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.
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.
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 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.