I normally don't get personal on this blog. For one, it's deadly boring to readers. And two, I just don't like to do it. But I will mention something here about my current diet. My husband and I are doing the Atkins thing. Which is to say, we don't eat carbs or sugar--not easy during this festive time of the year. But since I have lost 20 pounds while eating butter and cream and really no exercising, I can hardly complain. (We'll get medieval here in a minute, I promise.) So as I love to cook and one of the many things I love to cook are sauces and gravies, I found myself in a conundrum as to what to do about thickeners. A roux is out. And then I smacked myself on the forehead. Our medieval brothers and sisters used the friendly almond for their thickening chores. Almond meal, to be precise. And what made me think of that was the package of almond meal I bought from Trader Joes to use as breading (works great, by the way).
Almond milk--a blend of almond meal and water--was a staple in medieval households. Used for all sorts of cookery, but also in place of cow or goat milk which was too precious to be drunk. They had to make the more stable cheese from it, refrigeration being problematic. And so if you wanted something milk-like you would turn to this concoction (just be careful not to use bitter almonds or you might end up with homemade cyanide.) Almond meal was used as a thickener for gravies and stews. And it still works great. It doesn't give anything an almond flavor either. So it's good to know we can still benefit today from the cookery of that long-ago era of yesterday. I plan on sharing more recipes with you as I have done before. Hopefully, I will have my medieval feast in the near future to share with you, along with embarrassing pictures.
Now. Slice of cockatrice anyone?