Asparagus x 2

Asparagus season is here! This time I decided to do two different recipes. The first recipe is Italian and from Libro della cocina, Anonimo Toscano (around the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th century). It is the classic Asparagus with Saffron dish that is very well known among living history geeks and one version can also be found in our cooking book Saffron, Eggs and Almond Milk. I have made some changes for the recipe (mainly spices and for the cooking instructions). The second one is from a Catalan source Sent Sovi (around middle of 14th century). It is dish that is easy to make and very tasty.

Later during 15th century Bartolomeo Platina, a famous italian writer and gastronomist of that time, wrote in his book “De honesta voluptate et valetudine” about health benefits of eating asparagus. He wrote that if asparagus was eaten during the first course it would combat flatulence of the stomach and soften the bowels. But also it would bring clearness of the eyes and that it is good for chest and spine pains and for ills of the intestines. He wrote that adding wine to asparagus would make the benefits more effective but eating too much asparagus will be dangerous for the health.

Source: Platina, On Right Pleasure and Good Health, Milham E.

Suomenkieliset reseptit löytyvät yläpalkista!

De li sparaci – Asparagus with saffron

Togli li sparaci e falli bollire; e quando sieno bulliti, ponli a cocere con oglio, cipolle, sale e zaffarano, espezie trite, o senza.

Serves 4

  • about 450 g green asparagus
  • 1,5 dl water
  • olive oil
  • 2 spring onions (or 1 common onion)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of saffron
  • pinch of ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves

Snap off the dry ends of asparagus and carefully peel the asparagus ends if needed (if they are very thick and woody, usually not necessary in my opinion). Place the asparagus on a large frying pan and add about 1,5 dl water and let it simmer for about 5 mins. Be careful not to overcook. Pour the reminding water away and add oil, chopped spring onions and spices. Fry 6-10 minutes or before they are done. Serve warm.

Comments: The original recipe tells to use onion which is most likely common onion. Scallions are mentioned twice in the source. In one recipe the scallions are mentioned with onions. So most likely the common onion is what was meant for this dish. I was rebellious and wanted to use spring onion because they were available.

The original recipe doesn’t specify what kind of ground spices to use. The recipe only suggest to use ground spices or not to use them. It is up to you. There is 184 recipes in the source and I quickly counted that there is about a bit over 70 recipes that does not specify what kind of ground spices (good spices, fine spices, some spices..) are used in the dish. Pepper and saffron were most commonly mentioned separately (sometimes with other “spices” and sometimes without). Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom were mentioned couple times. Also seeds like mustard, anise, fennel, cumin and coriander were mentioned. Some herbs too but those I did not count this time. I choose to use some most common spices.

Serve this dish for 4 people as an appetizer or with other main course dish.

Source:Libro della cocina, Anonimo Toscano around the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th century

Espàrrecs -Asparagus with white wine

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

Serves 4

  • about 450 g green asparagus
  • 1,5 dl water
  • olive oil
  • 0,5 dl white wine
  • pinch of common spices: cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, salt
  • pinch of sugar

Snap off the dry ends of asparagus and carefully peel the asparagus ends if needed (if they are very thick and woody, usually not necessary in my opinion). Place the asparagus on a large frying pan and add about 1,5 dl water and let it simmer for about 5 mins. Be careful not to overcook. Pour the remaining water away. Add oil and fry about 6 minutes and add white wine and spices. Boil well and serve hot.

Comments: The original recipe does not specify what kind of common spices were supposed to use for the dish. There is 87 recipes in Sent Sovi. Most common spices in the recipes are cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Also pepper (and saffron) were mentioned several times. Other spices like nutmeg, grains of paradise, cubebs, long pepper was mentioned.

Like in many other medieval dish there is sugar in ingredient list and the dish tastes sweet because of it. Sugar enhance other flavors in the dish. Serve this dish for 4 people as an appetizer or with other main course dish.

Source: The book of Sent Sovi: Santanach, Vogelzang. 14th century

Poached eggs in golden sauce 14th century style

Poached eggs in golden sauce…nom! It is a dish that is important to serve right away. When the eggs and the sauce cool it won’t taste as good. Living in the countryside, we have our own chickens but they are small cochin chickens that lay very small eggs. So three our small eggs are as big as two normal sized eggs. I am using our own eggs for cooking when ever we have them, which is almost all the time. Funny thing is that one would thought that the chicken stop laying eggs when it is dark and winter. Here in Finland it is really cold at the moment and winter is in its peak and we get eggs every day. I have moderated the recipe for normal sized eggs.

I cannot tell for sure how big the medieval chicken eggs were but there is some pictorial evidence like the one below (picture from Tacuinum sanitatis) where you can see that the eggs were probably same size than our modern day eggs that you can get from grocery store.

Suomenkielinen resepti löytyy yläpalkista!

836px-10-alimenti,uova,Taccuino_Sanitatis,_Casanatense_4182. (1)

Picture from Tacuinum sanitatis 14th century -Wikimedia Commons


Pochee – poached eggs in golden sauce

Take ayrenn and breke hem in scaldyng hoot water and whan þei bene sode  ynowh take hem up and take zolkes of ayren and rawe mylke and swyng hem togydre, and do þerto powdour gyngur safroun and salt, set it ouere the fire, and lat it not boile, and take ayrenn isode & cast þe sew onoward & serue it forth.


Serves 4

Poached eggs:

  • 4 eggs
  • water for boiling
  • splash of wine vinegar (to hold the egg better, this is only optional)


  • 2 normal sized egg yolks
  • 2 dl whole milk
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of saffron
  • salt for the taste

Make the poached eggs:

Break an egg to a glass gently so the yolk won’t break. Make poached eggs one by one. Bring the water boil in a large pot. When it is simmering nicely add wine vinegar (if you want, it will make the poaching easier but it is only optional) and make a whirlpool with your spatula. Drop the whole egg from the glass in the middle of the whirlpool. Let it simmer in a slowly boiling water for 3-4 minutes and take the egg away with a slotted spoon.

Make the sauce:

Whisk milk and egg yolks together for about a minute in a pot. Turn the heat on and keep whisking. Add saffron, ginger and salt. When the sauce starts to steam it is almost done. Keep whisking for couple of seconds and take the sauce away from the heat and keep whisking. Be careful not to boil the sauce. Serve hot with poached eggs.



Today I have been making Pochee and Sawse Madame from Forme of Cury with Joonas. But now something really really easy. This is quick and tasty vegetable recipe and it is easily done wherever (modern kitchen or camp fires). This is definitely going to the list of what we will cook next summer when we are camping with Merry Swan group. The recipe is adapted from Le Ménagier de Paris and it is one of those short descriptions on how to cook turnips.

Suomenkielinen resepti löytyy yläpalkista!


Turnips are firm and difficult to cook until they have been through the cold and frost. Cut of the head and tail and other whiskery rootlets or roots. After peeling them, wash in two or three changes of good, hot water; then cook them in steaming meat stock of either pork, beef or mutton. Because after cooking them, they slice them up and fry them in pan and sprinkle them with spices.


Serves 4

  • 3-4 large turnips
  • 5 dl strong meat stock (pork, beef or mutton)
  • Butter or lard (use lard if you have any)
  • Dash of cinnamon, ginger and cloves
  • Salt if needed

Peel the turnips and boil them in strong meat stock whole for about 20 minutes. Take them off from the stock and cool a little bit. Slice the turnips and fry the slices in butter or lard. Sprinkle spices and salt if needed and serve hot.

Comments: I decided to use cinnamon, ginger and cloves as spices to sprinkle on top of the turnips. They are very common medieval spices. But since there are no specific information about the spices any medieval goes.


  • The Good Wife´s Guide. Le Ménagier de Paris by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose. C.1393

(Piela made the pan in the picture)


This is one of the recipes I made for Finnish Reader’s Digest Christmas issue last year but I have changed the recipe a bit. I was planning to post this recipe during Christmas time but had a nasty cold for some weeks and that’s why the plans changed. Cormarye could be a really nice substitute for Christmas ham during Christmas time. This is one of my all time favourite recipes.

Suomenkielinen resepti löytyypi yläpalkista <3 !

Cormarye – roasted pork

Take Colyandre, Caraway smale grounden, Powdour of Peper and garlec ygrounde in rede wyne, medle alle þise togyder and salt it, take loynes of Pork rawe and fle of the skyn, and pryk it wel with a knyf and lay it in the sawse, roost þerof what þou wilt & kepe þat þat fallith þerfro in the rosting and seeþ it in a possynet with a faire broth and serve it forth witþ þe roost anoon.


Cormarye before serving it with sauce. Garnished with fried garlic.

  • 1,5 kg or more pork loin
  • 2 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of whole caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 dl red wine or more
  • Salt
  • 4,5 dl good meat stock

Ground together coriander seeds and caraway seeds. Peel and mince garlic cloves. Mix together the spices, garlic and wine. Take off the skin if there is one on your pork loin and stab the pork loin surface couple times with a knife. Put the loinin a large casserole and salt the meat with generous amount of salt and pour the wine and spice mixture on top. Let the meat rest if you wish for couple of hours or overnight in a fridge but remember to take it out and let it warm a bit before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 225 Celsius. Place a thermometer in the pork if you are using one. Put the casserole in the oven for 15 minutes and then turn the heat to 175 Celsius. Let the pork loin roast slowly until it is completely cooked inside (inside temperature 75 Celsius). Baste the meat several times during the roasting, with the cooking liquid and add more wine if needed.

After the meat is done take it from the casserole and let rest a bit before cutting. Meanwhile make the sauce. Take the cooking liquid and combine it with good meat stock in a pot. Simmer it for few minutes. Cut the meat and place it back to the casserole and pour over the sauce.


Comments: There are not so many food items I dislike but I have to say caraway is one of them. However this is one of few recipes I do like and I don’t think the taste of caraway is too overpowering.

Knight Days at Turku Castle


Elviira who was substituting us with Johanna took this picture.

Last weekend I went to Turku Castle with Merry Swan group to show and tell about medieval crafts. We had also a table full of ingredients like different kinds of spices, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts etc. and I was standing behind the table telling tourist groups about how did medieval food taste like. We had spices for example long pepper, cubeb pepper, grains of paradise and also vegetables like purple and yellow carrots. So there was food items that were not so familiar to spectators. Then on top of that I had 5 short lectures about medieval food.


We also displayed candles. White ones in this picture are made by Hanna. Read more about her tallow candles in this blog post. Picture by Mervi Pasanen


We had different kinds of textile arts at the display. Mervi was making intarsia.


Riku displaying the candles. Picture by Mervi.


Piia and Ulla-Mari at the textile display. Picture by Mervi.


That’s me :)


More about the quinces!

I forgot to mention that quince (Cydonia oblonga) is very often confused with flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) which are two completely different plants. Flowering quinces can be cultivated in Finland. As far as I have heard you cannot get the quince (Cydonia oblonga) survive in our climate. I was confused when some time ago I was talking with my colleague who insist that they have a quince tree (or more like bush I think) at their backyard. But of course she mean the flowering quince! You can use it for making marmalade aswell but keep in mind that it is not the medieval fruit they used in Europe at that time. There went my dream of cultivating my own quince fruits :(.

Anyway on a more happier side note there is now a Finnish translation available at “Reseptit” section and the recipe is also saved at the upper bar section.


Unohdin mainita viime postauksen yhteydessä, että tosiaan kvitteni (Cydonia oblonga) ja ruusukvitteni (Chaenomeles japonica) menevät helposti sekaisin. Ne ovat kaksi eri lajia, joista ruusukvitteniä voidaan kasvattaa Suomen olosuhteissa, kun taas kvitteniä ei. Ihmettelinkin hetken kun työkaverin kanssa keskustellessa ilmeni taannoin, että hänen pihallaan kasvaa kvitteni puu. Hän taisi tarkoittaa ruusukvitteniä ja minä kuulin ehkä väärin että puu, vaikka kyseessä taitaa olla ennemminkin pensas. Ruusukvittenistä saa myös hyvää hilloa, mutta kannattaa muistaa, että se ei ollut sama hedelmä, jota käytettiin keskiajalla Euroopassa. Suomenkielinen käännös kvittenimarmeladista löytyy nyt tuolta yläpalkista kohdasta “Reseptit”.

Check this article and blog:

Quince marmalade

It is sometimes painfully hard to get some ingredients here in Finland and when you do you have to jump and get them right away. So couple weeks ago I heard that there are quinces in a store and I went there and get some. I made quince marmalade from Le Ménagier de Paris c.1390 and pre-boiled and froze some quinces for later use. I have never made anything with quinces. How funny! But needn’t say I was so excited I left everything I was writing and searching for the blog and concentrated on only quinces for some days. You will find the Finnish translation and the recipe below in the upper bar recipe collections after couple of days.

*Suomenkielinen resepti löytyy parin päivän päästä yläpalkissa olevan linkin kautta.

Quince marmalade

To make cotignac, peel quinces, cut in quarters and remove the eye and the pips. Cook them in some decent wine and then strain. Boil some honey for long time and skim it, then add the quinces and stir thoroughly. Keep boiling until the honey is reduced by at least half; then toss in hippocras powder and stir until is completely cooled. Then cut into pieces and store.

  • 2 big quinces
  • 3 dl red wine
  • 2,5 dl water
  • 500 g honey

Spices: 1,5 teaspoons of Hippocras powder or well ground spices:

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ⅓ teaspoon of ginger
  • ⅓ teaspoon of grains of paradise
  • teaspoon of nutmeg
  • teaspoon of galingale

Peel the quinces and take the gores away. Cut them into quarters and boil in good red wine and water until they are really soft. Take the quinces out from the wine and strain them through strainer and discard the pulp. You will get about 1,5 dl of quince paste. Carefully boil the honey in a pot for 5-10 minutes and skim the foam of the surface. Stir in the quince paste and the spices. Boil carefully stirring all the time until the honey has diminished into half. Be careful not to burn the honey. Keep stirring after taking the pot of fire and let the marmalade cool completely before cutting.

Hippocras powder (as it is said in Le Ménagier de Paris): a quartern of very fine cinnamon, half quartern of cassia buds, an ounce of hand picked fine white Mecca ginger, an ounce of grains of paradise and a sixth of an ounce nutmeg and galingale together.

The Hippocras powder mixture made me think quite a long time about how much the spices you need to spice the quince marmalade. Especially how much there might have been in the spice mixture in Paris 1390. All this thinking took some hours and I will get back to it later. The recipe for the quince marmalade or cotignac tells us to just toss in some Hippocras powder and nothing about the exact amounts. The spice mixture is written down and is quite detailed in another recipe in Le Ménagier. There you can see how much and what kind of spices you need to make the powder.

So either you make bigger batch of Hippocras powder mixture and then toss some of it to the quince marmalade or go with the suggested amounts in the recipe above. If you happen to have both Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia use both but if not then what ever cinnamon you have. If you don’t have galingale or grains of paradise you can either leave them or substitute them with something else like using a bit more ginger and tossing a pinch of black pepper to the marmalade.

I have written down the Hippocras powder recipe and changed the quarterns and ounces to teaspoons, which will unfortunately not give you the exact right amounts but gives a hint of how much spices there are. I will write down the whole recipe of Hippocras later and some thoughts about the spice mixture and the amounts.

Hippocras powder mixture:

  • 28 tl fine cinnamon (probably Cinnamomum Verum)
  • 15 tl cassia buds (Cinnamomum Cassia)
  • 7,6 tl ginger
  • 7,6 tl grains of paradise
  • 1,2 tl nutmeg
  • 1,2 tl galingale


  • The Good Wife’s Guide. Le Menagier de Paris by Gina L.Greco and Christine M.Rose. c.1393


Good news!

I have been quiet for some time. Life happened and I went to school and got my Master of Engineering (while starting a new job) out this spring, moved 2 times, divorced, found new love and now I am living in countryside where I can grow my own vegetables :D.

After the school was over I was so exhausted of everything that has happened. I still am a bit but slowly getting my head back.

This year we celebrate Finland´s 100 year independence. Authors Kari Martiala and Helena Lylyharju published a book called Parasta Pöytään and it is about Finnish Gastronomy history that is celebrating the Finnish culinary history. I had an huge honour to be one of the interviewed persons to the book.

parasta pöytään

Second good news is that I have made 9 new medieval recipes that I have never published before (all from 14th century) and they are published with an article about medieval food and Christmas in Finnish Reader’s Digest (Valitut Palat/Meidän Suomi) Christmas number.



Suomeksi lyhykäisyydessään, kiirettä on pitänyt ja elämänmuutoksia riittänyt. Blogi on ollut hiljasella tulella, mutta keskiaikaista ruokaa en ole suinkaan unohtanut. Kari Martialan ja Helena Lylyharjun uusimmassa Suomalaisen gastronomian historia kirjan Parasta pöytään kirjassa löytyy juttua keskiajan ruuasta. Oli hirveän jännittävää ja samalla mahdottoman upeaa päästä haastateltavaksi kirjaan. Ja nyt uusimmassa Valittujen Palojen/Meidän Suomi joulunumerossa on artikkeli keskiajan ruuasta, joulusta ja 9 keskiaikaista 1300-luvun ruokareseptiä, joita en ole aiemmin julkaissut :).


Chyches – Chickpeas

Today I wanted to spice up a modern warm salad with touch of medieval. So I decided to do these really simple fried spicy chickpeas from Forme of Cury. This recipe is one of my favourite since it is so fast to do and tasty. Use dried chickpeas that you cook according to the instructios on the packet or canned chickpeas. If you want to follow the original recipe’s instructions then use dried chickpeas that you put in ashes and then wash and boil. Or you can roast dried chickpeas before boiling.


Take chiches and wry hem in ashes all nyzt, other lay hem in hoot aymers, at morrow, waisshe hem in clene water and do hem ouer the fire with clene water. Seeth hem up and do thereto oyle, garlic, hole safroun, powdour fort and salt, seeth it and messe it forth.
Serves 2-3

400 g cooked chickpeas
olive oil for frying
2 garlic cloves
pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon of powder fort
salt for taste

Peel and cut the garlic cloves. Drain the cooked chickpeas and fry them with garlic in a pan. Season with the spices and serve.

(Forme of Cury, 1390)


Chyches – mausteiset kikherneet

2-3 hengelle

400 g kypsiä kikherneitä
oliiviöljyä paistamiseen
2 valkosipulin kynttä
hyppysellinen sahramia
1 teelusikallinen powder fort –mausteseosta
suolaa maun mukaan

Kuori ja leikkaa valkosipuli ohuiksi siivuiksi. Kaada vesi pois kikherneistä ja paista kikherneitä ja valkosipulia oliiviöljyssä paistinpannussa. Mausta ja tarjoile.

Huom. Voit joko itse keittää kikherneet paketin ohjeen mukaan tai käyttää esikeitettyjä tölkkikiherneitä suolaliemessä. Tai vaihtoehtoisesti tehdä kikherneet kuten alkuperäisessä reseptissä neuvotaan ja paahtaa kuivatut kikherneet tuhkassa, puhdistaa ne vedessä ja keittää. Tai voit paahtaa kuivat kikherneet muutoin ennen keittämistä.

(Forme of Cury, 1390)

Forest walk with Merry Swan

A week ago on Saturday our group Merry Swan had an outdoor day at forest. The purpose of the outdoor day was to hang together, walk in a forest, to pick mushrooms for dyeing and to have a nice picnic. We were very lucky with the weather that day. The day before was stormy but Saturday morning the storm was gone and sun was shining nicely. Perfect day for to spend at forest!
Some part of the walk was pretty easy because of the road
At picnic we had bread, smoked ham, cheese, almonds, apples and mushroom pies (recipe at the end of this post)
Elina getting ready to eat
Pia, Riku and Elina eating and Eikka the dog watching closely
Antti resting after eating
Mervi found nice amount of mushrooms and Tikru the dog was helping
And here we go back

After walking we decided to take some group pictures. Sun was already setting and it was really beautiful. Pictures by Antti Kuparinen:

I decided to do mushroom pies for the picnic. They are very well known for many. The recipe is from Le Menagier de Paris (end of 14th century). Same recipe but a bit different alteration of it can be found in our book Saffron Eggs and Almond milk. This recipe is for bigger and more filling pies. The dough used for these pies is an alteration of a dough Mervi blogged and what we made at Ronneburg Castle.

Mushroom pies

Mushrooms one night old are the best. They are little and red inside, closed at the top. Peel and then wash them in hot water and boil. If you want to put them in pastry, add oil, cheese and powdered spices.

8 pies

2,5 dl milk
250 g butter
about 700 g flour (use part of whole grain flour)

600 g fresh chanterelle
600 g fresh champignon mushrooms
200-300 g fresh funnel chanterelle
(or about 1,5 kg any edible fresh mushrooms you can get)
Olive oil for frying
1 tablespoon of powder fort spice mixture or any good powdered spices
salt if needed
250 g grated Gouda cheese

Heat the milk and melt the butter in it. Let it cool a bit and knead the flours little by little to the dough. Let the dough rest and make the filling. Fry cleaned and chopped mushrooms gently in a bit of oil until the water has come out and add the spices. Add salt if needed and more spices. Let the mushrooms cool and add the grated Gouda cheese. Roll out the dough and cut rounds by using small wooden bowl. Put the rounds into the wooden bowl and pinch the edges a bit over the bowl edges. Add couple tablespoons of filling on top of the dough. Cut smaller round pastry sheet on top of the filling and pinch the edges of the pie on top of the lid. Make a small hole on top of the pie. Carefully remove the made pie from the wooden bowl on top of the baking dish. Bake them in oven in 225 Celsius degree about 20-30 minutes or until the pies are golden brown.


Iloinen Joutsen kävi viikko sitten lauantaina metsäretkellä, josta kuvia ylhäällä. Hyvin onnistuneeseen retkeen kuuluu tietenkin hyvä picnic. Niinpä valmistin edellisenä päivänä sienipiiraita matkaevääksi. Resepti on monelle tuttu ranskalainen 1300-luvun lopun (Le Menagier de Paris) sienipiiras, jonka ohje löytyy myös meidän kirjasta Sahramia, munia ja mantelimaitoa. Tein siitä nyt hieman erilaisen version käyttäen mallina Mervin jo aiemmin blogaamaa piirakkataikina reseptiä (sitä muunnellen), jota käytimme Ronneburgin linnassa elokuussa.


8 piirasta

2,5 dl maitoa
250 g voita
n. 700 g jauhoja (joista osa voi olla esimerkiksi kokojyväjauhoja)

600 g tuoreita kanttarelleja
600 g tuoreita herkkusieniä
200-300 g tuoreita suppilovahveroita
(tai noin 1,5 kg mitä tahansa tuoreita sieniä)
1 rkl powder fort –maustesosta tai muita sopivia mausteita
suolaa tarvittaessa
250 g raastettua Gouda juustoa

Lämmitä maito kattilassa ja lisää voi. Sulata voi maitoon ja jäähdytä seos. Lisää jauhoja vähitellen jäähtyneeseen maitovoiseokseen. Anna taikinan vetäytyä hetki ja tee täyte. Kuullota puhdistetut ja pilkotut sienet oliiviöljyssä, kunnes ylimääräinen vesi sienistä on haihtunut pois. Lisää mausteet ja tarkista suola. Lisää tarvittaessa suolaa ja mausteita. Anna sienien jäähtyä ja lisää raastettu Gouda. Kauli piirakkataikina ja leikkaa pienellä puisella kulholla pyöreä piirakkapohja kulhon pohjalle. Venytä taikinaa hieman kulhon reunojen yli ja lisää pari ruokalusikallista täytettä piirakan pohjalle. Leikkaa sopivan kokoinen pyöreä kansi taikinasta piirakan päälle ja taivuta piirakan reunat tiukasti taikinakannen päälle. Tee sormella reikä piirakan keskelle. Irrota piirakka puukulhosta varovaisesti leivinpaperille uunipellin päälle. Paista uunissa piirakoita noin 225 asteessa 20-30 minuuttia, kunnes piirakat ovat kauniin ruskeita.