Friday, March 27, 2009

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine …

It seems the way to a man's heart has always been through his stomach. If the lady who supplies the bread and honeyed wine is also good in other wifely arts, so much the better.

Here is a plate of barley bread & goat cheese with honey, served with that infamous Pramnian wine in honor of Novel Food, an event celebrating food immortalized in prose or poetry, and a dish that Circe served Odysseus, hoping to tempt him to stay.

While my Homer eschewed the wine, he thoroughly enjoyed the honeyed cheese and barley bread baked on the griddle. He liked it so much, he has requested that I bake them again for Days of Unleavened Bread.

Barley Bread.
Take leftover mashed potatoes or other root vegetable, add a little milk and enough barley flour to make a soft dough--adjust taste with more salt if needed. Stir or knead, cover and allow to rest for about an hour.

Heat griddle to medium heat. Prepare several pats of butter or clarified butter to grease griddle.

Roll out dough, cut into circles, squares or triangles and fry on both sides on buttered griddle. Adding a cover to the griddle will help with baking the bread all the way through. The vegetables in the dough help the dough stay fresh and moist.

Serve with butter, cheese, jam or honey.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Chloe, the Widow Black of Slightly Obsessed, has lately granted 18thC Cuisine the Tempus Fugit Award. My thanks go out to her for both her support & for her continued blogging on various 18th century subjects.

"The TEMPUS FUGIT Award is given to writers & living historians whose journals represent the best aspects of the 18th Century. These writers aim to inform and entertain the public with tales from events, historic research & experiments and highlights from 18th Century arts and culture. It is the hope of TEMPUS FUGIT that this award will forge a web of friendship and knowledge that will aid in creating a tight community of reenactors and living historians on the internet and beyond. Winners of the TEMPUS FUGIT Award should pass this award along to six other 18th Century blogs that meet the above criteria, and include this text with the Award, as well as a link back to the TEMPUS FUGIT blog."

Here is a list of my nominations, which alas, seems somewhat short by comparison, due to so many already being named.

Culinary History Online: not a blog, per se, but an extensive onine resource for 18thC culinary arts

New Orleans Cuisine: Danno blogs about his love, New Orleans, and his recipes are modern adaptations of Creole la Louisiane. Bon Apetit!

Les portraits au pastel du XVIIIe: JP has access to beautiful portraits from the 18th Century, many never seen by those of us on this side of the pond.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tourte de beurre

Butter Tourte.

Melt a peece of butter; after it is melted, put some sugar in it, and some stamped almonds, with a little cream or milk, allayed with flower sod. Then make a sheet of fine or puft paste. Put your implements into it, make a brim about it, bake it, and serve it sugred, and with sweet water, if you have any.

The French Cook, François Pierre La Varenne, Englished in 1653, p. 198.
* * * * *
Sugar High Friday is the brainchild of Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess, and is hosted this month as The Test of Time - Desserts over a century old by In My Box.

Similar sweets to this 1653 tourte de beurre are known today as crème brulée or sugar cream pie. Whether baking in a puff paste shell on a sheet of paper on the sole [floor] of the oven or in a flaky pastry crust in a pie pan, this rich pastry cream flavored with almonds has been delighting palates for centuries.

Steep your crushed almonds in warm milk. Mix melted butter with an equal amount of sugar and flour then stir in heated milk and almonds, continuing to heat and stir constantly until mixture bubbles for one minute. Pour onto a plate and cool.

Roll puff paste and cut into desired shape. Build up the edges with waste strips of puff paste and place on baking paper. Chill until pastry cream is cold. Fill cold paste shell with cold pastry cream. Bake in a hot oven [400°F] until crust is golden and flaky. Sprinkle baked tourte with sugar and pass a red hot fire shovel [salamander or torch] over the top of the tourte to melt the sugar. Cut into portions and serve with a drizzle of orange flower or rose water--an oldie but goodie!
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