Tag Archives: sugar

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.

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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.