We’re having a medieval feast in Goulburn on 4 December (to be confirmed). The theme is “Misrule: the Feast of the Fool” and I’m Chief Cook.
The concept is to have a stack of dishes which are stunt foods, made to look or taste like something else. The medieval cooks loved to trick and amuse the diners.
This Saturday we had a tasting dinner to test out some of the recipes.
The first was “dragon pie”, which was covered in red pastry scales. Looked great, though the pastry shrank a bit back from the edge. I had no particular ideas for a filling, but my friend Jane suggested a chicken peverade (pepper stew) which apparently comes in a suitable shade of red. I have some similar recipes for lamb or veal, so it may yet be one of those. I’m thinking of cooking the pie crusts separately in a slightly larger size.
The next dish was Pommes Dorryle (“golden apples”), which are pork meatballs given a golden covering with eggyolk. I made these 20 years ago, and they tasted good but didn’t really look all that much like apples. So we went back to the original recipes, made a number of technical advances, and tried out three different recipes for the endoring mix. We selected some lovely mint sprigs to stick in the top to make them look more like apples.
The results? The best of them were much the same as the ones I made so long ago. And somebody threw out the mint springs. So the Pommes Dorryle are still a work in progress. I might look around on Google Images to see whether anyone else has got them right. And we do have a few more ideas.
The other one was fried deer entrails — yum. Actually these are pieces of fruit threaded onto cotton, and fried in a beer batter. You then snip one end of the cotton and pull it through. Looks just like — fried deer entrails. These are documented from 1390.
Our friend Will made these at a previous tasting dinner, and they were brilliant, but they didn’t work as well in a subsequent feast. That was just in May, and I’m in two minds about doing them again so soon, but they do go so well with the Misrule theme.
We cut our fruit a little smaller, and I think our batter was a little thinner. We were happy with how they came out. Years ago, the medieval club in Canberra used to do these often, and they had it worked out really well — so I’d like to get to that level.
I hope I haven’t given away too much of the feast — there are a whole stack of unusual dishes planned, and even the dragon pie has a few more wrinkles I haven’t told you about.
On Sunday, Allison and I were the guest speakers for the Collector Village association, speaking on permaculture gardening. They were googling for some permaculture people in the area, and discovered that we were already involved with their Pumpkin Festival.
I think we did an entertaining presentation with some good slides, explaining (amongst other things) how weeds are a wonderful resource for permaculture. We do draw the line at serrated tussock!