Adamastor Twelfth Night, January XXXV

Another of our picnic meals at St. Joseph's Castle, with no cooking facilities. This meal was designed as a light, cold supper, which is pretty appropriate to Cape Town in January... it all came out of ice-boxes onto a long trestle table under the trees. Very civilised.

My Lady of Portland’s Minced Pyes

Take four pounds of Beef, Veal or neats-Tongues, and eight pounds of Suet; and mince both the meat and Suet very small, befor you put them together. Then mingle them well together and mince it very small, and put to it six pounds of Currants washed and picked very clean. Then take the Peel of two Limons, and half a score of Pippins, and mince them very small. Then take above an Ounce of Nutmegs, and a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, some Cloves and Cinnamon, and put them together, and sweeten them with Rose-water and Sugar. And when you are ready to put them into your Paste, take Citron and Orangiadoe, and slice them very thin, and lay them upon the meat. And put amongst the meat an Ounce of Caraway seeds. Be sure you have very fine Paste.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened

Sallet of Cold Capon Roasted

It is a good Sallet, to slice a cold capon thin; mingle with it some Sibbolds, Lettice, Rocket and Tarragon sliced small. Season all with Pepper, Salt, Vinegar and Oyl, and sliced Limon. A litte Origanum doth well with it.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened

Pickled Champignons

Cut the great ones into halves or quarters, seeing carefully there be no worms in them; and peel off their upper skin on the tops: the little ones, peel whole. As you peel them, throw them into a bason of fair-water, which preserves them white. Then put them into a pipkin or possnet of Copper (no Iron) and put a very little water to them, and add a large proportion of Salt. If you have a pottle of Mushrooms, you may put to them ten or twelve spoonfuls of water, and two or three of Salt. Boil all the while, taking away a great deal of foulness that will rise. They will shrink into a very little room. When they are sufficiently parboiled to be tender, and well cleansed of their scum (which will be in about a quarter of an hour), take them out and put them into a Colander, that all the moisture may drain from them. In the man time make your pickle thus: take a quart of pure sharp white Wine Vinegar (Elder-Vinegar is best) put two or three spoonfuls of whole Pepper into it, twenty or thirty Cloves, one Nutmeg quartered, two or three flakes of Mace, three Bay-leaves (some like Limon-Thyme and Rose-mary, but then it must be very little of each) boil all these together, until the Vinegar be well impraegnated with the Ingredients, which will be in about half an hour. Then take it from the fire, and let it cool. When the pickle is quite cold, and the Mushrooms also quite cold, and drained from all moisture; put them into the Liquor (with all the Ingredients in it) which you must be sure, be enough to cover them. In ten or twelve days, they will have taken into them the full taste of the pickle, and will keep very good half a year. If you have much supernatant Liquor, you may parboil more mushrooms next day, and put them to the first. If you have not gathered at once enough for a dressing, you may keep them all night in water to preserve them white, and gatehr more the next day, to joyn to them.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened

A Lumdardy Tarte

Take beets, chop them smal, and put to them grated bread and cheese, and mingle them wel in the chopping, take a few Corrans, and a dish of sweet Butter, & melt it then stir al these in the Butter, together with three yolks of eggs, Synamon, ginger, and sugar, and make your Tart as large as you will, and fill it with the stuff, bake it, and serve it in.
John Partridge, The Good Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchen (1594)

Excellent Spinage Pasties

Take Spinage, and chop it a little; then boil it, till it be tender. In the mean time, make the best rich light Crust you can, and roul it out, and put a little of your Spinage into it, and Currants and Sugar, and store of lumps of Marrow; Clap the Past over this to make little Pasties deep within, and fry them with clarified Butter.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened

I didn't include the marrow, as I wanted these to be vegetarian-friendly. Marrow is very rich and fatty - I substituted butter instead.

Sallets of Lettuce, Carrot and Onions

... Young Lettice, Cabage lettice, Purslan, and divers other hearbes which may bee served simply without anything, but a little Vinegar, Sallet oyle and Suger: Onions boiled and stript from their rinde, and served up with Vinegar, Oyle and Pepper is a good simple Sallet.
Gervase Markham, The English Huswife (1615)

Carrets boyled and eaten with vinegar, Oyle, and Pepper serve for a special good sallad to stir up appetite, and to purifie blood.
William Vaughan, Directions for Health (1617)

Manchet and butter

Manchet is a high-quality white bread.

A Fine Cake

To a peck of fine flour take six pounds of fresh butter, which must be tenderly melted, ten pounds of currants, of cloves and mace, 1/2 an ounce of each, an ounce of cinnamon, 1/2 an ounce of nutmegs, four ounces of sugar, one pint of sack mixed with a quart at least of thick barm of ale (as soon as it is settled to have the thick fall to the bottom, which will be when it is about two days old), half a pint of rosewater; 1/2 a quarter of an ounce of saffron. Then make your paste, strewing the spices, finely beaten, upon the flour: then put the melted butter (but even just melted) to it; then the barm, and other liquours: and put it into the oven well heated presently. For the better baking of it, put it in a hoop, and let it stand in the oven one hour and a half. You ice the cake with the whites of two eggs, a small quantity of rosewater, and some sugar.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened


Take 12 quarts of milk warm from the cow, turn it with a good spoonfull of runnet. Break it well, and put it in a large strainer, in which rowl it up and down, that all the whey may run out into a little tub; when all that will is run out, wring out more. Then break the curds well; then wring it again, and more whey will come. Thus break and wring till no more come. Then work the curds exceedingly with your hand in a tray, till they become a short uniform paste. Then put to it the yolks of 8 new laid eggs, and two whites, and a pound of butter. Work all this long together. In the long working (at the several times) consisteth the making them good. Then season them to your taste with sugar finely beaten; and put in some cloves and mace in subtle powder. Then lay them thick in coffins of fine paste and bake them.
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie, Opened

Gooseberry Cream

Codle them green, and boil them up wiht sugar, being preserved put them into the cream strain'd or whole, scrape sugar on them, & so serve them cold in boild or raw cream.
Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook (1660)

I still haven't made this properly, since the shops stopped stocking gooseberries two days before the feast. Madge Lorwin glosses "boild cream" as a custard sauce; I made a custard with cream and egg yolks, which was unbelievably rich and very delicious. I used cranberries in the absence of gooseberries - not at all what the recipe wanted, but pretty good anyway. The resultant fruit cream was an excellent accompaniment to cheesecake.

Fine Cakes

To make fine cakes Take a quantity of fine wheate Flower, and put it in an earthen pot. Stop it close and set it in an Oven, and bake it as long as you would a pasty of Venison, and when it baked it will be full of clods. Then searce your flower through a fine sercer. Then take clouted Creame or sweet butter, but Creame is best: then take sugar, cloves, mace, saffron and yolks of eggs, so much as wil seeme to season your flower. Then put these things into the Creame, temper all together. Then put thereto your flower. So make your cakes. The paste will be very short; therefore make them very little. Lay paper under them.
John Partridge, The Widowes Treasury (1585)

These are little shortbready biscuits, with a characteristic nutty taste from the pre-baked flour, and a wonderful spicy edge. See here for recipe.


Ruth Anne Beebe. Sallets, Humbles and Shrewsbery Cakes: A collection of Elizabethan recipes adapted for modern kitchens. David R. Godine, Boston, 1976. Recipes from Thomas Dawson, Gervase Markham, John Murrell.

Sir KenelmeDigby. The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened: Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sider, Cherry-Wine, &c. Together with Excellent Directions for Cookery: As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. Published by his Son's Consent. Printed by E. C. for H. Brome, at the Star in Little Britain. London, 1669. Rpt in Cariadoc Volume I, 121-190.

Madge Lorwin (1976) Dining with William Shakespeare. New York: Atheneum.

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