Thursday, 4 September 2008

As My Friend Bob Said To Me.......


Yep, nearly a month has passed since I last posted anything and that time included a cookery weekend......What's going on I hear you ask.......and yes, I do hear, regularly eh No.1 Fan!!
Well August sees the school holidays descend upon us and some time spent with the family, you know, doing real life stuff....not work related! That combined with another healthy (or should that be un-healthy?) dollop of 'can't be bothered', some mild health issues and a score of other insignificant things has lead to the dearth of postings here at the blog......sorry, no no I really am.

The other thing that has lead to this lack of writing is the new direction that my research has taken. Now that I'm spending much less time on the recipes there really isn't much to report to you all. The work I'm doing at the moment involves reading through lots of lists and letters and compiling more lists of documents to see in the Public Record Office or at the British Library. I've also got lots of lists of names and wages, goods and prices to work through, but only when the initial reading and compiling is done.....all in all it's really quite fascinating stuff, but there's not a lot to tell at the moment.....sorry, but that's the way of these things.

I suppose as a panacea I can offer the only 2 decent pictures that I took over the last weekend.....of the work progressing in Base Court.....

base court dig base court dig 2

Neither Robert or I took any other pictures over the weekend as it really wasn't that sort of weekend...much more a 'by the numbers' affair, 2 meals made each day, served at 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 problems, no surprises.....apart from the number of visitors.....well over 2500 each day and I'm pretty sure that on Saturday I spoke to all of them, as by 1 o'clock my brain was empty and I had to leave for a sit down in a darkened room for 10 minutes !

This weekend should be a bit more experimental, in fact much more so than usual as Saturday should see us try 4 or 5 recipes from the Pynson book of cookery for the first time and Sunday should provide a wealth of interest for us.....some of which was prompted by Doc's last comment (which I apologise for only just having uploaded).
Robin and Jorge will be making poumes again (the veal meatballs that look like apples) so that some of the team from Heston Blumenthals Fat Duck can see how we make this recipe. Carter and Pick will be talking to the public about the humourol properties of food and Marc H and myself will be working on the 'chicken toffee' recipe Pynade again. This time as well as the pynade we will also be cooking Fustaqiya from al-Baghdadis Kitab al-Tabikh, a recipe that is remarkably similar but which uses pistachio nuts instead of pine nuts. There are also a handful of other similar chicken and sugar/honey recipes that use almonds that we may try as well if time allows.
Whilst it is by no means certain that the Western medieval cookery tradition copied recipes from the Arab world what is obvious is that many recipes bear remarkable similarities from one culture to another......copies or coincidence? Well I can't say that we'll be able to answer that question but it should prove interesting for the public to watch.....and fingers crossed us to eat!
I'm inclined to agree with Marc on this one......he's certain that the chicken isn't a 'typo' but is there to add to the 'umami' flavour....hopefully we'll be trying the dish several times with differing amounts of chicken in it to see what difference it makes.

Fingers crossed it should be a profitable weekend for us with plenty of pictures to show you all.......and hopefully this time I'll get the chance to post over the weekend unlike last time when technology wasn't playing ball for me!!?!



Elise Fleming said...

Welcome back! We missed the blogs! You commented that it wasn't certain that Western medieval cookery copied recipes from the Arabic sources. There is some fascinating material in "Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe" edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson and published in 2002. On p. 27 there is an article by Constance B. Hieatt entitled "Medieval Britain". In it Hieatt wonders if "Festigia" in the "Libro della cucina" is related to "Fustaqiya" (which you will be trying) and she continues to wonder if that word is the base for the "Anglo Norman/Middle English word 'festicade', meaning a preparation of pistachio nuts..." She continues to elaborate on Arabic influences in English/French cookery. Perhaps you can find this book in the UK. I think that chapter might have some interesting connections for you.

Anonymous said...

it's really good to have you back,that way I get to know what you're up to!see you Sunday.
no.1 fan x