Siege Cooking Competition at A&S Trouney July 2006

Here was the layout and rules for the Siege Cooking Competition at the A&S Tourney on July 21-23.

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Market Basket Challenge

You’re given a basket of food, to make dinner for yourself and 5 other people, including the religious leader in your community. (If your community doesn’t have a religious leader, you can substitute the mayor or some other important person.)
You get: 1/2 chicken, 1 cup lentils, 2 carrots, 2 turnips, 1 leek, 3 Strawberries, 1 bunch herbs (your choice, but only one herb), 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1 pat
butter (1 tablespoon), 2 apples, 1 egg, 1/2 loaf day old bread, a little salt and
a little pepper.
Your own pantry is bare, so what you get is what all you’ll have.

Feast Ingredients

Getting Herb in Berkeley:
Squab (young pigeon) and Poussin (young or spring chicken)

Slightly Post Period Chocolate Drink

Juana Isabella posted this on West-cooks yahoogroup.
Slightly Post Period Chocolate Drink
I got the information below from page 36 and 37 of The Feudal
Gourmet: A Brief Overview of Early Spanish Cuisine, edited by Eden
Rain, published by the Madrone Culinary Guild.
The source Eden used was from “Chocolate: or, An Indian Drinke.”
London, 1652, by Capt. John Wadsworth. Apparently a translation of a
book by Melchor de Lara, “Physitian General for the Kingdome of
Spaine”, 1631. This is available on-line at Not all of the article at
that URL is quoted below. What is quoted below is what appeared in
the Madrone pamphlet.

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Medieval Cookware


Medieval cookware is an on-going but often neglected topic of interest for me. I’m utterly fascinated with the idea that the implements influence the food and cooking choices. My dream is to someday cook a meal using only period cookware and techniques.

Ideas I want to research:

  • I’ve seen references to cooking over a brazier. This would be like cooking in a tagine only possibly with an open pot over a brazier of coals.
  • Modernly when we conceive of spit roasting something we place the spit directly over the flame. I’ve seen indications that the spit would be placed next to the fire, sometimes with a drip pan below to catch all the nice meat drippings (much better then dripping them into the fire to cause flare up). This also argues spit cooking as an indirect cooking method.
  • Cooking that -was- done directly over the fire was handled in pots either with intregral feet or with a separate trivet.
  • Ovens were the property of bakers. They were used for breads and tarts. I really doubt that any meats were ever baked.

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Cinnamon tart – a good way to use up egg whites

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Meta Feast Information

Good article, Cost analysis fo feasts
Good article about period and adapted SCA feast service practice.
this is the wholesale place that sells game and the public….

Bread Trenchers

Washing dishes is a sucky camp duty. It’s an icky job and it’s not terribly fun.. and there are about a hundred other things you’d rather be doing at event.
After this last Estrella (2006) my camp suggested we start using paper plates.
Outside of the SCA I hate paper plates, they’re wasteful. Inside of the SCA I hate paper plates. They’re not period and they’re wasteful. But they did have a point. Paper plates can be burned and eliminate the “doing dishes” part of the meal.
After mulling this over for a long while I proposed that we should start using bread trenchers at event. It’s still wasteful.. but more period than paper plates. They seem amiable to the idea. Now I just need to work out the logistics.
This topic is to gather trencher ideas.. and to document how it all works out.

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Furmenty and venison

Almost universally all of the late 14th/early 15th century menus I looked at included venison with furmenty in the first course. I was determined to be able to serve that. It just seemed right for a feast where the theme was “Hunt and Harvest”.

Very early in the year I contacted my parents to see if they could get a deer for me for the feast. They said they’d try. Mom called after Thanksgiving to say that she’d “climbed up on the roof of the house” but had been unable to hit any of the deer on their property (Mom&Dad have 47 acre ranch/farm on the Yellowstone River in Montana).

We ended up buying four 5 lb bags of “venison stew meat” ($5.95/lb) from Polarica. Edith drove into SF on Friday and picked up the meat. On the day of the feast the meat still hadn’t thawed so we floated it in water early in the day and then microwaved it later in the day.

My wonderful kitchen help(Hilary and Dianora I think) cut the chunks up into smaller pieces. These were cooked in a pan on top of the gridle. We purposefully crowded the pan so that the meat would generate a good gravy. The cooking when much faster after we covered the pan with a cookie sheet. Anna Sara added a flour/water slurry to thicken the gravy.

I tested out the furmenty recipe about a week before the feast.

1/2 cup hulled wheat berries
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/3-1/2 tsp salt
Pinch saffron
2 egg yolks

Boil wheat berries in water until they burst (about 1 hour). This takes a lot of water. The wheat berries expanded from 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cup cooked berries. When some of the berries are done (a few burst, the rest just -taste- done), drain any excess water (I found that cheesecloth in a collander worked great). Add back to pan. Add milk, salt, saffron. When milk is warm, use that to temper the egg yolks. Add tempered egg yolks to wheat berries.

For the feast we multiplied the above recipe by 12 (we were expecting 12 tables, ended up with 14 but the recipe stretched well).

In the test we used the saffron threads whole. This wasn’t bad but we decided to grind the saffron up for the feast. The feast furmenty was more “saffron-y” than the test furmenty. Not a bad thing if you like saffron.

In the test we used 1 cup milk and found this to be too much. At the feast we used about 1/2 cup/recipe. Some people at the feast thought that 1/2 tsp of salt per recipe was too salty. I liked it but in future I’ll probably use 1/3 tsp/recipe.

Fylettes in galytyne

From The Forme of Cury(1390)(

Take Pork, and rost it tyl the blode be tryed out & þe broth [1].
take crustes of brede and bray hem in a morter, an drawe hem thurgh a
cloth with þe broth, þenne take oynouns an leshe hem on brede an do
to the broth. þanne take pork, and leshe it clene with a dressyng
knyf and cast it into þe pot broth, & lat it boile til it be more
tendre. þanne take þat lyour þerto. þanne take a porcion of peper and
saundres & do þerto. þanne take parsel & ysope & mynce it smale & do
þerto. þanne take rede wyne oþer white grece & raysouns & do þerto. &
lat it boile a lytel.

[1] the broth. Supposed to be prepared beforehand.

Fillets in Gelatine
Take pork, and roast it til the blood has all run out into the broth. Take crusts of bread and bray them in amorter and sieve them through a cloth with the broth. Then take onions and lay them on bread and then add broth. Then take the pork and cut it with a knife and throw it in the pot of broth and let it boil until the pork is more tender. Then lay pork on the bread/onions. Then add a sprinkle of (black) pepper and saunders. Then add add parsley, ysope(?). Mince it small and add to pork/bread. Then take red wine or white grease and raisins and add them also. And let it boil a little.

I took a lot of liberties with this recipe. The dish I served was “porkchops with Onions”.

Pan-Fry porkchops until it reaches 160 degrees F(season with a bit of salt/pepper). Remove porkchops to the oven to keep them warm. Pan-fry (no oil) onions until they are well carmelized. Plate porkchops. Heap onions on top of the pork chops. Serve.