A Feast At Carrick Fergus


Bu Hauviette d’anjou


Channon mondoux


first course


curds   (groo)

a basket of breads   (ciosan a arran am breacag)

greens   (praiseach am glassan garroo)

dulse stew   (suileasg broish)

sausage   (isbean)


Second course


venison pasty   (seg pye foalley)

salmon pasty   (bratan pye foalley)

compost   (glassrey saill)

braised beef   (gaal-vroie mart)

beans fried   (ponair freeghit)


third course


roast leg of pork with   (feill vuc rostit a soolagh garleid)

garlic sauce

frumenty   (brochan)

frittours of fish   (sooglagh tullog)


fourth course


custard tarts   (oohaghan)

A proper treat for the eyes

and the palate;


A castle of cake in the guise of Carrickfergus



                                balla carrickfergus am bairghean



translation by author from Gaelic dictionaries online[i]








 The Vision of Viands



In a slumber visional, Wonders apparitional

 Sudden shone on me: Was it not a miracle?

Built of lard, a coracle Swam a sweet milk sea.

Whith high hearts heroical,

We stepped in it, stoical,

Braving billow-bounds;

Then we rode so dashingly,

smote the sea so splashingly,

That the surge sent, washingly,

Honey up for grounds.

Ramparts rose of custard all

Where a castle muster'd all

Forces o'er the lake;

Butter was the bridge of it,

Wheaten meal the ridge of it,

 Bacon every stake.

Strong it stood, and pleasantly

There I entered presently

Hying to the hosts;

Dry beef was the door of it,

Bare bread was the floor of it,

 Whey-curds were the posts.

Old cheese-columns happily,

Pork that pillared sappily,

 Raised their heads aloof;

 While curd-rafters mellowly

Crossing cream-beams yellowly,

 Held aloft the roof.

Wine in well rose sparklingly,

Beer was rolling darklingly,

Bragget brimmed the pond.

Lard was oozing heavily,

Merry malt moved wavily,

Through the floor beyond.

Lake of broth lay spicily,

Fat froze o'er it icily,

'Tween the wall and shore;

Butter rose in hedges high,

cloaking all it's edges high

 White lard blossomed o'er.

Apple alleys bowering,

Pink-topped orchards flowering,

Fenced off hill and wind;

Leek-tree forests loftily,

Carrots branching tuftily,

 Guarded it behind.

Ruddy warders rosily

Welcomed us right cosily

To the fire and rest;

Seven coils of sausages,

Twined in twisting passages,

Round each brawny breast.

Their chief I discover him,

Suet mantle over him,

 By his lady bland;

Where the cauldron boiled away,

The Dispenser toiled away,

 With his fork in hand.

Good King Cathal, royally,

Surely will enjoy a lay,

 Fair and fine as silk;>

From his heart his woe I call,

When I sing, heroical,

How we rode, so stoical,

O'er the Sea of Milk.-


Aniar MacConglinne --- Irish, 12th century


------transtrans. G. Sigerson, in Bards of the Gael and Gal??(London Unwin, 1897) [ii] florilegium.com



The above poem is the main inspiration for my feast. Each highlighted word is a food that has been incorporated into the menu. I have strove to maintain dishes that are true to form and style as those that would have been found in a feast of the 12th Century at Carrickfergus Castle.

A 12th Century Irish Feast

by Hauviette d’Anjou mka Channon Mondoux


The Setting of our Feast


Our feast is based upon the 12th C Castle, Carrick fergus, located on the eastern coast of Ireland in the modern county of Antrim,province of  Ulster. The castle was built by Normans, however the area has a history prior to that time.


In the year 530AD, when the present capital city of the Province of Ulster, Belfast was just bogland and a few farmers cottages, the present town known as Carrickfergus was the capital. It was famous for it's healing wells, which still exist today, and was centred upon the rock called Dunsobarky which jutted out into the sea. In a crack in this rock was a freshwater well. It was so strange to find freshwater so close to the sea that the sages and learned folk of the day thought that it must have magical healing properties.

Soon a thriving business had developed with sick and injured folk coming to the area in search of a cure and the townland soon swelled with people willing to be paid to cater for their needs. In 530AD the king of Scotland King Fergus knowing about the well in the Dunsobarky rock set out for his native Ulster in search of a cure for his leprosy. As he reached nearer the shore the storm in the bay dashed his ship upon the rocks killing him and his crew. Some say his body was taken to Ballymanock, now Monkstown about 5 miles from there, and some say it was taken back to Iona to be buried. Since that fateful day the place has been known as the Rock of Fergus or Craig Fergus.


According to the Carrickfergus website, when  Henry II was king of England, the Norman, John de Courcy had overthrown the kings of the north of Ireland and established his rule from Carlingford Lough up the east coast as far as Fair Head. In 1180 he built a massive keep to guard the approach to Belfast Lough at Carrickfergus - the first real Irish castle.

 (History courtesty of the Carrickfergus website)


I intend to reflect the influence of  Viking settlers and the fact that Carrickfergus is set on the coast and would have been important in trade.  In addition, this feast was to be served to the King and his nobles. These factors will allow some variation and deviation from the simple diet available to the common Islanders. It is apparent from the Viking grave sites in Ireland and the Isle of Man that there was a tremendous crossover of culture between the two groups.[iii]


From the written account by Giraldas Cambrensis or Gerald of  Wales, comes a description of the riches of Ireland in 1187,

The island is rich in pastures and meadows, honey and milk, and also in wine, although not in vineyards. Bede, indeed, among his other commendations of Ireland, says, "that it does not lack vineyards"; while Solinus and Isidore affirm, "that there are no bees." But with all respect for them, they might have written just the contrary, that vineyards do not exist in the island, but that bees are found there. Vines it never possessed, nor any cultivators of them. Still, foreign commerce supplies it with wine in such plenty that the want of the growth of vines, and their natural production, is scarcely felt. Poitou, out of its superabundance, exports vast quantities of wine to Ireland, which willingly gives in return its ox-hides and the skins of cattle and wild beasts. Like other countries, it has bees producing honey, and I think it would flow from their cells more abundantly, if the increase of the swarms were not checked by the bitter and poisonous yews with which the woods of the island abound; or rather if the violent winds, and the moisture of the climate, in Ireland, did not disperse the swarms of so minute an animal, or cause them to perish.[iv]


Recipes Sources


There are no extant cookbooks that have been found to originate in 12th C Ireland. There is a Codex D version of the Harpestraeng Manuscript that originated from Dublin in the 13th C and is written in Icelandic, however the source of this work is believed to have been Mediterannean in origin.[v]


As such, the research I have done to create recipes involved using archeaology, near period and close to period extant recipes and literary descriptions of foodstuffs. I am indebted to several people for their contributions to this work, namely,

Lord Stefan La Rous and his work with the Florilegium, the information and wisdom gathered there is invaluable.

His Grace, Duke Sir Cariadoc of the Bow for his work with the Miscellany as well as his guidance on certain matters.


Irish and Viking Mythology and Legend


Although mythology and legend are fictional, there is a reflection of the lives of the people they tell of. Irish mythology includes a significant amount of  animalism, specifically involving cattle and swine.[vi]In “Celtic Heritage”, by Alwyn and Brinley Rees, the story of CuChulainn begins with the competition between Queen Maeve and King Ailill, for the largest bull in all of Ireland upon which ensues the greatest cattle raids of  history. Specifically the North of Ireland is seen as being  rich with cattle as in the 9th C poem by Mael Mura:


“Eremon took the north

As the inheritance of his race,

With their ancient lore,

 with their good forune,

With thier laws.


“With their fortresses, with their troops,

Fierce, active;

With their rash fights,

With their cattle.


“Eber took the south of Ireland,

The order was so agreed upon,

With its activity without power,

With its harmony.


“With its exellences, with its grandeur (humility)j,

With its hospitality,

With its vivacity combined with hardiness (without harshness),

With its lovliness (festivity), with its purity[vii].

Swineherders are associated with freemen and play a significant role in mythology. [viii]. Swine are given as gifts and eaten at feast[ix]. In “Irish Druids and Old Irish religions” the pig  is described as a sacred animal to the Irish. The writer states that “was the place known of old as Mucinis, or Hog Island? Did not Giraldus Cambrensis say in the twelfth century that he had never seen so many swine as in Ireland?”[x]


A number of myths involve the lack or abundance of food stuffs as in the stories of Cairbre Caitcheann, who married a sinful woman, “There was only one grain on each stalk of corn and one acorn on each oak, the rivers were empty of fish , the cattle milkless”, on the other hand “ the righteousness of Cormac mac Airt’s government resulted in “the calves being born after only three months gestation, every ridge produced a sackful of wheat, the rivers abounded with salmon and there were not enough vessels to hold the milk that flowed from the cows”[xi]


Viking traditional sagas are full of descriptions of food and drinking.  Egil’s Saga is a form of prose narrative that follows the life of Egil, a character of great strength and nobility during his life in Iceland and his travels beyond. The saga was written some 1000 years ago, and was a part of the oral tradition of story telling.


Banquets and feasting are mentioned in number, however, full descriptions of the meals served is lacking. The food items mentioned include, strong beer, ale,  dulse, milk and butter-milk, curds or skyr in Norse, whey and a whey-vat, wheat  and honey, froth-mash (possibly a low alcohol content malt from grain), cattle, sheep , seal, eggs , reindeer, cod ,herring and salmon, meal, malt and salt carnes [xii]


One exerpt describes an evening meal “ But those men that were in Sheppey, they were there many nights, and slew cattle for their meat, took fire and made a cooking-place; they made it so great that it might be seen from home, laid fire in and made a beacon” [xiii]


Finally, after the death of his sons, Egil discusses with his daughter and he says;


“So worketh it with one that eateth dulse, thirsteth he aye the more for that (water)”

“Wilt thou drink, father?” saith she.

He took it, and swallowed a big draught, and that was in a beast’s horn.

Then spake Thorgerd: “ Now are we cheated! This is milk”.

Then bit Egil a shard out of the horn, all that his teeth took hold on, and there with cast down the horn. [xiv]


I guess it  wouldn’t be be wise to serve milk to drink?




Traditions to be Incorporated




The tradition of handwashing before a feast goes back probably to pre-Roman times, and is mentioned in the bible. I find the ceremony to be one that evokes a sense of importance to our attempts at recreating the middle ages. I have incorporated the tradition of handwashing in a few other feasts, it has always been met with pleasure. I encourage others to do the same.


Here is an exerpt on hand washing[xv] provided by Robin Carroll-Mann also know as Lady Brighid ni Chiarain of Settmour Swamp, East (NJ);


De Nola (1529) has detailed instructions on how to do the ceremonial handwashing -- and he also describes how to alter the procedures for royalty and other persons of very high rank.


On the Mode and Manner in Which One Must Offer Water for Washing

the Hands


The servitor must give the hand-washing to his lord in this manner.  Put a pitcher full of water upon a font or a large silver platter, and some very well folded towels upon the said pitcher which extend to the edges or brim of the font.  And the steward goes before with a towel on his shoulder.  Arriving in front of the lord's table, and making his reverence, the steward takes the towel which is upon the font, and spreads it upon the table in front of the lord, and sets the font from above upon the towels, and with the font from below, where the water comes, he gives hand-washing to his lord.  And when he has washed, he then lifts the fonts, putting one upon the other, and the steward spreads upon the lord's hands the towel which hangs from his shoulder, and removes the others which were spread upon the table for the fonts.


And similarly the cupbearer can give the hand-washing, holding up a font or a wide-brimmed plate in his right hand, and the towel over the edge of the font or plate and upon the right shoulder, and the pitcher of water in the left hand.  And the steward and the cupbearer, arriving at the table and making their reverences, do as is said above; this is understood to be for persons who are not of very high rank*.


Service to royalty, who are of very high rank*, must be made in this manner.  The cupbearer must kneel, who carries the fonts one upon another,  and in them the water which will suffice to wash the lord's hands.  And uncover the fonts, first kissing the towel, and stretching it out upon the table before the lord.  And cast a little water on  the edge of the upper font.  And the tasting* is done, first by the cupbearer and the steward afterwards.  And put the font before the lord, and with the font below, where the water comes, cast water in the midst of the font which is upon the table.  And after the lord has washed, the cupbearer lifts the fonts, as has been said; setting one font upon the other; he makes his reverence.  After the steward has spread the towel upon the lord's hands, the cupbearer and the steward must always find out if the fonts contain water, and not to neglect that, because sometimes they are empty, and arrive at the table, and the steward and the cupbearer and the lord are mocked.  And each time the steward gives the towel to his

lord he should kiss it before he spreads it over the hands, and should also kiss the other which is spread upon the table at the time when it is placed, and he kneeling.



*Note: the word "salva" is used here.  It denotes the act of tasting food

or drink for poison, and is also used as a way of describing rank. 

Royalty and other persons with "salva" have their hand-washing

performed in a particularly reverential manner.



This period recipe comes from the 14th C Manuscript, Menagier de Paris found in Cariodoc’s Miscellany Collection


"To make water to wash the hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water,

and let cool until it is luke-warm. Or instead you can use camomile or

marjoram, or rosemary and cook with the peel of an orange. And also laurel

leaves (bay leaves) are good for this."


Redacted recipe


1 Quart of  water (if at Pennsic, used bottled water)

10 fresh sage leaves, or a small handful of camomile,marjarmom or rosemary(you can use tea bags here or cheese cloth, to make the straining later a non issue)

1 peel of an orange (preferably a seville orange, eat the rest)

1 bay leaf



In pot, bring the water to boil and add the herbs and peel. Allow to cool then strain. Bottle and keep (if you need to) for a few days.


When readying to use the water, heat gently or add hot water to warm it slightly. Using a pitcher and basin, keeping  a towel over your shoulder, allow the person to hold their hands over the bowl while you pour. They should rub their hands together. When finished, offer them the towel. Where there is no table to set down the bowl this best works with two people, one to hold the bowl, the other to offer the towel and pour the water.




Meat Dishes



The evidence for roasting meats is varied. There are mentions of roasting meat in most medieval manuscripts on food or cooking. Many recipes call for the meat to be par-roasted before boiling or vice-versa. Multiple cooking techniques may be a way to reduce the use of fuel by utilizing the “ever-boiling” pot over the fire, or a theory that I have worked on is that it is a way to balance the humors as known in Galenical medicine. Where a food substance is thought to be cold/moist, and the end result is to be boiled, it would be necessary to roast the food in order to balance the humors and elements. The alternative is to serve a too cold/moist food and disrupt the humors of the feaster and result in them becoming ill, a dangerous proposition when the feasters are the nobility of your country and you are entrusted with their health.


In her research, Lady Ailknn Olafsdotter points out that roasting spits have been found in Scandinavia, Frykat and in 1991 in Orkney in the 11th Century.


As for the choice of meats, according to Andrea Willett analysis of soil samples from Viking/Norman Dublin (which is her main geographical area of interest) indicate that of the meat that was eaten 90% was from mature cattle (beef not veal), 7% from young pigs and the remaining 3% from sheep or goats.


As such I have chosen to roast pork, gently salted and serve with a simple garlic sauce. Brangwayna Morgan, posts on the SCA Cookslist;


Alexander Neckam gives a recipe of sorts for pork in his 12th century travelogue of London and Paris.  He says,

"A roast of pork is prepared diligently on a grid, frequently basted, and laid on the grid just as the hot coals cease to smoke. Let condiment be avoided other than pure salt or a simple garlic sauce."   (Daily Living in the Twelfth Century: Based on the Observations of Alexander Neckam in London and Paris, Urban Tigner Holmes, Jr., 1952).


 The beef was braised using red wine which is a food item mentioned in the 12th Century poem, a very simple dish.


Fats and Oils

 The oil commonly known today as canola oil is actually a period oil derived from rapeseed (brassica campestris). [xvi]In addition the Irish of our period used butter, lard and fat as rendered from meat before clarifying it for storage as lard.  Both butter and milk were made from unskimmed milk, the butter was sometimes heavily salted and could be stored for a fairly long period of time; a fragment of a churn (the head of the dash) was found in the Lund excavations. [xvii] Butter is served as a food item itself to accompany bread, in addition to being used as an oil in Egil’s Saga.[xviii]






Both fresh water fish and seafood were eaten by the Irish peoples. There were many methods to cook and preserve fish as Anne Wilson points out in Food and Drink in Britain, that “salmon from the river Bann and other Irish rivers was still in demand, no longer smoked as it had been three thousand years earlier, but barrelled in brine and sent to west England ports during the 12th Century”. In addition she states that fish could be boiled, fried or simmered in broth in the “cytel” the Anglo-Saxon version of the iron cauldron.


In light of the above I have incorporated fresh fish by cooking it in a beer batter as in period “frittours” (see recipe later) and by using a preserved salmon in brine (canned salmon, recipe also follows).



Various grains were eaten in 12th Century Ireland, the emphasis on barley, wheat and rye.  Analysis of soil samples from Viking/Norman Dublin Grains and pulses identified include oats, barley, rye, wheat and peas.

 I have incorporated all three grains in the bread, cakes and frumenty recipes. The introduction of the mould board plough in the 6th Century had a profound effect on the availability of wheat in conjuctin with the use of the horse as a work animal.[xix] The use of the three field crop rotation, also increased the availability of foodstuffs including cereals.[xx]


The 8th C monk, Adamnan mentions a baker and bread, reflecting the use of the mill as described in the “The Life of St.Columba, Founder of Hy”  a 6th Century biography of the life of St.Colmcille. This evidence of a profession of baking leads me to suspect that bread was further along in development than just the flat unleavened bread we envisioned. Sourdough bread would have been developed by initially kneading the dough in troughs that contained yeast from previous  bread making, subsequently developing into the sourdough starter we are now familiar with. Sourdough bread is believed to be one of the oldest methods to produce leavened bread.[xxi] The Gauls and Iberians, according to Pliny the Elder, simply skimmed the foaming head off their ale, which was why they had a “lighter kind of bread than other peoples’.[xxii]


The earliest surviving bread oven was found in eleventh  century  levels at Lund; it was domed and may have been part of a communal bakehouse used by all the inhabitants of the area[xxiii] Although I have provided the flat type of breads, I have also provided a sourdough bread that is much lighter and airier than the former. The Assize of Bread, written just one century after our time,  provides some insight into the quality of breads available;


Assisa Panis (Assize of Bread): When a Quarter of Wheat is sold for 12d., then Wastel Bread of a farthing shall weigh £6 and 16s. But Bread Cocket of a farthing of the same grain and bushel, shall weigh more than Wastel by 2s. And Cocket Bread made of grain of lower price, shall weigh more than Wastel by 5s. Bread made into a Simnel shall weigh 2s. less than Wastel. Bread made of the whole Wheat shall weigh a Cocket and a half, so that a Cocket shall weigh more than a Wastel by 5s. Bread of Treet shall weigh 2 wastels. And bread of common wheat shall weigh two great cockets.




Tolls charged in Dublin in 1233 by Henry the III, Lord of Ireland, for goods describes a limited variety of items  although it is suspected that the list is incomplete. The list includes;wheat ,oats, horse or mare, ox or cow, hogs, sheep, wine, grain, salt, fat, cheese, honey, butter, herrings , and salmon amoung other merchandise.[xxiv]





A second toll in 1250 adds the following food items;


grain, flour (either entering or leaving the port of Dublin), deer skins, goat skins, or horse hides, squirrel skins, sides of bacon, onions, pepper, alum,mill-stone, beans, kitchen utensils,and fat pork.[xxv]


In, the Capitualary of Frankfort, The Price of  Staples of 794, the decree discusses various grains and even denotes the cost of oatcakes,


C.4. Our most pious lord king has decreed, with the assent of the holy synod, that no man, clerk or lay, may sell his corn more dearly, in time of abundance or scarcity of the harvest, than the public muid brings according to recent decree. For a muid of oats one denarius, for a muid of barley two denarii, for a muid of rye three denarii, for a muid of wheat four denarii. But if he wishes to sell it as bread, he ought to give twelve wheaten loaves, each weighing two pounds, for one denarius; fifteen of rye of equal weight for one denarius; twenty barley loaves of the same weight, or twenty-five oat cakes of the same weight, for one denarius. As for the public grain of the lord king, if it be sold, two muids of oats shall be sold for a denarius, one of barley for a denarius, one of rye for two denarii, one of wheat for three denarii. And let him who holds a benefice from us see to it that, when he has given what is due to God, no serf belonging to that benefice die of hunger, and what is left after the necessities of the serfs have been attended to shall be sold according to the rates mentioned above.[xxvi]


An Irish feast is incomplete without oatcakes. Even saying the name “oatcakes” invokes an Irish accent. A period reference to scottish oat cakes is found as an observation by Froissart, as found in Cariadoc’s Miscellany,


"the only things they take with them [when riding to war] are a large

flat stone placed between the saddle and the saddle-cloth and a bag

of oatmeal strapped behind. When they have lived so long on

half-cooked meat that their stomachs feel weak and hollow, they lay

these stones on a fire and, mixing a little of their oatmeal with

water, they sprinkle the thin paste on the hot stone and make a small

cake, rather like a wafer, which they eat to help their digestion. [xxvii]




Spices and Seasonings of the Period


The availability of spices has always been dependant on the trade routes and their accessibilty. In the 12th Century, Marco Polo had not yet returned from his travels to China and as such the “Silk Road” was not yet established. This does not, however, mean that spices could not be had in northern climes in our period.


Humbert de Romans, c. 1250: Though markets and fairs are terms often used indiscriminately, there is a difference between them, for fairs deal with larger things and only once in the year, or at least rarely in the same place, and to them come men from afar. But markets are for lesser things, the daily necessaries of life; they are held weekly and only people from near at hand come. [xxviii]



According to Reay Tannahill in Food in History,  the Frisians opened a trade route along the Rhine which was later maintained by the Vikings. Gregory William Frux  in The Complete Anachronist, #99- Life in Thirteenth Century Novgorod, by, adds that trading routes from Northern Europe to Byzantium and the Middle east ran through Novgorod and across Russia and were established along the rivers. In addition the priveledges granted to merchants in Novgorod in 1229 indicate their importance, in an  early association of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Wisby , the western terminus of the northern caravan route from Asia. According to the source, this association, however, should not be considered as the Hanseatic League in the fullest sense of the term, though the regulations quoted in this grant may have contributed to the formation of Hanseatic Law.



Also the guests can sell their goods freely and indifferently to all coming to their court because it makes little or no difference to the merchants that there be trade between a guest or a man of Novgorod. It will be the same concerning purchase and sale outside the court, and in that the said merchants will lose nothing.[xxix]


A merchant named St. Goderic  in 12th C,  is accounted for in his travels to have merchanted between England and Ireland, reinforcing  the idea that goods were transported from port to port, and created an availability of foodstuffs not commonly found in Ireland in the 12th Century,


In his various voyages he visited many saints' shrines, to whose protection he was wont most devoutly to commend himself, more especially the church of St Andrew in Scotland, where he most frequently made and paid his vows. On the way thither, he oftentimes touched at the island of Lindisfarne, wherein St Cuthbert had been bishop, and at the isle of Farne, where that Saint had lived as an anchoret, and where St Godric (as he himself would tell afterwards) would medit' ate on the Saint's life with abundant tears

An account of the contents of a captured caravan in 1192, by King Richard,  reveal the variety and quantity of goods transported from Asia to Europe in the twelfth century.

By this defeat the pride of the Turks was entirely cast down, and their boldness effectually repressed; whilst the caravan, with all its riches, became the spoil of the victors. Its guards surrendered to our soldiers themselves, their beasts of burden, and sumpter horses; and stretching forth their hands in supplication, they im plored for mercy, on condition only that their lives should be spared. They led the yoked horses and camels by the halter, and offered them to our men, and they brought mules loaded with spices of different kinds, and of great value; gold and silver; cloaks of silk; purple and scarlet robes, and variously-ornamented apparel, besides arms and weapons of divers forms; coats of mail, commonly called gasiganz; costly cushions, pavilions, tents, biscuit, bread. barley, grain, meal, and a large quantity of conserves and medicines; basins, bladders, chess-boards; silver dishes and candlesticks; pepper, cinnamon, sugar, and wax; and other valuables of choice and various kinds; an immense sum of money, and an incalculable quantity of goods, such as had never before (as we have said) been taken at one and the same time, in any former battle.[xxx]


Hildegarde of Bingen was a German mystic of the 12th C, who practised the four- element and humor system of medicine based on Ancient Greek principles.[xxxi]. The following is a non-exhaustive list of spices used in the medicine of the aforementioned mystic;[xxxii]


basil                             bay leaves                                caraway                                   chervil

cinnamon                      cloves                                       cubeb                           pepper

 mother of thyme           mugwort                                   nutmeg                                     oregano

parsley                         pellitory                                    pimpernel                     rosemary

rue                               sage                                         savory           synapis arvensis (field mustard)

stinging nettle                watercress                                watermint                     cumin

curled mint                    dill                                            fennel                           galangal

garlic                            horseradish                               hyssop                          lovage




Vegetables, Fruits and Legumes




Considering our country of origin being an island in the Atlantic, I was interested in using  foods that originated from the sea. The first that comes to mind is fish, however I was intrigued by the thought of using dulse. Dulse is an edible seaweed that is harvested from the Atlantic ocean, dried and eaten as is or used in various foods. The dulse that I used was harvested in Eastern Canada, dried and package for sale as a healthy snack. The information that I’ve been able to gather, indicates that dulse was an important food source, not only for the caloric intake but for the significant vitamins and minerals that it contains.   The following information was obtained from the website http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/gmtouris/dulse.htm.

Dulse (Palmaria palmata) - is a red seaweed that grows attached to rocks by a "holdfast" in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific. It is commonly used in Ireland and Atlantic Canada both as food and medicinally and is now shipped around the globe. Dulse is found in many health food stores or fish markets or can be ordered directly from local distributors.

Dulse grows from the mid tide portion of the intertidal zone (the area between the high tide and low tide) and into deep water. Fronds may vary from rose to reddish-purple, and range from about 20 to 40 cm (8" to 16"). From June through September, it is picked by hand at low water, brought to drying fields (or spreading grounds) and put through a shaker to remove shells pieces, etc. The fronds are spread thinly on netting and left to dry, turned once and rolled into large bales to be packaged or ground later.


Dulse is a good source of dietary requirements. A handful will provide more than 100% of the daily amount of Vitamin B6, 66% of Vitamin B12, a days supply of iron and fluoride (great for strong teeth), and it is relatively low in sodium and high in potassium.


According to the archaeological data (provided by Þóra Sharptooth, in her Viking web page) the following foods were available in Viking age Dublin;

·        Legumes -- fava (Vicia faba L.), peas

·        Vegetables -- wild celery, wild carrot (Daucus carota), cabbage, turnips, radishes

·        Fruits -- cherries, sloes, blackberries, hawthorn, apples, rose hips, elderberries, rowanberries, strawberries, Vaccinium myrtillus

·        Nuts -- hazelnuts



I am also incorporating kale which is a headless cabbage and chard which is a beet (beta vulgaris) of which the stalks and leaves have been developed instead of the root. According to Waverly Root, kale may have been the first form of cabbage to be cultivated. Kale is known to thrive in cooler climates, near the water, a better place than Ireland can scarecely be found.


At the Oseberg ship burial a royal lady was well provided with oxen, wheat, oats, cress, wild apples and hazelnuts, and even herbs and spices, cumin,  mustard and horseradish. [xxxiii] Cabbages, peas and onions, including garlic were the most common vegetables grown. [xxxiv]


The Recipes




Serves 8

1 lb large curd cottage cheese

2 tsp fresh dill

1/2 tsp black pepper


Combine the ingredients and serve.


Crisp Bread

This recipe was utilized from Aliknn Olafsdottirs paper, A Viking Feast, Documentation for Ingredients and Cooking Methods.


1 pkg dry yeast

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

3  cups rye flour

1.5 cups barley flour

1 cup unbleached wheat flour

1 cup flax seeds


Dissolve yeast in water. Gradually beat in 4 cups flour. Cover and let rise to double.


Sprinkle board with flour, turn out dough. Shape into smooth ball and divide into 4. Form each into a ball. Roll out carefully, until dough is 1/4 “ thick.


Press flax seeds into the dough, prick with a fork.

Remove to a floured baking sheet. Let Rise in a warm place about 15 minutes.

Bake in

a very hot oven for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees or until bread feels firm. Round should still bend after removed from oven, they will harden in a few days. Freeze if to be kept more than a few days. Makes 4 rounds, each serving 6-8




His Grace, Duke Sir Cariadoc writes;

So far as I know, there are no surviving period recipes for oat cakes. This article is an attempt to reconstruct them, mainly on the basis of Froissart's brief comment. Rolled oats--what we today call "oatmeal"--are a modern invention. I assume that "oat meal" in the middle ages meant the same thing as "meal" in other contexts--a coarse flour. The only other ingredient mentioned is water, but salt is frequently omitted in medieval recipes--Platina, for instance, explicitly says that he doesn't bother to mention it--so I have felt free to include it. The oat cakes Froissart describes are field rations, so unlikely to contain any perishable ingredients such as butter or lard, although they may possibly have been used in other contexts.Consistent with these comments, the following is my conjectural recipe for oatcakes as they might have been made by Scottish troopers c. 1400:


1/2 c "Scottish Oatmeal" --very coarsely ground whole oats.           1/4 c water

1/4 t salt


Put the oatmeal in a spice grinder and process for about 20 seconds, producing something intermediate between

what you started with and bread flour. Add salt and water and let the mixture stand for about

fifteen minutes. Make flat cakes 1/4" to 3/8" in thickness, cook on a medium hot griddle, without oil, about 3-5 minutes.


The result is a reasonably tasty flat bread. In scaling the recipe up for a meal or a feast, you would want to experiment with grinding whole oats into meal or find a finer (and less expensive) oatmeal

than the gourmet product, intended for making porridge, that I was using.


(An earlier version of this article was published in Serve it Forth:

A Periodical Forum for SCA Cooks, Volume I, Number 2 (April 1996).

Information on that publication is available from Mary Morman

(Mistress Elaina de Sinistre), 1245 Allegheny Drive, Colorado

Springs, CO 80919,  [email protected])





The recipe that I was working on originates in Traditional Irish Recipes, by John Murphy and is simply oats and water. There is a second recipe that comes from The Scots Kitchen, by Meg Dod. The latter recipe includes flour, sugar, eggs and milk. A bit more rich than the former.



This is my redacted recipe based on Froissarts observations;

.75 lbs steelcut oats

2 cups hot water

pinch salt


mix ingredients, let sit for a few hours to soak up water. Make 4 inch cakes. Cook on a greased med-hot grill for 7-10 minutes on one side.  Place in a 350 degree  oven for a further 7-10 minutes. makes 16 cakes


The following recipe is one that I developed based on the more elaborate recipe from the later period source and in conjunction with one that originates from a restaurant in Carrickfergus named Killybegs.[xxxv]



The World’s Best Oatcakes
(As Sampled in Killybegs, November 96)

1 ½ cups white flour
2 cups rolled oats or oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
¼ pound of butter (you can substitute cooking oil for the butter, with reducing the amount of milk; it just makes a crisper cake)
¾ cup buttermilk or sweet milk soured with a little vinegar.

What to Do
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Cut in ¼ pound butter or rub it in with your fingers until the mixture is like fine meal.
Add ¾ cup buttermilk or sweet milk soured with a little vinegar.

Work the dough briefly with your hands, adding a few more sprinklings of flour, until it is no longer sticky. Divide dough into 6 lumps. Patting it with your hands, shape the six lumps into flat disks, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter, doesn’t matter how thick. Put them on a buttered cookie tin. Cut each disk into quarters but don’t separate them. With the point of a butter knife, print a small cross into each quarter. (An old Irish cook told me this lets the devil out and makes them keep better; I never omit this step.)

Bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. (200 degrees centigrade) for about 15-20 minutes, until they start to be tinged with brown. Turn the oven off, leave the oven door ajar, and let them crisp up on the outside for ten minutes more. Break the quarters apart. And serve them hot or cold with tea. With butter or cheese or jam. Or tuck them in your kit bag if you’re going off to war or to the New World, or any place where you might need nourishing, long-keeping food. I bet William Wallace ate a lot of these cakes in his skirmishes with the invaders.



Scots Crumpets , A traditional recipe from The Scots Kitchen,  Meg Dod, 1929


Flour, sugar, eggs, milk.


Make the batter some hours before it is required. Beat separately the yolks and whites of four eggs. Pour into a basin and add half a pint of milk and three tablespoonfuls of sugar. Mix well, and gradually add flour till you have a thickish batter. Beat till quite smooth and set aside. Put a girdle or frying-pan on a bright clear fire and rub with suet. To have light, pretty crumpets the fire must be brisk and the girdle hot, so that they will reise quickly. Drop with a spoon as many as the girdle will hold, and before they have time to form a skin and get dry on the top they should be ready to turn. Do this quickly, and a lovely golden-brown skin as smooth as velvet will be formed and a delightfully light crumpet produced.



Hauviette’s Adapted Recipe for Oatcakes

makes 16 oatcakes

1 cup of oat flour (2 cups ground rolled oats)

1 cup of  course ground steel cut oats

1cup butter milk or soured milk

3 eggs

pinch of salt


Mix ingredients. Let sit for 1 hour. Cook as a pancake, on a hot griddle, not turning, but placing into a 350 degree oven to dry the tops.



Dulse Stew

I was inspired by a recipe in Traditional Irish Recipes, written by John Murphy and hand scribed by Margaret Batt. Although the book is laden with recipes containing potatoes, I found it to be significant in true to form early recipes (such as the one for Dulse Stew, see below) . Murphy notes three early sources ; “The Complete confectioner, or the whole art of confectionary made plain & easy” (H. Glasse, Dublin 1742), “The Lady’s Assistant for Regulating and Supplying her Table” (Charlotte Mason, Dublin 1778) and  J. Mc Waters, “Cheap Recipes & Hints on Cookery Collected for Distribution Amongst the Irish Peasantry in 1847”. Although not in period, these early sources indicate some history for these recipes. I suspect the origin of some of these recipes go back much further than the dates sited above.


In a discussion on the SCA Cooks List, Master Adamantius, writes that the soup known as brotchan foltchep is traditional Irish cooking and is “apparently of much greater antiquity, having been mentioned and described in the writings of St. Colmcille, c. 597 C.E. There's no telling how the original differs from this, though. I am assuming that Colmcille's dish was a bit more austere”.


I found the same recipe in Traditional Irish Recipes, by John Murphy as follows


Brotchan Foltchep


2lb leeks

2 pints milk

knob of butter

2 oz oatmeal

salt & pepper


Boil the milk with oatmeal until cooked. Add the butter and mix in the chopped leeks. Cool gently for one hour. Season to taste and garnish wiht chopped parsley


In addition the same source provided the dulse recipe,


Stewed  Dulse




salt & pepper


Cut the dulce from the rocks at low tide. Spread on shingle to dry in the sun. Wash well to remove sand and grit. Place in a saucepan with milk, butter, salt & pepper, and stew for three to four hours until tender. Serve with oatcakes.


The lack of quantities and the simplicity of instruction, leads me to believe this is one of the recipes found in those early sources. Further research is necessary to ascertain that as a fact.


Corccain’s Dulse Stew

25 gm  dried dulce or 1/4 cup packed (available in most health food stores)

3 leeks chopped (including as much of the green as you can)

1 lb mushrooms sliced

3/4 cup salted butter

2 quarts whole milk

2 cups cream

2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black  pepper


Melt the butter in a dutch oven. Saute leeks and mushrooms till just softening, let the butter brown.   Remove from heat and add the milk and cream and return to heat. Reduce heat to low.

Rinse the dulce briefly in cold water, then chop. Add dulce to the pot. Simmer for  30 to 40 minutes. Do not let the pot hard boil.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve slightly less than hot.  Serves 12 large servings or 20 small. 



Wilted Greens


1/2 bunch kale cleaned

1/2 bunch swiss chard (known as collards) cleaned


1/4 cup malt or cider or red wine vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh black pepper


In a large pot, bring water to boil. Remove from heat. Add kale and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add chard. Let sit another 5 minutes. Rinse well and chop.


Combine vinegar and oil and spices. Mix well and pour over greens



Curye on Inglish, p. 120-121

"Take rote of persel, of pasternak, of rafens, scape hem and waischehem clene. Take rapes & caboches, ypared and icorue. Take an erthenpanne with clene water & set it on the fire; cast alle thise therinne.Whan they buth boiled cast therto peeres, & parboile hem wel. Take alle thise thynges vp & lat it kele on a faire cloth. Do therto salt; whan itis colde, do hit in a vessel; take vyneger & powdour & safroun & dotherto, & lat alle thise thynges lye therin al nyyt, other al day. Take wyne greke & hony, clarified togider; take lumbarde mustard & raisonscoraunce, al hoole, & grynde powdour of canel, powdour douce & aneyshole, & fenell seed. Take alle thise thynges & cast togyder in a pot oferthe, & take therof whan thou wilt & serue forth."- -


My own composition of  “Compost” was devised based on the original recipes, however I considered the location and incorporated a more Irish flavour by using a honey mead and a cider vinegar in the pickle.


Compost in Ireland

1 1/2 lb carrots

1/2 lb parsley root

1 lb turnips

1/2 of  white cabbage


Soaking brine

1/4 cup sea salt

1/2 cups cider vinegar



1 quart --mead

1 cup honey

1 Tbsp crushed mustard seed

1 tsp anise seed

2 tsp fennel  seed


Peel wash and core vegetables. Slice thinly.

Place in non reactive container and add the soaking brine. Let sit overnight or several hours.


Mix mead, honey and spices. Bring the pickle to a boil and add vegetables.  Put vegetables in sterilized jars and pour over hot pickle juice. Seal and store in a cool place. Makes about 6 pints.

Salmon pasty



3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup lard

10 Tblsp cold water


Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or two knives.  Add the water and mix with hands. Ensure that the pastry is wet enough to hold itself when squeezed in your hand




1 can salmon (prepared in brine)

1 cup shredded  old white cheddar cheese (the cheddaring process is possibly a  modern one, but the strong taste of  the cheese is more important, as well as the prohibitive cost of other types of cheese more appropriate, such as farmers or Gloucester)

3 threads of saffron crushed , mixed in 1 tsp water and heated to release the flavour and colour

1 tsp white pepper


Debone salmon. Mix ingredients. Lay in pastry and close. Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes or until golden brown



Venison Pasty



3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup lard

10 Tblsp cold water


Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or two knives.  Add the water and mix with hands. Ensure that the pastry is wet enough to hold itself when squeezed in your hand.



1 lb ground venison

1/4 lb bacon chopped

1/2 onion chopped fine

1 bay leaf

1/8 cup red wine

1 Tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cubebs



Brown the bacon.Add onion and brown.  Add venison, red wine, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Bring to simmer. Mix 2 tsp juice with 2 tsp cold water. Combine the liquid with the flour well. Add back to the meat and stir. Bring to a boil to thicken. Fill pastry and bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes.



Braised Beef


2-3lbs Beef Roast

1/2 cup red wine



Salt the beef, place in 325 degree oven and braise 20 minutes /lb or until the internal temperature is 160. Remove from oven and let rest 35-40 minutes, then slice.


Serve with horseradish


Roast Pork

Brangwayna Morgan, posts on the SCA Cookslist,


Alexander Neckam gives a recipe of sorts for pork in his 12th century travelogue of London and Paris.  He says, "A

roast of pork is prepared diligently on a grid, frequently basted, and laid on the grid just as the hot coals cease to smoke. Let condiment be avoided other than pure salt or a simple garlic sauce."   (Daily Living in the

Twelfth Century: Based on the Observations of Alexander Neckam in London and

Paris, Urban Tigner Holmes, Jr., 1952).


Leg of Pork and garlic sauce


Leg of pork



Rub pork with salt and put in oven 325 degrees for 15 min per lb or until 160 degrees internal temperature. Remove from oven and let sit 30-40 minutes to reabsorb the juice. Carve and slice. Serve with garlic sauce or drippings


Garlic Sauce

A Period Recipe

Libro di cucina del secolo XIV, Ludovico Frati

Garlic Sauce for all meats; take the garlic and cook it in the embers, then pound it thoroughly and  add raw garlic and crumb of bread, and sweet spices and broth, and mix everything together and boil it a little and serve hot.



Roast heads of garlic in the embers, then crush it thoroughly, add raw garlic and bread crumbs and sweet spices and broth, mix everything together. Bring to a boil for a short time and serve hot.


Garlic Sauce


I have worked out this recipe so that it was prepared ahead. Upon reviewing the recipe in The Medieval Kitchen, Recipes from France and Italy,  by Odile Redon, Francoise Sabban and Silvano Serventi, I felt I there were some adjustments necessary. I have used their recipe but decreased the garlic. I have made my own broth as I find powdered stock to be too salty.


20 cloves garlic

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (40 gm)

1 cup broth (1/4 ltre)(I boil meat scraps and  bones in fresh water, strain and cool)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (omitted)

1 pinch ground cloves



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).


Wrap 18 cloves of garlic, unpeeled, in aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes (you can do this in the embers of your fireplace, if they are aglow).


Soak the breadcrumbs in about one-third of the broth until softened. Peel all the garlic, cooked and raw.


In a mortar or a blender, puree the garlic, blend in the soaked breadcrumbs, and add the spices and enough broth to create a creamy sauce. Pour into a small saucepan, add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes thinning with additional broth if necessary.
Serve hot




Hauviettes Adapted Garlic Sauce Recipe


1 bulb garlic

1 clove

1 1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 cup broth

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves


The directions are the same as above. Makes 2 1/2 cups sauce. (Enough for meal for 8 as main course accompaniment or for 2 tables of eight for feast)


Frittours of fish

Period recipe

Rissoles in Lent[xxxvi]

Take Figs & seethe them up in Ale; then take when they are tender, & bray them small in a Mortar; then take almonds, & shred them therto smal; take pears, & shred them thereto ; take dates, & shred them thereto & Haddock or Ling, that is well soaked & tease therto then make thine stuffing, & roll lehthwise in thisne hand& lay them in flour, then make thine batter with ale & Flour, & fry them up brown in Oil; right so, make round-like Fritters in the manner beforesaid, & fry them up, & that is called Ragons, & then serve them forth.


An Adaption using the batter aforementioned:

I used a Scotch Ale, which employs barley malt as the basis for the brew.


2 lb of  fish fillets ( I used white fish)


2cups unbleached flour

1  12 oz bottle of ale


Mix flour and ale to a thick batter, add a small amount of water if necessary. Let sit 10 minutes. Dip the fillets in the batter and fry in oil until brown for 15- 20 minutes or until batter is well cooked. Drain and serve with malt vinegar.





I used a prepared sausage who’s basic ingredients mimicked a simple pork sausage. The ingredients and the price were right, if I were to prepare my own sausage the price would have been 3 times the cost.


I prepared the sausage by par boiling then roasting, a common technique during the middle ages.




2.27 kg Pure Pork sausage (ingredients; pork, water, toasted wheat crumb, salt, spices)

8 cups water


In a roaster, I put water and sausage. In a 400 degree oven, I roasted the sausage till cooked. The day of I openly roasted the sausage in a 425 degree oven to brown them.




Wheat berry and Barley Frumenty



A Period Recipe

The following recipe is from Le Menagier de Paris, however, frumenty recipes are mentioned in The Forme of Cury ,  Two Fifteenth Century Manuscripts (HS 279 and  HS 4016) as found in “A Collection of Medieval an Renaissance Cookbooks” by His Grace, Duke Cariadoc of  the bow and The Duchess Diana Alena, 6th Edition. No doubt there are several more period sources.


This recipe was created by Lady Aliknn Olafsdotter, however I have made a few changes. I increase the water by almost half again and use pot barley instead of pearl.  I have also made my own vegetable broth from boiled parsnips, turnips, cabbage, carrots and radishes, which were the scraps from making a batch of compost. Where sugar is used I have substituted honey. As for salt, I’ve used sea salt. The oil should be canola which is a period oil that is derived from rape seeds.. It has been known in period as rape seed oil, but apparently the name has gone out of fashion and canola is a more politically correct name. In addition, I have excluded garlic, as there are several dishes in the feast that include it. I have followed the spirit of Menagiers recipe, however have excluded the milk and eggs, as these items are plenty in other dishes for this feast.



First, you should hull your wheat as is done to make hulled barley; for ten platefuls you need a livre of hulled wheat, which is sometimes found at the spice merchant’s already hulled at a cost of one blanc per livre. Clean it and cook it in water in the evening, and leave it overnight, comvered, near the fire, in warm water, then drain and clean it. Then boil some milk in a pan, do not stir it because it will curdle; and immediately, without waiting, put it in a pot that has no metallic bronze odor; and when it is cold, skim the cream from the top so that it does not make the frumenty curdle, then bring the milk to the boil again with a little wheat, but hardly any wheat then take egg yoks and add them- for each sextier of milk , a hundred eggs- then take the boiling milk and beat the eggs withthe milk, then remove the pot, cast in the eggs and mix, and if you see that it is about to curdle, you can add saffrom if the eggs do not make it yellow enough, also half a knob of ginger.








                                                                        serves 5                serves 100                                    150



Wheatberries                                     1/2 C.                          8 C. (about 3.5 lbs)     12(5lbs)


Pot barley                                           1/2 C.                          8 C.  (4 lbs.)                12(5lbs)

Water, hot from tap                           21/2 C.                                     50-60+ C.                   96 +

Powdered Veg. Broth (only as

a last ditch requirement)                                1T.                                    11/2 C                    2


Homemade vege broth                    1 cup                  8 cups (adj water above)                    12

Salt                                                      1t+                               2T+                                         4


Browned Onion-garlic Mixture

            Onions                                    1 lg. (1/2 lb)                 8 lbs                                        12

            oil(canola)                               1 T.                              1 T. per 4C onions sauteed

            Butter                                     1 T.                              as oil



            Cut onions in 1/4 and peel.  Slice in food processor.  In 4 C.batches place in large frypan with 1T. oil and 1 T. butter.  Cover and cook over med. heat for 10 to 15 min. to soften. uncover and toss,turn up the heat and brown the onions, stirring constantly  or it will burn. Spread out in a baking dish to cool and proceed with the next batch.  When all onions are browned , mince the garlic.(food processor works well)  and brown lightly in a little oil. Add garlic to all the onions and mix well.  When all is cool package in Ziploc bags and freeze until feast day.


To make Frumentey for 5 I used a Crock -Pot.  Soak wheatberries in 3 C, water overnight, drain.  Place wheatberries, barley, water, Veg.powder, onion-garlic mixture and salt in the Crock-pot. Cook on Hi for 2 hrs and turn to low for 2 more. Check if there is enough water after about 3 hr.


Day before the feast - Soak the wheatberries in 3 C. water per cup of berries


Day of the feast - 6 hours before feast

            Drain wheatberries and place in an 18 Qt. electric roaster with 16

C. hot tap water and  3/4 C powdered Veg. broth.  Cook at 300 for 2 hrs.

Then add barley, 16 more cups hot tap water , 3/4 C. Powdered Veg. broth,

the thawed onion-garlic mixture and salt. Cook 2 hrs  at 300.  Stir

occasionally and add more water if necessary.  Adjust for salt.  Turn temp

down to 200 when nearly done and hold until feast is served

NOTES: 1 lb pearl barley = 2 cups     1 cup barley yields 3 1/2 cups cooked

            1 lb. wheatberries = 2 1/3 Cups      1 cup wheatberries yields  2

2/3cups cooked

The 18 Qt electric roaster was full with one recipe for 75.


Fried Beans

A staple throughout Europe in the middle ages, the protein provided by legumes was utilized by tables high and low as is evidenced by the recipe found in The Forme of Cury, A Roll of Ancient English Cookery, 1390.


Benes y fryed

Take benes and feep he almoft til pey berften, take and wryng out  wat clene. do to Oynons yfode and ymynced and garlec pw. frye hem i oile. o i grece. do to powdo douce. sue it forth.


Redacted Recipe

Take beans and boil them almost til they burst, take and strain out the water. Take onions , parboiled and minced and garlic raw. Frye them in oil or grease. Add powder douce. Serve it forth


Fried Beans 

 I have chosen to used only salt and cubebs, two spices commonly used in Northern European cooking.Cubebs are a pepper spice with a slight sweetness, reminiscent of nutmeg. The powder douce would have included other spices, most likely mild spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, while powder forte would have reflected hotter spices such as ginger and cloves.



Redacted Recipe

Fried Beans  serves 16

1 pound of split fava beans (2 1/3 cups)

8 cups water


Soak beans overnight or for quick soak method cover with water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 1 hour. Rinse beans and re- add water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil and boil till tender.


2lb cooked beans (as above recipe works out)

1/4 cup canola oil

3 large cloves of garlic chopped fine

2 medium onions parboiled and minced

11/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground cubebs

1./2 tsp ground cumin


Heat the  oil and brown the onion and garlic. Add beans and brown approx. 20 min turning often. Season with salt and cubebs and serve. This recipe works well for large quantities by baking in an open roaster in the oven on 375-400 degrees, turning occassionally.



Custard is mentioned in the opening poem and I have found several sources for custard recipes.

A recipe similar to a custard is described in the Haerpstrung manuscript, a 13th Century cookbook as follows;


White Mouse

Sugar, milk and white bread in small pieces, whipped eggs, crushed saffron,and let it boil until it gets thick. Serve in a plate with butter and cinammon.


 A lovely custard recipe is the one found in Harleian M.S. 279, a Fifteenth Century Manuscript in Take a Thousand Eggs or More: a Collection of 15th Century Recipes, by Cindy Renfrow.



Take curds of the dairy maid and wring out the why; & take yoks of eggs not too few, nor not too many and strain them jboth together through a strainer, & them harden thine coffin, & lay thine marrow therein; & pour thine mixture thereon and bake them & serve them forth.


Another recipe very similar is found in “Ancient Cookery” an early 15th Century Manuscript, found in Cariadoc’s Miscellany



Take creme of almondes or of cow mylke, and egges and bete hom well togedur; and make fmal coffyns, and do hit therin; and do therto fugur and gode pouders, or take gode fat chefe and egges, and make hom of divers colours, grene, red or zelowe, and bake hom and ferve hom forthe.


A redaction


Take almond cream or cow’s milk and eggs and beat them together and make small pastry shells and pour the mixture in and add sugar to the mix and good spices or take good fat cheese and eggs and make them of different colours, green, red or yellow and bake them and serve them forth.


Again, a third recipe in The Forme of Cury, A Roll of Ancient English Cookery, 1390



Take Creme of Cowe mylke o of Almand do to ayren w fug, fafron, and falt. medle it yfere. do it i a coffyn of II iynce depe. bake it wel and sue it forth.


A Redaction

Take creme of cow’s milk or of Almonds and add eggs with sugar, safron and salt. Mix it over a fire. Put it in a pastry shell 2 inches deep. Bake it well and serve it forth.



A Recipe: Daryalys or Custards ; the following recipe is an adaption of the previous collection of period recipes.


1cup sugar

5 egg yolks

3Tbs flour

1/2 litre milk

1-2 threads of saffron


3 tsp ground cinnamon


 60- 2 inch pie shells


Mix sugar, eggs  well.Meanwhile, crush saffron between two spoons and add to milk. Let sit for several minutes.  Add flour to eggs mixing well, then add milk. Put onto stove and bring to a low boil until thickened. Be careful to stir constantly so that the  mixture doesn’t burn.


Blind bake tart shells in a 350 degree oven. Pour mixture into pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Raise the temperature to broil and CAREFULLY  brown the tops. When removed, sprinkle with cinnamon



A Great Cake, the Castle Carrickfergus


The re-creation of Castle Carrickfergus was a dedication to a particular Lady.  Our event steward, Lady Katherine deLacy, is a real life descendant of the deLacy family that were caretakers of Carrickfergus in the Middle Ages. Lady Katherine’s inspiration for the theme this year was particualarly personal as she had lost a very important person in her life, namely, her grandmother  Mary Brown, a descendant of the deLacy family.  As a tribute to Lady Katherine and her grandmother, I felt an particular need to do something out of the ordinary and spectacular. I hope this has fulfilled my intention.


Although I am not able to find a recipe dating to the 12th Century for this cake, I have used as inspiration for one found in Sir Digby’s work which is just outside our SCA period.  This cake is a heavy, leavened cake that is iced with eggs, rosewater and sugar. There is a second similar recipe found in Sir Digby’s work that is risen overnight.  I have chose to use a non period source for my recipe, as the end result is that I need a cake that will hold up after being stacked and iced to represent the Castle Carrickfergus. My experimentation with the period recipes will have to bow to my need to have a successful castle for the event.


In Taillevent’s work which is a 14th Century cooking treatise, sublteties are described. Included under the heading “Painted Subtleties” are The Swan Knight, A Tower, To Make the Image of Saint George and his virgin, and to make the image of Saint Marthe. These sublteties are made of cloth, wood and pastry as in “Make a large terrace of pastry or light wood” when the description of creating the image of St. George is covered in James Prescott’s translation of  “Le Viander de Taillevent” 


To Make an Excellent Cake
The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, Opened

To a peck of fine flour take six pounds of fresh butter, which must be tenderly melted, ten pounds of currants, of cloves and mace, 1/2 an ounce of each, an ounce of cinnamon, 1/2 an ounce of nutmegs, four ounces of sugar, one pint of sack mixed with a quart at least of thick barm of ale (as soon as it is settled to have the thick fall to the bottom, which will be when it is about two days old), half a pint of rosewater; 1/2 a quarter of an ounce of saffron. Then make your paste, strewing the spices, finely beaten, upon the flour: then put the melted butter (but even just melted) to it; then the barm, and other liquours: and put it into the oven well heated presently. For the better baking of it, put it in a hoop, and let it stand in the oven one hour and a half. You ice the cake with the whites of two eggs, a small quantity of rosewater, and some sugar.


It should be noted that the icing is the basic recipe for “Royal Icing” which is the type I had hoped to use to decorate the cake.  The advise of a professional baker, was that royal icing would have presented a challenge in trying to subsequently cut the cake after it sat for 2 days iced. As such I reverted to using a standard buttercreme icing.


It’s basic construction was as follows:


Pound cake Recipe from Better homes and Gardens


1 cup butter

4 eggs

2 cups all purpose flour (unbleached)

1 tsp baking powder (in place of the barm used in period)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanillas (omitted)


Bring butter and eggs to room temperature. Grease and flour a xxx cake pan.

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In mixer bowl beat butter with electric mixer till fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating till fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each; scape bowl frequently.  Gradually add dry ingredients to beaten mixture, beating just till well blended. Turn batter into pan. Bake in a 325 degree oven of a55-65 minutes or till done. cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan cool.


The fresh made recipe worked well on a small scale. Considering I would need to make 20 X the recipe, I chose to use a modern cake mix and save the work for the decorating.  This cake was frozen until we were ready to frost it several days before the event.


4 half slabs

2 large soup cans


The base of the cake was 1 1/2 slabs, upon which the outer walls were stacked using skewers to maintain shape. The inner walls were made with stacked pieces of cake and the inner keep was comprised of squares of cake again skewered in place. The turrets were made from the batter poured into large soup cans. Rocks and boulders were created from left over cake, cut into odd shapes, iced and piled on the water side of the castle. The cake sat upon a plywood base that we decorated with icing and blue gel to appear as the sea on three sides and icing to create the look of grass on the land side.






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[i] http://www.ceantar.org/dicts/index.html

[ii] provided by Kestrels House of Song and Poem, in the Florilegium.com

[iii] The Viking Age in the Isle of Man, The archaeological evidence, by David M. Wilson

[iv] From: Giraldas Cambrensis, trans. T. Forester, rev. T. Wright, (London; G. Bell & Sons, 1894), p. 21, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 102-103. Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


[v] An Early XIII C Northern European Cookbook, Rudolp Grewe ,, Proceedings of a Conference on Current Research in Culinary History; Sorces, Topics, and Methods, sponsored by the Schesinger Library of Radcliffe College and the Culinary Historians of Boston held at Radcliffe College on June 141-16, 1985. Found in A Collection of Medieval and Rennaissance Cookbooks,  first compiled by Duke Cariadoc of the aBow and The DuchessaDiana Alen with later additions by several hands, Sixth Edition, 1991 Volume I

[vi] Celtic Heritage, 178

[vii] Ibid pg128

[viii] Ibid pg 128

[ix] Ibid pg 178

[x] Ibid pg 227

[xi] Ibid pg 129

[xii] Eddison, E.R. Egil’s Saga, done into English Out of the Icelandic With an Introduction, Notes and an Essay on some Principles of Translation pg 69- 270

[xiii] Ibid, pg 85

[xiv] Ibid pg 188


[xvi] Food,  Waverly Root pg 403

[xvii] The Viking Achievement, Peter Foote, and David M. Wilson University of London pg 165

[xviii] Egil’s Saga, pg 130

[xix]Food in History, Reay Tannahill pg 155

[xx] Ibid, pg 157

[xxi] Food in History, Reay Tannahill, pg 52

[xxii] Ibid

[xxiii] The Viking Achievement pg 166

[xxiv] J. T. Gilbert, ed., Historical and Municipal Documents of Ireland, (London: Longmans, Green, 1870), pp. 96-97; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 413-414. Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg


[xxv] J. T. Gilbert, ed., Historical and Municipal Documents of Ireland, (London: Longmans, Green, 1870), pp. 124-125; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 415-416. Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg


[xxvi] From: J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1862), Vol. XCVII, p. 193, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 130 Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg

[xxvii] (Froissart's Chronicles, Penguin Books translation.)


[xxviii] Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 113, 117-118, 124-125.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


[xxix] From: G. F. Sartorius, ed., Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der Deutschen Hanse, J. M. Lappenberg, rev., (Hamburg, 1830), Vol. II, p. 29; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 225-231. Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg

[xxx] From: Geoffrey de Vinsauf's Itinerary of Richard I and Others, to the Holy Land, translation in Chronicles of the Crusades, ed. H. G. Bohn, (London, 1848), p. 307, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 155. Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg


[xxxi] Dr.Wighard Strehlow & Gottfried Hertzka, M.D. Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine, translated by Karen Anderson Strehlow, Bear & Company, Santa Fe New Mexico, 1988, pg ix

[xxxii] Ibid pg 61-62

[xxxiii] The Viking World,  James Graham-Campbell Ticknor & Fields, New York, 1980 pg 123

[xxxiv] Ibid

[xxxv]http://imagesofireland.tripod.com/recipes.htm#The World’s Best Oatcakes

[xxxvi] Take a Thousand Eggs or More, a Collection of 15th Century Recipes, by Cindy Renfrow. pg71