(Dear readers, We are still having technical difficulties. To see all post please go to the HOME button.  Thanks You for your patience.  Sandie)


                                                                   Francisco Goya

I grew up eating wild game meat.  My dad owned a fishing and hunting store. He, my brother Jim and sister Joan hunted all the time.  It was a great way to stretch the food budget of a household of nine.  One of my favorite was rabbit. My mom cooked it two ways, in a stew or deep fried.  I loved them both. So, while looking through Williams Verral’s cookery book, I came across “Collops of Rabbit in Champagne wine” and it looked interesting. Being that we don’t hunt, Allan and I took a ride up RT 4 to Loudon and the Hungry Buffalo. They sell all kinds of wild game. We purchased enough rabbit tenders for two meals.

A few days before I wanted to make this I printed Verral’s receipt and read it over twice. I recommend that everyone read early receipt at least  twice. This way you will understand what you need to do to change it into a modern equivalent and save yourself from a cooking catastrophe. Also, I need to decide what else would go with it. I felt that cranberries would complement the rabbit and, being that there would be a bit of a sauce, I decided to have French rolls to accompany it. Then I picked a dessert that Allan has been asking for, baked custard. Along with the custard I thought it would be nice to place a tiny Madeleine on top.

I made the cranberry sauce and the Madeleine the day before our meal and sealed them in a tight container. The next afternoon I made the Cream Custard  from Lady H in Richard Bradley ‘s 1732 cookery book, and put it in the refrigerator until later.

The next day arrived and I made the custard in the early afternoon in a nice water bath. Then I started the French rolls  from Hannah Glasse receipt. We are only two people here so I froze most of the rolls. This is an experiment I’ve been wanting to try to see how will they come out the next time I want to use them.  I also froze some of the cranberry sauce for later use.  That evening I assembled all the ingredients for the collops. I chopped the green onions and  shallots put the herbs and seasoning into a small bowl and poured out the right amount of broth. I salted and floured the collops and I was ready to cook.

The fire had been going for a while and the coals were ready.  I sautéed the rabbit tenders to a golden brown and then took them out and put the plate aside to keep warm. In the same pan used for the rabbit went some butter, the mushrooms, green onions and herbs, salt and pepper.  When they were softened and the mushrooms had turned a nice chestnut color, I added a knob of butter mixed with flour and stirred it in to make a roux, then cooked it. If you don’t cook a roux long enough the flour taste remains. I stirred in the white wine and lemon juice and some chicken stock and let this  simmer a while. The rabbit was then added in, tossed around to coat and cooked for a few more minutes. I moved the pan from the coals and covered it.

My French rolls would be baked in the new reflector oven that I recently bought, this was the first chance I had to use it. When the rabbit was out of the way, I moved it closer to the fire so they would obtain a crispy golden  top.

Dinner was ready.  With everything on the table, we began to plate.

We sat  leisurely eating while the custard heated up in a warm kettle by the fire. I like my custard warm. After I took them out I toasted the top with a hot iron out of the fire.

With the custard ready I placed a mini Madileine on it. Allan was in heaven.

Now the review on this meal is complicated.  I loved the cranberry sauce and the rolls were flaky and moist.  The custard delicious and the Madeleine on top was a perfect compliment.  The rabbit sauce I did not like. They say if you’re going to use wine in a recipe use one you love. Well, I am not a fan of white wine and should have thought about this.  I found the sauce to be overly sweet from the wine and the lemon didn’t help the matter. I did like the rabbit. After scraping off the sauce I found it very tender and tasting somewhere in-between white and dark chicken meat.

Now Allan, he loved it. The next day he had it for lunch and said it tasted even better after sitting  overnight. Don’t be reluctant about trying this rabbit receipt, if you like white wine.  You may love it like Allan did.

Our next rabbit receipt will be from Edward Kidder.  I’ve read this receipt and with a change or two I’m sure I will like it.  I’ll post it soon.


“My dinner is still in the woods.” -Unknown


William Verral, 1775

“The Complete System of Cookery”


Historic Deerfield Workshop


After a year of going back and forth with venues and dates and who was available, Claire Carlson the Education Program Coordinator of Historic Deerfield set the day.  On Monday 28 of March, Claire and the Deerfield hearth cooks arrived at my door.  It was rainy cool and perfect for a day of hearth cooking

Claire had asked specificity for several things.  To make Lumber Pie and show everyone how to make a receipt that had many parts to it. They wanted to stretch their creative minds.  So out came the coffin forms and all the stations were set up and ready for them when they arrived.1

First to arrive were Cynitha, Richard and Beth.  They started right in.  I needed the marrow bones to be taking care of and the lumber pie and we will be needing to start on the  Naples Biscuits for our orange fool.3

Shortly after the rest of the group came in and we went right to work dividing tasks.1a copy

Laura  started in on the Forme of Crury reciept for  Flampoyntes. She browned the pork added sweet spices and graded  a soft cheeses . This would be put into Traps, know as open coffins.10

Ellen  made  Robert Smiths, Paste -Royal, this pastry would go with the Flampoynets.  Laura was done with the meat filling and made a pie crust that we used later for the coffin tops.  Claire and Melinda made the filling for a fish coffin. 


The shrimp was boiled and the only fish that was cooked was the cod. The cod needed to be beaten in the mortar and pestle and mixed with the stuffing mix Melinda had made.7

Richard liked the nutmeg grater and added the ground nutmeg into the  forced meat.  Cynitha took the force meat and made meat balls with a small nugget of marrow in the center.  Then that was wrapped in caul and fried in sweet oil.5

Beth  put the Naples Biscuits in the bake kettle and when they were done they sat on the edge of the bake oven to dry out for her orange fool. I took them off when they were ready.


While Claire cut the salmon Melinda peels the shrimp.  Claire is not fond of shell fish and Melinda has no problem, so they were a great team.


With the Paste Royal made Cynitha rolled the paste and cuts it in to long diamonds.8

Many helped fry the small points and drain them for use later.

9 copy

With all the fillings made and all the ingredients ready  I talked the group thru the process of making the coffin dough. 

13 copy

Everyone measured out their flour then one by one poured in the melted lard and butter. This was stirred with a spoon and then when cool enough, made into a ball and placed on the work surface.

12 copy

We made three dough’s  and Beth prepared the egg wash for the coffins, then the kneading began.

14 copy

 Ten minutes not a second less.

15 c

Then  the dough gets wrapped in linen and sits for ten minutes.

16 copy

Now the fun starts. The dough is flattened, both the form and dough get’s lots of flour. Then the shaping begins. 


Clair and Melinda’s fish form is quite large so  paper was use around the edges to hold it up before it was filled with many layers of salmon, oysters, shrimp, and a force meat of cod. 17cpy

Then it was dotted with butter and slices of lemons put over it all.  Using the Laura’s pie dough a top was cut out and pinched on with the egg wash.

19 copy

Forced meat balls, grapes, eggs, figs , dates, leeks, mushrooms, shallots and spices all layered in the Lumber Pie.  A lid of pie crust and it was ready for the  bake oven.18 copy

 The third coffin dough was divided in five pieces and Beth, Cynitha and Laura each worked to make the shallow Traps.

20 copy

Melinda smiles at the well decorated fish.  Many hands helped putting scales on the top and an eye to. She waits to put it in the bake oven right in front of the Lumber Pie, The traps went into the bake kettle.

15 copy

Beth and Clair read the receipt from Hannah Glass, Orange Pudding, Another Way.  Orange pudding was so popular that she has four receipts for it. The centers needed to be taken out of the oranges and Melinda starts on it.

21 copy

They need to be boiled to remove some of the bitterness from the peel.


Beth made a filling and remarked that it is just like a bread pudding. And yes that is what it is, only you use Naples biscuits instead of bread. Then you stuff the hollow oranges and  replace the top. They go into a linen sack and get tied very tightly. 23 copy

They were boiled in a large cauldron and when cooled taken out for the table.  Sadly I did not get a picture of one on the plate ready to eat.  But I can tell you they were delicious.24 copy

Time to take out the coffins, the fish looks ready to swim away with its scales, and the Lumber pie stood tall still. 

25 copy

The Flampoyntes were taken out of the bake kettle and the points put in by Cynthia.  The center trap one was made up of left over lumber pie filling.

30 copy

Half way through the day Richard mentions he’s a vegetarian —- most of the time. So I had him make the compound salad.  He used dandelion greens and field greed, daicon radish, carrots, a golden beet, that someone cooked, hard boiled eggs and made a dressing with the left over oranges juice and sweet oil. On the side was a bowl of anchovies left over from the fish coffin.  You don’t get better than this at a restaurant. He did a lovely presentation.

26 copy

Claire and Cynthia made leers for their coffins and some were poured in and the coffin shaken.  The rest was served on the side.


Time to open the tops of the coffins and dig into them with their layers of distinct flavors.29 copy

The traps were cut in half and served.

30 copy

What a wonderful group of hearth cooks I had a great time working with them.  Cynthia said she was going home with three new ideas and Richard was very interested in the way Allan did the wood. I do hope the others took something home also. 

31 copy


“Secrets, especially with cooking, are best shared so that the cuisine lives on.”

         Bo Songvisava

 Dear Sandie:

We had a fabulous time at the coffin workshop. You are a skilled teacher, gracious host, and diligent task master! Some of our hearth cooks still see themselves as novices, even with almost five years hearth cooking experience. This workshop was JUST what they needed — to experience the multi-step process of preparing a receipt with a lot of steps, ingredients, and techniques to think about. I think their minds were blown (in a good way!)