September 18, 2008
These days I have been busy preparing medieval meals in my kitchen. Yeah, it is not very authentic to use an oven and some saucepans but what else should I have done, so let's forget this part. I participate in a medieval cook contest in an online game and I decided to post the dishes also here but together with a let's say modern version. I baked an apple-spice tart, fried trout and prepared my first ever piece of venison. So let me begin with the tart. The recipe, that is by Taillevent, a cook in the 14th century known to have written the first cuisine book in French, Le Viandier, ordered by Charles V of France "the wise", calls for onions, dried figs and grape, ginger, anise, cinnamon, saffron and white wine. In my modern version I decided to use fresh figs and apple sliced on top of the tart and served with honey-white wine grapes.
225 g flour
150 g butter
1 tablespoon honey
5 dried figs
200 g grape
1 g saffron
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of clove
2 pinches of anise
3 pinches of ginger
500 ml white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Knead a dough out of flour, butter, honey and egg and let is stand for 1 hour. Grind spices. Roll out half of the dough and place filling on it: melt butter and add onions, figs, sliced apple and grape, spices, add wine and let it reduce. Cover it with the other half of the dough, brush with egg and bake for 15 minutes on 200°C.
The trout recipe is really simple: salt fish, mix thyme, sage and mint leaves with butter and smear it on the fish, place a rosemary twig into it and grill for 4-5 minutes per side.
The modern version I served with some simple potato-celery mash flavoured with lemon juice.
I was very excited about this dish because I haven't eaten wild before, except the bison, that was fabulous. Now I found out that venison is not my cup of tea. Here in Switzerland, if you eat wild you usually get red cabbage, chestnut and potato dumplings served with it. For the medieval part I would have loved to have a whole haunch of venison, but that would have been too much anyway.
I decided to prepare pumpkin dumplings filled with chestnut puree, that I prepared those myself using canned chestnuts as I could not get any fresh ones, and red cabbage, flavoured with cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, orange juice, coriander, red wine and red wine vinegar.
For the medieval part I baked pumpkin with honey and almonds, as almonds were common and they drank almond milk instead of cow milk that time.