Alabama Renaissance Faire: The 2001 Feast
October 20th, 2001

Gode Cookery: James Matterer, Glenda Cockrum, & Darell McCormick

The Furst Course

Pandemayne - whole loaves of white bread

Boter - whipped butter

Spermsye - ricotta cheese blended with a touch of honey into a spread for bread

Sallet - salad of various lettuces & herbs, raisins, oranges, lemons, cucumbers, nuts, red wine vinegar & oil

Bruet Sarcenes - a thick cream soup of beef, onions, & almond milk

Shrewsbery Cakes - small delicate cakes flavored with rosewater and nutmeg

The Second Course

Chyches - roasted chickpeas cooked in olive oil & garlic with cloves & pepper

French Iowtes - peas porridge with onions & herbs

Saracen Brodo - roasted game hens in a fruit sauce

Gyngerbrede - a cinnamon & honey confection

The Thrid Course

Compost of Pasternak & of Peeres - sweet and sour carrots & pears

Tartus of fflesh - a pie of beef, fruits, & nuts, topped with roasted chicken

Blawmanger - an almond & rice pudding

The iiij Course of Frute

Trayne Roste of Skirwittes & of Apples - a soltetie of parsnips & apples skewered and batter-fried, then dressed with honey


Clarrey - spiced red grape juice

Potus Ypocras - spiced white grape juice


A Window from Chartres Cathedral - a tournament between a Christian & Saracen knight


© 2001 Gode Cookery


A salad of various lettuces & herbs, raisins, oranges, lemons, cucumbers, & walnuts, dressed with red wine vinegar, walnut oil, & sugar

Our modern recipe is an adaptation of the following two period receipts:

From Forme of Cury:

Salat. Take persel, sawge, grene garlec, chibolles, letys, leek, spinoches, borage, myntes, prymos, violettes, porrettes, fenel, and toun cressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye; laue and waishe hem clene. Pike hem. Pluk hem small wiþ þyn honde, and myng hem wel with rawe oile; lay on vyneger and salt, and serue it forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Salad. Take parsley, sage, green garlic, scallions, lettuce, leek, spinach, borage, mints, primroses, violets, "porrettes" (green onions, scallions, & young leeks), fennel, and garden cress, rue, rosemary, purslane; rinse and wash them clean. Peel them. (Remove stems, etc.) Tear them into small pieces with your hands, and mix them well with raw oil; lay on vinegar and salt, and serve.

From Sallets, Humbles, and Shrewsbery Cakes:

To Compound an excellent Sallet, and which indeede is usuall at great Feasts, and upon Princes Tables. Take a good quantity of blaunch’t Almonds, and with your Shredding knife cut them grosly; then take as manie Raisyns of the sunne cleane washt, and the stones pick’t out, as many Figges shred like the Almonds, and as many Capers, twise so many Olives, and as many Currants as of all the rest cleane washt: a good handfull of the small tender leaves of Red Sage and Spinage; mixe all these well together with a good store of Sugar and lay them in the bottome of a great dish, then put unto them Vinegar and Oyle, and scrape more Sugar over all; then take Orenges and Lemmons, and paring away the outward pills, cut them into thinne slices, then with those slices cover the sallet all over; which done, take the thin leafe of the red Coleflowre, and with them cover the Orenges and Lemmons all over, then over those red leaves lay another course of old Olives, and the slices of wel pickld Coucumbers, together with the very inward hart of your Cabbage lettice cut into slices, then adorne the sides of the dish and the top of the Sallet with more slices of Lemons and Orenges and so serve it up.

Modern recipe:

  • Various fresh lettuces, such as Romaine, Red Leaf, etc., but not “head” or “iceberg” lettuce, washed and torn by hand into bite-sized pieces
  • Fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and torn by hand into bite-sized pieces
  • Various fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, mint leaves (not peppermint), etc., torn by hand or chopped into small pieces
  • Green onions & scallions, chopped
  • 1 small red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Small quantity of raisins
  • Small quantity of chopped walnuts
  • 1 or 2 oranges and lemons
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Walnut oil
  • Sugar
Combine the torn lettuces, spinach, herbs, chopped onions, scallions, & shredded cabbage into a large salad bowl. Add cucumber, raisins, and chopped walnuts and toss until thoroughly mixed. Cut the oranges & lemons in half, then generously squeeze the juice over the salad; you may also place some of the pulp in the salad as well. Add red wine vinegar and oil, then sprinkle on a little sugar over all. Toss once more until all ingredients are combined. Serve.

The modern recipe is a combination of elements of both period receipts; the result is a delightful and unusual salad which is both new and familiar to modern diners. For the Alabama Feast, the green onions & scallions listed in the first original receipt and included in the modern version have been left out as green onions are featured in the following course, in the French Iowtes. Similarly, the almonds from the second receipt have been replaced with walnuts, as almonds play a major part throughout the entire feast and need not be included here as well. The fresh herbs used included parsley and other appropriate fresh herbs obtained just prior to the feast.

Bruet Sarcenes

A thick cream soup of beef, onions, & almond milk

Original receipt from Yale University’s MS Beinecke 163:

Take venyson: boyle hit, trye hit, do hit yn a pott. Take almond mylke drawyn up with the same brothe; cast theryn onyons, & aley hit up with floure of rys, & caste yn clovys. Aftyr the boylyng, take hit doun; sesyn hit up with poudyr, wyn, & sygure, & coloure hit with alekenet.

Gode Cookery translation:

Saracen Brewet. Take venison: boil it, drain it, and place in a pot. Take almond milk made from the broth; add onions, & thicken it with rice flour, and add cloves. Bring to a boil then remove from heat; season with powder, wine, & sugar, & color it red.

Modern recipe:

  • 2-3 lb. stewing beef, chopped into very small pieces
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups almond milk (see recipe at end)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small or half-minced
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. sugar (or to taste)
  • Few drops red food coloring
Place the beef in a large soup pot; cover with water, bring to a boil, add a dash of salt & pepper, then reduce heat and simmer until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat from the pot. Combine the beef broth and almond milk and place over medium heat. With a wire whisk, slowly beat in the flour until you have a smooth, creamy mixture; use more or less flour as needed. Add the beef & the remaining ingredients and slowly simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching or sticking, for 30-45 minutes, or until onions are completely cooked. The final color should be a reddish-brown.

Shrewsbery Cakes

Small delicate cakes flavored with rosewater and nutmeg

Original receipt from Sallets, Humbles, and Shrewsbery Cakes:

To make Shrewsbery Cakes. Take a quart of very fine flower, eight ounces of fine sugar beaten and cersed, twelve ounces of sweete butter, a Nutmegge grated, two or three spoonefuls of damaske rosewater, worke all these together with your hands as hard as you can for the space of halfe an houre, then roule it in little round Cakes, about the thicknesse of three shillings one upon another, then take a silver Cup or a glasse some foure or three inches over, and cut the cakes in them, then strow some flower upon white papers & lay them upon them, and bake them in an Oven as hotte as for Manchet, set up your lid till you may tell a hundredth, then you shall see the white, if any of them rise up clap them downe with some cleane thing, and if your Oven be not too hot set up your lid againe, and in a quarter of an houre they will be baked enough, but in any case take heede your Oven be not too hot, for they must not looke browne but white, and so draw them foorth & lay them one upon another till they bee could, and you may keep them halfe a yeare the new baked are best.

Modern recipe:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. rosewater
  • 2 cups + ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the rosewater and blend thoroughly. Sift together the 2 cups of flour, nutmeg, and salt and stir into the butter until the dough holds together. With your hands, gently knead in enough of the additional flour to make a smooth ball of soft dough. Roll out on a floured board to the thickness of ¼ inch. Cut large round cookies with a glass or cookie cutter. Place the cookies on  a greased sheet or one lined with parchment paper and bake in a 300° F oven for approx. 15 minutes, or just until done; they must be white, not brown. Remove the cakes to a rack to cool. Makes 20-25 cakes.


Roasted chickpeas & garlic cooked in olive oil, cloves, & pepper

Original receipt from Forme of Cury:

Chyches. Take chiches and wrye hem in askes al nyght oþer al a day, oþer lay hem in hoot aymers. At morowe waische hem in clene water, and do hem ouere the fire with clene water. Seeþ hem vp and do þerto oyle, garlek hole, safroun, powdour fort and salt; seeþ it and messe it forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Take chickpeas and cover them in ashes all night or all day, or lay them in hot embers. At morrow wash them in clean water, and do them over the fire with clean water. Boil them up and add oil, whole garlic, saffron, powder fort and salt; boil it and serve it forth.

Modern recipe:

  • 4 cups chickpeas 
  • The cloves of 1-2 whole garlic bulbs, peeled but left whole 
  • Olive oil 
  • ½ tsp. each pepper & cloves (or season to taste) 
  • Pinch saffron 
  • Dash salt 
If using canned peas, rinse well and drain; Toss the chickpeas lightly with a coat of olive oil, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a 400° F oven for approx. 45 minutes, turning the peas midway through roasting to evenly cook. Be sure that they are completely cooked through - the texture and aroma will be that of roasted nuts. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place chickpeas in a soup pot with the garlic cloves; add enough water to come to about ¼  to ½ inch from the top of the peas. Top off with olive oil, adding enough to just come to the top of the peas. Add spices, and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking until garlic softens, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well or serve in the broth; serve hot. Serves 6-8.

French Iowtes

Peas porridge with onions & herbs

Original receipt from Forme of Cury:

French iowtes. Take and seeþ white pesoun and take oute þe perry; & perboile erbis & hewe hem grete, & cast hem in a pot with the perry. Pulle oynouns & seeþ hem hole wel in water, & do hem to þe perry with oile & salt; colour it with safroun & messe it, and cast þeron powdour douce.

Gode Cookery translation:

French pot-herbs. Take and boil white peas and take out the purée; & parboil herbs & hew them great, & cast them in a pot with the purée. Pluck onions & boil them whole well in water, & do them to the purée with oil & salt; color it with saffron & serve it, and cast there-on powder douce.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 lb. peas, shelled and fresh or fresh frozen
  • Fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, mint, sage, basil, etc. - any fresh, period herbs
  • 1 cup onions - these need to be very small, and peeled but left whole. Pearl onions or green onions with the long green shafts cut off work nicely.
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil 
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pinch saffron or a few drops yellow food coloring
  • Powder Douce - this was a medieval blend of sweet spices, almost always containing sugar & cinnamon and never pepper, and with such other spices as nutmeg, clove, cardamom, etc. Essentially, what you need to do here is make a slightly sweet-tasting blend of sugar & cinnamon, with whatever other appropriate spices you'd like to include (but no pepper), to be sprinkled on the Iowtes just before serving.
Boil the peas until very tender; remove from water and drain, then turn the cooked peas into a purée by either mashing or by using a blender or food processor. Place the peas in a large pot on very low heat. In a separate pot parboil the fresh herbs (keeping in mind that this means to partially cook by boiling). Remove the herbs from the water & press dry. Lightly mince the herbs and then add them to the purée. Boil the whole onions until tender, then add to the purée, along with the olive oil, saffron, and salt to taste. Increase the heat to medium and allow the porridge to cook together for several minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle powder douce on top. Serve.

White peas are, of course, different than our commonly available green version; however, unless one is lucky enough to find fresh, medieval white peas, the modern variety, either fresh or frozen, will have to do. The fresh herbs used for the Alabama Feast included parsley and other appropriate fresh herbs obtained just prior to the feast.

Saracen Brodo

Roasted game hens in a fruit sauce

Original receipt from Libro della cucina del secola XIV:

Saracen brodo. Take roasted capons, and pound their livers, with spices and grilled bread, in a mortar; and moisten this in the mortar with good white wine and sour fruit juices. Then cut up those capons and boil them with those things in a pan; and add dates, Greek raisins, prunes, whole skinned almonds, and an adequate quantity of pork fat; and serve. You can use a similar method for sea fish. You can put apples and pears in these brodi.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 roasted chickens or capons, in pieces
  • 1 qt. red grape juice
  • 1 qt. orange juice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup combination chopped dates & prunes
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • Optional: ½ apple & ½ pear, peeled, cored, & chopped
Combine the juices. Place the roasted poultry in a deep pan or casserole dish; lay the fruit & nuts on top. Add enough juice to just cover. Place in a 375° F oven for ½ hour; reduce heat to warm and let simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the liquid and serve with some of the fruits & nuts in the juice on the side.

Although the original receipt calls for white wine, we have chosen to substitute with red grape juice, as the name Saracen Brodo implies that the final color of the dish should be red. The combined mixture of liver, spices, & bread crumbs of the original receipt was used as a slight thickening agent; since is not needed here it has been left out of the modern version. Additionally, the pork fat is also an unnecessary ingredient and is not included. For the Alabama Feast, we have substituted game hens for the capon.


A cinnamon & honey confection

Original receipt from Harleian MS. 279. Leche Vyaundez:

.iiij. Gyngerbrede. Take a quart of hony, & sethe it, & skeme it clene; take Safroun, pouder Pepir, & þrow ther-on; take gratyd Brede, & make it so chargeaunt þat it wol be y-leched; þen take pouder Canelle, & straw þer-on y-now; þen make yt square, lyke as þou wolt leche it; take when þou lechyst hyt, an caste Box leaves a-bouyn, y-stkyd þer-on, on clowys. And if þou wolt haue it Red, coloure it with Saunderys y-now.

Gode Cookery translation:

Gingerbread. Take a quart of honey, & boil it, & skim it clean; take saffron, pepper, & throw on; take grated bread, and make it so thick that it can be sliced; then take cinnamon, & strew on; then make it square, like you would have it sliced; and when you slice it, stick in cloves. And if you'd like it red, color it with sandalwood.

Modern recipe:

  • 4 cups honey 
  • 1 lb. unseasoned bread crumbs 
  • 1 Tbs. each ginger & cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper 
  • Pinch saffron 
  • Whole cloves 
Bring the honey to a boil and skim off any scum. Keeping the pan over very low heat, stir in the breadcrumbs and spices. When it is a thick, well-blended mass (add more bread crumbs if necessary), remove from heat & let cool slightly, then lay out on a flat surface & press firmly into an evenly shaped square or rectangle, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Let cool, then cut into small squares to serve. Garnish each square by sticking a whole clove in the top center.

Add a few drops of red food coloring when adding the spices, "if thou wolt haue it Red."

Compost of Pasternak and of Peeres

Sweet and sour carrots & pears

Our modern recipe is an adaptation of this original receipt from Forme of Cury:

Compost. Take rote of persel, of pasternak, of rafens, scrape hem and waische hem clene. Take rapes & caboches, ypared and icorue. Take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast alle þise þerinne. Whan þey buth boiled cast þerto peeres, & parboile hem wel. Take alle þise thynges vp & lat it kele on a faire cloth. Do þerto salt; whan it is colde, do hit in a vessel; take vyneger & powdour & safroun & do þerto, & lat alle þise thynges lye þerin al nyyt, oþer al day. Take wyne greke & hony, clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard & raisons coraunce, al hoole, & grynde powdour of canel, powdour douce & aneys hole, & fenell seed. Take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe, & take þerof whan þou wilt & serue forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Pickled Salad. Take parsley, carrots, radishes; scrape and clean them. Take white radishes & cabbages, pared and cored. Take an earthen pan with clean water & set it on the fire; and put all these in. When they've boiled, add pears and parboil well. Take all these things out and let cool on a clean cloth. Add salt. When cooled, place in a container; add vinegar, powder, and saffron, and let sit overnight. Take Greek wine & honey, clarified together; take "lumbarde" mustard and whole currants, and cinnamon, "powdour douce" & whole anise seed, & fennel seed. Take all these things and place together in an earthen pot, and take from it when you need to, and serve.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into medium sized pieces 
  • 3-4 pears, peeled, cored and chopped into medium sized pieces
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger 
  • few threads saffron
  • ½ Tbs. each anise seed & fennel seed
  • 1 ½ quart white grape juice
  • ½ cup honey 
  • ½ Tbs. mustard seed 
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
Boil the carrots for several minutes, then add the pears. Cook until tender; drain well. Lay carrots and pears on a clean cloth. Sprinkle on the salt. Let cool, then place in a large dish or container; sprinkle on the ginger & saffron then pour the vinegar over all. Cover (the cloth works fine for this) and let stand for several hours or overnight. Mix the compost with the seeds, place in a non-metallic container that can be sealed, then set aside. In a separate pot, bring the honey, cinnamon, and grape juice to a boil, skimming off any scum until clear. Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour the liquid over the compost mixture. Let cool and seal. May be stored for a week or more.

Tartus of fflesh

A pie of beef, fruits, & nuts, topped with roasted chicken

Original receipt from Harleian MS 4016. A Boke of Kokery:

Take fressh porke, hew it small, grynde it in a morter, and take it vppe into a faire vessell; And take yolkes and white of egges, streyn hem þorgh a streynour, and temper þe porke there-with; then take pynys, reysons of coraunce, and fry hem in fressh grece, and cast thereto pouder of peper, Gingere, Canell, Sugur, Safferon and salt, and do hit in a coffyn, and plante the coffyn above with prunes, and kutte dates, and grete reysynges, and smale birdes, and or elles hard Yolkes of egges; and if þou take birdes, fry hem a litull in fresh grece, or thou putte hem into þe Coffyn; then endore hit with yolkes of egges and with saffron, and lete bake hit til hit be ynogh, and so serue hit forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Take fresh pork, hew it small, grind it in a mortar, and take it up into a fair vessel. And take yolks and whites of eggs, strain them through a strainer, and mix the pork there-with; then take pine nuts, currants, and fry them in fresh grease, and add there-to powder of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, saffron and salt, and do it in a pie shell, and plant the pie shell on top with prunes, and cut dates, and great raisins, and small birds, and or else hard yolks of eggs; and if you take birds, fry them a little in fresh grease,  before you put them into the pie; then gild it with yolks of eggs and with saffron, and let bake until it be done, and so serve it forth.

Modern recipe:

  • 1 ½ lb. stewing beef
  • 6-8 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 1 Tbs. butter or oil
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbs. powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Pinch saffron
  • One slightly pre-baked 9-inch pie shell
  • 6-8 small cooked chicken thighs or wing “drumettes,” roasted or fried
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
Place the beef in a large soup pot; cover with water and bring to a boil. Add a dash of salt & pepper; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until meat is completely cooked and very tender. Remove from broth and drain well; allow to cool. Chop the cooled meat into very small pieces; set aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter or heat the oil; gently sauté the nuts and currants until they have softened and become aromatic. Remove from the skillet and drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, nuts, fruit, & spices; mix in the beaten egg until you have a very wet and slightly runny mixture. Place this filling in the pie shell, then top with the cooked chicken pieces. Place in a 375° F oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the crust has browned and the filling set. Remove the pie from the oven, and with a small pastry brush, paint the entire top of the pie with beaten egg yolk. Return to the oven for approximately 15-20 seconds to set the “gilding” – be careful not to leave in for longer as the egg will turn brown. Serve.

For the Alabama Feast, we have made individual tarts instead of the nine-inch pie described above; each tart is crowned with one piece of the roasted chicken. With the ingredients, we have substituted beef for pork; we have also left out the top filling of prunes, dates, & raisins, as our experience with this recipe has shown us that this topping has a tendency to scorch very easily and become quite nasty unless completely covered by the chicken pieces. As our small tarts cannot be  given this consideration, we have left the fruit topping out.


An almond & rice pudding

Our modern recipe is an adaptation of this original receipt from Utilis Coquinario:

Blawmanger. Tak þe two del of rys, þe thridde pert of almoundes; wash clene þe rys in leuk water & turne & seth hem til þay breke & lat it kele, & tak þe melk & do it to þe rys & boyle hem togedere. & do þerto whit gres & braun of hennes grounde smale, & stere it wel, & salte it & dresch it in disches. & frye almaundes in fresch gres til þey be browne, & set hem in þe dissches, & strawe þeron sugre & serue it forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Blancmange. Take two parts of rice, the third part of almonds; wash the rice clean in lukewarm water & turn & boil them till they break and let cool, & take the milk and do to the rice and boil together. And do there-to white grease & ground dark chicken meat, & stir well, & salt it and place it in dishes. Fry almonds in fresh grease until brown, & set them in the dishes, and strew on sugar & serve it.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 cups cooked rice 
  • 4-6 cups almond milk (see recipe at end)
  • Dash salt 
  • ¼ cup fried slivered almonds 
  • Sugar to taste 
Bring to a soft boil the cooked rice, almond milk, & salt. Immediately reduce heat to very low & stir in the sugar, adjusting sweetness as desired. Cover & allow to slowly cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching or sticking, until liquid is absorbed. Serve hot or cold with the fried almonds on top.

NOTE: In our modification of the original recipe, we have left out the chicken. Many, but not all, blawmangers usually featured chicken as an ingredient, and some medieval versions could also be made with ground fish. Those who wish a modern recipe closer to the original may simply stir in approx. ½ cup ground cooked dark meat of chicken to the blawmanger at the point in the recipe when the heat is reduced to low.

Trayne Roste of Skirwittes and of Apples

Parsnips & apples skewered and batter-fried, then dressed with honey

Our modern recipe is an adaptation based on three medieval recipes, from Harleian MS 4016 and Forme of Cury.

From Harleian MS 4016. A Boke of Kokery:

Trayne roste. Take Dates and figges, and kutte hem in a peny brede; And þen take grete reysons and blanched almondes, and prik hem thorgh with a nedel into a threde of a mannys length, and one of one frute and a-noþer of a-noþer frute; and þen bynde the threde with the frute A-bought a rownde spete, endelonge þe spete, in maner of an hasselet; And then take a quarte of wyne or Ale, and fyne floure, And make batur thereof, and cast thereto pouder ginger, sugur, & saffron, pouder of Clowes, salt; And make þe batur not fully rennyng, and noþer stonding, but in þe mene, that hit may cleue, and than rost the treyne abought the fire in þe spete; And þen cast the batur on the treyne as he turneth abought the fire, so longe til þe frute be hidde in the batur; as þou castest þe batur there-on, hold a vessell vndere-nethe, for spilling of þe batur. And whan hit is y-rosted well, hit wol seme a hasselet; And then take hit vppe fro þe spit al hole, And kut hit in faire peces of a Span length, And serue of hit a pece or two in a dissh al hote.

Gode Cookery translation:

Train roast. Take dates and figs, and cut them in a penny breadth; and then take great raisins and blanched almonds, and prick them through with a needle into a thread of a man’s length, and one of one fruit and another of another fruit; and then bind the thread with the fruit about a round spit, along the spit, in manner of a haslet. And then take a quart of wine or ale, and fine flour, and make batter there-of, and cast there-to powder ginger, sugar, & saffron, powder of cloves, salt; and make the batter not fully runny, and neither standing, but in the middle, that it may cleave, and then roast the train about the fire in the spit; and then cast the batter on the train as it turns about the fire, so long till the fruit be hidden in the batter; as you cast the batter there-on, hold a vessel underneath, for spilling of the batter. And when it is roasted well, it will seem a haslet; and then take it up from the spit all whole, and cut it in fair pieces of a span length, and serve of it a piece or two in a dish all hot.

From Forme of Cury:

Hasteletes of fruyt. Take fyges iquartered, raysouns hool, dates and almaundes hoole, and ryne hem on a spyt and roost hem; and endore hem as pomme dorryes, & serue hem forth.

Gode Cookery translation:

Haslet of fruit. Take figs quartered, raisins whole, dates and almonds whole, and run them on a spit and roast them, and gild them as pomme dorryes, & serve them forth.

From Forme of Cury:

Frytour of pasternakes, of skirwittes, & of apples. Take skyrwittes and pasternakes and apples, & perboile hem. Make a batour of flour and ayren; cast þerto ale & yest, safroun & salt. Wete hem in þe batour and frye hem in oile or in grece; do þerto almaund mylke, & serue it forth. 

Gode Cookery translation:

Fritter of carrots, of parsnips, & of apples. Take parsnips and carrots and apples, & parboil them. Make a batter of flour and eggs; cast there-to ale & yeast, saffron & salt. Wet them in the batter and fry them in oil or in grease; do there-to almond milk, & serve it forth.

Modern recipe:

  • 2-3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup flat ale
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Honey
  • Wooden skewers
Beat together the flour and eggs; mix in the ale, yeast, salt & saffron. Allow to rest at room temperature for several minutes. Place alternate pieces of apple & parsnip on the skewers, shish-kabob style. Dip the skewers in the batter then fry in hot oil until brown. Remove and drain. Place on a serving platter and drizzle honey over all. Serve.

Haslet was the intestines and organ meats of animals of the hunt, the “offal” that is rejected today. In the Middle Ages, however, this part of the animal was a sought-after trophy, and “haslet,” roasted on a spit, was brought into the feast hall with great ceremony and presented with honor. The first two period receipts present a mock haslet, composed of fruits roasted in such a way as to resemble the real thing. In the first receipt, the haslet is made of fruit strung together with needle and thread, such as popcorn or cranberries on a modern Christmas tree. These strings of fruit, each the length of a man’s height, are wrapped around a spit, and as they roast are basted in a wine batter. In the second receipt, fruit is placed on a spit and given a coating of batter of flour and egg yolks as they roast. The third receipt is a simple fritter recipe of apples, carrots, & parsnips. Our modern version, therefore, is an adaptation of all three of these fried fruit recipes.

Using the apples & parsnips of the third recipe, our haslet is placed on skewers, the spit used in the second recipe. Recipes 1 & 2 have the haslet coated in batter; recipe 3 deep fries the batter-coated fruit pieces. Our haslet is thus made by placing alternate pieces of apple and parsnip on a wooden skewer, dipping this in batter, then deep-frying in hot oil until brown. The end result looks very much indeed like roasted meat on a small spit, but with a decidedly different taste! Our final garnish is honey, an appropriate substitute for almond milk and the most popular medieval sweetener.

The name Trayne Roste refers to the length and arrangement of the haslet along with its cooking procedure – a “train” of roasted items.


Spiced red grape juice

Original receipt from Forme of Cury:

Clarrey. Take kanel & galinga, greyns de paris, and a lytel peper, & make pouder, & temper hit wyt god wyte wyne & the þrid perte honey & ryne hit þorow a cloþ.

Gode Cookery translation:

Claret. Take cinnamon & galingale, grains of paradise, and a little pepper, & make powder, & mix it with good white wine & the third part honey & run it through a cloth. 

Modern recipe:

  • 1 gallon red grape juice (substituting for red wine) 
  • 1 cup honey 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 pieces galingale root (or substitute ginger root)
  • 1 Tbs. cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • Cheesecloth 
Bring the juice and honey to a soft boil; reduce heat & skim off the scum as it rises. Taste for sweetness; add honey as necessary. Remove from heat. Tie the spices securely in a piece of the cheesecloth and add to the juice; allow to sit covered for 24 hours. Remove the cheesecloth and place the juice in an appropriate container.

Clarrey was wine to which honey and spices were added; the name comes from the Latin vinum claratum, which means "clarified wine." The name survives today as claret, a dry, red wine.

Potus ypocras

Spiced white grape juice

Original receipt from Goud Kokery:

Potus ypocras. Take a half lb. of canel tried; of gyngyuer tried, a half lb.; of greynes, iii unce; of longe peper, iii unce; of clowis, ii unce; of notemugges, ii unce & a half; of carewey, ii unce; of spikenard, a half unce; of galyngale, ii unce; of sugir, ii lb. Si deficiat sugir, take a potel of honey.

Gode Cookery translation:

Hipocras drink. Take a half lb. of cinnamon tested; of ginger tested, a half lb.; of grains, 3 ounces; of long pepper, 3 ounces; of cloves, 2 ounces; of nutmegs, 2 ounces & a half; of caraway, 2 ounces; of spikenard, a half ounce; of galingale, 2 ounces; of sugar, 2 lb. In deficit of sugar, take a pottel of honey.

Modern recipe:

  • 1 gallon of white grape juice (substituting for white wine)
  • ½ to 1 cup sugar or 1 cup honey
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 small pieces of ginger root
  • 1 Tbs. cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. whole cloves
  • 1 Tbs. caraway seed
  • 2-3 small pieces of ginseng root (substituting for spikenard) 
  • Cheesecloth 
Bring the juice and sugar or honey to a soft boil; reduce heat & if using honey, skim off the scum as it rises. Taste for sweetness; add sugar or honey as necessary. Remove from heat. Tie the spices securely in a piece of the cheesecloth and add to the juice; allow to sit covered for 24 hours. Remove the cheesecloth and place the juice in an appropriate container.

A Window from Chartres Cathedral

Made from sugar paste by Darell & Glenda. Image source: Marcel Aubert. The Art of the High Gothic Era. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1965.


Original receipt from Harleian MS.279:

.xxviij. Cokyntryce. - Take a Capon, & skald hym, & draw hem clene, & smyte hem a-to in the waste ouerthwart; take a Pigge, & skald hym, & draw hym in the same maner, & smyte hem also in the waste; take a nedyl & a threde, & sewe the fore partye of the Capoun to the After parti of the Pigge; & the fore partye of the Pigge, to the hynder party of the Capoun, & than stuffe hem as thou stuffyst a Pigge; putte hem on a spete, and Roste hym: & whan he is y-now, dore hem with yolkys of Eyroun, & pouder Gyngere & Safroun, thenne wyth the Ius of Percely with-owte; & than serue it forth for a ryal mete.

Gode Cookery translation:

Cockentrice - take a capon, scald it, drain it clean, then cut it in half at the waist; take a pig, scald it, drain it as the capon, and also cut it in half at the at the waist; take needle and thread and sew the front part of the capon to the back part of the pig; and the front part of the pig to the back part of the capon, and then stuff it as you would stuff a pig; put it on a spit, and roast it: and when it is done, gild it on the outside with egg yolks, ginger, saffron, and parsley juice; and then serve it forth for a royal meat.

Coqz Heaumez

Original receipt from Le Viandier de Taillevent:

Coqz Heaumez. Mettez cochons rostir, et poulalaille comme coqz et vielles poulles, et quant le cochon sera rosty d'une part et la poulaille d'autre convient farsir la poullaille - sans escorcher, qui veult; et la convient farsir de paste batue aux oeuf; et quant ell'est doree la convient mettre a chevauchons sur le cochon, et fault ung heaume de papier colle et une lance fichie a la poittrine de la dicte poullaille, et les fault couvrir de fueil d'or ou d'argent pour les seigneurs, ou de feul d'estain blanc, vermeil ou vert.

Terence Scully’s translation:

Coqz Heaumez: Helmeted Cocks. Roast piglets and such poultry as cocks and old hens; when both the piglet and the poultry are roasted, the poultry should be stuffed - without skinning it, if you wish; it should be (glazed) with an egg batter. And when it is glazed it should be seated astride the piglet; and it needs a helmet of glued paper and a lance couched at the breast of the bird, and these should be covered with gold-or-silver-leaf for lords, or with white, red or green tin-leaf.

Almond Milk

In the Middle Ages, animal milk was, of course, not refrigerated, and fresh milk did not stay fresh for long. Most cooks simply did not use much milk as the short shelf-life of the product made it a difficult ingredient to depend upon. Many recipe collections of the time advise that cooks should only rely on milk that comes directly from a cow, something not possible at all times, and purchasing milk was a dubious practice, for streetsellers of milk often sold wares that were either spoiled or diluted with water. Milk's use had to be immediate, in cooking or by turning into cheese & butter. It was these difficulties that forced Medieval cooks to look upon milk with great reluctance, and so having milk in the kitchen was usually unheard of.

Rather than animal milk, Medieval cooks turned to something they could depend upon, and that was the milky liquid produced by grinding almonds or walnuts. This liquid, high in natural fats, could be prepared fresh whenever needed in whatever quantities. It also could be made well ahead of time and stored with no danger of degeneration. Because of its high fat content, it, like animal milk, could be churned into butter, and because it was not animal milk, it could be used and consumed during Church designated meatless days.

Almond milk was used extensively in period; all existing cookbooks call for it, and it must have been found in literally every Medieval kitchen. It's the prime ingredient in many, many recipes, and the modern cook recreating Medieval food will have to learn its production in order to prepare the most common of dishes. Fortunately, it's easily made.

  • 1 cup ground almonds 
  • 2 cups boiling water
Combine almonds and water. Steep for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sieve the mixture to remove coarse grains OR (preferably) blend mixture in electric blender until grains are absorbed. Yield - 2 cups almond milk.

The Receipts

The medieval receipts used in the preparation of this feast came from the following sources:

Thomas Austin. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.

Ruth Anne Beebe. Sallets, Humbles, & Shrewsbery Cakes. A Collection of Elizabethan Recipes Adapted for the Modern Kitchen. Boston: David R. Godine, 1976.

Constance B. Hieatt. An Ordinance of Pottage. An Edition of the Fifteenth Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988.

Constance B. Hieatt. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.

Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, and Silvano Serventi. Edward Schneider, trans. The Medieval Kitchen. Recipes from France and Italy. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Terrrence Scully. Le Viandier de Taillevent. An Edition of all Extant Manuscripts. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988.

In Appreciation

Gode Cookery would like to thank the following individuals for their help in the preparation of this year’s Alabama Renaissance Faire Feast:

Lee Freeman, Billy Warren, & the members of the Alabama Renaissance Fair Roundtable

Sherry Campbell, Director Shoals Commercial Culinary Center

Darell & Doris McCormick of Weirton, WV

Kim Ellis, owner of Maxwell’s Restaurant, Morgantown, WV

Gode Cookery

James Matterer is studying history at West Virginia University and is employed by the WVU Libraries. He has been preparing medieval food since 1980.

Glenda Cockrum is the owner and operator of the Ambridge Family Theater, Ambridge, PA. She has been preparing medieval food since 1991.

Darell McCormick is studying history and anthropology at West Virginia University. He has been preparing medieval food since 1991.

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