Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cameline Sauce and Salmon

Cameline Sauce

I read in a few medieval/renaissance cookbooks that salmon and cameline sauce go well together. So what is cameline sauce?

For the salmon and for the trout, the cameline: to give understanding to the sauce-maker who will make it, take his white bread according to the quantity of it which he is making and let him put it to roast on the grill, and let him have good claret wine of the best which he can have in which he should put his bread to soak and vinegar in good measure; and let him take his spices, that is cinnamon, ginger, grains of paradise, cloves, a little pepper, mace, nutmeg and a little sugar, and this is mixed with is bread and a little salt; and then dress it as you will.
Du fait de cuisine
(France, 1420 - Elizabeth Cook, trans)

I had everything on hand. Bread crumbs, red wine, vinegar, and even the grains of paradise. Thank you, Auntie Arwen's at Pennsic!

I took maybe a little less than a half a cup of bread crumbs - it wasn't a lot. I added a full 60ml (1/4 cup) of Fig vinegar. I added the same amount of the red wine I had in the fridge. I let the bread crumbs soak while I used the mortar and pestle to grind up a few grains of paradise. That stuff smells heavenly. Seriously. Anyway, once the bread crumbs were pretty well soaked, I added the spices based on what I like. A little salt, a little pepper, a good tablespoon at least of sugar, the same amount in cinnamon, ect. I only used a pinch of the grains of paradise.

It actually tastes, on it's own, pretty decent. I probably could have cut the amount of mace in half (again. I always put too much in) but it's a decent garnish.

It compliments the salmon quite well. I cooked the salmon with just some olive oil for about 20 min at 390f. It might be slightly over cooked but it didn't look done at 15 min so... It tastes fine however and the two flavors together are quite delicious.

The sauce, using the 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, makes enough for about four fillets of salmon.

Lenten Biscuits!!!

Because I made a lot of dough for the Lenten Pancakes, I figured I'd turn what I had left into small rolls/biscuits/bread/whatever you want to call them.  I just added a bit more flour, kneed the dough, and threw them in the oven.   As biscuits/rolls/ect they are pretty decent.  Put some jam or honey on them and they work well as small loaves of bread. 

Now, I have biscuits for the next few days. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lenten Pancakes

To make lenten pancakes. Take fine flour which you shall beat up with yeast. Then make dough from it. Then, from the same dough, one shall take a small lump and make it square [and] very thin, in any case as thin as it is possible to make, until small holes appear. Then fry them well in rape oil. Some, who wish to, fry raisins therein and they stick them one here and there and also small pieces of apple.

Taken from Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (Netherlands, ca. 1510

My redaction:
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1/8 cup of sugar's bread.  Thin bread, but bread.   I added the salt and sugar because, otherwise, it would be tasteless bread (and it's how you make dough anyway...).  I used the almond milk for much the same reason although I'm sure water would work.

I fried it up in olive oil rather than canola oil (which is what it's calling for) because it's what I had on hand.  Because it's bread, it tastes great with honey.


I put the dough in a container and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Of course, due to the yeast, it rose. I made the pancakes again for dinner and really, wait for the dough to rise the next day. They are SO Much better. I'm thinking still a lot more sugar is needed in the pancake and I should have added the raisins to the dough but, over all, not bad.

18th Century Caraco


This was a UFO project.  I started this jacket last year as a button front.   It ended up way too big so I threw it into the UFO pile where it languished for the past few months.   However, once Williamsburg got closer, I knew it had to be taken out and given another chance.

This was after I ripped off the front panels.  It's still way too big and I had to figure out how to take it all in.
This was part of the problem.  I have no idea why I extended the side into the neckline like that.  I really don't.  But that inch and a half on either side needed to go.

So I folded it to create a line (yeah, I know it's wrinkled.  It will get better, I swear!) and then chopped the upper front sides off.
The back gape.  It still gapes but not quite this badly.  I know what I did wrong and it's more trouble than it's work to fix it completely.

I took the entire thing apart, repleated the back, folded the center back insides over to take another inch off there, turned the front panels into a stomacher and then....
Williamsburg 2015

I'm on the left.  The photo was taken by Gloria of In the Long Run.  Once it was repleated, the back came out really well.  There is still a slight gape at the back because, as you can see in this photo, the back neckline is curved rather than straight.  I really just can't correct that without making an entirely new back lining - which isn't fun with 18th Century outfits.

I know, I need to iron it.  I swear I did before I left for Williamsburg!  It just ended up in the big purple body bag squished.

I also didn't finish the sleeves until the day off.  Rather, I didn't finish sewing the sleeves on until the day off.  The sleeves were done.


The fabric is a chintz I picked up at Fort Fred a couple of years ago.  Although it doesn't have any orange in it, the bright orange quilted petticoat really went well with the fabric tones.   The bodice is lined in that glue stiffened fabric I can never remember the name of even though I should and cotton.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Slight Change

All The Pretty Dresses

I've recently switched the All the Pretty Dresses blog over to Although, if you type in and all your pins will redirect, the readers will NOT pick up on this new feed. Click the Eiffel Tower if you have bloglovin - it will automatically add the new feed to your reader.

Please feel free to repost/tweet this message.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Second Day of Lent

I decided this year to keep tabs on everything I eat during Lent. Sorry for those that don't like the cooking stuff. I swear I'll have sewing stuff this weekend.


Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almond Milk
Lunch: The red beans and rice leftovers
Snack: Raisins and olives.  Not at the same time, of course.   I've just been snacking on one or the other throughout the day
Dinner: Oatmeal with Almond Milk and then Salmon

This weekend will be a bit difficult since I'll be traveling.  I did buy crackers (not exactly period but definitely in the spirit of the medieval lent) and raisins for snacks.  As in previous years, I won't be as strict when I'm traveling because it's simply not doable.  I'll stick to the no meat whatsoever and no eggs (except Sundays!) but that will be about it.  Lots of fish & chips this weekend for me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Before Lent, I bought Nature's Path Organic Apple Cinnamon OatmealIt's this stuff.  The ingredients are simple: Rolled oats, cane sugar, dried apple, cinnamon, and sea salt.

I know they had all these ingredients in the middle ages/Renaissance, but did they have oatmeal as we know it.  Yes.  Yes, the did.

1520's Spain  Oatmeal Gruel
1390's England  Grewel of Almounds
1420's France Oatmeal

There are actually quite a few different recipes but almost all have the basic oats in almond milk (or regular milk) with salt and sometimes sugar.  They'd add all sorts of things really beyond that so apple and cinnamon?  Not exactly out there for the middle ages.

Luckily for me, this means I get to have oatmeal for breakfast on non-fasting days!   And without soaking the oats for days or any of the other work that sounds way too hard for just making a bowl of oatmeal. 

Historical Food Fortnightly: Something Borrowed Something Blue

The theme for this fortnightly is as follows:

19. Something Borrowed, Something Blue February 8 - February 21
It’s a two part challenge! Either create a dish that relies on borrowed ingredients, or create a dish that involves the color blue. Bonus points if you can achieve both!

Since I have no clue how you "borrow" ingredients - it's like borrowing a kleenex; you have no intention of giving it back, so... I was thinking of borrowing Mom's kitchen or at least a pot or two but ended up going for the blue thing instead.

39 To make a blue pudding

Bruise cornflowers and press them with water through a cloth. If you want, blanch almonds in it, whose milk is then blue. Afterwards make a pudding with it.
From Sabrina Welserin's Cookbook dated to 1553

I ordered 1 oz of blue cornflowers and ended up using nearly all of them.

These are what dried cornflowers look like.  In a very period correct plastic bag, of course.  ;-)

First, I had to "un-dry" the flowers. I figured I'd heat up the water and see what happens....  While the water was heating up, I decided to start the rest of the almond milk prep.

Behold!  The very period correct blender container filled with blanched almond halves!

Behold!  Almond dust!   It took...umm...ten seconds with the blender?   I wasn't about to try the mortar and pestle again for these.  That takes too long.

And then I realized why you don't boil the cornflowers.  It really does make tea.  And not a very good tea, btw.  I tried it and it was horrible.  

So, take two.  This time, I soaked the flowers for an hour.   I then used that water - which was more of a rosy color than a blue - but, hey, it was colorful!-  to make almond milk.  I also added the flowers to the almond dust.

I ended up with 3 cups of very white almond milk.   I know, it's in a pink container.  Wait for the next picture.

See?  Very white.   No color whatsoever.  So, take three!

This was take three.  I put the cornflowers in a bag and put them in the 3 cups of almond milk thinking that maybe that would turn the almond milk blue.  No.  The almond milk separated and it did nothing.  I waited for two hours and then went on to take four.

Take four was to soak the flowers in water for a LONG time (five hours.  My limit).  I used the 3 cups of almond milk I had made for dinner.  Around 7 pm, (I started this all around 2:30 pm, I think) I ended up with water that looked like this!

I know.  Pink container.  Trust me, it was quite purple.   I'm fine with purple.  Purple has blue in it.  

The photo didn't come out quite right.  This is the bag I use to make almond milk.  The yellow looking stuff is the crushed up almonds.  The heather gray (it was more lavender in real life!  Like the northern cascades paint in the photo on this blog.) looking liquid is the water after it's been mixed with the almond dust.

It's purplish gray almond milk!!!!   Honestly, I'm just happy it's not white.   I think if I took the time to separate just the petals from everything else, I'd get a more purple/blue color.  So, although I didn't get blue, I did get...something!  As far as cost, I think the cornflowers were $10 including shipping and I had the almonds on hand.  Water is straight from the faucet so....almost free!   

I don't like period puddings so I'm just going to use the almond milk for other things.  Period puddings are similar to modern French toast and I really don't like French toast.  I like my bread crispy, not soggy, thankyouverymuch.   

Ash Wednesday!!!

I'm so excited to do the Medieval Lent thing again this year. I did it last year and the the year before that and the year before that. Today I've had hot chocolate (chocolate, sugar, almond milk), raisins, a pickle, and red beans and rice.

The recipe for the red beans and rice is here.

The difference I did this time was I added salt and I made the rice with almond milk. Rather than store bought almond milk, I made my own. I used the oh so period correct blender to chop up some blanched almonds and poured water through an bag specifically created to make almond milk. I ended up making 3 cups of almond milk and it took all three cups to cook the rice correctly.

The rice is really creamy because of the almond milk but it's quite good.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Historical Food Fortnightly: Descriptive Food

Welcome to the world of Medieval Chicken Nuggets known as chewets.  Cause they are chewy.  And good.  Really good.  I think I like them more than modern chicken nuggets....

The Challenge: 18. Descriptive Food January 25 - February 7
We all know those recipes that come attached to interesting and imaginative names - slumps, crumbles, buckles, trifles, flummery. Pick a historic recipe that has a descriptive title

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)

Chewets. Recipe þe draghtis of capons or of hennes & shop þam small. Take & cast powdyr of gynger & cloes, pepyr & salt, & put þam all in a lityll cofyn & close it abowne, & fry hym in fresh grece, & serrof þam forth .ij. in a dysch.

Chewets. Gather capon or hen leftovers and chop them small. Take and cast powdered ginger and cloves, pepper and salt, and put them all in a little coffin and close around, and fry it in fresh grease, and serve them forth 2 in a dish.

I got the above from MS Harley 5401 which is a 15th C English cookbook.

The Date/Year and Region: 15th Century, England

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation) I cheated. I'm going to fess up right now. I used a store bought, dairy aisle, pie crust rather than making my own. I also used the thin chicken breast pieces you get at the store to cut up and make modern chicken nuggets.

I first turned on the oven to 375f and the cooked three of the thin chicken breasts for five minutes, flipped 'em over, and cooked 'em for another five. Once they were done, I cut the chicken up into small, bite sized pieces.

On the counter, I sliced up the pie crust into small rectangularish pieces to wrap the chicken pieces in. I put salt on the pastry pieces first, followed by regular old black pepper. I only put a small amount of ground cloves on each piece and about the same amount of ginger on each piece as I did with the pepper. The salt was the most heavy but I really sprinkled each on so I have no idea the exact amounts.

I then wrapped up each piece of chicken in the pastry crust and fried them in some olive oil in a frying pan.

Time to Complete: One hour but that was only because I ended up using both pastry crusts and 2 1/2 chicken breasts - it ended up being enough nuggets for...umm...a while.

Total Cost: I only used half of the chicken package for $3.50 for that and another $3.50, I think, for the pie crust. Everything else, I had on hand.

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?) Seriously, it's delicious. I ate them like I eat modern chicken nuggets - with honey. I think I might make this one for my nephews. They look like chicken pockets which is pretty much what I figured they'd look like. I was a bit concerned about the taste because of the cloves and ginger but it ended up being a great combo with the honey for a dip.

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here) Like I said, I cheated on the crust. However, the chicken was...chicken. The olive oil was olive oil... I used my modern oven and modern pots and pans.

Additional stuffs:

I think this is my favorite recipe I've tried yet.  It's really just medieval chicken nuggets.  I think these might be a good appetizer at a party or another gateway food into the world of medieval cooking.

I choose this recipe because of the name - chewets.  They are small chewable bits.  :-)  There are a couple of different recipes for them but I liked this one because it was so simple.  Chicken, pie crust, pepper, salt, ginger, and cloves.  Fry it up in some oil.

 The original recipe mentions using leftovers - we all still have that bit left after destroying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  You don't want to throw the chicken away because there is kinda sorta enough chicken for maybe one person - well, this is what you do with that chicken!  You make it into another meal.  

I probably made them a bit big - I think they are supposed the be about the size of a coin (another recipe mentions a penny) but they were chewable and they were delicious.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I did something extraordinary the other day. I ate a bag of popcorn. The whole bag. For those that are reading this and going 0_o?, let me explain. Since 2011, I have not been able to have corn. At all. The slightest bit of corn syrup could make me sick. I sometimes ended up in hives for days. Other times, it would be stomach aches so bad that I could not stand up due to the twisting of the muscles and the feeling of sandpaper going through my gut. There was little rhyme or reason as to what would happen, but one thing was very certain, I was allergic to corn.

Technically, I still am. So how am I able to eat an entire bag of popcorn without looking like I have the chicken pox, measles, and the stomach flu rolled into one? Easy - it's GMO corn I'm allergic to.

My Dad told me a few weeks ago about an article he read. In that article, scientists seem to think the reason for the sudden increase in corn allergies may be due to genetically modified organisms or GMOs. There are a LOT of GMO corn based products in the market - each genetically altered to different degrees. This would explain why sometimes corn seemed to not affect me at all and other times leave me with hives and bruises for weeks - different genetic structures would affect me differently.

Deciding to take this on and see if I can have regular, good, old fashioned non-gmo corn, I began to eat waffles every day for two weeks. The waffles have non-gmo corn starch in them. If the corn starch would affect me, I'd see symptoms within 2 hours. The symptoms would get worse over the course of 24 hours (as the corn went through my digestive system).

...Nothing. Nothing but yummy waffle goodness (with vegan butter and maple syrup!). I'd have at least two waffles everyday (and yeah, they are the toaster kind) for two weeks.

After realizing that, hey, I feel fine! I decided it was time to step up this challenge. That's where the popcorn came in.

Before, one piece of popcorn has been known to make me ill for a good 24 hours. This time, I went to the organic market and found some reasonably priced microwave non-gmo popcorn. I greedily waited for the popcorn to finish popping in the microwave - a sound I hadn't heard in close to four years - and tried one piece. And waited. I had to wait the full two hours before eating another piece just in case the waffle thing was a fluke (ie, there wasn't enough corn starch in the waffle to trigger a reaction). So, while the aroma of wonderful fresh popped popcorn permeated the air of my house, I waited. And nothing. Absolutely nothing. I felt perfectly fine after two hours.

So I did what any reasonable thinking person would do who hadn't had the taste of popcorn in years - poured the butter flavored olive oil and some salt on the rest of the popcorn bag and gobbled it down. :-) It was good.

Now, I know I'm still allergic to gmo corn because I had a reaction to just one sip of something with corn syrup in it over the weekend. Many of the additives like corn syrup and dextrose are made from gmo corn, while, I'm finding out now, that the corn I can buy at the roadside is typically non-gmo. (Could have used this information a few years ago.....)

So what does this all mean other than my amazing ability to now eat popcorn again? I can also have pudding again! There are several vegan puddings (darn dairy allergy!) but they all use corn starch in them. However, many of them use organic or non-gmo corn starch. This means, the second the organic market is open, I'm buying a bunch of either butterscotch or chocolate or both pudding cups and gobbling them down. Because I can.

Although I'll still have to read labels, I now have alternatives and don't have to simply forgo corn altogether. The alternatives are pretty easy to find as well (anything labeled organic should be non-gmo but it's not 100% certain. While anything labeled non-gmo absolutely is 100% gmo free). Pudding, corn chips, popcorn, and my favorite food that was ridiculously hard to give up on succotash (laugh all you want, I seriously missed corn with lima beans) are all back on the table for me!