All the ladies arrived and each chose a receipt (recipe) that needed to be started first. The Pea Soup would take the longest and we would be having it around noon for our lunch. Rachel and Cindy began by reading Glasse’s receipt and then started chopping all the ingredients. Stephanie whipped up the batter for The Right Dutch-Wafers from Mary Kettilby 1724 cookery book. The receipt contains yeast so it would need to sit and expand and bubble before it was ready to use. Then she washed and chopped fresh strawberries, added sugar, and put them aside to be used on the waffles at lunch. The Grilled Flatbread receipt also need to rise so Lisa popped open the dark beer and added the yeast and sugar. Once that was ready she added the oil, salt and flour. We used emmer flour. Emmer flour is an ancient wholegrain flour much like whole wheat. It has a sweet, rich nutty flavor. Marsha made the Lemon Cheese from the receipt of “The Cookbook of the Unknown Ladies.” We will use this in our wafers, cones, and rolls later.
Rachel and Cindy scooped up all the ingredients at various times and put them into the soup kettle, and, every so often, made sure to stir it well so nothing stuck to the bottom. With the final step they would be adding some more butter, ham, and Worcestershire sauce.
Cindy whipped the egg whites and orange flower water with the birch whisk. She wanted everyone to see how amazing it was that you could get such nice peeks from a wooden whisk. The cut-up fruit and chopped almonds would be added to this and dropped onto parchment paper to dry in the oven.
The pie crust would be used for Richard Bradley’s, 1732 receipt, To make a Tart of Ananas, or Pin-apple. Rachel cut a fresh pineapple into small pieces for the pie. You could small the aroma of the sweet-scented juices as she sliced. The pineapple then went into a pot with sugar and sherry placed on the crane, high over the fire, and left to stew.
Everyone was working hard on a variety of items and it was time for a well-deserved break. The day was lovely and perhaps too warm for, however, this gave us a chance to remove ourselves from in front of the fire and sit on the porch and have our lunch. I had opened the porch door a bit, as the sun was shining in, and this made it cooler.
Sitting comfortably, Natalie and Rachael enjoy the hearty pea soup and flat bread, (not pictured) on the cool porch. The fragrant soup had many wonderful flavors as well as textures. The combinations of dried peas, cabbage, leeks, onions, carrots, potatoes, ham and spices made it an epicurean delight. The flat bread was dense but had a nice reddish brown color and a nutty taste that is much more mellow and more pleasant than the typical whole wheat bread. Next time I think I’d have it rolled out flatter. I do wish we had a picture of it on the table. However, I can tell you it did taste wonderful dipped into the pea soup.
Lunch on the porch gave us all time to chat and talk about what was to be done next. There were several receipts that were started in the morning that needed to be completed. One was our dessert. With lunch consumed, everyone went about getting the next part of their receipts ready. Stephanie had made the strawberries and the waffle batter when she first arrived in the morning. Once the waffle iron was hot, she started making The Right Dutch-Wafer. The “Right” means authentic or true and the wafers batter contains yeast. These ‘Wafers’ what we would call waffles nowadays.
The batter was just right and made perfect waffles. The strawberries , with their sugar added, had macerated and had just the right amount of liquid to drizzle on the waffles. The waffles were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and had a nice taste of orange flower water that complemented the strawberries. And, yes, we had whipped cream to go with it.
The simmering pineapple was not losing much of its liquid, perhaps making more as it stewed. I was afraid that additional heating would break down the pineapple and we would have just liquid. I decided to have Natalie add sago. Sago is almost a pure starch that comes from the sago palm and has been used for centuries to solidify puddings. It’s like tapioca. This worked and the pineapple thickened and was no longer watery.
Lisa puts the Millefruit Biscuit in the bake oven. Later in the day, we took them out and they still had to dry some. I put mine back into the oven for the rest of the afternoon, and they were fine by the time I went to bed. They do take a long drying time. I liked the taste of the fruit, however, the nuts got lost, so next time I’ll double the amount.
In the morning, Marsha and Lisa had made the dough for the Dutchess of York Biscuits from Joseph Bell’s 1817 cookery book. Now it was time to roll, stamp and dock the biscuits. Everyone got into the swing of it, and seemed to have their favorite mold.
While the biscuits baked, two wafer irons were made hot. We used Elizabeth Moxon’s 1764 receipt for To Make Goffer Wafers. I’ve found that this works every well with my irons. Cathy and Natalie teamed up to pour the batter and work the two wafer irons.
Rachael helped to roll the wafer into shapes. She used a tin cream horn mold and a wooden dowel. She had to work fast. They were hot when the came off the iron, nevertheless they cooled quickly and became rigid.
With all the receipts completed it was time to sit down and make marzipan. Stephanie mixed colors and I showed a few samples that I had already made and some pictures. Everyone sat down and let their creative juices flow.
As adults, it is always enjoyable to play with food that feels like play dough. The ladies let their artistic abilities soar. The marzipan turned into strawberries, apples, lemons, limes, hedgehogs, dragons, pears, oranges, pumpkins and a malamute dog (made by Natalie) .
From the oven came the Tart of Ananas. Once again we see the creativity of Natalie, she took the extra dough and made a pineapple shape and when it came out of the oven she added a few sprigs of rosemary on top. A show-stopper for sure.
Next, the pretty-looking Dutchess of York Biscuits were done. This is a simple receipt made with butter, sugar, flour and water. It has very little in the way of flavor. However, that said, I did enjoy mine dipped in my tea and also tried it in my wine, as they would have in the 19th century. I liked it best in my tea.
It was an enjoyable, busy, and productive day. Everyone had fun, learned some new receipts and went home with containers filled with soup, flatbread, and desserts. I’m sure there were many happy husbands that evening.
“Mama usually made pea soup. On Sunday nights she cooked it – and not just enough for one or two repeat performances. She made enough to last until the following Saturday. Then on Sunday, she’d cook another one. Pea soup, bread, sometimes a small portion of potatoes or meat. You ate it up, didn’t ask for more, and you didn’t complain.” The Book Thief
Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not! ~ Author Unknown