(University of the Western East Kingdom at Thescorre)
March 2, 1996
Katja Orlova, Feastocrat
Sadira bint Wassouf, Mentor
and several others
Recipes from To The King's Taste, Food By Appointment, and others
Herbal information from the personal library, notes, and research of Katja Orlova
Roasted Rosemary Chicken
1 3 to 4 lb. chicken
oil or butter
Wash bird, dry, and rub with herbs and oil. Roast at 425 for 60 minutes. Serves 4.
This was one of the best-loved herbs in Medieval Europe. Rosemary, which means 'remembrance', was used to scent clothing, dye cloth a yellow-green color, repel moths and other bugs, and to flavor wine, conserves, meats, and many other culinary dishes. It was one of the most common strewing herbs ñ leaves that were tossed on the floor to be crushed underfoot and thereby scent a room. It was believed to be a protection against death and pestilence, and, if placed underneath a bed, to rid the sleeper of evil dreams. Culpeper said '''it helps a weak memory, and quickens the senses.' It was used medicinally for baths & ointments to relieve skin conditions, smoked in a pipe to relieve consumption and nervous disorders, and the essential oil was applied to the forehead to stop headaches.
Sekanjabin (Persian mint beverage)
5 C red wine or cider vinegar
10 lbs. sugar
3 qts. water
1/2 oz. mint leaves
Simmer vinegar and sugar in water for 20 minutes. Let cool and steep mint. Strain and serve diluted with 12 parts water to one part syrup. Yields 120 cups.
Meaning 'Virtue,' this leaf's strong aroma was used to scent baths, potpourris, pillows, and books. A favorite strewing herb, it was also commonly used in cosmetics. Medicinally, it was believed to be an appetite stimulant, and in culinary matters, it flavored wines, meats, sweets, salads, and other dishes.
1 C water
1 head of garlic, peeled
3 T butter
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Bring water to a boil. Add garlic cloves, butter, salt, and spice. Cover and cook over medium flame about 7 minutes until garlic is easily pierced. Drain. Serves 4 to 6.
Long before 20th Century medicine knew of garlic's antibiotic and antiseptic qualities, Culpeper suggested using this plant bulb to halt poisoning from serpent wounds and to kill tumors. A garlic syrup was used to ease bronchitis, and a tincture of it was used for blood pressure ailments. In culinary matters, garlic was viewed more as a vegetable than as the modern-day seasoning we consider it to be. Garlic skins were used to create a brown dye. Fairly in-depth research reveals no cosmetic or aromatic use of garlic.
5 1/2 to 6 C flour
1/3 C sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 T yeast
2 C milk
3 T oil or butter
Proof yeast in milk. Add flour, sugar, salt, and alternately. Beat. Add remaining flour. Knead. Let rise 15 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place on baking sheet and freeze until firm (about 4 hours). Wrap airtight and freeze for up to 6 weeks. To use frozen dough, place each loaf in a greased loaf pan and let thaw at room temp until doubled in size. (Or, thaw in fridge for about 12 hours, then rise at room temp for 1 1/2 hours.) Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 mins. Makes 2 loaves.
Most Daintie Butter
1/2 C butter, softened
1 T cinnamon
2 T honey
Cream butter with spice and honey, and pack into a crock. Makes 1/2 cup.
Stripped from a certain tree's bark, cinnamon was so highly-prized that late in our period of study it was considered to be more valuable than gold. This strongly-scented spice was most commonly used in potpourri, incense, perfume and other aromatic manners. In early period, cinnamon was used in embalming and witchcraft; in later period, it was combined with patchouli to scent cashmere shawls. As with many mysterious, smoky-scented spices from the Far East, cinnamon was believed to be an aphrodisiac. The nobility used it heavily in cooking, to flavor meat, desserts, alcohol, and other foods.
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large onions, minced
2 T oil or butter
6 C water
1/2 tsp. mace
2 T brown sugar
1 large squash, peeled and cubed
Sauté onions. Add water, spice, sugar, and squash. Add salt to taste. Simmer covered for 10 minutes until squash is soft. Puree. Serves 6.
As with many of the imported spices, mace was highly prized: a pound of it was equivalent in value to a cow. It was used to scent soap and perfume, while an ointment of this dried membrane of the nutmeg seed was believed to relieve arthritis. The Arabs began trading it to the Europeans in the 6th Century, and Europeans used it in cooking by the 12th Century.
bag of spinach 1 red cabbage, shredded
1/4 C raisins 1/4 C minced figs
1/4 C slivered almonds 1/4 C minced pickles
1-2 oranges, segmented 1/4 C sliced olives
Prepare a dressing of 3 T oil, 2 T vinegar, 1 T lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, and salt. Combine with salat. Serves 4 to 6.
This is the oldest spice known to Mankind and, like salt and the imported spices, was often used as negotiable currency during the Middle Ages. Black, green, and white pepper berries all come from the same plant - they are simply picked at different ripening stages. When not being used as currency, pepper flavored many kinds of food, and was sometimes added to potpourris and other aromatic items.
2 T oil or butter 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed
3 C stock 1 large onion, chopped
1 T chopped fresh parsley 1/4 tsp. saffron
1 tsp. cloves 1 tsp. cubebs
1 tsp. salt 1/2 C bread crumbs
1 C turnips, cubed 1/2 C carrots, cubed
Brown meat well in oil. Add stock to cover, and remaining ingredients except for bread crumbs and saffron. Simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes, depending upon size and toughness of meat. When tender, stir in remaining ingredients. Serves 6.
beef bones or chicken bones, necks & gizzards
bay leaf water
Prepare in pressure cooker or in large pot.
Similar in taste to pepper, cubeb berries were primarily used for flavoring food in Medieval Europe. The Arabs used the berries for medicinal and aphrodisiac applications. For example, cubeb tea and lozenges soothed bronchial coughs.
The most expensive spice in any century, the pistils of this flower flavored easily a third of all the nobility's recipes, and was used very often to color cloth a distinctive yellow. Supposedly, King Henry VIII craved it so much in his food that he prohibited the ladies of his court from using saffron to dye her hair, thus leaving more of the spice for his use. Medicinally, saffron was believed to induce sleep and settle stomach ailments.
Baked Herbed Eggs
1/3 C hot milk
1 T savory, dittany of crete, sage
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T oil or butter
Pour milk over dried herbs and stir until they have all been coated. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes, or until the milk is strongly flavored. Strain the liquid; discard the herbs. Combine eggs, milk, and salt, and whisk. Oil an 8' oven-proof skillet or baking dish. Pour in egg mixture and bake at 325 for 35 minutes until eggs are set and top is golden brown. Serve like a pie. Serves 3 to 4.
Dittany of Crete
The leaves of this plant were used in fish and egg dishes, and in salads. An uncommon seasoning today, Charlemagne named it high on his list of essential herbs. Culpeper said it was would draw thorns or splinters from one's skin.
Mushrooms and Leeks
4 small leeks
3 T butter
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
1 C stock
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
Beurre Manie (3 T butter/3 T flour)
salt and pepper
Wash leeks carefully and slice into rings, discarding roots and green tops. Sauté in butter in a large heavy skillet until they begin to wilt. Then add mushrooms and toss to coat. Combine stock, sugar, and ginger, and pour over the vegetables. Simmer, covered, for about 2 minutes. Add beurre manie, stirring rapidly over a low flame until liquid thickens and vegetables are evenly glazed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.
Meaning 'wisdom,' this herb' was one of the most popular in Medieval Europe. In cooking, it flavored pottage, salad, poultry, meat pies, and many other dishes. Sage water was used for washing hands and dying hair a dark shade. Medicinally, this supposed cure-all tonic was used for stopping toothaches and combating poison, among other things.
Gingerbreadwith whipped cream
1 1/3 C honey 3/4 C brown sugar
4 T melted butter 6 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder 1 T ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 C flour 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 pint whipping cream 1 T powdered sugar
1 T vanilla
Beat the eggs with the sugar, then stir in the honey. Add the butter. Sift the dry ingredients, and stir into the wet. Pour into a 9X13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with whipping cream whipped with sugar and vanilla. Serves 8.
This rhizome (root) was a favorite of Henry VIII, who thought it was a cure for the plague, and of Elizabeth I, who loved it in gingerbread. Medicinally, it was used to soothe indigestion, nausea, and flatulence, and in baths to stimulate circulation. The juice was believed to increase hair growth. In cooking, it flavored baked goods, meat, and other dishes.
We know this flower bud primarily for its decorative and aromatic part in cloved lemons and other pomanders; its Medieval uses date back to Emperor Constantine. It was one of the first food preservatives, as well as a flavoring in many dishes. Clove oil was used medicinally to stop vomiting, while the incense was considered a sleep aid and anti-depressant. In addition, it was believed to 'stir up bodily lust.'
©1996 ChrIs P. Adler