In the kitchen
12th century sauces from Poitou: condimentum zinzberi
About the project
eatmedieval in a nutshell
Recreating medieval dishes is an adventure. Medieval cookbooks only detail the food of the elite, and it’s unlikely that any were written by the cooks themselves! Like incomplete puzzles, the recipes rarely mention quantities, or temperatures, and give few instructions. Recreation means sensitive reconstruction, with a dose of creative license: a true journey of discovery.
The medievals might have thought that land ended at Spain’s Atlantic coast, but that didn’t stop them seeking out the finest spices from the East, the best wines from Southern Europe, or the freshest herbs from kitchen gardens. eatmedieval follows this tradition, sourcing ingredients locally and globally in the quest for the best possible taste.
Transforming medieval recipes into products to tickle twenty-first century taste buds is an exciting challenge, and this is where the fusion between past and present really happens. eatmedieval combines modern technology with medieval flavours to create a surprisingly happy pairing. Medieval food was seasonal, sustainable, and often dairy-free. What’s not to love today?
From the blog
Mele bullito co le noci, detto nucato: Of honey boiled with walnuts, known as nucato. – Libro della cucina del secolo XIV, 77 This is my adaptation of a 14th century Italian recipe for nucato, a ridiculously more-ish snack of crushed walnuts cooked in honey and spices, and cut into bite-size squares. Walnuts have been eaten […]
This weekend Hamsterley village, a tiny, beautiful place located between Teesdale and Weardale, celebrates its annual Flower Festival with a twist. ‘Magna Flora’ is a two-day event to coincide with the celebrations surrounding the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and in honour of all things medieval, the village have transformed a corner of their Millenium […]
Locating modern restaurants housed in medieval buildings is a great game, but the rules are strict. For a restaurant to sweep the board, the building has to have both retained its medieval character and be well thought out as a modern dining space, and it goes without saying that the food has to be good. […]
Thanks for visiting eat medieval. Take a look around using the menu bar in the top right corner, and if you like what you see, please get in touch. The journey from initial idea to start-up starts here: beginning with a manuscript, eat medieval transforms recipes from the Middle Ages into modern food products which showcase our rich culinary heritage and add a medieval kick to the kitchen. Welcome to a new concept of fusion cuisine.
Medieval Herb Garden
‘Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me and I shall be made whiter than snow.’
– Psalms, 50:9
Hyssop’s frequent mention in the Bible and its botanical identity has long courted controversy amongst scholars. is the Hebrew ‘ēzōb used by the priests to sprinkle blood and water in the Old Testament the same herb as that celebrated by King Solomon in 1 Kings 4:33? Hyssop is currently experiencing a wave of popularity, ever since scientists discovered that the mould that appears on its decaying leaves belongs to the genus Penicillium. As a garden herb, hyssop is an absolute magnet for bees and butterflies, and in the kitchen, both the flowers and the leaves are great additions to fresh salads. Crystallising the flowers in sugar, meanwhile, is a beautiful (and delicious!) way to decorate desserts!Hyssop
‘Let the one burdened by sleep soften Savory with vinegar and, washing his head with it, he’ll dissolve the sleepy disease.’
– Henry of Huntingdon (c.1088 – c.1157)
As well as his description of it as a medieval version of a double espresso, Henry also advocates the use of Savory in a fresh herb sauce to accompany cold pork, proving he had great gastronomic taste as well. The two versions of Savory (Satureja) that are best for cooking – Winter and Summer – are wonderful when added to flavour darker meats, vegetables, and pulses. Savory adds a hot and slightly peppery taste to dishes: throw a few sprigs in to a casserole as you would thyme or rosemary, or remove the fresh leaves from their stalks, chop finely and toss in a salad or mix through a vinaigrette. Savory is another popular herb in the 12th century recipe collection that I’m working on… more to follow!Winter Savory
‘Admire too the tall bushes of Southernwood, with their bloom of down, and the sharp spikes which grow on its wealth of branches like finest hair.’
– Walafrid Strabo (c. 808-849)
Despite looking particularly sickly over the winter months, the Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum L.) has bounced back with amazing vigour in the warmer weather. The etymology of it’s Latin name is unclear: it may have been named after Artemis or Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Hunt and Moon. Also known as Lad’s Love and Old Man, it has the most beautiful, citrusy, unique scent – you can tell why the medievals liked it as a moth repellent! – but is a challenge to cook with, due to its bitter taste. A pinch of the leaves in a fresh leaf salad adds a zesty bite and I’m currently experimenting with it in a seven herb sauce dating from the 12th century.Southernwood