Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vyne Grace

Vyne Grace Redaction

1.5 lb pork fillets
1 bottle red wine
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 white onion
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp each cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper
Dash salt

If available, sear the pork fillets on an open grill. If cooking indoors, sear them in a hot pan or oven. While the meat is cooking, mince the onion finely (see note below). When the outside of the meat is cooked, but the inside raw (about 1 minute per side on a hot fire), pull the fillets off the heat. Cut them into less than 1 inch cubes.

Put the meat in a deep pan, and add the onions and wine. Add the spices and salt. Simmer until the meat is cooked through, and serve immediately. If you do not serve immediately, the pork will turn a fairly alarming shade of bright purple, which will then darken to black. While still tasty at this stage, some diners may balk at the oddly colored meat. The meat remains white inside. The sauce becomes very pork flavored if overcooked.

Note: if you put the onions into the wine raw, they remain crunchy, and give the sauce a spicy flavor. You could instead choose to sauté them while the meat is roasting, and then add them to the wine after they are cooked. This gives the dish a softer and sweeter flavor. Both are interesting.

Recipe Information
This recipe is from the Forme of Cury, a collection of English recipes from the 14th century.
If you would like further information, Forme of Cury is available online at:

Everyday Skills of Medieval Life: Basic Hand sewing, part II

This is the second part of the hand sewing video. In this section, we use the stitches shown in the first video to do two seam finishing techniques, and also to hem.

Everyday Skills of Medieval Life: Basic Hand sewing, part I

This is the first in a two-part series on basic hand sewing and finishing techniques. This section covers how to do a running and whip or hem stitch.

Vegetable Pottage and Pork Stew

Here is another cooking video, this one features two recopies, one for a lenten pottage of cabbage and leek, the other for pork stewed in wine.

Eat your vegetables!

Vegetable Pottage Redaction
from recipes “Caboches in Potage” and “Chebolace”

• ½ a green or white Cabbage, chopped
• 4 cups Vegetable Broth
• 2+ additional cups water, if needed
• 4 Leeks
• 1 Onion
• ½ cup chopped fresh parsely
• 1 Tbs each of various dried or fresh herbs: Chervil, Sage, Marjoram, etc.
• 2 Tbs Olive oil (or butter, grease, etc).
• a few sprigs of Saffron
• ½ tsp. Salt
• ½ tsp. Poudre Douce

Remove roots & tough greens of leeks. Slit leeks up sides & swish around in cold water, then set to soak to remove dirt. Chop veggies and herbs fairly small. Heat olive oil in pot sitting close over fire (or on med high on stove). Sauté onions until soft & golden brown. Add the broth, veggies, and herbs. Add a small amount of salt & poudre douce, and the saffron sprigs. Let cook over medium heat/ fire for ~1 hour or until all veggies are soft. Add water as necessary to keep it from burning; I kept the consistency more soupy than stewy while cooking, then let it thicken up at the end. Taste your pottage, and season more if necessary. Enjoy!

Recipe Information
The source is Forme of Cury out of Curye on Inglysch, a collection of English recipe manuscripts from the fourteenth century. Forme of Cury; “Caboches in Potage” IIII., and “Chebolace” VII.
My redaction involves taking two recipes and combining them, then making further adaptations based on my own preferences for quantity of spices, overall flavor and certain cooking methods (where not specified). I did the ‘Lenten’ version of these recipes, so they are vegan.
Online at:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Making Butter

This post comes in three parts. There is a video describing the process of making butter, this post, and a handout. The handout contains medieval images of butter making, documentation, and written instructions. It is the same handout we use when teaching this class in person.

This does not contain directions for making dashers. We will try to get diagrams of how to make dashers online in the next week or two. The rest of the supplies are available at most grocery stores.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ryshews of Fruit, Redacted

This recipe is from the Forme of Cury.  A full copy is available online, here:
The Forme of Cury is a 14th century English manuscript.

First, a quick note about redaction.  Medieval cookbooks don't give amounts, and in many cases, directions.  They assume that you know how to cook.  These manuscripts are more of a set of reminders of what goes in specific dishes than what we would modernly call a recipe.  Because of all these factors, there are many ways that the recipe could be interpreted.  To redact is to take these clues and make them into a modern recipe, with amounts and directions.  If you are a beginner cook, don't try to redact by yourself, at least at first.  On the other hand, if you think your redaction is better than ours, that's great! 

Ryshews of Fruit

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried figs
Red wine
2 small apples
1 large pear
1/4 tsp each of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 Tbs white sugar
3-5 Tbs white flour

Chop the raisins and figs fine.  We used a pair of kitchen scissors to chop up the dried fruit in a shallow bowl.  Pour red wine over the dried fruit, and let it sit for at least an hour. 
Combine the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar, set aside.  Peel the apples and pears, and chop them fine.  Grind the apples and pears.  We used a mortar and pestle, you could also substitute a blender or food processor. 
Next you need to grind the raisin and fig mixture in with the apple and pear mash.  Drain the fruit, discarding the wine (or you can use if to make other projects, it is yummy). Add the chopped dried fruit that has been soaked in wine to the mashed apple and pear, in whatever you've been using to mash.  Make sure the dried and fresh fruit are well mixed, and not extreemly lumpy. 
To the fruit mixture, add the spice mixture, and approximately 3-5 Tbs of white flour.  The amount of flour will depend on how much juice is in the fruit mixture.  It should be just sticky enough to roll into balls.  Roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter, then roll each in white flour.  Set the rolled balls aside while you heat up the oil. 

In a heavy bottomed pan, put vegetable oil to a depth of about 1.5 inches.  Heat on medium heat until hot but not smoking.  We tested every 30 seconds or so by CAREFULLY sprinkling in a tiny amount of water.  CAUTION!  If you pour water in, it could explode in your face, put in a FEW DROPS!  The water is ready when it sizzles sharply. 

Put each fruit ball in individually.  The oil should sizzle with each one.  Keep in mind that with each addition, the oil temperature drops slightly, so don't add them too fast.  We fried them in small batches to keep the oil at a good temperature.  Allow to cook for approximately one minute.   The goal is to have them be golden brown on the outside, while soft and tender on the inside.  Drain the fritters well before serving.