Archive | August 2014

Outlander: After the Gathering

Just a quick post to recap tonight’s episode! I need to make it rather brief because the Atholl Brose and the Rhenish wine have taken their toll on me! I am feeling a bit like Angus right now…

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Atholl Brose with Cranachan!

Atholl Brose with Cranachan!

Angus

 

Before we go on with the update, I just want to say that our dinner feast was a success! The only minor glitch was the Clapshot Rosti… it tasted great but turned out more like hashbrowns than potato pancakes?!

For the recipes you can see the previous post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/outlander-the-gathering-and-some-shinty/

Pork tenderloins with Clapshot Rosti and parsnips crisps

Pork tenderloins with Clapshot Rosti and parsnips crisps

 

Dessert was Cranachan. I did make some slight alteration on the recipe, used mixed berry sauce rather than fresh raspberries because that’s what I had in the fridge! Rather than individual servings, I put it all together in large serving dish. My one mistake with it was making the whipped cream too early ahead of time- reminder to self and others, this is not really a do ahead dish! It still tasted wonderful though!

 

Cranachan

Cranachan

 

Ok, now that Dinner is out of the way, Let’s move on to the more important matters… Not that the feasting isn’t important, but we all know that the most important part of this gathering is The Gathering, and all of those who attended!

First let’s see a few of the out of town guests… Herself, Diana Gabaldon made an appearance as Iona. Sadly, Iona was snubbed and insulted by Mrs. Fitz? It must have been some personal argument or disagreement between them that lasted for years. Iona’s family must be experiencing some monetary hardships as Mrs. Fitz quite rudely pointed out how nice her dress was again, wasn’t it the same she wore to the last gathering? The last Gathering of the Clan MacKenzie took place 20 years ago so Mrs. Fitz must have an excellent memory and hold a long grudge!

Diana at Castle Leoch

 

Our esteemed creator of the show also put in an appearance! I didn’t catch a name for him though! You look marvelous, Ron Moore!

Ron Moore cameo

 

There was one other out of town guest wandering about and I am curious as to he was? Certainly not one of the Clan members, dressed the way he was and resembling much more of a Sassenach… I have my suspicions about him and his identity. His name was not mentioned and he was not introduced, but I am thinking perhaps he is the Duke of Sandringham? If I remember correctly from the book, he was visiting the Castle at the time of the Gathering?

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Colum MacKenzie made his grand entrance to the Gathering and showed the importance and seriousness of the event by shaving for it! Wow.. what a difference a shave makes?!

Outlander_Cast_Gary Lewis and Colum MacKenzie Colum Mackenzie at the gathering Outlander 2014

 

There was a long line of men waiting to swear their oaths of allegiance to Colum and the MacKenzie Clan. Dougal, of course was first in line as proper and appropriate for him as we know that he is the other half of  Colum!

Outlander 2014

Did I mention how long the line was? Angus had plenty of time to drink Claire’s stash while he was waiting around.

Angus

 

Claire had a plan in mind to escape but as quite often the case with her plans, it went quite awry and caused some difficulties… such as almost being knifed by Jamie!

 

Jamie with a knife

Due to Claire’s failed attempt at escaping, she caused even more problems for Jamie! Ahhhh Claire, he gets into enough trouble on his own, he doesn’t need your help to find it!  Luckily, Jamie is quick witted and a charmer with that boyish smile of his… also, lucky that Colum likes him and doesn’t really enjoy the thought of having to kill him. No, that would be Dougal’s idea more so than Colum’s! Anyway, Jamie managed to salvage the situation of the oath taking by making his play on words… “I promise to obey you as long as I am on your lands…”

Jamie-the-gathering-outlander-episode-4-season-1

 

Once the Oath taking was finished, it was time for the fun to start? If you could consider a Boar hunt as fun… Claire just did not seem to understand or take seriously the danger of  wild boars.  After all, what harm could a pig cause? Ummmm Claire, Really- what did you think a boar was? She of course realized her mistake rather quickly once she encountered the animal chasing her down! 

Claire in the Boar hunt

Yes, of course it’s all fun and games until you make a boar mad and he attacks! There was much seriousness when one of the hunters was mortally wounded and even Claire could not save him. Dougal showed his emotions and later gave his thanks to Claire for her help with the dying man. A rather unsteady truce was set between them after that.

 

On returning from the unfortunate Boar hunt, the men threw themselves into a different sort of battle, but not much less dangerous than a Boar hunt. It was time for a no holds barred, no rules, last man standing wins game of Shinty! I have to admit, this is one of my favorite scenes of the episode!

 

Once again, Claire showed a slight lack of understanding with her comment of “That’s not really fair, is it?” Rubert could not even come with an answer for her on that one other than to shake his head at her ridiculous question!

Rubert and Claire watching shinty

Ohhhh, by the way, Jamie appeared to be the last man standing as he knocked Dougal to the ground, smiled and said, “I learned from you!”

 

 

 

 

Outlanderday Cooking: Atholl Brose Experiment!

Previous Outlander Post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/outlander-the-gathering-and-some-shinty/

 

Earlier this morning, my daughter peered into a bowl of oats soaking in water,  gave me a very skeptical look and commented, “What do you plan on doing with this mess?” This look was much the same sort she gave me last night when she spied the bottle of Whisky on the counter! We are not normally Whisky drinkers so this was a highly unusual purchase on my part. I told her I needed it for a recipe and she gave me an even more suspicious look. I am pretty sure she might be very concerned about our dinner menu for tonight? While she is a devoted Outlander fan, she is not so sure we should delve quite so deeply into the food offerings… though, she was reasonably impressed with the Bannocks. Her response to the Bannocks was, “Well, those aren’t nearly so bad as I thought they might be” as she helped herself to another one!

oats in water

 

As suspicious as she is with the Atholl Brose and the Whisky, I think I will keep the turnips a secret until after she’s eaten the Clapshot Rosti later this evening…

 

For now, we’ll just focus on the Atholl Brose experiment!  I found the inspirational recipe for this drink at Outlanderkitchen.com: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/20/atholl-brose-outlander-starz-episode-103/

 

Atholl Brose (or Athol Brose, Athole Brose) is a Scottish drink obtained by mixing oatmeal brose, honey, whisky, and sometimes cream (particularly on festive occasions). When made with cream the drink is rather like Baileys Irish Cream. Atholl Brose has also become an alternative name for the dessert Cranachan, which uses similar ingredients.

According to legend, the drink is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl, who quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the rebel leader’s well with the mixture, making him easily captured.

 

I was a bit leery of trying this recipe mainly because as I’ve mentioned, none of us are Whisky drinkers. When I read the comparison to Bailey’s though, I was interested in trying it.  Initially, I did even debate on using something other than Whisky in it. While out shopping, I found some Dewar’s Highland Honey Whisky, and decided to give the Whisky a try.

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I did follow Theresa’s recipe for the most part and only made a few minor changes to it.  The first step is soaking the rolled oats in water overnight to make Oat Milk.  I used a suggestion for creamier milk mixture by putting the oats and water in the blender and pulsing it for about 10 seconds. After that process, strain the oats out by squeezing the mixture through cheese cloth or muslin.  Throw out the leftover oat pulp, unless you can find some other use for it? You will add your whisky and honey to the saved milk, blend it together with whisk.  I only used 1/2 cup of Whisky rather than full cup as I wasn’t sure about the whisky taste yet.  I used a Cinnamon Vanilla Creamer instead of regular cream, and added a bit more of it to make up for the lesser amount of Whisky. 

I used cheese cloth to line my strainer and then just squeezed out the rest of the milk/water from with my hands.

atholl_brose_5

 

Once you’ve mixed everything together, put it in the fridge to chill before drinking. I did taste test it before putting it in the fridge for later and it was quite good! My only thoughts on my experiment with this is that by using the Creamer, it is a little thin? I think I will add a bit of heavy cream to it before serving… and maybe a splash more of the Whisky! After tasting it, I am kind of wishing I would have made a double recipe of it!

 

You can serve it with or without the cream added. This picture shows both options!

Atholl Brose with and without creme

 

Rhenish/Rhine Red Wine- Joseph Handler Sweet Red

 Previous Rhenish Wine post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/outlander-why-is-their-rhenish-wine-not-white/

 

After taste testing this wine, I can very happily give it high praise and approval! It was definitely a good bargain and will not have to be moved to the cooking only category! I am not normally a fan of Red wine, Rhenish or not, but this one won me over!  It was slightly dry with a bit of a smoky flavor that enhanced the fruitiness. It was a good mix of muted fruit flavors with no one particular fruit overpowering it. It was excellent and I shall have another!

Joseph Handler Sweet Red Rhine wine

Joseph Handler Sweet Red Rhine wine

Outlander: The Gathering and some Shinty!

 

 

Preparing for tomorrow’s episode of Outlander: The Gathering!

 

The men of Castle Leoch enjoy a game of Shinty! I love this video, waited all afternoon to find a link to it for you! It kind of reminds me of  my youth watching friends play their own battle field version of Rugby! But, then I was raised on Hockey, so I do enjoy a good bit of bloodsport every now and then!  I wonder if they played the Shinty before or after the Boar hunting?! What a day, I hope Mrs. Fitz is well prepared with food and drink for everyone!

 

Shinty (Scottish Gaelic: camanachd, iomain) is a team game  played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England  and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.

While comparisons are often made with field hockey,, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.

 

Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Scotland with the Gaels from Ireland.   Hurling, which is a similar game to shinty, is derived from the historic game common to both peoples which has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.   Shinty/Hurling appears prominently in the legend of Cúchulainn, the Celtic mythology hero.   A similar game was played on the Isle of Man known as cammag, a name cognate with camanachd. The old form of hurling played in the northern half of Ireland, called “commons”, resembled shinty more closely than the standardised form of hurling of today. Like shinty, it was commonly known as camánacht and was traditionally played in winter.

The origins of the name shinty are uncertain. There is a theory that the name was derived from the cries used in the game; shin ye, shin you and shin t’ye, other dialect names were shinnins, shinnack and shinnup,[8] or as Hugh Dan MacLennan proposes from the Scottish Gaelic sìnteag.   However, there was never one all encompassing name for the game, as it held different names from glen to glen, including cluich-bhall (play-ball in English) and in the Scottish Lowlands, where it was formerly referred to as Hailes, common/cammon (caman), cammock (from Scottish Gaelic  camag), knotty and various other names, as well as the terms still used to refer to it in modern Gaelic, camanachd or iomain.

The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year’s Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. In Uist, stalks of seaweed were put to use due to a lack of trees. Modern camans are made from several laminates of ash or hickory, which are glued and cut into shape, although one-piece camans were still commonplace until the early 1980s. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.

 

Besides the Shinty and the Boar hunting, one should not forget just how important the Clan Gathering was in other respects. This was the time for all of the Clan’s members to meet, discuss and make decisions for the entire Clan.  I previously did some research on the Scottish Clan system for my own story and I will share it again here as it might help you to understand a bit better just how their Clan system worked.  The following link will take you to my post on the history of Scottish Clans. Some of the information is general, and the other part of it is an explanation of the clan history relating to my work on Dunvegan Castle and Clan MacCleod.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/from-the-creator-some-history-of-clans-in-Scotland/

 

The upcoming Clan gathering for the MacKenzie is a crucial turning point for Jamie because he will be forced to make a decision regarding his membership and allegiance to the Clan MacKenzie. I am not going to say anything else on this point out of consideration to  those who have not read the books! There are a number of viewers who have not read the books and I don’t want to add too many spoilers here for them!

 

Now, as to my own preparations for the upcoming Gathering, I am taking it all quite seriously… as well we should!  I spent much of last night and today working on the Feasting menu. Much thanks of course, to Theresa and her Outlanderkitchen.com!  Her menu suggestion for this week’s episode can be found here: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/27/roasted-pork-tenderloin-cider-pan-gravy-neeps-tatties/ .  I have made a few slight adjustments to it in regards to my own menu. She suggested roast pork tenderloin, but I will be substituting some of our favorite pork bellies from Trader Joe’s!  I do still plan to glaze them with the Cider sauce though.

 

Haaaaa, For some one who seldom drinks anymore, this cooking adventure is causing me to once again stock my shelves with Alcohol… Today’s purchases in preparation for Tomorrow’s feasting! The Cider is for the Cider sauce, the Whisky is for the Atholl Brose- which can also be found at Outlanderkitchen.com  http://outlanderkitchen.com/2014/08/20/atholl-brose-outlander-starz-episode-103/  and the wine is the Rhenish Red that I plan to taste test!

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Along with the porkbellies and Cider sauce, we will be trying some Clapshot Rosti  (clapshot is what you get when you mix potatoes and turnips together! Our family is not so fond of the neeps alone) and some Parsnip Crisps.  I could not resist the parsnip crisps as they reminded me of my childhood.  Those recipes can be found here at BBC Food Recipes:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/loinofvenisonwithabl_87331

 

As I mentioned, I will also be attempting the Atholl Brose recipe even though I am not a fan of Whisky… I know, I know, I should probably be banished from the Castle for that!  I did find the Dewar’s Highlander Honey and am hoping that this will improve upon the whisky taste?  One other thing I am going to try is, a version Cranachan, a Scottish dessert.

You can find information and a recipe for it here:  http://www.scottishrecipes.co.uk/cranachanrecipe.htm

 

Now, after a busy day of shopping and researching, I am ready to go taste test the Rhenish Red Wine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhenish Wine update!

Previous Rhenish Wine post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/outlander-why-is-their-rhenish-wine-not-white/

 

Just a quick update to let you know that I did find a Rhenish Red Wine at my local Trader Joe’s!  It was a bargain at under $5 so I decided to pick it up and will be trying it out! I have not had a chance to taste it yet, it’s chilling for now and I will update on whether it was truly a good find or not… or whether I will be using it to flavor some cooking!

Joseph Handler Sweet Red- Reinhessen Germany

Joseph Handler Sweet Red- Reinhessen Germany

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I did also find two reviews of it on other sites and am including those here!

The Wino that I know: Joseph Handler Sweet Red

http://thewinothatiknow.blogspot.com/2010/06/joseph-handler-sweet-red.html

 

This other video review is for the 2010 Joseph Handler Sweet Red from Thumbs Up Wine Review

Outlander: After the Rhenish Wine… Some Chocolate and other historical recipes!

 

Previous outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/outlander-why-is-their-rhenish-wine-not-white/

 

In my previous Outlander post, I discussed the Rhenish Wine, it’s history, and possible reasons for it’s higher alcohol content? One reader did suggest that it could very likely have been laced with Poppy juice, which would account for it’s coloring, and for it’s pain numbing qualities. I do agree with this possibility for Colum’s private stock but I am somewhat doubtful whether he would have offered this strongest brew at the dining table to everyone… unless of course, he wanted them all quite highly numb and beyond clear thinking? I would not put this ploy past Dougal though!  Tonight, I am going to touch on a rather odd and yet interesting remedy I ran across for the after affects of the Rhenish Wine?

I can’t help but imagine that owing to Claire’s fondness for alcohol in general, and her highly stressed state in those earliest days… This picture could easily represent what she, and many others might have  woke up like on more than one morning after imbibing in too much of the strong spirits!

Claire a mess2

Then there would have been Mrs. Fitz slaving away down in the kitchens, brewing up some sort of concoction to revive all of those who had over indulged the night before!

Mrs Fitz

 

Now, please keep in mind that the following remedy was never mentioned in the books and  we would assume that this particular ingredient was not available to them up in the Highlands of Scotland. In fact, in some later books Claire’s daughter Bree mourned the fact that it was not available to her? Well, it may not have been available to her, but it was available and was coming into it’s own throughout Europe in finer homes as well as many middle class homes.  That odd ingredient and remedy for a hangover just happened to be none other than Chocolate!

 

Chocolate was first consumed as a beverage during the 1650’s in the highest class of nobility. By the 1700’s it was no longer just the Royals and Nobles consuming it, it was quickly becoming readily available to the more middle class masses and acceptable as an option other than tea or coffee.   Chocolate was first understood not only as a literally outlandish beverage, but as a medicinal wonder-drink.

 

In January 1697, John Houghton, apothecary and publisher of the weekly Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, was offering his own chocolate ‘nuts’ for sale, both plain and spiced, recommending them as “a great helper of bad stomachs, and restorative”. This was certainly what Pepys used it for, attempting to soothe his very sore head after Charles II’s coronation on 23 April 1661.

 

The earliest dated recipe, “To dresse Chocolatte”, in the manuscript recipe book of Lady Ann Fanshawe (1625–80), held by the Wellcome Library, is clearly dated ‘Madrid 10 August 1665’. Accompanied by a contemporary sketch of a chocolate pot and molinillo [wood whisk], the recipe appears to have come into her collection when she accompanied her husband, Sir Richard, on his embassy to Madrid between 1664–6.

The Fanshawe recipe is a variant on the Hispanic adaptations of indigenous central American chocolate preparations, but the only two recipes in English printed recipe books published prior to 1700 already show how chocolate was being absorbed into English dishes, and made palatable to English tastes.

 

Serving Chocolate

Serving Chocolate

 

This early painting depicts a small Chocolate pot in use as well as the Tea pot.

An English Family at Tea by Joseph van Aken

An English Family at Tea by Joseph van Aken

 

I was happy to read of this next recipe… I do enjoy a bit of Chocolate Wine on occasion!   Hannah Woolley’s 1670 recipe for “Chaculato” simply adds chocolate to claret, and thickens it with egg yolk. The anonymous author of the 1695 The True Way of Preserving and Candying, and Making Several Sorts of Sweetmeat, provides a recipe for “Chocolet-Puffs”, which adds grated chocolate to an otherwise very familiar pastrywork recipe.

 

As to it’s availability and use in the Highlands of Scotland during the 1700s,  We can probably assume that it was not widely consumed due to the cost, and the fact that it might have been looked at as one of those  outlandish and peculiar Sassenach concoctions? Jamie was well educated and well travelled, having spent a length of time in France, so he would have been quite familiar with it. Colum most likely would have looked at it as a wasteful indulgence as it would have done nothing to relieve his pains! Mrs. Fitz probably would have been skeptical and highly critical of such a frivolous and decadent  waste? I am reasonably sure though that there were probably some homes and establishments in the Highlands serving and enjoying it at the time?

Chocolate was not cheap (Houghton was selling it at between 4 and 10 shillings a pound in 1697), but it was not beyond the pockets of middling householder by the mid-18th century, who consumed it not only as a beverage, but also to flavour a repertoire of sweet dishes, familiar on genteel Georgian tables and sideboards. 

By 1737, The Whole Duty of a Woman: or, an Infallible Guide to the Fair Sex listed chocolate amongst those items absolutely necessary to take from the city to the country in the summer, just in case one’s local grocer did not sell it. Chocolate was certainly easily obtainable in the Somerset town of Wells in the 1720s, when the physician Claver Morris recorded drinking and prescribing it as part of his own dietary regime.

The equipment initially intended for the preparation of drinking chocolate also appears to have been absorbed into the kitchen drawer. In her 1747 text, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse writes of the ‘chocolate mill’ or molenillo as “the best way to whip sillibubs” and to be kept “for that purpose”: evidence that the utensil once unusual enough for Ann Fanshawe to sketch it, had become a multifunctional tool in the Georgian kitchen.

Chocolate%20pic%202_0 Chocolate%201

 

17th Century Chocolate recipe… We shall forward this on to Mrs. Fitz and suggest that she try it out!

Chocolate recipe

Chocolate recipe

 

To make Chocolate

Take your Choco Nutts and put them over the fire either
In earthern pott, or kettle or frying pan keeping them
stirring with a brass spoone till they be very hott and of black
browne, then take them and pull of[f] the shells with your fingers.
They must look of a black colour though not to[o] much burnt.

Then you must pound them in a great iron or brass mortar
and seeth [sieve] them through a fine lawne [linen] seeth [sieve], and  soe pound
them againe and soe seeth it till all
getts through, then take two pound of the powder and
three quarters of a pound of good white sugar about
5d or 6d per pound being seethed [sieved] all one as the
Choco Nutts, then put a Nuttmeg and half and ounce of
Cinnamon and pound it well together and seeth it as
herein before mentioned and to each pound of Choco
Nutt the like quantity. 

When you have mixt it altogether, take your mortar and putt it on the fire and
make it pretty hott and take the pestle also, then putt
the stuff in it and beat it till it comes to a smooth
past[e], then take it out and weigh it into Quarters of pounds
then Roll it round in your hands and putt it on a Quarter
of sheet of paper and take the paper into your two hands and
chafe it up and down till it comes to a short Roll.

English medical notebook, 1575-1663 (Wellcome Library MS.6812, p.137)

 

For a more recent and up to date Chocolate recipe, you should probably just use the Outlanderkitchen.com recipe, Hot Chocolate with La Dame Blanche!  http://outlanderkitchen.com/2013/01/17/hot-chocolate-with-la-dame-blanche/   Haa… I love the suggestion and reference to Crème de Menthe! Be sure your cask of Crème de Menthe is free of any dead body!

 

Now, besides the verra interesting information on Chocolate,  I found a few other recipes that you might enjoy? All of the information and recipes pre-date the 1740’s time period that Claire arrived to in Scotland, so while they might not have been readily available or accessible to her or Mrs. Fitz at the time, they were in use in other areas such as England and France.  We can not go just by Claire’s observations because as many of us know well, unless it involved concocting something for medicinal purposes or experiments, Claire was not the one to be asking for cooking advice! Jamie probably knew more about the food choices and the kitchen than she did!

 

Lady Ann Fanshawe’s sugar cakes, 1651-1707  These would go well with the chocolate!

Lady Anne Fanshawe's sugar cakes 1651-1707

To make Sugar Cakes

Take 2 pound of Butter, one pound of fine Sugar, the yolkes of nine
Egs, a full Spoonfull of Mace beat & searsed [sifted], as much Flower as this
will well wett making them so stiffe as you may rowle it out, then
with the Cup of a glasse of what Size you please cutt them into
round Cakes & pricke them and bake them.

 

Or perhaps you could serve these puff pastries?

Hannah Bisaker's puff pastries

Hannah Bisaker’s puff pastries

To make puff paist

“Take halfe a quortorh of The Finest Flower then mix yo Flower and water and
Four white of Eggs together, mould up yo paste but not too stiff,
Then role yo Past out into a Sheete. Then lay some Butter in litle Pecies
Till you have Filled yo sheete but doe not lay it Towards The ends to neare, 
Then Dust a little Flower with yo Drudging Box then Fould it up
Twice before you put any more Then doe soe Till yo have put in
a pound keeping it a little dusted very Fine yo put it to yo Butter,
handle it a little Then cut it to yo own Fancie.

 

Once you have become adept at these recipes, you might want to try this next one?

How to cook a husband 1710-1725

How to cook a husband 1710-1725

 

How to Cook a Husband

As Mr Glass said of the hare, you must first catch him. Having done so,
the mode of cooking him, so as to make a good dish of him, is as follows.
Many good husbands are spoiled in the cooking; some women go about
it as if their husbands were bladders, and blow them up. Others keep them
constantly in hot water, while others freeze them by conjugal coldness.
Some smother them with hatred, contention and variance, and some keep
them in pickle all their lives. These women always serve them up with tongue
sauce. Now it cannot be supposed that husbands will be tender and good if
managed in that way. But they are, on the contrary, very delicious when
managed as follows: Get a large jar called the jar of carefulness, (which all
good wives have on hand), place your husband in it, and set him near the
fire of conjugal love; let the fire be pretty hot, but especially let it be clear – above
all, let the heat be constant. Cover him over with affection, kindness and 
subjection. Garnish with modest, becoming familiarity, and the spice of 
pleasantry; and if you had kisses and other confectionaries let them be 
accompanied with a sufficient portion of secrecy, mixed with prudence and
moderation. We would advise all good wives to try this receipt and realise
how admirable a dish a husband is when properly cooked.

 

Ohhhh, Ummmm  just in case you have failed to include enough fibre and vegetables in your more ancient diet… And, Claire will warn you firmly of the perils of neglecting these all important dietary needs… You would most likely be needing this additional recipe?

Soothing Remedy for Piles…

Soothing remedy for piles

Soothing remedy for piles

 

A Medicine ffor the piles in the ffundament being red soare akinge bleedinge especially when they goe to the stoole and that with greate paine

Take Chicken weede, mallowes, the herbe mercury, otherwise called benne[t],
of each toe or three handfulls boyle all these together in a gallon of runinge
water untill halfe be boyled away, then take a basin full thereof
and sett it in a close stoole and lett the patient sitt over it and receive the
steame thereof into his fundament, bathing the place therewithall
a Quarter of an houre or soe Long as hee can endure it then
lett him take a good handfull of the herbes and bind it to his fundament
and soe keepe it there all the day and lett him use this morninge
and Eveninge

 

 

Ahhhh…. and one last bit of  information concerning historical foods that you might not have thought were available so long ago? I found these following items quite interesting as so many time travelers pine away for some variety of these foods never realizing that yes, indeed there was already some form of it available? They were just not in the right kitchen!  Or maybe some desperate time traveler did come up with these variations in their attempts to create some close version of their favorite and much missed food?

 

For those travelers craving some form of the Chinese takeout such as sweet and sour…

Sweet and sour rabbit is one of the more curious dishes included in Maggie Black’s The Medieval Cookbook. Found in a collection of 14th-century manuscripts called the Curye on Inglish, it includes sugar, red wine vinegar, currants, onions, ginger and cinnamon (along with plenty of “powdour of peper”) to produce a sticky sauce with more than a hint of the modern Chinese takeaway.  The recipe probably dates as far back as the Norman Conquest, when the most surprising ingredient for Saxons would have been rabbit, only recently introduced to England from continental Europe.

 
While tomatoes and tomato sauce was not widely available to most time travelers, pasta was! 

In the same manuscript we find instructions for pasta production, with fine flour used to “make therof thynne foyles as paper with a roller, drye it hard and seeth it in broth”. This was known as ‘losyns’, and a typical dish involved layering the pasta with cheese sauce to make another English favourite: lasagne.

Sadly the lack of tomatoes meant there was no rich bolognese to go along with the béchamel, but it was still a much-loved dish, and was served at the end of meals to help soak up the large amount of alcohol you were expected to imbibe – much as an oily kebab might today.

In Thomas Austin’s edition of Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books, you can find several other pasta recipes, including ravioli and Lesenge Fries – a sugar and saffron doughnut, similar to the modern Italian feast day treats such as frappe or castagnole. The full edition, including hundreds of medieval recipes, can be found online through the University of Michigan database.

 

This last item came as a bigger surprise to me? I was not aware that it was so widely used or available throughout Europe so far back in time! 

Rice dishes

Rice was grown in Europe as early as the 8th century by Spanish Moors. By the 15th century it was produced across Spain and Italy, and exported to all corners of Europe in vast quantities. The brilliant recipe resource www.medievalcookery.com shows the wide variety of ways in which rice was used, including three separate medieval references to a dish called blancmager.

Rather than the pudding you might expect, blancmager was actually a soft rice dish, combining chicken or fish with sugar and spices. Due to its bland nature, it was possibly served to invalids as a restorative.

There were also sweet rice dishes, including rice drinks and a dish called prymerose, which combined honey, almonds, primroses and rice flour to make a thick rice pudding.

 

So, now we know that for those time travelers craving the much desired chocolate, It was available and apparently it did much to cure hangovers… Who Knew?!

You can find all of this information and much more on the official BBC History website:  http://www.historyextra.com/

 

You can also find out much more about historical and medieval cooking here at Medieval Cookery:  http://www.medievalcookery.com/

 

 

 

Eleanor’s Journal 80: After the Death

Finally, a story update! So sorry for the long delay on it but hopefully I can get back on track with it now! This story update does not contain any illustrations other than a few Character references. I really just wanted to get this posted as soon as possible since there has been such a long absence from the actual story. I do apologize for that!  this is the continuation of Eric’s ancient past and the people in it.

Previous story post, Eric’s story: Visions in the fire: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/eleanors-journal-79-visions-in-the-fire/

 

The energy of Reina

           Eric’s soul was still fighting as it slammed back into his body and Reina’s parting words were burnt into his mind, engraved there forever. Sometime much later, as the sun began to rise over the river, he regained consciousness. His heart was barely beating, his breath so shallow that it was almost not noticeable. It took the greatest effort for him to lift his head and his eyelids to see the group of women kneeling around him. The reminder from Reina was the only clear thought in his head. “Look around you, there are those who still need you.”

                 The women gasped at his slight movement and Artorius, who had been standing aside guarding their mourning, quickly stepped in. He picked up Eric’s nearly lifeless body, threw it over one of the horses, swung himself up and yelled for the women to follow as he took off up the hill towards the safety of the closest enclosure. Eric’s body would not withstand another dose of sunlight and Artorius knew it.

                        The river they buried Reina next to was between the Fairie realm and the remains of Eric’s home where Svein resided under the heaviest of Vampyre guards. Artorius headed for that place as it was the closest. It was much in ruins and held the worst of memories for all of them, but there was little other choice for the time being. He knew that the women would be in dread of returning there and thought momentarily of sending them back to the Fairie realm. He did not have time though to argue with them and he thought that their concern for Eric would well outweigh their fears of their old home. Artorius urged the horse on up to the protection of the buildings not waiting for the women to catch up. They all knew the way well and were close behind, leading the other horse.

                      The Vampyre guards, having heard the commotion, were waiting with doors to the stable open. Scoithin had mounted the other horse and arrived in a flurry. The horse well lathered, the woman’s hair and cloak whirling out around her as she jumped down unassisted and ran to Eric’s side as Artorius pulled him down to the floor. She cast out orders to the guards and to Artorius as she knelt down next to Eric to assure that he was indeed still alive. No one thought to disagree or question her. It was obvious that she was well in charge of this particular situation. It would be apparent later on that Scoithin was well in charge of most situations. She was not a woman to be taken lightly and her quiet power would long be one to lead this group.

              

          Scoithin very quickly had Eric put to rest in one of the more private sleeping chambers. She determined that he would live and what was most needed for the present time was deep sleep. To assist in that deepest sleep she poured some vile smelling liquid down his throat and left his sisters, Freya and Helga to watch over him.

                            While she was occupied with seeing to Eric, Artorius was meeting with the guards to inquire about the condition of Svein, who was locked away in a darkest lower chamber. Young Scotia sat at a table near by, head in hands, listening closely to what was being discussed about her Father and crying quietly. Her Father who had once been so strong, so full of life and cheer, so full of love for her and her Mother… was now broken in his mind and spirit, locked away in some dark unreachable place filled with the demons that haunted him, might haunt him forever it seemed.

                             The men continued their discussion and seemed to forget she was in the room. Scoithin entered the room, saw her grand daughter weeping in the corner. She approached the men holding up her hands and firmly demanded they cease their talking, pointing to the young girl who had sat silently taking in every word. “Cease these words now! Have yourselves some heart for his daughter who has already endured enough for a lifetime in the past months.” The men suddenly looked towards the table and bowed their heads in remorse.

                       Artorius moved to the table where Scoithin was attempting to soothe the girl. He waved the men out of the room and knelt close to the two women, reached his hand out to Scotia’s face, which was buried in her Grandmother’s shoulder. He stroked her face and turned her to face him with care. “Scotia, I know these words, this truth is hurting you greatly now but, it is your Father who is in the greatest pain. You do understand this, do you not?” She looked at him tearfully and nodded her head. He and Scoithin held her and comforted her as much as possible while he went on with the most difficult of thing he felt he should ever have to say to one so young.

                                  “Your Father is in some darkest of in between places right now. He can not move forward out of that place and return to us, nor can he see clearly to move on to the other side where he might find peace. It has come time for us to help on his way to either side… for us to put it in the hands of the Gods, much as we did with Eric.”

                          The realization of what he was saying hit Scotia and she shook with weeping. She shook her head fiercely. “Nay, I can not do that. I know what you are asking and I can not give you leave to do it. I can not bear it, can not stand to lose him.” Her voice came in soft gasps between sobs.

                         Artorius brushed her hair away from her forehead. “Would you have him live on the way he must now, chained to a wall in the dark being held by those guards who must hold him in the tightest of grips just in order to force feed him nourishment to ensure he does not die of that? You think that is a life he truly wants? You have lost him already. If he stays this way much longer, he will never come back to you or recognize you.”

        

Scotia of Svein, daughter of Svein and Gizella, grand daughter of Scoithin

Scotia of Svein, daughter of Svein and Gizella, grand daughter of Scoithin

              Scotia paled and clutched her Grandmother’s arms. The older Vampyre woman looked down at her sadly with tears in her own eyes. “Scotia, my dearest one… He is right in what he says. This man who is locked away in such pain is not your Father. If he continues on this way, he will never be your Father again. His mind will snap completely, will separate forever and he will cease to recognize any of us. He will live out his life in some madness of the soul, never be human or vampyre, but some horrific semblance ever wanting only to roam the earth in search of blood…”

                   Scoithin stood then and paced the room thinking before she spoke. “I have a thought, of one last thing that might bring him back to us.” She paused and stared at her grand daughter with tears still in her eyes. “It is a great risk and it may not work… but at this point, I see little else in choice, save putting him out misery immediately.” Artorius looked up at her with some doubt. Scotia stopped weeping to wipe her eyes and her nose, and peered up at Scoithin with some hope.

                     Scoithin went back to pacing and holding hands to her face while she shook her head back and forth. “No, I should not even be thinking of this. It is far to dangerous to attempt and it may drive him further into the darkness instead of back towards us…” She stood still and looked up at the ceiling speaking in her ancient language in some form of prayer.

                   Artorius finally bid her to go on with it and she slowly voiced her thoughts again. Staring again at Scotia, she spoke softly in a murmur. “The girl looks exactly like her Mother.” Her voice broke as she remembered her daughter. “Ahhh Scotia, tis plain for all the world to know you are your Mother’s daughter. Every moment I lay eyes on you, I see Gizella. I hear her voice in you as you speak to me. You are the only thing that keeps my own heart alive, you keep her alive for me in so many ways. When I look at you, I can erase that last sight her from my mind. Perhaps the sight, the sound of you near to him will do the same for Svein?” Scoithin’s face showed her heartache and her fear. “The guards tried inside of him, to tell him, let him know that you were alive but his mind seems far past that ability. Maybe if he could see you, hear you, feel your presence close to him, he might fight his way back?”

 

                          Scotia jumped up from the table in haste and youthful hope. “I would do that, I would go to him and beg of him to hear me, to see me!”

The two older ones turned to circle her and contain her brimming excitement. Their eyes were full of caution as Artorius spoke. “No, it is not as simple or as that Scotia. If it were that easy, they would have brought you to him immediately as soon as you returned. Your Grandmother is right. It is a dangerous act that could push him either way.”

                   Artorius sighed sadly and looked at both of the women before speaking again to Scotia. “Tis not you, child that is torturing his soul. It is your Mother’s death that has driven him over that edge. I believe that what your Grandmother is suggesting is more for your Mother to drive him back this way?” He looked at Soithin in question and she bowed her head in agreement.

Scotia looked at them both in confusion. “What do you mean? I do not understand…”

                       Scoithin took Scotia’s hands in hers as she explained. “What I am suggesting Scotia, is that you must go to him not as yourself, but as your Mother. She is the only one he might still cling to memories of somewhere in his soul. You must go to him as her and tell him in no uncertainty to return here to those who need him most.”

Scotia closed her eyes and clenched her fists, she drew in a deep breath and tried to calm her trembling nerves as she asked, “Like Reina did to Eric?”

The older adults looked at her warily and Scoithin replied softly. “What did you see out there?” She ran her hand down her grand daughter’s arm to sooth her fear. “It’s alright to tell us here of what you saw or what you felt.”

                           Scotia was young and still troubled by her own recent horrors. She also was as yet unsure and fearful of her abilities that had recently developed. Her Grandmother had tried to reassure her that the things she felt and the visions she was were normal for one such as she was, with the Vampyre blood that ran through her veins and the other ancient blood from her Grandmother as well. Scoithin called it prophecy, others called it second sight… She had inherited none of the other Vampyre traits as yet, and this gift of sight had just recently come upon her. She knew, though she told no one, exactly when it had begun.

                           When she had stood out there in the Courtyard, held captive by those Romans, unable to do anything but stare terrified at her Mother’s crumpled, beaten and bloody body laying on the ground. Gizella’s arms wrapped around her swollen stomach, holding the life within her tightly as she and the child took their last breaths together. During those last moments, Gizella looked over to her daughter and sent her a final thought. Scotia felt her Mothers arms around her, heard her voice in her mind hushing her cries and telling her to be strong for all of them. Scotia felt her Mother within her, felt her life leaving, the pain ebbing away. When Gizella pointed toward the open sea and the sky, Scotia looked up to see her Mother floating away with the infant brother she would never know in this life. She looked around in fright to see if the others were watching this too? No, no one was noticing, or watching the sea. The Roman men’s attentions were focused on their captives. She, along with her cousins, was dragged off away from the yard amidst the screams of those left behind.

                            From that moment on, Scotia carried some piece of her Mother with her and her dreams were often clouded with images that did not make sense. She thought it was because of the terrifying events taking place and tried to shut all of it out. None of the young women had spoken of their individual stories as there had been no time to recover or share it. Their immediate thoughts had been of Reina and then her death.

                         So, now Scotia stood with her Grandmother, and this Roman Vampyre soldier who they said was to be trusted… She could not bring herself to do that quite so easily and knew that her Father would never bring himself to do it even if he were to be saved from the Hell he was locked in now. But, still her Grandmother seemed to value this man’s word and his worth, and trust him? Both of them waited silently for her to speak.

                      She hesitated for a moment then remembered her Mother’s words along with Reina’s words to Eric, be strong for others are in more need now than I. Scotia spoke haltingly and whispered of the sight. “Did no one else see it? I saw Reina with her baby daughter, in the mist… she was pushing Eric back to us, telling him he must stay with us, that we have more need of him than her.” She looked at Scoithin and Artorius as they both sighed and held her close.

                   Artorius stroked her hair and his voice soothed her, “It is alright, Scotia, only a very few have the gifts to see such things or feel them.” He sighed and went on, “You must always remind yourself that is a gift, this ablility you have been blessed with, for often in your future, it will feel more like a curse than a gift.”

                   Scoithin held her grand daughter in her arms and added her own thoughts. “My dearest child, I believe you have more to tell us of this sight, and of your visions… but for now, we will sit by the fire and you will rest with me for a bit.”

                     Some time later as the three of them sat near the fire, Scotia shared the vision of her Mother’s leaving and of the feeling that Gizella was still within her guiding and protecting her. Scoithin and Artorius both nodded in some unspoken agreement. Scoithin spoke gently to Scotia. “Then I was right in feeling that Gizella is still with you somehow.” She picked up Scotia’s small hand and held it while she explained, “Your Mother is with you because she still has work to do here. She, and you are the only ones who can do this. You must clear your mind of everything else and let your Mother do what she needs to do to help your Father.” Scoithin looked at the girl thoughtfully and went on, “Your Mother needs to do the same as Reina did for Eric. Your Father will never rest or be at peace with himself or this world unless she can get through to him through you.”

                  Scotia sat on her stool near the fire, staring into the flames and nodded her understanding while whiping tears from her eyes. Artorius spoke then. “You must understand that this is still very dangerous for you and for your Father. If you do not think you can do this, we will not place you in that danger. I am still in doubt whether this will work, and I would not put your life at risk for this.” He frowned then stood and started pacing, “I am torn on this, Scoithin. Perhaps better to let him go on his way to join Gizella rather than attempt this?”

                       At that, Scotia jumped up from her stool knocking it over in her haste. Her face was not quite her own, it suddenly took on the lines and the appearance of some other older version of herself. She spoke clearly in a near hysterical, hurried voice, “NO! You must give him a chance, a choice! You must give me a chance to help him! He must stay here, there is work for him to do in his future and he must be here for Scotia!”

                        Scoithin and Artorius stared at the young girl in surprise but quickly composed themselves on realizing how strong Gizella’s presence was. As fast as she had appeared, she left and young Scotia was standing there shaking. She looked about to fall to the ground and murmured of how cold she was. Artorius picked her up and carried her to a bench before she could collapse and faint into a stupor. Scoithin motioned for him to pick her back up and bring her to the back sleeping room. He carefully set her upon the bed and she drifted into a deep sleep.

Scoithin covered her with heavy blankets and they stood there watching her while they whispered together. Scoithin spoke firmly, “There, You see, I was right. Even if Scotia is not strong enough yet for something of this nature, Gizella is strong enough for them both and she will not let any of us rest until she has had her chance to save Svein.”

                     Artorius rubbed his forehead in frustration, still frowning in some concern. “I must admit, you are probably right in this. And, I have never seen before quite such an appearance as this? That does not mean though that I am not still worried about the success of this and of Svein’s reaction. To jeopordize her life, and that of everyone else’s if it should go wrong and he become even more uncontrollable?” He shook his head, “We can not send her into this as she is now, look what this one momentary appearance has done to her? And, we can not send her down there on her own… We must be prepared for the worst event. If it should go wrong, if he should break loose we must be prepared to end it for him rather than risk her life. That is the only way that I will agree to any of this?”

                        Scoithin nodded her agreement. “We can wait a few days more and prepare her better for it. I will fetch the others to help with it. And, I will abide with your decisions on how best to keep her safe from harm should it go wrong. I am sure that Gizella will not allow for any harm to come to her daughter in this. If it should come to be that she can not get through to him, I believe she will take matters into her own hands and see to his end herself.”

                          Artorius frowned even deeper at this. “NO! We can not let it go to that end, for it would not be Gizella’s hand in his ending, but Scotia’s. Then the girl would have to live with the knowledge and the overwhelming feeling of guilt at being responsible for her Father’s death.”

                           A sudden realization of that fact washed over Scoithin and she bowed her head. “You are right, I had not thought of that. I can not allow my grand daughter to carry that pain with her through life. Do what you need to, to see that it should not come to that.” She looked down at the sleeping Scotia and stroked the girl’s hair, brushing it from her pale face.

                       She called for a maid to sit with Scotia, giving instructions to send for them as soon as she woke. Scoithin and Artorius left the room to make their preparations. At the doorway, he thought of something else. “Those others whom you call to help… are they who I think they are? They are not the Fairies or the Vampyres, are they?” He gave her an inquiring and somewhat skeptical look. “Do not bring more trouble down upon us than we already have, Scoithin.”

     

Artorius and Scoithin2

                    She drew herself up showing her most regal and royal nature that which she had been born with a sense of. “Do not question their ways, their loyalties, or their abilities. They are far more ancient than any of us and though they live in secracy, they will live on just as powerful or even more so than any of the rest of us. The Druids will help in this and will seek nothing in return for it.” with that, she turned her back to him and walked away.