Tag Archives: Recipes from Medieval England

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Edited text (by me) from “Forme of Cury” discussing Sugar and Spice used during their period and previously. Some interesting points, made as far as I can tell, by Samuel Pegge in the 18th Century (which was published in the forward of the cookbook):

“Honey was the great and universal sweetner in remote antiquity, and particularly in this island, where it was the chief constituent of
mead and metheglin. It is said, that at this day in Palestine
they use honey in the greatest part of their ragouts. Our cooks had a method of clarifying it, which was done by putting it in a pot with whites of eggs and water, beating them well together; then setting it over the fire, and boiling it; and when it was ready
to boil over to take it and cool it. This I presume is called clere honey. And, when honey was so much in use, it appears from Barnes that refining it was a trade of itself.

Sugar, or Sugur, was now beginning here to take place of honey;
however, they are used together. Sugar came from the Indies,
by way of Damascus and Aleppo, to Venice, Genoa, and Pisa, and from these last places to us. It is here not only frequently used,
but was of various sorts, as cypre named probably
from the isle of Cyprus, whence it might either come directly to us,
or where it had received some improvement by way of refining. There is mention of blanch-powder or white sugar. They, however,
were not the same. Sugar was clarified sometimes with wine.

Spices. Species. They are mentioned in general, and whole
spices, but they are more commonly specified, and are
indeed greatly used, though being imported from abroad, and from so far as Italy or the Levant (and even there must be dear), some may wonder at this: but it should be considered, that our Roll was
chiefly compiled for the use of noble and princely tables; and the
same may be said of the Editor’s MS. The spices came from the same part of the world, and by the same route, as sugar did. The spicery was an ancient department at court, and had its proper officers.

As to the particular sorts, these are,

Cinamon. Canell. Canel, Editor’s MS. Kanell, ibid. is the Italian Canella. See Chaucer. We have the flour or powder, See Wiclif. It is not once mentioned in Apicius.

Macys, Editor’s MS. 10. Maces, 134. Editor’s MS. 27. They
are used whole and are always expressed plurally, though we
now use the singular, mace. See Junii Etym.

Cloves. Dishes are flourished with them, Editor’s MS.
10. where we have clowys gylofres, as in our Roll. Powdour gylofre occurs. Chaucer has clowe in the singular, and see him v. Clove-gelofer.

Galyngal, and elsewhere. Galangal, the long rooted cyperus,
is a warm cardiac and cephalic. It is used in powder and was
the chief ingredient in galentine, which, I think, took its name
from it.

Pepper. It appears from Pliny that this pungent, warm seasoning, so much in esteem at Rome, came from the East Indies, and,
as we may suppose, by way of Alexandria. We obtained it no doubt, in the 14th century, from the same quarter, though not exactly by the same route, but by Venice or Genoa. It is used both whole, and in powder. And long-pepper occurs, if we read the place rightly.

Ginger, gyngyn. 64. 136. alibi. Powder is used, 17. 20. alibi. and
Rabelais IV. c. 59. the white powder, 131. and it is the name of a
mess, 139. quÃlre whether gyngyn is not misread for gyngyr, for see Junii Etym. The Romans had their ginger from Troglodytica [109].

Cubebs, 64. 121. are a warm spicy grain from the east.

Grains of Paradice, or de parys are the greater cardamoms.

Noix muscadez. nutmegs.

The caraway is once mentioned and was an exotic from Caria,
whence, according to Mr. Lye, it took its name: ‘sunt semina, inquit, carri vel carrei, sic dicti a Caria, ubi copiosissimè nascitur.’

Powder-douce, which occurs so often, has been thought by some, who have just peeped into our Roll, to be the same as sugar, and only a different name for it; but they are plainly mistaken, as is evident from where they are mentioned together as different things. In short, I take powder-douce to be either powder of galyngal, for see Editor’s MS II. 20. 24, or a compound made of sundry aromatic spices ground or beaten small, and kept always ready at hand in some proper receptacle. It is otherwise termed good powders or powder simply. White powder-douce occurs, which seems to be the same as blanch-powder, called blaynshe powder, and bought ready prepared, in Northumb. Book. It is sometimes used with powder-fort for which see the next and last article.

Powder-fort, 10. 11. seems to be a mixture likewise of the warmer
spices, pepper, ginger, &c. pulverized: hence we have powder-fort of gynger, other of canel. It is called strong powder, and perhaps may sometimes be intended by good powders. If you will suppose it to be kept ready prepared by the vender, it may be the powder-marchant found joined in two places with powder-
douce. This Speght says is what gingerbread is made of; but Skinner disapproves this explanation, yet, says Mr. Urry, gives none of his own.

Leche Lumbard

By: Mercy Asakura

Here is my first recipe post which I think is fitting for the first of the year.  I did this one many years ago and it’s the first recipe/redaction I have actually found.  Unfortunately my stash of recipes are lost.  Hopefully I will uncover them soon.

Here is the basics:


Leche Lumbard – from Forme of Cury:

66. Leche Lumbard. Take rawe pork and pulle of the skyn, and pyke out esynewes, and bray the pork in a morter with ayron rawe. Do erto sugur, salt, raysouns coraunce, dates mynced, and powdour of peper, powdour gylofre; & do it in a bladder, and lat it see til it be ynowhgh. And whan it is ynowh, kerf it; leshe it in liknesse of a peskodde; and take grete raysouns and grynde hem in a morter. Drawe hem vp wi rede wyne. Do erto mylke of almaundes. Colour it with saundres & safroun, and do erto powdour of peper & of gilofre and boile it. And whan it is boiled, take powdour canel and gynger and temper it vp with wyne, and do alle ise thynges togyder, and loke at it be rennyng; and lat it not see after at it is cast togyder, & serue it forth.

Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). London: For the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.

Gode Cookery translation: Take raw pork and pull off the skin, and pick out the sinews, and pound the pork in a morter with raw eggs. Do there to sugar, salt, currants, minced dates, and powder of pepper, powder cloves; & do it in a bladder, and let it boil til it be done. And when it is done, carve it; slice it in the likeness of a peaspod; and take great raisins and grind them in a morter. Blend it with red wine. Do there to milk of almonds. Color it with sandlewood & saffron, and do there to powder of pepper & of cloves and boil it. And when it is boiled, take cinnamon powder and ginger and mix it up with wine, and do all these things together, and look that it be rennet (coagulated); and let it not boil after that it is cast together, & serve it forth.

My Redaction:

Meatloaf —

1 Lbs Ground Pork
1 Egg
4 Tbs currants
1/2 little box raisins
6 Large dates, pitted and minced
1/4 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/8 tsp black Pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Sauce —

2 cups Almond Milk
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 little box of raisins
3 strands of saffron
1/8 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/8 tsp ginger

For meatloaf:

1.  Take all of the ingredients and mix them up in a bowl together.  Try to get a consistent mixture so that all the fruit and spices are distributed evenly.

2.  Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and form meat mixtures into a shape (if you want to see the original directions for peaspod, please go to the website stated above).  Mine was a sun.  I tried to keep it no taller/thicker than an inch and a half so everything cooked evenly.

3.  Put in oven at 350 degrees for roughly 35 minutes.  I originally made a 2-pound batch, which I left in for 40 minutes, which was a little too long for my tastes (turned a little dry).  It should be a light golden brown.


1.  Place in saucepan everything but the ginger and rosemary.  Bring to a boil, and then bring temperature down to a simmer.  Allow to boil down for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

2.  Near the end of the simmering, add ginger and rosemary.  Because mine didn’t thicken, I added about 1 tablespoon arrowroot, but when I did it the second time, it thickened.  So go figure.

Plating the Meal:

1.  Clean the excess fat off of the meatloaf and then put in the center of a large plate.

2.  Pour sauce around the loaf (not over).

3.  Serve it forth.

When I cook I do fudge the measurements depending on the taste as I cook it. I realize that the first time I added a lot more pepper than noted above because I like pepper.  Also, I don’t like wine sauces, so I added more almond milk to balance off the wine flavor.  You can change things where you see fit.