Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A Bit On The Side...

Sorry for the lack of activity of late, but some major family stuff and power problems with the laptop amongst other things have conspired to keep me busy an not posting.......hence this flying visit too.

The planning for next weeks cookery is ongoing and as soon as I get the chance I'll let you know what we shall be doing.....just got to wait for an answer from the boss regarding some supplies before I can finalize that end of things......but given Doc and Elise's comments I'm pretty sure that the malmenye furne will rear its head over the three days.

Other research continues apace, although not the recipe stuff unfortunately as I've rather been distracted with looking through account lists from the period looking at foodstuffs and where they are coming from......and quite often, who is providing them......all really fascinating stuff but loads of work cross to get back to the recipes first I think!

As an aside this Sunday is 'Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2008' and Robert has been out practising.....using the Palace as the subject

Base Court by pinhole

Fountain Court by pinhole

I on the other hand will be leaving it all to chance and just snapping away on the day...not sure if it'll be at work, I doubt it though!
Pop over to the pinhole site and have a look at the gallery, in this modern age it's refreshing to see this style of image making still flourishing.......looking should also keep you occupied until I post again!

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!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Coughs And Sneezes......

....spread diseases.....and make me feel like death warmed up!

A touch of the 'man flu' perhaps today......slight temperature, full sinuses and a blocked nose meant that I was as useful as a chocolate teapot in the kitchen today. No sense of taste or smell, so no idea how things ended up. I'm off to my sickbed now to wallow in my sickness (I don't often get the chance so I'm going to milk it this time) and pictures of today's cookery when I'm feeling better, but I did promise you that video of Robin mincing veal for poumes so here it is.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

That'll Teach Me....... think it was all going day the internet connection works without a hitch.....the next, when I've got video to post and the odd!&%*£$*!

So it's back to the mobile phone for this one, so you'll have to wait to see the video of Robin and his quality mincing.........of meat that is! Likewise with pictures of browne fryes, capoun in salome and poumes I'm afraid.

Today saw

Capoun in Salome
Ffylets en galentyne
buttyryd wortys
soupes jamberlaine
applade ryalle

hit the table....all with little problem......damn we're good!! To answer Doc's question from the other day, the capoun in salome tastes 'odd''s only chicken with almond milk on top but somehow it didn't taste like I was expecting.....nothing wrong with it, just 'different'!

Not many pictures again from me today, just the video that I'll post as soon as I can......not sure about Robert as I've not seen too much of him all day.....he was busy calculating when, if ever the sun might shine into his office......if anyone tells you to 'stick it where the sun don't shine' you now know that'll be his office as apparently the sun will never shine in through his window!!

No idea what we'll be cooking to plan that now over a pint......or two.

Friday, 11 April 2008

What's To Say?

Not much really! A fairly good day, a few niggles aside and much busier than last weekend despite the torrent of rain and hail that we had in the middle of the day.

Everything went to plan, even if it was a fairly loose plan and we cooked

Chike endored
Beef y-stywyd
Wardons in syryp
Lyede milk
Browne fryes

All of them turned out really well, especially the sweet dishes.......of which in my mess at least there was nothing left of them at the end of the meal (I'm surprised Adrian left the glaze on the bowl that had the lyede milk in!!)

Another picture light day again I'm afraid, with me only taking 5 I think, but this one is worth showing you

the colours man!

We're cooking the capoun in salome again tomorrow, so we thought we'd try starting the saunders colour off today to try and get a real red out of it. We (well Marc H) put a load into some almond oil and heated it up and the picture above is what we've got so far. I swear that there's been no effects added with Photoshop, the bowl is brown and the liquid is that shade of green!?! Dip something into it though and the dark peach colour shows up.....really weird. Still, we'll play around with it tomorrow and see how it comes of the dish to come I hope.

I'll post tomorrows menu when we finish, like today I think.......just to be on the safe side......better go and check what should have been de-frosted now!?!!?


Wednesday, 9 April 2008


Trying to get it all in during this short week, so a mixed bag of 29 pictures have now been sent to Flick. We ended up taking quite a few on the Sunday and Monday after the poor showing on Saturday, but lots of them are pretty tedious, just record keeping shots I suppose so I've chosen the best of the bunch for you to see, like these

just follow the link in the right hand column and go and have a look see......I'd like to be able to tell you all about Sunday, but as I'd suspected the cooking all went fine without me and there isn't much to tell. Marc H and Robin had a good success with the Capoun in Salome, even getting some colour out of the saunders.....which they felt was too pale so they 'pepped' it up a bit with some cochineal! Still, it looked like they ate it all, we'll try it again this weekend I think and try to get some more pictures of the processes not just the end results for you to see.

A couple of videos too for your delight, this first one is a quickie of Robin cooking some crispels on Monday

Monday was a bit hit and miss to be honest, with the function on upstairs that limited us with washing up facilities we tried to keep things simple, hence the crispels above!
Marc H cooked a Vyaund de Ciprys bastarde which was just plain odd.........I've frozen it down and we'll eat it for dinner this coming weekend but to be honest I think most of the guys won't find it to their taste, probably the sugar in it. I was going to cook the Malmenye furne until the sharper members of the team pointed out that we didn't have access to the ovens......doh! So after playing around with the alembic with Robert for a while, I made the chardewardon which was pretty good, and will also add to one of this weekends dinners.

The other video is of the finished wax fountain in all it's 'glory'. For reasons that I didn't quite understand it all suddenly 'had to be finished' this weekend, so Dave and Adrian resorted to modern oil paints to finish the job.....not sure why, but hey ho. It didn't get a chance to dry either before it's 'big moment' but it worked as you'll see if you watch this video. (sorry it's a bit blurry in places, can't be helped......idiot using the camera don't you know!)

Seems a pity to have spent all that time on it then to rush it at the last minute, but what's done is done now and it'll look good on display with the St George from last year I'm sure.

What's next for them to do is now the big question.......hopefully something that they can do justice to and something that they won't rush into....remember the old adage guys, measure twice cut once!

So what will we be doing this weekend.....pretty much the same as last weekend!! With the odd exception, perhaps a beef y-stywyd or a fyllets en galentyne here and there, maybe less autre vele en bokenade. Hopefully I'll be able to finalise things before I leave tomorrow and let you all know beforehand, if not then look out for updates as we go through the weekend.

We've been having a few problems with the 'technology' whilst away and that's why we've been back to text only postings when we're cooking, hopefully we can rectify that this weekend and keep you all fully briefed.


Sunday, 6 April 2008

Waking To A Winter Wonderland......

So much for yesterdays jibe at the weather forecast.......we woke this morning to white skies and falling snow leaving the Palace with a light dusting like this

snowy fountain court

As I said yesterday I've had to leave the guys at it today and I left to them debating whether they'd get any visitors today, well just after taking this

snowy tree

I turned round to see at least two coach loads of tourists struggling up the drive as well as sundry parka wearing people queuing for the ticket office, so hopefully the guys have been kept busy.
It'll be good to see what they got up to when I get back later on today.......hopefully it all went to plan and Robert got some pictures, but as I said my goodbyes it was looking a little fraught.......still they don't need me to tell them what to do, I passed on all the information they needed last night about what I'd ordered for what dish, they should be fine.

No roasting tomorrow and no meal either, but apart from that all the dishes should still be the same as the menu I posted the other day......with the exception of the vyaund de ciprys ryalle which I think we'll dispense with as it would need to be cooked today......with no meal there seems little point to doing it this week, we'll put int on the menu for next weekend though.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

What A Grey Day!

So much for the weather forecast then, not that I'd seen it but everybody did keep going on about how this weekend was going to turn into Ragnarok and that we were all doomed to a wintery wonderland!?! No snow, no cold, but we did get plenty of miserable rain for the second half of the day......shame as we woke up to blue skies and sunshine.
With the poor weather that we had and the doom and gloom forecast we weren't expecting many visitors, just hardy souls but they were thin on the ground as well because the train service was cancelled for engineering work, so to say it's been a little quiet today wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration......the odd busy flurry of people, but not the normal crowds.......all of which combined to make today a pretty easy day, with very little 'talking' and no great surprises with the cookery.

So saying the meal today was really good, especially the

¶Autre Vele en bokenade.
¶Take Vele, an Make it clene, and hakke it to gobettys, an sethe it; an take fat brothe, an temper vp þine Almaundys þat þou hast y-grounde, an lye it with Flowre of Rys, and do þer-to gode powder of Gyngere, & Galyngale, Canel, Maces, Quybybis, and Oynonys y-mynsyd, & Roysonys of coraunce, & coloure yt wyth Safroun, and put þer-to þin Vele, & serue forth.

which Marc H was FAN-(insert superlative of choice here)-TASTIC, the best dish on the table and one of the nicest tasting dishes for a long time, just like a nice Indian korma (hardly surprising given the list of spices that are in it).....shame we didn't have a few naan bread and Cobra beers to go with it......we just had to make do with the lyede milke and browne fryes instead.

Unfortunately today was a bit of a 'no picture' day! I only took 20 or so pretty lousy shots and Robert less than that I think.....hopefully more over the next couple of days though fingers crossed.

Tomorrow and Monday see a few changes being made to the menu due to circumstances beyond our control. We won't have access to our cold storage or usual washing up facilities on Monday so we'll be scaling down a little, with no roasting and no meal presentation, so tomorrows Chekyns farsed is being put on hold and the capoun in salome is going to take its place....hopefully with some pictures......but if not we'll be doing the same recipe next weekend anyway, so we'll have two bites at the picture cherry so to speak. As well as that, I have to be away from here tomorrow due to family health problems so reports on tomorrows day will be second and third hand I'm afraid......unless I can convince Robert or Robin to write something for you lovely people.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Petering Out........

That's it, I'm spent.........the last batch of Roberts pictures from the last cookery weekend have just gone up at Flickr, including this one:

one of THOSE days!!

(sorry matey!)

Still loads of pictures you haven't seen, but the best of them will need too much touching up to remove the dust (see a couple of posts earlier for more details) for me to be able to post them before the coming cookery weekend......maybe in the future??

The shopping list is in and the delivery is scheduled for lunchtime on all that's left to sort out is the following weekends menu and shopping list, so no rest for the wicked then??
I've no idea what we'll be doing yet, but as usual you'll know as soon as I do.


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Twice In One Day!!

As alluded to earlier on, some more pictures are now up at Flickr.....gotta get rid of that backlog before Friday!?!
Mostly night time shots like this one

A Kings Beast

but there is one of some food for Doc to have a look at.......That's where the crimped case was destined for.......and it was absolutely sublime, possibly the best we've ever managed!

Off for some beauty sleep now.....oi, no laughing at the back!!

Still More Pictures.

Just taking a quick break from 'real work' to put another 7 of Roberts pictures up at Flickr for you to see.

night shot of tree

Nothing else to report at the moment, fingers crossed I'll post again later with some more of the images from Easter otherwise I won't get them all in before this weekend.