Mediaeval or mediaeval-style recipes for some of
the food mentioned in the stories. Found on the web and untested!
English Saffron Bread
2 tsp. saffron
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 packages dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 cups flour
3 Tbs. lemon rind, grated
2 cups currants (optional)
Steep saffron in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve
liquid. Pour scalded milk over butter and sugar. Stir to melt
butter. Cool to warm then stir in yeast. Add saffron liquid and
eggs. Blend well. Add dry ingredients. Dough should be stiff.
Knead, shape into a ball, place in bowl, cover and let rise until
doubled. Punch down, divide into 3 equal sections, knead each
section and roll out into 15-inch ropes. Braid the three ropes
together, place on a greased baking sheet, and let rise again
until doubled. Bake at 350º F for 1 hour, or until loaf sounds
hollow when tapped with a finger.
Summer Fruit, Honey, and Hazelnut Crumble
A baked dessert like this would have been sunk in the embers of
the log fire with a cauldron or pot upturned over it to form a
2 1/2 lb mixed soft summer fruits-- raspberries, loganberries,
strawberries, currants, bilberries or whatever is available
honey to taste
3 oz toasted hazelnuts
3 oz wholemeal or wholewheat brown breadcrumbs
Put the fruits in a pan with about 1 inch of water in the bottom
and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or till the fruits are soft.
Sweeten to taste with honey. Drain the excess juice and save to
serve with the pudding. Chop the hazelnuts until they are almost
as fine as the breadcrumbs, but not quite, then mix the two together.
Spoon the fruit into an ovenproof dish and cover with a thick
layer of hazelnuts and crumbs. Bake in a moderate oven for 20
- 30 minutes or till the top is slightly cruncy and browned. Serve
with cream or plain yogurt and the warmed fruit juices.
To make a very fine Sillibub, Take one Quart of Cream, one Pint and an half of Wine or Sack,
the Juice of two Limons with some of the Pill, and a Branch of
Rosemary, sweeten it very well, then put a little of this Liquor,
and a little of the Cream into a Basin, beat them till it froth,
put that Froth into the Sillibub pot, and so do till the Cream
and Wine be done, then cover it close, and set it in a cool Cellar
for twelve hours, then eat it. From Hannah Wooley The Queen-like Closet (London:1674)
To make whipt syllabubs Take a quart of thick cream, and half a pint of sack, the juice
of two Seville oranges, or lemons; grate in the peel of two lemons;
half a pound of double-refined sugar, pour it into a broad earthen
pan, and whisk it well; but first sweeten some red wine, or sack,
and fill your glasses as full as you chuse; then as the froth
rises take it off with a spoon, and lay it carefully into your
glasses, till they are as full as it will hold.
From Charles Carter The London and Country Cook (London: 1749)
1 pint thick cream
1/2 pint sherry
juice and grated rind of one lemon
1/4 cup sugar
Chill a large bowl and put in all ingredients. Beat continuously,
skimming off foam as it rises. Continue until all mixture has
turned to foam. Put the foam in a pretty serving bowl and chill.
For a solid version, whip the cream alone until it is stiff. Fold
in the other ingredients and chill. The first version is to be served as a drink; the second is to
be eaten as a dessert with spoons.
This is a modern recipe.
For the cake:
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1- 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender leaves
For the glaze:
1/3 cup sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat granulated sugar, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla together until well-blended. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stir well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lavender. Pour the batter into an 8-inch greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. To prepare glaze, combine icing sugar and remaining ingredients. Spread over hot cake. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack
1 lb sifted flour
1/4 lb butter
2 Tbs. caster sugar
2 Tbs. honey
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 pt. (1 cup) milk
1 egg white
For the topping:
1/2 lb (1 cup) thick heather honey
3 Tbs. ground almonds
Rub the butter into the flour, and gently heat the sugar and honey
until it is well mixed, then stir in the baking powder. Add this
to the flour mixture, alternately with the egg yolks beaten with
the milk. Mix very well, and finally add the salt and mix again.
Roll out on a floured board very lightly and cut into rounds or
shapes. Put on a greased baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven
(350 degrees F) for about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack, paint
the tops with lightly beaten egg white, and spread over the thick
honey mixed with the ground almonds. Put in a very cool oven for
no longer than 5 minutes to set. Eat either hot or cold.
Fruit tansy was a popular harvest dish that originated in the
C14th. Initially it was made with eggs and herbs flavoured with
tansy juice, but by the C17th had developed into a sweet pudding
and the bitter tansy was omitted.
1 lb cooking apples or gooseberries
4 oz butter
2 fl oz water
4 oz granulated sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 dessertspoon orange juice
4 ox white breadcrumbs
Top & tail the gooseberries or peel, core and slice the apples.
Melt the butter in a pan with the water and add the fruit and
sugar. Simmer until soft and leave to cool. Gradually beat in
the eggs, followed by the orange juice. Place the pan over a
low heat and add the breadcrumbs, a few at a time, stirring constantly,
until the mixture thickens like custard. Serve at once with fresh
Curd Cheese Pastries
8oz wholemeal or wholewheat shortcrust pastry
8 oz curd cheese
1oz very finely chopped stem or crystallized ginger or plump
1/2 oz toasted and chopped pine nuts
sugar to taste
lemon juice to taste
Roll the pastry out very thin and cut it into small rectangles, 6 inches x 3 inches. Bake them in a moderately hot oven (190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5) for ten
minutes or till they are crisp and brown. Remove them and cool on a rack. Meanwhile mix the curd cheese with the ginger or raisins, the
pine nutes and the sugar and lemon to taste. Set aside. When you are ready
serve, sandwich together two pieces of pastry with the cheese
Fenkel in Soppes
Braised Fennel with Ginger
This recipe comes from the Forme
of Cury, a collection of 196 'receipts' copied by Richard II's
scribes at his
1 1/2 lb trimmed, fresh fennel root; cleaned and cut in
8 oz onions, thickly sliced
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger
1 level teapsoon of powdered saffron
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
5 fl oz each dry white wine and water
6 thick slices of coarse wholewheat or wholemeal bread
Put the fennel in a wide, lidded pan with the onions. Sprinkle
over the spices and salt, then the oil and finally pour over the liquids. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or till the fennel
is cooked without being mushy. Stir once or twice during the cooking
to make sure the spices get well distributed. Place one slice of bread on each warmed plate, cover it with the fennel and pour over the juices.
Tart de Bry
A cheese tart
Another recipe from the Forme of Cury
174. Tart de Bry. Take a crust ynche depe in a trap. Take yolkes
of ayren rawe & chese ruayn & medle it & þe
yolkes togyder. Do þerto powdour gynger, sugur, safroun,
and salt. Do it in a trap; bake it & serue it forth.
One nine-inch pie shell
Raw Egg Yolks
Cheese - semi-soft, but not so soft that it can't be grated
Combine the final six ingredients - the mixture is essentially
grated cheese held together with the egg yolk; the final consistency
should be slightly runny. Place this filling in a pie shell and
bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling has set.
"Chese ruayn," also called "rewen" or "rowen" in other Medieval sources, was Autumn cheese, made after the cattle
had fed on the second growth. This was apparently a semi-soft
cheese, but not as soft as a ripe modern Brie: one period recipe
says to grate it.
Sky-blue sauce for summer
Take some of the wild blackberries that grow in hedgerows and
some thoroughly pounded almonds, with a little ginger. And moisten
these things with verjuice and strain through a sieve.
1 quart blackberries
1/3 cup unblanched almonds
2/3 cup verjuice, or a mixture of two parts cider vinegar to one
1/4-inch slice ginger, peeled
Puree the blackberries and strain
the juice, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. In
a mortar, grind the almonds and ginger, then mix
with the blackberry juice. Contact with the air will turn the
mixture a dark blue.
Add the verjuice and strain once more. Season with salt to taste.
A non-vegetarian pie, made with the parts of the boar Eomer refused.
To be authentic, this should be made with 'noumbles' or intestines
from the deer. At one time the hero who had shot the deer would
be awarded these delicacies and would have had them made into
a pie. The 'noumbles' are dusted with seasoned flour, sauteed
and then simmered in game broth. Cubebs and galingale and other
'strong' spices (poudre fort) are added. The mixture is put into
a pastry case and baked in a savoury egg custard sauce.
From the Forme of Cury
XIII: Noumbles. Take noumble of Deer op of beef pboile hem kerf
hem to dice. Take the self broth or butter, take brede and grynde
with the broth and temp it up with a gode qutite of vyneg and
wyne. Take the oynons and pboyle them and mynce hem smale and
do th to color with blode and do th to powdo fort and salt and
boyle it wele and sue it fort.
Take nombles (organ meat) of deer or of beef, parboil them and
carve them to dice (small pieces). Take the sieved broth or butter,
take bread and grind it with the broth and temper it with a good
quantity of vinegar and wine. Take the onions and parboil them
and mince them small and color them with (beef) blood and add
'powder fort' (strong powder) and salt and boil it well and serve
A modern recipe for 'powder fort': 1 part cloves, 1 part mace,
1 part crushed red pepper, 7 parts cinnamon, 7 parts ginger, 7
parts black pepper, all ground and blended.
Rapes in Potage
Another recipe from the Forme of Cury
7. Take rapus and make hem clene, and waissh hem clene; quarter
hem; perboile hem, take hem vp. Cast hem in a gode broth and seeþ
hem; mynce oynouns and cast þerto safroun and salt, and
messe it forth with powdour douce. In the self wise make of pastunakes
Note: rapes are turnips; pasternakes are parsnips or carrots;
skirrets are a species of water parsnip.
1 lb turnips, carrots, or parsnips
1/2 lb onions
6 threads saffron
powder douce (4 parts sugar, 1 part cinnamon, 1 part ginger)
Wash, peel, and cut up the turnips, carrots or parsnips, and parboil
for 10-15 minutes. Mince the onions. Drain the turnips, carrots,
or parsnips and put them in a pot with the onions and broth. Bring
to a boil. Crush saffron into a spoonful of broth and add with
the other seasonings to potage. Cook for another 15-20 minutes,
until the vegetables are soft and the liquid is slightly reduced
Potage of Rice
From MS Harley 5401, England, 15th Century
Potage of Rice. Recipe rice, & pike þam & wash
þam clene, & seth þam to þai breste; þan
lat þam kele & cast þerto almond mylke, &
do þerto a lityll porcyon of wyne, anoþer of hony,
and colour it with saferon, & boyle it & serof it forth.
Potage of Rice. Recipe. Rice, & pick them & wash them
clean, & boil them till they burst; then let them cool &
add there-to almond milk, & do there-to a little portion of
wine, another of honey, and color it with saffron, & boyle
it & serve it forth.
1/4 cup fresh lavender blooms - stems removed before measuring
1 cup sugar
5 cups good-tasting water
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
In a saucepan, mix the sugar with 2 1/2 cups of the water. Bring
to a boil, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Add the lavender to
the hot sugar syrup, remove from heat, and allow to steep for
at least 20 minutes - and up to several hours, as desired. Strain;
discard solids. Add the lemon juice and the remaining 2 1/2 cups
of water. Stir - the color will change. Chill, or serve over ice.
Garnish, if desired with sprigs of fresh lavender.
50 elderflower heads
3 2lb bags of caster sugar
11 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
25 litres of cold water
11 large lemons
Pick the elderflowers when fully out and shake to remove insects.
Place the flowers in a cloth bag, seal it and put it into the
water with the sugar, vinegar, juice and zest from the lemons.
Mix well, cover and stand for 72 hours. Bottle and leave for 2
weeks releasing the fizz every couple of days or the bottles will
A modern recipe.
3 fresh pears (or 6 dried pears)
2 cups sugar, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
3 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. whole coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 whole peppercorn
2 cups vodka
Remove seeds and dice pears. Put in a glass jar along with spices
and peel from 1 orange (avoid the white pith). Add vodka, cover,
and leave for 2 weeks. Strain through cheese cloth and add sugar
solution. Leave until clear.
A modern recipe.
1/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 1/2 cups 100-proof vodka
1 whole nutmeg, broken
7 cardamom pods, crushed
3 whole allspice
peel of 1/2 lemon
peel of 1/2 orange
1/2 vanilla bean, broken
Simmer all but vodka for 15 minutes. Cool. Pour into glass container
along with vodka. Let stand 3 weeks. Strain through cheese cloth
and leave until clear.
Take a quart of hony, & sethe it, & skeme it clene;
take Safroun, pouder Pepir, & þrow ther-on; take gratyd
Brede, & make it so chargeaunt þat it wol be y-leched;
þen take pouder Canelle, & straw þer-on y-now;
þen make yt square, lyke as þou wolt leche it; take
when þou lechyst hyt, an caste Box leaves a-bouyn, y-stkyd
þer-on, on clowys. And if þou wolt haue it Red, coloure
it with Saunderys y-now. Harleian MS. 279, England, 15th century.
Take a quart of honey, & boil it, and skim it clean; take
saffron, powder pepper, and throw thereon; take grated bread,
& make (the mixture) so stiff that it can be sliced; then
take powder cinnamon, & strew thereon enough; then make it
square, like as thou wouldst slice it; take when thou slicest
it, and cast box leaves over it, stuck thereon with cloves. And
if thou wouldst have it red, colour it with sandalwood enough.
Take goode honey & clarifie it on the fere, & take
fayre paynemayn or wastel brede & grate it, & caste it
into the boylenge hony, & stere it will togydr faste with
a sklse that bren not to the vessell. & thanne take it doun
and put thein ginger, long pepere & saundres, & tempere
it up with thin handel; & than put hem to a flatt boyste &
strawetheron suger, & pick therin clowesround about by the
egge and in themyudes yf it plece you &c.
1 pint honey
15 oz breadcrumbs
5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground sandalwood
Place honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a low
heat. Skim off the scum that forms on the top of the honey. Stir
in the breadcrumbs then remove from the heat. Mix in the spices
and place the mixture in a Swiss roll tin. Cut into pieces when
cold and serve decorated with whole cloves.
A modern recipe.
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons water
4 cups (1lb) whole almonds, unskinned
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons table salt
Preheat oven to 300F. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with
lightly buttered foil. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet
on medium heat. Add the brown sugar and water and stir until the
sugar dissolves. Stir in the almonds, pepper and salt. Cook at
a fast bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Spread nuts
in a single layer on the baking sheet(s). Bake for 30 minutes
or until the nuts turn a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven
and allow to cool slightly, then separate the nuts.
Cut the chestnuts in half and discard any that are bad. Place
the chestnut halves cut side up on a hot grill and roast for 45
to 50 minutes or until the shells have browned and the nuts slip
easily from their shells. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
A modern recipe.
1 large cooking apple per person
Heat the oven to 400F. Wash the apples, remove the cores and,
with a sharp knife, slit the skin all around the apple, just above
the middle. Stand the apples in a baking dish. Fill the centre
of each apple with brown sugar and top with a nut of butter. Put
a little water in the dish and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes
depending on the size of the apples. Test with a knife to make
sure the centre of the apples is cooked. The centre of the apple
may also be filled with sultanas and brown sugar; mincemeat; chopped
dates; marmalade; raisins and honey; or chopped nuts and golden
Rysshews of fruyt
Spiced rissoles of fruit.
Recipe from the Forme of Cury.
190. Rysshews of fruyt. Take fyges and raisouns; pyke hem and
waisshe hem in wyne. Grynde hem wiþ apples and peeres ypared
and ypiked clene. Do þerto gode powdours and hole spices;
make balles þerof, frye in oile, and serue hem forth.
Red wine - slightly sweet
Apples - peeled, cored, and diced
Pears - peeled, cored, and diced
Good powders - use spices appropriate for fruit: sugar, cinnamon,
clove, mace, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
Whole spices - this would probably have been such spices as anise,
grains of paradise, etc.
Soak the figs and raisins in wine until the fruit begins to plump;
remove from wine. Pass the figs, raisins, apples, & pears
through a food grinder. In a bowl, combine the fruits and the
spices into a thick, malleable mixture; roll this mixture into
small balls. Fry the rissoles in the hot oil; remove and drain.
Toasted Stuffed Brown Rolls
Wastels were good quality
served to the gentry at a late medieval feast.
3 wholemeal or wholewheat brown rools, halved and with their
2 oz butter
4 oz mushrooms, chopped roughly
4 oz cooked and very well drained leaf spinach, chopped
2 oz raisins
salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, cloves to taste
1 large or 2 small eggs
Put halved rolls in moderately hot oven for about ten minutes
or until they are lightly browned and crisp. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the mushrooms for a couple
Add the spinach and the raisins and continue to cook gently for
several minutes, or till the butter has been almost absorbed by the vegetables. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, and spices. Beat the egg
in a bowl, add to the vegetable mixture and cook it gently just long enough for the egg to slightly bind to the other ingredients. Pile the filling
into the halved rolls and serve at once.
A modern recipe.
1 large orange
3 quarts apple cider
1 quart apricot nectar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cinnamon sticks
Insert cloves into the orange about 1/2" apart. Bake the
orange in a 350° oven. After about 30 minutes, remove the
orange and puncture it in several places with a fork. Place the orange and the remaining ingredients in a large
pot and cover it. Bring it to a boil and simmer over low heat
for another 30 minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof punch bowl. Float the orange and cinnamon sticks. Serve in heat-proof
8oz Dried Split Peas
½ pint Vegetable Stock
1 small Onion
1 Bouquet Garni
Salt & Black Pepper
Soak the peas. Drain and place in a pan with the halved onion,
bouquet garni and 300 ml (1/2 pint) of vegetable stock. Bring
to the boil, cover and simmer for an hour or until tender. Stir
occasionally, adding extra boiling water or stock as required.
Puree the peas to produce a smooth paste, add the beaten egg and
season. Place the puree into a greased and floured pudding cloth,
tie it securely and boil for 1 hour.
Porridge was served with a separate bowl of double cream, or a
spoonful of porridge (in a horn spoon) could be dipped into a
communal bowl of cream before it was eaten. The porridge could
also be poured into a "porridge drawer" and, once it
had cooled, cut up into slices, which were easier to carry than
Sufficient for two people
One pint water (some people use half water and half milk)
2 1/2 rounded tablespoons of medium-ground oats
Pinch of salt
Bring the water (or water and milk) to a good boil. Slowly pour
the oatmeal into the boiling liquid, stirring vigorously with
a wooden spoon ALL the time. Keep stirring until it has returned
to the boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer very gently
for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the salt at this point
and simmer and stir for a further 5 - 10 minutes (depending on
the quality of the oats). The porridge should be a thick but pourable.
Serve hot in wooden bowls.
4-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, apples, apricots)
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground mace
1 dash ground cinnamon
Bring water and fruit to a boil. Slowly add the oatmeal to boiling
water while stirring. Reduce heat to low, cook, stirring frequently,
15 to 30 minutes. The longer the ingredients cook, the softer
they will be. The porridge should be like a thick soup. Do not
add milk at the table.