Tag Archives: (century) 14th

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.

Recipe: Leeks and Onions in Milk

Leeks and onions in milk (Poreaux et Oignons avec Lait)

(article originally published February 2011, Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

French Recipe – Le Menagier de Paris (1393)

Porée blanche est dicte ainsi pour ce qu’elles est faite du blanc des poreaux, à l’eschinée à l’andoulle et au jambon, ès saison d’automne et d’iver à jour de char; et sachez que nulle autre gresse que de porc n’y est bonne.

Et premièrement, l’en eslit, lave, mince et esverde les poreaux, c’est assavoir en esté, quant iceulx poreaux sont jeunes: mais en yver quant iceulx poreaux sont plus viels et plus durs, il les convient pourboulir en lieu esverder, et se c’est à jour de poisson, après ce que dit est, il les convient mettre en un pot avec de l’eau chaude et ainsi cuire, et aussi cuire des oignons mincés, puis frire les oignons, et aprés frire iceuls poireaux avec les oigons qui jà sont fris; puis mettre tout cuire en un pot et du lait de vache, se c’est en carnage et à jour de poisson; et se c’est en karesme l’en y met lait d’amandes. Et se c’est à jour de char, quant iceulx poreaux d’esté sont esverdés, ou les poreaux d’iver pourboulis comme dit est, l’en les met en un pot cuire en l’en les met en un pot cuire en l’eaue des saleures, ou du porc et du lart dedans.

Nota que aucunesfois à poreaux, l’en fait lioison de pain.  (MP 139-140)

Translation – Redon p.66

White porée is so called because it is made with the white of leeks (served) with pork loin, andouille, or ham on meat days in autumn and winter.  And note that no fat other than that of hog is suitable for this.

First, pick through, wash, slice and éverder the leeks if they are young, i.e., in summer; in winter, when they are older and tougher, it is better to boil them than to éverder them.  And if it is a time of abstinence, after having prepared them as indicated, you must put them in a pot with hot water and cook them; also cook sliced onions, fry them, and then fry the leeks with them; then cook everything in a pot with milk, whether it is a meat day or a day of abstinence; but if it is Lent, substitute almond milk.  And if it a meat day, when the summer leeks have been éverdés or the winter leeks boiled as indicated above, put them to cook in a pot together with the water from slat meat or with pork and pork fat.

Note: Sometimes a bread liaison is made from the leeks (MP 139-140).

COOKBOOK INTERPRETATION: Redon on pages 189 to 190 gives their interpretation of the dish. Did not include it here due to copyright restrictions.

MY INTERPRETATION: For 16 people at a Feast


Sink Stove top Cutting Board
Pot, Cooking Knife
Frying Pan Sieve/Cor. Wooden spoons
Serving bowls and spoons Measuring cup (wet)


2  leeks
1 onion (White or Yellow)
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil or lard or butter
Water and salt


  1. Slice and carefully wash the leeks. You may do the root only, or include the stem.
  2. Cook in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  3. Peel and slice the onion. Sauté over low to medium heat in 2 tablespoons oil until it is very tender but not browned.
  4. Combine the onions and leeks (in the saucepan). Add the cream and cook for 10-30 minutes more over low heat.  Watch carefully and stir regularily.
  5. This can be let to simmer several hours if timing of feast requires it.


The recipe is period to late 15th century France, and can be found in Le Menagier de Paris.

I choose to include the green stem because I found that the bright green peeking through the mass of white to be beautiful.  I chose to boil the leeks and not include them when frying the onion because 1) it created two different tastes and 2) it saved time during the mass production of feast.

I used the milk/cream mixture as period milk would not be homogenized and that gives a higher fat feel to the tongue.


Redon, Odile, Francoise Sabban & Silvano Serventi.  Translated by Edward Schneider.  The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy.  The University of Chicago Press: Chicago.  1998.

Banham, Debby.  Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon England.  Tempus Publishing Limited: Stroud, Gloucesterershire.  2004.