Extra notes on ‘rowen’ cheese

Yesterday, I posted about the autumn-produced cheese known in the Middle English cookery book, Forme of Cury, as chese ruayne (‘rowen cheese’). I had some really interesting responses, both on the blog comments and on social media, about the meaning of this word ruayne, for which I thank everyone. It’s really good to get suchContinue reading “Extra notes on ‘rowen’ cheese”

Medieval autumn cheese: what you need to know

The very first medieval recipe I ever experimented with was Tart de Bry, an open pastry tart made with, yes, you’ve guessed it, Brie cheese. Well, at least Brie was probably the cheese in the original Normandy recipe. And for my very first experiment I was trying to be tres autentik, to fabricate some Anglo-NormanContinue reading “Medieval autumn cheese: what you need to know”

A saving hand (a nerdy drama)

Hello everyone. I thought today I would do something a little different and write a post about the manuscript I work on, the copy of Forme of Cury in the John Rylands Library, Manchester. Don’t worry, foodies, it’s not that dull. Well, it’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating, that this copy of theContinue reading “A saving hand (a nerdy drama)”

Experiment: blank desyre and mawmanye

Recreating Arabic-inspired dishes from Forme of Cury I’ve recently been on a book buying splurge. You know how it is: the allure is impossible to resist. I’m the moth to the bibliophilic flame, denying responsibility and excusing my excess with cries of “but it’s so beautiful”. I won’t bore you with the full list, butContinue reading “Experiment: blank desyre and mawmanye”

Language of cookery 5: What does Crutoun mean?

I find it so easy to get waylaid by curiosity when translating Forme of Cury, Richard II’s official cookery book. Give me a strange recipe name, and I’ll spend hours trying to work out what it might mean and where it’s from, instead of simply offering a modern English title that captures the essence ofContinue reading “Language of cookery 5: What does Crutoun mean?”

The anti-Basilisk plant

This year I’ve grown sweet basil from seed for the first time. I only wanted a few plants, so this morning, after thinning out my seedlings a couple of weeks ago, I potted up my six basil babes to grow them on to adulthood. I wasn’t sure if sweet basil was grown in medieval BritishContinue reading “The anti-Basilisk plant”

Red as… alkanet

Yesterday, I was making a few revisions to one of the chapters in the book I’m writing, which at the moment has a working title of Sugar and Spice: The Cookery of Richard II. Whilst changing the font and the layout of the commentary sections – fiddling really – I came to the dish withContinue reading “Red as… alkanet”

Language of cookery 4: meat ‘purses’

I love discovering the meanings behind the names given to medieval dishes. Call me scholar, call me nerd, I just can’t help myself. Many of the recipe titles in Richard II’s official cookery book, Forme of Cury (c. 1390), have bamboozled antiquarians and academics for centuries, so I get a kick out of working outContinue reading “Language of cookery 4: meat ‘purses’”