The girl who runs Let Hem Boyle writes: Powder Fort also called powder forte, poudour fort, strong powder. Spice mixtures was very common in medieval cooking. “Forme of Cury” for example has lots of recipes that calls for powder douce or powder fort spice mixtures.
You will find lots of different versions of powder fort on internet and in books. The medieval recipes doesn’t usually tell the exact measures of the spices used in spice mixtures or what kind of spices to use. One way to look for the perfect combination of these spice mixtures is to read the recipes and collect the most suitable spices from other recipes in the same source. If you don’t have access to some of the spices, that doesn’t matter!
Mustard was much used by the Romans and later was very popular with the Anglo Saxons. It grew locally and so was cheap. It could be used to makes sauces for meat and fish as well as dressings for salads. It helped to preserve other foods as well as having healthy properties of its own.
The sauces were generally made from a mixture of ground mustard seeds, vinegar, wine and often honey, with spices or other flavourings added according to what people liked.
They could then be stored for several weeks. Mustard’s ‘hotness’ gets less after it is mixed and kept for a few days, which may account for the strength of the sauces often made – which would be much too hot for most of us today.
Four times every year in the Catholic calendar, there were “Ember Days” – consisting of a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – when meat was forbidden. Cheese and eggs, however, were allowed. An ‘Ember Day Tart’ therefore was a filling dish served instead of meat on these fasting days. The tarts in the recipe are a little like a sweet quiche.
The recipe uses galingale, it is well worth finding some as its aromatic taste is not easily replaced. You can use ginger as a substitute but this will give heat rather than a more rounded flavour.
The recipe was originally written down as follows:
‘Tart in embre day: take and parboile onynons; presse out the water & hewe hem smale;take brede & bray it in a mortar,and temper it up with ayren; do perto butter, safron, spice and salt and corans & a ltel sugar with powdor douce, and bake it in a trap,& serve it forth.’
Saara who runs One Year and Thousand Eggs writes: You can use the whole chicken with giblets if you desire. If you do so, chop the chicken into quarter. About 400 g chicken with the bones should be enough per person. I used legs because they are cheap and easy to get hold of.
Saara whe runs Let Hem Boyle writes: I have to say that I love mustard! All different kinds of… it can be strong, mild, vinegary, spiced.. I do like them all. Making mustard for an event has been a plan for long time, but I haven’t done it until Midwinter Feast. This recipe is great! You can make it beforehand and store it in the fridge. It will be good stored in fridge for couple of weeks.
Take mustard seeds and waishe it and drye it in an ovene, grynde it drye. Farse it thurgh a farse. Clarifie hony with wyne and vynegur and stere it wel togedrer and make it thikke ynowz. And whan thou wilt spende thereof make it tnynne with wyne.
Kim who runs ‘Turnspit & Table‘ writes: Quince Paste is the ancestor of modern marmalade, people have been preserving quinces for a very long time. The Greeks and Romans packed them tightly into honey to make melomeli or cooked it down to a paste with honey and pepper, often recommending them as treatments for complaints of the stomach.
Tak fayre porke y-broylid, & grynd it smal with yolkys of Eyroun; than take Pepir, Gyngere, & grynd it smal, & melle it with-al, & a lytel hony, & floryssche thin cofyns with-ynne & with-owte, & hele hem with thin ledys, & late hem bake, & serue forth – Original recipe
Karen who runs “Lavender & Lovage” writes: These little cakes are a cross between a biscuit and a scone and were traditionally made for All Soul’s Day, which is on the 2nd of November. Packed with currants and mixed spice, these lovely little cakes are delicious with an afternoon cuppa.
This recipe is adapted from “A Calendar of Feasts – Cattern Cakes and Lace” by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer.
Kim who runs ‘Tunspit & Table‘ writes: Yes, you read that right, it says Roasted Milk. You may be wondering, as did I, exactly how one roasts milk. Well, it turns out it’s not really roasted at all, but you make a kind of set custard, slice it up and fry it. The trick of course was to get the right proportion of milk to eggs to make custard when there are no amounts given in the original recipe.
Kim who runs ‘Tunspit & Table‘ writes: The recipe is surprisingly straight forward, considering its age. It of course doesn’t give many quantities, but you can essentially spice it to taste. As to whether you should include ginger or not, I think that it’s a matter of personal preference, or you can do as I did and add ginger to half the recipe. I haven’t tried using sanders to colour the paste but it seems to be available online, or you can substitute it with a little food colouring.
Kim who runs ‘Tunspit & Table’ writes: Pies were sold piping hot and ready to eat by street-peddlers from at least the 13th century. According to Martha Carlin, cookshops and street vendors primarily served the poor in large, over-populated towns where cheap lodgings didn’t always have a fire for cooking, let alone an oven for baking. The cries of the peddlers, tempting their customers in, are recorded in collections or in literature.
How to Prepare a Sauce for the Lords
and How Long it Lasts
One takes cloves and nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon—that is canel—and ginger, all in equal amounts, except that there should be as much canel as all the other spices; and add twice as much toasted bread as of everything else, and grind them all together, and blend with strong vinegar, and place it in a cask. This is a lordly sauce, and it is good for half a year.
Joyce White who runs A Taste of History with Joyce White writes about the recipe above: This is another recipe from “Libellus de arte coquinaria”, An Early Northern Cookery Book, edited by Rudolph Grewe and Constance B. Hieatt in 2001, a translation of the oldest known collections of European recipes written sometime during the Middle Ages. The original text of the cookbook is believed to be lost, but there are four collections of recipes (codices) that appear to all come from it. They are written in the local vernacular languages of northern Europe: Danish, Icelandic and Low German. There are about 35 recipes contained in these four separate codices, and the oldest might date back as far as the 12th century.