COFFIN TWO

There were six people in the workshop and all wanted to learn how to make coffins. It does seem to be a popular form of pie-making these days. This day we would go a step beyond the normal and make a coffins and a ‘subteltie’ or eye-catching centerpiece.

– A castle with a keep, three towers and a center.

First thing that needed to be done was make the fillings for the coffins. Veronica made the mushroom and onion filling while Matt added bread crumbs and spices to beef to make a forced meat mixture.1

Nancy made two fillings. Both needed constant watchfulness and stirring. A rice filing hung over the fire, made with milk, could easily scorch, while the spinach sweating in a large spider over coals had to be carefully tended. Kate was done with her venison sausage filling, and she and Matt started on the Orange Fool. Veronica put the finishing touches on the mushrooms and onions.4 copy

Kate lends a hand to Nancy and places the spinach in a cloth-lined bowl to remove the last vestige of moisture.

Susan made a paste of shredded chicken breast, eggs and cream then picked all the meat off of the boiled quail. This would all go in her coffin with wild mushrooms, dates, fresh figs, and spices.6 copy

Kevin took the receipt for Cucumber a la Forced. He cut a small piece off the end of the cucumber and using a marrow spoon he removed all the seeds. Next he made a forced meat of bread cubes, eggs, melted butter and many fresh spices. This forced meat was stuffed into the center of the cucumber and the little end also.  Susan made a leer for her quail coffin over the fire with a roux.  Leers are like our modern gravies, made for pouring in the coffins and enjoying  as a side. One of the interesting things about this roux is most of us put the butter in the pan add the flour and mix it together. Early receipts call for mixing the flour and butter together in your hand and then put it into the liquid, a very different concept for us.

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Now back to Kevin and the cucumber. The small end needed to be sewn back on. I did a brief demonstration for him and he was on his way to resembling three forced cucumbers. Susan watched the surgery.5 copy

Veronica beat the egg whites for the Orange Fool. This was folded into the juice, sugar, and rinds, and thickened on the hearth by Matt. 3 copy

Nancy grated the mozzarella for the spinach filling and mixed it with parmesan, whole eggs and spices. Kate was done with her venison sausage filling and she and Matt, working as a team, strained the orange peels from the sauce for the Orange Fool. Untitled-1 copy

With all the fillings ready to go, we made our coffins. Everyone took turns pouring the hot water crust liquid into their flour.  You must stir it with a spoon first and wait until you can touch it. When that time comes, you need to work fast to get the flour to mix with the liquid. 

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Once the flour will keep its shape as a ball, out on the work surface it goes. Ten minutes of kneading and then 10 minutes of rest and you have a ball that feels much like play dough. Using a coffin form, Susan starts on her large coffin. 8 copy

Coffin forms are mentioned in early 19th century cookbooks. I have not seen any evidence, of their existence, in the previous centuries, however, they do make the work easier, and I’ll keep looking for proof.

Turning the form upside down helps to raise a nice tall coffin. Then in went the quail mixture.9 copy

Nancy used a smaller form for her spinach filling and a tall one for the rice. Kate’s venison would go in a taller form. The spinach would be the center and the rest would become part of the castle towers. 10 copy

Veronica and Matt made the flanking towers.11 copy

Susan rolled out hot water crust to make the top for her coffin; she did a wonderful edge on the side. Kevin mentioned that she is an excellent pie maker. This edge showed off her skills. Kevin was pretty good with a basting brush, and applied the egg wash all over the coffin.12 copy

Matt really gets down making his tower tall, it would become the castle keep.  Kevin does the honors of positioning the quail coffin into the back side of the beehive oven.Untitled-12psd

With the center, towers, and castle keep filled, the tops were placed on and the embattlements cut out. Then they were stuck together to form a castle Richard II would be proud.14copy

Into the beehive they went, and after an hour they came out.15b

While the coffins cooked, Kevin simmered his forced cucumber in chicken stock. In the kettle, the leers that were made were kept warm.15

With flags flying on the castle towers, Matt take it to the table. The tops was cut off to reveal, rice pudding, venison sausage, beef forced meat, mushroom and onions and a center of spinach. All worthy of a medieval feast.

We think of creating “subteltie” as being only in the medieval times, however, even Mrs. Beeton, in 1890, did a game pie with a stuffed pheasant on top.copy4

Susan’s quail pie baked perfectly and was exceptionally good with the fruit, giving it an enjoyable tang .copy3

Everyone around the table thought the spinach tasted much like spanakopita. The venison sausage was terrific, the rice pudding slightly sweet and creamy, the mushrooms and onions delightful and the ground cloves in the forced meat was a wonderful surprise. The forced cucumbers were interesting ranging in ratings from, “glad I had it once” to “it’s not bad.”

Everyone loved the Orange Fool. It was such a popular dessert in the 1800s that Hanna Glasse had at least four receipts for it. Topped with a bit of blueberry sauce it was a perfect ending to the meal.copy 1

Another coffin workshop behind me, and so glad to have shared the day with such wonderful and interesting friends.18

Sandie

“Food . . . can look beautiful, taste exquisite, smell wonderful, make people feel good, bring them together . . . At its most basic, it is fuel for a hungry machine . . . “

Rosamond Richardson, English cookery author

COFFIN WORKSHOP ONE

And the hot oven!

What a difference a year makes. Last winter it snowed almost every Saturday, and the workshops were always being rescheduled. So far this year we have had wonderful weather, even though it has been below freezing a few days. Our workshop day dawned sunny and 22 degrees outside, with wind gusts up to 15 miles an hour. Perfect day to cook over the fire!

One of the dishes we were making was a stuffed pumpkin. I bought several pumpkins in the fall to see how they would keep over the winter. I was just at Old Sturbridge Village at the Freeman farm house and Victoria, who was working there that day, told me how their pumpkins have not fared well, being that the house is so cold. I stored mine under the sink in the panty. We keep this door open on very cold nights so the pipes won’t freeze. The pumpkins survived in wonderful shape with the exception of one that we fed to the deer outside.

The pumpkin was of a good size and I started it early in the morning. When Cathy and Sherry arrived  filled the pumpkin with a stuffing of apples, raisins, brown sugar, cubed bread, butter and spices. This would need to be turned every 20 minutes or so.

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Natalie and Kathy started right in on the quail coffin. Their marble pasty board was covered in cling wrap to keep it clean while they worked on the meat. The birds would be fried brown, cooled and picked of their meat. Four legs would be save intact to stick out of the top of the coffin. A version of, “Crustardes of Flesh,” from the Form of Curry 1390.Untitled3 copy

Sherry and Cathy read the receipt from Robert Smiths , ” A Venifon Pie” and the modern version that they plan to use. With the venison cut into cubes, Sherry renders some salt pork in the pan. Untitled-6 copy

Kathy and Natalie place the cut quail pieces in the oiled pan. After it browned at bit, they added garlic, anchovies, capers, red wine, and stock. A bouquet garni of fresh rosemary and oregano went into the simmering pan.

With the salt pork rendered, Sherry added the cut venison and browned it on all sides.Untitleda-1 copy

The filling for the venison coffin has onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potato, wine, spices and butter. When everything was cut, it was all put into the pan with the venison, and simmered along with some broth. Hanging on the crane is a pot with eggs boiling for the Lumber pie. Untitled7opy

Four quail legs were set aside and the picked meat was mixed with raisins. The braising liquid from the pan and some red wine was thickened with corn flour then poured over the torn meat. This was set aside in a cool place. The cling wrap was removed; the dough was made. After kneading it for 10 minutes it was placed in a linen cloth and twisted and set aside to help the flour absorbed the fat evenly.1

To make our coffin dough we used a medieval receipt from c 1465 Konzil von Konstanz (ÖNB 3044, fol. 48v). It is a hot water crust dough which is mainly flour, water butter, lard and a pinch of salt. The trick is to make sure you knead it well then tie it in a cloth.Capture

Now I’m lucky that I have such a handy husband who has a wood lathe. He made me three coffin forms. I’m not sure when wooden forms started to be used. I do know that they existed.

Robert Deeley, The Caildron, The Spit and the Fire, shows a picture of an 19c coffin form.

Delia Smith who wrote Food in England in 1954 has a wonder article on pork pies being cook in coffyn or coffer, i.e., little box or enclosure; it lent itself to elaborate traditional decorations, on top and sides. She says these forms were made of hot pasty and molded, or raised, round wooden molds.

And this might be the best YouTube I’ve seen of making meat pie with a wooden form.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNCQlkPExHo

Cathy flours the forms really well, and Natalie takes a piece of the warm dough and makes a small bowl shape with it. The inside gets floured and is put on the floured form and made into a coffin. Allan made two small forms on the wood lathe. This way we can make individual coffins. Kathy and Natalie were very excited with this, they want to do small coffins for the Deacon Graves House Museum dinner one day in Madison, CT.

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Next the quail filling goes in with the reserved leg in the middle. A top is then placed on with a hole for the leg. The sides and top edge were washed with beaten egg. Once they are pinched together they should hold in the filling nicely.Untitled-15 copy

Susan was in charge of Robert Mays’ 1660 “Lumber Pie” receipt. While she cuts all the suet, mushrooms, shallots, and marrow, I peel the eggs.Untitled-8 copy

I had some barberries in my spice box and even though the venison receipt did not call for it I ask the ladies if they would like to try it. Susan, a superb venison cook, suggested we grind three berry’s and add it to the mix and everyone agreed. The meat for the Lumber pie was made into little sausages and were then wrapped in caul to hold them together.Untitled-9

The sausages were browned in batches. I had made a beef gravy previously and we warmed it up with a bit of verjuice for pouring on the top of the filled coffin.Untitled-10 copy

Sherry and Cathy worked on their coffin. They were using the large wooden mold. And, yes, we went through a lot of flour, with three different coffins being made it’s not surprising.Untitled-11 copy

With their coffin made the venison filling was poured in. Cathy rolled out a lid and after brushing things with the beaten egg, she crimped it together. Their coffin was not raised very high, however, it would hold a goodly amount and serve four easily.Untitled-12 copy

Susan started to make her coffin on the large form. The wood was floured very well and she was able to make it very tall.Untitled-13 copy

Susan used a wooden noodle roller to make a great outside cover. Brushed with mixed egg, she applied the design.

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Now came the layering of the grapes, figs , eggs, mushrooms and meat sausages in the coffin. The gravy was poured on last.Untitled-18 copy

With the top pinched all round she cut more designs for the top. It was definitely decorating time and everyone was busy putting on the finishing touches of their coffins.Untitled-19 copy

Susan put leaves on top of her coffin, Sherry and Cathy put hearts, Natalie and Kathy use a combination of designs.

After all Valentine’s Day was only one day away. Coffins were ready for the oven.Untitled-20 copy

Because of the stretch of cold days Allan felt the bricks of the chimney and bake oven would take a long time to heat up. He kept testing the bake oven with the Laser Infrared Thermometer. It just would not get up to heat so he added more wood. Finally, he said it was 500 degrees and falling, so in went the coffins.

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While the coffins baked away, Cathy prepared the lovely golden and red beets she had boiled and then sliced into rounds. She melted a stick of butter in a pan, added a little roux and stirred in the chopped parsley. scallions, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper and sautéed them lightly. The beets were added and simmered until the sauce thickened.

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NOW HERE IS WHERE THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN GO WRONG.

So it was time to check the bake oven. First thing that someone noticed was that there was smoke pouring out of the back of the wooden door. It was smoking and I mean really smoking. So we tossed it in the sink and poured water on it. Next we looked at the coffins. Yikes! The Lumber Pie was way in the back and BLACK. We took it out and cut off the top and found that the inside was fine. Perhaps this is why they never eat the coffin dough . (Only kidding) 

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The Venison pie did not look too bad and the small coffins were about the same. The dough was cooked, but a tad over brown!

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THEN CAME

Fredrick Nutt’s The Complete Confectioner, 1790, and his Chocolate Drops.

The chocolate was put in a brass kettle and confectionery sugar added. Sherry put it over coals and started stirring and stirring and stirring until her arm was almost baked. At this point, it was removed to the stove and it took some doing, but the chocolate and sugar melted together.

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Now the chocolate was dropped by a spoon onto a piece of parchment and sprinkled with nonpareils. When the parchment was filled, the edges were picked up, and the bottom was tapped on the marble to flatten out the chocolate. In theory, this would work. However, that would be to good to be true. What we made was glass, pretty glass, but GLASS.Untitled-25 copy

All in all the meal was enjoyable and showed off the coffin-making skills of the cooks.

Each coffin had its own distinctive taste. The capers and rosemary in the quail coffin added a nice bright taste. Putting the barberries in the venison was a great idea; you could taste them in the background. Next time I’d add more. The lumbar pie had many layers of flavors with the fruit adding sweet moisture to the gravy.

The red and golden beets with a hint of lemon and the apple pumpkin brown betty was superb.

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As we sat eating, there was lots of discussion of what went wrong with the candy. The beginning of the receipt says “Take one pound and a half of chocolate, put it on your pewter sheet or plate, put it in the oven just to warm the chocolate,….” (Our chocolate was sitting by the fire all day and was very soft.) “then put it into a copper stew pan, with three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar, mix well………” So, Cathy thought this sounded like a double boiler type process; other disagreed. What do you think? We would all be interested to know. One thing for sure we went way past the candy stage of warming the chocolate.

Here’s our group ready to feast on three coffins, a medley of beets, and apple-stuffed pumpkin24

Later that night, as Allan and I sat waiting for the fire to die down, he picked up the Laser Infrared Thermometer. Guess what? It has two settings, Fahrenheit and Celsius. It seems Allan was dealing with Celsius and didn’t know it. After all, he had it in his mind that the temperature outdoors had been so bitter cold that the brick stack would be cold. WRONG.

500 degrees Celsius is 800 degrees Fahrenheit – it’s a wonder the coffins didn’t burst into flames!

Sandie

“…no one is born a great cook; one learns by doing.”

̶ Julia Childs, My Life in France

PS: Coffin Workshop Two ̶ check the laser.

HARVEST DINNER

26 SEPT 2015

Well, it took a while to get this together. My computer was hacked and held for ransom. Thanks to Allan my Tech person all was put to right in this file that held the workshop in my computer. However, we are on a network and he is still debugging the rest of the mess.

So I begin again on this blog of the Harvest Dinner in September. Our feast consisted of a goose, root vegetables and tree and ground ripened fruit. As always, I have everything out and organized for the workshop, and made sure all the stations have what they needed for the first round of receipts. 1 copy

The knifes were sharpened by Allan, and spoons, cutting boards and bowls arranged to be close at hand.2 copy

The goose was pre-steamed the day before and the Long Grain Pepper and Grains of Paradise were ground ahead of time and put in this cute little crock.3

Heather wanted to work on Ann Peckham’s goose receipt. Heather lives in an old house in Massachusetts and wants to cook in her own fireplace, bake oven and her new shiny reflector oven. So this was a great time to experiment. The goose was stuffed with onions, sage, apples, butter and a bit of salt and pepper.4 copy

Judy and Karen traveled from Ohio to be at the workshop. They started on Ann Peckham’s Cranberry Tart. Karen is an old hand in front of the fireplace and Judy is new, so to begin with she followed Karen’s lead. Cooking the cranberries down was the first part of the receipt, sugar, butter and orange zest were added.5 copy

Cathy drove up from the shore in Connecticut with Natalie. They have been here many times. Cathy picked the Indian Pudding and started by scalding the milk and cream and stirring the corn meal in to soften the grains. Polenta anyone?6 copy

Natalie is the bread maker in the group. We were having rice bread made into rolls from the 1770 receipt book of Harriott Pinckney Horry. First the rice needed to be boiled and cooled. I had made a starter the night before with ale, a bit of yeast and flour. Then came the addition of cornmeal, flour, milk and butter. With Natalie masterful skills she produced a great rise on the batter.7 copyHeather and Natalie put the goose into the reflector oven, pushed the spit through it and placed the skewers in the holes and tied it on so the wings and legs would not flap around.11 copy

A boiled carrot pudding was next. We used small size cubes for this receipt instead of crumbs. The carrots were of a variety of colors that I found at our local farm, Apple Crest, along with my other vegetables. While Karen and Judy made the pudding, Heather grated the colorful carrots.8 copy

All the ingredients for the  pudding were mixed together and Judy and Karen buttered and floured the pudding cloth. Karen got a kick out of Judy’s tentative flouring . She may be a newbie to hearth cooking, however, she was doing just fine. We’ll say it was friendly ribbing between two very good friends. We all laughed with them. 16copy

Pudding cloth ready, the pudding was put inside, tied and hung into the boiling water. Great job, Judy!17 copy

Out came the cooked cornmeal and the rest of the ingredients for the Indian pudding were mixed in. Dark brown sugar, molasses, cream, raisins, butter, eggs and spices. The batter smelled great already.14 copy

Judy strained the cooked bog cranberries and saved the juice for later use, Karen made the tart paste.12 copy

With the pie plate buttered and the paste set in, the cranberries were scooped in and a lattice work top paste was applied by Karen. We decided to use the bake kettle for baking this, even though we had room in the bake oven. Judy and Heather wanted to see how a kettle would work.13 copy

Harriott Pickney Horry’s Rice Bread receipt had its second rise and cut into eight sections to make rolls. Natalie used the docker on the bottom of the rolls to help give them height when cooked. 15 copy

Hannah Glasse’s To Dress Cauliflower was in interesting receipt. You boiled the cauliflower in milk then took part of it and placed it in the middle of the dish and fried the rest cut in sections. I bought purple and golden cauliflower and Cathy chose the purple for the center and the gloden she cut. The cut flowerets were fired in a pan with a little water, butter and flour. 9 copy

Elizabeth Raffald has a receipt To Make Sauce for a Goose. It has apples, butter, water and sugar; very simple. Judy said she could make this. When it was done Natalie helped her put it in a bowl to keep warm by the fire.19 copy

Things were ready to put into the bake oven. The Indian pudding went first and the rolls followed .21 copyKaren peeled and sliced a small pumpkin and cut the slices into 1/2 inch cubes. A simple syrup was brushed on them and they went into the slack oven overnight. I will be using these for Fredrick Nutt’s  Millefruit Biscuits. Thanks to Karen for helping out. Colonial bakers often used the slack oven for drying foods. The next morning I filled a small jar with the semi-dry pumpkins.22 copy

Some squeezed orange juice was added to the leftover sauce from the cranberries and used to baste the goose.

Heather was so happy at how it was cooking. 23 copy

Judy had never used a bake kettle before, so we all cheered her on when she moved in and took a peek to see how the tart was doing. It looked wonderful. I loved the way the lattice browned.24 copy

Managing the space on the hearth is an important thing. Everyone can’t be there at the same time yet the items that need to be cooked can. This is a good illustration of this. The goose and purple cauliflower are being kept warm, same as the apple sauce behind; then there are the boiled and strained high bush cranberries. Hanging from the crane is the remainder of the cranberry drippings made into a sauce. The carrot pudding was continually boiling. Drippings from the goose were made into a gravy and reduced over the heat, and on the hearth, the golden cauliflower was frying. In the bake oven, the Indian pudding and rice rolls baked.26b copy

The moment of truth for the carrot pudding. If the water is not kept boiling, you end up with mush. The pudding was taken out of the water drained in a colander and then inverted onto a plate. The cloth removed and the pudding is revealed.26c copy

Everyone looked on as Heather and Judy removed the goose from the spit. 27 copy

One day when I was at the Moffatt Ladd House working, I spied some high bush cranberries in the garden. So I said, “Hmm, can these be eaten?” I checked with Liz, our horticulturist, and also checked some receipts online and the answerer was yes. I picked a nice size basket full, washed them and removed the stems. They looked so pretty.

Now here is where the story of the cranberries gets interesting. High bush cranberries are not true cranberries; they are a shrubby plant. The bush produces lovely cluster of bright red berries about the same time as the bog berries are ripening.

However, the high bush type are very acidic and smell like stinky socks when cooked. They also have a large flat oval seed in the middle that can only be removed by boiling and straining. They do have nutritional value that may offer protection from cavities, urinary tract infection, and inflammatory diseases, that is if you can eat them.18 copy

The berries were boiled, strained through a cheesecloth and put in a pot with two cups of sugar to boil. After a mouth-puckering taste test, more sugar was added and Isinglass to make it jellied.

The end result was that some liked it after a bit, and others, me included, said they made better plate decorations. I might try again next year but with a different receipt. 27

It was time to carve the goose. I helped hold it while Heather cut slices off and plated it. See how lovely the high bush cranberries look! Even Ann Peckham would have been impressed.28 copy

Ann Peckham cranberry tart was done and Hannah Glasse’s cauliflower plated with the boiled purple one in the center and the fried golden ones around it.29 copy

Hannah Glasse stars again with the carrot pudding that came out fantastic with all the multi-color carrots in it. And there was a wonderful caramel-like sauce for it. The goose’s drippings were made into a wonderful gravy, with help from the fried and boiled wing clippings and neck.31 copy

Elizabeth Raffald applesauce for the goose and Harriott Pinckney Horry’s rice rolls both smelled splendid.32 copy

All of these wonderful receipts were accompanied by the bog berry sauce, and a lot of good humored discussion on using local sourced,  meat, garden fresh produce and HIGH BUSH CRANBERRIES.

Every dish was tasty, with the exception of the High Bush Cranberries. Judy wants to do the rice rolls at home. Karen said she learned a few new things. Cathy sent a quick note later thanking us for yet again a wonderful day and continued good learning.

And I’m always grateful to Allan for his help and for having such wonderful people come to at workshops. I, too, learn from them.33 copy

Sandie

“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.”

– Joel Salatin, farmer and author of Folks, This Ain’t NormalYou Can Farm

EASTFIELD VILLAGE FOUNDATION

HEARTH COOKING WORKSHOP – PART 1

The mission of the foundation,

Eastfield Village was painstakingly assembled by one of the foremost preservation arts experts, Don Carpentier. It is the campus for the Annual Series of Early American Trades and Historic Preservation Workshops, a nationally renowned program of lectures, symposia and hands-on classes.

I attended the workshop “DINNER WITH MRS. GLASSE,” given by Niel De Marino,

I arrived on Thursday evening with the sun low in the sky. My first mission was to take pictures of the village. Below you see the William Briggs Tavern 1793 and the Blacksmith shop 1830.

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The fireplace in the back ell of the tavern would be where we would do our cooking. I would be spending my nights staying in the King’s bedroom. Now the tavern has limited electricity, you light your way with candles, it has a sink with running cold water for doing dishes and a necessary out back.

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The classes started on Friday and after an introduction from Niel we began cooking around 12:00. There were 12 people attending the class and we worked in three rooms all vying for a chance to use the one fireplace and bake oven in the kitchen.

Lee, Holly and I began with Beef Alamode. Holly and Lee larded the beef butts with bacon while I gathered all the rest of the ingredients we needed. Once it was larded we fried the butts brown, added onions, mushrooms, both sweet and savory herbs and covered it with broth and red wine. This was placed over the fire on a trammel and simmered for the remainder of the day.

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The next receipt was Soup Meager. Dave washed off all the celery and four different kinds of lettuce. These were chopped and put in the bowl with two bags of spinach. I fried green onions in the kettle with butter, and gently sautéed them. Next went all the greens to be softened a bit. When this cooked for about 15 minutes we added flour and stirred it in, then added broth and water. Bread crumbs were grated and added, and the soup slowly cooked for half an hour.

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Linda and a few others made Chelsea Buns while Trudy sautéed some onion for the string beans.

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This was a busy place with 13 people running helter-skelter here and there, plus Bob. Bob by the way is the wood man and does the wonderful job of splitting the wood, tending the fire, and making sure the bake oven is going. Just like Allan does for me when I have a workshop at home. Both of them are a blessing to have in the kitchen.

Kim and Trudy were making Curried Chicken and I think it was Dave and John making Curried Rice. Norfolk dumplings made by Linda and ginger cakes by Lee and Holly and raspberry dumplings by Dave and Kim were made being made here and there. And Carl was in there somewhere busy with some receipt. It was hard to keep track of who was doing what, as we all had several items we were responsible for.

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Dave helps to finish off the Soup Meager with egg yolks whisked with vinegar.  Karla digs in. I was doubtful about how this soup would taste, and was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. It got rave reviews.

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The table was set and the chicken and rice placed on it . The side table held the rest of the evening’s meal.DINNER

Someone filled vases with flowers and everyone dug in. From left to right. John, Carla, Kim, Holly, Dave and Lee.  Day one was finished and we ate heartly.

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At the same time there was a tin-smithing workshop going on and we had so many leftovers, we also fed them when they were done. One of the participants is a friend, Amy McCoy and it was her birthday so a tin crown was made for her. Happy Birthday, again, Amy.

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 “For people who aren’t doing it already, take classes – they’re worthwhile.  Workshops or classes – a workshop is where you do, actually get feedback on your work, not just something where you go and sit for a day.”    

Octavis Bulter

 Believe me when I say we did not sit in this workshop.

 Workshop II coming soon

 Sandie

FALL HEARTH COOKING WORKSHOPS 2015

 

FIREPLACE

SEPT 26 –  HARVEST DINNER

Goose, Root Vegetables and Tree Ripened Fruit will be on the menu.

 OCT 17th –          PUMPKIN – SOUP TO NUTS

We will cook Pumpkin on the hearth, in the kettle, in the soup pot and the bake oven. Pared with a seasonal offerings and a Tasty Roast

 NOV 14th – CHEESE CAKE AND PLOWMAN’S LUNCH

We will make and compare 16th, 17th, & 18th century Cheese Cakes, & we will have a plow mans lunch

 $65 PER WORKSHOP – 10 – 3:00ish PM

For more detailed information or to reserve a spot in the workshop contact Sandra Tarbox at sandie@colonialtable.com

HANNAH GLASSE

In the 18th century, English life started to breed the frantic, money-fueled materialism that we are familiar with today. As the middle classes grew, there was an increasing demand for books to save the lady of the house from the task of teaching her kitchen maids. Many households cooked for themselves. Books such as Hannah Glasse’s, The Art of Cookery, were directed at the servants, and were written in plain and accessible language.

The first edition of Hannah Glasse’s book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, was published in London in 1747. It became a bestseller for over a hundred years, both in England and the colonies, and a second edition was published within a year of the first.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned a copy and Benjamin Franklin translated it into French. Over the many years that I’ve been hearth cooking, I’ve used many of her receipts so I thought receipts combined for a meal would make a wonderful workshop. What you might not know about Hannah is that she was a housewife and this was a way for her to make some badly-needed money. Even though this seems bit altruistic, the book was written for the common good, and like so many other cookbook authors of the times, she too copied directly from other books. However, she added a few new receipts and including ingredients like Indian Curry and Asian food.

Unfortunately, Hannah Glasse was not successful making money with the book, and she went into bankruptcy by 1754. She needed to sell her copyright to stay afloat and therefore relinquished all control of further publications of her first book. She wrote again, her second book , The Servants Directory in 1755, was on the management of a household. But still debt plagued her and she ended in debtor prison for a while. Free by 1757 she wrote her third and last work, The Complete Confectioner. This was reprinted several times, but did not match the past success. So the newer editions of The Art of Cookery, with Modern Improvements, was mostly copied from the original , but not written by Hannah Glasse, who by that time had long since departed this world, passing away in 1770.

hannahOUR WORKSHOP BEGINS:
The anchor of the meal is a roast leg of lamb:

The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy – Hannah Glasse, 1747

To collar a breaſt of veal.
To Collar a breast of mutton, do the same way and it eats very well

TAKE a very fharp knife, and nicely take out all the bones, but take great care you do not cut the meat through ; pick all the fat and meat off the bones, then grate fome nutmeg all over the inſide of the veal, a very little beaten mace, a little pepper and falt, a few feweet-herbs fhred fmall, fome parfley, a little lemon-peel fhred fmall, a few crumbs of bread and the bits of fat picked off the bones; roll it up tight, ftick one fkewer in to hold it together, but do it clever, that it ftands upright in the diſh : tie a packthread acroſs it to hold it together, fpit it, then roll the caul all round it, and roaſt it. An hour and a quarter will do it. When it has been about an hour at the fire take off the caul, drudge it with four, baſte it well with freſh butter, and let it be of a fine brown.

Bob prepares the butterflied lamb and spreads it with the herbs mixture. Leslie helped by toasting the bread to be made into crumbs for the filling.

Untitled-1 copyThen it was rolled up with bacon and tied, placed on the spit, and put before the fire with a pudding pan underneath to catch the drippings

2For a dessert I chose “To make White Pot” with “Clear Lemon Cream.” Hannah has two receipts for white pot, one plain and one with rice and sweet meat. We used the addition of the sweet meat for the first White Pot. I have a fondness for this and don’t make it for myself, as I would eat the whole thing.

First the cream and egg mixture, with all the spices, needs to be heated and then cooled. The bread is sliced and buttered on one side. This was all assembled, and it sat a while for the bread to soak up all the liquid.
3It was time to put the Yorkshire pudding together.
Before Hannah’s first edition of the The Art Of Cooking was published, Yorkshire Pudding, was called Dripping Pudding. So the receipt has nothing to do with Yorkshire Scotland or England. A baked pudding under the roast before a fire was called a dripping pudding way before the War of the Roses.

 A Yorkshire Pudding
Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire; take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire ; when it boils, pour in your pudding ; let it bake on the fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a plate upside down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it a fine brown. When your meat is done sent to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish; melt some butter, and pour it into a cup, and set it in the middle of the pudding. It is an excellent good pudding; the gravy of the meat eats well with it.

The batter for the Yorkshire Pudding was made early by Kate and kept cool, away from the fire. This gave the flour time to absorb the wet ingredients.

Once the lamb had been dripping for half an hour, the dripping pan was removed and the batter carefully placed back under the roast. You could hear the sizzle the batter made as it was poured into a smoking hot dripping pan.

4As I mentioned we would be making a lemon sauce for the white pot. Kate peeled the lemons, simmered them in water on the hearth. This lemon juice was then strained through a cloth and poured into a bowl that had sugar and egg white beaten. Leslie watched as Kate stirred the pot to thicken the sauce.

white pot digbysJPG5Hannah’s receipt to “To Dress Potatoes” and “To Dress Asparagus” were next on the lineup.

Very few cooks had Hannah’ s love of al dente vegetables. In her book she suggest the following:

“Directions concerning Garden Things
MOST people spoil garden things by over-boiling them. All things that are green should have a little crispness, for if they are over-boiled, they neither have any sweetness or beauty”

Leslie boiled the potatoes whole in a kettle over the fire when they were done she and Deana peeled them. Leslie chopped chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary very fine and sprinkled them over the potatoes after they were cut and buttered. These would go into the bake oven to brown.
6

TO DRESS ASPARAGUS.
SCRAPE all the stalks very carefully till they look white, then cut all the stalks even alike, throw them into water, and have ready a stew-pan boiling;. Put in some salt, and tie the asparagus in little bundles. Let the water keep boiling, and when they are a little tender take them up. If you boil them too much you lost- both colour and taste. Cut the round of a small loaf, about half an inch thick, toast it brown on both sides, dip it in the asparagus liquor, and lay it in your dish: pour a little butter over the toast, then lay your asparagus on the toast all round the dish, with the white tops outward. Do not pour butter over the asparagus, for that makes them greasy to the fingers, but have your butter in a basin, and send it to table.

Leslie was in charge of the asparagus. We discussed Hannah’s use of the bread. It seemed to us that the toast should have been left dry to soak up the liquid from the asparagus and not have more poured on it. However, Leslie did follow the directions and with the added butter on the side the crisp asparagus turned out just as Hannah would have made it.

7Mrs. Glass had many excellent cooking techniques, she also expected a roast of meat to be well-browned, and not soggy, as if it were baked.

Our lamb was just that, brown and crisp on the outside and just enough pink inside to suit us all. The Yorkshire pudding is nothing like the modern version, it is dense and has a subtle flavor of lamb and bacon, a combination that can’t go wrong.

13Hannah would be proud of these vegetables, the asparagus was al dente, and the potatoes soft outside and crisp on the outside, with a great flavor of herbs and butter.

14The white pot came out and was moist and had perfect layers of sweet meets in-between the bread. The lemon sauce, made with egg whites to thicken it, added just the right amount of tang to counterbalance the sweet dessert.

10 copy Hannah’s cookery book was not written for the kings and gentry’s chefs. It was written for the common women. However, our meal was fit for a king.

15Each dish was made with many helping hands and as Hannah writes, “who can but read, will know how to do Cookery well.” And we did well.

18Sandie
Hannah Glasse: The original domestic goddess
“Centuries before Elizabeth David put garlic on our menus, in the days when Mrs. Beeton was still a Miss, one book transformed the eating habits of the nation.” The first domestic goddess, the queen of the dinner party, and the most important cookery writer, Hannah Glasse.”
Rose Prince

Court Cookery

Robert Smith spent eight years cooking under a Mr. Lamb, the cook to His Majesty King William. During this time he jotted down many receipts that he thought better than others. When he left there he went to live in the families of the Dukes of Buckingham, Ormond, D’Aumont (the French Ambassador), and others of the Nobility and Gentry.

The receipt we used in the workshop came from his 1725 book Court Cookery Or The Complete English Cook: Containing The Choicest And Newest Recipes. I also sneaked in one receipt from Sarah Tully’s personal receipt book 1745. It just seemed to round out the menu.

With all the receipts handed out, everyone started in. First and foremost were the French rolls. The starter was made the night before and Susan added the rest of the ingredients and set them to rise.

Heather started on the sauce for the cauliflower and cut all the flowerets in smaller pieces

1a1 copy

To Drefi Colliflowers with Butter First pick them very clean and boil them over a quick Fire with Water Salt and a few Cloves when tender drain them well and lay them in little dishes Take for Sauce which must be very thick, Butter, Vinegar ,Salt Nutmeg a little Pepper and sliced Lemon Roll up your Butter in Flower to thicken the Sauce

On a trivet over coals, Heather made the lemon sauce for the cauliflower receipt above. Wendy was in charge of making Sarah Tully’s receipt for Pilau below. This was made in a kettle hung over the fire on a crane.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaul floured the chicken for the fricassee, then began making the batter for the Caraway Cake. I needed an extra receipt to keep everyone busy so I included a lemon cream which Susan made.
Untitled-1 copyThe chicken fricassee also has meatballs in it. Wendy mixed it together and made small rounds. These were fired for a bit then mushrooms were added. When they were browned they were taken out and set aside.

1a5A  Brown Fricajsey of Chickens, or Rabbets
CUT them in pieces, and fry them in brown Butter; then have ready a Pint of hot Gravy, a little Claret, White-wine, strong Broth, two Anchovies, two shiver’d Pallats, a Faggot of sweet Herbs, a little Pepper, Salt, Mace, Nutmeg, and some Balls; thicken it with brown Butter, and squeeze on it a Lemon.

To make Force Meat Balls
Pound of Veal and the fame Weight of Beef suet and a Bit of Bacon shred all together beat it in a Mortar very fine then season it with sweet Herbs Pepper Salt Cloves Mace and Nutmegs and when you roll it up to fry add the Yolks of two or three Eggs to bind it; you may add Oysters or Marrow at an Entertainments

Once again the starter for the Cake was made the night before. Paul creamed the butter and sugar, added the started and more flour, caraways, currants which were soaked in brandy, spices and the liquids. This made a thick batter.

1a3 copyWhile Paul beat the batter, Wendy and Heather tied the brown paper to the bottom of the bottomless cake tin that was buttered and floured.

1a4 copyWith a few of the receipts in different stages of readiness, Allan and Paul sat on the porch which was warm from the sunny day. (Yes, that is snow out there, lots and lots.)

1a7 copyThe dough had risen and Susan cut it into equal pieces to make rolls. Paul put the chicken into the spider and cooked it to a golden brown.

1a6copy The lemon cream was heated over the fire by Susan and when it coated the back of a spoon she took it off. The cream needed to be stirred until it was cool so it would not separate. Heather was waiting for the water to boil for her cauliflower, so she took the task of stirring the lemon sauce until it was cool. 1a8

To make Lemon Cream

Take three smooth Malaga Lemons pare them and squeeze out the Juice, and cut the Peel in Small Pieces and put it to the Juice for three Hours cover it close and when it tastes of the Peel add to it the Whites of five Eggs and the Yolks of two and a half beat this well with two spoonfuls of Orange Flower Water strain it and sweeten it with double refin’d Sugar  and  strain it before you set it over a gentle clear Fire and stir it carefully till it’s as thick as Cream Put it into your Jelly Glasses and let it stand two or three Days

The chicken was removed from the pan, and the wine, broth and spices were added. The chicken and meatball/mushroom mixture were put in the sauce along with a faggot of fresh herbs. This was covered and simmered for 25 minutes.

1a9The French rolls went into the bake kettle and the caraway cake into the bake oven. As you can see, the oven was a bit hotter than we would have liked. However, the rolls came out wonderful.

1a10 copyWith all the receipts cooked, it was time to sit and enjoy our meal.1a12 Heather’s lemon sauce on the cauliflower was delightful, and Robert Smith’s receipt is wonderful easy too. Even Allan liked it.

1(SL)*

As I’m typing this, I’m having a leftover roll and coffee. Even after a few days the rolls are still delicious. I think it is the ale and yeast starter that makes all the difference.
2(SL)*

Sally Tully’s Pilau rice was a real hit. Mixed with the lemons, herbs and a stick of butter we decided this was a keeper of a rice receipt. The chicken and meatball fricassee had a wonderful flavor and went well with the Pilau.3

(SL)*

And last but not least, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
Susan and Wendy decided that the burnt part of the cake could be sliced off and because we had made a lemon sauce they were going to make trifle. And they did. It was scrumptious.

1a11My arm is now out of the cast and doing fine. I’m looking forward to the next two workshops. One on Hannah Glasse’s receipts, and the last one, a mix of receipts for Spring.
I love my fireplace and the snow, however, I am looking forward to SPRING.

Sandie
Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. Wolfgang Puck

(SL)*  Thanks to Susan Lindquist for the great pictures.

PEPYS AT THE TABLE

There’s still room in the workshop on  February 7th,  2015, we are making cheese cake as they did in the mid 1600s.

These were my test cheese cakes that I shared with my neighbors.

cheese cFrom Pepys Diary 1669 April 25th
“Abroad with my wife in the afternoon to the park – where very much company, and the weather very pleasant. I carried my wife to the Lodge, the first time this year, and, there in our coach eat a cheese cake and drank a tankard of milk. I showed her this day also first the Prince of Tuscany, who was in the park – and many very fine ladies. And so home, and after supper, to bed.”

____________________________________________________________________

To make these Bishop Miter Cheese Cakes I have use a Plimouth Plantation receipt that I’ve had for years. I’ve always made the cheese cake in a redware pan however I wanted to make them as smaller, flat hand pies similar to what Pepys wrote about in his diary. I contacted Kathleen Wall, the Colonial Foodways Culinarian at Plimoth Plantation, and fellow ALHFAM’er, to see just how she had made her stiff crust. A while back she had blogged about making them. I loved her reply, part of it sounded much like Dr. Seuss.

“I have both blind baked and cooked it all at once. I have made it in a redware dish and I have made it in a stainless cake hoop and I have made it free form. I have used May’s cool butter paste and Markham’s cool butter and whichever one has an egg and whichever one doesn’t.”

I’m very happy with the way mine came out and I’m looking forward to sharing the receipt with you at the workshop.

Sandie

The recipe that is not shared with others will soon be forgotten, but when it is shared, it will be enjoyed by future generations.
–Unknown

 

 

SPECIAL WORKSHOP DAY

I received a request for a private workshop. Bart and Connie, who live in Massachusetts, wanted to make a few receipts they could then try at home, in their own fireplace and bake oven. The day’s receipts were for a Coffin, Escalloped Potatoes, Asparagus in Crust, Mushroom and Artichoke sauce and Orange Pudding. 
1 copyBart and Connie wanted to start from scratch and build the fire in the bake oven so they would know just how to do this at home. Allan helped show them while I put things on the table. Afterwards, Bart and Connie shoveled the coals out and cleaned the bottom of ash.
DSC_7669 The coffin was the most time-consuming receipt, as there are several parts to it. So we started on that first. The dough can be a bit tricky being that you use hot water with melted lard and butter in it. Bart did an excellent job of it and you would have thought he was a potter. Connie roasted marrow bones, the marrow would go into the little meatballs like little nuggets for the coffin.

2 copyThe meatball mixture was of veal, pork and lamb, known to all of us as a “Meatloaf” mix. It’s modern, yet faster and easier than chopping the meat fine by hand. Herbs and spices were added and the meatballs were stuffed with the marrow. Connie partially fried them in the spider.
4a copyThe pork loin was cut into cubes sprinkled with flour, salt and pepper and also partially fried.4b copyA separate dough was rolled out and decorated with a rolling pin that has designs on it and applied to the side of the coffin and asparagus crust. With the coffin ready, the inside was layered with the meatballs, browned pork, mushrooms, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, figs, herbs, spices and a bit of cold gravy
3 copyConnie placed the top on the coffin; sealed it with beaten egg; and poked a steam hole in the top. She cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and used them for decorations. When done with the coffin, she worked on the crust for the asparagus and then blind baked it in the bake oven.
3acopy The Coffin decorated and ready for the oven
5b copyThe oranges for the orange pudding needed to have the inside removed and the skins boiled to make them soft. In the 18th century they would have used Seville oranges, which are very tart and need to be boiled in several waters. For this modern application we used Florida orange and boiled them once.
6 copyWith the crust for the asparagus half-baked, Connie adds the asparagus and then made a cheese and cream custard to pour inside. Into the bake oven it went, in front of the coffin an had been baking for awhile.
5 copyBart made a pudding with currants, eggs, sugar, sack and heavy cream poured over crumbled Naple biscuits which I made two days beforehand. This went into the oranges; the top placed on and stuffed into small bags, tied with string, and boiled for 45 minutes. They were very hot when they came out and Bart gingerly removed them from the bags.

10 copyThe potatoes for the scallop shells were ready and mashed with butter and cream. They were then spooned into shells and sprinkled with herbs and bread crumbs. and put into a bake kettle. The last receipt was for a mushroom and artichoke sauce. The spider was deglazed of the meatball and pork bits, the mushrooms added to brown, then the artichokes. A walnut size of butter with flour incorporated in to it made a roux. Chicken broth, cream and two egg yolks were slowly mixed in to make a sauce.5a copyWe used several methods of hearth cooking during the day to make this meal. Things were fried in a skillet, baked in a bake kettle and a bake oven. We boiled a pudding over the fire.
With everything ready, we sat to a lovely winter dinner. We discussed how 18th century receipts could be made with modern ingredients for ease of cooking and how Bart and Connie can replicate this delicious meal in their own fireplace and bake oven.
8 copyHappy New Year!

Sandie

You don’t have to be a chef or even a particularly good cook to experience proper kitchen alchemy; the moment when ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts.
Erin Morgenstern

THEY ATE THAT – Fall 2014

PIDGEON, COCKS COMBS, WIGGS, COFFINS & HEDGEHOGS

Cathy and Natalie drove all the way from Madison, Ct. to join in the workshop. Starting with the receipts that would need the most time, Cathy used Richards Brigg’s 1788 receipt for Carrot Pudding and Natalie began on E. Smith’s “To make a Very Good Wigg.”   1 copy Patty arrived and chopped the cook fowl filling according to Charles Carter’s 1730 receipt for “A Goode, Turkey or Bustard Pie”. This mixture went into small coffins using, once again, Carters receipt for Hot Butter Paste for Raised Baked Meat.” The wigs were sent off to rise and Natalie started the hedgehog receipt of Hannah Glasse. 2After a long time of shredding carrots Cathy was ready with the pudding mix, and all hands helped to butter and flour the pudding cloth.

6The kettle of water was waiting with a full boil as I helped Cathy tie the pudding cloth.

7 Allan kept the fires going throughout the day. Karen who drove up with Patty , also from CT, carefully read the instructions for the raised coffin dough and boiled the water, butter and lard to mix with the flour.
5 copyPatty poured the very hot water mixture into the bowl. With the dough mixed, I made the first small coffin using a shallow bowl as a form. Patty and Karen are reenactors and cook at the camp sites. I was happy to hear that they often used receipts they had tried at the workshops they had attended here.
7aEveryone pitched in to make the rest before the dough became to cold to form. While some rolled out the dough, others filled them with the fowl mixture placed a top on them and crimped the edges together.

8a copyNatalie’s wigg dough had risen nicely, and Karen cut it into equal parts. They were rolled into balls and a docker was used to poke holes in the bottom so they would get to a good height.

9cOnce they were shaped, docked and ready, they placed them in a pan to rise. And, as you can see, they puffed up nicely.

9dOur next receipt was “To dress a Pigeons with Truffles” from John Nott’s 1723 cookery book. Due to the exorbitant price of Pigeons and Truffles we substituted quail and wild mushrooms, still not inexpensive however, easier to obtain. We loosened the skin over the breast to accommodate a stuffing mix of mushrooms, parsley, thyme, chives, and egg yolk and salt and pepper. Once that was done the birds were wrapped in bacon.

11aThe birds were placed on a spit and skewed, then tied with string to keep the legs from flapping.

11cHannah Glasse has the easiest of Hedgehog receipts and we cut it down to a half portion. With all the almonds pounded and other ingredients added Natalie placed the mixture over the fireplace and constantly stirred it so it would not burn. When it formed a ball it was put on a plate and shaped into the hedgehog – two, actually, as there was quite a bit of almond dough . Patty helped to place the slivered almond for the spiny mammal look. A few big raisins and the Hedgehog‘s was complete. They were taken away from the fire so they would firm up.

12 copyAll the birds would not fit in the reflector oven so Karen put them into a bake kettle. The small coffins and wiggs went in a very hot oven. Everything was cooking on the hearth or in the bake oven and it was just a matter of time before we would be eating.

14 copyPatty sautéed mushroom and shallots in butter then added a roux to make a nice gravy for a side while Karen made “A Bog Berry Pudding” from the Cook Book of the Unknown Ladies.

3 copy Cooking for twenty minutes before a hot fire and turned a few times the birds were done. Patty checked the bake oven and removed the lovely brown wiggs.

14aThe birds that Karen stuffed and placed into the bake kettle were ready and she cut off all the stings..

15a copyThe pudding had been boiling over the fire for an hour; Allan helped to pick up the heavy pot so the pudding could be easily transferred to a bowl.

16copyCathy and Natalie opened up the pudding and with a plate on top it was flipped over and the cloth taken off. It came out wonderful. So many cooks are afraid of making pudding. The success lies in the preparations of the cloth and the constantly boiling water.

17copyWe all took a deep breath after a long day of hearth cooking and Allan took a picture before we dug into the wonderful food that was prepared.

19We placed all the food on the tavern table as we cleaned off the work table and set it for dining

20copyI had made the Candied Cocks Combs the day before as they take about 4 to 5 hours to make. They were staying cool and I forgot to put them on the table for the picture. However, when they came out the girls placed them around the baby Hedgehog. (I’ll do a special blog on the cocks combs)
21aPigeons, cockscombs, wiggs, coffins and hedgehogs graced the table and we toasted to a wonderful workshop and glorious food.
The foods with the scary names tasted magnificent and provide a rare chance to eat foods not common to our modern table and palate.

22 copyAfter we cleaned the kitchen and the hearth, the girls packed up the leftovers. Some to share with the families and the hedgehog went home with Natalie and Cathy to be reborn for the Deacon Graves Tavern Night in Madison.

23 copyI hope to post, very soon, the upcoming workshops, so stay tuned and happy cookery.

Sandie

Ordinary folk prefer familiar tastes – they’d sooner eat the same things all the time – but a gourmet would sample a fried park bench just to know how it tastes. – Walter Moers