Feast of the Four Winds 2014

The Feast of the Four Winds for 2014 was held at Thirroul Heritage Hall on Saturday 22 November. I ran the feast as a “tavern”, with a simple menu based loosely on foods that might have been served at an English tavern of the fifteenth century. I chose that period because it was the easiest to research – Martha Carlin published a handy article on Tudor eateries in the Huntington Library Quarterly in 2008, and there are plenty of good recipes in A Boke of Gode Cookery and Medieval Cookery.

Earlier in the day, Katherne Rischer ran a calligraphy and illumination workshop, and Patri de Buck came down from Rowany to teach fighters how to use a longsword. Brian le Faucheer also took us through some dancing at the end of the evening.

Around thirty people visited the tavern, having travelled from Adora, Agaricus, Stowe-on-the-Wowld and Rowany, including Their Excellencies Miles and Ameline, Baron and Baroness of Rowany. I hope everyone enjoyed the tavern and is looking forward to our events in 2015.

Ælfred se leof, Steward

Digby’s Excellent Small Cakes

Brian makes these biscuits every year for the Flametree Ball.

3 c flour

¾ c sugar

2 ½ c currants

200 g butter

2 ½ tbsp cream

1 egg yolk

¼ t nutmeg

2 t sack (or sherry)

Mix the flour, sugar and currants. Add the butter, cream, egg yolk, nutmeg and sack. Mix well, then put the dough in a dish, place it before a fire, and warm it through. Divide the dough into flat cakes about a hands’ breadth across, and prick each cake full of holes. Bake at 180C for about twenty minutes.

Source: The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened (1669), redaction from Cariadoc’s Miscellany.

Meat & Rosemary Pies

I (Ælfred) adapted this recipe for the Flametree Ball 2012. The original recipe is for “game pies”, but, for convenience, I used beef and made them in the form of a pasty.

2 sheets shortcrust pastry

400g beef (or other meat)

125 mL red wine

125 mL beef stock

1 large sprig rosemary (about 2 tbsp)

½ tbsp pepper

½ tbsp ginger

pinch cloves

pinch salt

Chop the meat into small pieces, then cook it in the wine and stock. Drain the liquid, then mix the spices into the meat. Put the meat into pasties or pies and bake at 200C for 35 minutes.

Makes eight pasties.

Source: Sabina Welserin (1553), Recipe #66, redaction by Ælfred se leof.

Spinach & Cheese Tarts

Katherne cooked these tarts for the Flametree Ball 2012. The College of St Malachy has used the recipe for numerous previous Flametree Balls and Newcomers Feasts.

150g spinach, chopped

1/2 c parsley, chopped

2 tbsp chervil

1 tsp fennel, ground

5 eggs

150g cheddar cheese, shredded

150g mozarella cheese, shredded

1 nine-inch pie crust (shortcrust pastry)

Bake the pie crust at 200C for ten minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients together and put them into the crust, then bake the pie at 180C for forty minutes. Cut into six equal portions.

Makes one 9-inch pie.

Source: Le Menagier de Paris (1395), redaction from Cariadoc’s Miscellany.

Chicken Pasties Lombard

Alessandra cooked these pasties for the Flametree Ball 2012. These are an old favourite for Flametree Balls and other feasts. We usually make around a quarter of the pasties without bacon, and fold the bacon-free pasties differently to the bacon ones so that people can tell the difference.

2 sheets puff pastry

400g chicken, diced

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp ginger

pinch cinnamon, ground

pinch cloves, ground

pinch cardomom, ground

1 rasher bacon

Cut the pastry sheets into quarters. Mix the egg, lemon juice and spices. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture and distribute them evenly on the pastry quarters. Cut the bacon into eight strips and place one strip on top of each quarter. Fold the quarters into pasties and pinch the edges together. Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes.

Makes eight pasties.

Source: Medieval Cookbook

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