WAFERS 101 -2

The wafer iron is fixed, Allan said it was one of the easier tasks I’ve asked him to do as of late. He found a piece of heavy gauge steel wire and wrapped one end tight on the handle and made a hook on the other end, and, just like that, it was fixed!

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Sunday rolls around it’s time to try wafers again. This time Allan wanted filling in his. With a bit of research I came across a Lemon Cream receipt I thought would resemble a cannoli filling.

Lemmon Cheese

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A qurt of good thick sweet creame. Put to it the juce of four lemons as as mutch peel as well give it an agreeable  flavour. Sweeten it to your taste & add a littile peach or orange flower water if you like it. Whip it up as you would for sellabubs but very solid. If you have a tin vat, put a thin cloath in it & pour in your cream. If not, put it in a napkin and tye it pritty close. Hang it up to let the whey run from it. Make it the night before you use it. Garnish it with currant jelliy or candied oranges.

I had some ricotta cheese and so cheated a bit and did not make my own. I whipped the cream until it had high peaks. In another bowl, I mixed the orange flower water, confectionary sugar, lemon zest, a bit of lemon juice and the ricotta cheese. I then folded the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. Hmm, tasted pretty good.  Now I just need to melt, at the last minute, some of the American Heritage Chocolate made by Mars. I bought it the last trip we took to Old Sturbridge Village. I’ll fill my wafers with some of this and dribble the rest on top.

So it was time to try another wafer receipt. After looking over several, I decided on Charles Carter’s receipt. This is very different from the one I tried last week. No eggs are involved, and it uses sack and cream to make the flour into a “Pancake Stuff.” It will make a nice comparison.

 To make Wafers Brown, the beft Way.

The Practicle Cook, Charles Carter 1730

TAKE a Pint of good Cream, and thicken it with fine Flower dry’d, as thick as Pancake Stuff; put in fome Nut­meg and beaten Cinnamon, and a Gill of Sack; ftir it well, and fet it by the Fire to rile, and then bake them off quick in your Moulds; fometimes butter your Moulds, and roll them off quick, and keep them dry for Ufe.

 I mixed all the ingredients together while Allan got the fire going so we would have lots of coals. I didn’t like the consistency of the batter, it looked weird. I figured it must be the grated nutmeg and the cinnamon.

With everything ready, Allan opened up the hot wafer iron and I poured in the batter. This did not look right. Once he clapped the iron shut, the batter spurted out steam and batter violently. I wish we had a third person there to have taken a picture of this goo and steam.

Undaunted, we put it over the coals on the trivet and timed it for 4 minutes on each side. I wish you could have seen our faces when we opened up the wafer iron and saw a small paper thin transparent wafer. And it seamed greasy for some reason. I rolled it quickly around a tin cone and set it aside.

So, we tried again. I wiped the iron really well to make sure remove any traces of butter. Once again, Allan held the wafer iron while I spooned just enough of the batter in the middle and he clamped it shut. Gooey spattering again, the batter shot out like lava from a volcano. This was not looking good. The next wafer was a bit larger in size; however, it was transparent and greasy too. I rolled it up on a tin cone and put it on the plate. Allan wanted to know why this was happening. Our first wafers last week came out relatively good considering the handle issue. With some thought, I figured that the moisture from the sack and no eggs was the problem.

I took the batter to the kitchen and tossed it in the garbage. Back to square one. I went into the office and printed out Sir Theodore Mayerne’s receipt that I had used last week and proceeded to make a new batch of wafer batter. With the wafer iron getting hot over the coals, we started all over again. This time we nailed it, and came up with wafers nicely browned and the right thickness.

Yea, break out the filling and melt that chocolate!!!

From the left you have last week’s wafer from Sir Theodore Mayerne, then the thin and greasy wafer of Charles Carter then the perfect wafer with comfits, from the receipt of Sir Theodore Mayerne. On the right we have Mayerne, Carters and then Mayern’s again. Okay, the presentation might not be there, yet we at least have a few wafers with filling.

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So what did we learn?

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Wafer irons need a latch so you don’t have to sit in front of the fire      and bake your hands and face.

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Charles Carter’s receipt tasted okay, a bit greasy for reasons that we are not aware of (We had put just a bit of butter on the wafer iron; so it was not that.)

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The Lemmon Cheese receipt was very good.

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Good chocolate is like bacon; you can’t have enough.

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Allan does not like comfits.

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Start making the wafers early – our dinner was late due to regrouping.

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And try one more receipt.

Sandie

(Allan) You are my favorite excuse to whip cream. Anonymous Voyeur

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

 

LUMBAR PIE

DINNER WITH FRIENDS

I love making coffins, and so, when we invited three couples to dinner, that was top on the menu. I also made rolls and a warm bean salad. Our guest brought hors d’ oeuvres and dessert, a special treat was freshly dug steamers just dug off of Newburyport that same day, thank you Connie and Bart, who also brought blueberry pie. Ray and Linda provided bacon wrapped figs which were wonderful. This carried on my theme as I had figs in my coffin. Bob and Barbara made a crab dip, a receipt out of Food TV magazine.

The house was decorated for Christmas and looking very festive. I have four trees this year. The fresh one with all the family ornaments is in front of the Cage Bar as far away from the hearth as it can get. It needs water every day.

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With such a large group of guests, I made two coffins. I used the roller to make some of the designs.

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With the bake oven hot, they were ready to put in and bake for an hour.

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They came out of the oven brown and ready to eat.

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Connie took this picture with her phone. Here I’m cutting off the top of the coffins.sandie

The coffin was filled with lamb and veal meatballs that had both sweet and savory spices in them, ginger, nutmeg and cloves as well as salt and pepper. And a little nuget of bone marrow in the center. Large white grapes added some moisture and the, figs a bit of crunch. Eggs and three types of mushrooms rounded out the ingredients. I made a gravy with the drippings from the meatballs and added some fresh rosemary to it this was then added to the coffins. Most early cookery books had at least one receipt for a Lumber pie; they seemed to be very popular.  I know I love them.

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Connie was taking pictures of the opening of the coffins and got this shot of the men coming in to find a seat. We ladies sat down, and dinner began. Our conversation ranged from a new Clock Jack that was purchased, then the name of my Rooker that was used to remove embers from oven, and the trials and tribulations of moving a first-period house that might be up for sale, and discussion of early foods and many compliments on the dinner. Connie loved the crust and ate the top crust alongside her meal, so much for giving the coffin remains back to the kitchen help.

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Dessert was served, and we sat by the fire for a long time relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Our guests are friends, so it made the evening even more delightful.

I hope you will have many occasions to share food with friends and family over the Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’m looking forward to having Christmas here and a Beef Wellington with family.

Sandie

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~Washington Irving

 

HARVEST DINNER – Nov. 9, 2013

 BILL OF FARE

SOFT CHEESE WITH CHIVES

PUMPKIN SOUP & SNIPPETS

ROAST LOIN OF PORK

APPLESAUCE – HONEY MUSTARD – PEACH PRESERVES

SPINACH TART

SUCCOTASH

INDIAN PUDDING & WHIPPED CREAM

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This class was meant to be casual and full of fall receipts. My four companions had been here before and knew the drill: Start on the things that need cooking the longest first. Nancy dove in to the Indian pudding receipt, scalding the milk, mixing the cornmeal and molasses and spices with the cream and adding raisins and eggs. Paul and Heather put together the stuffing for the pork from the receipt of Hannah Glasse with a few twists. We used leftover cheese bread from another workshop as our base for the stuffing. Allan had cut the pork, so it was ready to go.

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Heather and Paul put the stuffing on the pork and it was rolled like a jelly roll. Then it was placed on the lacey lamb caul and rolled again. The caul would baste it as it roasted by the fire. Heather reminded Paul that they had seen an episode of “Chopped” that used caul fat, how timely. Paul, using his best boy scout knots, tied string around to keep the caul in place.

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Patty started two things at the same time. Multi-tasking! I’m sure our foremothers did a lot of that. Yes, we were going to try and make cheese again. Last workshop it would not curdle, so Patty agreed to give it another try. She also needed to get the pumpkin leather soaked for the soup and heat the milk for the cheese.

Pumpkin played an important role in the Pilgrim diet. There is a poem that goes:

 Stead of pottage and pudding and custard and pie Our pumpions and parsnips are common supplies, We have pompion at morning and pompion at noon,  If it were not for pompion we should be undoon.

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With the ingredients for Amelia Simmons’ A Nice Indian Pudding, all mixed together, Nancy poured them into individual bowls for baking in the bake oven. Paul and Allan secured the pork to the spit with skewers, ready for the fire. We all had a laugh at the original tin fat catcher. That will be the next order from OSV (Old Sturbridge Village).

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While Patty was working on the pumpkin soup, she kept her eye on the cheese, and was rewarded with success. She made a wonderful soft ricotta and proudly displayed it. Now for some chives.

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Heather and Paul cut up apples and added lemon zest, butter, cider, sugar and their own choice of spices and added them to the mix; this is Mary Smith’s 1772 receipt.

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With the cheese made, Patty gets back to the pumpkin leather that is soaking in chicken broth, sherry, and cream she sautéed the garlic, onions, leeks. When these were soft she added the pumpkin and spices, and put it by the fire, along with the hanging pot of apples sauce, spinach, softening leeks and onion and the pork in the tin oven.  

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Nancy’s next receipt was the spinach tart. She had placed the spinach and a bit of water in a pot and placed a cover over it and it was steamed over the flames. While that softened she makes the pie crust. This receipt is a combination of Charles Carter’s and William Blackfan’s tart.

In-between receipts, and waiting for our food to bake, roast or steam, the clean-up crew headed for the kitchen and then set the table for our meals.

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Patty puts the reconstituted pumpkin in with the leeks, onions and other ingredients. The bake oven has been going for nearly two hours and Paul got the hot job of cleaning it out.

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However, his reward is to see that the pork roast is browning nicely and nearly ready.

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With the oven clean and at the right temperature, Nancy put in her puddings and tart. I put the mashed applesauce near the fire to keep warm while everyone was busy.

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First out of the oven is the Indian Pudding. This receipt does not take as long as some receipts, and is more cake-like than a running soft pudding. Paul whips up a sweat, and the cream for the topping.

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Patty served the cheese and the soup with snippets for our first course as Nancy took out the spinach tart from the bake oven. Look at how wonderfully brown the crust is!13 copy

The pumpkin soup was delicious and just enough to whet the appetite for what was to come. Paul and Heather brought a bottle of Moonlight Meadery made in New Hampshire. The honey-apple-wine called Kurt’s Apple Pie was an exceptional addition to our meal. This is a sipping wine, for sure; it certainly warms the cockles of your heart. With the first courses a memory, Patty dished out her succotash. Colonists quickly came to depend on corn and beans as vital staples.

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Paul did the honors of carving the roast and serving it around the table. As Nancy made sure we all had a slice of her spinach tart, everyone passed the succotash, applesauce and other condiments about.

The pork was tender and moist and the stuffing tasty; it has bacon and savory spices in it, how could it go wrong? The aroma of the pork, stuffing and applesauce and tart together on the plate made your mouth water. I’m not sure what I liked best with the pork, the applesauce, honey mustard, or peach preserve; they were all marvelous. The spinach tart was set well and had a hint of the orange flower water and spices that Nancy had put in it. I still have a piece left that will be gone before I finish this blog. 14acopy

With our second course digesting, it was time to clear the table, as we talked about our experiences of past workshops, books and many other topics. It was a nice and comfortable day with good friends and fine food.

To end this perfect meal we lingered over the table eating our Indian Pudding with whip cream and enjoying each other’s company.

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Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner, and it is my dearest hope that you will spend it with friends around a table groaning with traditional foods from your mother’s, grandparent’s aunt’s and friend’s receipts. This is the best part of food, sharing it with loved ones.

There will be more workshop is the New Year; stay tune!

Sandie

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
 
Edith Sitwell 1887 – 1964

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.

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

Heirloom Beet

One Saturday I woke up with a hankering for fried green tomatoes, which I haven’t had in years. So I stopped by my local farmers market to see if I could find some, and while there, I could pick up other veggies. I headed to Wild Miller Gardens stand, from Lee. He has a really neat stand.

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His veggies are so nicely displayed.

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He did not have any green tomatoes so I bought a box of the small red cherry tomatoes for a salad. Now tomatoes were not on many menus in the 18th century, yet I wanted them. And you’re probably wondering why I call this blog heirloom beet. Often we find our path diverted, and come up with a new experience. Looking over the other produce I spotted some nice colored beets. Joel told me they were Golden Beets.  My husband doesn’t like the earthy flavor of red beets. He says they taste like dirt. I, however, love beets.  So I thought I’d try the golden ones and I bought a bunch. The Golden Beet is a form of the early blood turnip beet, beta vulgaris var. crassa. The yellow form of the blood beet, generally known as Yellow Turnip-Rooted or Orange Turnip-Rooted, It is sold today under the name Golden Beet.

Beets are a root vegetable and easily stored over the winter, many colonists considered it an essential winter food, especially during the infamous period known as the Six Weeks of Want, when most stored vegetables were used up and planting had not yet begun, so back to the 18th century. Thanks to many local farmers, we are able to purchase heirloom produce, many times grown organically as our forefathers and mothers did.

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I sliced the beets and then cut them julienne style. Nice thing about the color of the beets is that they don’t turn your fingers purple. On my way home from the market I stopped at a farm stand, and they did have green tomatoes, and I came away with two big firm green ones. Now I made a plan for dinner.

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We had striped bass, kindly given to us from our friend Bob, who had been out on the sea fishing and was luckily and skillful enough to catch a few. I decide to fry everything and have a nice salad on the side.

Allan used fish fry for a coating on the fish and I used a beaten egg and bread crumbs on the vegetables. Then I made a great salad. When everything was done we went off to the porch to have our dinner and watch the antics of the hummingbirds at the feeder and the American Goldfinch splash in the fountains.

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The compound salad was dressed in my favorite homemade dressing of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar with garlic, salt and pepper and beau monde whisked together to a tasty emulsion. This was the perfect side dish to a fried dinner. Bob’s fish came out superb, I love striped bass. The meat was a happy medium between flaky and meaty and had a mild, delicate, slightly sweet flavor. The fried tomatoes had a tart flavor with a hint of sweetness that I love. I really should have them more often. Now I was not prepared to find that the beets had such a sweet flavor. It was like eating candy. I wanted more and more. And Allan likes the beets!!! Yea, one more vegetable to add to his short list of those he will tolerate. I will be buying more golden beets from Joel that’s for sure. I may even try to put some by in the root cellar to see how long I can keep them.

Sandie

“Breathe properly. Stay curious. And eat your beets.” 
 Tom Robbins