SPRING WORKSHOP

March 22, 3014

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The receipts are written and the kitchen is ready.  This will be a great combination of cooks as they come from two different museums. Lynn and Mary work at Benjamin Ney Homestead & Museum in East Sandwich Ma. and Cathy and Natalie  work at the Deacon John Graves house in Madison Ct.

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Lynn, Cathy, Mary, and Natalie arrived and Allan took a nice picture.

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 Then it was off to work

After an exchange of museum information we started reviewing the receipts and discussed the timing.

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It did not take long and everyone found a place to begin their receipts.4psd

Over the next few weeks I’ll post one receipt at a time and walk you through the workshop as it unfolded. So stay tune as we will start with Sattoot of Duck and then Orange pudding made with bitter Seville oranges.

Sandie

Good things come to those who wait.

Unknown

WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

WAFERS 101-3

I was not going to give up until I found the perfect wafer receipt. I looked at every wafer receipt I could find and read everything I could online about making them. I had emails from supporters cheering me on. I even received an email from both Clarissa Dillon and Mercy Ingram, who have been following my tale of woe.

They had made wafers a few weeks ago – not just to make wafers, however. It seems Clarrisa is working on a publication celebrating the arrival of the Dutch and the founding of New Amsterdam 400 years ago. And the Dutch made wafers. Mercy emailed me great pictures of the process and the receipt, To Fry Wafers, from the Sensible Cook, Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World, translated and edited by Peter Rose. It has a lot of cinnamon in it and ginger. So I printed this receipt as a possibility.

Still searching, I found “To make the best Wafers,” Gervase Markham, The English Housewife: Banqueting and made dishes. Others seemed to have success with this receipt. I also re-read a great article by Louise Miller, The Wafer – A Delicate Dessert. This had the receipt, “To make Goofer Wafers” from the English Housewifery by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764.

I really liked the name of Elizabeth’s receipt. What are goofers? With a bit of research I found that in the Oxford English Dictionary it is spelled gofer and is defined as a thin batter-cake with a honeycomb pattern stamped by an iron plate and Gofer irons is mentioned. So that is where the interesting name comes from. My wafer irons is the same as Moxmon’s Gooffer irons.

It’s Sunday night again and Allan fires up the hearth. Elizabeth’s receipt won the shuffle on the table and I cut it down by a fourth. I instantly loved the batter. It was much thicker than pancake batter and stuck to the spoon. We heated up the goofer iron and I put a blob of the batter in the middle on the hot side. Allan closed it up, this time there was a loud whistling sound as steam escaped. OH! Horror, visions of last week swam in my head, batter spitting out everywhere. BUT NO, I could smell the cinnamon and nutmeg and everything looked okay. After a few minutes of turning, Allan opened it up and I took a picture of the best looking wafer we have made so far.

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As they came off the hot iron, I rolled them up, for the first one I used the tin cone. However, I really wanted to try to make them like piroulines.

I grabbed a wooden spoon and put some butter on it and I began rolling the wafers while still hot. First I was doing it on the plate and they were not very tight. I took some parchment paper and put it on the table then rolled them and that seemed better, yet still not small and tight as I would have liked.

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Allan went to the basement and came back up with a ¼ inch dowel washed it and buttered it. This worked better, still not the size of a pirouline. Perhaps it is because the size of the wafer is not large enough.

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However, by now, I’m beaming and ecstatic that I found a receipt that I can share at the Just Dessert Workshop in a few weeks. It took trial and error and I appreciate the encourgament from everyone.

I will take these wafers and put them in a tin and see how long they will last. Not because we would eat them in short order, however, because I want to see if they will still be as good in six months as when they were first made. By the way the receipt made 8 wafers and one was shared by Allan and me. Yes, this is definitely a keeper receipt. It tasted wonderful.

Sandie

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.

Napoleon Hill

 

 

WAFERS 101

A year ago, I bought an 18th century wafer Iron. It was a bit on the rusty, gooey side and needed a good cleaning and seasoning. The plans to get it in working order unfortunately fell by the wayside. However, it is now clean and has been seasoned by Allan, so it is time to try it out.

I looked at several receipts for wafers and came up with three different ones. I thought I’d start with the oldest and work forward in time to see how the different receipts compared. The first receipt was copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne, written in 1658, and includes “rare forms of sugar-works: according to the French mode, and English manner.”

The receipt follows.

Take Rose-water or other water, the whites of two eggs and beat them and your water, then put in flour, and make them thick as you would do butter for fritters, then season them with salt, and put in so much sugar as will make them sweet, and so cast them upon your irons being hot, and roule them up upon a little pin of wood; if they cleave to your irons, put in more sugar to your butter, for that will make them turn.

Being that this was a test of the newly seasoned iron I made a very small batch and I added orange flower water instead of rose water, a personal preference and not a huge change to the receipt. I put in enough flour so the batter was similar to a fritter batter mentioned in the receipt.

I put a trivet near the fire and shoveled hot coals under it. I rubbed the inside of the wafer iron with oil and placed it on the trivet to heat up. I waited about five minutes turning it twice.

Making wafers is a two-man job, so as Allan held the wafer iron open while I poured a spoonful of the batter in. Allan clamped down on the iron and put it on the trivet. Two things happened. I had put a bit too much batter in so it ran out the sides, and once the iron handles were let go, they instantly opened a bit. I grabbed a pot holder and clamped down hard.Untitled-1 copy

Now as I sat on a stool before the fire warming myself to a point of doneness, I remembered that the handle should have a little fastener on the end to keep it shut. Well I’ll have to get Allan to make one for the end so I won’t have to sit there roasting.

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So I sat by the fireplace turning the wafer iron over and over so both sides would get cooked. After three minutes I took the iron off the fire and put it on the plate for Allan to remove the wafer.  He needed to scrape off the overflow first then I opened the iron and the wafer came off nicely. I took a tin cone and wrapped the wafer around it and we started the process all over again.

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This time I did not put as much batter in for the second one. I also let it sit over the coals longer. The first one would not crisp up and stay curled around the tin form. We timed the second one to five minutes, which meant I had to sit there longer. Allan did run off and grab a large poster board and tried to shield me from the hearth fire; however, his hands began to get hot as the board warmed up and he bailed. But the five minutes seemed to be the magic number and the second wafer was great.

I went to put the last of the batter on the heated iron and found that it had gotten very thick so I added a bit of orange flower water to thin it out. It made a perfect wafer and baked over the fire for the allotted five minutes and came off the iron and rolled on the tin cone just as it should.  Now I had to leave the room, and headed to the glassed-in porch to cool myself down. I gazed at the stars and saw the big dipper in the sky pouring its batter of star dust out among the universe, a lovely cold night. My red face began to return to a normal color.

Back in the house, I considered my experience of making wafers. The batter had made four wafers. The first one was not cooked and the others were fine. Each wafer had a bit of dark iron on them from the seasoning process. I think after the iron makes a few more wafers that will disappear. And no one would want to sit by the fire and hold a wafer iron for five minutes. An alteration to the wafer iron handle is a must.

Now the first wafer that was soft, so I went to set on the trivet to see if it would dry out and I dropped it in the fire. Allan and I tasted the second one. It was good; perhaps a bit too much sugar for our taste, however, it had a nice crunch. Allan said it would be much better filled with cream. Me, I’d dip it in dark chocolate.

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So the first receipt gets thumbs up and so does the seasoning of the wafer iron. Stay tuned as I will again use the wafer iron with a receipt from Charles Carter’s cookery book, 1730, a very different batter than this.

Sandie

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

Vincent van Gogh

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If my neighbors were looking at me on the porch they might have seen steam rising from my head.

CHAWETTYS AND HAND PYES

Before there were vessels to bake our food in, flour was mixed with lard and water, formed into various shapes, and filled with a mix of meat and or fruit with spices. As I mentioned in earlier posts, these vessels had names like Chawetty, Chewits, Coffins , Daryoles , Pyes and Pasties; once filled, they were baked or deep fried.

These parcels with savory or sweet filling would be served at Medieval and Tutor banquets. The smaller Chewits and Hand Pyes made a very convenient package for the traveler or worker to put in a pocket and eat on the way. ENGLISH TAKE OUT!

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I decided that the first workshop of the year would be on how to make these smaller chewits and hand pyes. I spent many weeks pouring over receipts from the 14th century to the 18th century, trying to find receipts that did not include, cocks combs, tongues, sweet breads, ambergris and other ingredients unlikely to be eaten by my participants. It took a while, and I settled on several receipts that I was sure would fit our 21st century taste.

The day of the workshop arrived, and I assembled the ingredients on the wall dresser and the side table. I also needed items for our pottage. Being that the hand pie and chewits were going home with their makers we needed to have a light midday meal while we worked.

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, three participants rescheduled for other workshops. However, Paul and Heather arrived ready to explore these medieval techniques. After reading through the receipts, we needed to prepare some things ahead of time. The apples were cored, put into a kettle to bake, the spinach went into a pan to steam, marrow bones were roasted and eggs boiled.

Our first receipt came from the Tutor Cookery of Hampton Court Palace in England, “Figs and Dates Hand Pyes.” The figs and dates were chopped with spices and mixed thoroughly.  Robert Smith’s receipt from The Compleat English Cook was “Apples Pyes to Fry.” The cored apples in the bake kettle had split their skins and the pulp was just right for scooping out, and mixing with lemon, quince marmalade and sugar. Heather added the sugar as she knew Paul would be a bit heavy-handed.

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Our third pye was a receipt from The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened – 1669, “Excellent Marrow-Spinach-Pasties” This receipt is both savory and sweet as it has marrow, spinach, currants and sugar.

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Our dough was next and the receipt came from a medieval cookbook called A Proper new Booke of Cokery – 1545. This receipt was different than some; it calls for egg whites and saffron water to mix with the dough. With a pinch of sugar added we were sure it would be tasty.

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Each receipt made enough dough for 12 hand pyes. Heather and Paul rolled it out and cut out circles about the size of a tea cup. Each circle was given a half tablespoon of filling, the edge of the dough dampened and then folded over to make a half moon. With the edges crimped in various ways they were placed on the platter.

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With the hand pyes all filled and ready to cook, Heather and Paul took turns by the warm fire frying them. When they got to be a golden brown they were placed on a towel to drain.

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The day before I made Manchet Rolls from “Martha Washinton’s Booke of Cookery.” Placing the bowl in a warm place for over two hours, the yeast worked its magic and it had doubled in size. When I punched it down and divided the dough; it made 16 rolls. I baked some and froze the rest. I’m hoping the frozen ones will cook as nicely as the first ones did.

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For our midday meal I made a “Pease Pottage” from Robert May’s, The Accomplisht cook. I wanted to make the potage hearty so I decided to beef it up a bit with extra vegetables. First I boiled a smoked ham knuckle for a long time the day before and the day of the workshop I skimmed off the fat from the gelatin broth. I hung a pot over the fire and sautéed a few onions, garlic, carrots and celery, and when they were soft in went the broth, peas and the rest of the larger cut carrots, onions, celery, parsnips and potatoes. This simmered all morning and was stirred now and again.

Deserving a rest after frying all the hand pyes, Heather and Paul sat to enjoy a midday meal of pottage and manchets. On top of the pottage we floated a bit of sherry which complemented the flavors of the broth and vegetables that had simmered together.

For dessert, we dug into the hand pyes, each one was different and all were very good. With our meal finished, we began the next part of the workshop, the Chawettys .9copy

Paul prepared the loin of the hare to use in the 1685 receipt from Robert Mays, The Accomplisht Cook, which includes grapes and thick bacon mixed with spices both sweet and savory. Heather sautéed the pork tenderloin over the fire for the “Pork Chawettys” receipt that I found in the, Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books – Published by the “Early English Text Society” in 1888.

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The Pork Chawettys were seasoned with dates, ginger, cinnamon, bleu cheese and hard boiled eggs. With the fillings prepared, the dough was made with flour, lard, butter, salt and water. This made a stiff dough and Paul, who is the expert at dough-making, made a quick task of it.

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The dough was divided in half and each half cut into four pieces. Then each piece had some removed for the lid of the Chawettys. I have seen several different ways to make the vessel for the filling. In Robert Deeley’s book , The Cauldron, The Spit and The Fire, he pictures a wonderful old coffin form made of wood. I have one now, however it is too large for chewits. So we used a potato masher. This worked very well, and both Heather and Paul’s dough raised high.

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Every cook has his or her own likes and dislikes in spices, and other ingredients they might use. I explained that the receipts I printed were guidelines, and they could put other spices or fruit in to them as they might like. The Pork called for a green cheese. A green cheese is any unripe cheese such as bleu cheese. Paul is not really a cheese person so he omitted the bleu cheese and instead he added the leftover apples from the hand pyes. The hare filling included fresh grapes. With the filling placed inside, the lid was rolled out and brushed with water and pinched in place.

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With two different fillings, we decided to decorate the tops of the pork Chawettys so they would know which one was which when they came out of the oven. Heather and Paul made theirs different so they could tell the cheese from the non-cheese.

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When they were all made, the chawettys were basted with an egg yolk and saffron mixture that made the crust a lovely red yellow. In several receipts, I found the use of cochineal, red sandalwood and saffron to turn the dough red. Not having my delivery from Dobyns and Martin Grocers yet, I only had the saffron and it looked fine. The chawettys were slid into the oven to bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.

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Baked to perfection, the chawettys were taken out and the proud makers took them home. Heather said they would have them during the Super Bowl. They left, and then returned a bit later, as Heather had forgotten her glasses. They had already eaten several of the hand pyes in route, not waiting to get home. They did look very tasty.

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I was sorry to see them go, both Heather and Paul, and the accomplishments of the day. I will need to make my own soon. I’m thinking turkey, chestnuts and cranberries.

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Sandie

There is still room in a few classes so:

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
― Ruth Reichl

 

MOFFATT LADD HOUSE

MUSEUM WORKSHOP

With the museum closed for the winter months it is always nice to get-together with co-workers once and awhile to visit with each other and have some fun.  There was a trip to the MFA in Boston and on Saturday a few ladies came to cook at my hearth.  This was a full workshop as well as a time to talk about up-coming events.  We will all be going to the “Life and Death Symposium” next Saturday in Portsmouth.  However for now we are going to cook, roast and bake.

Marsh, Lisa and Sidney arrived first, followed by Sherry and Cathy. After a few house keeping things and a run-through of the receipts we were on our way to a great meal. Chicken on a string and fish on a plank were the first order of the day.

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Sidney and Sherry took apples, onion, herbs and spices and put them into the cavity of the chicken, then sewed it up to keep all the goodness inside.  On the other side of the table, Cathy, Lisa and Marsha stuffed the fish with lemons and herds with butter.

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While the butter churned and the chicken was stitched up, a medley of vegetables were prepared to par boil.  Cathy egged and breaded the outside of the fish.3 copy

With skewers pushed through the wings and highs a string was attached and the chicken hung before the fire about 4 inches above the drip pan

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The girls tried their hand at everything and took turns churning the butter that we would be use for our potatoes rolls and cooking as we went along. The fish was secured to the board with string and it was placed in the fire and every so often it needed to be turned upside down

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The vegetables were taken out of the water and deemed par boiled, the apples also came off the fire and had the perfect tenderness to them.  Our fish needed to be re-planked.  The strings were cut and the fish was gently turned over, so the other side could bake.  It was washed with eggs and sprinkled with bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Tied once more to the board it went into the fireplace for more roasting

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Our dessert was from Charles Carter 1730. Tort De Pomme made with a sugar paste crust.  Cathy made the dough and every one pitched in and peel apples and par boil them, cut oranges rinds and made the custard.  Cathy’s sugar paste came out beautiful and there was some leftover so she made a large fruit roll up with preserves fig, plumb and apple.  Wastes not want not!  With the softened apples in the shell Cathy put the dish by the fire to warm before adding the custard and putting it in the bake oven.  One must always remember that cold crockery will break if not heated a bit before it goes into a bake oven or kettle.

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Sidney the newest member of the Moffatt Ladd family, and a professed non-cook, dove right into cracking eggs and not scrambling them in the hot cream, to make the custard for the pie.  With a little encouragement from Marsha she made velvety smooth custard with no lumps.  Go Sidney!

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This custard was poured over the apple, orange peel and citron mixture and popped into the bake oven.8copy

Sidney was a fast and efficient worker at the sink and kept us all in clean utensils and bowls.  We didn’t make her do all the dishes she had help. However she was the head dishwasher for the day.  Our chicken was not cooking fast enough for me so we moved it inside the fireplace and hung it from the crane.  It needed to be spun often, however everyone did their share of twisting the string. In the pan under the chicken you can see the vegetables roasting, infused with garlic, sweet oil and herbs, it gave off a tantalizing aroma.

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Allan dropped in to see how we were doing and took a picture of all of us having a brief respite from the days work.

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Sherry made the Potato rolls.  Potatoes were approves as a  food fit for humans in the mid 1700 and a French pharmacist Antoine Parmentier may have written down the first receipt for potatoes bread.  From there various receipts were propagated by authors I have read.  However the earliest receipt I can find is one from 1794 by Madame Merigot.  This receipt is a no-knead dough and very sticky.  It made the loveliest browned rolls which were light in texture and made you ask, where is that home churned butter?

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With all the main food preparation done it was time to make sauces for the fish and chicken.  From the Cookbook of Unknown Ladies the receipt for “How to make sauce for a Fish without gravy” was made.  Butter, wine, lemon juice, lobster stock, anchovies and horseradish was heated through, with thyme and parsley for a tangy sauce.  I forgot to purchase the cranberries for the chicken sauce so Marsha and I improvised.  I had an orange, a jar of cranberry preserves, and some sherry and into a redware pipkin they went. Add a little garlic and salt and pepper and it was ready to reduce by the fire.  Now it was time to plate all our hard labor. The fish was cut down the back and plated with the bones carefully removed.

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The chicken was hoisted from the fire and un-strung and the skewers removed.  Sidney wanted to carve

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With the table washed down and set for lunch, the plates of food were placed. First the fish and chicken was put on the table.

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Then a large plate of roasted vegetables, potato rolls and two graves ready for hungry dinners.

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Sherry gave a toast to the accomplished cooks, friends and a new year’s start at the Moffatt Ladd House and Garden Museum

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OH and I did not forget about the Tory De Pomme.  Glistening with citron that looked like gold and apples sitting on a sugar paste, all held together with custard, and was a perfect finish for a winter’s day.

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I’m looking forward to the up-coming workshop just as much as I did this one.  There is still room in some workshops and I hope you will join me for a day of fun and hearth cooking. Click on the Open Hearth Workshop Bar for more information.

Sandie

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

James Beard

 

 

A PUDDING

A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding

Amelia Simmons 1796

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Durning the weekend we had a great fire going and I decided to bake something. I had some small pumpkins, plus more frozen, and apples. When I think of pumpkins I think of Amelia Simmons. She was the first American to write a cookbook for Americans and with foods that were uniquely American.

Looking through the book I found the receipt for “A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding,” at the end of the narrative on how to prepare and bake it she says – “The above receipt is a good receipt for Pumpkins, Potatoes or Yams, adding more moistening or milk and rose water, and to the two latter a few black or Lifbon currants, or dry whortleberries fcattered in, will make it better.” It is a very easy receipt and look like a yummy one too. So, with that settled, I gathered all the things I would need.

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First I needed to prepare the pumpkin and apples. I pared and removed the seed and boiled them until just tender. While they boiled, I whisked together eggs and cream and added a drop or two of rose water. Then I added a tablespoon of white wine, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I whisked them together. In went a tablespoon of flour, and three tablespoons of breadcrumbs to help make the batter a thicker consistancy. The apples and punpkins were now soft, and, after draining them, I put them in a bowl with the unfrozen pumpkin I had and mashed it all together.

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The cream mixture went in next and was stirred about and currants added.

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With everything well mixed, it was put into a greased redware baker and placed in a warm bake kettle by the fire.

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I put coals under and on top of the kettle and I turned it a half turn, every 15 minutes. It took about 45 minutes until a knife placed in the pudding came out clean. The pudding was ready to eat. While it was still warm I served it up. I liked the hint of rose water and it had just the right amount of spices. Surprising to me was that it was nothing like an interior of a pumpkin pie. The texture was different, the addition of the flour and bread crumbs almost make it like a cake. Yet it was soft and so tasty.

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I have missed the opportunity to share the hearth with others and look forward to the Winter/Spring workshops. This Saturday I had a special group of docents from the Moffatt Ladd House coming to cook. This museum is my stomping ground in the off season of hearth cooking and I always look forward to seeing my co-workers and friends. They are all new to cooking on the hearth, so it was a beginner’s class, yet with a few challenges thrown in to keep them on their toes, more on the MLH workshop to come.

The Winter/Spring Workshops are filling up so, if you’re interested, let me know so I can save you a spot.

Sandie

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”   Albert Camus

 

Sausage and Bread Workshop

The morning’s weather was crisp and stayed at 52 most of the day. Perfect for our hearth fire. I had the tables ready with all the things we would need, and stations for each receipt set up. This was a busy day; we were making two types of bread, two types of sausage, a stuffed pumpkin, cheese, butter, a prune tart and whipped cream. A doable task for the time we had.

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Everyone arrived and the workshop began. There were several things that needed to be made first. The breads would need time to rise, the puff paste to rest, and the filling for the stuffed pumpkin made and put by the fire; these were the first order of the day.

Nancy started on Hannah Glasses’ French Rolls from the The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, I had made the starter the night before so she would have a good head start. Sue made the cheese bread from the receipt of W.M.’s The Compleat Cook 1658. Because the cheese would take too long to make I had cheese prepared for use. The most difficult thing about making this bread is to fight the desire to overwork the dough. Sue was hesitant that it would rise without kneading, and surprised an hour and half later, when it started pouring over the container. This is not sissy bread; it grows twice its size.  

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Patty worked with the puff paste, layering butter amongst the dough and folding it over and rolling again as she went along. While it rested she began the soft cheese which we would use as an hors d’oeuvre later. Sara was using a combination of two Pompions receipts from John Parkinson, 17th c Herbal. Sara cut up cabbage, onions, sausage and apples, and fried them in the spider, and then mixed it with herbs and spices. The pumpkin was cut, cleaned out, and the inside rubbed with dry mustard. When the stuffing was ready, it was put into the pumpkin and rotated every 20 minutes to get a nice soft flesh.

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While the bread was rising, Nancy and Sue chopped the meat and suet for the sausages. Sue was working on the 17th century Portuguese pork sausage that also had beef in it, orange peels, lemon juice, cumin and port wine, among other interesting goodies. Nancy was working on John Nott’s “To Make Sausage another way.” She was adding chopped spinach, mace and cloves, and added an extra egg to make it the consistency looser. Sara was finished with the pumpkin, and joined Nancy and chopped the herbs and spinach.

Patty was working with the cheese and not having any luck turning it into curds. We are not sure what happened but it just would not curdle. We added some lemon and still nothing. This is the same receipt I used last week just to make sure it would work. However, this time it did not. We all concluded that we got milk from a bad cow. Fortunately, we did not need it for our cheese bread

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Earlier in the morning I had washed the hog casings very well, and they were ready for the sausage press. It’s a little tricky putting them on; however with the help of a little running water in the pantry sink, the girls were able to slip the casings on the tube, with much laughter and discussion not printable.

Before the mixture was put into the casing, both batches were tested by making little patties and frying them first. Patty and Sue had forgotten to put in the port and wanted to add more orange peels. With the addition of some more spices and the port, everything tasted great and the sausage went into the casings. Sara and Nancy went first. Their mixture was loose and it made it easier to push the plunger and make the links of sausages.

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The 17th century Portuguese sausage was a different story. The mixture was a bit stiff and much harder to get into the casings. As an afterthought, we could have added some chicken stock to make it looser. However, Patty and Sue persevered and turned out a wonderful dish of links. We all stood around and cheered them on to the finish, and took turns churning the butter for the bread.

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The French rolls and the cheese bread were done with all their rising and ready for the bake oven. The fire had been going in the oven for a few hours, and, after it was raked out, it was very hot. We waited a while for the temperature to go down then put in the puff paste and gave it a high heat start. After about 15 minutes, we transferred it to a bake kettle to finish. We needed all our oven space for the bread. Both breads looked wonderful and we were very eager to get them into the bake oven.

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With the pumpkin cooking by the fire and the puff pastry in the kettle, it was time to start Amelia Simmons’ receipt “ To Keep Peas till Christmas.”  The peas were kept in leaf lard in my refrigerator and Sue put them into a pipkin to melt the lard. When she was satisfied that the lard was melting she placed the peas into the corner of the fireplace to keep warm. When we were ready to eat, Sara took them and drained them through a cloth to remove the lard.

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It was now time to check the bread. We removed the door and took a look. There we found nicely browned rolls and loafs of bread with an aroma that wafted out of the oven with an incredible warmth that said, “Where’s the butter?” Out they came to rest before we dove into each of them with our meal.

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While the bread cooled, Sara, who made the prune filling for Plimouth Plantation Prune Tart, covered the puff paste with the mashed prunes with its cinnamon and rosemary flavors. Then it was off to help her mom whip the cream. This was done away from the fire with the twigs beater and in a deep bowl to get nice soft peaks.

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Patty was on sausage duty and kept turning them as they cooked in the spider. With deft hands, she kept turning the sausage so they browned to perfection. While Patty toiled by the fire, everyone began to clear the table and bring out the dishes and dinnerware for our feast.10 copy

We all sat down and gave a toast to a job well done, and for the help of Allan, who lugged wood, and took pictures. While we all filled our plates, Sara put the final glory on the prune tart, mounds of whipped cream.

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With dinner over, Patty served the tart. The puff paste was flaky and filled with a wonderful buttery flavor. And the topping was excellent. How could you go wrong with rosemary and cinnamon?

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We had a wonderful time and shared our happiness for a job well done as we all talked about food sources, books to read and many other things. With our day-long efforts enjoyed and praised, it was off to the kitchen to clean up, divide the spoils and continue the camaraderie that we shared.

Next month is the last workshop of this year, a Harvest Dinner; we still have room if you wish to join us.

Sandie

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
-Buddha

17TH CENTURY COFFIN CLASS

The day of the class arrived and the fires were started in the hearth and bake oven early. The wall dresser holds most of the food stuff with the exception of the cream and butter that we need to be cold. Bowls, utensils and all the needed pot and pans were assembled for easy access when everyone arrived.

We started at 10:00, and the first order of the day was to boil eggs and roast the beets. Next we made the fillings for the coffins. Early pies were called “coffins” or “coffyns” which means a basket or box that held savory meat within a crust or pastry. The dough formed the container that was then filled and cooked in a bake kettle or in a bake oven.

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We broke up into two groups. Cathy, Dana and Debra started on the Lumbar Pie, while Barbara, Natalie and Nancy did a Turkey Pie.

Beef suet was chopped and mixed with parsley, thyme, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt and pepper and added to the chopped meat of veal, pork and beef. With it all mixed together, the meatballs were made with a piece of marrow put into the center, then rolled in a square of caul fat. These were then browned on the hearth in leaf lard.

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Turkey and chicken livers were the main ingredient in the next pie.  However a good deal of mushrooms was added along with thyme, garlic, onions, and brandy. These were sautéed in a pan to soften and brown.

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A Puff Paste was made, by making dough and rolling it out and adding pats of butter to it and folding and pounding with the rolling pin to incorporate the butter. This was cooled for 10 minutes then the process started again, more butter more pounding. After four times, the pastry was ready.  The turkey livers and mushroom mixture, was placed on the bottom crust and topped with hazel nuts. The lid was put on and the coffin shape cut. Decoration were made and added to the top.

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Over on the other table the dough for the raised Lumbar Pie was made. The process is much like a potter spinning the clay on a wheel. The dough was made into the shape of a deep bowl. Everyone had to come and take a look.

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Some of the saved dough was decorated with a rolling pin, with a vine design; this was wrapped around the coffin sides. Then the layers of grapes, figs, hard boiled eggs and the browned meat was placed in the standing coffin. A lid was placed on top and crimped together and also decorated.8 copy

With both coffins ready, they were put into the bake oven.

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With the beets roasted and cool enough to handle they were peeled and sliced and a batter was made. The manchets were grated to make bread crumbs and some flour and parsley were added the battered beets were dipped in the crumb mixture and ready to fry.

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Carrots were grated and a pudding made and put in a greased cloth. This was boiled for an hour while the beets were fried, and while custard, for a dessert, hung over the fire and was closely watched.12copy

After an hour, the coffins were removed from the oven and looked too good to eat. 10 out copy

Apples were cored and placed upside down on each person’s finger, then covered with whipped egg whites and powdered sugar. Then they were turned upside down and filled with the custard and baked while we ate our meal..11apple

Lumber Pie, Turkey Pie, gravy for both, boiled Carrot Pudding, Fried Beets, and a finish of George Dalrymple’s Custard Apples. A great beginning to the hearth cooking season, good food, good friends both old and new, and leftovers to take home. I’m sure there were a few very happy husbands.

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We had a great time, shared stories while we worked, and laughed at a few mistakes. It was a wonderful day. Some of the participants are coming back for more classes and I look forward to being with them again, as they are now old friends.
Sandie

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

I hope I have inspired.

EARLY FOOD STAPLES

Our foremothers never got a break; they were always keeping one step ahead of the next meal. They made premade gravies, sauces, jellies, bread to go stale for crumbs, among other items to have on hand to add to the fresh meat, fish, and vegetables they would have for dinner. To prepare for my hearth cooking classes I have to do the same thing.

I needed to have pig’s leaf lard to fry with and trotters for jelly. From the lamb came the caul and the lard and marrow bones from the cow. So I called Lemay’s Butchery in Goffstown and placed my order. Within a few days I picked it up. It’s amazing how many parts there are to farm animals and the foods that can be made from them

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I chopped the suet and leaf lard in pieces. I put just a little water in the suet to get it started, and gave the leaf lard a good four cups to boil in. These were both simmered, as the water evaporated from the suet, it melted nicely. The leaf lard took a bit longer yet when it was strained and cold, it was a lovely white, soft paste that looks like Crisco. After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, the melted suet was white and hard as a rock, perfect for coffin dough.

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Allan cut the pig’s feet in half. They were so long they would not fit into the pot. I scrubbed in between the pigs toes and took a knife and scraped the skin to remove all and any residue. After giving them a good wash into a large pot they went. They simmered for 5 hours then cooled overnight, and then simmered for 3 more hours the next day. Then the liquid was poured off into a clean towel, placed in a strainer, and then the jelly was poured into a jar with a good tight lid. The pig’s feet jelly will be added to gravy.

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I rinsed and rinsed the caul and picked the small veins out. I wrapped it in parchment paper and froze it. It is a really nice piece and will be used to wrap forced meat to be fried in the leaf lard and placed in the coffin made with the beef suet.  With the marrow bone roasted and browned, I scooped out the inside and saved them for the Lumber Pie. I also made two gravies to have for the two coffins. Thankfully, I have refrigeration to be able to keep these food items in a healthy manner.

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Next I needed to make the manchets so they could be made into bread crumbs, then I headed to Tender Crop Farm in Newburyport, Massachusetts, for some fresh turkey breast for the turkey pie. manchetfirecopy

The day before the class I walked the farm market in Exeter to find the best carrots, beets and apples for our carrot pudding, the fried beets and custard apples.

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There is a lot of preparation needed to have a group come and cook at the hearth. It’s not just preparing some staples ahead of time. There is also the decoding of early receipts that are written in a narrative form that need to be transformed into modern-day measurement, and sometimes food substitutions. However, I enjoy sharing my experiences with others, and though it can be messy and challenging sometimes, I love the connection with the cooks of the past and the present-day participants who come to hearth cook for the day.

 Sandie

“To speak then of the outward and active knowledge which belong to our English Houfe-Wife, I hold the first and most principal to be, a perfect skill and knowledge in Cookery,”

 Gervase Markham – The English House-Wife 1683

OPEN HEARTH COOKING CLASSES FALL 2013

IT’S FALL AND THE SMELL OF WOOD SMOKE IS IN THE AIR

The cooking fire in the hearth and oven are once more brightly burning. Come and enjoy a day preparing 17th and 18th century food and finishing by the warmth of the hearth, where you will enjoy each other’s company and the fruits of your labor.  Each class will prepare an assortment of dishes, while cooking on the hearth fire or bake oven, and talking about the principles and techniques of early cooking.   

RoomTo register please email    sandie@colonialtable.com

The registration fee per class is $55 per person.*

We are offering the following classes: 

OCT 5 – COFFINS     Come and make coffins in the bake oven; we will use several different fillings and decorate the tops accordingly. Also we will prepare a variety of fall harvest vegetables and fruit on the hearth.    10 to 3    Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 6

OCT 26 BREADS AND SAUSAGE      Try your skill at making breads. We will be making three different types.  And while the dough rises we’ll make various sausages, stuffed into casings and patties. To complete the meal, you will prepare your vegetables and dessert too.   10 to 3   Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 6

NOV  9 HARVEST DINNER     Come and make a delicious harvest feast cooked over the hearth and experience the flavors of the bountiful autumn harvest months here in New Hampshire.     10 -2   Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 8

Workshops include preparing and consuming the meal, all food and supplies are included in the cost of the workshop. East participant will receive copies of the receipts to try at home. Cider will be served with the meal, however, participants are welcome to bring their own beverage.

*Class will be cancelled 7 days prior if minimum number of participants is not met. Enrollment fee will be refunded in this case. If participant cancels more than 14 days before the event, a full refund will be given.  Within 14 days there are no refunds.

 Sandra Tarbox, Historic Foodways Culinarian, Newmarket, NH