|The event was called A Saturday with
Shakespeare, and the major part of
the event was a production of Measure For Measure. I was asked to do a
feast for the evening after the play. I wanted to do the theme of
"going down the street to the local tavern for dinner after the play",
so the meal was to be simple iconic English tavern food. I did
three courses, plus dessert. We have a number of attendees with food
issues, and even though I wasn't trying to on purpose, I managed to put
together a menu that was still primarily edible to people who were
dairy free, gluten free, semi-kosher, onion-sensitive, and vegetarian.
As long as someone only hit one of those groups, they could still eat
The final number served for the feast was 72 people. I am including the recipes in both the original and scaled up proportions.
Bread & Butter
A Variety of Cheeses
The shortbread cookies were made by someone else. The cheese tart is the same one I made for Duello.
This is not a period recipe, but uses (mostly) period ingredients, and I wanted something hearty and vegetarian to start off the first course. The original recipe is from here.
1. Soak the dried lentils overnight.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and mix in the carrot, parsnip, celery, turnip, and leek. Stir over a medium heat.
3. Place lentils, tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, and wine in the saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.
4. Remove the bay leaves from the stew. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
I had found a period recipe for roasted chicken, but it involved brushing the chickens with egg yolks at the end to "endore" them. This step proved difficult in the context of preparing 12 of them, so I went with a basic herb roasted chicken from my own repetoire.
1. Wash chickens inside and out, and pat dry.
2. Place butter and herb in chicken cavity. Place chickens breast down in a roaster, and cover tightly with a lid or foil. Roast at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes per pound, or until juice runs clear. Turn over and roast uncovered for another 25-30 minutes until skin is browned. Cut into eight pieces each (2 legs, 2 thighs, quarter the breast) and serve.
This is a period recipe from Forme of Cury, a 14th C. English cookbook, that I found on Gode Cookery (the redaction is theirs).
95. Makerouns. Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh, and kerue it on pieces, and cast hym on boiling water & seeþ it wele. Take chese and grate it, and butter imelte, cast bynethen and abouven as losyns; and serue forth.
1. Boil noodles with oil & salt until al dente (tender-crisp). Drain well.
2. In a serving bowl or platter place some melted butter and cheese. Lay noodles on top and add more butter and cheese.
3. Serve as is or continue adding layers of butter, cheese, and noodles. Use extra cheese as necessary.
4. Serve immediately, or place in a hot oven for several minutes and then serve.
Notes: For making large quantities, I boiled the noodles in batches no larger than 2 pounds. I reheated them at the end in a low temperature oven (about 250 degrees) to melt the cheese, which worked out well.
This is also a period recipe from Gode Cookery, also from Forme of Cury. However, I found it somewhat bland and added some herbs, as well as substituting leeks for the onions, as we had attendees with onion-sensitivity (but could eat leeks).
71. Perry of pesoun. Take pesoun and seþ hem fast, and couere hem, til þei berst; þenne take hem vp and cole hem thurgh a cloth. Take oynouns and mynce hem, and seeþ hem in the same sewe, and oile þerwith; cast þerto sugar, salt and safroun, and seeþ hem wel þerafter, and serue hem forth.
Bring to a boil the leeks & peas. Reduce heat slightly and cook until the vegetables are tender. Drain. Add butter and other ingredients, and mix well.
Another recipe from Gode Cookery, dated a little later to 15th C. England. The original recipe called for using beef ribs, but I wanted to use brisket instead.
Stwed Beeff. Take faire Ribbes of ffresh beef, And (if thou wilt) roste hit til hit be nygh ynowe; theñ put hit in a faire possenet; caste þer-to parcely and oynons mynced, reysons of corauns, powder peper, canel, clowes, saundres, safferoñ, and salt; theñ caste there-to wyñ and a litull vynegre; sette a lyd oñ þe potte, and lete hit boile sokingly on a faire charcole til hit be ynogh; þeñ lay the fflessh, in disshes, and the sirippe there-vppoñ, And serve it forth.
Put all ingredients in a pressure cooker or crock pot and simmer for 4 hours (or all day for crock pot).
This is another modern recipe that uses period ingredients, from here. The horseradish went particularly well with the beef dish.
1. Peel and cut parsnips into 2 1/2 inch batons.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. In a large roasting pan, toss the parsnips with the olive oil, salt and pepper. (Use a roasting pan with sides no more than 2 inches high.) Add the broth, cover with aluminum foil and roast, stirring once or twice, until the parsnips are tender and the stock has evaporated or been absorbed, 20-45 minutes (depending on how tender the parsnips are to begin with). Check often to avoid their getting mushy - especially if they are to be reheated later.
3. Combine the softened butter with the horseradish, parsley, chives and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss the warm roasted parsnips with the horseradish-herb butter and serve.
Another Gode Cookery recipe, also from Forme of Cury. Again, I substituted leeks for onions, and vegetable broth for the meat stock, to keep it vegetarian. I also found I had to reduce the cumin by about half or it totally overwhelmed the flavor of the dish.
12. Funges. Take funges and pare hem clene, and dyce hem; take leke and shrede hym small, and do hym to seeþ in gode broth. Colour it with safroun, and do þerinne powdour fort.
Place mushrooms, onions/leeks, and broth in pot; bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add spices. Cook until tender. Drain and serve.