Because of everything else going on (about which I promise a large post is coming in the next several days, after I recover a little), I didn’t really plan sufficiently for this year’s Play Date at An Tir / West War, and I didn’t get to cook much at all on one of the days. Unlike what I usually do, and to my personal shame, I did not bring actual period recipes to cook from. I was winging it on EVERYTHING that I made. All that said, here’s what I put together.
Wednesday: Set up day, so no cooking. We ate dinner in town and I had an outstanding piece of grilled salmon. I did manage to start a butter culture going by adding a half pint of cultured buttermilk to two pints of heavy cream in a jug to sit out overnight. This part is important.
Thursday: I churned butter all day! We were slow to get fire going, but I still managed to make some simple oat pancakes (oat flour, the buttermilk from my butter adventures, and eggs) to put the butter on as “play food.” For dinner I made rolled stuffed beef — I pounded a steak flat and spread it with a mix of ground almonds, powder fine (mixed spices), salt, sugar, vinegar, and rose water, then tied it up and roasted it on the fire. This was good and I’ll likely do it again. I also made Roman cucumber salad, based on my memory of an Apicius recipe (but tweaked slightly because Anne refuses to eat garum) — cucumbers, olive oil, red wine vinegar, mint, and salt. So good! I also put out some butter on the dinner table. I will certainly make butter at War again, it’s so fun. And Anne said out loud “You need a bigger butter churn!” and I have witnesses, so I’m getting a bigger butter churn.
Fish Friday: Went to the fishmonger and stocked up. I don’t think I managed to do any “play food” this day. I tried to make pea soup with some smoked salmon collars and fins that I bought, but I was distracted (this was the day of my vigil) and didn’t really give it enough consistent heat. So in spite of soaking them for over 24 hours, the whole peas just never cooked. That was frustrating. But I did make two things for dinner which were both quite successful. The first was just crab meat (I got a whole crab and Tova helped me extract all its meat) in (freshly churned) clarified butter with sage. I also made a dessert that I plan to make regularly: a Dish of Snow with fresh berries. Dish of Snow is an Elizabethan recipe for whipped cream with the addition of egg white, sugar, and rose water. The egg white seems to really help the cream whip easily; I used my new adorable birch twig whisk and it was not odious to whip by hand. The original does not have fruit added to it, but I went rogue. A+ would eat again.
Saturday was my elevation and I cooked nothing, just sat around feeling a little tense and peevish. I did throw together a very lazy salad for dinner because I did not want to arrive empty handed.
Then Sunday we had to come home! But I did get Crazy Norwegian fish and chips (with grilled fish) on the way home. Yum!