Tuesday 30 December 2014

New cookbooks and an old with a new recipe

During Saint Nicholas and Christmas time I have received and bought some new (at least for me) medieval cookbooks. These were:

'The Book of Sent Sovi', containing the recipes of a 14th century cookbook from Catalonia (Spain) (ISBN 978-185566164-6). Luckily for us, the Catalan language is translated into English, but the actual transition to modern cooking has to be done by ourselves.

'Das Mittelalter Kochbuch' by Hannele Klemettilä (a German translation of an English translation of a Finnish book; ISBN 978-3-7306-0028-3) is filled with general information on medieval cooking, and contains a collection of recipes from medieval cookbooks and by Finnish re-enactors. There is some uncertainty whether the dishes by the latter are indeed medieval as no manuscript source is provided. Also some interesting information on Finnish medieval food can be found in the book.

'Herrenspeis and Bauernspeis - Krumme Krappfen, Ollapotrida und Mamonia' (ISBN 978-3-936622-14-0), 'Mein new Kochbuch - Wurst von Salm, Salbeimauschen und weitere Rezepte aus der mittelalterliche  Burgküche' (ISBN 3-936622-64-7) and 'Orientalisch-mittelalterliche Küche' (ISBN 978-3-940168-44-3) are all three by Peter Lutz, the former medieval cook of the Ronnenburg in Germany. These last three book are written in a very entertaining and informative way, and his view of how to prepare medieval dishes is very like our style of cooking. His last book deals with the medieval Islamic food and the influence it had on European (Mediterranean) medieval cooking. One of the dishes in this book, Rummaniyya, can also be found in the the Italian 'Liber de coquina' from the beginning of the 14th century as 'Romania'. This a a meat dish with a pomegranate sauce. A related recipe, 'Limonia' (with a lemon sauce instead of a pomegranate sauce) is Katinka's favourite medieval dish. 'Mein new Kochbuch' mostly takes the recipes from the late medieval/early renaissance cookbook 'Ein new Kochbuch' by Max Rumpolt from 1581. However, Peter uses the extensive information on cooking found in Max Rumpolts book to find out how certain medieval cooking styles were performed. The recipes in this book are not those commonly encountered in modern medieval cookbooks.

Recipe of Rosijsen from the manuscript of Maister Hannsen des from Wirtenberg koch from 1460.

His first book, Herrenspeis und bauernspeis, starts with a recipe of 'Krumme krapfen'. We knew this recipe already from another book under the name 'Rosijsen' (Horse shoes) and have made it several times. The other book, however, did not provide the source, while peter Lutz provides at least two: The manuscript of "Maister Hannsen, des von Wirtenberg koch" from 1460 and the 'Alemannische Büchlein von guter Speise'  (1470). The latter one also adds that the horse shoes are good and healthy. Indeed they taste very well, but today we would have some doubts on the healthiness of this dish.


When eaten it looks like a horse shoe. You shall take good cheese and grate it. And take a same amount of flour and add eggs. So it can be kneaded easily. Add spices to it and roll it on a dish like a sausage. Bent it like a horse shoe and bake it in lard. [my translation of the German recipe] 

Ingredients (serves 4):
3 eggs
150 g grated cheese
150 g flour
salt, black pepper, nutmeg
lard or vegetable oil for frying


Make a smooth dough from the eggs cheese, flour, salt and a good amount of spices and let it rest for 20 minutes. Flour your hands and roll the dough into a sausage with the thickness of a thumb. Cut it into pieces of a finger length and form into a horse shoe. Fry the horse shoes in the hot lard or vegetable oil until they are gold-brown and crispy. Eat warm (with a sauce, but it tastes also good without one).

Salse von Weichseln (sour cherry sauce)

Peter Lutz recommends this sauce with the Rosijsen - which I have not tried yet. The recipe is from  'Das Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard' (mid 15th century) who was the cook of Duke Henry of Landshut in Germany.

Zum ein salsenn von weichselnn zu machen.
Item wiltu machen ein gutte salsenn von weichselnn,
so thue die weichsell in einen hafen vnd
secz die auff ein glut vnd laß sie siedenn vnd
laß dann wider erkaltenn vnd streich sie durch ein
tuch vnd thue sie dann wider in den hafenn vnd
secz sie auff ein glut vnd laß sie wol sieden
vnd rurr sie, piß sie dick wirt, vnd thue dann
honig dar an vnd geribens prot vnd negellein vnd
gut gestu:ep vnd thue sie in ein feßlein. Sie
pleibt dir gut drew oder vier iar.

To make a sauce of sour cherries [translation into English by Volker Bach].
If you wish to make a good sauce of sour cherries, put the cherries into a pot and place it on the embers and let them boil. Then cool down again and pass them through a cloth, put it back into the pot, place it on the embers and let it boil well until it thickens. Then add honey and grated bread and cloves and good spice powder and put it into a small cask. It will stay good three or four years.

The sour cherry sauce with the rosijsen. Image scanned from the book Herrenspeis und Bauernspeis.

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 1 glass of sour cherries
  • 100 g honey
  • breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce
  • cinnamon
  • cloves, freshly ground in a mortar
  • black pepper, also freshly ground 

Take the stone out of the sour cherries and mash the stoneless cherries to pulp (e.g. with help of a blender). Heat the cherrypulp on a small flame untill it is reduced by a third in volume. Add the honey and the breadcrumbs while constantly stirring until the sauce has thickened. Finally add the cinnamon, cloves and a little pepper.  If the sauce is added hot into clean jam bottles, it can be stored for several years.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely recipes! A must-try in the season to come. Thank you for sharing!