Thursday, 30 September 2010

So What's The S.P. Then?

So the October event is virtually upon us and I'm only just getting round to updating the blog!!
Why the delay....forgetting a huge pile of stuff I was supposed to sort for Carter is one reason, having to suggest plans for Christmas with only a 2 day window is another....side project #2 is the third, but more of that later (not in this post, but definitely before I leave for the Palace tomorrow)

So they're the excuses....although posts to the forum have been made and that's taken up a fair amount of time this last couple of weeks....especially with the errors of the last couple of days, but fingers crossed those are now behind us (famous last words eh!). So far the forum is ticking along, doing what I'd hoped it would and more in the case of the things it allows the team access to...sorry, all hush hush stuff.....well some devastatingly witty banter and a team notice board anyway. Obviously it would be nice for a few more people to join up, but it's early days yet so plenty of time and room for more....equally it would be nice if you do sign up for you to pop a post in the introductions area saying hello so that we can get to know you....we don't bite, well most don't.

So with cookery just a day away, what's the plan for the weekend. Recipe wise, the idea is to cook the same dishes as last month, only this time perhaps we might actually cook more than we managed last time...the two invalids are not quite up to full strength, but we're certainly capable of getting the job done...unlike last month!
Why the same recipes? It's kind of complicated, yet also kind of simple too. There are many questions that need answering about how food was cooked within the kitchens at Hampton Court and within Henry VIII's Court in general and that's essentially what I'm working on research wise and have been for a year or so's what compromises most of the things I can't/won't tell you all about....well not until the work is done and published, so you will all get to hear, just not yet I'm afraid. Part of that work  uses the cookery weekends to test ideas and theories directly or indirectly connected with this research as well as cooking recipes to show people. This weekend is all about the difference between cooking with a purpose built stove and cooking within a hearth as would have to be the case if there were no stoves to use.

There has been a suggestion in the past that this is how all of the non roasted foods were cooked in the kitchens during Henry's reign, this weekend is to show that although possible it isn't practical, especially when we are thinking of the numbers involved...that's not to say it wasn't done, just that it was unlikely. Now it's perfectly possible that this thinking from us, that it's impractical, is wrong, but without trying we'll never's the one great advantage we have....having the actual cooking space to work in.
So over the weekend I'm expecting a lot of griping and moaning about 'what fool had the stupid idea of doing this' because there will be a lot more bending and lifting that well as a lot more washing up to remove the soot from the outside of the pots....I'd apologise to the guys now, but they wouldn't believe I was sorry, after all I've been looking forward to this for quite a while now.

It will involve a massive re-jig of how we arrange the kitchen, and a lot of pictures, so in theory if you can't actually get to come along and see what is probably going to be the only time we ever do this, at least you'll get to see the pictures....fingers crossed I may even be able to post some images of questionable quality up via Twitter as we go on the Saturday, which is when I shall be in modern clothes recording the work, then it's all swap round with Robert for him to do the same on Sunday, whilst I get to experience the discomfort that I think I'm going to be putting the guys through.

That's pretty much it really, I've still a load to do before I can leave tomorrow...including the last touches to the other side project, so I'm off to get that finished and will update you all before the end of tomorrow.


Monday, 13 September 2010

The Gallery......

A new addition to the 'empire' is now to be found at gallery!

Most of the blurb about it is written in the members area over at the forum, but for those of you who are reluctant to join in over at the forums (19 members, 106 useful and interesting topics containing 409 scintilating posts ;o) ), I'll repeat the info' here as well.....

"As part of the new hosting thing, I'm trying to start to tie everything that I've stuck onto the internet together under the same web

As part of that, there is now a Cooking The Books gallery at where all of the previous images posted are now to be found....there is also a button at the top left of the forum page that links there too and a reciprocal link at the gallery to return to the forum.

For the moment, future posting of event images will still go to Flickr as well, if nothing else for the larger number of viewers, but the new gallery will be the main focus for image storage in the future.

Linking the two areas (forum and gallery) together was a little more that I could manage for now, so currently they use separate logins and usernames, feel free to use new details or choose to use the same username as here...for security I would always recommend a different password for different sites, but your mileage may vary

Non registered visitors are limited to the viewing thumbnail and intermediate sized images, registered users can also see the full size image as well as make comments and rate images if they would like.

Members of the gallery can use the links generated for each picture to easily post images from the gallery in threads here at the forum.

For the moment that's pretty much it....apart from saying, pop over and have a look, see what all the various options do (most are available via the 'sidebar' which pops out when you select that option in the top left or there is also an icon on the right too).

Any questions, then fire away."

That pretty much covers it, so go and have a look and see what you think.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010


If anyone has been trying to register for the forum, but getting an error not found, or closed for maintenance, this "error" has now been fixed and registration now works correctly.

Some half wit forgot to change the link on the big 'register' button in the middle of the page to point to the correct web page now that the hosting has been changed.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Forum Back In The Land Of The Living!!

As of 03.58 GMT+1 7th Sept the forum is back online.....and yes I feel a plank!

There is a post there that asks, but I'll add it here too, please let me know if you find things missing or broken...I think I've repaired my stupidity, but need you all to check for me too.

For those who have yet to join, now is an excellent time to think about pop over, read the welcome board information and say hello! If you're at all worried, we don't bite and if Robert can overcome his worry about joining then anyone can do it ;o)



well....what did I say???

New opportunities to balls things up!

Working to restore what I seem to have destroyed, forum wise. Will update when I have more or indeed any news.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Finally...A Plan!

Having jigged the original plan for today around to take into account the need for light duties for 2 of us, the day went fairly well...not as productive as I'd have liked in terms of cooking, but enough to make the day pass quickly as well as the expected liberal doses of chating with some very interested parties.

The big problem for this evening has been in working out tomorrows work schedule...everyone wanted a change, within reason, back to their comfort zone, so after a bit of thinking Marc H and I think we've got a solution that will keep everyone happy in their work...although the proof of this pudding will remain to be seen until the start of the day tomorrow. At this time there seems little point in telling you all the full details in case it doesn't work out as planned, but I'll let you know what happens in the next post

Friday, 3 September 2010

I'm Liking This Forum Business...

as, although things could be described as slow in terms of people joining in, it is allowing members to chat amongst themselves and for information, pictures and the like of the cookery events to appear without me having to get my proverbial finger out and write something!

Again I have to stress that the forum idea isn't meant to replace the blog posts, but to add to the whole shebang and although I'm concentrating a lot on setting it all up correctly at the moment, the aim is that it ticks over in the future without needing a vast amount of maintenance from me....apart from posting there of course. As well as all of that, the other side project has been taking up valuable time this week...seemingly 2 steps forward 3 steps back...but I'm pretty sure that progress will be made very soon....some more additions to the whole and a spate of testing before I can reveal all, but hopefully it'll all be worth it....still, more of that another time!!

Last weekend went pretty well, yes Marc H and I overdid things....damn this recovery is taking a lot longer than I had thought it would...but all in all we held our own, taking shifts sitting down in the office or in the kitchen and doing as much talking as we could but as little lifting and walking around....I have to say that if it wasn't for the rest of the guys pulling our weight in regards to fetching, carrying, lifting and most importantly...washing up, then the weekend would have been a bit rubbish for our visitors, but as it was...success all round, not vast numbers inside...well there was the jousting to see...but those that did come chatted and in the main got the idea of the event's theme...if nothing else they went away with a few recipes or ideas to try which is all we could have asked for I think. As for the guys outside....suffice to say that the mini knights came back in on the last day virtually in kit-form as did Dave and Robert mentally speaking. Jorge managed to entertain in his bijou (it seems) tent, with several groups staying for ages, chatting about painting and what not...and occasionally working as the "lovely Anthea", keeping the scores for the jousting.

This coming weekend sees a return to the tried and tested recipes of old so that we can look at the physical side of the cooking...not so much the techniques, but the workload...fetching, carrying, lifting etc. Not prompted by our poor invalid routines I have to say, but for another research reason which for now I am not at liberty to pass on I'm afraid...but hopefully in the near future all can be revealed...for now, you'll have to make do with the reports from the coal face over the weekend and any images that we manage to capture.

Off to bed now ready for action tomorrow.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

All Change......Again!!

Right, all change time again.....I've thought long and hard and decided to stump up the moola for some paid for web space that will allow the forum a permanent home as well as some other new things I'm thinking of adding/changing in the near future.
The button on the right now takes you to the new address, but for your records the forum now resides at

If you get lost or confused then just remember is the portal to all things associated with this 'ere blog and all.
'proper' post tomorrow about the two weekends, last and next, but time to go and finish sorting out the new web home!