Category Archives: Consumables

Recipe: Baklava

Recipe: Baklava

This is an original recipe I created for Baklava.


Sink Stove Top Oven
Pot, cooking (butter) Pot, Cooking (simple syrup) Two 8×8 oven pans (clear)
Food processor (chopping) Mixing bowl (nuts post-chopping) Butter brush
Measuring spoons Measuring cup (wet) Knife to cut the pastry/baklava

Spoons (butter stirrer, syrup stirrer, removing food from processor & spreading the nuts, getting honey out of container)


Package of Phyllo dough (1 pound) 1 cup honey
Walnuts (1 pound) 1 cup water
Sticks of butter (3 sticks) 1 cup sugar
1 and ½ Tablespoon ground cinnamon 2 strips of lemon peel
¼ teaspoon ground cloves 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon)
¼ teaspoon salt (1/2 Tablespoon if using unsalted butter)


  1. Two hours before (at lease, look at box) take the phyllo dough out to defrost.
  1. Start melting butter on stove.
  2. Chop walnuts in food processor and put into bowl.
  3. Add spices: ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt. Mix until everything is together.
  1. Start heating over to 350 degrees.
  1. Take the phyllo dough – cut in half (I discovered my 8×8 work perfectly for this)
  2. Brush butter in pans on bottom and sides. Do both pans at once for the next steps.
  3. Lay down 5 to 8 phyllo layers – brushing butter between each layer. The first new layer is always the hardest.
  4. Add a thin layer of the walnut mixture.
  5. Lay down 4 to 5 phyllo layers.
  6. Repeat walnut mixture & phyllo layers until walnut mixture is used up (at least five rounds).
  7. Lay down the last layer of phyllo dough – 5 to 8 layers.
  8. Cut the Baklava in long strips (4 rows) then diagonally to get the signature look. (Yes, cut it BEFORE it goes in the oven)
  9. Put both Baklava pans in the oven and cook for 50 minutes.


  1. After the Baklava has been put in the oven, start the simple syrup.
  2. Put the honey, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel slices into the small pot.
  3. Bring to a slow boil over medium to medium high heat, then lower to simmer until the Baklava comes out of the oven.
  4. Immediately pour the simple syrup over the Baklava while both the syrup and Baklava are hot.
  1. Store uncovered for 8 hours (allowing all the extra moisture to escape, leaving the lovely edges).

Recipe: Libum (an Offering)

RECIPE: LIBUM (An Offering)

Roman Recipe – Cato (180 BC), recipe 75
Libum hoc modo facito, Casei P. Il bene disterat in mortario. Ubi bene destriverit, farina siligneae liram, aut, si voles tenerius esse, semlibram semilaginis eodem indito, permiscetoque cum caseo bene. Ovum unum addito et una permisceto bene. Inde panem facito, folia laurea subdito: in foco caldo sub testu coquito leniter.

Translation – Giacosa p. 169
Make a libum thus: Thoroughly grind 2 librae of cheese in a mortor. When it is well ground, add 1 libra of fine flour or, if you want [the loaf to be] softer still, ½ libra of finest flour; mix well with the cheese. Add 1 egg and mix well. Then form a loaf, placing bay leaves beneath. Cook slowly under a testo on a hot hearth.

Cookbook Interpretation can be found on Giacosa pp. 169-170

My Interpretation: For 16 people at a Feast

Oven Mixing Bowl Mixing fork
Baking Sheet Measuring cup (dry)


2 cups of Ricotta (15 ounces, since that is an easy purchase) 2 cups of Flour 2-3 bay leaves (fresh or dry, dry worked fine for me)
1 Egg


  1. Mix together cheese and flour.
  2. Add egg and mix well.
  3. Form into one, two, four, or eight small loafs.
  4. Place bay leaves on baking sheet and loafs on top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


  1. Next time I need to attempt without the self-rising flour. Forgot that was all I had in the house. (grumpy stomp)
  2. The flavor is light and fluffy with just the hint of bay leaves. Very nice.
  3. Broke easily into four separate small loaves. They crumble easily. Serving two of the four per table at a feast would work well.

Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini, Translated by Anna Herklotz. A Taste of Ancient Rome. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London. 1992.

Recipe: Rosewater

Recipe for Rosewater

(Created by Lady Prudence the Curious – no related period recipe)


Sink Stove Non-reactive pot (ceramic, glass, etc)
Pruning shears Big Bowl Stirring spoon
Funnel Strainer Container (non-reactive or plastic you don’t care will be rosy for the rest of its life)


Roses (home grown if possible) – 2 bowls worth


  1. In morning before the heat: Cut a full bowl of rose blossoms – at least five or six
  2. Clean roses gently
  3. Remove the petals and place them in a non-reactive pot
  4. Cover with water
  5. Put pot over low heat and allow cook for 20-30 minutes – do not cover, let the steam out
  6. Stir on occasion to bruise the petals so they release more oil
  7. The roses should look white and the water a little pinkish, and you should have room for more
  8. Go out and cut another bowl of roses
  9. Clean, pluck and add these petals to the pot
  10. These will go white a lot sooner – just another 15 minutes
  11. When done, pull off heat and let cool


  • Do not boil the water – if it starts to simmer, it’s okay to remove the pot from the heat
  • You are looking for drops of rose oil on the surface of the water – too much heat and the oil will evaporate
  1. Get the final container, funnel, and a strainer to fit the funnel. Pour the cooled liquid into the container, straining out the petals
  2. Squeeze the petals to get all the liquid
  3. Use as needed for rosewater.


  1. After a heavy (2-day) rain, I made rosewater in the spring from my rose bushes. All foliage on the bushes is new since spring.
  2. I chopped the used rose petals and added them to a Ramen Noodle dish – worked very well. The petals are edible and can add fiber/substance to soups.
  3. The scent levels are no where near the levels found in store-bought rose water – but the color was much better. The scent did a slow permeation with any dish it was used in. Not noticeable at first, but over time – yes.
  4. I used the rosewater for a whipped cream dish and for pancakes.


Roses grown in my yard. I’ve been working on them for two years now.

I’ve cut off two big bowl for the rosewater and still have tons left.












And the Final Product

July Cook’s Guild Meeting Activity Report

Activity Report: July Cook’s Guild Meeting (7/8/2017)

(article originally published July 2017, The Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

The early July day already pushed past swelter as the Cook’s Guild gathered at the Arnarson and de Sevilla manor in Ashboro. Quickly the shade brought by Lady Aine O Grienan was popped up, but only after the fire was started in Elena Colon de Sevilla’s portable fire-ring because we are that dedicated and would need coals to cook over soon.

Tables proliferated for the outdoor prep work and quickly moving knives became the dominate sound. To one side, Lady Prudence the Curious worked on a smocked apron to be used as a prize for the August cooking competition at Flight of the Falcon. She had prepped and cooked everything at home the night before. Each person has their own area of specialty in the guild ranging from herbs and gardening, to period research, to cooking feasts, to cooking over hot coals on a sunny July afternoon. Prudence is more a book-type member of the guild.

The last to arrive, Lady Scribonia Sabina Mus dumped an armload of fresh herbs she had recently cut out of her garden. Promptly she dug out her salmon and scallops for her dish, and the deviled eggs she had prepared in advanced were passed around to take the edge off of the hunger while we worked. Prudence’s chilled asparagus with sesame sauce added some green to the protein. Then Baroness Nuala ingen Magnusa pita bread was ready to be pulled off the fire, rounding out the early food available with a fresh warm bread.

Between snacking and prepwork, much discussion occurred. We discussed the apron and guild rankings while Prudence showed off the apron after the final stitch had been applied. Topics turned to the cooking competition at Flight and the upcoming In a Phoenix Eye, Change of Season competition. Conversation then ranged to why people chose the particular foods they did and what they learned about the country they chose from along the 36 parallel. We lightly touched on using medieval Spanish diaries to prove chocolate usage and Chinese poems to create recipes, in between talks about mundane work, baronial activities, and teaching people of various ages.

Finally Lady Annora Hall’s Tibetan soup, Ema Datshi, finished simmering over the coals and we were ready to move indoors where we could concentrate on the best part of the day. Tasting what had been prepared!

Toki Arnarson’s smoked pork, American style (hey, the USA is on the 36 parallel and we had made no restrictions on date), fell apart into mouth-watering heaven after he pulled it from the oven. The Ema Datshi burned so good, both the front and back of the mouth from the two types of peppers used in its making, and Prudence’s Chinese onion cakes complemented the soup and took some of the burn off. Sabina’s Pakastani-style salmon and scallops were perfectly cooked, and made a nice match to Elena’s chopped spinach dish from Spain.

The meal was a trip around the world – Tibet, Spain, America, Pakastan, India, and China. Eventually the stomachs ran out of space, long before the food ended, and it was time for the gathering to end. Elena gave everyone some squash to go home with from her garden and Sabina’s herbs were scattered to new kitchens. No one went home empty handed, as the leftovers were redistributed for everyone to have another meal at home.

To taste the memories one more time.

Project: Sweet Bags

Sweet Bags

Created at Aire Faucon’s Largess Night on 6/8/2017

Participants (The Canton of Aire Faucon)
Lady Prudence the Curious (Organizer, donated the fabric and cedar chips, stuffed bags and hand sewed them shut); Lisa Weekly (Host of the A&S Night, dried the rose petals, operated the sewing machine), Rich Weekly (picked the roses), and Richard & Elizabeth Weekly (twin 4-year-olds) – helped pick the roses, turn the bags inside-out for stuffing, and stuffed the bags with cedar chips.

Care and feeding of the sweet bags
The floral bags are stuffed with rose petals. Over time the scent will fade. Adding rose water or rose essence should restore the scent.

The green & white striped bags and the blue bags are stuffed with cedar chips. The scent will fade over time, usually around a decade before completely gone. Afterwards they make great fire starters.

A Bit of History
Sweet Bags are also called sachets, scent bags, smelling cushions, dream pillows, and plague bags.

In use since before 200 BC in China (and everywhere since at least Medieval times), bags of scented woods and herbs have been used to make the world a more pleasant place to live. Throughout SCA period, you would find people wearing some sort of scent bag as an alternate to wearing perfume. And, of course, modern scholars state the bags were used to “scare evil spirits”.

The bags were worn like accessories. The herbs stuffed in them could be dry and fresh. When people started having more than one or two sets of clothing, bags of scents – especially lavender – were stored with the undergarments.

As people got more and more clothing and needed to store winter garments during the summer, cedar became a popular storage method to discourage moths as it affects the young larvae (it will not kill established larvae). The use of scent bags to control pests is more modern simply because historical people did not have a wealth of fabric to protect.

Use of Bags
Rose/Floral Bags – I recommend storing with items you want smelling slightly of roses. I pack them in with my linen and silk embroidery thread. Every time I stitch, the light fragrance enhances the experience. Note the Rose bags will not keep any pests away because everything loves roses, so be sure to put the bags inside a sealed container.

Cedar Bags (green & white / blue) – I put one in with my box of cloth. It gives the fabric a light woody scent. Better yet the fabric doesn’t end up smelling like plastic or mold.

The bags were packed in groups of two to include in largess baskets given by the Canton. Each participant was allowed to keep one for their own use.

Making of
Take scrap cloth at least as wide as your hand when folded in half. Needs to be thick enough to hold the herb/wood chips inside but thin enough to let the scent through.

Fold in half and sew two of the three sides, then turn inside-out and be sure to poke out the corners. No need to finish the edges.

Stuff the bag, leaving room at the top to sew together. Mash the bag a little to verify the stuffing is enough but not too much.

Sew the top together either by machine or by hand.

Special Note
This works well as a kids’ project if the bags are premade. Young children can turn the bags inside out “just like you do with your socks” and stuff the materials. They will be frustrated with the fabric not staying open and may ask you to hold the bag open for them. Choose a fabric which is not flimsy if working with children. Older children can sew their own bags shut as well.

The children can then take the sweet bag home to “scare the insects away from their SCA clothing” if you use cedar chips.

Cedar chips can be bought at any pet store; one bag will last for decades.

Class: Mustard Making


A&S Largess Class taught 10 Nov 2016 by Lady Prudence the Curious in the Canton of Aire Faucon

I have been making mustards from scratch ever since I took a SCAdian mustard making class. It is way fun. At its most basic, mustard is take mustard seed (black or yellow), grind, and add vinegar (white or red vinegar). Then let sit at least a week. Believe me, that waiting time is necessary for the mustard to mellow.

Long before ketchup was on the table, mustard was the sauce of choice. One recipe that can be found in A Taste of Ancient Rome (Giacosa p. 179) was written in 180 BC. Mustard was used on all three continents that the SCA period land mass covers, from China to Egypt.

Mustard sauce comes with infinite variation because cooks have added everything from nuts to honey, roots to flowers. The mustard seed and the vinegar provided the components needed for food preservation, allowing the sauce to store for extended lengths of time.

Plain Mustard
1/3 cup brown mustard seed
1/3 cup yellow mustard seed
2 cups White Vinegar

Spicy Mustard
2/3 cups brown mustard seed
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons each of whole peppercorn, anise seeds, caraway seeds, whole cloves, and cumin

Sweet Mustard
2/3 cup yellow mustard seed
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup goldenrod honey
1 cup raisins

Put all ingredients in a mini-food processor and mix until everything is done. Start with the seeds to get them crushed and then mix until good. Let set one month in refrigerator.


  1. Brown mustard seed is spicier than yellow mustard seed.
  2. While sitting, the mustard “powder” absorbs more vinegar. If it looks like the perfect consistency at the start of the aging process, you will need to add more vinegar to make it to the consistency you are aiming for: a thick spread, soupy, or runny.
  3. Letting the mustard seed soak for 15 minutes to 30 minutes before crushing will make the crushing faster and release more of the mustard oil during the process. The more oil released, the hotter the end product.
  4. All mustards need at least 2 weeks to age before serving.
  5. Do not heat the mustard during the mustard making process. Heat activates an enzyme which reduces the mustard flavor. Heated mustards are both more mellow (blended sooner) and more bitter.
  6. Wash hands after handling powdered mustard. Remember mustard gas was a weapon in WWI.
  7. Mustard with no acid (wine or vinegar) has been added fades faster because of the oil is not in suspension.
  8. Mustard left on the counter will mellow faster than left in the refrigerator.
  9. Most mini-food processors can crush instead of cut by flipping the blade upside down.

Ingredients used in period recipes

Liquid Ingredients

Water, White Vinegar, Wine Vinegar, Cider Vinegar, Verjuice, Wine, Beer, Black or Red Grapes (broken, boiled, and take the juice thereof), Cider, Lean broth (without much fat), Eggs

In-between Ingredients

Honey, Onion, Garlic, Ginger (root), Horseradish (root),  Raisins, Dates, Quinces, Grape Mash, Apples, Candied Eggplant Peel, Candied Lemon Peel, Candied Sour Orange Peel, Pear Preserves, Crustless bread soaked in meat broth

Dry Ingredients

Yellow Mustard Seed, Brown Mustard Seed, Peppercorn, Pine Nuts, Almonds, Cinnamon Powder (Cassia), Whole Cinnamon (Z), Sugar, Cloves, Ginger (powder), Anise, Breadcrumbs,

Also leftover spices from making jelly, broth, hypocras or sauces (which can have cinnamon, ginger, Grains of Paradise, nutmeg, galingale, cardamom, mace, spikenard, sugar, saffron, zedoary, cubebs, and bay leaves)


Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini. Anna Herklotz translator. A Taste of Ancient Rome. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago. 1992.

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa (Mistress). Making Medieval-Style Mustards. (last reviewed 11/10/2016).

Recipe: Meatballs in Almond Milk Sauce

Recipe:  Pompys (Meatballs in Almond Milk Sauce)

(article published January 2017, The Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

The Early English Text Society is a wonderful resource for the SCA and numerous other historical groups for their interest in preserving and, more importantly, disseminating texts usually available only to specialized scholars.  Two fifteen-century cookery-books is an example drawn from sources from 1430 to 1450.


Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Editor Thomas Austin.  Oxford University Press: London, England. 2000 (unaltered reprint). from p.34

Original Entry

(thorn letter symbol replaced by [th])

Take Beef, Porke, or Vele, on of hem, & raw, alle to-choppe it ate [th]e dressoure, [th]an grynd hem in a mortar as smal as [th]ou may, [th]an caste [th]er-to Raw yolkys of Eyroun, wyn, an a lytil white sugre: caste also [th]er-to pouder Pepyr, & Macys, Clowes, Quybibys, pouder Canelle, Synamoun, & Salt, & a lytil Safroun; [th]en take & make smale Pelettys round y-now, & loke [th]at [th]ou haue a fayre potte of Freysshe bro[th]e of bef or of Capoun, & euer [th]row hem [th]er-on & lete hem sethe tyl [th]at [th]ey ben y-now; [th]en take & draw vppe a [th]ryfty mylke of Almaundys, with cold freysshe bro[th]e of Bef, Vele, Moton, o[th]er Capoun, & a-lye it with floure of Rys & with Spycerye; & atte [th]e dressoure ley [th]es pelettys .v. or .vj. in a dysshe, & [th]en pore [th]in sewe aneward, & serue in, or ellys make a gode [th]ryfty Syryppe & ley [th]in pelettys atte [th]e dressoure [th]er-on, & [th]at is gode seruyse.


Take beef, pork or veal, or all of them, and raw, all to chop it at the serving, than grind them in a motor as small as thou may, then add thereto raw yolks of eggs, with a little white sugar: add also thereto ground pepper, mace, cloves, cubeb (a spice related to pepper), powdered canella (cinnamon cassia – common modern cinnamon), cinnamon (cinnamon zeylanicum – often called true cinnamon, and very hard to get ahold of), and salt and a little saffron; then take and make small pellets round suitable (y-now means done, suitable or enough) and look that you have a fair pot of fresh broth of beef or of  chicken and you throw them thereon and let them seethe/boil until that they done, then take and draw up a thrifty milk of almonds with cold fresh broth of beef, veal, mutton or chicken and ally it with rice flour and with spices and at the serving lay these pellets five or six in a dish and then pour thin sauce on it and serve in or else make a good thrifty syrup and lay pellets at the serving thereon and that is good service.

My Interpretation (serves 4)


1 lbs of Beef, Pork or Veal or mixture thereof (ground)

1 egg yolk

1 tsp of sugar, ground pepper, ground cinnamon

½ tsp of ground mace, ground cloves, salt (and fresh ground true cinnamon or one “Red Hot” candy)

¼ tsp saffron

3/4 can of broth (chicken or beef)

4 cups of water

Almond Milk Sauce: ¼ cup almond milk, ¼ can of broth, 2 Tablespoons thickener of choice (rice flour, corn starch, wheat flour), spices as wished (likely similar to the meatball – but use the lighter colored ones for best color effect: mace, salt, true cinnamon, sugar)


  1. Take a saucepan large enough to hold the water and broth and still be 1/3 empty. Start boiling the water and broth.
  2. Take the ground meat and add egg yolks, and spices. Make into small meatballs.
  3. Once broth is at roaring boil, add meatballs carefully. Turn heat down to slow boil.  Cook until done – between 15 and 20 minutes.
  4. In frying pan, as you would make gravy, put in the almond milk, broth, thickener and spices. Sauce can be thin and runny, thick like heavy gravy, or syrupy.  You decide.
  5. Serve the meatballs and sauce together or separately. If together, meatballs are lightly (thrifty) coated with sauce, not swimming.


Recipe: Savory Toasted Cheese

Recipe: Savory Toasted Cheese

One of the favorite foods served in our shire (Shire of Iron Bog) is Savory Toasted Cheese.  A recipe can be found in Digbie, as most cooks call it, or, as it is more formally known,

The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Keneline Digbie Kc. Opened:  Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sicer, Cherry-Wine, &c. together with Excellent Directions for Cookery As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. Published by his Son’s Consent.  London, Printed by E.C. for H.Brome, at the Star in Little Britian.  1669.

Yes, that is the title as it appears on the title page.  You can see why cooks used the short title “Digbie”.  Although it was published in 1669, the recipes were drawn from notes made by Sir Kenelme Digbie during his life (1603 to 1665).  The Knight gathered recipes and other information as a hobby, including writing two philosophical treatises during one of his exiles from England (which happened periodically because of his Catholic beliefs).  Sir Keneline Digbie really was “Eminently Learned” and lived in England, France and Rome at different times.  He even spent time in the Mediterranean with a Letter of Mark, protecting his Crown’s interests on the sea-lanes.

The recipe as it appears in Digbie on p. 228 is:


Cut pieces of quick, fat, rich, well tasted cheese, (as the best of Brye, Cheshire, &c. or sharp thick Cream-Cheese) into a dish of thick beaten melted Butter, that hath served for Sparages or the like, or pease, or other boiled Sallet, or ragout of meat, or gravy of Mutton : and , if you will, Chop some of the Asparages among it, or slices of Gambon of Bacon, or fresh-collops, or Onions, or Sibboulets, or Anchovis, and set all this to melt upon a Chafing-dish of Coals, and stir all well together, to Incorporate them ; and when all is of an equal consistence, strew some gross White-Pepper on it, and eat it with tosts or crusts of White-bread.  You may scorch it at the top with a hot Fire-Shovel.

GLOSSARY: (from Lady Rosemary Willowwood)

Sparages:  Asparagus.  Also called “spear-grass” or “spargel”.

Collops:  A small piece or slice of food, especially of meat.

Gambon:  from old North French gambon, or ham, from gambe, leg.  In British usage, the lower end of a side of bacon.  Also called “gammon”.

Sibboulets:  translation somewhat uncertain.  Most likely related to “cibblings”, … the Welsh onion.  The Scots called this onion “cibol” with the “l” frequently not pronounced.  “Sibboulets” probably meant chopped or small cibols.  Like many other medieval words, there were as many spellings as there were spellers.

Fire Shovel: an implement almost like an antique soldering iron, heated to red-hot in the fire and used to toast surfaces of dishes where the whole thing could not be broiled.  Modernly called a “salamander”, IF you can find one!


Take a soft, but firm RICH cheese, such as brie or cream-cheese, and mix it in with butter in a bowl that has had asparagus, onions or meat mixed (or cooked) in it so as would have left a layer of gravy behind.  If you are an efficient cleaner and don’t have one about, you might want to incorporate some asparagus tips, onions slivers or bits of fatty meat like anchovies or bacon in the dish.  Just a little bit, mind, you want to enhance the delicate flavor of the cheese, not overpower it.  Melt everything together and let simmer awhile until it is of equal constancy.  Toss some white pepper on top, if you want, and serve it as a gooey, WARM mess with a crusty white bread.  Run it under a broiler once it is ready, if you want a golden toasted top.


Amounts – Most gentles within the SCA say take equal amounts of brie, cream-cheese and butter and melt all together and add some white pepper.  I have also seen 2 parts brie, 2 parts cream cheese and one part butter; OR 3 parts cream-cheese, 2 parts brie and 1 part butter (mixed with finely chopped onion); OR equal cream-cheese and brie and a little less butter, (say 1/3 less); OR each 8oz cream-cheese and brie, ½ pound butter and 1 pound bacon; OR 8 oz cream-cheese, 32 oz brie and 2 teaspoon of butter served over a green vegetable with final toasting under the oven broiler.  As no actual amounts are given, figure what works for you.

Bacon – Period bacon is closer to a Canadian Ham in character than American Bacon.

Cheese – Should be one that melts consistently, like brie or cream-cheese or a white cheddar.  A stringy cheese like Swiss cheese or mozzarella does not produce the right effect for this recipe.

Heating – A lot of modern recipes recommend that you warm up the cheeses and butter in the microwave.  Brie can get rubbery when heated in this manner, and the natural hotspots in your microwave can cause the delicate cheeses to scorch. Most people use a crockpot, bring the dish to potlucks without the toasting part, and serve the savory cheese with bread on the side while in the warm crockpot. The cheese does not look as appetizing as it cools.


Digbie, Sir Kenelm.  The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Keneline Digbie Kc. Opened:  Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sicer, Cherry-Wine, &c. together with Excellent Directions for Cookery As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. Published by his Son’s Consent.  London, Printed by E.C. for H.Brome, at the Star in Little Britian.  1669.

Petersson, Robert T.  “Digby, Sir Kenelm”.  Collier’s Encyclopedia.  The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company.  1965.

Webpage: – Article on Sir Kenelm Digbie

Webpage: – Letter on [Mid] Savory toasted cheese (the variations) – Note as of 5/15/2019 the website is no longer responding.

Webarticle: “Then Serve It Forth: Savoury Tosted or Melted Cheese” by Lady Rosemary Willowwood de Ste. Anne

Webarticle: “The Stewpot Recipe Gallery:  Savoury Toasted Cheese” by Elaina de Sinistre

Recipe: Asparagus in Almond Milk

Recipe: Asparagus (Espàrrecs)

(article originally published October 2016, Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

With a Spanish Twelfth Night around the corner, I thought I would finally break out my fourteenth century Catalonia recipe book to see what marvels it contains. I discovered an excellent vegetable dish which I had the pleasure of sharing at a recent Canton of Aire Faucon potluck. The asparagus is served in a white almond sauce creating a beautiful white and green dish, a perfect match for the Barony’s heraldry.


Vogelzang, R. (translator). Santanch, J. (editor). The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval recipes from Catalonia. Tamesis of Boydel & Brewer Ltd: Barcelona Spain. 2008.

Spanish (in particular Catalonia) recipe – Sent Sovi (mid-14th century)

Espàrrecs si vols fer, quan seran perbullits e sosengats mit-hi vin blanc e espècies comunes e un poc de bon sucre blanc.

Encara, si n’has molts espàrrecs, que en vulles fer menjar per donar en escudelles, perbull-los així com damut és dit e prem los espàrrecs, e sosenga-los així com e espinacs. Aprés hages llet d’ameslles e mit-los a coure, e coguen tant tro sien ben espressos e ben cuits. E puis fe’n escudelles, e mit pólvora de canyella. E és menjar així bé de carnal com de Quaresma. (Sent Sovi LI)

Translation – Vogelzang p.145

If you want to make asparagus, when they are boiled and fried put in white wine and common spices, a little good white sugar.

Still, if you have a lot of asparagus, that you want to make as a dish to serve in bowls, boil them as is said above and press the asparagus, and fry them just like spinach. Then take almond milk, and cook them in it, and cook them enough so that they are thickened and well cooked. Then serve them in bowls, and dust cinnamon on it. It is eaten like this on meat days as well as during Lent.


Stove Top Largish Pot with Lid Colander
Cutting Board Knife Spatula
Measuring Cup (wet)  Serving Bowls  Frying pan (optional)


Cold water (about 2 cups)
Salt (optional)
Oil or grease of your choice
1 pound of Asparagus
2 cups almond milk
Powder douce (mix of sugar, cinnamon and other sweet spices)


  1. Bring water to boil. Add salt if wanted.
  2. Trim off woody part of stem.
  3. Boil asparagus in one inch of water for about 5 minutes. Cover pot for boil.
  4. Empty pot into colander. (You can reserve the vegetable broth for another recipe if desired.)
  5. Return pot to stove or use a frying pan. Add oil and heat.
  6. Once oil is hot, fry the asparagus uncovered, stirring with spatula to prevent burning, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add almond milk and continue to stir until the asparagus is well-cooked. About 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Put into serving bowls and dust with powder douce.
  9. Serve forth hot.


  1. Powder douce for the “dust cinnamon” – The first half of the recipe recommends common spices and a little good white sugar. Powder douce is a period spice mix covering this option with the predominant taste and color being cinnamon. The dish is a mix of green, white, and the dust of brown when served.
  2. Using one pot for everything. I hate cleanup. This recipe requires three different stages of cooking – the initial boil, the frying stage, and finally the simmer in sauce.
  3. Sauce vs. soup – The period recipe could be interpreted as an asparagus soup or as asparagus in a sauce. I learned toward the sauce side because of the frying stage (which evaporates the excess water from the initial boil, giving the asparagus back its form) and because of the title not being something like “asparagus soup” and instead being simply asparagus.

Gardening 2016: General Mayhem


I Never Promised A Rose Garden – but I am going to deliver it!

In between taxes during February, March and April 2016, I used my one hour of sunlight per week to work outside. I’ve always wanted to garden to play with. Twenty months ago I got it when I bought my very small house. The yard is big enough for tons of fun, in between being too busy.

My first goal was a rose garden. Which I arranged October 2015. I moved bushes from around the house. The previous owner for some reason had three bushes – one behind the garbage cans, one where it could grab a skirt every time a passenger left a car, and one slowly being overtaken by sunflowers and weeds tuck by the front porch. I dug them up and combined them in one area.

Since the roses wouldn’t bloom until summer, I added crocus, tulips, and pansies for springtime. The crocus popped up in early March for two weeks. Now tulips are reigning with support from the pansies.

Yes, the garden is completely overgrown with spring weeds as well. That needs to get fixed. But my first attempt at putting my mark on my house has worked out well.

The red leafed bushes along the cement should have a continuous display of red and white roses come June. Fingers-crossed!

(ADDITIONAL NOTE 6/2/2016 – My white rose bush got the black spot and nearly died completely back even after spraying with rot-be-gone stuff. I hated doing that as I wanted to be able to use the roses for food this year. But since the white rose bush is in the middle, it was the only way to quickly save the lot. I did this about a month ago. The middle bush is recovering quickly with lots of new growth and both of the red bushes are blooming intense red flowers. The larger bush which wasn’t transplanted is having the best time of it.)

The major problem with the rose garden is the curved corner dips low and constantly floods. I need to get that fixed along with the weeding sometime soon.

The next thing I concentrated on was the ornamental grass in the back of the house. I worked on this most of February and March during the odd moment of free time my day job allowed during daylight hours. As you can see below, I trimmed the tops off.

But reason work was needed on the grass was the entire center had rotted out. Took me three weeks of digging and fighting to clear everything out. One online website on the care and maintenance of Pampas grass recommends trimming with a chain saw, then burning what is left to the ground and let it grow back. No, really – the blog instructed to trim grass with a chain saw while wearing leather to keep the razor sharp leaves from cutting you.

I just went out it with a shovel, hoe, shears, and while wearing a denim shirt and jeans with heavy gloves. My wrists still were slit to heck and back where the fabric gapped, but I did get the center cleared out.

This is what the grass looks from the other side after all the rot was removed.

I hope it will recover. The grass is beautiful and hides my neighbor’s shed which is falling down and covered by a tarp.

The original idea for this post was to tell you all about the herb garden put in near my kitchen … the one I was going to work on in March. I got everything together two weeks before I created this post (for my writer’s blog in March 29, 2016) so I could show pictures and brag about how accomplished I am.

Yeah, no. The next two weeks have been working late every day I had a chance of getting home before sunset … or rain. Spring rains. Lots of them.

So what I have to-be-assembled pictures:

The plot which the previous owner covered with the oh-so “effective” weed tarp. I somehow need to dig through the weeds to the tarp. The problem is the weeds have grown through the tarp. To get this up will require removal of four inches or more of weeds, tarp, and roots at one time. I didn’t realize how involved until I started the first “easy” lift off of the tarp. Nothing moved.

(ADDITIONAL NOTE 6/2/2016 – Still working on this project. Ended up using grass poison to kill the stuff enough to loosen the roots. And when I got through that layer and another two inches of dirt I discovered another tarp. No wonder I can’t get through this!)

On one of the rainy days I went shopping for the assembly kit. The brick borders, new soil, and a turtle big enough to sit on while working the little plot.

(ADDITIONAL NOTE: 6/2/2016 The turtle is still in the back of the car, sigh)

Last year I dug out the dead bush by the front door. I had really hoped to have a full herb garden this year.

We’ll see what happens.

The other big goal this year is remove as many stumps a possible. The house came with close to a dozen stumps everywhere. I have dug two up so far. The previous owner was an older lady who took care of her yard for a while, but it just got away from her the last few years she lived there. So I have inherited a yard with lots of potential, but to reach that potential, I need to first clear the slate.

From the azalea bushes gone wrong. These should have been blooming by now.

To the ever present stumps.

And more stumps, plus the bushes which now run the entire fence.

Oh, and the trees growing THROUGH the fence.

Anyway, one of my ongoing projects is getting my yard in shape. A multi-year project, obviously.

The goals for gardening in 2016 are as follows: 

(1) Get the ornamental grass fixed – COMPLETED late March
(2) get the rose garden fixed
(3) get the herb garden in
(4) get as many of the stumps out of the yard as possible.

I will post pictures as this year’s gardening projects are completed.