return to the broth with the cinnamon and ginger. Dilute broth to desired taste and consistency with remaining wine and water. (You can make this very watery, for a soup, or serve it as a more substantial main course with far less liquid).
I couldn't find hyssop for this, so omitted it.

Gourdes in Potage

Butternut soup with saffron.
(Form of Curye - English, 14th century)
Butternut is not a vegetable known in our period, but the relevant Old World gourds are unobtainable here. I have omitted the meat and meat broth to make this vegetarian-friendly, and substituted cheese for richness; this is in no way authentic, but makes a good soup.

Take yong gowrdes; pare hem and kerve hem on pecys. Cast hem in gode broth, and do þerto a gode pertye of onyouns mynced. Take pork soden; grynde it and alye it þerwith and wiþ yolkes of ayren. Do þerto safroun and salt, and messe it forth with powdour douce.

1 large butternut, peeled and chopped
500 ml vegetable stock
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 egg yolks
pinch of saffron
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cloves

Simmer butternut and onions in vegetable broth until soft. Mash or blend to give a smooth soup texture, and add more liquid if necessary. Add saffron and adjust seasoning. Remove soup from the heat and add grated cheese, stirring until it has melted. Add egg yolks and mix well. (Do not place back on the heat, as the cheese and eggs will go stringy; the residual heat should be sufficient to cook the eggs). Serve sprinkled with the spice mixture.


White bread rolls.
OK, these were commercial bread rolls. I am so not a baker.


Stwed Beeff

Beef stew with onions and currants.
(Harleian MS 4016 - English, 15th century)

I couldn't find ribs of beef for this, so used stewing beef instead. The recipe specifies par-roasting the beef, but I didn't want to do this with a poorer cut of meat, so I cheated and cubed and fried it first.

Take faire ribbes of ffresh beef, and (if thou wilt) roste hit til hit be nygh ynowe; then put hit in a faire possenet; caste þerto parcely and onyons mynced, reysons of corauns, powder peper, canel, clowes, saundres, safferon, and salt; then cast thereto wyn and a littul vynegre; sette a lyd on þe potte and lete hit boile sokingly on a faire charcole til hit be ynogh; þen lay the fflessh in disshes, and the sirippe thereuppon, and serve it forth.

around 500g good quality stewing beef
2 large onions
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
handful of currants
1/2 tsp each of pepper, cloves, sandalwood
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of saffron
300-500ml red wine
4 tblsp red wine vinegar
200 ml beef stock
olive oil

Cube beef and fry in a little olive oil until browned and partly cooked. Add onions and parsley, currants, spices, wine, vinegar and beef stock. Simmer over a low heat until the meat is cooked and tender (around 1 hour). Ajust seasoning (esp. salt and vinegar) before serving; I like this with a faint vinegary tang to complement the fruit.

Caboges in Potage

Spiced cabbage with leeks and onions.
(Form of Curye - English, 14th century)

I prefer to use baby cabbage for this; they require much less cooking. It's also a lot easier to cut them finely at first, rather than cooking them quartered.

Take caboches and quarter hem, and seeth hem in gode broth with onyouns ymynced and the whyte of lekes yslyt and ycorve smal. And do þerto safroun & salt, and force it with powdour douce.

4 baby cabbages
1 large onion
2 large leeks
generous pinch saffron
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cloves
500 ml chicken or vegetable broth

Slice cabbages and place in pan with vegetable broth and chopped onions and leeks. Add saffron (enough to colour the broth) and simmer over a low heat until the cabbage has started to soften. (Not too long - the cabbage should be slightly crisp). Add spices and adjust seasoning.

Ryse of Flessh

Rice cooked in vegetable broth with almond milk and saffron.
(Form of Curye - English, 14th century)

Take ryse and waisshe hem clene, and do hem in an erthen pot with gode broth and lat hem seeþ wel. Aftirward take almaund mylke and do þerto, and colour it wiþ safroun & salt, & messe forth.

Cook rice in vegetable or chicken broth until rice is just about done and broth has mostly been absorbed. Then add saffron and almond milk made by steeping ground almonds in boiling broth and straining. Cook rice for about 5 mins in almond milk until rice has absorbed most of the liquid and saffron has coloured the rice. Adjust salt to taste, and garnish with chopped almonds.


A tart with pork, herbs, dried fruit and eggs
(Harleian MS 279 - English, 15th century)

Take Buttes of Porke,& smyte hem in pecys, & sette it ouer þe fyre; & seþe hem in fayre Watere; & whan it is y-soþe y-now, ley it on a fayre bord, & pyke owt alle þe bonys, & hew it smal, & put it in a fayre bolle; þan take ysope, Sawge, Percely a gode quantite, & hew it smal, & putte it on a fayre vesselle; þan take a lytel of þe broþe, þat þe porke was soþin in, & draw þorw a straynoure, & cast to þe Erbys, & gif it a boyle; þenne take owt þe Erbys with a Skymoure fro þe broþe, & caste hem to þe Porke in þe bolle; þan mynce Datys smal, & caste hem þer-to, & Roysonys of Couraunce, & Pynes, & drawe þorw a straynoure yolkys of Eyroun þer-to, & Sugre, & pouder Gyngere, & Salt, & coloure it a lytel with Safroune, & toyle yt with þin hond al þes to-gederys; þan make fayre round cofyns, & harde hem a lytel in þe ovyn; þan take hem owt, & with a dyssche in þyn hond, fylle hem fulle of þe stuffe; þan sette hem þer-in a-yen, & lat hem bake y-now, & serue forth.

+/- 500g pork roast
1/4 cup chopped sage
1/2 cup chopped parsley
8-10 whole pitted dates
handful of currants
100g pine nuts
3 egg yolks
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp ginger
pinch saffron
pinch salt

Shortcrust pastry case (using 200g flour: 100g fat); see here for recipe.

Cube pork roast and poach in hot water (or, for added flavour, in chicken stock) until cooked. Add herbs to pork poaching water and simmer for a few mintues. Stick pork in blender and blend madly until meat is finely shredded. Add herbs to shredded pork and give it another whirl with the blender. Chop dates and add to blended mixture with currants and pine nuts; give it another whirl with the blender. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) This is probably fine enough by this stage, so remove mixture from the blender and put into a mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and spices and mix together. I usually add a few tablespoons of the poaching water, just to moisten the mix. Pack the mixture into the pre-hardened pastry case, and bake at about 180 degrees for about half an hour.

This is one of those classic English pork/fruit recipes, of the ilk of Chawettys and Pies of Paris - very good combination. I have always omitted the hyssop from this recipe, as my one and only hyssop bush died sadly before I could use any.

Tart de Bry

A cheese and egg tart flavoured with Brie and spices.
(Form of Curye - English, 14th century)

Take a crust ynche depe in a trap. Take yolkes of ayren rawe & chese ruayn & medle it & þe yolkes togyder. Do þerto powdour tynger, sugur, safroun, and salt. Do it in a trap; bake it & serve it forth.

Shortcrust pastry case (using 200g flour: 100g fat); see here for recipe.

5 egg yolks
250g creamed cottage cheese
100g Brie, with rind removed
1 tsp each of ginger, sugar and salt
generous pinch of saffron

Mix cottage cheese and Brie (at room temp) with yolks and seasoning. Pour into pre-baked pastry case and bake at 160 degrees for 30-40 mins, until set and slightly browned.

I have tried this recipe with Brie only, and found it (a) expensive, and (b) not particularly successful. The cottage cheese/Brie mix gives a better texture while retaining the flavour of the Brie. Make sure the Brie is at room temperature when you use it, and fairly mature, as it's easier to mix. A chilled, young Brie will need to be mashed or chopped.


Wardonys in Syrup

Spiced pears in red wine syrup.
(Harleian MS 279 - English, 15th century)

Take wardonys, an caste on a potte, and boyle hem till þey ben tender; þan take hem up and pare hem, and kytte hem into pecys; take ynow of powder of canel, a good quantyte, an cast it on red wyne, an draw it þorw a straynour; caste sugre þerto, an put it in an erþen pot, an let it boyle: an þanne caste þe perys þerto, an let boyle togederys, and whan þey have boyle a whyle, take pouder of gyngere and caste þerto, an a lytil vinegre, an a lytil safron: an lok þat it be poynaunt an dowcet.

6-8 pears
2 tsp cinnamon
500ml red wine
250 ml sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
pinch of saffron

This recipe should be "poynaunt an dowcet" - sharp and sweet, i.e. the syrup highly spiced. Pears ("Wardons") like this are very good.

Quarter pears and core them. Parboil in water, remove, and skin. (This actually seems to make a difference to the flavour, but you could peel them first if you prefer). Add cinnamon and sugar to the red wine, and boil for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Add the pears and simmer for 10 mins or so. Add the ginger, vinegar and saffron and continue simmering until the pears are cooked through and have started to absorb the syrup. Adjust seasoning - you should be able to really taste the spices, and may have to add more vinegar.

Crem Boyled

A rich cream-based custard with saffron.
(Ancient Cookery - English, 14th century)

Take crem of cowe mylke, and zolkes of egges, and bete hom wel togedur, and do hit in a pot, and let hit boyle tyl hit be stondynge, and do therto sugur, and colour hit with saffron, and dresse hit forthe in leches, and plante therein floures of borage, or of vyolet.

This is a fairly simple custard; the recipe specifies cooking it until it is "stondynge", i.e. solid, so that you can serve it in slices ("leches"). I cheated slightly, choosing to serve this as a more liquid custard with the pears.

500ml cream
6 egg yolks
150 ml sugar
generous pinch of saffron

As with all custards, it's safer to make this in a double boiler. Beat together cream and egg yolks until well mixed, and heat over boiling water, stirring constantly. Boil gently until it starts to thicken. Add sugar and saffron strands and continue cooking until you have the desired consistency. Garnish with violet flowers when you serve it.


Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington and Sharon Butler (1979) Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Constance B. Hieatt and Sharon Butler, eds (1985). Curye on Inglysch: English culinary manuscripts of the fourteenth century (including the Form of Cury). London: Oxford UP.

Cindy Renfrow, 1991, Take a Thousand Eggs or More: A Collection of 15th Century Recipes, Volume 1, published privately

Ancient Cookery (anonymous), Arundel Collection no. 344, in A collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, 1991, Duke Cariadoc of the Bow.

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