So for this last event (Rowany Festival 2017), I entered a contest about making food from scratch. While one of the things I attempted to make (Lamb pate from Menagier de Paris) was an out and out failure, (“It’s not awful, just not edible”) my attempt to make Mustard from the same source turned out rather well.
As part of my ongoing project into subtleties I undertook the subtleties for MidWinter 2016 held in Rowany, and learned a lot about pastry, fondant and dremels along the way…
I’ve been on a journey of subtlety making. This is a rendition of the Castle Subtlety in Pleyn Delit which in turn is based on the Forme of Curye’s recipe to make a castle…
One of my more popular recipes is the Apple Tart, redacted from Forme of Curye….
We’re excited about wafers. Our skilled blacksmith Richard, of Keystone Forge, made us a wafer iron based on an extant one and at Rowany Festival, we tried it out…
It’s been a frantic and busy year for members of Company of the Staple with lots of events and lots of new members joining the ranks.
Blacktown Medieval Faire
Once again members of Company of the staple were at Blacktown Medieval Faire, at Nurragingy Reserve, Doonside this past May. Thanks to Andrew Fraser from Knights order of the Lion Rampant who came down from Brisbane to join us in our display.
Winterfest at Old King Oval Parramatta
Another old favourite of Staple’s was Winterfest which Company of the Staple again attended.
St Ives Medieval Faire
And a new event on the calendar for Company of the Staple – St Ives Medieval Faire, held this past weekend on September 20 and 21 at St Ives Show ground.
This was quite a first for Company of the Staple, as the club hosted the 14th Century encampment at St Ives medieval Faire and had members from Queensland and Victoria, along with other 14th Century groups in NSW joining us in putting on a living history encampment.
70 people were fed a period lunch each day, making it the largest 14th Century living history display that Company of the Staple has been involved with. It was fantastic to be able to spend more time with our friends interstate and to be able to work together for a common goal.
Other firsts over the weekend included a bread oven, built and brought by Adam Mulcahy.
It took us a little while to get the hang of it, but by the second day, we were firing and churning out fresh bread for the troops.
We also pre-made some bread, using a very simple receipe of bakers flour, water and yeast. Louise Beange also created a sourdough starter using the yeast in the air.
Extra – a photo of Company of the Staple at St Ives
On the 18th and 19th of May, 2013, Company of the Staple went to Blacktown Medieval Fair. We didn’t have a tournament this year which allowed us to concentrate on our first love, medieval food and craft. We cooked bread and cheese for the first time, crushed black grapes for pink garlic sauce, brought back a favorite in ‘lamb haricot’, and turned the fresh cheese into delicious deep fried cheese fritters.
It was also the first time we used charcoal to cook instead of wood. So. Much. Easier. It took us a while to work out what was a good temperature as charcoal doesn’t give the same visual clues as wood.
Charcoal fuel made the weekend easier for two major reasons
1) We didn’t have to keep chopping up wood, the charcoal came in nice sized pieces.
2) We didn’t have to wait for the wood to burn down to embers in order to cook. Flames might be pretty, but a cooking fire requires a constant radiating heat and the flame is no good for that.
In the above photo, we have a grill which the charcoal is sitting on, which is providing air flow for the fire. Hopefully we will have a bellows by Winterfest as our Human Bellows seemed pretty exhausted by the end of the day. Our firebox and charcoal grill are not medieval, but we have to use them for many venues where we may not dig a hole for our fire.
The ceramic saucepan is sitting on a metal trivet. It provides plenty of heat for cooking and ensures that the saucepan is steady, which is important when you are deep frying oil over a charcoal fire. (We had blankets nearby in case of spillage as the buckets of water would not have done any good in an oil fire.)
The pot just contains water keeping warm. It’s always nice to have hot water.
Cooking with Ceramics.
All our ceramics come from Flaming Gargoyles in the ACT. They may not be as study as iron cook pots, but there’s a lot more evidence that they were used by middle class people, and they are much lighter to carry around. Some care instructions for anyone wanting to start using ceramics themselves.
- Soak the ceramics for 24 hours prior to use. This ensures that they are not dry, which will make them prone to cracking on the fire.
- Slowly warm up the ceramics. We put the ceramics in the coldest corner of our firebox and gradually move it in to a warmer place. Thermal shock is the biggest cause of damage to ceramics, so warm them up slowly before they go on the fire.In that same vein, let them cool down again before you put cold water in them or lay them on cool ground.
- Don’t touch the ceramics once they’ve been on the fire – they will stay deceptively hot for a long time without looking any different. We use a goatskin leather mitten with wool insulation inside for handling the cookware.
Making bread to feed the masses. In the background, the leather fire glove can be seen on the table, next to some of the ceramics.