Molly Burning Something

Molly Burning Something

The other day I found that fascinating article on the dark side of Nutmeg so I was in search for old receipts that called for nutmeg. There is a wonderful web site called THE FOODS OF ENGLAND PROJECT (http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/ ) and there is a page there that lists lost recipes. These are the ones that went extinct and of course, you know I’d be interested in that. Turns out that some probably did. I mean, there isn’t a soul I know alive that would drink Whey Wig, buttermilk whey spiced with sage or saffron after spending time after sweating it up putting in the harvest.I’m not too sure anyone would want to be served Huckle-My-Buff either. It’s a drink originating in Sussex made with the following: 2 pints beer,six eggs, beaten ,brandy, 2 oz sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg. You heat 1 pint of the beer with the eggs and sugar, but do not boil. Remove from the heat and add the remaining beer, a generous amount of nutmeg and brandy to taste. Serve hot. Seems like a heck of a waste of good beer and I don’t know that I would want a scrambled egg beer omelet.

I did find, however that a number of recipes actually evolved into something we still eat, more or less, and recognize. One thing is the ancient Chewitt aka hand held pasties or meat pies. The first recorded recipe is below and it comes from the 1390 , during the height of the Middle Ages. I didn’t know when I made pork and ground chicken pies, it was something that Richard III  would have recognized. I wonder if he had any packed on the go when he went to meet his Maker on Bosworth Field. It would have been something if the archeologists found one with his bones under the parking lot a few years back near York. I might try it with ginger next time, just to see how it would taste. I bet it would be good.

Mince or meat pie? Sweet or savory?

Mince or meat pie? Sweet or savory?

Original Receipt in ‘The Forme of Cury’ by the Chief Master-Cook of King Richard II, c1390 (Cury 1390)

CHEWETES ON FLESHE DAY
Take there meat of Pork and carve it all to pieces. and hens therewith and do it in a pan and fry it & make a coffin [casing] as to a pie small & do therein. & do thereupon yolks of eggs, hard, powder of ginger and salt, cover it & fry it in grease. Otherwise bake it well and serve it forth.

A recipe written in 1615 is a mixture of fruits and veal.It actually seems like a hybrid between a meat pie and mince pie and probably worth trying.

Original Receipt from ‘A New Booke of Cookerie’ by John Murrell (Murrell 1615)

A delicate Chewit
Parboyle a piece of a Legge of veal, and being cold, mince it with Beefe Suit, and Marrow, and an Apple or a couple of Wardens: when you haue minst it fine, put to a few parboyld Currins, sixe Dates minst, a piece of a preserued Orenge-pill minst, Marrow cut in little square pieces. Season all this with Pepper, Salt, Nutmeg, and a little Sugar: then put it into your Coffins, and so bake it. Before you close your Pye, sprinckle on a little Rosewater, and when they are baked shave on a little Sugar, and so serve it to the Table.

Every now and then I see ground veal at Food City and I think I will buy it to make this. I don’t know where I will get marrow so I guess that will have to be left out. I have suet but butter can be substituted. I would grate an apple and 2 pears. A warden is a pear and a couple is two, right? Currins are currants, minced dates and a piece of preserved orange peel. That one held me up a bit. I candied some orange peel and am ready to process some more but I wonder whether preserved orange peel is preserved in salt rather that sugar like preserved lemons are. I looked on line and didn’t see a recipe for salt cured orange peel but I probably would if I looked hard enough. I think I’m going to take a flier of the candied version, though, as this seems to be a sweet rather than a savory recipe. It says then to season all with pepper, salt, NUTMEG and a little sugar, then put it in your coffins. That’s pie crust with a lid so I better get out my recipe for pie crust made with lard. Before I put the tops on, I’ll be sure to add a very little bit of rosewater, but maybe I’ll just add a tsp. of it to the mix before I load up my coffins. After I wash the tops with egg white, I’ll sprinkle demurra sugar on each one and bake for about 45 minutes. That seems to do the trick for my other pies. I can’t wait to taste this little bit of history!

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