An exiting new endeavor by Meadbh ni Clerigh of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn is the launching of a collaborative website intended for cooks who would like both to cook medieval recipes as well as cater to modern food allergies and sensitivities.
She explains: “I’m interested in authentic medieval recipes that accommodate modern food allergies and intolerances. After some research I found that there’s not a site currently there that categories medieval recipes with this in mind, so I built one.”
Her primary goal is to have a repository of medieval recipes that any feast cook can go to when a guest says “I can’t eat X and Y.” There already are a lot of recipes out there that are perfectly good as originally written (or with a negligible substitution), and the website aims to help connect cook with recipe.
Meadbh adopted a medieval English persona who really enjoys spangled gowns. She has been interested in medieval cuisine as a culinary flavor for some time and tries to adhere to the original recipes as closely as possible. Her primary goal is to create food that a modern diner will enjoy, including diners who have food allergies and intolerances. She only has a dozen recipes on the website at the moment but intends to keep adding to the collection.
She would really like to see contributions by other people with different recipes, alternative redactions, and varied culinary interests. A recipe doesn’t need to be completely allergen free (there are a couple there, and she is looking for more.) As she mentioned: “you don’t need to have made it recently. You don’t even need fantastic pictures. I want this to feel attainable by anyone. Feel free to browse, and to contribute!”
Being the Chronicle of the Courts of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc, held on the sixteenth day of November, AS 54 (2019), at Their Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship, in Their Dominion of Myrkfaelinn. Submitted by Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarson, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.
After a fine day of food, fellowship, and fantastic arts and sciences, Their Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle bade their court be opened and the populace to seek their comfort.
Their Majesties first summoned forward all children there present. His Majesty, feeling the hall a bit too small to allow the children to safely engage in the traditional chase of the kingdom toybox, bade them go find it instead, saying only that it was already hidden somewhere within the hall. The assembled children scampered forth, seeking to and fro… but without success. Eventually, the box was spotted, cleverly being quietly sat upon by young Ivan Snorrison in a back corner of the hall, accompanied by Timothy of Arindale the Younger, with great mirth on both their faces. The various and sundry other children of the realm soon saw through these shenanigans, and toys were dutifully and gladly distributed to all and happily received.
It was then Her Majesty’s pleasure to invite forward Her Excellency Amalie Reinhardt to speak to all assembled about the AE Leads tokens, to be given by anyone for acts of kindness and service they witnessed.
Next, an announcement that, by Royal Writs duly signed by TRM Æthelmearc and Middle, that Lady Catherine Lumhaghs is a subject of the Crown of Æthelmearc.
Their Majesties then rose and spoke of the spectacular arts and sciences on display that day and noted that there was actually a tie for first place. It being so, Their Majesties then exercised a bit of Royal prerogative and decided that They would choose both a King’s Champion and a Queen’s Champion. To that end, Baron Jasper Longshanks and THL Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne were called before the court and made King’s A&S Champion, and Queen’s A&S Champion, respectively, and they received the regalia of their new offices from His Lordship Robert of Ferness, the outgoing Champion.
Their Majesties then bade them both remain a moment more and told Baron Jasper that they were not yet done with the business They had with him that day, then bade Their herald call forth Their Most Noble Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and made Baron Jasper a member of that order, with a scroll by THL Vivienne of Yardley.
Baron Jasper and THL Máirghréad. Photo by Elska.
Baron Jasper and THL Máirghréad as the new King and Queen’s A&S Champion (Photograph by Elska á Fjárfelli)Their Majesties saw need to name one further champion that day: a Kingdom Youth Champion of Arts & Sciences, so They had summoned before them Cornelia of Harford. They spoke glowingly of her display of handmade rabbit fur mittens, noting that she had received a score on the same rubric as the adults and would have scored very well were she an adult. In addition, They were also quite impressed with her comportment and speaking about her project, and so named her Their Youth A&S Champion.
His Lordship Matteo presenting Lady Eadgytha and Lord Simon their AOA scrolls during Myrkfaelinn’s weekly practice. Photo by Elska.
At that time, Their Majesties called for Eadgytha and Simon of Myrkfaelinn, or one who could speak for them. His Lordship Matteo Pesci came forward and avowed that he could so speak, and so Eadgytha and Simon were made Lady and Lord, members of the Nobility of Æthelmearc, with Awards of Arms.
Lady Kitty. Photograph by Baroness Amalie Reinhart
Next, Kitty Maclure was called forward, and with much emotion received
her Award of Arms and was made Lady Kitty of the Nobility of Æthelmearc,
with a scroll by Lady Drucilla.
Soon after, Their Majesties called again for Their Most Noble order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc and spoke to them of an omission from their ranks that should then be rectified. The Order being in agreement, Lady Finuola Fenris McGill was called forward and added to their ranks, with a scroll by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.
After that, Their Majesties called for their Most Noble Order of the Pelican to attend Them. Once assembled, Their Majesties stated that an addition needed to be made to their Order and sent for Baroness Aine O’Muirghesan to be brought before them. She was presented with a Writ to contemplate elevation, with a scroll illuminated by Lady Nicola Beese with words from Mistress Cori Ghora, and sent forth to consider her answer with seriousness and thoughtfulness, her reply to be received at a later date.
That happy business being accomplished, Their Majesties saw it right and fit to summon Their Most Noble Order of the Laurel to attend Them. When asked if they wished to add to their number they responded aye, and so the presence of His Lordship Robert of Ferness was demanded. King Timothy spake that, as His Lordship now had extra time (no longer being the kingdom’s Arts and Sciences Champion) he should use such time as was now available to consider elevation, and sent him forth with a Writ commanding the same.
Robert of Ferness
Cornelia of Harford
Queen Gabrielle then rose and spoke with great admiration of the work of Cornelia of Harford, noting that, when her A&S display was unattended between judging times, there was a card left there advising any seeking her that she should most probably be found helping in the kitchens, and that she would return from there to speak upon her project if desired. Her Majesty named Cornelia as Her Inspiration that day, and awarded unto her a Golden Escarbuncle, tinted green for arts & sciences achievement.
Finally, Their Majesties called up all scribes there present who had contributed a scroll to the day’s courts, and each was given a token of appreciation from Their hands.
There being no further business, court was closed.
Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarson
Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald
By Elska á Fjárfelli, of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn
My interest in anything Viking age, and anything early-period brewing merged last weekend when Myrkfaelinn hosted an Iron Age stone brewing demo at its annual Summer War Practice. Lord Ulf Barelegs traveled from afar to help THLord Robert of Ferness and me work our way through the different steps of successfully brewing an all-grain beer with nothing modern but a thermometer – and honestly, we did not even truly need that! Inspired by a Facebook post by a Texas brewer who shared his interpretation of an Iron Age brew in northern continental Europe around 2,000 years ago that he brews for an Iron Age immersion week each spring, I figured we could give it a try too.
While 2,000 years ago is a wee bit past the Viking age, it is unlikely the way of brewing changed all that much from the Iron age until Middle age monastic breweries started pushing the boundaries of brewing volume and shelf-life. And while there might not be a whole lot of recorded history, with only a single example from the Icelandic Ljósvetninga saga telling of milk warmed by stones, there is plenty of archaeological evidence for the brewing of beer in Viking age context. Residues of a fruit & honey beer from northwest Denmark of circa 1500-1300 BCE, found in 2014, included honey, bog cranberry, lingonberry, bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper, birch tree resin, as well as wheat, barley and/or rye. And there is nothing archaeologist like better than rubbish heaps and trash middens, of which the old farmsteads have plenty! It seems in central Norway the rubbish suggests Vikings and their descendants brewed beer by tossing hot rocks into wooden tuns. Many a fire-cracked stone is found at most of the farmyards of old, historically named farms. Unfortunately for the archaeologists, since most archaeological digs are initiated by construction sites, as developers are required to check for cultural artifacts before beginning construction, most construction sites avoid developing through a farmstead. This means most of the archaeological information we have about the Viking age comes from graves, and most of the archaeological information about the Middle ages comes from excavations in cities – which misses a large chunk of data as most people back then lived in the countryside. Recent small-scale excavations in farmyards found that the oldest farmsteads carbon-14 date to 600 CE, the late Iron age.
Our own Robert of Ferness admitted to having found and handled many FCR – archaeologist-speak for fire-cracked rocks – at various sites, including in Iceland. Not provable as stones used in brewing per se, but probable to have been used to heat a liquid. They could also have simply been stones put too close to fire in a hearth, or even stones cracked by intense heat in a structure fire.
Mounds of fire cracked stones, or “brewing stones”, on Ranheim, Trondheim (Grønnesby 2017, 135)
Nineteenth century Sociologist Eilert Sundt recorded an encounter on a farm in 1851 in Hedmark, Norway after seeing a pile of strange looking smallish stones. “What’s with these stones?” he asked and the farmer replied “They’re brewing stones. Stones they used for cooking to brew beer, from the old days when they did not have iron pots.” Sundt noted that most of the farms he visited had piles of burned or fire-cracked stones, and every time he asked about them, he was told the stones were from brewing, when they would be heated until they were glowing hot and plopped into the wood vessel to heat things up. The stones were everywhere, Sundt wrote, and so thick and compact in places, houses were built right on top of them! A modern excavation at Ranheim, near Trondheim, Norway, found 700 cubic meters of stones from just one portion of the farmstead. A test sample of 24 farms found that 71 percent had fire-cracked stones. Hot rock brewing would not be as obvious in the archaeological record elsewhere as with Norwegian brewing stones because of the types of stones used, as most regions use stones which tolerate heat without fracturing, like the igneous rock granite and basalt. Brewing beer with hot rocks is nothing unusual, and traces of brewing with stones have been found in England, Germany, Finland and the Baltics.
And thus, in the great tradition of Gulating’s law – the Gulating being the Norwegian governmental assembly which met from 900 to 1300 CE – requiring three farmers to work together to brew beer, Ulf, Robert and I set up our brewing at the Myrkfaelinn Summer War Practice to make some Viking beer! For those who could not make it, this brewing session was a trial run for the Pennsic Iron Age brewing workshop which will be held at Aethelmearc Royal, war week Saturday, starting at 2pm.
18 lbs of 2 row barley malt
lbs of malted oats
1 lb of acidified barley malt
½ lb of peat smoked barley malt (very smoky, use sparingly)
½ lb of malted rye (left over)
The grain was milled on-site, and by hand.
With an infusion of:
Yarrow (big handful)
Baby spruce tips (handful)
Mugwort (less than a dozen sprigs)
Henbit (small handful)
Aged, yellowed hops (handful)
The herbs were fresh and picked the day before. The hops are homegrown and have been sitting in the dark in my basement for about a year. This way the brew gets minimal flavor, while still benefiting of some of the preserving qualities.
Now what did we actually do? Let me show you!
First thing we did was start a fire to make coal bed.
Then we used that fire to make a juniper infusion and clean out the wood tub (the mash tun) with the scalding infusion to clean and sterilize.
Then we put a layer of juniper twigs covering the bottom, concentrating around the plug (there is hole in the bottom of the mash tun, kept closed with the plugging stick).
We milled the grains by hand: we used 2 row barley, malted oats and some random leftovers, including some rye, as well as some peat smoked malt.
Then we added water. We added it cold from the tap – it could also be pre-heated in sun, especially at Pennsic.
Next, we put stones on the coal bed and built another fire right over top of them, with a hardwood / pine mix I had brought from home to make sure we had dry wood.
In the traditional Scandinavian style, we made a separate tea, or infusion, with the herbal bittering agents. We used yarrow, some mugwort, aged and yellowed hops, some henbit, and baby spruce tips.
When the fire was mostly burned down again, we start pulling stones, and added them to mash (the soaked grains) 3 or 4 at a time. Ulf really enjoyed this bit, as did my kid when we did a water-only trial in the back yard. We tried three metal grabbers and found the funky accordion style firewood grabber worked best.
We kept checking the temperature, especially the top and bottom as the mash & juniper was quite insulating and there often was quite a heat difference between the top and the bottom. It was difficult to stir with the juniper branches covering the bottom. At around 130F we observed protein break – thank you Ulf for pointing that out – which made the surface of the mash all foam up.
We kept adding hot rocks until overall temps were at or over 160F, and then we kept it at this level for an hour and a half – adding more stones as needed.
By now, whenever a new hot rock is added, the wort (the liquid surrounding the grains) surrounding the rock immediately went to a boil, creating lots of steam, a wonderful smell of sweet malt, lots of sizzling & sputtering, and quite the surface boil. This part, which takes about an hour and a half, is spectacular to watch!
At around the end of the protein rest (the hour and a half) we noticed the protein foam had dissipated, and the wort started to settle. So, we put the draining bucket under hole, carefully wiggled the plug stick, and slowly drained the wort into a sterile bucket. I would plug the drain back up each time the bucket was ready to dump the filtered wort into a sterilized fermenter bucket. This traditional way of having a combined mash tun (where the grains are soaked) and a lauter tun (where the infusion is drained off the grains) worked surprisingly well.
We sparged with boiling water. We intended to use juniper water but ran out of cooking vessels as we started to cook dinner while waiting for the protein rest. We drained about 4 gallons from the initial wort, and another 2 gallons were sparged, by trickling boiling water over the mash to wash out any remainder sweetness. The last sparge we handed around for anyone to taste.
We made about 8 gallons of wort from about 25 pounds of grain, including 4 pounds of oats I sprouted and roasted (called malting) over the winter, and bittering adjuncts grown and harvested from the backyard. All in all, it took about 6 hours from start to finish, but we also took all the time we wanted and ended up cooking dinner over the hot stone fire as well – rabbit with spring onions, over barley, nettle and plantain. It was a good day, and I can’t wait to taste the results!
The things we learned:
Making the first coal bed took a while. In case of restricted time start with a bag or two of charcoal, add rocks, and built a wood fire over that.
We need more pots to boil water, and/or vessels to store juniper tea for sparging.
Stones crack, but slowly, crumbly, and pose no danger (apart from sharp edges when fishing them back out of the wort). It is no wonder the farmyards had layer upon layer of discarded stones, as from two trials I already have half a bucket of small gravel! Brewing stone beer means keeping an eye out for replacement granite.
When the wort reached about 130F, we saw foam (protein break). When it reached about 160F the surface was really steaming (and too hot to touch easily). When it had sat for about the right amount of time, the foam had also started to dissipate and the wort was starting to clear.
The sugar conversion went fine, the wort did not seem weak at all (none of us brought a hydrometer, so we did not check starting specific gravity).
Back home, I added some Nottingham dry ale yeast, and Robert added Safale WB06 dry ale yeast to his batch. When we tried the wort at about the 5-day point (same as for Pennsic), we found it to be more acerbic and herbal tasting than expected. I checked back in with the Iron age brewer and he suggested not to boil the herbs, but to only steep, and to add the infused tea as a sparge, not during heating. We will do further testing before Pennsic and look forward to sharing our results with you then! Skål!
For anyone who would like to try Cy Phorg’s Iron Age interpretation:
4 lbs of 2 row barley malt OR a mix of light and dark Munich malt
1 lb of rye malt
½ lb of peat smoked malt
¼ lb acid barley malt
Mash for 160F or more for 1.5 hours.
Steep in ½ a gallon of water a combination of:
Juniper branch tips (handful)
Meadowsweet (several handfuls)
Henbit / deadnettle (handful)
All preferably harvested in spring, use with flowers and buds when possible.
Sparge with the herbal tea.
He uses kveik yeasts, farmhouse/saisson style yeasts, and Belgian/Trappist style yeasts to good effect, often in a mixture and often with a health addition of bread yeast. It will be ready to drink in as little as 48 hours, though in his experience he finds 72 hours is a good spot to start pouring. It is not intended to be carbonated, and should be consumed in a day or two.
Geir Grønnesby (2017) Hot rocks! Beer brewing on Viking and medieval age farms in Trøndelag. Frode Iversen & Håkan Petersson (Eds.) The Agrarian Life of the North 2000 23–56 1000. Studies in Rural Settlement and Farming in Norway. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Patrick E. McGovern, Gretchen R. Hall & Amen Mirzoian (2013) A biomolecular archaeological approach to ‘Nordic grog’. Danish Journal of Archaeology, 2:2, 112-131. Routledge.
Billy Quinn & Declan Moore. Ale, brewing and fulacht fiadh: Archaeology Ireland. Billy Quinn and Declan Moore of Moore Environmental and Archaeological Consultants in Galway present a bleary-eyed experimental reassessment of the nature and function of fulacht fiadh. http://www.mooregroup.ie/2007/10/the-archaeology-ireland-article/
Asle Rønning. Brewing Stone Age beer. Beer enthusiasts are using a barn in Norway’s Akershus County to brew a special ale which has scientific pretensions and roots back to the dawn of human culture. July 20, 2012. http://sciencenordic.com/brewing-stone-age-beer
The recording of the business of Sven and Siobhan, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, held at the Queen’s Rapier Championship during the Myrkfaelinn War Practice in the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn, on the second day of June, Anno Societatis LIII.* Reported by THL Sophie Davenport, Silver Buccle Herald, with the assistance of Lady Romey Feurhertts.
In the morning:
Twenty three individuals presented themselves to Her Majesty to vie for the title of Queen’s Rapier Champion. She spoke to them about honor and prowess. The current Champion, Don Jacob Martinson, also had words of encouragement and inspiration. Her Majesty then randomly drew pairs to begin the tournament.
On the field at the conclusion of the Tournament:
Master Illadore de Bedagrayne was presented to Her Majesty as the winner of the Tournament.
Master Illadore is named Queen’s Rapier Champion. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
In the evening:
His Majesty spoke about the day and bid the assembled populace to come closer in order to hear better.
Master Illadore de Bedagrayne was introduced as the Tournament winner and chosen by Her Majesty to be Her Rapier Champion. The scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds was presented and she was adorned with the cape and sword of the Champion by Don Jacob Martinson.
Countess Marguerite and Countess Caryl then came forward and spoke about how pleased and honored the Ladies of the Rose are to be associated with the fencing community. To commemorate this association, they presented tokens commissioned by Countess Elena to the former and current Champions.
Countess Caryl and Countess Margerite. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
Their Majesties then called for Percival Potts. His Majesty spoke of Percival’s art of pottery and musicianship with the bagpipes, and then spoke of his martial prowess on the fencing and heavy list, and as a part of the siege team. He was then praised for his friendship and helpfulness, for which he was Awarded Arms. Scroll by THL Phellippe “Pippi” Ulfsdottir.
Percival receives his AoA. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
The children were called forth and Her Majesty spoke to them about all of the wonderful activities that She saw them doing, such as making hobby horses and then jousting with them. Her Majesty pointed out the toy chest and the rules for choosing a toy were explained. She then sent them off in an orderly fashion to choose a toy to occupy them for the remainder of court.
Their Majesties called for Maedbh ni Clerigh. Her Majesty spoke about her extensive research and activity with cooking and brewing. She also spoke about how she has dressed herself and her family in beautiful garments. For these things Maedbh was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore.
Lady Maedbh receives a Sycamore. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
Their Majesties then asked for Robert of Ferness to come forward. His Majesty spoke of Robert’s prowess as an archer, and his art of making bows and arrows for himself and others. His Majesty, being quite impressed with Robert did make him a Companion of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds, calligraphed by Lady Nichola Beese.
Lord Robert receives a Golden Alce.
Sigvaldi the Ram was then called forth and the Queen spoke of his prowess on the throwing range. She was impressed with his generosity in loaning gear and his taking the time to teach other throwers. For this he was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.
Lord Sigvaldi receives a Golden Alce. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
The members of the Order of the Sycamore were asked to stand and the populace was instructed to look at who is and isn’t standing and to take note of who they thought had a Sycamore but wasn’t standing.
The members of the Order of the Golden Alce were asked to stand, and again the populace was asked to make an observation of who does and does not belong to the Order.
Their Majesties then asked for Cristina Inghean Ghriogair to come forward. They spoke of her teaching and sharing of her knowledge in the arts of brewing and embroidery. They find her art to be exceptional and pleasing, and thus inducted her into the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc. Scroll illuminated by THL Vivienne of Yardley and calligraphed by THL Shirin of Susa.
Lady Cristina is inducted into the Fleur. Photo by Lord Robert of Ferness.
The scribes who contributed artwork in the form of illumination, calligraphy and wordsmithing during the past year were asked to stand and be thanked for their beautiful and generous work.
THL Hrolfr a Fjarfelli asked for a moment of the court’s time. He thanked all of those who worked and helped to make the day a success, and Their Majesties also thanked everyone who contributed to the day.
Her Majesty asked for Ixac ben Simon to come forward. She spoke about his attentiveness to foreign visitors by showing them around and gently explaining the activities going on. She thanked him for bringing them to meet Their Majesties and for the generosity of his time. For this She named Ixac as Her inspiration for the day.
There being no further business, the court of Their Majesties was closed.
As a reminder: This is a dry site and there will be some boy scouts on site, so violating that rule will get us in real trouble.
There are a few spaces left in one of the cabins. The cabin rate is $55 for up to eight people (in addition to the site fee for each individual). Right now, I have four people confirmed that are willing to share the cost. So there is room for four more and it will get cheaper with each person added.
By Meadbh ni Clerigh and Elska á Fjárfelli Dominion of Myrkfaelinn
November 12 marked our first Sunday A&S practice: “Redaction Challenge,” organized by Lady Meadbh ni Clerigh for both adults and youth. She distributed the challenge recipes, at practice and online, two weeks prior. The basic idea: interpret a medieval recipe, then taste-test the result with all in attendance. We could participate at any level, from basic follow-the-instructions cook to freestyle chef.
Tart de Bry, a 14th century English cheese quiche or pie
The challenge gives the original recipe transcription, a modern translation of the recipe, and then one cook’s modern interpretation. Your challenge is to make that same recipe, which we’ll then share with all attendees. Use the modern interpretation, or go to the original and make your own version! Write down the proportions you used, and the steps, to accompany your creation. We’ll taste and compare, and share recipes.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
Our young chefs-in-training have an option to participate as well! I have a second, simpler, concoction for the younger cooks (Rice Mould, 15th century). Encourage your mini-mes to give it a try!
With those words, we all set down to do some serious cooking!
The first Facebook post showed up Saturday evening, from Armegard: “Our interpretation of Tart de Bry is out of the oven. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow and see what everyone else comes up with!” That post was quickly followed the next day by a handful of delicious shots of sumptuous tarts, ready for the tasting. From Don Matteo Pesci: “Our Tart for the redaction challenge. Taste you soon!”
Simon and Angelika’s Tart de Bry, as posted on Facebook. (photo by Simon)
We brought six different Tarts de Bry (and two Rice Moulds) to practice in total. Big thanks to all who participated in our first redaction challenge! It was amazing to see, and taste, how one recipe turned into six very different tarts!
Each tart was delicious, in its own way. We loved having the two gluten-free options made by Angelika and Don Matteo Pesci. Elska loved the aged cheese version, which was by far the most savory interpretation. The bread cheese tart had a wonderful bouncy consistency, and the goat cheese version was the sweetest of all. Elska had assumed from the sugar ingredient that it was supposed to be more like cheesecake, and due to the freshness of the goat cheese it even had an otherwise unexpected delicate hint of lemon.
Same recipe, different cooks – six wonderful tarts, all wonderfully different!
Left to right: Angelica, Armegard, Meadbh, Algirdas, Elska. (photo by Algirdas)
Notes on the challenge format
With the thought that not everyone in the Dominion has contemplated medieval cooking, the impetus behind the challenge is to get folks baking like a 14th century boss. To that end, Meadbh used the following rough guidelines:
The recipe needs to be approachable for a medieval food newbie and average (or busy!) cook.
The first few recipes shouldn’t contain too many exotic spices at one time (but those who participate will find themselves with many fancy spices to work with for future dishes).
Since we lack kitchen facilities at the meeting hall, find recipes that don’t hinge on being served hot.
When trying a meat-based recipe, offer a vegetarian challenge as well.
Keep it economical.
Desserts (or foods) that …
Don’t have too many steps/ingredients, with …
Flavors that are kid-friendly.
The youth recipes are geared towards kids who are comfortable in the kitchen with no or little supervision, so as not to burden the parents with two work-intensive recipes to make. Medieval flavors can be challenging to a modern child’s palate, so our challenges might be dessert-heavy at first.
Myrkfaelinn’s challenge and results:
The original recipe
From Hieatt & Butlers’ 14th century Curye on Inglish:
174. Tart de Bry. Take a crust ynche depe in a trap. Take yolkes of ayren rawe & chese ruayn & medle it & þe yolkes togyder. Do þerto powdour gynger, sugur, safroun, and salt. Do it in a trap; bake it & serue it forth.
Gode Cookery translation: Tartee. Make a pie crust an inch deep in a pie pan. Take yolks of eggs raw & Autumn cheese & mix it & the yolks together. Do there-to powder ginger, sugar, saffron, and salt. Do it in a pie shell; bake it & serve it forth.
Ingredients suggested: One 9-inch pie shell, raw egg yolks, cheese (semi-soft, but not so soft that it can’t be grated), ginger (powder), sugar, saffron, and salt.
Learning opportunities: “Pie crust” and “cheese.” This recipe provided an opportunity for folks to research cheeses available to a 14th century cook, and to play with what “pie crust” meant and how to make it.
Left to right: Meadbh, Marie’s rice mould, Matteo, Elska, Angelika, Simon’s rice mould, Armegard.
Algirdas and Aldanza Wolthus:
Filling: 6 yolks, 15 oz. basket cheese (fresh cheese made the previous morning from whole cow’s milk and cream), 1 Tbsp sugar, 8-10 strands powdered saffron, and 1 tsp salt.
Crust: butter, lard, einkorn flour, wheat flour, and water.
Result: between sweet and savory, with a smooth filling.
Angelika and Simon St. Laurent:
Filling: 6 yolks, 0.64 lb. Fontina and 0.32 lb. Bucherondin cheeses, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 cup sugar, 6 saffron threads, and 1/4 tsp salt, with the sugar sprinkled on top of the tart.
Crust: 2 cups oat flour, 1-1/2 sticks butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 5 Tbsp cold water.
Result: savory – strong cheese flavor.
The mother and daughter team of Armegard and Emily:
Filling: 4 yolks, 32 oz. ricotta cheese, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 4 Tbsp white sugar, a few threads of saffron, and a dash of salt.
Crust: a store-bought shell.
Result: sweet – close to a modern cheesecake.
Elska á Fjárfelli:
Filling: 12 yolks, chevre (fresh goat’s cheese started Saturday and strained Sunday morning), 1 cup sugar, no saffron, and a pinch of salt.
Crust: 2 cups flour (wheat and all-purpose), 2 sticks butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and some cold water.
Result: sweet – close to a cheesecake, with notes of lemon.
Don Matteo and Alden:
Filling: 12 egg yolks, 8 oz. cheese (gouda-ish, grated); 2 tsp grated ginger; 2 Tbsp honey; 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed; and 1/4 tsp salt.
Crust: 1-1/2 cups oat flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Result: savory – smooth texture.
And last but not least: Meadbh ni Clerigh
Filling: Wisconsin Bread cheese (grated), powder fine, and some ground saffron threads.
Crust (based on Paest Royall from A Proper New Booke of Cookery, 1545): 2 cups flour, 2 egg yolks, 2/3 cup butter, and 3-4 Tbsp cold water.
Result: savory – more spongy texture, with balance of saffron and powder fine spice notes.
Myrkfaelinn youth redaction challenge #1
Rys (15th century), found in Seven Hundred Years of English Cooking:
Take a porcyoun of Rys & pyke hem clene, & seethe hem welle & late hem kele; then take gode Mylke of Almaundys & do ther-to, & seethe & stere hem wyle; & do ther-to sugne an hony, & seue forth.
Modern redaction: Pour the rice into the boiling water, stir, and then simmer until tender. Drain. Return the rice to a smaller saucepan, add the almond milk, sugar, and honey, and stir well. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, stirring continually, for 10-12 minutes or until thick. Allow to cool. Pour into an oiled mold and chill. Turn out and serve.
Ingredients suggested: 1/2 cup rice, 2-1/2 cups water, 2-1⁄2 cups almond milk, 1⁄4 cup sugar, and 4 Tbsp honey.
Two of the youth participated in this challenge. Simon made his with red rice, sugar, honey, and almond milk; but the red rice would not set, so his mom ended up putting the stick blender in to get it to gel. It was yummy, but next time, no extra sugar: the honey is enough!
Mary of Harford made hers with basmati rice: double the rice and milk, but not the sugar and honey (which was a good call).
Both rice moulds were outstanding, but it was thought that maybe next time use a short-grain rice, like dessert rice, and see how much a difference that makes. They were, however, very nice dessert dishes. The mild rice flavor blended well with the sugar, honey, and almond milk flavors. These are strong contenders for economical dessert dishes at a feast. They are easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and are served cold.
What’s next for the Dominion cooks?
Meadbh’s second challenge is dual: powder fine and powder forte. She advised us to think of these powders like curry—everyone has their own preferred blend of spices. So despite having a recipe to follow, we were encouraged to think of these recipes more as guidelines and come up with our own flavor profile! They won’t sit in our cupboards, either – Meadbh plans to bring more challenges this winter, which include using one or the other as an ingredient.
Since the adult challenge is less time intensive, she upped the youth challenge. This time, they’re charged to make a medieval mac and cheese: Makerouns from Forme of Cury (14th century).
As part of its focus on the the Arts & Sciences, the Dark Ages Skóla (organized by the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn) also hosted both a Dark Ages-themed A&S Display and an unthemed Youth A&S Tournament. Both displays were situated in the main hall and enjoyed many visitors throughout the day. Thank you all for participating, and we’re looking forward to seeing what you’ll come with next!
Entries in the A&S Display:
Hedeby shoes. All photos by Elska
Hedeby shoes for a youth by Abigaile Kelloge.
Abigaile writes: “The Hedeby shoes are based on a boot found in the excavation of that Norse settlement, 8th to 11th century Germany. They are similar to boots located in the Viking ship Museum in Oslo, which were grave goods from a ship burial of around 900 CE. This pair of kid’s shoes is based on a pattern from the Internet and are made from lightweight leather, handsewn with waxed nylon thread, with a machine sewn wool insole for comfort.” She did not anticipate how well loved the shoes would be come in the few weeks between events and when he’ll outgrow them, so she did not decorate the edges.
Thorsberg Trousers, machine sewn from a repurposed cotton duvet cover, by Erin Pence.
Vierpass Beaker (four-spouted beaker) stoneware by Algirdas Wolthus.
Algirdas comments: “Modeled on examples excavated from a tavern in Nuremberg, dated to c. 1400 to 1425. Published by the German National Museum “Aus dem Wirtshaus zum Wilden Man”, 1983.” He made several of these beakers and often uses them in his feast fear.
Machine-embroidery samples in preparation for a medieval silk outfit, by Aldeeza Wolthus.
The Youth A&S Tournament had six entries (yes, there were more kids entries than adult A&S entries, shame on you!):
Katriona Iainsdottir entered a leather cover book with handmade paper inside.
Cornelia entered an inkle woven shoulder strap made of gold and black.
Sungiva entered an inkle woven belt, and a second one she was working on.
Simon entered an illumination on parchment he was working on.
Konrad entered a weaving he is working on.
Galen entered a macrame bracelet he was working on.
Konrad showing off his weaving on his Cricket loom to Mistress Rhiannon.
Master Bedwyr Danwyn and Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa undertook the difficult task of coming to some sort of order in which the entrants could choose their price. Taking their task very seriously, they talked with each entrant while watched by an eager flock of kids, making sure to note each accomplishment while also gently teaching a trick or two to help their project grow.
The concentration the gathered children exhibited while Master Bedwyr demonstrated to Simon how to prevent edge smudgings on his calligraphy by covering up exposed edges with a piece of paper was mesmerizing, and the eagerness everyone followed Mistress Rhiannon into the kitchen to do a burn test to learn if the yarn used to weave with was natural wool, or not, when Konrad could not tell one way or the other, was truly inspiring!
Cornelia showing of her entry to her sister Marie of Hartford and her friend Emma Wolthus.
In the end, Cornelia won first pick with her inkle woven rabbit skin pouch strap, made with polyester gold thread. The rest of the kids quickly gobbled up the remainder prizes (there are never enough swords, we adults learned) and a good time was had by all. I overheard talk about what project to work on next and thought, what a great experience this was to inspire A&S into our new generation.
Was your Pennsic schedule so jam-packed that you couldn’t get to as many classes as you’d have liked?
If so, set aside Saturday, September 23, and plan to attend the Dark Ages Skóla, hosted by the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn.
What have we planned thus far?
TWO keynote speakers: The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life, by Algirdas Wolthus and Dismantling Musiaphobia: learning to approach museum collections with confidence, by Patrikia Maria Agrissa Sgourina.
lunch by Hrolfr á Fjárfelli and Algirdas Wolthus; we’re aiming for mostly period and definitely yummy, as always!
hands-on cooking classes as well as make-and-take clothing and accessories classes
classes geared for beginners as well as experienced artisans
Current class list is:
“The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life” — by Algirdas Wolthus. Algirdas has been active in the SCA since the 1980s, resident in Myrkfaelinn for the majority of that time. Mundanely, Scott D. Stull is a Ph.D. archaeologist with a focus on medieval western Europe. He has presented on the built environment of medieval Europe at national and international conferences. He is also an experimental archaeologist, replicating medieval ceramics, food, and drink including mead.
“Dismantling Musiaphobia: learning to approach museum collections with confidence” — by Patrikia Maria Agrissa Sgourina. Maria, herself a life-long stitcher, is interested in embroidery styles that span the centuries, from early- to late-period. She received her Laurel in 2004 for her research, especially in Byzantine and Sassanid clothing and culture before the year 1000 CE.
The Anglo-Saxon Mead Hall in Political and Social Life
Bone Pins of the Viking Age
Brocaded Tablet Weaving
Combalot: A Brief Look at Early Period Combs
Dark Ages Manuscript Illuminations
Dark Ages Shields
Fiber Prep for Handspinners & Felters
Inshoku – Food and Food Culture of Early Japan
Isho – Clothing the Nobility in Early Japan
What the Irish Ate.
The Irish Bardic Tradition.
Medieval Dairy Products
Poetry from Njal’s Saga.
Roman Fibula make and take.
Dress like a Roman.
Spin like the Romans & their Allies
The Settlement of Iceland.
Survey of Norse Women’s Aprons
Skjoldehamn Hood and Dark Ages Embroidery
Tarsoly – the Rus Belt Pouch
Thorsberg Trousers: Pants that Last!
Thorsberg Trousers: Make-and-Take
Viking Period Swords
Viking Quivers from Hedeby
Viking Treasure Necklaces and Women’s “Bling”
Vinegaroon – Never Dye Leather Again!
And more classes keep being added!
Several classes, including the Skjoldehamn Hood and Dark Ages Embroidery, the Thorsberg Trousers: Make-and-Take, and the Viking Treasure Necklaces and Women’s Bling are “make and take” classes; if you want to learn to make your own creations while enjoying experienced guidance, now is your change!
To help our teachers coming from close, and afar, Myrkfaelinn will host a silent auction to split between the Dominions’ coffers and a Teacher’s Travel Fund.
The Dark Ages Skóla will be hosting an A&S Display and Youth A&S Tournament. With only three more weeks to go, it is time to shrug off that Pennsic glow and start on your next best project!
The Youth A&S Tournament will be held in the common room. Please drop off your entry and documentation in the morning for display during the day. At the end of the afternoon, before the Silent Auction, please join your entry to show & tell the judges, followed by a most anticipated pick of (donated) gift.
The Dark Age A&S Display will also be held in the common room. Please drop off and display in the morning, to pick up at closing. We would love to see your Dark Age inspired (work-in-progress) projects (half page documentation appreciated), but honestly, anything goes!
12 to 2 Photo Booth will be open – Please come get your picture taken in all your finery!!
2 Fashion Show
4 Awards ceremony
6 everyone must be out or they can help move all the dining hall tables
Come fight and fence once again in a medieval Great Hall. Show off your finery in our fashion show. Join us for a day of enjoyment at Risley Hall.
Please join the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn on March 4, 2017 at Risley Hall (536 Thurston Ave, Ithaca NY 14850) for Dress Your Best. There will be fencing and heavy fighting, but most excitingly a fashion show with prizes! Come take the stage and compete for prizes for things such as best overall, best persona, best accessory. And of course we don’t want to leave out they fighters so there will be prizes for things such as best heavy kit and fanciest fencer! We are also hoping for a class or two on personas and making garb.
Site opens at 10 am and will close at 6pm. Autocrat is Gytha Oggsdottir.
Adult Event Registration: $13
Adult Member Discount (or Adult Student Discount) Event Registration: $8
Teen Event Registration (13-17): $4
Youth (0-12): Free
Make checks payable to SCA NY Inc -Dominion of Myrkfaelinn
Please join us in our gorgeous medieval surroundings Dressed your Best!!