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November Culinary Night

24 Nov
Assortment of medieval-themed dishes for a "festive foods" November Culinary night

Assortment of medieval-themed dishes for a “festive foods” November Culinary night

I haven’t been able to attend the medieval culinary night in Calgary for a long time, but in November I was able to attend because the location was super close compared to the usual generous hosts who live very far away (like over an hour and a half on the bus each way).

The theme was “Festive Foods” and so I thought about what dishes I associated with the holidays – that I could also find medieval recipes for. I’m not great at researching culinary – so I really just go to a few websites and pick what sounds interesting…

Frequently I end up making desserts and appetizers for holiday dinners, so I made three things – “Stuffed Eggs” – basically a medieval version of Devilled Eggs, “Cawdel out of lente” – a drink kind of resembling egg nog, and with the leftover egg whites, well-post-period meringue cookies flavoured with rosewater.

Since the timing of Culinary Night was near the US Thanksgiving (and a few of the group’s members travelled south for that), and was the Monday after a huge event (Coronation) quite far away (like a 6-8 hour drive, in less than ideal winter driving conditions) the number of people attending was pretty low. There were also some other conflicts that kept the group smaller than it often is.

The dishes during the Festive Foods night included:

  • Turkey wrapped in bacon, cooked in a coffin – kind of like a bread bowl, where you don’t eat the bread.
  • Medieval gingerbread – nothing like the gingerbread we enjoy today
  • My stuffed eggs
  • My Cawdel out of lente version one – without booze
  • My Cawdel out of lente version two – with booze
  • Another medieval eggnog like drink made by another member
  • My meringues (post-period)
  • Some purchased baklava (as-is they’re post-period… but the person who brought them speculates that there may have been a variation that is within period)

Stuffed Eggs

My Stuffed Eggs following a medieval recipe. These are kind of like devilled eggs

My Stuffed Eggs following a medieval recipe

I used the recipe from the Medieval Cookery to make my Stuffed Eggs. They report this as a 15th Century recipe from Lombardy. I cooked them, then popped them in the fridge for a few years before heading to the event. I think they would have tasted a bit better if I hadn’t boiled the eggs QUITE as hard, or if they’d been more room-temperature rather than cold. (It’s about a 10 minute drive from my house, and while I had planned on bussing I got a ride instead… so they stayed cold.)

The recipe as posted on the Medieval Cookery is as follows:

Ingredients

A medieval version of deviled eggs.

8 eggs, hard boiled
1 eggs, uncooked
1/4 cup cheese (mozzarella)
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron
pinch sugar

Method

Peel hard boiled eggs and cut in half. Take out the yolkes and mix with raw eggs, cheese, marjoram, parsley, salt, and saffron. Place yolk mixture back into egg whites, pin egg halves back together with a toothpick, and bake in a greased pan at 350° until cooked through – about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.

I ended up mixing the sugar into the filling, and only made four eggs (8 halves) since there were only 7 people RSVP’d on the event. (So often we end up with a LOT of leftovers… but with so much food it’s nice to have a taste of everything… but not a LOT of any one thing.)  I still put a full raw egg into the filling, and didn’t include the saffron  – I don’t keep any in my spice cabinet, and wasn’t going to go out to get any. (Nor spend the money on buying saffron for the very few dishes that call for it – almost always medieval dishes…) (Silk Road carries Saffron for $11-16 per gram…)

I also didn’t pin the egg halves back together to bake them – I wanted each half to be eaten as a single piece (and there was a LOT of filling…) rather than putting only half as much filling in.

All of the original medieval recipes call for frying the eggs after stuffing them, but I baked mine (cradled in a muffin cup on suspended tin foil to avoid the oil).

I heard from other guests that the cheese was great in the dish – though I still thought the temperature was wrong.. I liked them well enough – but didn’t love them.

Cawdel out of lente version one – without booze

Two variations of Cawdel out of lente - one with alcohol, the other without

Two variations of Cawdel out of lente – one with alcohol, the other without

I wasn’t sure how many people who were attending abstained from alcohol (for whatever reason…) so I figured I’d make this in two batches. The first batch would be just almond milk – no booze… and the second batch would be with booze.

I used the recipe from Give It Forth, which is as follows:

Interpreted Recipe 

1 cup almond milk (I made mine using 1/4th cup almond flour, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white wine)
2 egg yolks
1-2 tbsp. sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
Blaunche Powder to decorate (3 parts sugar to 1 part ginger)

You could use commercial almond milk for this recipe, but I usually make the quick almond milk. Bring to a simmer and add egg yolks, sugar and salt, or, heat over a double broiler as if you were making a custard. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Before serving you could add a bit of red food coloring, and marble it, or, sprinkle with blaunche powder.

Although she recommends an almond milk made from almond flour… I wasn’t wanting to go out to get almond flour, but I did have commercial almond milk in the fridge. For the booze-free version I just used the milk. I expected the mixture to thicken up considerably – like a custard – but it really didn’t. It may have thickened slightly above the milk’s texture… but even that only happened when it cooled.

My Cawdel out of lente version two – with booze

For the boozy version, I actually didn’t have any white wine open in the house (or a bottle I wanted to open just to cook with… a bottle of wine lasts wayyyy too long around my house, so opening a bottle is a significant commitment…) However, I did have a bottle of Pyment. Pyment is mead, with grape juice added. (Or sometimes called a honey’d wine). An acquaintance told me that when the honey season wasn’t good, someone making mead might “stretch” the available honey with different fruits like grapes, pears, or apples (etc). I was given the Pyment, and it’s super-tasty.. BUT it’s carbonated – and I can’t drink much with carbonation. My housemate doesn’t like it…so it’s been hanging out in my fridge for a while.

I started with the suggestion of half a cup of milk, and half a cup of Pyment (instead of wine) and when I tasted the mixture… it was WAY too boozy. (Clearly I have a very low tolerance for alcohol… but at the same time I didn’t want anyone to skip tasting the dish because it was too high in alcohol.) I added another cup of almond milk so it was 1/4 Pyment and 3/4 almond milk. To differentiate between the boozy and sober drink – I added two drops of red food colouring to make the drink a pale pink.

Although I did double the liquid… I forgot to double the eggs… but since the other version didn’t thicken up a lot, I didn’t worry about that with this either.

My impressions – I liked the non-boozy version best, and definitely with the Blaunche Powder on it for sure. It was only in reading the original recipes that I realized that I’d have to add thickening agents to get the recipe to thicken up… it wasn’t going to be a custard-like thickness just as the recipe calls for.

Meringue

I’ve made a few of these recently… so I’ll blog about these in a separate post.. especially since these kinds of cookies were developed in the 17th century, not within the time period of the SCA.

Montengarde’s Culinary Group

Promo for the medieval November Culinary Night blog postIf you’re in Calgary and are interested in medieval cooking, you too can join the Culinary Group! Come check out the group on Facebook!

You can also follow Happy Sushi Belly on Facebook too!

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in South-West Calgary, Treats

 

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