Compost C – The Forme of Cury (1390 London England)

This was redacted for the Virtual cooking challenge #5 – Compost C which was posted on the SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display.

This is a picture of a recipe from “The Forme of Cury” (1390 London England) . (

Two weeks ago at our WTFork meeting (every Tuesday night at 8:30 pm Pacific) I mentioned that I need to use up some cabbage and wanted something a bit more exciting than steamed cabbage with butter and salt. Viola! An exciting recipe for cabbage (give me a break, it’s still cabbage).

Sylvie’s redaction for Compost
1 parsnip, cut to large match sticks
4 carrots, cut to large match stick
1/2 large cabbage cut into chunks
4 pears, core and stem removed, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup honey
1 cup dry sherry
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp powder douce
1 pinch saffron
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp fennel seeds
8-10 star anise pods
2 Tbsp rustic mustard

Boil a large pot of water. Add carrots, parsnips and cabbage to the pot and boil it for 20 minutes. Add pears. Boil for an additional 2 minutes (my pears were VERY ripe so I didn’t want them to disintegrate). Drain proto-compost. Lay proto-compost out on a cloth until it’s cold. When cooled sprinkle with kosher salt. Mix well. Then put this in a strainer with a bowl/plate under it and store in the fridge overnight (you probably don’t need to put it in the fridge here but it was midnight and I was tired. Rest it for 1-2 hrs to draw out liquid ).

In a medium size pot, combine honey and sherry. Bring to a boil to completely melt the honey. Set aside.

Pull the proto-compost out of the fridge. Toss any water that dripped from the proto-compost. Return proto-compost to the clean cloth. Sprinkle proto-compost with powder douce, and saffron. Stuff proto-compost into glass jar. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar (fill jar to about half). Realize you forgot to add golden raisins. Pour proto-compost back into the very large pot. Add golden raisins. Stuff proto-compost back into glass jars. Start adding star anise to jars. Realize you forgot to add fennel seeds. Pour proto-compost back into very large pot. Add fennel seeds. Stuff proto-compost back into glass jars. Top this with clarified honey+sherry mixture. Realize the honey/sherry isn’t really penetrating to the bottom. Pour compost back into big pot. Put EVERYTHING in the pot (ie, add the mustard you totally forgot *sigh*). Check recipe. Check it again. Stuff all the solids into the jar. Top with liquids until no more will fit. I ended up tossing about 1/2 cup of liquid which would not fit in the jar.
(in retrospect it would have been better (or at least way more efficient) to combine proto-compost, golden raisins, powder douce, saffron, fennel seeds, star anise pods, vinegar, mustard, honey+sherry in the pot. Stir it. Taste it. Adjust for taste and THEN stuff it into the jars. Live and learn.)

Store in the fridge. This will probably safely store in the fridge for at least a month.

I’d describe this a pickled veggies/fruit in a honey mustard brine. I expect it will pair famously with roast beast.

Post Mortem:
When I initially read over the recipe I decided this would end up somewhere between sweet honey/mustard pickled veggies and a thick honey/mustard chutney. I actually wanted to end up closer to the honey/mustard chutney but seem to have hit pickles instead.

If I’m aiming for chutney I need less liquid, more honey and more pectin (from the pears to jelly-ify the mixture). Next time I’ll use half as much apple cider vinegar, (at least) twice as much honey and (at least) double to 3x the amount of pears. I think I could easily double the golden raisins as well.

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