Earlier in May 2020 we created a Medieval Banquet over on our Facebook Page, that anyone could make .
This downloadable PDF has all the recipes that you will need to make the banquet, along with a couple for spices, sauces and garnishes that we didn't put on the facebook page.
A little note on medieval recipes....there are no recipes for early medieval food and certainly not scottish.Large castles may have records from feast and scribbled notes from a cook, but its very rare and a lot of cooks couldn't read or write...there was no need. Even cooks in castles would learn from the cook before them, watching and then doing.We know that food would have been seasonal, there were no freezers or mass produced all year round food. There were methods of preservation but it still wouldnt give you the same food all year round.
Visitors to castles (who could read and write) may write a letter or a journal stating what they are but not the recipe.We do know that fruit was usually foraged for by ordinary families, preserved in honey, eaten the same day or made into pies like this one.
As I said recipes were not written so measurements for this are "some of this and some of that"!
Medieval ovens didn't have temperature controls!
I really do think that these should be called "Whatever Eggs" as, although they contain egg, meat and breadcrumbs, the meat and breadcrumbs could be from whatever meat you had and whatever type of left over bread you had. These Scotch Eggs were a way of using up the last bits of bread or left over meat. It could be left over cooked meat or just the scraps from lots of different meat. They would have been perfect for travelling with, a lunch while working on a farm or just to add to cooked veg to make it all go further. Chickens were kept by nearly everyone. They were mainly kept for their eggs and not the meat as 600 odd years ago, chickens were a little bit scrawny and not the big fat chickens that we know today. Eggs could be a meal on their own or added to other ingredients to make it all go further.For this recipe we are using the typical ingredients for a Scotch Egg.
This method is really easy- put everything into a bowl and mix!When fully mixed, shape into balls. The balls can be shallow fried or deep fried. If shallow frying, be gently with them as they can break up if you are too rough with them. Cook until they are browned all over. And thats it...Medieval Scotch Eggs.
A wee fact: Scotch doesn't mean they are from Scotland originally, Scotch is a medieval name for minced meat!
From hard spicy biscuits, amazing gingerbread house creations and soft loaves sometimes spread with butter or covered in custard, most people have a favourite type of gingerbread.Gingerbread in the time of Mary Queen of Scots was slightly different to what we are used to today though. It was more like a gingerbread biscuit but softer...most of the time!Ginger and Cinnamon, 2 of the spices in medieval gingerbread, were imported to the UK and of course were expensive, so they were added in great quantities to food, to show how wealthy your were.Medieval gingerbread was sometimes pressed into elaborate moulds and coloured or covered in gold gilt! Elizabeth I would often have the Tudor Rose made out of gingerbread for a dinner centre piece.Below is a very simple recipe for medieval gingerbread. you can add colouring or dust with edible gold shimmer dust if you wish or keep it medieval with a simple shape and studded with cloves.Ingredients:
Heat the honey in a pot and when warm add spices ( to your taste) and mix well. Take off heat and beat in breadcrumbs. You are looking for a dough like texture and may need your extra breadcrumbs.Oil lightly a wooden board and put mix onto board. Press out with hand until about 1/4 inch thickTraditionally the dough was then cut into diamond shapes.We cut ours into large and smaller diamonds.Put the small diamonds on top of the large diamonds and secure with a clove.
If you wish to colour your gingerbread, add the food colouring at the spices stage. Add more breadcrumbs to make a stiffer dough if you wish to make more intricate shapes.
Cherry Pottage is an easy meal to make and although it doesn't look like it, this dish was a very good way to " Show off".
This is because it uses white bread and sugar.
During Medieval times in Scotland, White bread and sugar was incredibly expensive, so only the richest people would be making this for pudding!
400g Cherries, stoned and pureed
175 ml red wine
85g white sugar
110g white breadcrumbs
pinch of salt
Mix the puree with half the sugar and half the wine
Melt the butter
Add the rest of the sugar and the wine to the butter and mix
Add the breadcrumbs
Add the Cherry mix into the butter mix
Add the salt
Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it thickens.
Put the mix into one large bowl or two smaller bowls and allow to cool.
When cold sprinkle with coarse white sugar.
I cooked this the first time about 6 years ago during filming for " The Quest for Bannockburn" with Neil Oliver and Tony Pollard.
As Tony and Neil came up to try some of the pudding during a filming break, I turned around to see the crew, who had been eating the pudding, had purple lips. I had used Blackberries in the mix as well as cherries!
Just in time we managed to stop Neil and Tony or some parts of "The Quest for Bannockburn" would have featured 2 purple lipped presenters!
Cow and Goat milk didn't tend to be drunk much in Medieval Scotland unless you were a child or ill, but there were a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly there was no way to refrigerate the milk so it would go off very quickly and secondly the milk could be made into such things as salted butter and cheese, which would last longer, last through winter and was therefor much more valuable than fresh milk.
So what did you do if you needed milk for cooking such things as medieval rice pudding (yes they had rice pudding!!) ?
You made Almond Milk.
Making Almond Milk is quite labour intensive and the recipes that call for it were usually the reserve of the " Well Off". We used shop bought ground almonds, but back in medieval Scotland you would be grinding hem yourself and in large quantities!
It is a very simple recipe and we have given here in a modern form for ease.
90 grams Ground Almonds
1-2tbls honey ( or sugar if you wish)
1/2 tsp salt.
boil the water and when boiling add Almonds, Honey to taste and salt.
Give it a stir and then simmer very gently for 15 mins.
Strain through muslin.
And thats it!
Before straining, the mix is gritty and thick and not great to drink but it can be used to thicken sauces and puddings.
Maslin just means "mix" and this bread is a mix of Rye, Bere and Wholemeal. Because of the Bere flour this is quite a dense bread. If you don't have Bere flour a Barley flour is just as good.Our cheese (recipe on website) has herbs mixed in but you can leave them out.Recipe:
Mix all the flour together with the salt.
Make a well in the centre and add water and mix.
Add sourdough starter and mix with spoon, knife or fingers.Mix to make a firm dough (add extra wholemeal if needed) The dough should be a wee bit sticky.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and bouncy when pressed...should take about 7 to 8 minutes.
Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover and place in warm place until doubled in size.It May take quite a while for you to get the dough to double due to the Bere flour and sourdough starter.
When it has risen "punch" down the dough. Take out of bowl,kneed for 1 minute, shape into a round and cover (with clean tea towel) and leave for another 30 mins.Pre heat oven to 230 degrees
Score a cross on the top.
Put into preheated oven for 10 mins then reduce heat to 200 degrees and cook for a further 30 mins.When done the bread should sound hollow when you tap on the base.