Monday, 10 December 2007


Only 15 days until Christmas!...............Only 17 days until the Christmas cookery!!

Fortunately, all is in hand I think (although It's thinking like that which has seen us scuppered before!). I just have a few minor tweaks to do to complete the menu and the shopping lists and I now know when we can have stuff delivered so dividing the shopping up into sensible delivery schedules shouldn't be a problem. As with previous major cooking events like Easter as soon as I've finalized the menu details I'll post it for you to see what we are planning to cook although to be honest I've posted some of it already?!

The Christmas cookery will be another ideal chance to work on the menu/dishes for the fundraising dinner although not in the same way that we have been over the last two months cooking weekends. Christmas sees the kitchens joining in with transforming Hampton Court into a Tudor palace once more, with costumed characters populating the state apartments and (weather permitting) courtyards, while down in the kitchen we strive to produce meals as they might have been some 460 odd years ago. To be totally honest at this moment in time I have absolutely no idea what's planned for 'upstairs' over Christmas but for us in the kitchens things will tick over fairly normally I think. The biggest difference between Christmas and the cookery weekends is that we won't have Robert in whites recording times, temperatures and so on as he'll be back in his office (that's the one in the Tudor kitchen) catching up with all of the paperwork and talking to people about that.......although undoubtedly he'll still be taking the odd picture now and then I'm sure, especially as the carousel in front of the Palace presents a golden opportunity for long exposure pictures

Another bumper crop of pictures are now up at the Flickr page....28 new ones from the December weekend to give you yet more of a glimpse into how and what it is we do.......or just some more photographs of some people mucking decide!
Over the course of the last weekend I think we spoke more than ever before about using everything and not wasting stuff. This was mainly brought about by the deer being processed when people seemed fascinated by how little waste there was.....we even had Jorge salvaging the sinews from the legs to use in future art projects

Having now looked through all of the pictures that Robert and I took, I can now see what we actually did over the weekend in terms or preparing for Christmas. Jorge managed to recover quite a large amount of bone marrow ready to use in recipes like custard lumbarde

Whilst Pick and Carter managed a sterling effort over the two days and produced a shed load of sausages and sausage meat ready for quick dinner production on those undoubtedly cold well as jointing the two deer carcasses into roasting and stewing portions

Dave made more progress on the wax fountain as well, although I do believe that he had a few teething troubles with his mould making.......a job that is normally Adrian's domain.....still, he'll be back at Christmas and they can crack on then....I believe that there may well be light at the end of the tunnel for this particular model project.

Now is as good a time as any to remind you that this blog was always intended to be a two way thing. If you've got any questions then please do feel free to ask them.....either use the 'comments' button at the end of a post, or email them to me (address is in my profile, accessible via the column on the right as are so many other things!) and we'll do our best to answer them.


gorge said...

I have not had much contact with marrow, it was something that always made me a bit squeamish, yes, considering what I used to do as a job, that is a surprise - no not butchery or slaughtery.

Very fattty substance but much finer - if that is the right word than normal fat, it felt different on the skin, more like a good moisturiser.

Sinews are good, they are not very wet so dry off quickly enough, look forward to using them in due course. Don;t see the point in wasting raw materials when they present themselves, moreover the uses I will put them to are historical. The subject of use of almost every part of the dead animal in some way, was a big talking point on the Saturday, with Barry C and I waxing lyrical about it all.

Elise Fleming said...

Would you give a brief explanation of the fundraising dinner? Who does it benefit? Can the public make reservations? Does this happen every year? Is it only at Christmas time? Where in Hampton Court does it take place?

Tudor Cook said...

to better answer your questions see the next post.

Hope that helps

Anonymous said...

This is just a trial message,as I don't seem to have any luck lately sending them across the air-waves. Looking forward to seeing you all again at Christmas,looks like you're going to be your usual busy selves.Although it's hard work for you all,we,the public really enjoy and appreciate all you do.
No.1 fan

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to make sausage in as period a manner as possible and I was wondering if the forcemeat is simply minced fine using possibly a couple of cleavers or is it minced and then pounded with the fat in a mortar?

Also, what is used to stuff them? I've tried to find documentation for sausage processing but nothing really goes into the details. I know cattle horns were sometimes boiled and straightened then the end cut off for a plunger, but do you have sources for others, like a crockery style funnel?

I love your site and you guys are an inspiration to us historical cooks.

Tudor Cook said...

We've tried both just finely minced meat and minced then pounded and to be honest they're both as good as each other (in our experience anyway), although naturally the pounding does help to spread the ft throughout the mixture in a more even way.

As for how to stuff the skins you are correct in saying that there isn't much information out there....even later period recipes that are quite instructive as to the ingredients and mixing simply say'and then fill your farmes' or 'stuff the guts'...not exactly enlightning really. The funnel that the chaps use is ENTIRELY speculative, but they have managed to have an amount of success without using any special stuffing tools. We spoke to some visitors from a country that now escapes me and they had a technique for holding the gut open by using the thumb and first two fingers of the left hand, with the same digits on the right hand used for forcing the stuffing into the gut. Next time that we process sausages I'll try to take some pictures to show you what I mean.

Thanks for the comments, but to be honest we're just another cog in the worldwide machinery of history food!