Archive for the general Category

Jan 20 2016

New Year, New Effort

On the left, a yellow-front cookbook "Pleyn Delit." On the right, a hand-written menu on lined paper in a spiral-bound notebook.

Prepping with my well-loved Pleyn Delit

Greetings, faithful readers! It’s been far too long since my last update. Since I last posted, I have joined the SCA and moved to Texas (these two things are not related).

In any case, I owe y’all updates. I somehow got roped into preparing an entire medieval meal for my family for New Year’s Day. We went from, “We should each propose a new food to try,” to “Why don’t you make a medieval feast for us?”


Feb 16 2015

Tart de Brie – Brie Tartlets

So, I cheated. I’ll admit it. I made three things in one day so I could write them all up at once and not have to worry about the site until after the bar exam.  I also knew I was going to a Superbowl “The Big Game” get-together, so I wanted to make a few things that could be shared. Otherwise, I end up either eating all of it or wasting it.

This week’s dish is… brie tartlets (mini-tarts). This one was a home run – absolutely delicious and everyone gobbled them up. I only got to try one!

The Process


I use pre-made phyllo dough, as I did not have the time or energy to make my own. You can either make one large tart or two dozen tartlets. I recommend buying frozen mini-crusts — almost every grocery store carries them and they save you loads of time and effort.


My honey of choice for this project had crystalized, so I had to take an extra step of putting it in a pot of hot water (set over low-medium heat) and letting it get back to normal without boiling it.


I picked up some nice brie from the local market. I opted for a very creamy one and made sure to get double what the recipe seemed to call for, as the rind was going to be removed and would probably count a lot towards the weight. Worst case scenario meant I’d have spare brie to eat (oh no).

They did have a 60 (slightly less creamy) brie from a monastery that claimed to have not changed their recipe since the 1500s. I was sorely tempted, but it cost three times as much as the modern brie. My wallet couldn’t afford to be quite that authentic. 

I put all the ingredients in the blender, including a tiny pinch of saffron. Saffron is wildly expensive but why own it if you’re not going to use it? With great saffron comes great responsibility.


As you can see, I used my very authentic medieval food processor.


Tartlet shells! I was going to a small party and only planned to take a dozen. I didn’t want to have leftovers.

IMG_2701.JPG The instructions said only to fill them halfway. That was a gross overestimate. It should have been one-third or even one-quarter, as I actually used up all my mixture (I should have had about half left, since this was supposed to make two dozen tartlets).


Oh dear gods, they weren’t kidding when they said they’d puff up. They really puffed up! I think if you used a turkey baster to carefully fill them, it might be best. Or perhaps a tablespoon measure. Really, though, you don’t want to overfill.


They were, however, delicious. They were gobbled up by the half-dozen people at the party and I only got to try one. It was very tasty! Fluffy and creamy – there was no doubt that there was brie in there. I couldn’t taste the eggs at all and the pinch of saffron was perfect.


This recipe is the first one in Pleyn Delit.

  • pastry for one open tart or 2 dozen very small tarts
  • 6 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs (I used the whole eggs)
  • 5 oz soft cheese, preferably Brie (rind pared off)
  • ¼ tsp gound ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • optional: 1/4 cup sugar (if for dessert rather than an appetizer)
  • optional: scant pinch saffron

Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Mix cheese, eggs, and seasonings (including sugar, if you’ve opted for the sugar) in a blender or food processor. If doing it by hand, add beaten eggs to well-mashed cheese. Continue blending/beating until the mixture is light and smooth. Pour into shell(s) – do not overfill! Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. The mix will puff up a lot. They may fall a bit when you take them out of the oven. Best served warm, although everyone agreed they were fine at room temperature, too.

As a side note, you can make this gluten-free with GF pastry. There is no good way to make this vegan, though.

Definitely give this one a try! Let me know how you like it!

Jan 26 2015

Fried Spinach (Isfānākh Mutajjan)

This week’s poll winner was Fried Spinach!




Jan 23 2015

Candied Orange Peels (Orengat)



Jan 12 2015

Sowpys Dorry (Onion Soup)

So, I have never been a big fan of soup. Being a vegetarian – even as a kid – meant my soup options were extremely limited. I was also picky and didn’t like tomatoes, which further limited my choices. I’m still not hugely keen on soups aside from this one onion-cheddar-potato soup I made a few years ago and has become my staple soup for winter.

I included soups in the poll, though, because part of the experience here is trying new things and being open to the possibility that maybe a medieval soup would actually be right up my alley.

The runner-up in last week’s poll was onion soup, so that’s what I made this week.




Jan 5 2015


So, this week’s food is a type of fried cheese called “cheese pipes” or “pipefarces.” It was certainly an adventure.



Jan 5 2013

Ginger Bread

White peppercorns

Mortar and Pestle for that Authentic Feel

This dessert was an adventure.

I returned to Boston from Texas on Thursday, which was basically an all-day travel event. I did not get the opportunity to do any shopping that night, instead opting to order in. Today (Friday) I went to three different grocery stores as I attempted to collect all the ingredients I needed for various food adventures. Things that are not normally difficult to acquire were scarce. I managed to get everything I needed, but…


Jan 1 2013

On the Medieval Diet

So, first of all, I should make a few disclaimers. I am NOT a medieval historian (although I very nearly pursued a career as a medievalist). I am NOT a nutritionist. I am NOT an expert in medieval food. I am NOT even a professional chef. Anything I post is based on my research, but should not be taken as absolute. I will always do my best to provide the best information available to me, but I can – and probably will – make mistakes. I AM very good at languages. I AM quite geeky. I DO enjoy baking and cooking. Everything I post is really for my own benefit, to track my progress over the year.

Pages from the Forme of Cury, c. 14th c CE

A Medieval Cookbook. Photograph: University of Manchester John Rylands University Library


Dec 31 2012

Welcome to the Medieval Vegetarian

NOTE: This post is wildly out-of-date now. I am retiring it shortly and will replace it with a new welcome page.

So, I am what you might call a picky eater. This is borne out of lifelong allergies coupled with good old-fashioned food fear. However, I actually enjoy food – a lot. This limited variety diet mixed with a sedentary lifestyle (my day job involves the legal field and I am an avid gamer) has made me look like most Americans. Furthermore, many members of my mother’s side of the family (including her father) have had diabetes. Read More >>