Treat your family or friends to a genuine medieval dinner.
2 packages of active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
6 tbsp. honey
7 to 8 cups (or more) unbleached white wheat flour
6 small whole eggs plus one yolk
2/3 cup currants, softened in warm water
1 2/3 tbsp. melted butter or oil
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Several drops green vegetable color
Butter for greasing bowls and cookie sheet
Sprinkle yeast on 1/2 cup of the warm water; stir in honey. Let proof for 5 minutes.
Add remaining warm water; beat in about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon for about 200 strokes. Cover with damp towel, put in warm place, and allow this sponge to rise for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled. Stir down.
Beat 5 whole eggs plus one yolk. Stir in currants. Beat in salt and melted butter or oil. Mix into the dough.
In a mortar crush the dried herbs and chopped parsley to a paste. Mix in cinnamon. Add to batter and beat well. (Bread should be a delicate green hue. If color from parsley isn't strong enough, add green food color - sparingly.) Add remaining flour first with a spoon, then with hands, until dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
Turn out onto lightly floured board or marble and knead until smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 10-12 minutes, adding small amounts of flour if necessary.
Place in buttered bowl; cover with damp towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 50 minutes.
Punch down. Cover; let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. (This rise, though unnecessary, gives the bread a finer texture.)
Punch down. Turn out onto floured surface. Let rest for five minutes. Shape into one or two free-form curls or twists. Place on buttered cookie sheet.
Cover lightly with damp towel and let rise in warm place to double, about 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush loaf or leaves with remaining whole egg, beaten. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until nicely browned and loaf sounds hollow when rapped on top and bottom. Cool on rack.
Serve with hard cheese, fresh butter and white wine.
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch fennel, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 to 8 scallions, minced
4 shallots, minced
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. each of dried sage and borage, or a few fresh leaves
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp. minced parsley
Vinaigrette Dressing: oil, vinegar, a touch of mustard, salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients except dressing in a bowl. Toss with dressing. Serves 4.
Creamed Turnip & Parsnip Soup
1 cup peeled, fresh turnips, diced
1/2 cup scraped, fresh parsnips, diced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup coarsely ground almonds
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Gently simmer the turnips and parsnips in the broth until the vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes.
Stir in the almonds and heat for 3 minutes.
Mix the yolks and salt with the cream; add the lemon juice; pour 1/2 cup hot soup into egg mixture, stirring well. Then slowly pour this mixture into the soup. Stir well.
Heat 2 or 3 minutes, stirring and serve warm.
1 1/4 pounds lean lamb, cut into small pieces 1/2 by 1/2 inch
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter for sauteing
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup dry lentils
4 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 cup diced turnip or squash
1 cup currants
2/3 cup coarsely cut figs
"gold" leaves of any edible plant - such as young celery leaves or 6 to 8 yellow dandelion flowers.
Salt and pepper lamb and then brown in melted butter.
Add the cup of chicken broth; gently simmer for 45 minutes or until lamb is tender. Drain.
Bring lentils to boil in 4 cups of beef broth, reducing heat to low; simmer for 15 minutes.
Combine cinnamon, salt, basil and stir into diced turnip.
Add turnip, currants and figs to the lentils and cook very slowly for 10 minutes.
Stir lamb into lentils. Turn out into attractive serving bowl and garnish.
1 1/2 pounds smoked carp or about 12 slices
1/2 cup candied ginger, slivered or coarsely grated
1/2 tsp. rosemary
3/4 tsp. dried sweet basil
1/2 tsp. crushed pine nuts
1/2 cup beef or fish stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place carp slices side by side in baking dish. Combine spices and herbs with stock. Pour the thick spiced stock onto the sliced carp.
Bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold, making sure flakes of ginger accompany each portion. Garnish with parsley.
Lemon Rice With Almonds
1 large unblemished lemon
1 cup raw rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
2/3 cup coarsely ground almonds
2/3 cup currants
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh peas
Garnish: 12 tsp. honey
Finely grate the skin from the lemon. Then cut the lemon, thoroughly squeezing its juice and removing most of the pulp. Reserve the skin, juice and soft pulp, discarding the membranes and pits.
In a large enameled pot bring to a brisk boil the water, rice, salt, cinnamon, butter and lemon, reducing heat to simmer until most fluid is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Stir once or twice while simmering; otherwise keep pot tightly covered. Remove pot from heat.
Slowly simmer the almonds and currants in white wine for 7 minutes.
Fluff rice gently with a fork. Add the wined almonds to the lemon rice.
Stir in fresh peas. Very slowly simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. If the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add small amounts of boiling water.
Garnish with 1 tsp. honey for each portion.
12 cups apple cider
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 1/2 tsp. whole allspice
6 sticks cinnamon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 bottle Calvados or applejack
Put the cider in a large saucepan. Add the spices tied in cheesecloth and the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring gently to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Add Calvados. Simmer for 1 minute; discard spices. Serve in heated mugs. Makes 18 drinks.
Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono | Freedigitalphotos.net