The Near Seine Feast



SEPT. 26, 1998




Cauldron Bleu Cooks Guild

Mistress Michaele del Vaga

Lady Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina

Lady Peregrine of Thescorre

Katrina of Thescorre

Lord Stefan Wolfgang

Ulric of Thescorre

Lord Cadifor Cynan

Lord Camillo Guinicelli

Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf

Mistress Mathilde des Pyreneés

Energizer Jean

ÓMichaele del Vaga (Shelley Stone)



The First Course

Potage of Coliflowers

Bread and butters

Orengue de pouchins (Chicken in Orange Sauce)

Rys Engloulé

Courges (squash)

Egges with Snow

Spiced Apple Drink

The Second Course

Bourbier de sanglier (Roasted pork loin and sauce)

Bread and Butters

A trio of Sauces (Horseradish, Mustard, and Green Garlic)

Champignons à l’Olivier (Mushrooms Olivier)

Carrots and Fennel

Stewed Apples

Spiced Apple Drink

The Dessert (Sideboard)

Spiced Walnuts and Almonds

Pistachio, Berry and Marmalade Tarts


For this menu the Cauldron Bleu decided upon a French theme. Several new books have been published recently on Medieval and Renaissance French cooking.

We have selected recipes from Le Viandier, the Menagier de Paris, and Le Cuisinier françois.

Guillaume Tirel (Taillevent) was born around 1312 and died in 1395 in Paris. His highest ranking was as master cook to Charles VI. He was encouraged to set down his recipes by the court. Many of his recipes were taken from two or three earlier small manuscripts. His first manuscript, known as Le Viandier of Taillevent, was written before 1392. There are several different versions of his manuscripts. The first French cookbook printed was Taillevent in the 1490’s. The last edition was dated 1604.


Michaele, I question the second-to-last sentence. Isn't the FIRST French cookbook the Artimus one which I bought at War?


Le Menagier de Paris was written about 1392 or 1393 (after Taillevent). The total treatise was on the duties of the housewife and is addressed to his young bride. The "Goodman of Paris" was probably a prosperous member of the legal community in the circle around the duc de Berry. He took recipes from Taillevent’s manuscripts, but added more everyday items. He directed his bride how to shop, which merchant supplied which item and the cost and quantity, and how many servants to hire for a large dinner.

Francois Pierre de la Varenne was born around 1615 and died in 1678. His Le Cuisinier françois was first published in 1651. The book was translated as The French Cook and printed in England in 1653. La Varenne was also a professional chef. We include his work, because many of the recipes are still very old fashioned. However, The French Cook is the first cookbook which describes roux, caramel, cooked meringue, and mayonnaise. This book signals the end of Medieval French cooking and the beginning of the new cuisine.

Our recipes have been redacted for a feast and not for competition. If you wish to redact for competition, follow the original recipe as closely as possible. We have taken into consideration vegetarian requests and food allergies.

Each week in Medieval times was divided into Meat or Fish days. On a Meat day, almost everything was cooked in meat broth or fried in lard. On a Fish day, butter and almond milk (pureed almonds, water, and possibly sugar and spices) were used instead. Also, fish broth or milk could replace meat broth. During Lent, in strict times, butter, cheese, and milk were not allowed. Almond milk, sweet waters, fish broth, and oil were used. The number of Fish days each week was not necessarily a reflection of piety, but often the lobbying of the fishmongers guild versus the meat butchers. The French would often included a Fish dish on a Meat day. The English seldom seemed to choose to have a fish next to a land animal. We have changed recipes so only meat dishes contain meat; for vegetable dishes, we have used butter or vegetable broth in place of meat broth and lard. Salt and pepper are missing from most of the original recipes, most likely because both seasonings were placed on the table for service. We have added these to our redactions so as to accomodate modern tastes.


Potage of Coliflowers.

Fit your Coliflowers as for to put them with butter, and whiten them but very little, then make an end of seething them, and season them well; stove [soak or simmer] your bread with any broth you have, and garnish it with your Coliflowers fryed in butter, salt and nutmegge, and besprinckle them with broth of almonds, then serve. (de La Varenne, pg.62)

Thickning of flowre.

Melt some lard, take out the mammocks, put your flowre into your melted lard, seeth it well, but have a care it stick not to the pan, mixe some onion with it proportionably; when it is enough, put all with good broth, mushrums, and a drop of vinegar; then after it hath boyed with its seasoning, passe all through the strainer, and put it in a pot; when you use it, you shall set it upon warm embers for to thicken or allay your sauces. (de La Varenne, p. 46)

Katja's redaction:

1 large head cauliflower

1/4 C butter

1/4 C flour

2 C vegetable broth

2 C whole milk, with a little cream

salt and pepper

freshly grated nutmeg

slivered almonds

Break cauliflower into florets and blanch them in the broth. Make a golden roux of the butter and flour, then slowly add the broth and whisk to form a velouté. Add the florets, and simmer for a few minutes to infuse the flavor. Season to taste. Temper the milk with a little hot broth, then slowly pour the milk into the soup, forming a vegetable béchamel. Puree, with an immersion blender if possible. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. Serves 6, normally, 12 SCA. (Ó Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina)

Orengue de pouchins.

Et pour l'orengue de pouchins, ou de perdris ou de pigons, prenés les orenges et les co[u]pés en vergus blanc et vin blanc, et mettés boullir; et du gingembre au boullir, et mettés vous chozes dedens boullir. (Menagier de Paris, E. Scully, pg. 200)

Chicken in Orange Sauce

And for orange chicks, partridges, or pigeons, take the oranges and cut them, and put them

in white verjuice, and put them to a boil; and ginger while boiling, and make your things within boil.

(trans. Mistress Rhiannon the Curious)

8 pieces of chicken

2 C white grape juice

2 Tbls white wine vinegar

1½ C dry white wine or chicken broth or more grape juice and water

4 tsp fresh grated ginger or 2 tsp. powdered ginger

3 sweet oranges with 2 Tbsp lemon juice or 3 bitter (Seville) oranges

Combine and heat juice and vinegar in a pot. Add wine (broth, water, more juice) & ginger. Add chicken and oranges. Cover. Over low to medium heat, poach the chicken until cooked. Remove chicken and keep warm. Strain the sauce & skim off excess fat. Taste, correct seasoning & tartness. Add lemon juice if necessary. Reduce the sauce to desired consistency. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken; serve remaining sauce in a separate dish. Garnish & serve. (E. Scully, Pg. 201) [We have probably briefly browned the chicken to give it colour and to render off some of the fat.]

Ris engoullé.

Rix engoulle’ a jour de mengier chair. Eslisiez le rix et le lavez tres bien en eaue chaude et le mertez essuyer contre le feu, puis le mettez cuire en lait de vache fremiant; puis broyez du saffren pour le roussir, et qu’il soit deffait de postre lait, et puis mettez dedans du gras boullon du pot. (Viandier, E. Scully, pg. 261)

Fancy Rice for Meat-Days.

Cull the rice and wash it thoroughly in hot water and set it to dry by the fire, then cook it in simmering cow’s milk; then add ground saffron infused in your milk, to lend it a russet colour, and greasy broth from the pot. (Taillevent, T. Scully, #71.)

This is rice cooked in meat broth, milk, butter, and saffron. This could be served on Meat days using the broth. On Fish days, only milk or almond broth with butter would be used. During Lent, only water or almond milk (ground almonds, spices, and water) would be used. We have used only milk, water, and butter for vegetarian concerns.

1 C of rice

2 C of liquid (a combination of milk and broth, or milk and water, or water and almond milk)

¼ tsp saffron

2 Tbsp beef fat, butter or oil or no fat when served in Lent.

Simmer saffron in hot milk or water until it colours. Stir in rice. Add remaining fluid. Cover and cook on low heat until liquid is absorbed and rise is cooked. Add more fluid if necessary. Serves 4 normally, 8 SCA.


Soit pelle l’escorche, car c’est le meilleur. Et toutesvoyes, qui vouldra mectre ce dedans, soint ostez les grains; ja soit ce que l’escorche seule vault mieulx. Puis couvent tranchier l’ escorche pilee par morceaulx, puis pourboulir, puis hacher longuement, puis mectre cuire en gresse de beuf; a la parfin jaunir de saffren, ou jecter dessus du saffren par filectz, l’un ça, l’autre la, ce que les queulx dient frangié de saffran. (Menagier de Paris, E. Scully, pg. 268)


Let the rind be peeled, for that is best: and always if you want the insides, let the seeds be removed, though it is said that the rind is worth more, then cut up the rind in pieces, then parboil, then chop lengthways, then put to cook in beef fat: Almost at the end yellow it with saffron or throw saffron thread by thread, one here, another there; this is what cooks call ‘fringed with saffron’. (Hinson, Menagier de Paris, pg. M-20)


Slice it very thinne, and frie it with butter; when it hath gotten a good colour, stove it between two dishes, with an onion, or a chibol sticked with cloves, salt, peper, and verjuice of grapes, if you have any; when it is enough, serve. You may also put it with creame. (de La Varenne, pg. 89)

Pompkin Another way.

Cut it into peeces, and seeth it in a pot with water, when it is well sod, take out the water, straine your pompkin, and frie it with butter, and an onion minced very small; season it with a drop of verjuice, and with nutmeg, and serve. (de La Varenne, pg. 90)

Fried squash

1 large squash or 4 to 5 small zucchini

boiling salted water

3 Tbs. beef grease or bacon fat (butter)

5 to 6 threads of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Slice peeled, seeded squash or whole zucchini. Parboil in water until tender. Drain & chop finely. Fry in grease or butter. Garnish with saffron threads. You may prefer to slice the squash and fry it in slices. The squash (gourd, pumpkin) that existed in Medieval Europe is thought to be the white flowered gourd. This gourd is still cultivated by the Chinese. You can look for the seed or find the gourd in a good Chinese market. Zucchini or summer squash is said to be the closest of modern squashes to resemble the Medieval variety. (E. Scully, pg. 268)

Snow egs.

Boile some milke with a little flower all allayed, then put in it more, then the halfe of one dosen whites of egs, and stirre well all toghether, and sugar it; when you ar rady to serve, set them on the fire again, and glase them, that is, take the rest of your whites of egs, beat them with a feather, and mixe all together; or else frie well the rest of your whites, and powre them over your other egs; passe over it lightly an oven lid, or the fire-shovell red hot, and serve them sugred, with sweet waters.

You may in stead of whites, put in it the yolks of your egs proportionably, and the whites fried upon. (de La Varenne, pp. 42, 43)

Egges with snow.

Break some eggs, sever the whites from the yolkes, put the yolkes in a dish upon butter, and season them with salt, and set them upon hot cinders; beat and whip well the whites, and a little before you serve, powre them on the yolks with a drop of rose-water, and the fire-shovell over them, then sugar and serve.

Another way.

You may put the yolks in the middle of your snow, which is made with your whites of eggs whipped, and seeth them before the fire with a dish behind. (de La Varenne, p. 80.)

How to make the Caramel.

Melt some sugar with a little water, and let it seeth more than for a conserve; put into it some sirriup of Capilaire, and powre all into fresh water. (de La Varenne, pg. 119)

Floating Islands (Snow eggs)

2 C milk

4 eggs, separated

¾ C superfine sugar, divided (bar sugar or put granulated in a food processor and grind it finely)

1 tsp. Rosewater, or 1 vanilla bean simmered in the milk, or 1 tsp. Vanilla

First prepare the custard sauce (crème anglaise.) If using a vanilla bean, bring milk to a boil, remove from the heat. Put in a split vanilla bean and let seep for five minutes. Remove bean.

Put the egg yolks in a heavy saucepan and add 1/3 cup of the sugar. Whisk until the mixture whitens. Whisk in the milk. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, without boiling, until thick and velvety. Remove from the heat and let cool, whipping frequently so that the sauce remains smooth. Strain the sauce; cover and refrigerate.

Beat the egg whites until almost stiff. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat for 1 minute, until smooth and shiny. Boil 4 inches of water in a large sauté pan; reduce the heat to a simmer. Immerse a tablespoon in cold water, and use it to scoop up large spoonfuls of the egg whites and transfer them to the simmering water. (Immerse the spoon in the cold water between each procedure.) Cook 3 to 6 floating islands at a time, depending on the size of the pan. Cook the whites for 30 seconds, turn and cook the other side. Remove with a skimmer and drain, without them touching each other, on a rack over a moist towel. When cool, set them aside in the refrigerator. Continue cooking islands until all of the meringue is used. [Julia Child has a method of baking the meringue which seems to be easier. See ____________


Just before serving, pour the crème anglaise in a serving bowl and mound the islands in it. Finally, prepare the caramel. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining sugar (about 10 tablespoons) with 2 tablespoons of water and cook to a honey-colored caramel. Pour over the whites in a thin stream to form threads. Serve at once. (Scotto, pp.232, 233)

Salt cellars.

In the Menagier’s directions is the hiring of servants for a large dinner "…two bread slicers, of whom one will crumb the bread and make trenchers and salt-cellars out of bread, and will carry the salt and the bread and the trenchers to the tables…." (Hinson, M-10)


Bourbier de sanglier:

Bourbier of Fresh Wild Boar. The breast should first be put into boiling water and quickly withdrawn and set to roast , and baste it with a sauce made of spices – that is, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and grains of paradise of the best variety – and toast that has been moistened in wine, verjuice and vinegar; then, when it has cooked, baste it all together. It should be clear and dark. (Taillevent, T. Scully, #42.)




If you wish to provide for keeping mustard a long time do it at wine-harvest in sweet must. And some say that the must should be boiled. Item, if you want to make mustard hastily in a village, grind some mustard-seed in a mortar and soak in vinegar, and strain; and if you want to make it ready the sooner, put it in a pot in front of the fire. Item, and if you wish to make it properly and at leisure, put the mustard-seed to soak overnight in good vinegar, then have it ground fine in a mill, and then little by little moisten it with vinegar: and if you have some spices left over from making jelly, broth, hypocras or sauces, then may be ground up with it, and then leave it until it is ready. (Hinson, M-45)

White or Green Garlic Sauce.

For Birds or Beef. Grind a close of garlic and white untoasted bread-crumbs, and soak in white verjuice; and if you want it green for fish, grind in some parsley and sorrel or one of these or rosemary. (Hinson, M-45)


And then take half a pound of horse-radish, which is a root sold by herbalists, and scrape it thoroughly and chop it as small as you can and grind it in a mustard-mill, and moisten with vinegar. [Found in the middle of a mixed compote recipe] (Hinson, M-50)


Champignons à l’Olivier.

Estans bien nettoyez, coupez les par quartiers, et les lavez dans plusieurs eaux l’un apres l’autre pour en oster la terre; Estans, bien nets, mettez-les entre deux plats avec un oignon et du sel, puis sur le rechaut, afin qu’ils jetterez leur eau. Estans pressez entre deux asiettes, prenez du beurre bien frais, avec persil et siboule, et les fricassez; aprés celas mettez-les mitonner, et lors qu’ils seront bien cuits, vous y pouvez mettre de las cresme, ou du blancmanger, et servez. (la Varenne, Weaton, pp. 252-253)

Mushrums after the Oliver.

After they are well clensed, cut them into quarters, and wash them between two dishes with an onion and some salt, then set them on the chafing dish, that they may cast their water; press them between two plates, take very fresh butter, with parsley and chibol, and fry them, then stove (simmer) them, and after they are well sod, you may put to them some creame or white meat, and serve. (de la Varenne, p.41)

4 C mushrooms, washed & quartered

1 small onion

½ tsp salt

¼ C cream

3 Tbls butter

2 Tbls chopped parsley

2 Tbls thinly sliced scallions (chibol)

Put the mushrooms in a heavy skillet with the onion, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook slowly until the mushrooms have rendered their juice. Drain it off, add the remaining butter, the parsley, and the scallions, and cook until the mushrooms and scallions have just begun to take on a little color. Add, if desired, some cream or blancmange. Serve hot. (Wheaton, pg. 252-253)

Carrots and Fennel in Honey

This is the Way to Make Compote.

Note that you must start by St. John’s Day which is the twenty-fourth of June. [The recipe goes on to explain how to candy walnuts by frequent boilings in honey and how they can be kept in an earthenware pot or cask. The Menagier continues on listing each vegetable or fruit you may also preserve and the time it should be done.]

Item, on All Saints, take carrots as many as you wish, and when they are well cleaned and chopped in pieces, cook them like the turnips. (Carrots are red roots which are sold at the Halles in baskets, and each basket costs one blanc.)

Item, around St. Andrew’s Day, take roots of parsley and fennel, and scrape them, and chop them into small pieces, and split the fennel and remove the hard part, and do not do this to the parsley, and prepare them exactly the same way as told above, neither more nor less. (Hinson, Menagier de Paris, pp. 49-50)


Cleanse and seeth them; when they are sod, pare them, and cut them into very thinne round slices, frie them with fresh butter, an onion minced, some salt, peper, and vinegar and good fresh butter; when they are well fried, serve. (de La Varenne, pg. 90)

Stewed apples.

Apels fried.

Pare and cut them into round slices, and frie them with very fresh butter; when they ar fried, serve, making a broth with a little nutmeg.

[Apels] Another way.

Cut them into halfes, take out the seed, and all what is about; serve them under the skin, and put them in a dish with butter, sugar, and water and a little cinnamon, let them seeth thus; when they are enough, serve them sugared. (de La Varenne, pg. 91)

Peel apples, cut them in quarters and core them. Place them in a pot with butter, sugar, water and a little cinnamon. Bring to a boil and let simmer until done. (Or, bake in a 350° oven until soft.) Serve with sugar and garnish.


Spiced Walnuts and Almonds, Pistachio Tarts and Fruit Tarts

The Menagier’s advice was to purchase from …"the grocer, chamber spices: sugared almonds, rose sugar, candied nuts, citron …." (Hinson, M-12)

Tourte of Pistaches.

Melt some butter, and put in it six yolks of eggs with some sugar; stamp one handful of Pistaches, and mixe them together with a corn of salt, then make your sheet of paste, and dress it up, put your implements in it, make or shape up your tourt, and binde it with butter’d paper; when it is baked, serve it with sugar, and garnish it with lemon peele preserved. (de La Varenne, pg.42)

Tourte of pistaches.

After your pistaches are peeled, beat them, and least they become oily, besprinkle them with flower of orenge water, or other sweet water; melt as much butter as there is of pistaches and take as much sugar, a little salt, and the crummes of white bread fried, and a drop of milk, and all being well allayed together, put it into a sheet of fine paste, make the tourte and the sheet very thinne; bake it, sugar it, and serve it warme, and besprinkled with what sweet water you will. (de La Varenne, pg. 97)


Bennett, Elizabeth, trans. Le Viandier de Taillevent, (14th C.), 1991, found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, first compiled by Duke Cariadoc of the Bow and Duchessa Dianna Alena, 7th Edition, Volumn II, 1998.

Coulton, G. G. and Eileen Power, editors, The Goodman of Paris, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1928.

de La Varenne, Francis, The French Cook, English translation, London, 1653, reprinted by Susan J., Evans, Falconwood Press, 1991.

Hinson, Janet, trans., Le Menagier De Paris (Goodman of Paris, c. 1395), 1988, found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, 7th Edition, Volumn II, 1998.

Hinson, Janet, trans., Traité de Cuisine (c. 1300), 1988, found in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, 7th edition, Vol. II, 1998.

Redon, Odile, Françoise Sabban, & Silvano Serventi, The Medieval Kitchen, Recipes from France and Italy, Trans. By Edward Schneider, University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Scully, D. Eleanor & Terence Scully, Early French Cookery, Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations, University of Michigan, 1995.

Scully, Terence, The Viandier of Taillevent, University of Ottawa Press, 1988.

Scotto, Elizabeth, Marianne Comolli, and Annie Hubert-Baré, The Heritage of French Cooking, Weldon Russell Pty Ltd, 1991.

Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham, Savoring the Past, The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789, Touchstone Books, New York, 1983, 1996.

Willan Anne, Great Cooks and their Recipes from Taillevent to Escoffier, McGraw-Hill, 1977, Bulfinch Press, 1992.