Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sewing and Food on Sunday

Food: Orange Juice and chocolate chip cookies may not make for the healthiest of breakfasts but it was good. I had regular old tortas and hummus for lunch at Mom & Dad's - plus soda. The funny thing? My Dad took out the hummus later to snack on. I pointed out the tortas and told him I eat it with that rather than crackers. He tried it and liked it. Mom loves "those things with the rosemary" (tortas) after she tried a few bites. My brother came in and wanted to know what the heck the tortas were. He tried them and likes them now my family is sold on eating my "weird" food. ;-)

Dinner was rice, peas, and steak. I really needed the steak. I also ended up eating some dark chocolate peppermint patties because all the passover food is already out and I NEEDED THEM. My family helped me eat those too.

Sewing: So, I went to Mom & Dad's not just to spend quality time with my family before my brother and Dad take off to Africa on a hike (yes, there is a story in there. They will be back in a couple of weeks) but also to try what I have of Mom's dress done on her. The petticoat fits. I need to take the shoulder straps off the stays but they fit fine as well. The shoulder straps on the dress? Need to be taken in. D'oh!

The dress fits other wise but I now need to take the sleeves out, un do the stitching of the shoulder, re cut it, re attach it, and then reattach the sleeves. I still have to add the front of the gown, add the trim to the front of the gown, and add the trim to the petticoat. This will be a VERY busy week as I have to take a course and still do my gwon plus actually go to work. Oh za fun...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where I'm ending tonight and more on food!

robe a la francaise
robe a la francaise
The dress isn't done, of course, but it's where I'm ending for the night. It has sleeves, it has a skirt, I just need to add the front of the bodice and finished edging the bodice with trim.

This lent I've learned I love raisins and walnuts mixed together like a trail mix. It's what I had for breakfast. The sweetness of the raisins and the bitterness of the walnuts blend really well together. Lunch was olives and hummus because now that I know hummus is period and found in Italy, it is awesome. Dinner was hummus again because I needed something quick given I was working on making Mom's dress a dress. Tomorrow is Sunday. Tomorrow I'm having steak and potatoes and chocolate chip cookies because I so can.

Mom's Francaise for the Historical Fortnightly

front skirt robe a la Francaise

This is an "in progess" photo but do you think this counts for "Embellish"? :-) Mom wants a button front robe a la Francaise for the dinner.
The Challenge: Embellish
Fabric: silk shantung and silver gimpy stuff?
Pattern:  Based upon the Robe a L'anglais pattern I bought years ago in Williamsburg
Year:  1770's
Notions:Silk, thread, pinking scissors, gimpy trim
How historically accurate is it? Eh...close? But with sewing machine stitches!
Hours to complete: still not done yet but I figured everyone would like to see something not food related.
First worn: 9 March, I hope!
Total cost: I think the silk was $50? Everything else was stash.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hummus in Period

In 16th Century Italy, there were a variety of travelers passing through the ports of Naples and Venice. We can easily see the Turkish influences in clothing but I'm also curious about the food.

Hummus is certainly period for the Middle East but what about elsewhere? Would a 16th Century Italian lady be able to taste hummus in her lifetime? Granted, I'm just hungry for hummus and trying to find an excuse at this point (:-D) but I'm looking up information to see if mushed chickpeas ever made it to Italy.

According to this 14th C recipe chickpeas were certainly known in Italy. However, they sound like they are used in a soup, not as a paste like Hummus would be. Still, this gives me some hope. There is also a 15th Century recipe for chickpea soup.

I also found a chickpeas pie from the 15th C:
[Torta di ceci.]

Farai cocere una libra de cici rosci, pistali molto bene, et col
suo brodo et con un pocha d'acqua rosata gli passarai per una stamegna
bene stretta; et habi una libra de amandole ben mondate et bianche
piste molto bene, perché non se vogliono passare per la stamegna;
et con esse se vol pistare doi once de uva passa et tre o quattro
fiche secche, item un'oncia et meza di pignoli rotti un pocho et non
pisti, giognendoli del zuccharo, dell'acqua rosata, de la cannella,
et del zenzevero, mescolando bene tutte queste cose inseme. Et per
farla prendere l'incorporarai de la farina d'amitto o dill'ova del
luccio como è ditto di sopra, et mettirala accocere con una crosta di
sotto; et quando ti pare presso che cotta gli mettirai suso del
zuccharo et dell'acqua rosata, et darali anchora di sopra una bona calda
di foco. Et nota che questa torta vole essere bassa.

Isabella's Horrible Translation with the not so helpful Google Translate:
Boil a pound of red chickpeas, mash them very well, and with
its broth and with a little rosewater that seeps through for a Stamegna (?)
well close, and get one pound of well cleaned almonds, blanched, and
runs very well, because they did not want to go through the Stamegna;
and with them mash two ounces of raisins and three or four
dried chips (?), a small ounce and a half of a broken, not mashed, pine nuts, a lot of sugar, rosewater, cinnamon and
ginger, stirring well all these things together. And for
it incorporate flour amice or egg of
pike as is also above (Yeah, I have no idea either), and put them in to cook with a base crust: and when you think that cooked at the put it upward of
sugared rosewater and of it anchor it above a good hot
fire. And note that this tart wants to be low (ie, will not rise?).

Like I said, really bad translation because I know Latin and some Spanish, not Italian. And definitely not 15th C Italian...

Anyway, they had chickpeas. They had garlic. We even know they had lemon, paprika, and pretty much anything else you can think of that goes into a modern hummus; but hummus? Did it make it to Italy? the chickpea tart sounds like a "sweet" hummus in a shell. So, I guess I'm going cheat a little and just get my hummus - for now- and happily eat it since it did exist in the 16th century, it's just hard to tell if it made it to Italy.

EDIT: I FOUND IT! In ITALY! Or, at least something close enough that it would be recognizable as hummus to us. And it's a lenten food!

Altramente di Quaresima. Togli ceci rotti o interi, poni a cocere con olio, sale e pesi minuzzati, ovvero battuti e distemperati nel mortaio; e, messovi spezie e zaffarano, da' a mangiare.

My really bad translation:

Another way for Lent. Take both broken and whole chickpeas, cook with oil, and a very small amount of salt, mash 'em into a paste; and, put in spices and saffron, of this eat.

This is from the 1300's/1400's in Italy. Oil, chickpeas, spice, mixed into a paste...sounds like hummus to me!

Food and Sewing the last few days

Monday: I ate the left over almond rice with carrots and raisins. There are a ton of various recipes in the 15th and 16th c that show rice being cooked in almond milk. Sometimes they call for currents to be added or figs, other times it's plain. Most of the time, sugar or honey is added as well. It actually tastes really good - similar to a rice pudding.

Tuesday: I went over to Mom and Dad's to make sure Mom's new stays fit. They do. :-) She even likes them despite the fact they are now a pastel blue with pink bias tape. I also made sure the back lining of the Francaise fit before I cut out the silk. It fit perfectly.

Since I was over there, Mom took me grocery shopping and I ended up making mushrooms and onions for dinner as well as the salmon recipe. Not only are both good and very easy on the modern palette, but it takes a grand total of 25 minutes to prep and cook everything.

Wednesday: Wednesday is a fasting day in the medieval calendar. I had walnuts, raisins, olives, and bread with herbs for lunch. I had to eat something when I got home -I was starting to feel sick- so I ended up with more walnuts and raisins which helped a lot. Lunch was a full meal but "dinner" wasn't.

On the sewing side, I cut out most of the parts for Mom's gown and pleated the back of the gown to the lining. This thing looks spectacular already. The silk I'm using is a shantung but it looks like a silvery blue. It looks fabulous.

On an extra happy note, Tuesday, Mom told me that she LOVES her raincoat I made her last year. She apparently thought she lost it one day and went ballistic trying to find it. She tells me that every time she wears it, she gets a ton of compliments. :-)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Food and Sewing

Sunday, I ate whatever I pleased. I drank tons of soda, ate chocolate chip cookies, and attempted to make deviled eggs. I hard boiled the eggs perfectly but I added way too much mustard when I tired to mash the yolks, the mayo, and mustard with some chives. It ended up tasting like the stuff Mom puts on top of crab cakes but I think that way just the paprika. Sunday, during Lent, is like a little Easter - you get a get out of jail free card on the lenton restrictions. In the Middle Ages, they still wouldn't have had meat (chicken and rice for me!) but I'm not being quite as strict as last year.

Today, bread, more bread, a candy cane, and leftover rice boiled in almond milk. Although they didn't call it a candy cane, there appears to be some evidence for some sort of peppermint stick candy starting in the late 15th, early 16th Century. So far, I've seen some inconclusive evidence for France being the origin as well as the Germans. I'll look for something more concrete later but the candy cane I had was pure white, no stripes. According to everything I have ever read, the red stripe came much later so a pure white cane is closer to what they probably enjoyed in period. Most likely, a peppermint stick (peppermint oil, sugar, and cream of tartar) was used for medicine in period. You wouldn't believe hoe much a piece of peppermint candy can calm an upset stomach.

On the sewing side, I did cut out some of Mom's dress. That counts, right?

I ended up going to the museums and seeing the nephews today which is why more didn't get done. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Medieval Apple Pie and Sourdough bread

I played with the recipe I used here and the dough ended up not being sweet enough for the pastry.   It was okay but the top crust, especially, could have used a lot more sugar.  

My pie shell was just a bit of salt, a lot of whole wheat flour, sugar, about two tablespoons of olive oil, and water.   The bottom shell was fine since the brown sugar I used in the pie seeped in.   I poured red and white sugar crystals (they did color sugar in period for special occasions) on top of the pie and that helped a bit - plus it made it festive!   Okay, so making the top part of the crust to look like a heart was probably festive enough.  

The apple pie itself was good.  :-)  Just more sugar in the pie shell next time.  

My sourdough bread finally rose a bit and I baked it right away.   It's delicious!   I ate it with onion salt and olive oil drizzled on top.  I have no idea if they had onion salt in period but they did have onions and they had salt!

Miss Ginsie, by the way, has a new squirrelly for her birthday.  :-)  I took her to the pet store. 

Thursday! Also known as Miss Ginsie's Birthday

Well, I'm sure you are all wearing either white, pink, red, or purple in celebration of my puppy dog's 11th Birthday today.  :-)   Pink and purple are her favorite colors and she is white and red so....

Happy Birthday, Puppy girl!

Okay, so on to the cooking and then the sewing.

Cooking:  My latest sourdough refuses to rise.  It's driving me batty!  I'm hoping to see some change tonight or else I'm going to have to leave it out another night.   Normally, the sourdough rises without any issue within 24 hours.  I changed the recipe only slightly - using some whole wheat flour when I ran out of bread flour- and it's been...not moving.    Luckily, leaving sourdough out only makes it that much more sour.   You can leave the dough out for up to a week without any issues so...   if it doesn't rise tomorrow, then I might try something else. 

Lunch today consisted of olives, toast with strawberry jam, and tea.  I also have some ginger left over from yesterday and I brought in more apple sauce and raisins but I just don't have a sweet tooth right now.   I was hoping the store at work had walnuts or sunflower seeds but they seemed to be out of everything until next week.  D'oh! 

Tonight, medieval apple pie!  

Sewing:  I...yeah.   Luckily, this is a three day weekend.  This means I get to do all sorts of fun things like working on Mom's gown and perfecting it before working on my gown.  I need to try Mom's "new" stays on her before she leaves for the beach this weekend and then try the mock up over that.  I'm sure the mock up is fine but I need to make double sure given the way her stays currently are.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Is it sad that I've been excited for Lent to begin?   I went to Church at work today (there are enough of us that they had to have mass in the auditorium!) and brought a semi-medieval "supper" with me.   I'm back to drinking tea and water (and wine, but not at work).   I drank my last Pepsi until the end of Lent yesterday.  

Since Ash Wednesday is a fasting day, I had rosemary flat bread, olives, apple sauce, and a couple of slices of sugared ginger.   It might sound like a lot but this is all I'm having for the day.   Tomorrow, being Ginsie's birthday, I'm thinking something like Apple Pie would be good.   Friday, probably more flat bread and olives since it's a fasting day.   ...And I somehow ended up with five jars of olives.  

I haven't been doing much research this week but I'm sure I'll be looking over new recipes in the coming weeks.  Now that I know honey is okay (woohoo!), it opens up a lot more food choices for me.  Still, I can't wait to try some of the recipes I did last year again.   Rice cooked in almond milk is delicious.