Tag Archives: English Recipe

The English Housewife: Potluck picks

Summer picnic season is upon us. And while banqueting was far more the thing to do in 1615, some of the recipes that were featured in The English Housewife could be nice take alongs.

Here are some of the translations (from this website over here). At least they give you some new ideas for old world dishes.

“Banquetting fruit and conceited dishes There are a world of other bak’d Meats and Pyes, but for as much as whosoever can do these, may do all therest, because herein is contained all the art of Seasonings, I will trouble you with no further repetitions, but proceed to the manner of making Banqueting stuff, and coinceited dishes, with other pretty and curious secrets, necessary for the understanding of our English House-wife: for albeit, they are not of general use, yet in their due times, they are so needful for adornation, that whosoever is ignorant therein, is lame, and but the half part of a House-wife.

To make paste of Quinces To make past of Quinces, first boyl your Quinces whole, and when they are soft pare them, and cut the Quince from the Core; then take the finest Sugar you can get, finely beaten or searsed, and put in a little Rose-water, and boyl it together till it be stiff enough to mould, and when it is cold, then role it, and print it. A pound of Quinces will take a pound of Sugar, or near thereabouts.

To make thin Quince cakes To make thin Quince-cakes, take your Quince when it is boyled soft as beforesaid, and dry it upon a Pewter plate, with a soft heat, and be ever stirring of it with a slice till it be hard, then take searsed Sugar quantity for quantity, and strew it into the Quince, as you beat it in a wooden or stone mortar, and so roul them thin and print them.

To preserve Quinces To preserve quinces, first pare your quinces, and take out the cores, and boyl the cores and parings altogether in fair water, and when they begin to be soft, take them out and strain your Liquor, and put the weight of your Quinces in Sugar, and boyl the Quinces in the Syrup till they be tender: then take them up, and boyl the Syrup till it be thick. If you will have your Quinces red, cover them in the boyling; and if you will have them white, do not cover them.

To make Ginger-bread Take Claret-wine, and colour it with Townsall, and put in Sugar, and set it to the fire; then take wheat bread finely grated and sifted, and Licoras, Anniseeds, Ginger and Cinamon beaten very small and searsed; and put your bread and your spice together, and put them into the wine and boyl it, and stir it till it be thick, then mould it and print it at your pleasure, and let it stand neither too moist nor too warm.

To make Jumbals To make the best Jumbals, take the whites of three Eggs, and beat them well, and take off the froth; then take a little milk and a pound of fine wheat flowre and Sugar together finely sifted, and a few Anniseeds well rub’d and dryed, and then work all together as stiff as you can work it, and so make them in what forms you please, & bake them in a soft oven upon white papers.”

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.

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.)