Thursday, 28 February 2008

The March Menu

A little later than planned, but here is what we should be cooking this coming weekend in the kitchen.
In no particular order
Bruet of almaynne, bruet of almayne in lente, crustade lumbarde, tarte of frute in lente, flathouns in lent, lente ffrutours, fretoure owte of lente, cruste rolle, ryschewys in lente, brewes in lentyn and brwes in lentyn.

Hopefully we'll be playing around with the lent and non lent versions of some of these recipes like the crustade; as well as trying to get some tasty Lenten dishes with the other recipes. A couple of them are there for a little bit of experimentation like:

¶Flathouns in lente.
¶Take & draw a þrifty Milke of Almandes; temper with Sugre Water; þan take hardid cofyns, & pore þin comad þer-on; blaunche Almaundis hol, & caste ther-on Pouder Gyngere, Canelle, Sugre, Salt, & Safroun; bake hem, & serue forth.

This will be interesting to see how it comes out (liquid in a tart case I think) and how much can we affect the final dish by playing with different thicknesses of almond milk?

The plan is also to take a lot of pictures that show the various processes involved in the recipes and hopefully a lot more 'step by step' pictures to be able to illustrate how we've done whatever it is that we do?!?..........who knows, perhaps there's a book in that idea somewhere?

Easters plans are coming together nicely as well, I'm pretty much sorted for the 2 non Lent days on the Sunday and Monday, just got Good Friday and the Saturday to get sorted. Some of that will depend on the results of this weekend.......who knows the guys may find something so good that they want to eat it again........somehow I doubt it though as they/we are all confirmed carnivores and these non-meat recipes just don't sit right.

Previous Lenten days have been a little hit and miss I think......'nutty wall paper paste' is one of the common phrases that you can hear emanating from the various workstations around the kitchen and with no roasting to be done, Ross is always at a loss for things to do......although it does quite often mean that the washing up is kept well under control.....something that's always appreciated by the rest of the team. Lets just hope that this year we can improve on those comments eh?

As always with the weekend, comments by text are a virtual a possibility and video.........who can tell!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Final Photographs!!

Not to worry, just the final pictures from last months cookery.....there'll be plenty more to come next weekend I'm sure.
As it happens, this final batch are all images that show the process involved in making this recipe:

¶Take dow, & make þer-of a þinne kake; þanne take Fygys & raysonys smal y-grounde, & temper hem with Almaunde Milke; take pouder of Pepir, & of Galyngale, Clowes, & menge to-gederys, & ley on þin kake a-long as bene koddys, & ouer-caste þin kake to-gederys, & dewte on þe eggys, an frye in Oyle, & serue forth.

.....another photo love story if you will!

Take dow, & make þer-of a þinne kake

þanne take Fygys & raysonys smal y-grounde, & temper hem with Almaunde Milke; take pouder of Pepir, & of Galyngale, Clowes, & menge to-gederys

ley on þin kake a-long as bene koddys,

& ouer-caste þin kake to-gederys

& dewte on þe eggys

an frye in Oyle,

& serue forth.

......and mighty fine they were too, nice and crisp on the outside and wonderfully soft on the inside.

The 'menu' and shopping list for next weekend is all sorted and submitted....I'll spill the beans about it later on.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Look At The Muck In 'Ere!

Phew that was a lot of rubbish! Thanks to a sterling effort from Marc H and Robin and large quantities of tea, a huge chunk of the cleaning was finished today. Goodness only knows how much rubbish went to the skip and compactor but at least three quarters of the work is now done; just the kitchen to finish off early next week and the main office to put back 'together' when the carpet is dry......who knew we had a light beige carpet, we would have sworn it was muddy grey!!!!

In one of those unplanned, hand of fate type thingies, the main fireplace in the Tudor kitchen was being cleaned today; which means I could slope off and take some pictures of the sweep getting the fireplace set up ready to get to work.....

Monday, 18 February 2008

Spring Cleaning And Shopping Lists

......are what this week holds in store amongst other stuff as yet unplanned!

With a new financial year fast approaching it's time to clean out the old and get rid of all the 'cruft' and clutter that the office and stores have accumulated over the last year. So it'll be time to break out the vaccuum cleaner, the soap and the scrubbing brushes on Wednesday as we empty the office and kitchen stores for a damned good clean out.

The plan is to get the office area back to a working space, the 'lounge' tidy and suitable for relaxing during breaks, the stores clean of junk and dust and clothes put back onto racks and the kitchen/food stores back to square one and spick and span for the coming years cookery. It should also give us a good chance to take stock of what we actually have in store and to put it all into a logical order.

I also need to have finalized the menu and plans for the March cookery so that I can submit the shopping lists by the end of the week. Once again, keeping costs down is something I need to think about, but as with the last cookery weekend it shouldn't be too much of a problem as we have a lot of the ingredients that we'll be needing in store already.

As soon as the list of recipes is sorted I'll let you all know, but for now you'll have to make do with another 9 pictures to look at over at Flickr. One of my favourites of the bunch is this one

I just like the semi frozen/semi blurred look that Robert was the end of the day, the light had really gone and he was playing with the flash settings on the camera I believe.

Friday, 15 February 2008

And Still They Come....

......another 9 images over at Flickr, including this one

which rather well illustrates how I'm feeling at the head hurts from trying to decypher the badly scanned text in the documents I've been working it's off for a relaxing evening off.

But before I do I'll leave you with this

It's the last photo in the series that Robert took of the sausage making....kind of 'finishing off the story' I guess........but now looking at the picture, I'm thinking that it's a completely different sausage, pork & leek........what do you all think?

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Still More Stills!

Another small load of 8 pictures is now up at the Flickr site for your viewing pleasure........this batch includes this one

Which although the subject matter is nothing special, has got a certain something about it.........curse you and your photographic skills Robert!!

Not a lot has been going on work wise at the moment, planning for the next weekend continues to evolve, as does the work towards the Easter event; however most of the last couple of days has been devoted to more research time and transcription of some of the texts I'm currently working on.
To give you an idea of what sort of things that entails, it means taking images like this:

and trying to make some sense out of the mass of poorly scanned and digitized microfilm, then typing it up into a legible form to work from later on!?!?! (In this case it's a list of the first course of a meal) Some of the text is easily readable, some needs a bit of 'getting your eye in' before the words can be decyphered.....and some, well let's just say some of it isn't going to be that easy!
I know that a proportion of this transcription has been done before and I know exactly where to find that work, but it never hurts to have a fresh (well fresh-ish!) pair of eyes look over this sort of stuff does it (or at least that's what I keep telling myself as I carry on peering at the mass of black on the screen)

Monday, 11 February 2008

Monday Monday

So the beginning of another week and what's new? 8 more images are now at Flickr.....including:

I've no idea what was going on, but it must have been an emotional experience for all concerened!
Plans for the next weekend of cookery are coming together; the plan is to cook and talk about lenten food......probably in chefs whites as we'll also be looking at recipes that give the cook a lent option and cooking both (hopefully it will remove some confusion about what they did/didn't eat during lent). This recipe for Chare de Wardone is an example of what I'm on about:

¶Chare de Wardone.
¶Take peer Wardons, and seth hem in wine or water; And then take hem vppe, and grinde hem in a morter, and drawe hem thorgh a streynoure with the licour; And put hem in a potte with Sugur, or elle with clarefiede hony and canell ynowe, And lete hem boile; And then take hit from the fire, And lete kele, and caste there-to rawe yolkes of eyren, til hit be thik, and caste thereto powder of ginger ynowe; And serue hit forth in maner of Ryse. And if hit be in lenton tyme, leve the yolkes of eyren, And lete the remnaunt boyle so longe, til it be so thikk as thoug hit were y-tempered with yolkes of eyren, in maner as A man setheþ charge de quyns; And then serue hit forth in maner of Rys.

This sweetened, spiced and reduced pear puree is thickened with eggs, but in lent it says to leave the eggs out and boil the fruit longer until the dish has thickened as if it was by the use of eggs:
And if hit be in lenton tyme, leve the yolkes of eyren, And lete the remnaunt boyle so longe, til it be so thikk as thoug hit were y-tempered with yolkes of eyren
So we'll be cooking both versions to show the difference, along with other recipes that give you a lent option, like using beef stock or almond milk.....anyway it'll become much clearer as things progress and I can give you a list of the recipes that well be doing.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Video Killed The Radio Star.

I was going to use some abysmal pun on Vini Vidi Vici for the post title.........but thought better of it in the end you lucky people. Anyway, I've just made some changes to the navigation/information column to the right of the screen and in case you haven't guessed already they're to do with the videos on Youtube.

Down at the bottom there is now a link to the Youtube channel that contains all of the videos to date which should make it easier for you to find them all, rather than having to trawl through all of the previous posts to find the video that you want to see again......not that I'm avers to you doing that of course, just trying to make life easier for everybody. There's also a Youtube widget that shows the last few videos that I've uploaded and if you click on them thy'll play right here in the blog......a bit like never having to leave the comfort of your favourite armchair I suppose.


Choc's Away!

Hooray, that's the chocolate talk done and dusted then. Not too bad, a little rambling in places (as is normally the case for me I think), probably lacking in some is always the way with these things, halfway home and I remembered stuff I had wanted to talk about but didn't; but all in all not too bad. It was a nice bijou and compact group which meant that there was plenty to go around when it came to a little bonus tasting session at the end.......a nice selection of single estate and specialist chocolate called 'The Purist Library' from Hotel Chocolat, worth a look at if chocolate is your 'bag' and worth considering with Valentines day fast I'm constantly being reminded at home!!

The meetings about budget and so on went really well and we are now full steam ahead for the coming year....lots of great ideas are floating around and just need the rough edges knocking off of them, then finding the best time to put them into action. I know I'm being very vague and not telling you much, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise now would I! You'll just have to trust me that I'll let you all know what's coming up all in good time.

No new pictures today as I'm trying to eek them out for as long as I can, instead though I thought I'd give you another 360 degree panorama to look at......and they're quite fun for me to make. This one is of the first room in the Great Kitchen, now referred to as the Baden Powell kitchen as Lady Baden Powell was the last grace and favour occupant of that's the range from her kitchen that you'll notice in one of the fireplaces there.

Just put your cursor over the image, click and hold the left mouse button and drag the picture around to have a look at the room.
The other fireplace, the one that the panorama starts on and that is currently filled with the coloured lights used to look like this

Quite a change eh!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

And There's More!

7 more from Roberts pictures just put up onto Flickr, not many I know, but it does allow me to have a regular reason for posting so small batches is good for me.

The chocolate talk is all sorted now and ready to roll tomorrow evening, not sure how it's a bit too long, but I am loathed to reduce it any more as that would really make it difficult to tell the whole story. That's the trouble with a fascinating subject like chocolate, there's just too much good stuff to leave anything out!

More meetings tomorrow to finalize the coming year as well, so fingers crossed it should all be sorted by the end of the day and we can crack on with getting this years events planned. I really want to plan ahead this year to try to get rid of some of the 'so now what' feel of some of this years weekends. We had some good ideas come up over the weekend and if we can put those into place it should give us a good foundation to work from. That, combined with the research I'm still working on and we should have a bumper year in the lead up to the 2009 anniversary celebrations......that too proves to be a jam packed year with some really good events planned, so all in all it looks like the next couple of years could be a great time for us at Hampton Court and hopefully I'll be able to fill you all in as we work through these forthcoming years.

More pictures later in the week as well as more news about the coming year (subject to tomorrows meetings of course!)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

It's Sausage Time!

Well I've started sorting through Roberts pictures (all 2.7 GB of them!) and the first batch are now up at Flickr........not sure what was happening here

cardiac arrest or comedy decide!

A few posts back a question was asked about making sausages and I said that I'd try to get some pictures arranged to show one of the ways that we make them (when I say 'we' I obviously mean someone else as Pick is the king of the sausages in our team). So here follows another 'photo love story' style collection to give you an idea of how he does it.

First stage is to take the meat (beef in this case as it was both to hand and spare!) and pick it clean, removing any excessive pieces of sinew and the fat too.

We remove the fat at this stage so that we can control how much is in the final product (we could also then choose to use a different fat to change/enhance the flavour)
The meat is then finely sliced with a knife, before the mincing begins.

The meat can then be seasoned according to recipe or this example with some minced herbs (sage and thyme I believe) as well as ground salt, black and long pepper.

next comes the tricky bit and the bit that's hardest to explain....I really should have taken video of this but not everyone can be perfect now can they?
First you find the end of the piece of gut...

Then, and here's the difficult to explain part, holding some of the mixture in the palm of the hand, use the same thumb to push the mix into the gut that you are holding open with your other fingers.

You then just keep repeating this process until you have either filled the guts completely or used up all of the mixture.

Hopefully that all makes some sense.......if not, then just ask away for clarification.....any how, that's enough for now.....more stuff later on.

Monday, 4 February 2008

And The Answer Was?

So I suppose I should put you all out of your misery and answer the burning question from the lead up to this weekend........does fyllets en galyntyne work with beef?

Well.......yes..........and no!

It tasted absolutely fantastic, just like we thought it would, but.......all of the guys were sure it was beef y-stwyd or stwed beef because it tastes nothing like the galyntyne recipe it actually was. Unsurprisingly the beef has too 'definitive' a taste and completely controls the recipe......I don't think that's the reason that you don't find beef used in this context, I personally think it's much more likely to be something to do with the humoral medicine properties of the ingredients that make up the recipe and that possibly beef isn't in 'balance' as much.......but that's just my thinking and more to the point that's for a later time than this.

Robert went crazy with the camera again, so lots for me to sort through before I can post them up to Flickr, but a t least thais way I can spread the load for you and eek it out over a few days!

I only managed to get one video shot over the two days:

It's Robin making a chawetty using up leftover roasted venison. He looks as if he's rushing it in the clip......and he was, he knew I could only shoot 8 minutes of footage and wanted to get the whole process in one shot.......well that's his excuse for the odd sloppy bits that you'll see.

What they looked like wasn't important though, it's what they tasted like that counts...

and the fact that there was nothing left afterwards goes to show that just like the galyntyne, they tasted fact with this weekends pastry Robin managed to get consistently superb results.
Now it's off to start sorting through Roberts pictures to work out which ones to show you.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

What A Strange Day!

So the rugby was on at Twickenham just round the corner and we weren't expecting to be too busy but it was nice to have been pleasantly wrong.
We had a good crowd and boy did they fact by mid-day I was a little concerned that we weren't actually going to get any dishes finished.....or in some cases, started!!

However, I didn't have to worry and by the end of the day the boys had pulled it out of the proverbial bag and we finished all that I'd planned for us to cook.

So, 'what did you cook?' I hear you ask.....well sat here in the pub, the wrong side of a couple of pints I'm afraid I'm going to keep you in suspense and enjoy a nice evening chatting with my friends.......I don't get the chance to do it as often as I'd like to and so I'll fill you guys in later on and show you the video and pictures early next week

The Wind Doth Blow

So what are the English famous for?......our weather fetish! As I drove in this morning I heard 3 forecasts and they were all different, snow,rain, sun! Well we had sun at Hampon Court, but 10.00p.m. saw Ross phone to say he had to return home because the snow was so bad that it was making driving both impossible AND dangerous and he had to return home!!!

So not sure what tomorrow brings, but I'm sure that it'll pan out in the end.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Back To The Old Routine!

Well I type this sitting next to a packed overnight bag......again! I'm glad we had January off so to speak as it's now back to the old routine again....... for quite a while as well, living out of a bag for what seems like more than just once a month...........ah but we love it really!

Got to get to work pretty sharpish tomorrow as not only do I hav a class of teenagers to teach first thing, but there's an awful lot to get out of the freezer so that we're not trying to cook blocks of ice on Saturday........not only is it difficult to cut up or fit ito some of the pots but it really screws up any temperature recordings we try to take. The only problem will be in actually trying to release the various bags and containers from their icy tomb as we did a pretty good job of filling the freezer up at Christmas and it's all frozen together in one great big interlocking pile of freezer bags, still at least that'll give me something to be getting on with for the rest of the morning.
I've also got to re check all of my calculations so that plans can be started on the cookery for the new financial year......lots of ideas are floating around, they just need some work to knock off the rough edges and get them sorted nice and early.......I'd like to be doing a lot less 'seat of the pants' planning this year than the one just gone, but we'll just have to wait and see I think.

I believe that Robert is all primed for the weekend so photographs a plenty I hope......which reminds me I must put my battery on charge, don't want a repeat of Christmas again!

Same old same old for the blog over the weekend........certainly text and hopefully pictures and who knows, maybe some video as well.........but if technology fails us, images will appear next week, all things willing.