COFFIN WORKSHOP ONE

And the hot oven!

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

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

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

Untitled-2 copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled-14 copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled-17 copy

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled-21 copy

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

Untitled7opy

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

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

Untitled-26 copy

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

6

THEN CAME

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

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

4y

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

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

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

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

7

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

̶ Julia Childs, My Life in France

PS: Coffin Workshop Two ̶ check the laser.

PUMPKIN WORKSHOP

SOUP TO NUTS BLOG

What was I thinking!!!

In my workshops I like to have a theme and use original receipts, from medieval times up to the 1820s. It takes some doing to rewrite them in modern language. Now this theme took me by surprise. Fall and pumpkins just sounded too good not to do. So off to the cookery books I go to put together a sensible meal to cook over the hearth. First stop Amelia Simons. On the title page she writes that it is the first cookery book “Adapted to this Country”. What I find is pompkin No1 &2, a pie. As I read on through the Historical Notes written in my copy of Simons 1796 edition, Karen Hess has much to say about pumpkin and other squashes and gourds. She mentions Hannah Woolley’s 1675 receipt for pie that is very different from Simons. And she goes on to say how the use of edible gourds go as far back as ancient Rome. Great, I should find lots of receipt for my Pumpkin Workshop!

NOOO! However what I do find is more interesting. Great information from the Food Time Lime, a description from the travels of Peter Kalm in 1750 to the colonies, A history on “Eating in America” by Root and De Rochemont and a great 1630 poem from Plymouth.

Stead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies. Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies, We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon, If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.

And I can go on and on. There is a lot of information on the use of pumpkin in America , but not many receipts.

However, I forged on and this class will be a bit different, some original old receipts, and some I’m making judgment calls on ways pumpkin might have been used in the 1700s.

I went to the local farmer and bought several types of pumpkins some for this workshop and some for the next one. On the wall dresser I put out the red kabocha squash and a Long Island cheese pumpkin.

1

Everyone arrived and started right in. We had two Heathers so we called them Heather 1 & 2

peter3

Heather 2 and her husband Ken wanted to work on the sausages. I used “To make Sausage” by John Nott for a receipt. No, we did not put pumpkin in the sausage, this sausage would top the Pumpkin sauce for the Vermicelli. It is always fun to see someone cleaning the guts and using a hand held sausage stuffer for the first time.

8

Pumpkin soup had to be on the menu. Paul and Heather 1 picked the red kabocha squash as they felt it looked like a pumpkin and had the right color. They chopped the pumpkin, a potato, leeks, onions and garlic and sautéed them in butter in the iron cauldron.

5

Brenda flew in from Pennsylvania for the workshop and to visit her daughter Heather 2. She is a delightful lady and unafraid in the kitchen. Here she soften up pumpkin over the fire to use in a Pumpkin and Maize bread as described by Peter Kalm. In the morning I made barm to be added to the bread. Brenda scalded the cornmeal first then added the pumpkin and a cup of wheat flour. When that cooled she put in the yeast and mixed it up.

Notice my new marble pastry board. Thanks to Niel Vincent De Marino for information on where to buy it. 6 copy

Ken and Heather looked over the receipt for Nott’s sausage and chopped the pork very fine. I had rendered some suet and added a bit of goose fat from the workshop beforehand; this was chopped and mixed in. The receipt also called for spinach and cloves . 4

Heather reads the soup receipt and gets the chicken stock out. Allan made the fresh chicken stock just for the workshop. Heather gathers the brandy, cloves coriander, nutmeg and cayenne to mix in with the sautéed mixture in the cauldron. Ken and Heather are still chopping and I’m adding a bit of water to Brenda’s bread. The day was very low in humidity and the cornmeal needed just needed a bit more liquid one teaspoon at a time. 9

With all the ingredients in the soup, Paul hangs it from an S-hook on the crane. After much attention, it was taken off and put to the side to keep warm. The cauldron was turned now and again to make sure one side did not get too hot and burn.

10

17th  Century Cheese Cake by Robert May was next to be made. The dough is made of wheat flour with cold butter,  just pinch of salt and sugar and a three egg whites. It is very stiff. After Brenda mixed it together it went into the refrigerator for a hour. Brenda rolled out one disk and I showed her how to make a round into a triangle for the base.

13

Ken and Heather take turns with the hand sausage stuffer. Ken said next time he makes sausages he’ll really appreciate an electric grinder.

11

Being that this is a pumpkin workshop and we have Robert Mays cold butter crust, it needs a pumpkin filling. I picked a filling form Plymouth Plantation and we added pumpkin. Paul softened the pumpkin over the fire and drained it. Heather and Paul mixed up a filling with a good amount of ground almonds, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, butter, sugar, salt, eggs, mace, a hint of rose water and the pumpkin.

The triangle paste held its shape wonderfully and Heather filled it up. 7

With the sausages made, Ken and Heather fry them up in a pan. They were then taken out and set aside to keep warm. The drippings would be used in the pumpkin sauce.  14

Our two Heathers put in the cheese cake and the risen pumpkin maize bread into the bake oven. 1 copy

Hannah Glasse’s receipt “To Make Vermicelli” was made by Paul with help from Heather.  12 copy

Paul tried the roll and slice technique and the dough was a bit too sticky to unroll the strains of vermicelli. Paul unrolled what was left and cut the vermicelli, that worked better. Every day is different in the kitchen. 15

I found two receipts and I decided to combined them. One is “The Vse Of Pompkins,” by John Parkinson, 1629; and “Fried Sausage” by Hannah Glasse where she puts stewed apples and cabbage around sausage.

Hannah’s receipt will be the base for our pumpkin sauce. Heather uses the kabocha again cutting the chunks into bite size pieces. Brenda cut onions, apples and half a cabbage. Ken put the butter in a the pan that had the sausage drippings, added the cabbage, apple, pumpkin, garlic, chicken broth salt and pepper. This would be put on the vermicelli and topped with sausages and parmesan.

21

Then my 21st century sensibility kicked in. I wanted something green on the table and I needed it to be done just before we served our lunch. I decided on braised greens. My favorite green is Swiss Chard which has nothing to do with Switzerland but with someone who coined the name, as he was from there. With a bit of research, I found that Chard is a cousin to spinach and the beet greens. Back in the fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher, Aristotle, wrote about chard, as the Greeks and Romans used it for its medicinal properties. Then things get very confusing as the French called cardoon and chard “carde”. The English had many names for it as well, white beet, strawberry spinach, seakale beet, Spinach beet and Roman Kale among others. Well I know it existed and I have no reason to think it was not braised somewhere, sometime, perhaps with meat in a stew . So my batting average on Pumpkin receipts “Soup to nuts” was taking a dip here.

The receipt I chose had bacon, chard, garlic, anchovies and fresh peeled tomatoes. No pumpkin in this although you certainly could. I thought better of it though, with all the pumpkin we did put in other things, I thought  a fresh braised green on the side would be better. Heather and Paul put this together and it looked great.

16

Everything was coming together as Paul put the vermicelli in the boiling water and Ken took out the bread and cheese cake.

17jpg

The pumpkin sauce was scooped out and the soup put in bowls.19

The Pumpkin Maize bread and Robert May/ Plymouth Plantation/Pumpkin cheese cake were cooling. Brenda and Heather cut the sausages in pieces for the top of the vermicelli and pumpkin sauce.20

The table was set and everything plated. 18

This workshop really stretched my brain and though it was different from the others it was an interesting learning curve. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. We had a great group and the food was outstanding.  1a

We feasted on a bowl of Pumpkin soup, a plates full of braised greens, pumpkin cheese cake, pumpkin maize bread, vermicelli topped with pumpkin sauce, sausage and parmesan cheese.

142

 Sandie

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child

 So What the hell it had a lot of pumpkin!

 

 

HARVEST DINNER

26 SEPT 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

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

EASTFIELD VILLAGE – PART II

 

door knocker

  Friday night it poured buckets and there was thunder and lightning that worked me up as I lie sleeping on the rope bed. It was the only noise in the whole tavern and I loved it.

Saturday started off with more rain and thunder in the Berkshire Hills soon giving way to a sunny day. I got the fire going as Bob was at work this day and I needed to have breakfast. Of the cooks only three of us braved the village nights. Two went out early in the morning to town and I ate alone waiting for the group to come moseying in. And there are always a few leftover things to be washed in the sink so I was busy.

When everyone arrived Niel rang the bell and we all jumped right into the receipts he gave us. Whipped syllabub, chicken on a spit, vermicella pudding, celery in cream, mushroom ragout, rich cake. And a few things I may have forgotten.

Kim, Trudy and Dave stuffed the chicken with wonderful herbs, spices, onion and a lemon. This went on a spit and was placed before the fire to roast.chicken

Katy, Holly and Dave made “To Whipt Syllabub,” poured it into cups and put it on the bar to separate during the day and be ready for our evening meal.

I started on my Fritters Royal. I needed to boil milk and then curdle it with sack. Bring it to a boil again and then let it rest for 6 minutes and drain the curds. I ended up with superb curds. At the fire with me was Linda, making a sauce, perhaps for the carrot pudding. As you can see it was very hot in the kitchen and I’m covered in a shiny sheen. We needed to tie a towel on the clock Jack so we would not hit out head.

With the Fritter Royal resting until later, I started on the Westminster Fool. I cut bread that we used the crust from the day before. I slices about 8 pieces and put it in a low sided bowl and soaked it in sherry. Then I made a custard added rose water, nutmeg, mace and put it over a slow fire so it would not curdle. After it began to thicken I poured this on the bread and let it soak in. When it was cool I put it in the refrigerator, as the room and even out of doors was reaching an alarmingly hot temperature. I would not need to do anything else with it at that point, just let it set. curd linda

Niel gave Carl some instructions on the carrot pudding and the boiling process. It was time for us to take a break and Trudy and Kim brought a lovely spread of cheese, fruit , bread and jams. Dave brought a bowl of wonderful tomatoes from his garden in Pennsylvania. I ate several as they were my first fresh-off-the-vine summer tomatoes. Thanks Trudy, Kim and Dave. niel carl cheese

Lee, Katy, and John made vermicella noodles for the pudding and a short bread crust too.

ver cookedjpg

Karl had taken great care to make sure the water in the pot boiled all the time so the carrot pudding would not soak up water. After careful tending, the pudding was ready to be taken out. The pot is huge and so it was brought out of doors and the water dumped and the pudding saved in a bowl.

And of course everyone came out for a bit of air and to have a look. From left to right Niel, our fearless leader, John, Kim, Karla, Carl, Holly and Katy. In back on the steps is Lee and looking out the windows are Linda and Scott.out  carrot

The Vermicella Pudding and the carrot pudding ready for dinner.

vermic carrots

I started the ” To ragoo Mushrooms” receipt and as I read it I found a bit of a problem. I was to pour the mixture in a bladder and boil it. Humm NO BLADDER. So I cooked it in a pan over the fire with onions, nutmeg, mace, rosemary, salt and pepper and added a good deal of red wine, butter and a bit of flour. This simmered and came out splendid. When faced with a lack of something go to plan B. 

I know Linda was involved with the celery and not sure who else helped out. The celery was boiled tender drained and an egg and cream sauce with nutmeg and a little salt poured over it after it was thickened. We were all surprised at how enjoyable it tasted. It’s a dish we should all make more often.

mushroom celery

Dave and John made a Rich Cake with tons of candied fruit , brandy and spices. It had a pleasant taste. There was bread made in loaves and in small manchets. The Fritters Royal were fried and the Westminster Fool put on the table.dinner 2

No one had ever made the Westminster Fool or the Fritters Royal and we were all delighted with how they came out. Particularly the Fools custard that was poured on anything we could eat the next two days. The Vermicella Pudding was good and the crust even better. The carrot pudding came out well, and the roasted chicken was excellent.

The table was set and the afternoon was getting late, so candles were lit , manchets were rolled in a classy napkins (paper towel). And we all sat down to another wonderful meal. We started with the Syllabub and then filled our plates for another, Hannah Glass inspired, hearth-cooked meal at the Village. tableLeftovers were again put on the table for the tin-smithing class who all appreciated a bite of food as this was their last evening there and most headed home. On the far left in the middle you can see the Westminster Fool, what’s left of it. westermister fool

DAY THREE

We are all tired, sore and hot, so we decided to make it an easy day of cooking and give everyone an early start home. Our receipts for the day were bacon and sausage, pan perdue, Nuns cake, curd fritters of a different kind, transparent pudding and jumbles. I started on a crust for the transparent pudding while Carl and Katy made the filling of eggs butter sugar  Carl katy jpg

 Bob, as always, was at the fire, making sure we had coals. Trudy made the pan perdue to go with the bacon and sausage. We ate this early in the day. It was a great brunch and we brought out the Westminster Fool again to put on top. Yummy.fr toast

Linda and Lee made the jumbles. Buy this time the Tavern was so hot and muggy the butter was melting fast and the flour reacting strangely. Alterations were made for completing the jumbles.  Several styles were made and some were baked and some fried. I did get to taste a fried one before I left and it was nice and crunchy.jumb

The Nuns cake and Transparent Pudding came out of the oven and the day began to wind down.t pudding

It was time for me to leave the Village and its wonderful rustic way of life. I met many wonderful people and learned a few new receipts. I wish I had taken more pictures, however, we were all like whirling dervishes, darting from room to room making various receipts and vying for room at the hearth. I know I’ve missed a few receipts here so let’s just say there were many dishes made by everyone in the three days of the workshop and they were all good.

So I took a last look around.

last look copy

Visited the 1805 necessary one more time,

outhous

and said goodbye to a weekend experience at Eastfield Village, something I always wanted to do.


“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

Laurie Colwin


And with that said, we can thank Hannah Glasse for leaving us with a book full of worthy receipts and advice that we can still use today and Niel for providing us the opportunity to use some of them that we have not used before.

Sandie

Have a look at Facebook for Eastfield village:   http://www.historiceastfield.org/

EASTFIELD VILLAGE FOUNDATION

HEARTH COOKING WORKSHOP – PART 1

The mission of the foundation,

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

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

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

tavern

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

good bed

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

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

roast

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

soup

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

onions

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

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

rolls

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

carla

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

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

table2copy

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

amy

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

Octavis Bulter

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

 Workshop II coming soon

 Sandie

THEY ATE THAT – Fall 2014

PIDGEON, COCKS COMBS, WIGGS, COFFINS & HEDGEHOGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

SAVORY AND SWEET WORKSHOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OLD FORT WESTERN

DAY ONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Untitled5 copyThe molasses cookie dough was made and rolled out between parchment paper and put in a cool place to dry a bit. Then Tessa took a decorative rolling pin and made the cookies for our dinner. Some were cut in squares and some without a design were cut round. Stan was amazing; his mother taught him how to cook when he was young and he is an excellent pastry maker. Both days we put his skills to good use.
5 copy

While he took the onion pie out of the bake oven the ladies sat with the camps doctor and learned a bit about herbal cures and how to dress a cut finger.

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

RECEIPT TRIALS

Bread/Wafers/Waffles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

Three Generations of Stirring the Pot

Just a few pictures from the Talk and Taste at the Moffat Ladd House Museum. Rice Pudding in Skins, Chewits, Preserved Green WalnutsDSC_5831Lafayette Cakes, Blancmange, Blackwell’s Pudding

DSC_6916Little Crackers, Gooseberry Preserve, Potted Ham, Oatmeal Candies

DSC_6917Display Table

DSC_6921Unmolding the Blancamange

DSC_6934Everyone happily digging in to the food. DSC_6940Sandie