On this holiday weekend, it is only fitting to speak of food. And, as we speak of medieval things on this blog, let us speak of medieval food. Cook books were becoming popular in King Richard II's day. Formerly, cookbooks started out life as physician's prescription books from the Middle East. Eventually, it became the thing to do for large households, including the palaces of Europe, to record the feasts and how to prepare certain special dishes. In other words, you won't find ye olde meatloaf in these books, but grander recipes for a decent table.
There was a wonderful cooking show in the late 90s in the UK called Two Fat Ladies with Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. Here I present to you some videos with "Clarissa and the King's Cookbook", talking of the Forme of Curry, one of the oldest cookbooks coming from King Richard II's court (the court from which my ficitonal detective Crispin Guest was ejected). Take a look. They are full of fun recipes and information. And below the videos, my own tried and true recipes of roasted game hens, similar to the goose recipe you will see.
A big thank you to reader Flora Hudson for bringing this to my attention!
Roasted Game Hens
How can you go wrong with a game hen? One hen per person.
Garlic cloves, 2 per hen.
Grapes, seedless (although I used our homegrown pinot noir, in honor of my Medieval Noir)
Stuff hens with sage, parsley, and grapes. Sprinkle with salt and roast in a 400 degree oven (or over the barbeque with an indirect fire or a lowered fire) for about 40 minutes to an hour. Sprinkle with fennel seeds and serve whole.
Cameline Sawse (for the game hens. I only made the allotted here and it wasn’t quite enough for four. So double the recipe. This sauce would also be good with pork or lamb.)
¾ beef broth
1 ½ Tb or more of vinegar (I used red wine. I also had fig vinegar and it was a wonderful addition. I used an extra 1/8 cup of that.)
¼ finely crumbled bread crusts
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of powdered cloves
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
salt to taste
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan.
2. Simmer over low heat, stirring to blend, about 5 minutes, until raisins are plump and soft.
3. Serve over birds.
Yields 1 cup.