Friday, April 15, 2011

I haz cookies

At the Crown Tourney I got some cookies. Here it is, isn't it beautiful? This scroll was made by Sayidda Amal binti Hamid and it is based on a 15th C MS from A Stitch Out of Time.

I also got a ring, that is close to a Lindquistringes ring, but not quite. A couple of pictures of the ring in here: Dragon's Den. My ring already lost one of it's eyes, because I managed to drop it and it hit the stone floor cracking the red eye into pieces. :-(

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drachenwald Archery Champion embroidery

This was also a commission from Her Majesty Eleanora von Ratzeburg, Queen of Drachenwald, like the dancing champion badges I made before. This will be attached on a tabbard.

Embroidered on linen with cotton using split stitch.

The pencil is there to show you the scale of the work.

A detail.

I want to stop using cotton now. And I found a good source for silks, so I'll be using my stock pile of cottons to embroider less important things.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Crown Tourney Feast IV - "Fish pie" and cabbage pastries

The third and last remove was "fish pie" and cabbage pastries. The pie was actually apple pie, but some people didn't even taste it because it was decorated with fish! Their loss. The cabbage pastries were the only thing that really was what it's name said, but instead of savory cabbage, they were sweet. Surprize!

(The picture is from a left over pie after transport, so the crust is a little damaged.)

The Fish pie:

Crust (American measurements, because I got the recipe from my friend):
2 cups flour
2/3 cups fat (butter or vegetable)
6-7 table spoons water (cold!)
Cut the fat and flour together, add water. Make the bottom from about 2/3 of the dough, the rest will make the lid.

about 7dl apple puree (preferably without sugar, mine was self made)
1 dl bread crumbs
(sugar, if you want it sweeter)

Mix the ingredients together, let it stand for at least 20 minutes. Make the crust, fill it and make the lid. Decorate with small fish made of rests of the dough. Bake in 180°C for about an hour or until golden.

The cabbage pastries:


Cut the cabbage to small pieces, the thinner the better. Fry them in oil/fat on a frying pan until soft. Add sugar and spices to taste. Mix in some oil/fat if too dry.

Dough: (sorry about the Finnish way of measuring in decilitres)
Makes 32 pastries.
1/2l water
40g fresh yeast
1 tea spoon salt
1 1/2 dl (about 140g) sugar
50 g vegetable fat (or butter)
12 dl (about 720g) flour

Mix the yeast to luke warm water. Add salt and sugar and the flour gradually. Finally add the melted fat. Let the dough rise to double size, knead it well and make pastries with the filling. Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Spring Crown Tourney Feast III - "Sausages and parsley stew"

This is the second remove. The "parsley stew" was originally ment to be "parsley sauce", but because of a mishap there was not enough parsley on them to cover the dish and I changed the name just before serving. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it.

But first the "sausages":
This was one of the two dishes that caused most confusion, and with a good reason!

These sausages are made of rice pudding in natural sausage casing. The recipe makes about 100 sausages!

2l water
500g rice (porridge type)
3 eggs
1 table spoon cinnamon (fine powder)
2 table spoons cardamon (coarce powder)
1 1/2 dl sugar
sausage casings

Cook the rice slowly in the water for about 30 min (make sure that it won't boil dry), let it stand under a lid for 10 minutes. Add the spices and let it cool down. Add the eggs and mix well.
Fill the rice in sausage casings to make sausages. Tie the sausages with a string, because just rolling them won't be enough since they will not be as firm as real sausages. Cook the sausages carefully in simmering water for 3-4 minutes, be sure to prick them with a needle before and during the cooking. They will burst easily, be careful.

I had my sausages in the freezer for three weeks before the event, and that seemed to do them good. They were much firmer after they were defrosted than before freezing. I warmed them in warm water (70°C), be careful not to break them again.

Here's a picture to show you how real they looked like. The ones on the right are real bratwurst (uncooked) and the ones on the left are my "sausages". No wonder that people though they were real! The texture can annoy some people, but they taste good.

A "making of" picture. It took some time, since I did not have a machine to use, only the old fashioned meat grinder.

"The Parsley stew"
This is my version of a recipe in Platina's De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine, Book VI, recipe 16.

Chicken thighs
white wine vinegar

Cut the thighs in halves at the joint. Boil the meat in 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water with some salt until done, takes about 30 minutes. Put the meat on a serving dish with some of the cooking liquid and sprinkle the spices on top. There should be enough parsley to hide the meat, something we did not have at the event because of a mistake.

Most of the people really liked the chicken. This was the most asked for recipe after the feast.

Spring Crown Tourney Feast II - "The Apples and fruit puree"

Here is the recipe for the first remove. I'm sorry if the recipes are vague. I lost my recipe notes two days before the feast and I had to cook by memory and taste, not that I would mind doing it. And it is very period, don't you think?

This recipe is a much changed version of a recipe I found in "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, vol II" (This is the only dish I had a precise recipe for, because I sent it to Alyna for them to do the meat balls before the event.)

1kg (2.2 lb) ground beef
100g (3.5 oz) dates, finely chopped
1/2 tea spoon cloves
1 tea spoon black pepper
1 tea spoon ginger
1 tea spoon cinnamon
1/2 tea spoon salt

Mix all together and make balls. Boil them in salted water for about 12-15 minutes, or until done.

The dough:
I don't have an exact amount of dough you need, because I made a lot of it in three batches and it also depends on how thick coating you make. You can start with this amount, it should be enough for the meatballs you get with the recipe above:

2 bunches of parsley
8 egg whites or 5 whole eggs (the color will be better, if you use whites only)

Chop and grind the parsley very fine and squeeze it to get the green juice. (Save the rests for the chicken dish!) There will not be much of it, but it will give a lot of color. Mix the ginger with some of the flour and mix that with the eggs. Add the parsley juice and then keep adding flour until you get a dough that can be molded around the meat balls with floury hands. Cover the meat balls with the dough and boil them in water. It is best to put the balls in the pot carefully with a ladle and stir it often. The balls tend to stick to the bottom at first, but if you detach them with your ladle, they don't do that anymore during the cooking. They are ready when they raise on the surface. If your dough is very thick, it might need little more time to cook.

The meat "apples" can then be kept cool and warmed up before serving. They are even better the next day when the taste has had time to spread through the dough.

And here is what they really are...

The orange thing in the picture is my "Fruit puree":

Carrots, parsnips and rutabaga, more carrots than others.

Peel the vegetables and cut them to pieces. Cook them in water until soft, drain. Puree the vegetables. Add spices to taste. Serve hot.

People seemed to like these. Some of them did not like the dough, though.

Spring Crown Tourney Feast I

Last weekend I worked at the Crown Tourney in Turmstadt as the head cook. I had stressed about it for some time, but everything went well and according to my plans. I could enjoy the event and the cooking, and I got back some of the joy of cooking that I had lost a little while ago.

The theme was April's Fool, so I planned a feast of subtleties, or foods that look like something else than what they are. This was a risk, because a lot of people are picky of strange foods, but I was willing to risk it. The feast was supposed to be fun and surprizing and the food simple, tasty and plentiful.

My kitchen facilities were somewhat limited, so I had to make many things in advance, which in the end was very effective and gave me even time to rest on Saturday, something that is very unusual for the head cook. In this I also got help from a couple of marvelous people, Magdelene, who took care of the traveler's fare, breakfasts and lunch despite being busy with the tourney, and Alyna and Silvein, who were willing to make 300 meat balls and get them to the site on time. I can not thank them enough. Many more people helped me too, you know who you are, and I'm very thankful for your help.

I'm not the one to cook from precise recipes, that is why I like medieval cooking. As I know the medieval theory behind their recipes, I think that I can make my own medieval recipes without them losing being period enough. The theme and limited facilities that I had with this feast required me to tweak some of the existing resipes or invent new ones.

I'll post the recipes here one by one, but I would like to get feed back of the whole feast from those of my readers who were there. What went well and - most importantly - what could have been better?