Rosemary Olive Bread: An Elizabethan Cookbook

Prove this a prosperous day, the three-nook’d world shall bear the olive freely.

- Antony and Cleopatra

This flavorful bread is great with melty butter. YUM.

 

Rosemary Olive Bread

½ Basic Bread dough

1 – 1 ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

4 - 6 sprigs of rosemary leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix chopped olives and rosemary into dough.  If you want it to be super flavorful, go for the larger measurements. If you prefer a simpler flavor, add in the minimum. Form into a round, baguette, or try a braid. Bake 30-40 minutes. Transfer bread to cooling rack.

Tutorial with pictures for the Winston knot (pictured above) found at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

Sweet Cinnamon Swirl Bread: An Elizabethan Cookbook

Sweets to the sweet! Farewell. – Hamlet

Not overly sweet, this bread would be great with breakfast, afternoon tea, or post-dinner coffee.

Sweet Cinnamon Swirl Bread

½ Basic Bread dough

¼ cup butter, melted

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

¼ cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick on a floured surface. Mix melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar together and spread evenly over dough. Slowly roll the dough, mashing down the ends to enclose the loaf. Bake 40-45 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (for easier cleanup). Allow bread to cool completely. If desired, brush cinnamon mixture on top of bread.

Optional: Cut rolled dough in half and braid. Braiding tutorial with pictures found at Home Cooking Adventure.

Basic Bread: An Elizabethan Cookbook

What’s better than fresh, homemade bread?

Maybe fresh, homemade bread with melty butter smooshed all over it.

 

Definitely.

This bread is the base for two Elizabethan recipes. I mixed my dough up the night before, let it rise in a warm place overnight, and then split it into two loaves the next day. I’ll be posting those separately. You could also just use this recipe for basic whole wheat bread.

 

Basic Bread

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Yields 2 loaves

2 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar

1 packet active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast

5-6 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 Tbsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and let it stand 10 minutes, until bubbly.

Stir in the salt and vegetable oil.

Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. When the dough holds together and most of the flour is mixed in, transfer it onto a clean, floured work surface.

Knead the dough. Sprinkle your hands and/or the work surface with just enough flour to prevent sticking. After 5 minutes, take a break and let the dough rest.

Knead the dough for a few more minutes. When you lightly press it with your fingertips, the dough should bounce right back. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide it in half, and form each half into whatever shape you like.

If you’ve made braids, rounds, baguette shapes, or other freeform loaves, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again for 30 to 60 minutes, until they look nicely puffy.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 375°F.

Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the loaves. If you’ve made rounds or baguettes, slash the tops several times with a sharp knife.

Bake the loaves for about 30 to 40 minutes, until their crust is golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Cool completely before slicing. Store any leftovers, wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Lamb Stew: An Elizabethan Cookbook

Tut, she’s a lamb, a dove, a fool, to him!

- Taming of the Shrew

This stew is both savory and sweet, and it’s wonderfully filling. I thought dried fruit in stew would be strange, but it adds a light flavor to an otherwise robust stew. This recipe involves a lot of prep time, but it’s well worth the wait.

Lamb Stew

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup lentils

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2-inch piece ginger root, finely chopped

2 tsp ground coriander

8oz diced lamb

3½ oz apricots, chopped

3½ oz raisins

½ bottle white wine

½ pint lamb or chicken stock

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp corn starch

Soak ½ cup dried lentils in 2 cups of water for 1 hour (they will expand).

For lamb stock, place bones in a large pot filled with water. Boil for 30-40 minutes. Strain out bones.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot and cook the onions for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic, ginger and ground coriander, and cook for another minute. Add the lamb and cook until the meat is browned. Add the lentils, apricots, raisins, wine, stock and honey. Stir well and bring to the boil. Simmer it over a low heat for 1½ hours. Add a tablespoon of water to the corn starch to form a paste and stir this paste into the lamb. Cook for a further couple of minutes to thicken. Add salt to taste.

A Midsummer Night’s Salad: An Elizabethan Cookbook

Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or rather, the herb of grace. – All’s Well That Ends Well

This salad is light and fresh, not to mention beautiful. The fresh herbs give it plenty of flavor, and the edible flowers and radishes fill it with vibrant colors!

 

A Midsummer Night’s Salad

Serves 4

1 bunch watercress

1 bunch baby spinach

3 radishes, sliced

Fresh sage leaves

Fresh mint leaves

Fresh rosemary leaves

Flowers for garnish (roses, pansies, marigolds)

Wash and trim all greens. Toss with radishes and garnish with fresh edible flowers. Drizzle with dressing.

 

Dressing:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake to combine

Goodly Apple and Egg Bake: An Elizabethan Cookbook

A goodly apple rotten at the heart: O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath! – Merchant of Venice

This recipe is a twist on an old Elizabethan recipe I found. The recipe was similar to one my Italian grandmother would use – no measurements, just a list of ingredients and directions. “Peel and chop apples. Cook in butter and sugar. Take some eggs and pour half into a pan. Put apples on top. Pour the rest of the eggs.” About halfway through testing the recipe for the first time, I realized I was making a sweet omelet!

I decided to nix the omelet and make it into a breakfast casserole instead. I also considered adding a few slices of cubed bread to turn it into a baked French toast casserole. I still think that would be delicious.

Goodly Apple and Egg Bake

2 medium apples

2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp + 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp + ¼ cup white sugar

3 egg whites

3 whole eggs

¼ walnuts, chopped

4 oz cream cheese, cubed

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel, core, and slice apples. Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp sugar, toss to combine. Melt butter in a medium skillet, add apples, and sauté until soft, set aside until cool. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, remaining cinnamon, and remaining sugar. Add to egg mixture chopped walnuts and apples once cooled. Spray a 9X9” glass baking pan with nonstick spray. Pour egg & apple mixture into pan. Drop cubes of cream cheese on top evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Double Double Porridge (No Trouble): An Elizabethan Cookbook

He receives comfort like cold porridge. – The Tempest

One common food in Shakespeare’s time was porridge. Really, porridge is just oatmeal. In this recipe, I used steel cut oats since they are much less processed than quick oats and therefore closer to what they had in the 1600s. According to my research, porridge was sweetened with honey and topped with thick milk (like yogurt), seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

In my recipe, I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt, though whole milk Greek yogurt would likely more comparable. I also used sunflower seeds and golden raisins. The oats end up very thick, so if you like your oatmeal more soup-like, you could thin it out with some milk.

It’s not an overly sweet dish, but it’s cheap and filling. Great for a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast on a cold morning!

Double Double Porridge (No Trouble)

Serves 2

1 cup steel cut oats

2 ½ cup water

Pinch salt

Greek yogurt

Honey

Dried fruit, seeds, or nuts for topping

Combine oats and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and boil uncovered 12-15 minutes until thick. Add desired toppings – Greek yogurt, honey, seeds, dried fruit, or nuts.

An Elizabethan Cookbook: A Look into Food in Shakespeare’s Time

A year ago, I took one of my favorite college courses – Shakespeare! The final project for the course was to create a research-based creative report. I chose to create a cookbook with Shakespearean-inspired recipes. I had a BLAST with the project. Recently, a classmate asked me to make the recipes available for pinning on Pinterest!

I’m going to be including the research part of my project in this post, and I’ll be posting each recipe on a separate post. This will be the longest post of all (I promise). Only read on if you REALLY want to know about food in Shakespeare’s time. Here we go!

Acknowledgments

Many of these recipes were inspired by pictures found on Pinterest.

A few recipes were adapted from my favorite food blog: How Sweet It Is. This blog encourages me every day to experiment and take more risks with my cooking and recipe development.

Scot Woodman of Scot Woodman Photography generously donated his time and skills to the completion of this project. I owe a world of thanks to Scot Woodman Photography for each stunning photograph in this cookbook.

Introduction

Food is a reoccurring image in many of Shakespeare’s plays. If the image of food is so omnipresent in Shakespeare’s plays, dining must have been an important aspect in Elizabethan life. My goal is to reconstruct classical recipes of the Elizabethan era into a cookbook for our modern day and age. I aim to learn the process the preparation and care that went into the presentation of food in Shakespeare’s time through recreating these classical dishes.

What were the typical foods in Shakespeare’s day? What were the daily rituals surrounding mealtimes? Was the quality of taste the major emphasis, or was it merely a prerequisite for socialization? Is it possible to recreate classic recipes from that era?

By answering some of the research questions above, my hope is to discover the similarities and differences surrounding the customs associated with food by comparing our time with that of Shakespeare’s. Not only is it possible to enjoy some of the same foods that were popular in Shakespeare’s day, but we should take advantage of our modern conveniences to aid in the celebration of these classic recipes.

Public Dining

Americans worship food. This is evident through the rampant obesity epidemic. Studies show a direct correlation between obesity and dining out. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released statistics revealing “a third of the calories Americans eat come from restaurants, almost double what it was 30 years ago. The study showed that more than half of adults eat out three times or more a week, with 12 percent eating out seven times a week” (Moody).

Coffee shops, fast food, sit-down restaurants, smoothie shops, diners, and drive through everything make dining out a convenient method of menu planning. However, public dining has not always been so popular or accessible.

Public restaurants did not appear in England until around 1400. Prior to this, cookshops, alehouses, and taverns served hot drinks, but they did not serve full meals. Some establishments did not even have tables and chairs; the only hot food that was available during this time was the fast food of the time period. Oftentimes, the fast food offered in cookshops and taverns was the only hot food to which the lower classes had access. Taverns had developed a reputation for being dirty and sleazy, and were therefore avoided by the upper classes. “People of means, however, shunned fast food. Evidence of this can be seen in the financial records kept by well-to-do households, which make it clear that wealthy residents and travelers alike avoided cookshops, and instead had their meals cooked to order at their dwellings, lodgings, or inns” (Carlin 202). The preference for private, exclusive dining at home was a sign of status and wealth.

Over time, innkeepers, tavern owners, brewers, and alehouse keepers together managed to draw enough customers to create a successful trade. Well before Shakespeare’s time, dining out in these establishments was common for all social classes. Frugal housewives who could not afford an oven in their homes could also prepare food at home and then use the oven a tavern or cookshop to bake pies or roast meat for a small fee. In the mid-1400s, the menus were simpler, consisting of bread, meat, and beverages. By the late-1400s, not only did these establishments widen their menus, but also their services to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and catering options (Carlin 212).

Overall, it took about a century for public dining to become a successful business in the Elizabethan era. Ever since, dining out has grown and developed into what it is today – it spans around the globe as a popular form of socialization and personal enjoyment.

Daily Food

In the Elizabethan era, food for the lower class was portioned in daily allotments in order to make sure everyone had enough to eat. Meals were usually divided into three separate times during the day. While there were certainly many people who went hungry, the average lower class Elizabethan was allotted half a pound of bread, a pint of beer, a pint of porridge, a quarter pound of meat, and also a few dairy products. Vegetable sides were not common amongst the lower class, but were mainly supplemented through soup. In fact, dairy products and most vegetables were deemed inferior foods only fit for the poor.

The military was also considered part of the lower class during Shakespeare’s time. Elizabethan soldiers ate a bit differently than the lower class. Records show the daily food ration for the military was half a pound of butter, one and a half pounds of bread, two pounds of beef or mutton, and two-thirds of a gallon of beer.

Food consumed by the upper classes differed substantially from the lower classes in quantity, quality, and type. In Holinshed’s Chronicles, a description of Elizabethan England in 1577, upper class food consumption was described as follows:

“In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of England (whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed Frenchmen and strangers) do most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth over their heads wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth, but also some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates.”

The upper classes had access to more variety in their daily food, including spicy or sweet foods; however, the majority of the ingredients they used were far too expensive for the lower classes. The upper classes had the luxury of enjoying more courses and exotic foods because they could afford the sugar and lavish spices needed.

Conclusion

My initial motivation for this project was to avoid writing a ridiculously long paper. While writing can be a creative expression, I would much rather put my research to use in a different way that uses a wider range of my creative abilities. I wondered if I could use my love for the culinary arts to inspire a research topic. I wanted to know if it would be possible to reinvent classical Elizabethan recipes so that I could enjoy them today.

Recipe research was a slow process. I learned that many of the classical recipes should, in fact, be left to that day. There was no way I was going to make black pudding – a dish made from draining the blood of a pig, mixing it with eggs, cream, and spices, and stuffing it into beef guts. I wanted to make food that had fresh ingredients, were easy to make, sounded appetizing, and tasted wonderful. I decided to break down the cookbook into two breakfast dishes, two dessert dishes, two bread recipes, a soup, a salad, a vegetable side, and a main entrée. I was delighted to find a wide array of recipe options that were healthy and delicious.

One observation that was made by Scot during the cooking day was that nearly every dish was the same brown color. Nowadays, we are used to advertisements of food being colorful and perfectly styled. Due to food availability and popular spices of the time, it is reasonable to hypothesize that food in Shakespeare’s time must have looked fairly dull in comparison.

This project was a larger undertaking than I had originally anticipated. It required long hours of research online for recipes, information on food in the Elizabethan era, recipe selection, researching ingredients, and grocery shopping. The recipe testing stage actually took the shortest amount of time for me. Already knowing my way around the kitchen, I only needed to test a few heavily adapted recipes. The cooking day took the most amount of time; it took roughly twelve hours from planning to clean-up. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I love the recipes I was able to produce! I hope you do too.

Works Cited

Carlin, Martha. “Carlin, Martha. ‘“What Say You to a Piece of Beef and Mustard?”: TheEvolution of Public Dining in Medieval and Tudor London.’ Huntington Library Quarterly 71.1 (2008): 199–217. Print.” Huntington Library Quarterly 71.1 (2008): 199–217. CSU Stanislaus University Library. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Moody, Colleen. “Scary Stat: Eating Out Boosts Obesity.” Fitness Magazine. 8 July 2011. Web. 4 May 2013.

A Thanksgiving Short Story

Here’s a little Thanksgiving short story I wrote in my Children’s Lit class this morning. I hope you enjoy it!

My Goose is Cooked
By Jennifer Beard

The coils ripple heat across my golden, crispy skin. The warm air of the kitchen feels cool in comparison to my oven sauna. I know my time on this earth is short. I wish I could spend my last moments with my family out in the powdery snow. I know my sacrifice is a noble cause. I feel myself being lifted out of the pan where I had been basting in my own sweat. I am nestled in a bed of crisp lettuce arranged upon a clean, white tray.

As I descend, I take note of the beautiful, festive candles and leaves that are placed in a decorative manner across the table. I take my place between the gravy and cranberry sauce. It is then that I notice the twenty round faces leering and drooling as they stalk their prey – me.

What? I thought my sacrifice would benefit a family that is truly in want, not these plump, greedy American vultures who are practically drenching their napkins in saliva. My gaze is drawn by a quick flash of light glinting off the razor-sharp blade that can only be meant for me. At least it will be over quickly.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

September & October Review (Fall Bucket List 2013)

It’s been a while since I posted last, but that just means I’ve been busy! October was my busiest month at school this semester, so I’m hoping things will calm down a bit as the semester winds down.

In my last post, I wrote about our fall bucket list. Just for reference, here’s the list once more:

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Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far:

September 28: Decorate the house for fall

I picked up some gourds at the farmer’s market and brought out the fall scented candles.

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Oct 3: Watch hockey at home

We’ve managed to catch almost every Sharks game so far this season, and we’re looking forward to going to the Tank in November!

Oct 11-12: Take a trip to the cabin, Make (and eat) caramel apples, Admire the fall foliage on a nature walk/drive, Go stargazing

We crammed a lot into the two days we spent at the cabin. I love that place.

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Oct 25: Visit a pumpkin patch, Navigate through a corn maze

We had a blast getting together with our college & careers bible study group for a great night of corn maze madness. My husband and I were the only two of our group to successfully complete all 12 checkpoints in the 4.5 miles of corn maze to win free pumpkins. I call that a success.

Also, the maze was in the shape of Kaepernick.

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Oct 31: Dress up for Halloween, Volunteer for the Fall Fun Faire, Carve pumpkins

Well, I dressed up (as Audrey Hepburn). And I carved both pumpkins myself. Halloween isn’t my husband’s favorite holiday. I’m glad we could get into the spirit together by volunteering at the church’s Fall Fun Faire.

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Whew! It’s been a really busy season so far, and I’m loving every minute of it. We’re about halfway through our fall bucket list. How about you?