Friday, 18 April 2008

Back In The Land Of The Living!

I've finally shifted the cold that blighted the start of this week.....just the tickly cough left to deal with.
The week 'off' has given me a chance to look through all of Roberts pictures of the weekend....but it seems that much like me he didn't take many, so I've posted the best along with a few more of mine over at Flickr. They illustrate processes more than end results like this one....

drying bread

Which shows the bread that was cut ready for browne fryes drying out over the course of the day. We've found that by drying the bread the batter sticks to it much better and the final product tastes less like bread than if we just cut and dip the bread.

¶Browne fryes.
¶Take browne brede, and kut hit thyn; And then take yolkes of eyren, and som wit of the white; and take meyned floure, and drawe the eiren and the floure thorgh a streynour; and take sugur a gode quantite, and a litul saffron and salt, And cast thereto: and take a faire panne with fress grece; And whan þe grece is hote, take downe and putte it in þe batur, and turne hit wel therein, and þen put hit in þe pan with the grece, And lete hem fry togidre a litull while; And then take hem vpp, and caste sugur thereon, and so serue hit hote.

They're great when hot out of the oil (obviously let them drain first!) and great to cook with kids as an introduction to 'history food' (again, with the frying best that the adults do that bit!)

Browne fryes

What else did we do? Well, we had a stab at

¶Malmenye Furne.
¶Take gode Milke of Almaundys, & flowre of Rys, & gode Wyne crete, or þe brawn of a Capoune, oþer of Fesaunte, & Sugre, & pouder Gyngere, & Galyngale, & of Canelle, & boyle y-fere; & make it chargeaunt, & coloure it with Alkenade, oþer with Saunderys; & if it be Red, a-lye it with olkys of Eyroun; & make smal cofyns of dow, & coloure hem with-owte, & bake on an ovyn, & coloure with-ynne & wyth-oute; þen haue Hony y-boylid hote, & take a dyssche, & wete þin dyssche in þe hony, & with þe wete dyssche ley þe malmenye & þe cofyns; & whan þey ben bake, & þou dressest yn, caste a-boue blaunche pouder, Quybibe, mace, Gelofre; & þanne serue it forth.

But despite reading it over and over.........and over again, it really did stump us. Some of it is ok, but a lot of it just makes no sense to us....maybe it will to you?!

We read it as a recipe with a meat or non meat option right at the start (we went meaty and used chicken) and all goes well until it tells to colour it with alkanet......which is fat soluable......where's the fat? There's not enough in the chicken......or is that a factor with modern production chickens, would their forebears be more fatty? Would we have better success with pheasants? Anyway, to extract the colour we chose to use clarified butter, which gives a great red colour.

red butter

But when you add it to the cooking chicken

colouring the chicken

all we ended up with was a slightly pinkish chicken in the pan....

pink chicken

I didn't want to use too much of the coloured butter as the alkanet adds quite a bitter and not very pleasant flavour to things so I didn't want to spoil the dish with too much of this flavour. The egg bit we understood (I think!) and the making of the coffyns seemed to make sense, but when you get to the honey bit

þen haue Hony y-boylid hote, & take a dyssche, & wete þin dyssche in þe hony, & with þe wete dyssche ley þe malmenye & þe cofyns; & whan þey ben bake, & þou dressest yn, caste a-boue blaunche pouder, Quybibe, mace, Gelofre; & þanne serue it forth.

we get/got totally lost..........maybe it was the onset of the cold, maybe it was something in the water but honestly........we just can't figure out what it means.......does it mean to use a honey covered dish like a scoop or ladel to fill the cases? Should you use the dish to press the filling into the cases?.........answers on a postcard please!

We opted to skip the honey and 'fess up at the meal that we didn't have a clue what the recipe meant to us.....that's the main reason there are no pictures of the end result.....that and the fact that the skies opened and the light vanished making pictures really difficult to take.
As for how it tasted........who knows, I couldn't taste much at all for the last couple of days.....all I can say is.......they ate it!


Elise Fleming said...

First thoughts on the dish wetted with honey... What if the coffyn and malmenye were placed _in_ the honeyed dish and then baked? Might this not impart a type of honey glaze to the outside of the coffyn? What would it do to the dough/crust? And, is there a definition of "furne(z)"?

Elise Fleming said...

After consideration, I wondered if baking the malmenye coffyn in a dish "wetted" with boiled honey (as I had suggested) might not be a problem. Might the honey become somewhat solidified and prevent the coffyn from being removed from the dish?

Doc said...

I did a quick search and couldn't find any other recipes that were quite like this one.

After several re-reads, I think you're supposed to use the honey-dipped dish as a scoop or ladle. Maybe the hot honey keeps the filling from sticking to the dish? That kind of makes sense since it's supposed to be "chargeaunt". Still, it is very odd. Makes me suspect a copying or transcription error somewhere in the distant past.

About the Browne Fryes: what kind of oil did you use, and how deep/how much?