Medieval Cookery

Hi everyone!  I thought it might be fun to talk about Medieval cooking.

My Thistle & Hive Series takes place in sixteenth century Scotland and I love to include scenes that involve food.  What can I say?  I love to eat and cook, so it translates into my writing.  I’ve done quite a bit of research on the foods my characters might enjoy at a feast or just as every day fare.  In Scotland, of course, there is always the bannock, but that’s kind of boring.  I thought I’d share a medieval recipe with you that looked interesting, but wouldn’t have ingredients that would be hard to find. I found these recipes on MedievalCookery.com, so if you have the urge to try some others, that would be the place to go.  

ALMOND MILK

2 cups of blanched almonds
2 cups of hot water

Grind the almonds to a fine powder. Pour the water over the ground almonds and mix well.  Soak for 10 to 15 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve or cloth into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

RICE IN ALMOND MILK

This is a good recipe to use the almond milk you just made.

1 cup of uncooked rice
1 cup of almond milk
⅛ cup of sugar (I was surprised to find that sugar was used in medieval times)
⅛ cup of honey

Cook the rice they way you normally would and let it cool.  Once cooled, mix it with the other ingredients and heat to a simmer and serve.

Almond milk was a staple in the medieval kitchen.  It was used as as a substitute for milk or cream in recipes and was especially useful on days when the church put restrictions on what could be eaten, i.e. “fish days.”  

I think you’ll find that many medieval recipes were spiced very differently than what we’re used to.  Spices were very expensive and in some cases kept in locked boxes to prevent them from being stolen.  They used cinnamon, cloves, mace, cumin, cardamom seeds, poppy seeds and pepper.   Since herbs were grown in the garden,  they were much more readily available. I took a class once on medieval cooking and we were asked to choose a recipe and cook it.  I chose medieval mincemeat pie.  It was filled with ground pork, dried fruit (golden raisins, raisins, dried cherries, spices (cloves, cinnamon, mace, etc.).  I no longer have the recipe, but this is a picture of what they looked like.  As for taste, they were actually pretty good.  The flavor was unusual.  Sweet, sour and savory all at once.  My family were brave enough to try them, but even though they were surprised by the flavors and thought they were good, they’d rather stick to what they know.

 

Medieval Mince Meat Pies
The medieval mince pies I made

The names of some of their dishes were interesting.  For instance, Grave of Small Birds was actually a recipe for capons in gravy.  Tarte of Wardens was a pear pie and Quynces of Wardonnes in Paast was filling for a Quince Pie.  There was Sobre Sauce which was a sweet and sour sauce to be served over fish.  Frumentary was a thick wheat porridge.  Gyngerbread was actually made with crumbled up bread or bread crumbs, wine and ginger.  It didn’t look anything like what we think of as gingerbread.

If you enjoy cooking and you enjoy all things medieval, I would encourage you to explore the MedievalCookery.com website.  It might be fun to surprise your family with a trip back in time by making one of the many medieval recipes you can find there.  Bon appetit!

Jennae Vale

Jennae Vale

Jennae Vale is an author of romance with a touch of magic. Her Scottish Medieval time travel series The Thistle & Hive, Books One through Four, is available in print and ebook versions from Amazon. The first book in her new series, The Mackalls of Dunnet Head has been released, with more to come throughout 2016.
Jennae started life in Massachusetts as part of a large extended Irish and Italian family of imaginative story tellers, but now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, her dog, two cats and four chickens. Storytelling is her passion, but Jennae is also loves to quilte,cook, read and craft when she’s not writing.
Jennae Vale

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Jennae Vale

Jennae Vale

Jennae Vale is an author of romance with a touch of magic. Her Scottish Medieval time travel series The Thistle & Hive, Books One through Four, is available in print and ebook versions from Amazon. The first book in her new series, The Mackalls of Dunnet Head has been released, with more to come throughout 2016. Jennae started life in Massachusetts as part of a large extended Irish and Italian family of imaginative story tellers, but now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, her dog, two cats and four chickens. Storytelling is her passion, but Jennae is also loves to quilte, cook, read and craft when she’s not writing.

6 thoughts on “Medieval Cookery

  • August 10, 2016 at 1:56 pm
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    Oh, those look divine! And it’s lunchtime here. *sigh*
    Fun info on the almond milk, too.
    Thank you!!!
    L.L. Muir

    Reply
    • Jennae Vale
      August 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm
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      I make almond milk all the time, but my recipe is a little bit different.

      Reply
  • August 12, 2016 at 10:15 pm
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    this is a cool recipe – I had a mince meat like that at one time and though it was weird it was not bad.

    Reply
    • Jennae Vale
      August 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm
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      Very different flavor, but still enjoyable.
      I love to make my own almond milk. My recipe is a little different, but really good. Of course, it is a lot easier to buy it all made 🙂

      Reply
  • Sherry
    November 6, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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    I’m looking forward in trying this. Will let you know how it turns out. Thank you for the share Jannae

    Reply
    • Jennae Vale
      November 6, 2016 at 5:50 pm
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      Hi Sherry,
      I’d love to hear what you think after you’ve had a chance to try it.
      Jennae

      Reply

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