An Ancient Menu
A Medieval Menu
A Renaissance Menu
An Elizabethan Menu
A Baroque Menu
A Georgian Menu
A Regency Menu
A Victorian Menu
An Edwardian Menu

King Arthur's Feast: A Medieval Menu

While some have assumed that medieval food was strange and unappetizing, medieval feasts were full of rich, delicious foods, meats and desserts. Makerouns, a a predecessor to macaroni and cheese, was a favorite dish of the times, as was A Dauce Egre, which was fish in a sweet and sour sauce. A proper Medieval dinner included a dessert, perhaps of Chiresaye, a cherry pudding decorated with flowers.

This menu is historically a "very late medieval" menu, since it uses black pepper and cloves. For earlier ages substitute the pepper with chopped watercrest or other peppery herbs.


Makerouns

People in the Medieval era believed that cheese aided in digestion, so it was often served before and during their meals. This simple cheese dish is perhaps a forerunner to today's macaroni and cheese. The original recipe called for boiled pastry dough noodles. If you have a pasta maker, you can use it to make your makerouns, boiling the dough while fresh and undried. Use 3-4 pounds of undried noodes instead of the 1 pound of egg noodles.

1 pound of dried egg noodles
1 tablespoon of oil
Large pinch of salt
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
1 stick of butter

1. Boil noodles with oil & salt until al dente (tender-crisp). Drain well.
2. In a serving bowl or platter place some melted butter and cheese. Lay noodles on top and add more butter and cheese.
3. Serve as is or continue adding layers of butter, cheese, and noodles. Use extra cheese as necessary. Serve immediately, or place in a hot oven for several minutes and then serve.


Crispbread

Crispbread is a unique hard bread, with its roots in Sweden and the Nordic countries. Crispbread has been made from Swedish rye flour for centuries, as part of an ancient tradition, and has always been highly appreciated by the people of the north. It was very popular during the Medieval era, when it was baked in Sweden and Finland to preserve the wheat crop over the long, cold winters. This recipe serves a large group (25 people) so you may want to size it according to your needs. As a note, freeze bread if it is to be kept more than a few days.

1 package of dry yeast
2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rye flour
1 1/2 cups barley flour
1 cup unbleached wheat flour
1 cup flax seeds

1. Dissolve yeast in water.
2. Gradually beat in 4 cups of flour. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
3. Turn out dough on a floured surface. Shape into smooth ball and divide into 4. Form each into a ball. Roll out carefully, until dough is 1/4 inch thick.
4. Press flax seeds into the dough, prick with a fork.
5. Remove to a floured baking sheet. Let Rise in a warm place about 15 minutes.
6. Bake in a very hot oven for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees or until bread feels firm. Round should still bend after removed from oven, they will harden in a few days.


Meatballs with Spices

Meatballs were quite popular during Medieval times. One specialty, "pommes dorée" ("gilded apples") were meatballs of mutton or chicken colored with saffron or a glaze of egg yolk. The Anglo-Norman variant, "pommes d'orange", were flavored and colored with the juice of bitter oranges. The recipe below is a tasty dish perfect for parties.

Meat of veal or other kind, from the thigh, minced
Salt
Fennel, crushed
Parsley, finely chopped
Marjoram, finely chopped
Bacon
Pepper
Olive oil

1. Mix all the ingredients well minced and shape mixture into small balls with your hands.
2. Fill pot with about an inch of olive oil and fry meatballs.
3. Arrange on platter with sprigs of parsley and serve warm.


A Dauce Egre

This savory dish of fish in a sweet and sour sauce dates back to 14th century England.

Haddock, either whole (gutted and cleaned) or filets or steaks
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Sugar
Onion, minced
Mace
Cloves (powdered)
Black pepper

1. Place the fish in a baking dish. Add just enough water to cover approximately 2/3 of the fish.
2. Bake in a hot oven just until the fish is cooked (do not overcook).
3. Remove from the pan and drain well.
4. In a saucepan, combine all other ingredients, using sugar and vinegar in ratio to produce a sweet and sour taste.
5. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking until the onions are soft.
6. Fry the fish in olive oil until the outside is crispy. Remove from oil and drain.
7. Place the fish in a serving platter and cover with the sauce.


Chiresaye

This elegant dessert was made with fresh cherries, usually picked in the summer around the Feast of John the Baptist. Decorated with fresh flowers, this dessert is perfect for an afternoon tea party or even a wedding banquet! As a note, if you have leftover pudding, you can place it in a bread pan, and bake until slightly firm. Insert a toothpick to test consistency; the toothpick should come out clean.

Fresh cherries, pits removed
Cherry juice
Softened or melted butter
Unseasoned bread crumbs or finely minced white bread
Sugar
Semi-sweet red or white wine, or grape juice if preferred
Small pink flowers (edible/non-poisonous), or candy flowers if preferred

1. Purée the cherries by either finely mashing or using a blender or food processor.
2. Place in a large pot and add enough cherry juice to make a very wet mixture.
3. Blend in butter and wine.
4. Beat in bread, enough to thicken the cherries to a thick pudding-like consistency.
5. Add sugar to taste.
6. Bring the cherries to a soft boil, then reduce heat and cook for several minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
7. Place the pudding in serving dishes, decorate with the flowers, sprinkle sugar on top, then serve.