Medieval vegetables and making up pies..

The Feast of Fools is this weekend.  Agnes is Feastocrat for the event, which is being run by Dun in Mara.  I’ve already got to try some of her recipes and mmmmmmm, looking forward to the real thing!  She has asked me to make some vegetable pies for Saturday’s lunch – remember, No Meat during Lent! ( I’m really looking forward to her feast, she has fantastic things planned but more on this when I post about the event itself 🙂 )

Anyway, I had to do a bit of poking to try and figure out how best to make suitable pies.  I decided to go for period ingredients rather than a period recipe for this one, since Medieval folk, well the richer sort at any rate, didn’t put a lot of store in vegetable based recipes, at least on their own, or if they did they took them as so utterly commonplace they didn’t waste any space in their recipe books describing how to prepare them.  The word vegetable isn’t so common either, instead we get “herbe” “potherbe” and “wortes” (all leafy herbs and veg, as I understand it)

Anyway, I went back to my old friend, the pernickity Le Menagier de Paris, (mentioned in a previous post) I gathered that it was safe to include, should I choose to, beet, leek, cabbage, parsley, bean, pea, spinach, lettuce, pumpkin, turnip, radish, parsnip, carrots,shallots and garlic. Vegetables in his world are pretty much prepared by boiling.   

I decided to go with shallots, carrots, parsnip, leeks, squash and peas.  I wasn’t sure about the squash to be honest, I know that pumpkin is mentioned above and gourds were used in medieval times.  In the end I decided to go for it, I wanted something of substance to beef up the mixture. Then I discovered medieval carrots were different then, so I’ve bought some purple and yellow ones to go with my regrettably modern orange ones.   I’m adding black pepper, salt, thyme and parsley as simple seasoning.  I know pepper was available in Dublin in the 14th century, and I love the stuff.      Fingers crossed this will go okay.    Image

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