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

SAVORY AND SWEET WORKSHOP

Untitled-1 copyThe fire was going in the bake oven and hearth. Nancy started right in with the pumpkin corn bread. She first scaled the corn meal. This bread description is in the travels of Peter Kalm, a Finnish-Swedish Naturalist, who traveled through Colonial North America, 1748-1751.
“The pumpkin is roasted then boiled with a little water, and a good deal of milk, and stirred about whilst is boiling. Sometimes the pulp is stamped and kneaded into dough, with maize four or other flour; of this they make cakes.” “Occasionally people make bread of different kinds of pumpkins and maize mixed. This bread is very fine and sweet. Usually the maize flour is scalded first and the pumpkins cooked, and then both are kneaded together.”

Untitled-2 copyDenise and Genie start chopping the meat for the Scotch eggs and the Oxford sausage. For the Scotch eggs we uses a combination of lamb and beef suet. The Oxford Sausage was made from veal and beef suet. Traditionally, Oxford sausages are noted for the addition of veal, in contrast to many traditional British sausages, which contain only pork, and their high level of spice seasoning. References to the “Oxford” style of sausage date back to at least the early 18th century. The first published is by John Nott in The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary, 1723.
When first produced, Oxford sausage did not have a casing, but was hand-formed and flour-coated before frying.

Untitled3 copyCathy had asked at previous workshops if we could do vermicelli one day. She got her wish. After making the dough she used the noodle roller on half and then tried Hanna Glasses suggestion of rolling the dough and slicing it thin.

Untitled-9 copyWe placed it on the screened porch to dry for a while before immersing in the boiling water.
Lewis Fresnaye, a refugee from the French Revolution, manufactured vermicelli in Philadelphia during the 1795 – 1805. Pasta was a popular and expensive upper-class food and eaten as a side dish. He gave out several receipts with his pasta. This one is prepared like a pudding, meaning it was baked after it was boiled.

Untitled-8 copy As always there is a lot of conversation going on while we work. Nancy told us about her chickens with the feathered feet. As luck would have it I found quail eggs at the farmers market and thought they would make a nice size Scotch egg of the workshop. Denise boiled the eggs and then plunged them in ice water to cool.

Untitled4 copyAllan showed up to see how we were all make out and fed the fire and took a group picture of us. Then back to work, now that the noodles were made Natalie and Cathy proceed to making the pie shell and the filling for the Vermicelli Pudding using Amelia Simmons’s Royal Paste #9 receipt. And the Turkey looked on.

Untitled-10 copyNatalie heated the milk, lemon peels, cinnamon and sugar over the fire then added the egg yolks and whites for the pasta. She layered the vermicelli with marrow and poured the pudding mixture over it.
Untitled9a copyWith the bread rising and the Oxford sausage waiting to be fried, Genie and Nancy work on John Nott’s Spinach Toast receipt.

11Wilted spinach, marrow, sautéed apples, butter, cream, currants and spices were mixed with egg yolks and the juice of one orange. With the bread toasted from the bake oven the spinach mixture was spread on.

Untitled12 copyThe finally topping was whipped eggs whites. This would go into the oven for about 15 minutes. There seemed to be spinach mixture left over and Denise thought we should make it into a crust less quiche. And so she did.

Untitled-131 copyIt is believed that Maids of a Honor go back to Henry VIII, King of England, who came across Anne Boleyn and her Maids of Honor, eating the little cakes from a silver dish and demanded that the receipt be kept a secret. Years passed and the Tudor Dynasty gave way to the House of Stuart. Certainly by the early 18th century the recipe had been disclosed and the tasty little cakes became one of fashion in Richmond. I love these delectable little cakes.
You first start out with a pie crust in little patty shells then add marmalade and cover with a cake batter.  As you can see the girls set up an assembly line.There was batter left over so we made a cake.

I do wish I had some of the lovely little patty pans from CW, but they don’t make them anymore. Anyone else making them?

Untitled14copyAs expected even with the sugar and ale yeast the bread did not rise very much. The cornmeal,whole wheat flour and the pumpkin pulp is all very dense. Nancy added grains from King Arthurs Flour in the one on the right just to make it different texture..

Untitled14 copy Nancy had a very large roast which she sliced in thick pieces and simmered in broth for the Stewed Beef Steak receipt of Richard Bradley’s The Country Housewife and lady’s Directory, 1732. Once it was tender, she sprinkled flour on it and fried it in oil to be served with a sauce of cider vinegar, butter, lemon peels, anchovies and spices.

Untitled-20 copyGenie cut up pretty little orange slices for garnish on her plate of Oxford sausage. Natalie helps with the plating.Untitled-19 copyThe quail eggs were covered with the sausage mixture and fried in the spider by Denise.

15Everything was coming together, the vermicelli pudding and bread was done and we were all eager to taste the receipts.

Untitled-18 copyThe repast was placed on the table waiting only for the Stew’d Beef Steak to arrive.

Untitled-17 copyCathy and Natalie put the finishing touches on the plates and the line formed.Untitled-16 copyWe sat and toasted each other for a job well done and Allan for keep the fires going.
Untitled-12 copyStarting at the fork we have spinach toast, Scotch eggs, vermicelli pudding, stewed beef with sauce, corn and pumpkin bread and Oxford sausages. I think if someone from the 18th century traveled back to this table, they would feel right at home.

Untitled-22 copySandie
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez

OLD FORT WESTERN WORKSHOP

DAY TWO

Col. Rueben Colburn House Museum

This is a lovely museum and a great place to visit in the summer. The history of the expedition and the building of the Bateaux are well described and showcased in the house and barn. Visit someday; you’ll enjoy it.
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dummysThe fish monger gave us two wonderful fresh salmon for our workshop. Zack gutted them and took the scales off outdoors in the camp. As you can see the fish are real beauties.
2 copyZack and I stuffed each fish with thyme, dill, parsley and sliced lemons. We took twine and made sure to secure all the herbs and lemons so they would stay inside the fish. For a board we used a long split log we found outside in the pile of fire wood. Zack placed the fish on the side of the fire to roast as we made other dishes.

3copyRoger, the regiment’s parson, was in charge of deflowering the cabbage so it could be stuffed with a forced meat. We needed a very big pot to dip it in. It was a hot job and he was able to get down to the center section and cut it out for the forcing. The ladies pitched in and made the forced meat for him. He then wrapped the cabbage into a pudding cloth and boiled it for an hour. He was very diligent and kept the water boiling at all times.

4 copy Melissa took all the marrow out of the bones. Some was used for the marrow pasties and some went into a sauce that Roger made for the forced cabbage. Stephanie looks on from as far away as she can get. Marrow and cocks’ combs were not her favorite things on the menu.
Untitled8 copy Perry shared with me her copy of a rare book called Mrs Gardner’s Receipt Book 1763. Mrs. Gardiner husband, Doc Gardner, traveled to Old Fort Western as he was one of the large landholders in Maine. So we thought it would be fitting to use her receipt for Marrow Pasties. Pasties were easy to carry with you and could be eaten anytime you were hungry. She also had a receipt for portable soup which I’m sure she sent along with her husband when he left for the Fort. So it only seemed fitting that we should use a few of her receipts.  Susan and Perry made the puff paste for the marrow pasties and everyone pitched in to make them.  The beets that are on the table were baked, peeled and cut by Stephanie to be fried later in a batter.
passties-2The last thing that was done on Saturday before we cleaned up was to make the starter for the French bread the next day. Stan took care of this. On Sunday, the dough had risen and smelled of wonderful yeast and beer. Desiree came to join us on Sunday and took over the bread making. As you can see her efforts paid off with a great rise on the dough.

bread copyLinda’s task was to make the winter squash pudding. Paring and grating the large squash took a good part of the morning. When done, she poured it into a pudding cloth and tied it up ready to be boiled.
linda copyThe cabbage was boiled on the hearth right next to our vermicelli soup. The soup was made with the leftover chicken bones from the day before and some chicken meat. Stan made super vermicelli noodles but we never got a picture of them, darn. Linda’s pudding came out great. It is so important to prep the pudding cloth and keep the water boiling at all times.
linda me copyStan is an expert with flour and water. He made the vermicelli for the soup, He also made the crust for the lemon pudding Stephanie made. Both receipts are from Mr. Gardner’s receipt book.
8copySo we made Vermicelli soup, planked fish, forced cabbage, marrow pasties, fried beets, winter squash pudding, cranberry sauce, gravy, French bread, and lemon pudding all from scratch. Plus we put figs on the lemon pie and had a bowl of preserved walnuts, and cider to drink. It was a busy day and all the time we had visitors asking questions and wanting to taste the food. This is not the best picture; however, you can see that all day we were having visitors in and out of the kitchen.
visitorThe last 15 minutes was hectic with everyone scurrying around with their last minute touches. I sat down and reviewed the receipt to make sure we had not forgotten anything.

Untitled-16 copyAll looked well and the weather was lovely out of doors. There were so many of us we decided to move the feast out to the encampment. The men put up tables and brought chairs out and we all had our plates, cups and utensils ready. Everything was placed on the table, given a spoon or fork, and was ready to serve.
soupcopyPeter Morrissey, the regiment captain, took a moment to read a bit about the important contributions that Benedict Arnold had made in the beginning of his career, then Pastor Dough said a prayer for health, and happiness. We all dug into a tasty Sunday repast that was done to perfection.
end copyWe were busy each day and, because of that, we didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked. Missing in the round of day two is Tess, she ran back and forth from camp to kitchen keeping things clean and helping everyone chop or mix when needed. However, with the pictures we do have, I think you’ll get the gist of what was accomplished over the weekend.

Now, if you remember I had said that the day before, we ran the well dry. Thanks to everyone bringing water we made it through the day. Also Tessa and Melissa washed everything out doors in camp and we could not have gone home without their help. We all took what was ours and packed it into our cars and said our goodbyes. So the workshops came to a close.

Our goal was to use the hearth as an educational tool and cook with seasonally available foods from the months of May to October in Maine to interpret the Floodways of the Fort. However it is  not  the food alone that will leave a lasting impression on the visitor, it is the performance at the earth. Our task was to find things to cook that would engage the visitor in a sensory experience and share the simple technology of a chicken cooked on a string, puddings boiled in a bag, the smell the yeasty bread fresh from the bake kettle. This did indeed keep our visitors asking questions and wanting  to learn more. I think we accomplished our goal.

The camaraderie and joy shared by everyone at the workshop and encampment was phenomenal, I had such a great time and made lifelong friends along the way.

Sandie,
“We had grown into one another somewhere along the way. We were officially a team.”
― Shannon A. Thompson, Take Me Tomorrow

OLD FORT WESTERN

DAY ONE

Our workshop for Old Fort Western took place at the Col. Ruben Colburn House in Pittston Maine, during an encampment with Benedict Arnold, on Columbus Day Weekend.
colburnhouseLed by Colonel Benedict Arnold, a force of 1,100 soldiers began what is now called “Arnold’s March” or the “Arnold Expedition,” here on Colburn’s property. Among those who accompanied Arnold were Aaron Burr, Henry Dearborn, Daniel Morgan, and men from Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Untitled-0With the autumn harvest in, Linda Novak, the Director/Curator of Old Fort Western gathered the needed ingredients for a weekend of hearth cooking. A local farm and fishery supplied a wonderful array of ingredients for the hearth. Her brother Stan’s contribution was meat and fat from his pig. How fresh can you get? With just a few other items from the store we were ready to roll up our sleeves and cook.

The men who spent the weekend camping outside kept our fires going both days, by splitting the wood and hauling it in.     WE CAN’T THANK THEM ENOUGH!

Untitled-8 copyWe started off Saturday with just a few people but as the day and weekend progressed we ended up with 12 cooks and plenty of hunger campers. All the time we were there we had many visitors, for the encampment and to watch us cook. Our menu for the first day was stuffed pumpkin, chicken on a string, fried cocks’ combs, onion pie, cheese loaf, molasses cookies and wafers.The workshop was designed to explore methods of using the hearth as an educational tool to connect the public with the Foodways history of Old Fort Western and the people that lived there.

Untitled7Not everyone was impressed with the idea of cocks’ combs, however Linda literally dug right in and boiled and peeled them; they were then fried in duck fat. When they came out of the kettle they disappeared so fast I never got a picture of them. They tasted just like bacon but better. We did save one for Linda who did all the work getting them ready to cook.

4After the inside of the pumpkin was cleaned of seeds, pricked with a fork and rubbed with dry mustard, Perry and Tessa took the boiled rice, chopped meats, spices and herbs mixture and stuffed it leaving a bit of room for expansion. With the lid back on, it went into the fireplace at the front side to roast, being turned every so often. Stephanie chopped some of the ingredients for the stuffing as he wanted to keep her distance from the cock’s combs.

Untitled5 copyThe molasses cookie dough was made and rolled out between parchment paper and put in a cool place to dry a bit. Then Tessa took a decorative rolling pin and made the cookies for our dinner. Some were cut in squares and some without a design were cut round. Stan was amazing; his mother taught him how to cook when he was young and he is an excellent pastry maker. Both days we put his skills to good use.
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While he took the onion pie out of the bake oven the ladies sat with the camps doctor and learned a bit about herbal cures and how to dress a cut finger.

Untitled-3 copy Using the wafer iron from Old Fort Western Stephanie, Tessa and Melissa made a nice stack of wafers and whipped cream with sugar for the top.

wafers copy Everything started to come together, and while Perry took care of the chicken, Stephanie sliced the cheese bread, one made with grains from King Arthur Flour.

Untitled-2 copy With the table spread with all our efforts, the line began and food was piled on plates to be taken to the dining room.
Stich-1  copy Soon the word was out and the encampment spilled into the kitchen for a taste. There are always leftovers. And I could not pick one receipt that I enjoyed over another. They all came out as expected and were enjoyed by all.
Untitled-11 copy It was a good first day. Even though the well went dry by mid-afternoon. I have to thank all the helpers who took items home to wash and brought back two gallons of water each the following day so we would have enough to drink, use and wash with.

Day two will be out soon so stay tuned for our second day of fun.

Sandie

“Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.” ―Benedict Arnold

Col. Ruben Colburn House

Just a few pictures from the weekend.

A few of the Participants in the Two Day, Old Fort Western, Hearth Cooking Workshop.
2Linda Novak, Director/Curator at Old Fort Western peeling cocks combs.

4Dinner on the second day. It was so nice out of doors we wanted to enjoy the warm autumn weather.
3A real Blog to follow soon.

Sandie

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
Andy Warhol

 

RECEIPT TRIALS

Bread/Wafers/Waffles

Using 17th & 18th century original receipts can be difficult, as they were written in the narrative, like a story. They don’t always have measurements, unlike the modern cook books of today. Flours are made differently and other ingredients are not exactly the same. However, reading the receipt is fascinating; and rewarding, and the only way to truly understand them is to cook them. So a few friends decided to spend a day testing receipts for wafers and I baked bread in a kettle and buns a tin oven, instead of my bake oven. The following are the results.

The day started off with a definite chill in the air, great weather for heating up the hearth. With a stack of receipts for wafers and waffles, and armed with six irons, we were ready. I also made a bread dough the day before and let it rise all night long.

I conducted the bread experiment to see how a small loaf would bake in the cast iron kettle and a few rolls in the reflector oven. I am giving a workshop for the folks at Old Fort Western in Maine next month and they do not have a bake oven. They want to put together a group of receipts that can be demonstrated to the public when they are open. So bread is always a great showpiece, and the smell is glorious. I used a French bread receipt from, The English Art of Cookery, Richard Brigg, 1788. I wanted to make the texture more like that of a less milled flour, so I added some King Arthur Harvest blend of seeds and grains , whole and flaked to add a bit of rustic crunch to the finished bread. 

In the morning, I heated up a 12-inch bake kettle and the reflector oven. I divided the dough, worked it a bit and put a round loaf on some parchment paper in the kettle and made a ring of coals around the outside of the top and bottom. I was careful not to put any in the center as I did not want to scorch the bread, just bake it. I placed a few rolls in the oven, set that on coals and faced it towards the heat. The loaf was done in 35 minutes and the rolls needed to be taken out and turned around, so they took about 45 minutes. Below you can see the finished bread and wonderful fresh eggs Nancy brought for our receipts.

5jpgNancy brought four irons, and I had two, so we greased them all up and chose two to warm on the trivets.

Nancy began on a Dutch yeast wafer receipt by Mary Kettilby that she was eager to try. This batter needed to rest, so, after she mixed it she placed it on the high shelf of the cupboard to rise. While I was busy with the bread Barbara started on the Elizabeth Moxon’s 1764 receipt for making Goofer Wafers.

Now the word Goofer with wafer might mean several things and the more you read wafer receipts the more confusing it becomes; does Goofer mean the iron shape or does it mean a deeper pancake-like wafer. I have not found any good explanations for the word. It is a mystery for now. However, as we know, when you’re looking for something you often find something else; it might pop up yet.

With the irons hot, we started with Moxon’s and found that the coversion to a smaller amount needed adjustment. So, by adding a bit more milk and cream, we ended up with a consistency we thought was okay. The next issue was how much to put on the irons. We were very careful not to overfill at first and ended up with small wafers that did not fill the iron. Also one round iron kept making pancakes. This iron had a very deep lip round it so flat wafers were out of the question.

3 copyI mixed up a receipt translated by Peter Rose from, The Sensible Cook Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World. This called for wheat flour and chardonnay. We tried this batter in several irons and none of them came out to our satisfaction and they tasted awful to boot. So we dumped that one with haste.

We kept trying all six irons and found that my small one, two of Nancy’s round ones and her rectangle one made the best wafers while her deep surface iron made pancakes.

This was getting exhausting. The irons are heavy and the heat was starting to get to us, time for a break.
We took our lunch out onto the screened porch. There was a very chilly breeze blustering through and cooling us down while we chatted about old houses and restoration. Fortified, and ready to stand by the fire once again, we took the Dutch receipt off the shelf and found that it had not risen very much. Again we added to the amounts, more butter and sugar, and returned it to its warm place.

Hannah Glasse has a receipt To Make Whafles. Barbara mixed up the batter that was to be rolled in small balls the size of a nutmeg and baked. Dividing the batter into smaller portions didn’t work out very well and we ended up with a loose batter. So we thought why not give it a try. Well, they were not bad, however, we ran out of the irons too quickly. We then added lots of flour and made round balls and that worked wonderfully. Nancy’s rectangle iron made the most beautiful designs. With the small round irons we could roll them up in cones or sticks.

The Dutch yeast receipt had risen and had a weird sticky egg color glue like batter. We again started out cautious, putting just a bit in each of the irons and commenced to putting in more. We liked the results produced by several of the irons and stopped using others.

I ran off and made Lemon Cheese from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies, to fill our cones and rolls. During the day a pot of chocolate with a teaspoon of cream melted by the fire ready to be dug into.

3 copyWith each receipt we tried different irons and the most interesting iron which I thought was a waffle iron turned out to be a 1611 wafer iron. It was decorated with a family crest in the center surrounded by many rectangles of stars and on the other side a wonderful center with initials MC surrounded by flying birds with a small star over their heads, a most remarkable iron.

Now, from what I have learned, pizzelle are a traditional cookie from the Abruzzi region of Italy. They are thin wafer cookies that look almost like our 18th century wafers. And perhaps this 1611 iron is one made for a woman in Italy to make her cookies or thin wafers on; oh, if it could only talk. We all loved it and I must say I was sorry to see it go home with Nancy, the lucky gal.

4 copyTo sum the day up I would say our two top favorite receipts were Hanna Glasse’s “To Make Wafers,” and “The Right Dutch-Wafers” from Mary Kettilby. And we all learned a lot about making wafers.

We still have other receipts we want to try. One has cheese in it and might be great with a glass of wine.

Some hints for making wafers, make sure the irons are hot, listen for the steam to whistle and don’t over-pour the batter. We are looking forward to doing more receipt trials.

Sandie

“Today we will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie “ Cookie Monster

JUST DESSERTS #1

Our dessert workshop day arrived and this would be a full day of making, baking and mixing. Everyone began with a receipt that would need some things to be prepared and readied for the bake kettle or oven.

This first blog is about Frogger Cookies, a Marblehead, Massachusetts, receipt made with peal ash, a Pound Cake receipt from Hannah Glass, and a Chocolate Tart receipt from The Whole Duty of a Woman, 1737, Guide to the Fair Sex, Virgins Wives or Widows.

In our workshop papers, I added the wonderful story about the Joe Frogger cookies, named for the patriot and tavern owner Joseph Brown of Marblehead. Heather quickly began the receipt and worked the molasses, rum and butter into the dry ingredients and rolled them out between parchment paper. The dough needed to sit in the refrigerator for two hours before she could cut them. The originals Froggers were an invention of Joe’s wife, Lucretia Brown, and were served in their tavern and sent by the barrelful off to sea with the merchant ships. If you wish to know more about the cookies, go online and you will find the whole delightful story.

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Heather picked a decorative tin mold to cut large cookies and put them on a greased tin sheet ready for the bake oven.

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The Hannah Glass Pound Cake receipt has a batter that needs to be beaten for an hour by hand. Paul, having the strongest arm and biggest hands, jumped right in and started off whipping the eggs and butter together.

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Following Hannah’s narrative receipt, he mixed the liquids with the dry and mixed and mixed and mixed, for a whole hour, by hand. This was hot work and we had to wipe his forehead once in a while.

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Thanks to Paul the batter was light and fluffy and Heather helped by buttering the patties pans and spooning the batter in. Paul deserved a rest.

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The bake oven had been heating for about two hours and, after being cleaned out, into it went the pound cake and Joe Froggers.

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For our chocolate tart, there were two receipts. One is for the chocolate, from The Whole Duty of a Woman, and one for a sugar paste crust, Charles Carter 1730. Tracey started by melting the American Heritage Chocolate, adding eggs, the rice flour and other ingredients and melted everything together over the coals on the hearth. It was important to stir often so the mixture would not burn. When ready, the chocolate was put to the side and the sugar paste made.

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All the desserts that were made in the workshop were going home, so the sugar paste, tart crust was placed in small patties pans.

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With the crust ready, Tracey filled them and baked them in the kettle. The tarts did not take long, and once they were brown, out they came.

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After six weeks my arm is healing, however I’m still typing with one hand. I will try and finish the Just Desserts blog with #2 soon. 

Enjoy the warm weather,

Sandie

Life is too short, eat dessert first.

Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day’s End

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Allan has been a great help at the hearth.  Having a man around to lug wood and clean out the bake oven is huge!!  We all thank you, Allan.1

Allan is also a fount of knowledge when it comes to breathing new life into old rusted iron pots.  Here he shares with Cathy how he has gone about restoring my cooking pots and such.  It is time-consuming ,yet the end results are worth it. Cathy emailed me later to say her son was going to give it a go with her old pots.  We wish you much luck in finding the gold in an old pot.  It’s there it just takes time to find.1copyWith the meal at an end, everyone pitched in and helped to put things to right. I do appreciate this kindness and it gives us all a moment more to talk and share good books and websites and the like.2 copySandie

Keeping your space clean is as much part of the end result as the dish being tasty.

Carla Hall         ____________________________________________________

I’m not ending here as usual, as I’m going to share with you our Day’s End.

Allan and I had a very small pork loin ready for dinner that night.  The fire was still going and there was left over mushroom and artichoke cream, and scalloped potatoes.  This sounded like a good combination for our meal. Allan butterflied the pork, sautéed some mushrooms and add the rest of the Morels al la cream.  He spread this on the pork, and rolled it up, and tied it with a string.  He put a bit of oil in the skillet he had just cleaned, placed it over some coals and browned all the sides of the pork loin.   He then placed a lid on it and let it roast over the coals.4I took the potatoes and put them into the small bake oven to warm them, then tossed a salad together and we were all set for an easy, quick dinner.5yA perfect end to a great day,

Sandie

“My life really began when I married my husband.”

Nancy Reagan (me too)

EXCEPTIONAL SIDES

Charles Carter’s, Sattoot of Duck that we cooked at the workshop, called for mushroom and artichoke in a cream sauce with a garnish of fried artichokes. I found two receipts that I thought would be interesting to try. Robert Smith’s cookery book, County Cookery – 1725, has a receipt called Morels a la cream and in Mary Smith’s, The Complete House-keeper, 1772; she has a receipt, To Fry Artichokes. I’m thinking that these receipts will add a multitude of flavor to our colonial table lunch.

1 copyCathy read the receipt over and found the ingredients she needs to make the morels in cream with artichokes. Natalie took half of the artichokes for Mary Smith’s receipt.

Natalie made sure the artichokes she had were dry, then made a batter of flour, eggs and beer with a pinch of salt. Oil was poured into a deep pan and when ready the artichokes carefully dropped in. 4copyThe batter clung nicely to the artichokes and, as they went in, a nice sizzle was heard. Natalie watched over them as the batter created an instant brown puff.

3copyManaging the coals and keeping an eye on what you’re cooking is important when dealing with a hot hearth. The girls stand back from the heat for a moment and check things out. 6copyWith all the components for the meal assembled we sat to enjoy our meal and share conversation. It was fun to listen the four of them talk about their hearth cooking experiences at their own museum and the plans for the summer openings.  They had many things in common. It was a grand day and I so enjoyed cooking with them.

I hope to visit both Lynn and Mary at the Benjamin Ney Homestead & Museum in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, and Cathy and Natalie at the Deacon John Graves House in Madison, Connecticut, and I hope you will too. 6 Sandie

The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.

Jean Anthelme Brillan-Savarin

 

 

SATTOOT OF DUCK

Natalie and Cathy decided to tackle the Sattoot of Duck. The receipt came from The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter, 1730. It called for boiling the fowl; instead Allan had steamed it the day before so it was ready for the next step. The receipt also included some things we will be leaving out like the Sweetbreads, Cocks-Combs, and Truffles however; sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.

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After boiling the fowl of your choice, the receipt calls for roasting it off brown at a quick fire. Natalie did a great job of searing the duck and the skin was nice and brown.

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The receipt calls for the duck to be surrounded by a forced meat of veal, beef and lamb. Cathy begins to prepare this while Natalie starts on the stuffing.

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The apples, onion and sage are rough chopped for the stuffing and the orange peels that go in the forced meat are finely chopped.

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Cathy shows off the bowl of ingredients for the forced meat. This is from Hananh Galsse, The Art of Cookery 1774,.  To Make forced meat balls.  The lard, eggs, lemon peels, chopped meat and spices are ready to be mix thoroughly with some bread crumbs she grated from stale manchets.

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With the stuffing in the duck it is time to cover it with the caul fat.

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Everyone wants to see the caul fat go on the duck. It was not unusual to have an 18th century receipt that called for caul fat, however, it is an item we don’t find in many of our modern cooking books. Everyone needed a good look and we discussed just where this body part came from. Caul fat is the thin membrane surrounds the stomachs internal organs of some animals. The caul I bought from my butcher came from a pig. I did not get the feeling that anyone was going to run out and try to find some soon. Once the duck was all tucked in with the fat the forced meat was circled around it like a nest.

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The Sattoot of Duck sat waiting for the bake oven to cool down a bit before it went in. About an hour later, we checked it and it was a gorgeous brown. Allan took it out of the oven for us.

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Mary plated the duck and forced meat. After the duck had rested it was carved in nice slices and re-plated for our meal.

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With the table cleared off and set for lunch we dug in. The forced meat was somewhat over cooked however the lemon and nutmeg gave it a tantalizing, if not exotic, taste. The Sattoot of Duck was juicy and, because it had been pre-steamed, it was not oily at all. The caul fat gave it a wonderful chestnut brown color and I’m sure kept it moist. This is where the last part of the Sattoot of Duck receipt calls for gravy of sweetbreads, cocks-combs and truffles. We opted for the very end part and went with the tamer mushroom and artichoke sauce. The duck meat had such great flavor, and, all in all, this was a triumph.

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So we come to an end of our Sattoot of Duck with Forced meat and I do hope you are looking forward to the next post.

Orange Pudding made in Seville oranges and boiled. Yum!

Sandie

The perils of duck hunting are great – especially for the duck.

Walter Cronkite