Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Elizabethan Field Kitchen

A little while ago I set up an Elizabethan Field Kitchen to demonstrate historical cooking techniques.  This is different from the big set up I did last spring as I only had a small area, two tables on which to display my wares, a small metal fire pit and a tripod space, and NO FENCE so people could walk right up and talk to me.  The best part:  I could give the public a taste of my food!

Here's how it looked the first morning, after it was set up and ready to start cooking:

The view as you approach.  Fire pit on the left.
A close up of my bowls, platters, and implements

On the other table, foodstuffs and fun things to talk about

My various cooking pots, plus tripod and grates and fire moving tools

I cooked a variety of recipes, always in normal quantities (I'm not trying to feed the public, just give them a bite of what I had made).

My favorite recipe of the weekend was this:

Erbolate  (Baked Herbed Eggs)

To the King’s Taste, page 78

ISBN: 0-312-80748-1

Take parsley, mint, savory, sage, tansy, vervain, clary, rue, dittany, fennel, southernwood.  Chop them and grind them small.  Mix them with eggs.  Put butter in a baking dish and put the mixture in it.  Bake it and serve it in portions.

In other words...

6 Tbsp fresh herbs from the list above or to taste
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter

Mince herbs.  Mix with eggs and salt, beating a few moments.
Melt butter in an 8 inch baking dish.
Pour in egg mixture.
Bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven until eggs are set and top is brown. (about 35 min)
Serve as you would a pie.

Notes:  I used a blend of flat-leaf parsley, apple mint, peppermint, sage, and rue.  It was delightful, especially the mint.  I ended up cooking mine in a fry pan that was already greased from cooking bacon.  The coals were very low so the eggs cooked without scorching the bottom.  All the herbs floated to the top and made the omelet look very pretty.  I think this is the best way to make a simple, flavorful omelet that I have ever experienced (and much, much better than dried herbs, even if they have the chance to rehydrate!).


I took a mincemeat pie to share with my fellow re-enactors and the public.  Professional photographer Gar Travis took some excellent pictures of it:

I have a pie pan now!

Sharing it with friends.

Credit where it is due!  These two photos were graciously given to me by:
Gar Travis / GT©

The Verdict:  The weekend demonstration was a success.  The site was great to work at, the people were interested and interesting, and nearly every recipe was tasty and fun.  Only one was a border-line success but I think I just needed to measure things a bit more carefully.  I hope to retry some of the recipes at home to see what else I could do or if I could improve upon them.  And I recommend you try the Erbolate.  It is yummy.

No comments:

Post a Comment