EASTFIELD VILLAGE – PART II

 

door knocker

  Friday night it poured buckets and there was thunder and lightning that worked me up as I lie sleeping on the rope bed. It was the only noise in the whole tavern and I loved it.

Saturday started off with more rain and thunder in the Berkshire Hills soon giving way to a sunny day. I got the fire going as Bob was at work this day and I needed to have breakfast. Of the cooks only three of us braved the village nights. Two went out early in the morning to town and I ate alone waiting for the group to come moseying in. And there are always a few leftover things to be washed in the sink so I was busy.

When everyone arrived Niel rang the bell and we all jumped right into the receipts he gave us. Whipped syllabub, chicken on a spit, vermicella pudding, celery in cream, mushroom ragout, rich cake. And a few things I may have forgotten.

Kim, Trudy and Dave stuffed the chicken with wonderful herbs, spices, onion and a lemon. This went on a spit and was placed before the fire to roast.chicken

Katy, Holly and Dave made “To Whipt Syllabub,” poured it into cups and put it on the bar to separate during the day and be ready for our evening meal.

I started on my Fritters Royal. I needed to boil milk and then curdle it with sack. Bring it to a boil again and then let it rest for 6 minutes and drain the curds. I ended up with superb curds. At the fire with me was Linda, making a sauce, perhaps for the carrot pudding. As you can see it was very hot in the kitchen and I’m covered in a shiny sheen. We needed to tie a towel on the clock Jack so we would not hit out head.

With the Fritter Royal resting until later, I started on the Westminster Fool. I cut bread that we used the crust from the day before. I slices about 8 pieces and put it in a low sided bowl and soaked it in sherry. Then I made a custard added rose water, nutmeg, mace and put it over a slow fire so it would not curdle. After it began to thicken I poured this on the bread and let it soak in. When it was cool I put it in the refrigerator, as the room and even out of doors was reaching an alarmingly hot temperature. I would not need to do anything else with it at that point, just let it set. curd linda

Niel gave Carl some instructions on the carrot pudding and the boiling process. It was time for us to take a break and Trudy and Kim brought a lovely spread of cheese, fruit , bread and jams. Dave brought a bowl of wonderful tomatoes from his garden in Pennsylvania. I ate several as they were my first fresh-off-the-vine summer tomatoes. Thanks Trudy, Kim and Dave. niel carl cheese

Lee, Katy, and John made vermicella noodles for the pudding and a short bread crust too.

ver cookedjpg

Karl had taken great care to make sure the water in the pot boiled all the time so the carrot pudding would not soak up water. After careful tending, the pudding was ready to be taken out. The pot is huge and so it was brought out of doors and the water dumped and the pudding saved in a bowl.

And of course everyone came out for a bit of air and to have a look. From left to right Niel, our fearless leader, John, Kim, Karla, Carl, Holly and Katy. In back on the steps is Lee and looking out the windows are Linda and Scott.out  carrot

The Vermicella Pudding and the carrot pudding ready for dinner.

vermic carrots

I started the ” To ragoo Mushrooms” receipt and as I read it I found a bit of a problem. I was to pour the mixture in a bladder and boil it. Humm NO BLADDER. So I cooked it in a pan over the fire with onions, nutmeg, mace, rosemary, salt and pepper and added a good deal of red wine, butter and a bit of flour. This simmered and came out splendid. When faced with a lack of something go to plan B. 

I know Linda was involved with the celery and not sure who else helped out. The celery was boiled tender drained and an egg and cream sauce with nutmeg and a little salt poured over it after it was thickened. We were all surprised at how enjoyable it tasted. It’s a dish we should all make more often.

mushroom celery

Dave and John made a Rich Cake with tons of candied fruit , brandy and spices. It had a pleasant taste. There was bread made in loaves and in small manchets. The Fritters Royal were fried and the Westminster Fool put on the table.dinner 2

No one had ever made the Westminster Fool or the Fritters Royal and we were all delighted with how they came out. Particularly the Fools custard that was poured on anything we could eat the next two days. The Vermicella Pudding was good and the crust even better. The carrot pudding came out well, and the roasted chicken was excellent.

The table was set and the afternoon was getting late, so candles were lit , manchets were rolled in a classy napkins (paper towel). And we all sat down to another wonderful meal. We started with the Syllabub and then filled our plates for another, Hannah Glass inspired, hearth-cooked meal at the Village. tableLeftovers were again put on the table for the tin-smithing class who all appreciated a bite of food as this was their last evening there and most headed home. On the far left in the middle you can see the Westminster Fool, what’s left of it. westermister fool

DAY THREE

We are all tired, sore and hot, so we decided to make it an easy day of cooking and give everyone an early start home. Our receipts for the day were bacon and sausage, pan perdue, Nuns cake, curd fritters of a different kind, transparent pudding and jumbles. I started on a crust for the transparent pudding while Carl and Katy made the filling of eggs butter sugar  Carl katy jpg

 Bob, as always, was at the fire, making sure we had coals. Trudy made the pan perdue to go with the bacon and sausage. We ate this early in the day. It was a great brunch and we brought out the Westminster Fool again to put on top. Yummy.fr toast

Linda and Lee made the jumbles. Buy this time the Tavern was so hot and muggy the butter was melting fast and the flour reacting strangely. Alterations were made for completing the jumbles.  Several styles were made and some were baked and some fried. I did get to taste a fried one before I left and it was nice and crunchy.jumb

The Nuns cake and Transparent Pudding came out of the oven and the day began to wind down.t pudding

It was time for me to leave the Village and its wonderful rustic way of life. I met many wonderful people and learned a few new receipts. I wish I had taken more pictures, however, we were all like whirling dervishes, darting from room to room making various receipts and vying for room at the hearth. I know I’ve missed a few receipts here so let’s just say there were many dishes made by everyone in the three days of the workshop and they were all good.

So I took a last look around.

last look copy

Visited the 1805 necessary one more time,

outhous

and said goodbye to a weekend experience at Eastfield Village, something I always wanted to do.


“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

Laurie Colwin


And with that said, we can thank Hannah Glasse for leaving us with a book full of worthy receipts and advice that we can still use today and Niel for providing us the opportunity to use some of them that we have not used before.

Sandie

Have a look at Facebook for Eastfield village:   http://www.historiceastfield.org/

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

One thought on “EASTFIELD VILLAGE – PART II

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your great weekend at Eastfield Village. It is one of my favorite places in the world, and I really wanted to join you all. Maybe next year…