This month’s Hael Storm (The Rhydderich Hael’s monthly A&S gathering – see this article for more information.) featured the Mystery Basket Challenge, with baskets provided by Lord Wolfgang Starke, master of diabolical, yet period, ingredient combinations.

More than 25 people enjoyed the day as we cooked, did A&S projects and just had fun socializing (plus hammered dulcimer!).

Lord Bulvi drew the Ox tail basket.

Lord Bulvi drew the Ox tail basket.

The baskets were:

Ox tail, slab bacon, beets, bulgur

Emmentaler cheese, chicken, chard, pears, white beans

Salt pork, sausage, turnips, cabbage

Tripe, beef, apples, parsnips, barley

Brown eggs, leeks, mushrooms, squash (gourds), lentils

Participants pored through the collection of medieval cookbooks from Tiercelin’s library, augmented by a collection from THL Rhiannon. Lady Katerin drew the biggest challenge with the tripe basket.

Researching recipes.

Researching recipes.

Well, ok, some of us laboring not so much - and of course the Brit is the only one in the pool room with a suit and tie on.

Well, ok, some of us laboring not so much – and of course the Brit is the only one in the pool room with a suit and tie on.

We generally start at around 11 am with the goal of serving forth at around 6. Baroness Morgan arrived with a pot of hearty garlic soup to ward off hunger pangs until dinner and THL Maeve had the foresight to bring loaves of bread, fortifying the intrepid cooks as they labored over hot stoves. The dinner food was not immune to filching, however, as Tiercelin discovered when she went to check on the cabbage and sausage dish simmering in the slow cooker and was horrified to find that the meat had all disappeared. “I thought for one mad moment that maybe it had just melted down,” she laughed “until we realized there had been a mix-up and everyone had thought it was for lunch, albeit strangely while I was in the other room.”

The general goal of the Cook’s Guild part of the Hael Storms is to use period techniques and baseline extant recipes to put out a meal for people to enjoy at the end of the day.

THL Rhiannon works on a chicken dish.

THL Rhiannon works on a chicken dish.

Sometimes we will redact and follow recipes closely, but the Mystery Basket sessions are more to look at general medieval cooking techniques as a starting point for experimentation. Braising, stewing, different types of tarts and pies, breads, soups; all were part of the final line-up.

We enjoyed a tripe pie with a custard binder, chicken stewed with beans and vegetables, cabbage and sausage casserole (although granted, only cabbage by dinnertime), ox tail stew with beets and bulgur, roasted turnips glazed with honey, a vegetable dish of lentils, leeks and mushrooms, and a non-period but delectable rye bread stuffed with slab bacon and raisins.

hael4Dessert was a pear and cheese tart after one in Markham (minus the cheese), and a fruit fool with wild plums supplied by Lady Morgana from her own gardens this summer.

The Hael Storms are open to all and sundry – generally we rotate between the homes of Tiercelin and Jock in the southern part of the Barony (Hamburg) and Wolfgang and Katerin in the north (Lockport). We encourage everyone to join us for fabulous feasting and company!

We also encourage everyone to start their own A&S gathers in their home groups.  Where there is food, there is fun!

Bacon bread!

Bacon bread!