May Day Wedding Menu of

Morgaine & Gideon

May 1, 1999

 

Bread

Butter & Honey Butter

Gingerbread Cookies

Cheesecakes

Shortbread

Scones

Candied Orange & Lemon Peel

Chicken Stew

A Salad of Greens

Orange-Flavored Rice

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

Spiced Grape Juice

Roast Beef

Onion Soup

Spinach Tarts

Peas with Wine

Spiced Cider

Castle Wedding Cake

 

Food prepared for this meal by:

Chris Adler (Lady Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina)

Pam Anderson (Lady Katrina of York)

Jean Adler (Energizer Jean)

Holly Zyara (Holly of Blackrock Castle)

Phil Anderson (Lord Ulric of Thescorre)

 

Recipes based on ones in the following:

Anonymous, A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1608

Joseph Cooper, The Art of Cookery Refin'd and Augmented, 1654

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell, 1587

Sir Kenelme Digbie, The Closet… Opened, 1669

Gervase Markham, The English Huswife, 1615

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, 1660

John Murrell, A Book of Cookerie, 1621

John Murrell, A Delightfull Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1617

John Partridge, The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin, 1594

Hugh Plat, Delites for Ladies, 1609

Wedding cake based on recipes in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible, 1988.

All other recipes redacted by Chris Adler© 1999

 

Are you really eating an Elizabethan meal? Well, no, strictly speaking. Although all of the recipes are based on real cookbooks from the 1500s and 1600s, the recipes are not exactly what Good Queen Bess sat down to eat.

Elizabethan cuisine is noted for its near-pervasive use of such ingredients as rosewater, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, almonds, oranges, and currants. Most of these ingredients were not native to England and thus had to be purchased from merchants at a high price up until this period. Therefore, liberal use of them in a meal allowed a host to show off his or her wealth, much the way we would buy caviar or expensive wines for our dinner guests today. In deference to today's tastes and the desire for a balanced meal, I have removed these ingredients from many of the dishes you eat today. In addition, I have modified other ingredients and sometimes even the method of several recipes for either ease of preparation, transportation, or presentation. Therefore, my recipes for this meal are not strictly authentic redactions of the originals reprinted herein.

Please note that wedding cakes like the one I prepared today are not accurate, although fancy creations that resemble something other than what they are (known as subtleties) are extremely accurate for the Elizabethan era.

Besides the content, the amount of food in your meal today is also not accurate. Existing menus from Elizabethan cookbooks list, on average, 20 to 30 dishes, not 10. If this were a true period feast, you would be sampling about a dozen or so roasted birds (geese, egrets, patridges, duck, swan, pheasant, peacock, etc.), a couple of haunches of venison, beef, pork, and other animals, several fresh and dried or smoked fish dishes (oysters, caviar, mussels, sturgeon, etc.), and an assortment of soups, custards, salads, and meat pies… not to mention the desserts and varieties of alcoholic drink.

 

To Make Manchet

Gervase Markham, The English Huswife

Your best and principal bread is Manchet, which you shall bake in this manner: First your meal being ground upon the black stones, if be possible, which makes the whitest flower, and boulted through the finest boulting cloth, you shall put it into a clean Kimnel, and opening the flower hollow in the midst, put into it of the best ale-barm, the quantity of three pints to a bushell of meale and some salt to season it with; then put in your liquor reasonable warme, and kneade it very well together, with both your hands, and through the brake, or for want thereof, fould it in a cloth, and with your feete treade it a good space together, then letting it lie an houre or thereabouts to swel, take it foorth and mould it into Manchets, round, and flat, scorcht them about the wast to give it leave to rise, and prick it with your knife in the top, and so put into the oven, and bake with gentle heat.

5 C whole wheat flour

1 C dark rye flour

6 C King Arthur unbleached flour

3 C water

1 T yeast/ 1 tsp sugar

1/2 C honey

2 C nonfat dry milk

5 tsp salt

10 T butter

4 large or extra large eggs (or 5 small)

Proof yeast in water with sugar. Alternately add flours, honey, nonfat dry milk, salt, and butter. Knead until elastic. Let rise for an hour. Shape into a large braid, and let rise at room temp for 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 375 for 35-40 mins. Makes 2 3-lb. loaves.

 

...Most Dainte Butter

Hugh Plat, Delites for Ladies

This is done by mixing a few dropps of the extracted oyle of sage, cinamon, nutmegs, mace, etc. in the making vp of your butter: for oyle and butter will incorporate and agree verie kindely and naturally together.

1 stick butter, softened

1 T cinnamon

2 T honey, warmed

Cream all ingredients together.

Fricacee of Chicken

Sir Kenelme Digbie, The Closet… Opened

Cut chickens, which must be flead of their skin, into thin slices, and beat them; or the like with Veal. Put about half a pint of water or flesh-broth to them in a frying-pan, and some Thyme, and Sweet-marjoram, and an Onion or two quartered, and boil them till they be tender, having seasoned them with Salt, and about twenty Corns of whole white Pepper, and four or five Cloves. When they are enough, take half a pint of White wine, four yolks of Eggs, a quarter of a pound of butter (or more), a good spoonful of Thyme, Sweet-Marjoram, and Parsley (more parsley then of the others) all minced small: a Porrenger full of gravy. When all these are well incorporated together over the fire, and well beaten, pour it into the pan to the rest, and turn it continually up and down over the fire, till all be well incorporated. Then throw away the Onion and first sprigs of Herbs, squeeze Orange to it, and serve it up hot.

3 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs and breasts

1/2 C homemade chicken broth

3 onions, chopped

marjoram

thyme

salt

1/2 C white wine

fresh parsley

butter

oil

Slice or cut up chicken into uniform small pieces. Sauté, in stages, in butter and oil, then dump into a pot or Dutch oven. Sauté the onions, add to the pot, and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and flavors have blended - about 20-30 minutes.

How to Stew Potatoes

Joseph Cooper, The Art of Cookery Refin'd and Augmented

Boyle or roast your Potatoes very tender, and blanch them; cut them into thin slices, put them into a dish or stewing pan, put to them three or foure Pippins sliced thin, a good quantity of beaten Ginger and Cynamon, Verjuice, Sugar and Butter; stew these together an hour very softly; dish them being stewed enough, putting to them Butter and Verjuice beat together, and stick it full of green Sucket or Orrengado, or some such liquid sweet-meat; sippit it and scrape Sugar on it, and serve it up hot to the table.

1 lb. unpeeled sweet potatoes

1/2 lb. unpeeled apples, pref. Granny Smiths

4 T sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 C unsweetened grape juice

2 T butter

Bake the potatoes, let cool, and slice into rounds. Core and slice the apples. Mix the sugar with the ginger. Layer the apples and potatoes with most of the spices, dot with butter, and pour the juice over the top. Use a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes covered, then uncover, sprinkle with a little more ginger and sugar, and continue baking for 10-15 minutes.

 

Compound Sallet

Gervase Markham, The English Huswife

Your compound Sallets, are all manner of wholesome Herbes… as Lettice and many others mixed together, and then served up to the Table with Vinegar, Sallet-Oyl, and Sugar.

Bibb

spinach

Romaine

red cabbage

1/2 C olive oil

1/4 C vinegar

salt & pepper

fresh herbs as available

Wash the greens thoroughly and shake clean. Toss with seasonings.

 

To Make A Tart of Ryse

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell

Boyle your rice, and put in the yolkes of two or three Egges into the Rice, and when it is boyled put in into a dish and season it with sugar, synamon and ginger, and butter, and the juice of two or three Oranges, and set it on the fire againe.

1 C rice

1 C water

butter

1 C orange juice

Boil the rice in a combination of orange juice and water. Fluff and add butter.

 

To Make Ipocras with Red Wine

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Take a gallon of wine, three ounces of cinamon, two ounces of slic't ginger, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, an ounce of mace, twenty corns of pepper, an ounce of nutmegs, three pound of sugar, and two quarts of cream.

1 qt grape juice

cinnamon sticks or cassia chunks

sliced gingerroot

whole cloves

mace blades

whole cubebs

freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 C sugar

1/2 to 1 C cream

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate, letting the mixture steep. Strain out the spices before serving.

Roast Fillet of Beef

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Take a fillet which is the tenderest part of the beef, and lieth in the inner part of the surloyn, cut it as big as you can, broach it on a broach not too big, and be careful not to broach it through the best part of the meat; roast it leisurely, and baste it with sweet butter, set a dish to save the gravy while it roasts, then prepare sauce for it of a good store of parsley, with a few sweet herbs chopped small, the yolkes of three or four eggs, sometimes gross pepper minced amongst them with the peel of an orange, and a little onion; boil these together, and put in a little butter, vinegar, gravy, a spoonful of strong broth, and put it to the beef.

2 lbs. beef roast

butter and/or oil

sage

garlic

basil

oregano

cubebs, grains of paradise

salt

1 orange, juiced and the peel minced

1 C homemade beef stock

Dry-rub the dead cow with the spices and let marinate at least overnight. Dry thoroughly and brown the meat on all sides, then roast in stock at 350 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. While the meat cools, sauté garlic and add to drippings. Add the juice to the resulting gravy and reduce slightly before serving.

 

To Boyle… Peascods

John Murrell, A Book of Cookerie

Take greene sugar Pease when the pods bee but young, and pull out the string of the backe of the podde, and picke the huske of the stalkes ends, and as many as you can take up in your hand at three several times, put them into the pipkin, with halfe a pound of sweete Butter, a quarter of a pint of faire water, a little grosse Pepper, Salt, and Oyle of Mace, and let them stue very softly until they bee very tender, then put in the yolkes of two or three rawe egges strained with six spoonefuls of Sacke, and as much Vinegar, put it into your Peascods and brew them with a ladle, then dish them up.

2 lb. peas

2/3 C water

butter

salt

ground mace

1/2 C wine

Parboil the peas in water and a little wine and vinegar. Add butter and seasonings.

 

Onion Pottage

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Fry a good store of slic't onions, then have a pipkin of boiling liquor over the fire, when the liquor boils put in the fryed onions, butter and all, with pepper and salt: being well stewed together, serve in on sops of French bread.

3 T butter

6-7 onions

2 qt. homemade beef broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp grains of paradise

1/2 C flour

Mince onions and sauté in the butter, adding flour as they brown. Bring the broth to a boil, then add to the onions. Season and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

 

To make a tarte of Spennedge

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell

Boyle your Egges and your Creame together, and then put them into a bowle, and then boyle your Spinnedge, and when they are boyled, take them out of the water and straine them into your stuffe before your straine your Creame, boyle your stuffe and then straine them al againe, and season them with suger and salt.

Pastry (2.5 C flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 C shortening, 1/2 C butter, 4 T water)

1/3 lb. spinach. chopped

1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped

grains of paradise

1 tsp fennel seed, ground

3 eggs

1/2 lb. mozzarella

1/2 lb. ricotta or cottage cheese

1 T parmesan

Make the pastry and chill. Roll out and cut the pasties. Blend the filling and fill the pasties. Crimp, place on a greased sheet, and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.

 

To Candy Violet Flowers In Their Naturall Colours

Anonymous, A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen

Take of your Violet flowers which are good and new, and wel coloured… Take the flowers with the stalkes, and wash them over a little Rose water, wherein Gum-arabecke is dissolved, then take fine searced sugar, and dust over them, and set them a drying on the bottom of a sive in an oven, and they will glister as if it were Sugar-candy.

violets

1 tsp gum arabic

1 T rosewater

3/4 C sugar

Rinse flowers and dry well. Combine the gum arabic and the rosewater, dredge the flowers in the mixture, then roll in sugar. Put in an oven which was preheated to 200 then turned off, and let the flowers dry for three or more hours.

(Note: I purchased these flowers for this meal, rather than candy them myself. I wanted to point out that a period recipe does exist for this decoration.)

Metheglin

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Take all sorts of herbs that are good and wholesome, as balm, mint, rosemary, fennil, angelica, wilde time, hysop, burnet, agrimony, and such other field herbs, half a handful of each, boil and strain them and let the liquor stand till the next day, being settled take two gallons and a half of honey, let it boil an hour, and in the boiling scum it very clean, set it a cooling as you do beer, and when it is cold take very good barm and put it into the bottom of the tub, by a little and a little as to beer, keeping back the thick settling that lyeth in the bottom of the vessel that it is cooled in; when it is all put together cover it with a cloth and let it work very near three days, then when you mean to put it back up, skim off all the barm clean, and put it up into a vessel, but you must not stop the vessel very close in three or four days, but let it have some vent to work; when it is close stopped you must look often to it, and have a peg on the top to give it vent when you hear it make a noise as it will do, or else it will break the vessel.

Sometimes make a bag and put in good store of slic't ginger, some cloves and cinamon boild or not.

1 gallon apple cider

1/2 C honey

lemon balm or lemon mint

Heat cider, adding seasonings and let steep. Or steep like a sun tea. Let cool before serving.

 

To Preserve Orenges

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell

You must cut your Orenges in halfe and pare them a little round about, and let them lye in water foure or five dayes, and you must chaunge the water once or twice a day, and when you preserve them, you must have a quarte of faire water to put in your Sugar, and a little Rosewater, and set it on the fire, and scum it verye clene, and put in a little Sinamon, and put in your Orenges, and let them boyle a little while, and then take them out againe, and doe so five or sixe times, and when they be enough, put in your Orenges, and let your Sirrop stande till it bee colde, and then put your Sirrop into your Orenges.

3 lemons and oranges

2 C sugar

1 T rosewater

Rinse the fruit and peel. Put the peels in a saucepan with 1 pint of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, drain off the water, and add a pint of fresh water. Repeat this process two more times. Drain, add a quart of water, and cook until easily pierced. Drain all but 2 cups of water, and add the sugar and rosewater. Cook over medium heat to make a syrup, then lower the heat and cook until the peel is translucent. When cool, roll in sugar.

 

White Gingerbread

John Murrell, A Delightfull Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen

Take halfe a pound of marchpaine past, a quarter of a pound of white Ginger beaten and cerst, halfe a pound of the powder of refined sugar, beate this to a very fine past with dragagant steept in rose-water, then roule it in round cakes and print it with your moulds: dry them in an oven when the breade is drawne footh, upon white papers, & when they be very dry, box them, and keepe them all the yeare.

1/2 lb. almond paste

1 1/2 T water

1/2 T rosewater

1 tsp gum tragacanth

1/2 C sugar

1 T ground ginger

Combine the water and gum, then mix with the almond paste and sugar. Roll out into small balls, flatten into molds, remove, and place on parchment paper. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and let sit for 15 minutes more.

 

To Make A Marchpane

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Take two pound of almonds, blanched and beaten in a stone mortar, till they begin to come to a fine paste, then take a pound of sifted sugar, put it in the mortar with the almonds, and make it into a perfect paste, putting to it now and then in the beating of it a spoonful of rose-water to keep it from oyling; when you have beaten it to a puff-paste, drive it out as big as a charger, and set an edge about it as you do a quodling tart, and the bottom of wafers under it, thus bake it in an oven or baking-pan; when your see it white, and hard, and dry, take it out, and ice it with rosewater and sugar, being made as thick as butter for fritters, so spread it on with a wing feather, and put it into the oven again; when you see it rise high, then take it out and garnish it with some pretty conceits made of the same stuff, stick long comfets upright in it, and so serve it forth.

1/2 lb. blanched almonds

1/2 C sugar

1/2 tsp rosewater

1/2 C butter

1 egg

1 1/4 C flour

1/2 tsp rosewater

3 T sugar

Make the almond paste with the almonds, sugar, and rosewater. Make a pastry dough with the butter, flour, egg, and flour. Refrigerate the pastry, then roll out a circle. Roll out the almond paste on wax paper, then carefully place on top of the pastry. Make a decorative border. Bake at 375 for five minutes, then at 325 for 15 minutes. Ice with cream and confectionery sugar.

To Make Cheesecakes

Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook

Take a good morning milk cheese, or better, or some eight pound weight, stamp it in a mortar, and beat a pound of butter amongst it, and a pound of sugar, then mix with it beaten mace, two pound of currans well picked and washed, a penny manchet grated, or a pound of almonds blanched and beaten fine with rose-water, and some salt, then boil some cream, and thicken it with six or eight yolks of eggs, mixed with the other things, work them well together, and fill the cheesecakes, make the curd not too soft, and make the paste of cold butter and water according to these forms.

butter pastry (2.5 C flour, 3 T sugar, 1 C butter, 4 T water, 2 yolks)

1 lb. ricotta, drained if necessary

1/2 C sugar

a few drops orange extract

Make the pastry and chill. Blend together the ricotta, sugar, and extract. Fill the pasties.

 

Shrewsbury Cakes

John Murrell, A Delightfull Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen

Take a quart of very fine flower, eight ounces of fine sugar beaten and sersed, twelve ounces of sweete butter, a Nutmegge grated, two or three spoonefuls of damaske rose-water, worke all these together with your hands as hard as you can for the space of halfe an houre, then roule it in little round Cakes, about the thicknesse of three shillings one upon another, then take a silver Cup or glasse some foure or three inches over, and cut the cakes in them, then strowe some flower upon white papers & lay them upon them, and bake them in an Oven as hot as for Manchet, set up your lid till you may tell a hundreth, then you shall see them white, if any of them rise up clap them downe with some cleane thing, and if your Oven be not too hot set up your lid again, and in a quarter of an houre they will be baked enough, but in any case take heede your Oven be not too hot, for they must not looke browne but white, and so draw them foorth & lay them one upon another till they be could, and you may keep them halfe a yeare, the new baked are best.

1/4 C sugar

1/2 C butter

1 C flour

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift flour with sugar and nutmeg, then cut in the butter and sprinkle the rosewater over the resulting dough. Knead, then roll out 1/4-inch thick and cut out three-inch circles. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

 

Banbury Cake

Gervase Markham, The English Huswife

To make a very good Banbury Cake, take four pounds of Currants and wash and pick them very clean, and dry them in a cloth; then take three Eggs, and put away one yolk, and beat them, and strain them with Barm, putting thereto Cloves, Mace, Cinamon and Nutmegges, then take a pint of Cream, and as much mornings milk, and set it on the fire till the cold be taken away; then take Flower, and put in good store of cold butter and sugar; then put in your eggs, barm, and meal, and work them all together an hour or more, then save a part of the paste, and the rest break in pieces, and work in your Currants; which done, mould your Cake of whatever quantity you please, and then with that paste which hath not any Currants, cover it thin, both underneath, and aloft. And so bake it according to bigness.

1 lb. currants or craisins

two small eggs

1 egg white

1 C warm water

1 tsp. yeast

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp mace

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 pt heavy cream

1 pt milk

1 C chilled butter

1 C sugar

9-10 C white whole wheat and all-purpose flour (mixed)

1/2 tsp salt

Proof yeast in warm water until it bubbles. Beat the eggs and add to the yeast. Add the milk, cream, and spices, and beat lightly. Cut or rub the butter into about 6 cups of flour, the sugar, and the salt. Slowly add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat gently. Add more flour to make a soft dough and knead in the currants. Put dough in two 9" round cake pans, cover with a plastic bags, and let rise until the dough is doubled. Bake for 70 minutes in a 325-degree oven until browned lightly and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Makes two cakes.

©1999 Chris P. Adler