Perfidious Albion

Edinburgh University Medieval Society



Lenten stew (vegetarian), apple mousse (vegetarian), spiced lamb stew, greens braised with bacon, prune tart (vegetarian)

Medieval food wasn't all whole roast boars, which is just as well for those of us trying to recreate it in modern kitchens. You can just about fit a boar's head into a modern oven (if you take the shelves out) but the rest of the boar simply won't fit.
Several religious festivals required people to abstain from meat for a while. Early in the medieval period, not only Fridays, but also Wednesdays and Saturdays were meat free days.
This is a recipe associated with the Fast period, Lent. Ground almonds and wine are classic features of medieval cooking, and appear in a lot of recipes. Both were imported, and were therefore luxury items. The almonds are used to thicken sauces, soups and stews, and as a substitute for meat or milk in dishes on Fast days, as in this case.

Lenten Stew

8 onions
4 fluid oz olive oil
4oz ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 pint boiling water
1/2 bottle white wine

fry the onions until golden
put the almonds in a different pan
mix honey into water and pour this mixture over almonds with half of the wine
leave to soak for 10 minutes
add other half of wine to fried onions
add almond mixture to onions just before serving

Medieval food was generally more highly spiced than we are used to nowadays. Sweet and savoury flavours were often mixed in the same dish, and unusual combinations of spices were used. The rosewater used to flavour the apples in the next recipe gives them a pleasant, aromatic taste. If you can't get rosewater in a food shop then ask your local chemist to order the concentrate for you.

Apple Mousse

5lb apples
10 tablespoons water
6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons rose water
6oz sugar
4oz butter
ground ginger
ground cinnamon

Stew apples in water, then puree them
Beat egg yolks with rose water
Add yolk mix to apples in pan, then add sugar and butter
Slowly heat to boiling point, stirring constantly
Pour into dish and allow to cool, then sprinkle with ginger and cinnamon

This lamb recipe is an example of the use of a variety of different spices.

Lamb Stew

6lbs diced lamb
6 cups chicken broth (or two chicken stock cubes in water)
1 bottle white wine
6 onions (minced)
3 tablespoons diced parsley
3 teaspoons each of thyme, rosemary, savory
1 teaspoon each of ground ginger and coriander
3 eggs
6 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
pinch of saffron

Put meat, onions, herbs, and spices in pot
Cover with wine and broth
Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes
Beat egg with lemon juice
Pour a little hot (not boiling) sauce into the egg mixture, stirring
Add this to saucepan, off the heat
Stir to thicken
Do not boil after adding egg

This is a simple and remarkably tasty meal. It's also quite cheap due to the relatively small amount of meat used.

Greens Braised with Bacon

2lbs beet tops, cabbage, or other greens
1lb good quality smoked bacon

Boil greens for 5 minutes, then drain
Fry bacon until crisp
Cut bacon into small pieces
Mix bacon in with greens
Serve with bread.

Another substantial dish made from relatively cheap ingredients.

Prune Tart

for pastry:
½lb plain flour
6oz butter
2 teaspoon caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten

for filling:
1½lb prunes
½lb fresh white bread crumbs
1 pint red wine
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
½lb sugar
2 tablespoons rose water

Soak the prunes overnight
Simmer in a little water for 10-15 minutes
Drain and stone prunes
Blend with remaining filling ingredients to form smooth paste
Rub butter into flour
Mix in sugar
Stir egg in slowly to form soft dough
Line flan dish with pastry
Cover with grease proof paper and bake empty pastry case for 15 minutes on low heat.
Fill pastry case with filling
Bake at gas mark 4, 180 degrees C for one and a half hours

Recipes (part 2)
Recipes (part 3)
Hrolf Arnorson's Mead Recipe
Gunnar's Viking Vengenance Ale Recipe

About Perfidious Albion
Calendar of Events


Mail the Alchemist

Photo Gallery