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

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.

BAKED STUFFED PUMPKIN

This time of year when the weatherman calls for a big storm , everyone runs out for milk, eggs, bread and other supplies, to hold them over for the storm to come (or not). Back in the 18th century there were few stores, unless you lived in the cities of that time, and no one to tell you to prepare. And they did not need to know, as they were as prepared as they could be. It was the “Months of Want,” February, March and April, which were the hardest to survive food wise. By these months, if you had anything left from your preservation efforts and in the root cellar you were a lucky family. Getting nutrition from preserved food was all you had.sleepyhollowc

At Halloween, I bought a cooking pumpkin and I have managed to keep it edible for over three months. However, it was time to use it or lose it. My friend Sabra came to mind. Several years ago she brought a stuffed pumpkin to the Hartwell Tavern Preservation Day event, at Minuteman National Park. So I emailed her and she sent her receipt. She does not remember where it came from and thought it might be French. She had gotten the receipt at a hearth cooking class. Well, we may not have an original receipt, however, I’m sure we can say with some certainty that pumpkins were used as a cooking vessel and may have been stuffed and served in the 18th century. I liked Sabra’s ingredients and used those as my base. All the while my husband Allan is huffing about the house and wishing we were cooking steak instead. I held to my guns and told him if he did not like it he could have the leftovers from the night before.

Now, I had preserved in my freezer sausage, and ground chuck, in the larder I had onions, garlic, dried mushrooms, rice and dried beans. Along with some ground mustard, salt and pepper I thought I had a great combination going. I had been to the store, like a good New Englander, readying myself for the storm and saw some very nice marrow bones and brought them home.

I roasted the marrow bones for about 45 minutes and ended up with a lovely clear fat on the bottom of the pan and soft, and hopefully flavorful, marrow on the inside of the bones. I scooped out the marrow and saved all the fat. Not sure what I may use it for yet I just could not throw the fat away. While the bones were cooking, I scooped out the pumpkin and made brown rice.

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I had already soaked and cooked the beans and just needed to drain them. I put the dried mushrooms in boiling water to make them soft and gave them a rough chop. In a skillet, I fried the sausage, out of their casings, and the beef. When they were almost brown, I added the marrow, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and the mushrooms. After it all sautéed a bit, I poured it into the bowl.2copy

I rubbed the inside of the pumpkin with the dried mustard. I added some thyme and began to fill it with the mixture and placed it in a kettle with a cup of water around it, and placed it on the hearth. But then I thought “oh, no” I forgot the beans. Those were added at the hearth, and mixed as best I could.3copy

All the ingredients inside the pumpkin were cooked and I really just needed to have the pumpkin get soft on the inside. Turning it now and then, and placing it very near the fire, which we kept very hot, I poked at it, like any good cook, and when I thought it was tender I took it to the kitchen. It took the pumpkin about two hours to become soft inside.  

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So the hour of reckoning was here. I piled Allan’s plate with the stuffing and waited for his verdict. Don’t ya know he’s a man and he loved it, raved about it. Told me to write down what I did right away so I would not forget. He was so glad that we had some left over!

So our winter blizzard and days of want came and went with bellies full and thoughts of “What can I cook for him next?”

May you never have a month or day of want.

Sandie