I'm always adding new articles because I have found so much good stuff to share that you will surely find of great use to you and your family and friends. Much of what I share involves getting back to the basics and doing for ourselves. Simply click the above image to see the latest of the greatest finds.

I'm big into DIY projects and finding ways to improve things, saving time and money. Quite frankly, I'm tired of paying for overpriced junk and for other people's mistakes. If I'm going to pay for anyone's mistakes, they should be my own. If you agree, then click the above image for all sorts of ingenious ideas.

There's a plethora of stuff and information that I've found to share and I like to feature my favorites for quick and easy future reference -- for myself as well as all of you. Some I've already tried myself and will do again; some I am looking forward to trying. Just click the above image to see what I've added to my faves list.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Try These Sinfully Healthy Medieval Recipes!

Getting in the spirit of the Renaissance, I thought I'd share a few medieval recipes for you to try.  Considering these are from 14th and 16th century cookbooks, there are no images available, but I have done my best to ensure that the instructions are translated well enough for the modern cook to understand.

I've put together a three course meal, including a salad, chicken (or capon) dish, and cherry pottage.  I've also included a modernized recipe for apple pecan bread.  I've provided the sources for these recipes in case you'd like to check for more.  Enjoy!

Sallet of Herbes and Flowers
The Good Huswifes Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1596

1 small head of butter lettuce 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
1 cup watercress 4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flower petals* 1/8 tsp pepper
1 cucumber, pared and sliced 1/2 tsp brown sugar
* You can use roses, primroses, nasturtiums, chive blossoms, violets, or calendulas, but be sure they haven't been sprayed with insecticides.

  1. Wash the lettuce, watercress, and herb leaves in cold water, pat dry, and refrigerate. Rinse the flower petals in a bowl of cold water, gently pat dry and refrigerate.
  2. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and combine with the watercress and herb leaves.  Add the cucumbers and toss to mix.
  3. Mix together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar; stir until blended.  Add dressing to the salad and toss until well coated.
  4. Gently mix in the flower petals (reserving a few to garnish the salad with). Top the salad with the egg slices and garnish with the reserved flower petals.
Forme of Cury, c.1390

2 large, boneless capon or chicken breasts 1 cup rice
2-1/2 cup water 1 Tbsp butter
1-1/4 tsp salt 4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup blanched almonds toasted slivered almonds
2 Tbsp ice water candied anise (if you can find any)
1 tsp salt
  1. Bring the 2-1/2 cups water and 1-1/4 tsp salt to a boil.  Boil the chicken, covered, for 15 minutes or until done.  Remove the chicken and set aside, reserving the broth.
  2. Grind the almonds with the ice water in a blender or with mortar and pestle, until smooth.
  3. To make the "almond milk," combine 2 cups of the broth with the ground almonds and allow to stand for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Put the almond milk into a pan and cook the rice in it with the 1 tsp salt, butter, and brown sugar.
  5. Meanwhile, dice the chicken breasts.  Just before the rice is done, add the chicken.  Stir to distribken pie chicken pieces and finish cooking the rice.
  6. Just before serving, garnish with the toasted almonds and candied anise, if you can find any (apparently, it's difficult to find).
Syrosye (Cherry Pottage)
Curye on Inglysch, 15th c.

2 lbs ripe red cherries, pitted and stems removed 1 cup breadcrumbs
1-1/2 cups white wine pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar (preferably raw sugar) flower heads of clove pinks (optional garnish)
4 Tbsp butter

  1. Wash the cherries and remove the stems and stones.  Puree the fruit in a blender with 1/2 cup of the wine and half of the sugar.  Add a little more wine as needed to get a smooth puree.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the fruit puree, breadcrumbs, remaining wine, remaining sugar, and salt.  Simmer, stirring often, until the puree is very thick.
  3. Pour into a serving bowl, cover, and let cool.  The cherry pottage should be the consistency of a thick apple sauce.
  4. Refrigerate until served.  Before serving, decorate the edge of the bowl with the clove pinks, if desired.  Sprinkle sugar over the dish.
Apple Pecan Bread
A Boke of Gode Cookery ~ Modern Recipes for Beginners
James L. Matterer

1/2 cup butter or margarine 2 cups flour
1 cup sugar 1 tsp double-acting baking powder
2 eggs 1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp milk 1 cup chopped apples
1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients and stir just until well blended.  Fold in apples and nuts.
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.  Once cool, wrap and let stand overnight before slicing.  Yield: 1 loaf