Medieval

End of Season

iphone 177-smI just returned from my last event of the summer at Herstmonceux and am quietly sinking into my second (large) glass of muscle-relaxant* and contemplating my muddy toes whilst waiting for the bath to run. Meanwhile, the dog is trying desperately to gain access to a spot on the sofa, having been forced to lie on the ground for the last three days and endure all mannner of scary noises and strangers, by looking faintly pathetic and moaning plaintively from time to time.

*wine

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Relentless Ineptitude

RememberAs you may be aware if you follow my Facebook page, I’ve just spent the weekend trading at Wrest Park and a very good weekend it was too….well…apart from Friday and my own staggering ineptitude :/

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Brass Monkeys and Golden Balls

Wrest morningI have just returned from a weekend trading at the St George’s event at Wrest Park and I couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season. Wellies were left at home and there was this wonderful, shiny, golden ball thingy glowing hotly in the sky all weekend. I’m not sure what it was, (I certainly didn’t see such a thing last season), but I liked it a lot! It was mostly particularly welcome to thaw out from the overnight temperatures, which were minus lots. See the silver grass? That’s frost –>

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Pick a Peck of Pepper

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Clockwise from top: Cubeb, Long and standard Black peppercorns

I was unfeasibly excited to discover a while ago that Waitrose now stock several different types of pepper in their spice section, including Cubebs (Piper cubeba) and Long Pepper (Piper longum). The reason for my excitement is that many varieties of pepper that we regard as exotic today were commonly referred to in Medieval recipes* and the particular spice blend, Poudre Fort, which is used in many Medieval savoury dishes includes several of these exotic peppers. Poudre Fort** does not have a specific recipe as such, it’s kind of a Savoury Mixed Spice of its time and so the constituents will have varied depending on the cook (or his/her Lord’s) preference, but broadly the mix contains pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

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Wheel of Misfortune

So, there I was, pootling along the M4, with a car full of family and a trailer full of Medieval tent and all the other paraphenalia required for a weekend’s trading at Firejoust, when there is a sudden clunk and shudder. I glance in the wing mirror to see my trailer wheel bouncing across three lanes of motorway into the fast lane.

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A Weekend in the Life…

As you may know, I spend quite a few weekends throughout the year, particularly in Summer, trading at Medieval Fayres and other events. I returned from one such event on Sunday evening and thought I’d share a little of this weird and wonderful habitat with you.

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Cock Ale and other culinary oddities

Home made pork pie

I’ve been researching food and drink history recently (and trying out a few traditional recipes like the very tasty pork pie over there –>).

It’s a fascinating subject and it’s apparent that our ancestors had a much less finicky approach to food and drink. Among the oddities I have unearthed are a Medieval recipe for “Garbage”, made with all the bits of a chicken you’d normally throw in the…umm..garbage, like the head, feet and entrails. They also had assorted ways of cooking pretty much anything that flies, walks or swims (boiled heron, anyone?) and some rather novel ideas for flavouring alcoholic beverages, which brings me to the Cock Ale.

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Take ye Onyons

It seems that the modern peasantry should take a leaf out of our Medieval counterparts’ cookbooks in the interests of healthy eating

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11161525

Should you need a pointer towards some gode cookery receipts, this is a fascinating resource…

http://www.godecookery.com/godeboke/godeboke.htm

Of course, the really healthy peasant diet is less based on elaborately stuffed capons and more on grain-based gruel or potage, but the recipies are intriguing nonetheless. Enjoy!

Around my Summer in 80 Yays! (or Boos!)

As usual the last few months have been busy with events and school holidays and I haven’t had much time to blog. So, here¬† is tour around my summer in yays and boos: (more…)

Strange Fruit

I returned from Herstmonceux Medieval Festival yesterday afternoon. After a rather quicker journey (including a pub lunch) than on the outward leg, which took 6 hours thanks to one of the tyres on the trailer disintegrating en route. (more…)

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