Our small local museum offered us space to have a display of SCA-made goods, which we eagerly assembled! Below are some of the photos of the exhibits. We included a stack of business cards, and while we didn’t get too many new member interest hits, we did make a very good local impression, showing how gifted many local artists and recreators are.
Items by Mathias Fletcher, Lady Petra von Mumph, Master Mathias Plattninson, Master Cedric of Thanet, Mistress Mira Finovarr of Argyl, Lord Gwilim Kynith, Lady Aneleda Falconbridge and Lady Camille Dejardins were in the display, as were items on loan from Lady Bryn Millar, and Lord Griffyth Abernathy.
A Redaction and Tale of Cooking by Aneleda Falconbridge
This light, sweet cooky bread is very similar to the recipe used for Springerle or Lebkuchen in taste – an anise and lemon flavor, mild and pleasant.
It took several tries to get the cookies correct – the recipe being somewhat vague. The very first ones I made were flourless (hey, who knows, I’ve had flourless baked goods!) That made a sticky (albeit tasty) mess which was impossible to clean! It stuck amazingly to everything it baked to. It was like a flavored sugar-yolk glue.
The next attempts were too light in flour, and stuck in the shells, though I think that had they been actual shallow mussel shells (rather than the scallops I used), they would have been more successful.
Ultimately, those which are cooked slightly less than a modern cooky – with bubbles showing in the tops – have a better taste than those cooked longer. I made some in actual mussel shells to prove the concept (works better with modern Pam and flour than butter spread as “light as a feather”) and then made the rest in silicone baking shells, or in Madeline shells. I also made a sheet cooky variation which resulted in a lovely crispy cooky (though the edges burned terribly.) I totally forgot the rosewater, when I made them but used rose syrup to make the icing which beefs up the rose taste a little. I think they’d be quite strange to the modern palate cooked with the rosewater included…
A simple variation on this recipe would make very good tasting biscotti.
Additionally, this recipe, like many period recipes I’ve found of interest, calls for “muske” which is, I’m certain, the musk which we think of as perfume. I can’t find a food-grade musk source, and nor one for ambrette, the seed which is used in modern perfumery to imitate musk. At some point I hope to gutsily ask someone during hunting season for the musk glands of their deer, though what to do with them I’ve no idea. Ah well, that is for a later time!
Beate a quarter of a pound of double refined Sugar, cearse it with two or three spoonefulls of the finest, the youlkes of three new laid egs, and the white of one, beate all this together in with two or three spoonefulls of sweete creame, a graine of muske, a thimble full of the powder of a dried Lemond, and a little Annise-seede beaten and cearsed, and a little Rose-water, then baste Muskle-shells with sweete butter, as thinne as you can lay it on with a feather, fill your shells with the batter and lay them on a gridiron or a lattise of wickers into the ouen, and bake them, and take them out of the shells, and ise them with Rose-water & Sugar. It is a delicate bread, some call it the Italian Mushle, if you keepe them any long time, then alwaies in wet weather put them in your ouen.
Gode Cookery translation: Beat a quarter of a pound of double refined sugar, sieve it with two or three spoonfuls of the finest, the yolks of three newly laid eggs, and the white of one, beat all this together in with two or three spoonfuls of sweet cream, a grain of musk, a thimble full of the powder of a dried lemon, and a little anise seed beaten & sieved, and a little rosewater, then baste mussel shells with sweet butter, as thin as you can lay it on with a feather, fill your shells with the batter and lay them on a grid iron or a lattice of wicker into the oven, and bake them, and take them out of the shells, and ice them with rosewater and sugar. It is a delicate bread, some call it the Italian Mussel, if you keep them any long time, then always in wet weather put them in your oven.
put into buttered shells
bake and ice with sugared rosewater icing
My Own Redaction (3 of 3)
“The Heck With It” Variation
1 lb sugar mix* (1/2 cup)
add flour until a touch firmer than cake batter consitancy
2 1/3 stick butter
7 whole eggs
zest of 1 lemon
about 1/3 oz anise seed, powdered but not much
put into buttered shells
bake and ice with sugared rosewater icing
a note on sugar
“…aside from the color difference, the texture and taste are similar to what was expected. The sugar is sweet, with a dark molasses flavor. There exist additional medieval processes to further clarify the sugar. These processes may remove some of the color and molasses flavor from the sugar; however, it was not possible to explore these processes at this time. (it is like)…sugar in the raw but with a more molasses taste. 1 part light molasses to 15 parts sugar in the raw or 8 parts white sugar and 1 part molasses.” http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-SWEETS/Cypriot-Sugr-art.html
a note on musk
one could substitute, if one could get it, the seed Musk Ambrette: The oil obtained from these seeds has a musk-like odor and is frequently used as a substitute for true musk. ( HYPERLINK “http://nowsmellthis.blogharbor.com/blog/_WebPages/Glossary.html” http://nowsmellthis.blogharbor.com/blog/_WebPages/Glossary.html) I wasn’t able to locate a purcasing source, but would like to try it someday.
Another similar recipe in period
Bartolomeo Scappi’s work dating from the 1500’s
…But Scappi did not forget the desserts, offering the recipe for ‘morselletti’.
“To make morselletti, that is Milanese ‘mostaccioli’ (cakes made with cornmeal and sweet wine). Take fifteen fresh eggs and beat them in a casserole dish and pass them through a sieve with two and a half pounds of fine powdered sugar and half an ounce of raw anise seeds, and one or two grains of fine musk from a musk deer (= an animal which lives in central Asia). Mix this with two and a half pounds of flour, and beat all of this together for three quarters of an hour and beat it again. Prepare in advance sheets of paper in the form of lanterns or cake pans with high sides, with wafers inside without wetting them with anything. Put the batter in these lanterns or cake pans not more than one fingers-width full and immediately sprinkle them with sugar and place them in a hot oven. When the batter is flat and has lost its moisture and is solid, that is when it is like a ‘focaccia’, remove the cake pan or lantern and cut it immediately into slices two fingers-width wide and as long as desired. Put them back in the oven to toast, turning them often. Make sure the oven isn’t as hot as during the first phase and when they are well-dried remove them from the oven and put them aside since they are always better the second day than the first day and they last one month in their perfection.” http://www.emmeti.it/Cucina/Lombardia/Storia/Lombardia.ART.3.en.html