Author Archives: mistresshuette

Thanksgiving Turkey

By Patricia Lammerts

Unlike many new world foods, the turkey was accepted readily by the 16th century cook and diner. Why? Because the turkey is a very large bird, and, while its appearance would have been somewhat unusual for the 16th century person to behold, the concept of eating large birds was not foreign to them. Many people confused them with Guinea Fowl. They also were confused as to where turkeys came from. The common misconception was that they came from Turkey, hence the name.

References can be found concerning turkeys from England in 1541, where they were listed in sumptuary laws, along with other large birds. The price of purchasing a turkey was fixed in England in the mid-1550’s for the London markets and Thomas Tusser wrote in 1557 in his book entitled, “ A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie” of feeding turkeys on runcivall peas, and of eating them for Christmas.

Turkeys were not only accepted in England, but also in Italy and France. Liliane Plouvier wrote a learned paper on the history of turkeys in Europe. She found accounts of Queen Margueritte of Navarre raising turkeys in 1534, while 66 turkeys were served at a feast for Catherine de Medici in 1549. In Belgium, turkey was served three different ways [boiled with oysters, roasted and served cold, and baked in a pastry] for a banquet held in Liege in 1557.

Recipes for turkey can be found in Bartolomeo Scappi’s cookbook “Opera dell’arte del Cucinare”, printed in 1570. Recipes and a drawing of a turkey can be found in Marxen Rumpolt’s cookbook “Ein Neu Kochbuch” printed in 1581.

Here is the first recipe given by Rumpolt and the only one that talks about roasting and not grinding the meat for a terrine or a pie.

I.
Warm abgebraten mit einem Pobrat/ oder trucken gegeben/ Oder
kalt lassen werden/ denn es ist ein gut Essen/ wen{n}s kalt ist.
I.
Warm roasted off with a sauce/ or served dry/ Or
let it (get) cold/ because it is a good meal/ when it is cold.

This is a good sauce recipe from Robert May’s “The Accomplished Cook”:

_Sauces for all manner of roast Land-Fowl, as Turkey, Bustard, Peacock, Pheasant, Partridge_, &c.

4. Onions slic’t and boil’d in fair water, and a little salt, a few bread crumbs beaten, pepper, nutmeg, three spoonful of white wine, and some lemon-peel finely minced, and boil’d all together: being almost boil’d put in the juyce of an orange, beaten butter, and the gravy of the fowl.

Here is a stuffing recipe from Scappi:

To make various stuffings, of those one can stuff various joints of four legged animals, and many flying animals, the which one has to boil with water and salt. Cap CXVI

Take for every pound of old cheese grated, six ounces of fat cheese that is not too salty, & three ounces of nutmeg ground in the mortar and peeled, two ounces of crumb of bread soaked in [turkey] broth, & pounded in the mortar, three ounces of … fresh butter, three ounces of currants (dried grapes) peeled, half an ounce between pepper and cinnamon & saffron enough, mix everything together with eight eggs in the way that the stuffing is neither too liquid nor too firm.

Unfortunately, due to my mother’s recent death, I have been unable to redact these recipes into modern form. This will give a chance to those wishing to experiment.

A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers

A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers
From Thomas Dawson, The good huswifes Jewell, 1587.

Take your hearbes and picke them very fine into faire water, and wash them all clean, and swing them in a strainer, and when you put them in a dish, mingle them with Cowcumbers or Lemmans payred and sliced, and scrape Sugar, and put in Vinegar and Oyle and hard Egges boyled and laid about the dish and upon the Sallet.

For the dressing:

1 tbsp sugar, either white or brown
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Mix together in a bowl and set aside.

For the salad:

1 package, mixed salad greens
1 bunch flat-leafed parsley, stemmed
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 bunch fresh tarragon, stemmed
3 tbsp fresh chervil leaves
1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled and sliced coarsely
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges.

Wash all greens and herbs. Place into a medium sized muslin draw-string bag and spin the bag until most of the moisture has been removed. [This is an early form of a salad spinner.] Place the greens in a salad bowl and add the cucumbers. Pour on the dressing and toss to mix. Just before serving, add the hard boiled egg wedges decoratively on top and serve it forth.

Notes:

Olive oil: I just used regular, but any kind you like on a salad would be fine.  The recipe said only oil, not even olive oil, but I used my preference of olive oil.  I suppose that sesame or almond oil could be okay also, but I don’t think of those as salad oils.  The vagueness of this recipe I find challenging and exciting.  I could make it so many different ways and, as long as I use period ingredients known to that country and era, I am within the parameters of the recipe.
 
Sugar: Again, whatever you prefer.  I used regular white sugar, but I thought that a light or golden brown sugar would be fine also. Elizabethans had both.  I suppose that raw sugar could be used if you don’t mind the added expense.  All have slightly different tastes, but all are within period usage.
 
Flat-leaf parsley is also called Italian parsley.

Cucumber: A personal choice, whatever you have or like.  I would assume that English would be closer to what Thomas Dawson used, but hot house would be fine also.  Just consider the size of the cucumber and make adjustments.

Tarragon: with no measurements, it is a personal choice.  You could leave this out and still be fine.  I checked other recipes in the book and picked herbs that were used fresh.

Eggs: I used AA large.  It is mostly for decoration.  From discussions that I have read, period eggs were smaller than ours are, but then whatever you like is fine.

I picked this recipe because of it is so non-specific.  It does not even tell you what herbs to use.  To me this is a kind of a “what’s fresh and what do I want to do with this?” kind of recipe.  You can make it in hundreds of different ways and keep coming up with different mixes and flavors.  The last time I served it, I used the Moroccan Preserved Lemon, but most people didn’t like it.  It is expensive to buy, so I left it out of this recipe, but YMMV.  I know very few modern people who would eat fresh lemons sliced in a salad. Meyer Lemons, which are modern, and the sweet lemon was not known in Europe, although India and China knew of it.  This is one of the few specifics mentioned, but it is cucumbers OR lemons. For me cucumbers won out.

Christmas pie for diabetics

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb and pulled out a cranberry
And said “What a good boy am I!”

Wanting to try other pies for my family and use splenda because my hubby is diabetic, I give you my latest work, the Cranberry Buttermilk Pie. I was going to make Chess pie, but with most recipes, corn syrup was called for and that is a no-no for diabetics. However, I didn’t want to make just a plain buttermilk pie, so I decided to add something very much associated with Christmas, the cranberry. The tartness of the cranberries blends well with the sweetness of the buttermilk filling.

My recipe:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup Splenda [if you wish to use regular sugar, use 1 1/3 cups sugar]
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

If you wish just to make a plain buttermilk pie, stop here and use 1 9 inch pie shell.

If you with to make the Cranberry pie, use two 12 oz bags of fresh cranberries and two 9 inch pie shells.

Cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks, beating after each addition. Beat in flour and buttermilk; add the lemon juice, lemon peel, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into the filling.

For the cranberry pie, place one bag of cranberries into each pie crust. Pour half the filling into each pie shell, gently folding the filling around the cranberries; bake in center of a preheated 325º over, until the custard is set and slightly brown, about 1 hour.

Lamb Samosas

Lamb Samosas

From the Sultan's Book of Delights (late fifteenth century).

Another kind of Ghiyath Shahi's samosas: take finely minced deer meat and flavour ghee with fenugreek and, having mixed the mince with saffron, put it in the ghee.  Roast salt and cumin together.  Having added cumin, cloves, coriander and a quarter of a ratti of musk to the mince, cook it well.  Put half of the minced onion and a quarter of the minced dry ginger into the meat.  When it has become well-cooked, put in rosewater.  Take it off and stuff the samosas.  Make a hole in the samosa with a stick and fry it in sweet-smelling ghee and serve it (when) tender.  By the same method of any kind of meat that is desired, can be made.

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 lbs ground lamb
1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp saffron
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp coriander
1 large sweet onion, minced [1 cup approx.]
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp rose water

Put ghee in a large frying pan and add fenugreek and saffron, stirring for a few minutes.  Add lamb and start to brown. Add salt, cumin, cloves, coriander onion and ginger, stirring until the meat is brown and fragrant.  Add rose water and remove from heat.

Pastry:

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

Sift flour and salt together. Make a well in the center of the mixture and quickly pour in ghee and water. Stir briskly until combined, gradually adding more water if necessary. You should aim for a slightly moist dough that sticks together. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, cover with damp towel.

Assembly:

To assemble samosa, break off pieces of dough (leaving what's left under the towel) and shape into balls. Roll each ball into a circle about 1/10 of an inch thick and 5 inches across. Cut the circle in half. In one side put filling, fold half of the half circle over to make a triangle. Seal by brushing a bit of water along the edges and pinching it together with your finger.  Heat 2 inches ghee in a skillet or pan to 375 degrees. Put in samosas and let it fry to a golden brown on each side. Then drain on cloth or paper towel and eat.

Note:  I didn't experiment with the roasting cumin and salt together.  But I added both to the filling.  I didn't have any musk to add and couldn't think of an adequate substitute, so I left it out.  I followed a modern Indian recipe for the pastry since the original was so vague

Several Elizabethan recipes that I have redacted

From John Murrell, “A Booke of Cookerie”, 1621

How to butter a colleflowre.

Take a ripe Colle-flowre and cut off the buddes, boyle then in milke with a little Mace while they be very tender, then poure them into a Cullender, and let the Milke runne cleane from them, then take a ladle full of Creame, being boyled with a little whole Mace, putting to it a Ladlefull of thicke butter, mingle them together with a little Sugar, dish up your flowres upon sippets, poure your butter and cream hot upon it strowing with a little slicst Nutmeg and salt, and serve it to the Table hot.

My redaction:

1 cauliflower, at least 5 inches in diameter
3 cups of whole milk
1 large piece of whole mace
1 cup cream
1 stick unsalted butter [if using salted butter, eliminate the salt]
1 large piece of whole mace [different from above]
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 slices hot buttered toast, cut into triangles.

Cut cauliflower into small florets and remove any green leaves and the thick base. Heat the milk with mace to just below the boiling point and add the florets. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until tender but still crisp, about 12 to 15 min.

While that is cooking, take the cream, butter, another piece of whole mace and sugar and bring to just below boiling.

Arrange the toast on a heated serving dish. Remove the cauliflower from the milk and arrange them on the toast. Pour the sauce over them and sprinkle them with salt and nutmeg and serve hot.

To make a tarte of Spinnage    [From The good huswifes Jewell. 1596]

 

Take three handfull of Spinnage, boile it in faire water, when it is boyled, put away the water from it and put the spinnage in a stone morter, grind it smal with two dishes of butter melted, and four rawe egges, then straine it and season it with sugar, Sinamon and ginger, and lay it in your Coffin [pie crust], when it [the crust] is hardened in the oven, then bake it and when it is enough, serve it upon a faire dish, and cast upon it Sugar and Biskets.
My redaction:

Pie Crust
1 package 12 oz fresh baby spinach
9 eggs
8 oz melted butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Line a 9″ pie pan with pie crust.  Blind bake it for 15 min in a preheated 450 degree oven.
Take spinach and boil in a saucepan with a cup of water for 10 to 15 min. until tender.  Drain and grind in a morter until smooth.  Mix eggs, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger together. [I used a mixer on high.]  Add spinach and mix until eggs are somewhat fluffy.  Pour mixture into prepared pie crust and bake 30 to 40 min. in a 350 degree oven.  Sugar may be strewn on top just before serving.  [I didn’t.]

To boile onions [From The good huswifes Jewell. 1596]

 

Take a good many onions and cut them in four quarters, set them on the fire in as much water as you think will boile them tender, and when they be clean skimmed, put in a good many raisons, halfe a grose pepper, a good peece of sugar, and a little salte, and when the onions be through boiled, beat the yolke of an Egge with Vergious, and put into your pot and so serve it upon soppes.  If you will, poch Egges and lay upon them.
My redaction:

3 large sweet onions, pealed and quartered.
8 oz. raisins
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
16 oz water
Toasted bread for sops
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Throw first six ingredients into a crock pot and boil on high for 7 hours.  Serve with the sops and decorate with sliced eggs.

This was the last item that I made.  I almost decided not to make this as it was late and I was very tired.  I didn’t relish standing over a hot stove watching this boil.  Just as I was about to go to bed, the thought occured to me that I could make this in a crock pot and still get some sleep.  I decided to hard boil the eggs as I thought it would be prettier to decorate with them than with a poached egg.  I also didn’t thicken this dish, because the onions remained so large.  If they had mushed up, I would have added the thickener.  The next time I make this, I will chop the onions finer.  While this dish tasted very good, the large pieces of onion were somewhat hard to keep on the sops.  But that is just a personal choice for me.

To make red deere [From The good huswifes Jewell. 1596]

 

Take a legge of beef, and cut out all the sinews clean, and take a roling pin and all to beate it, then perboile it, and when you have so doon lard it very thick and lay it in wine or vinegar for two or three howers, or a whole nigh, then take it out & season it with peper, salt, cloves and maice, then put it into your past, & so bake it.
My redaction:

4 small steaks tenderized by the butcher
1/4 bottle of claret
4 or 5 strips of bacon
Pie Crust
1 tsp each salt, pepper, ground cloves and ground mace.

Put steaks in a dish or pan and marinate them with the claret for two or three hours.  Take an 8.5×11″ pan and line the bottom with pie crust.  Place your steaks into the crust, sprinkle with spices and then lay bacon on top of steaks.  Place another crust on top of the meat and seal the top and bottom together.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 min., then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for a further 60 min.  May be served either hot or cold.

My Lord of Carlisle’s Sack-Posset

Written by: Mistress Huette

Take a pottle of Cream, and boil in it a little whole Cinnamon, and three or four flakes of Mace. To this proportion of Cream put in eighteen yolks of eggs, and eight of the whites; a pint of Sack; beat your eggs very well, and then mingle them with your Sack. Put in three quarters of a pound of Sugar into the Wine and Eggs, with a Nutmeg grated, and a little beaten Cinnamon; set the Bason on the fire with the Wine and Eggs, and let it be hot. Then put in the Cream boiling from the fire, pour it on high, but stir it not; cover it with a dish, and when it is settlede, strew on the top a little fine Sugar mingled with three grains of Ambergreece, and one grain of Musk, and serve it up. From Sir Kenelm Digby The Closet (London: 1671)

1 pint cream
18 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1 whole mace
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 tsp cinnamon, grated
1 pint cream sherry

Scald the cream in a pan with the whole mace and stick cinnamon. Beat egg whites until frothy. Beat egg yolks until lemon colored. Fold in together and then fold in one cup sugar and grated spices. Remove mace and cinnamon from cream. Temper eggs with a bit of cream, then mix the cream and egg mixture together continually beating all the time. Place over a medium-low heat and cook until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat and add the sherry. Pour into posset pots and let cool somewhat, allowing it to settle/separate. Sprinkle one tsp sugar on top of all and serve. I have deliberately left off the ambergris and the musk, as I don’t like the taste, they are hard to find, and are expensive. This posset tastes just fine without them.

A well made posset was said to have three different layers. The uppermost, known as ‘the grace’ was a snowy foam or aerated crust. In the middle was a smooth spicy custard and at the bottom a pungent alcoholic liquid. The grace and the custard were enthusiastically consumed as ‘spoonmeat’ and the sack-rich liquid below drunk through the ‘pipe’ or spout of the posset pot. At weddings a wedding ring was sometimes thrown into the posset. It was thought that the person who fished it out would be the next to go to the altar.

The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, defines posset as a drink composed of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other liquor, often with sugar, spices, or other ingredients; formerly much used as a delicacy, or as a remedy for colds or other affections. Its use predates Digby by a couple hundred years; it was referenced in the mid-1400s by J. Baker’s Boke of Nurture. It said, Milke, crayme, and cruddes, and eke the Ioncate, they close a mannes stomake and so doth the possate. (Translation: Milk, cream, and curds, and also the junket, they close a man’s stomach, and so does the posset.)