During their second reign as King and Queen of AEthelmearc, Cygnus and Dorinda sent those who requested on quests of art and service. My quest was to make three gifts for them to take to Gulf Wars to present to the Royalty of Ansteorra, Meridies, and Trimaris. This page is the booklet that accompanied these gifts.It contains descriptions of these sweets
A Sonnet by Lord Michael Alewright
If Nature of the gently born make sweet,
Can Art improve, however neatly done,
On natural Grace? And further, is it meet
To seek to lace a bonnet on the Sun?
Yet Grace is not so graceless as to shun
What accents Nature's gift; nor is it fault
That Art refine what Nature has begun,
As meats will scarce abhor the touch of salt.
For merest clay through Grace views Heaven's vault,
And surely one must praise, if not exalt,
What gilds bright gold, when given from the heart.
Thus when the sweetest folk with sweets are graced
Such gifts are surely in the finest taste.
To all nobles to whom these presents come, Margaret Makafee, cook, sends humble greetings upon this the Eve of the Gulf Wars,
As it is mete and right that man should eat only of pure food and refined confection, and that all things that pass his lips and tempt his tongue should be in conjunction with his humors and not put him out of balance, he must, therefore, learn the qualities of the dishes put before him. He must know what is rightly contained in each dish, so that he may not partake of anything that, while innocent of harm to his fellows, may be harmful to himself.
So that those who eat them may know these dishes, the ingredients and qualities of each are described in this humble sheet. And so that the reading of them should be pleasurable and light, the stories of the creation of each dish is put down herein.
My wish is that your pleasure in eating these humble confections may be as great as my own in making them. I remain, your humble servant
Red metalic paper is wrapped around the carrot paste.
Carrot paste, found in an Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th C is a jelled candy:
Take a ratl of carrots, of which you have cleaned the interior. Cook it in a ratl of water, some two boilings, then take it off the fire and let it dry a little, over a sieve. Add it to three ratls of honey, cleaned of its foam, and cook all this until it takes the form of a paste. Then season it with ginger, galingale, cubeb and flowers, half an uqiqa in all for each ratl. Eat it like a nut at meals. Its benefits: it fortifies coitus and increases desire beautifully it is admirable
This paste was made with three large carrots (1 cup cooked and mashed), 3 cups clover honey, some quantity of ginger and galingale, sugar, a little rose water, and cannola oil. The paste was formed as described able, and cooked over low heat to a thin paste, then turned onto a slab and let cool somewhat. Afterwards, it was formed in a round mold sprayed with cannola oil, and then rolled in sugar. After drying for a day, the candies were rolled again in sugar and wrapped.
The carrot flavor is not strong; honey flavor is predominent.
The blue bottle contains lemon syrup, while the white bottle contains Orange syrup.
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th C describes Syrup of Lemon: Take lemon, after peeling its outer skin, press it and take a ratl of juice, and add as much of sugar. Cook it until it takes the form of a syrup. Its advantages are for the heat of bile; it cuts the thirst and binds the bowels.
This lemon syrup, is, accordingly, equal parts fresh lemon juice and sugar, cooked over low heat until it turned to syrup.
Orange syrup is not described in this work, but Platina, in the 15th C in Italy, declares that all citrus share the same qualities, humors, and uses. The Orange syrup, like the lemon, is equal parts fresh orange juice and sugar, cooked slowly to a syrup.
Duke Cariadoc of the Bow declares that such syrups will keep indefinately without refrigeration, and that they may be mixed one part syrup to 6 parts water (he recommends hot, but either hot or cold will do) to make a fine drink.
The lemon syrup will also make good shandy if mixed with pilsner or lager, will go well in tea, or as a dessert syrup.
The orange syrup will also go well with tea, coffee, or as a dessert syrup.
The ceramic jar contains candied almonds.
Platina's De Honesta Voluptate (1475) says on almonds: And we use the sweeter ones, and those that have been candied, separately as a second or third course....and he describes this process for candying pine nuts: Sugar is melted and pine kernels, covered with it, are put into a pan and moulded in the shape of a roll.
I haven't moulded the almonds, thinking them more delicate if eaten separately.
The proportions and instructions are from a wonderful old cookbook called Smoky Mountain Magic. For every 2 cups sugar, add 3/4 cups of boiling water. Bring rapidly to a boil and keep boiling until the syrup starts to caramelize. Remove from heat and immediately add the almonds, stir to coat. Remove nuts, drain slightly and lay on slab or cold surface. Separate nuts as much as possible and allow to dry for several hours.
The gold box contains comfited lemon peels.
Recipes for comfited citrus peels (orange, lemon, citron) are found in several Elizabethan cookery books. Alas, I must confess, having left it too late to soak the peels five days, then seeth them in honey, and keep it near the fire for twelve days (etc, and so forth), I opted for a variation on modern recipes founds in The Family Circle Encyclopedia of Cooking.
The comfited peels contain only sugar and lemon peels. Separate peels from lemon, soak for 24 hours. Boil peels in water until pith is translucent. Remove, cool under cold water and scrape white pith from the peel with a spoon or knife. Cut peels into desired shapes (strips are best, the candying process causes shrinkage). Mix 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and cook over medium heat to make a simple syrup. Add peels and cook over low heat until peels are semi-transparent. Remove peels from syrup (let the syrup run from the peels as you remove them), roll in sugar, and let cool/dry.
The red bag contains Jumbals.
This recipe is a variation of Jumbals from Gervase Markham's The English Huswife (1615) and a redaction by Dorthy Heydt:
To make finer Jumbals: To make Jumbals more fine and curious than the former, and neerer to the taste of the Macaroon, tkae a pound of sugar, beat it fine. Then take as much fine wheat flowre, and mixe them together. Then take two whites and one yold of an Egge, half a quarter pound of blanched Almonds: then beat them very fine altogether, with half a dish of sweet butter and a spoonfull of Rose water, and so work it with a little Cream till it come to a verty stiff paste. Then roul them forth as you please: and hereto you shall also, if you please, add a few dryed Anniseeds finely rubbed, and strew them into the paste,..
Cream 1 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup butter. Add two eggs, 1 tsp rosewater. Add anise seed to taste. Gradually add 3 cups flour, and as much almond as you want adding cream as needed until you achieve the consistency you want. Form balls somewhere between the size of a pecan and a walnut. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a snake, and tie it into a knot like a pretzel. Bake 25 minutes at around 375F (my oven is wierd, so I'm not quite sure about the temperature); bake 30 minutes if you like darker cookies.
Silver paper is wrapped around the sesame candy
And it came to pass that when the candy making was done, there was a little of this and a little of that left over. And so it was made into candy.
Leftover syrup from the candied lemon peels was mixed with leftover syrup from the glazed almonds and some leftover honey from the carrot paste. Toasted sesame seeds left over from some other project were added. This was all cooked until it formed a firm ball when dropped in cold water, cooled and formed into nougats