Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

What could be better in the fall or winter months than a meal built around homemade sausages. We love them, and I decided to make different type. Looking over many receipts, I found several rather interesting ones.

lcanian sausage is a true old-world sausage and can be found in literature in the 4th century. Ten surviving  cookbooks of the Greco-Roman world survive under the name of Apicius and are the works of several authors.  One receipt included in this work is lcanian sausage which is the forerunner of the Greek Loukaniko. Loukaniko may have originated in Italy, however, it became popular in Portugal in addition to Greece and a few other countries.

Loukaniko is comprised of pork and lamb and a laundry list of spices, wine, and grated orange.  It was often served as a mezze (appetizer). I also came across a receipt for Saulcisses en Potage in  Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de Cuisine, 1585. This was a  “Tourney Dish” of sausages with apples, onion, cinnamon and nutmeg eaten at the mock battles during the Middle Ages. I thought this would be great to do together. In addition, I found a German venison receipt from the manuscript of Sabina Welser, 1553. It was edited by Hugo Stopp and published as Das Kochbuch der Sabina , 1980.This was timely, as I was given venison by a friend.

I made the two types of sausages,(receipt below) and  I took each receipt and divided it in half. one half I added pink curing salt; these sausage would be cold-smoked.  After the four different types of sausage were stuffed into their casings, they went into the refrigerator to sit overnight.

The next day I got out the Cameron’s Original Stove top Smoker and hickory chips. Once this started to smoke, the two different sausages with the curing salt went in and stayed for 4 hours on a low heat. I was careful to keep the two sausage separate  so I’d be able to know which was which. After two days, and help from Allan, my sausage making was complete; now to share them.

For the first night we had our neighbors in.  We always like to have them taste test things for us.  The menu would be Loukaniko  with pottage, Emmer flour Flat Bread. sautéed Brussels sprouts with New Hampshire elixir (maple syrup), and sautéed apples, onions, garlic and cabbage slaw. Now Allan dislikes Brussels sprouts, so I needed to do something a bit different so they would be not be as bitter as he recalls. I was hoping the maple syrup would do the trick.

 The first thing I had to prepare for the dinner was the dough for the flat bread.  Emmer flour is a rich and nutty, ancient, wholegrain flour, and I thought I would try it to see if I liked it.  After they were flattened I put them between strips of plastic wrap and stored them in the refrigerator.

The Saulcisses en Potage does not have cabbage, however, my Russian heritage was screaming put it in! Also I remembered similar receipt from Hannah Glass that I have made.  So I incorporated them together. As a result I made a slaw with cabbage and carrots to be added to the apples, onions and garlic all to be sautéed in butter, spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, a tad of sugar, and a bit of dry white wine.  This also sat in the refrigerator ready to go.

Allan built the perfect fire, the neighbors arrived and we all enjoying appetizers, which included the smoked Loukaniko. The cooled smoking made the sausage firm and enhanced the flavoring of the spices and orange zest. Served with crackers and cheese. All in all a thumbs-up for sure.

When the coals in the fireplace were ready, it was time to get cooking. The  sausage went on the  gridiron first. The pottage and Brussels sprouts went into three-legged pans to sauté. Last but not least the flat bread went on the hanging griddle.

When everything was done and put on the table we just dug in, so, sorry no pictures. We took the flat bread and use it as a roll adding the sausage and the pottage on top.  OMG!!!  It was an epicurean delight, if I have to say so myself. A distinct flavor of lamb in the sausage then a subtle hint of the leeks and garlic hit with the zesty orange and herbs all exploding on your palate, glorified by the pottage all wrapped in a soft and fragrant flat bread. The Brussels sprouts being sautéed in oil and butter with the addition of syrup had a nice brown and sweet nutty finish, And all did try them. The meal was a success.

 A few days later we had our friends, who gave us the venison, over for dinner. On this occasion we sampled the cold-smoked venison sausage as an appetizer. To accompany the grilled venison sausage, I chose to serve sautéed wild mushrooms and oven roasted vegetables. Once again I use the fireplace to cook almost everything. (I put the roasted vegetables in the oven).

The venison sausage had just enough of a noticeable gamy taste, with a hint of the clove and the tart taste of the juniper berries was spot on. This time I wanted to try the three-legged griddle to cook the flat bread.  It cooked better, I think, as they browned better than on the hanging griddle. We tried the sausage and mushroom in the flat bread and it was good, however my choice would be the sausage with pottage. Again thumbs-up on this one. And what can you say about, farm-fresh, roasted vegetables except yum!

I was happy with the turnout of all the sausages and the wonderful sides that accompanied them. We were able to share this with friends by the hearth with a good glass of wine and beer and an evening of wonderful conversation.

 May you have many warm and happy winter days cooking,


 “…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
― Julia Child, My Life in France

PS. Its nice to have the blog working again. Thank you all for putting up with all the tests.  And keep your fingers crossed.  Next blog will be two meals of Rabbit.




1 pounds pork shoulder, cubed

3 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of silver skin and cubed

1 pound pork fatback, cubed

3 tablespoons kosher salt                     

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 whole leeks, trimmed of dark leaves and finely chopped

3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 9 medium cloves)

2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest from about 3 oranges

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Greek)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 cup red wine, chilled

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, chilled

Hog casings

Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de cuisine, 1585


Sausages in Pottage. Take sausages, & fry them in butter, then take four or five peeled apples & cut into small quarters, & four or five onions cut into rings, & fry them in butter, & put all of them into a pot with the sausages, & put therein nutmeg, cinnamon, with red or white wine, sugar, & let them then all stew.

 The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, Hannah Glasse (1796)


Take half a pound of sausages, and six apples, slice four about as thick as a crown, cut the other two in quarters, fry them with the sausages of a fine light brown, lay the sausages in the middle of the dish, and the apples round. Garnish with the quartered apples. Stewed cabbage and sausages fried is a good dish.

Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin


 1 lb. ground venison                    6-8 oz. bacon          1 tsp. salt                 1 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. mace                                 1/2 tsp. cloves       1/2 tsp. ginger                  

1/2 tsp. grains of paradise         1/2 tsp. cubebs      pinch ground saffron

1 oz. water                                      casing                                   

 To this recipe I added 1/2 tsp of juniper berries ground

 Did you know that during the Middle Ages the word “venison” referred to any wild animal with edible flesh?



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.



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!