This is the feast that I cooked for the Midwinter Coronation held in Ildhafn in for Kind Edmund and Queen Leonore. My research on Italian cooking and feasting practices has expanded a lot since then, so this write up will be a reflection of what I presented at the time and the knowledge I've gained since.
The feast is primarily based on Bartolomeo Scappi’s L’arte et prudenza d’un maestro cuoco, as translated by Terence Scully in 2008. I also used Martino of Como's The Art of Cooking, Nostradamus' Excellent & moulte utile Opuseule à toute necessaire, qui desirent auoir cognoissance de plusieurs exquises Receptes, diuisé en deux parties1, and referred to other people's confit redactions online as well. I also refer to Messisbugo's Banchetti composizioni di vivande e apparecchio generale2 for more information about where some aspects fit within a feast. I have since also been reading Lancelotti's Lo Scalco Prattico and have lately been comparing this later work with Scappi. The Bibliography lists the sources in full, while the Appendix contains copies of the recipes I was working from.
There were several key differences for me as a modern cook in terms of presenting this feast.
The first was the volume of food that I was presenting. I only prepared four or five items per course, with a small serving per person - and there was far more food than could be eaten. It was common practice in 16th century Italian feasts to present anywhere from 10 to 20 dishes per course - with enough for everyone to have some of each. This gave the person throwing the feast the best opportunity to show off just how ludicrously wealthy they were. It was also protocol for feast leftovers to be shared among the less fortunate - so having plenty of leftovers was considered a virtue, and allowed people to showcase their generosity.
The second was dealing with modern dietary requirements. What this mostly meant was that I ended up mixing lean day items in with "normal" items, to give me a feast suitable for the lactose intolerant and vegetarian diners as well. Although the Italians would often serve seafood courses as part of non-lean day feasts, I don't think that they would have used lean methods of cooking food if it wasn't required.
The dishes I cooked in the feast, although all 16th century Italian dishes, were not what I would deem to be a fair and accurate representation of a 16th century Italian feast. Although the Italians were known for eating vegetables, I had more vegetable-based dishes on the menu in proportion to the meat-based dishes. Furthermore, I also cooked them to be entirely vegetarian-friendly, where many would normally have been cooked in or with meat broths or animal fats. The range of foods that I presented is also far less typical of a 16th century Italian feast. They ate every part of every animal, and most feast menus of the time will reflect this, offering you not only the roasted leg of a calf but also the liver, the head stuffed with the mashed brain and other ingredients and cooked tongue charmingly placed back in its mouth, and perhaps a delicate pie made of the eyes and testicles. Modern squeamishness (my own included) as well as inavailability precluded this.
A standard Italian feast is composed of Credenza (sideboard) and Cucina (kitchen) courses. The Credenza courses tend to be cold foods, and are handled by an entirely separate kitchen and staff to the cucina courses. In Scappi's time (1550-1570), the Credenza courses are normally paired at the beginning and end of the feast, most often with either one or two Credenza courses at each end. Scappi will occasionally mention an 'extra' Credenza course at the end of a meal, consisting of the candies and following after the raising of the tablecloth. By Lancelotti's time (1600-1620), the Credenza courses start and finish the feast, and also often alternate with the Cucina courses. The 'extra' Credenza course has also by then become standard.
The recipes discussed below are from Scappi unless I have stated otherwise.
I named all the items on the menu myself, and translated them into Italian - so any mistakes in the Italian are my fault.
A la table – On the Table
Pane & Butiro – Bread & Butter
I noticed from looking at artworks that often tables will be laid with bread on them, so decided to do this for the event. Lord Ludwig von Regensburg made the bread, a nice white bread worthy of the wealthy. The first item of food mentioned by Messisbugo is bread, which he describes as "da tauola" - that is, from or of the table3.
Primo Servitio di Credenza – First Service from the Sideboard
Pestacchi mondi - Pistachios
It was quite common in Italian feasts for raw nuts of various sorts to crop up in any of the credenza courses at the beginning of a feast, or throughout a feast. Pistachios are an unremarkable choice.
Olive di piu sorte – Assorted Olives
Olives are another item that tend to show up in credenza courses, but they are just as likely to appear as part of a kitchen course4, and often appear multiple times in one meal5. Scappi will specify the country or region that olives come from6, but I described mine as "di piu sorte"7 as they all came from the local supermarket and most were from very non-European sounding places. There were also some local olives, which Lady Anna de Wilde and I had harvested8 from a local park, and I had then preserved them in brine
I used store-bought fine toasted breadcrumbs. This causes the biscotti to turn red rather than remaining white, as the crust is included as part of the crumb. I intend to try another batch without the crust in the breadcrumbs, to see if this fixes it. My initial interpretation overlooked the phrase "for every pound", which meant that the dough was too stiff and water had to be added to make it more batter-like. The end product still worked, but it broke a spoon in the process. However, when it is made in the correct proportions, it works without having to add any water.
The recipe says you add "as much fine flour as the eggs can hold", and that the dough "should be thick". I added flour gradually, until I had a firm dough that was malleable but not too soft, and that would quickly become dry and crumbly if much more flour was added. The recipe calls for the dough to be kneaded for an hour. I could have done this by machine, but there would be no way for me to tell if it was the same as dough that had been kneaded by hand for an hour. So I sat down and watched tv and kneaded dough for an hour. I used almond oil to grease my hands with, and the dough was really lovely to work with. It gradually got finer and smoother, and more elastic, and the end result was far smoother than the point at which I would have considered it "done" if I was using a machine for this. Since they are supposed to be small, and Scappi specifies in recipe V.148 for large ciambelle that the large ones are about four ounces each, I made mine about two ounces each. I cooked them higher in the oven to give them a hotter heat above than below. They are very much like slightly sweet tiny bagels. I haven't yet worked out what the rosette of egg white is supposed to be. I served them dusted with cinnamon and sugar because this is topping that gets used on just about everything, and they looked a bit bare otherwise.
A common feature of the first credenza course of any Italian feast. I served it plain, although it will often show up dusted with sugar, and perhaps sprinkled with orange juice.
These are another item that is as likely to appear in a kitchen course as a credenza one, although it appears that both kitchen and credenza staff prepare eggs equally. I used a good quantity of pepper in proportion to the cinnamon, which seemed to work well. I had to omit the burnet because I didn't have enough in the garden, but the mint and marjoram worked well together. I served them with the orange juice sauce. The important thing I learned here is that these really need to be served in a shallow dish or bowl, and not on a tray, because the liquid makes them slide all over the place.
Primo Servitio di Cucina – First Service from the Kitchen
I decided to make the stuffed version of the recipe. I used a schnitzel cut to make life a bit easier. Rather than putting the sage leaves in between when first cooking them, the sage leaves ended up going generally around to still add flavour but save time. Each roll ended up being about an inch wide, and about two inches in diameter. They didn't need very much filling. I used cheese in the same volume as the herbs, as Scappi only calls for "a little", and I chose parmesan cheese as Scappi often calls for a hard but rich cheese so it seemed appropriate. I tried making my own must from grapes and discovered it actually comes out identical in taste and appearance to a store-bought grape juice, it just ends up costing three times as much and taking at least an hour to make, so I bought the juice instead.9
I used chicken stock as I prefer this to beef stock, and hare and crane stock was unavailable for some reason. I used vegetable stock for the vegetarians because although I could have made it vegetarian by cooking them in milk I was not sure whether the vegetarians attending ate milk products. I probably should have added more fat to the chicken stock as it was a commercial stock and modern stocks are less fatty than Scappi's, and he does call for a "fat meat broth". My pasta maker broke on the day so these ended up being served in the second kitchen course, and missed out on their topping of cheese, sugar and cinnamon. They also ended up being cut to size as Scappi says to, since I could not just feed them through the fettucine setting of my pasta maker. One of the things that I find I struggle with is remembering to get the correct toppings on everything, since there's always such a lot going on in the kitchen. I am improving this by having a designated plater to work with me, who I liaise with ahead of time to make sure they know how I want the food presented and what it should be topped with, and who is responsible for making sure this happens and that all dishes have appropriate serving implements with them.
This is not a soup as we know it: it is really chunks of cooked cauliflower with a thin sauce to pour over. This appears to be the case with most of the thick vegetable-based soups in Book VI, as well as those in Books II and III. The orange juice went really well with the cauliflower. From my pretesting I discovered that you really can add quite a lot of pepper, for as Scappi says "cauliflower likes pepper".
I chose to make this recipe rather than Scappi's other for rice fritters (V.141 p498) as the other was cooked in meat broth and this was vegetarian without needing any alteration. I made the sticky rice rather than the ground rice version. The balls ended up a bit on the large side, as they were about the size of a Florentine ball and really only wanted to be half that size.10 The hardest part was convincing the batter to stick to the balls. It worked better when it was made in a thicker consistency. I substituted rice flour in place of wheat flour in the batter to keep the fritters gluten free.
Scappi does not say how much kidney fat to add to the mixture in proportion to the chicken breasts. I ended up using an entire kidney (not just the fat) since I did not want to waste it and I thought it would just add extra richness to the meatballs. I used an ox kidney, rather than that of a calf or goat kid, since that was what was available. I ended up excluding burnet from the herbs used, as my burnet plant was too small - but having tried it (and also getting people with a sense of smell to try it), it doesn't have an especially strong flavour so excluding it seemed fine. I put in sorrel in smaller proportion to the mint and marjoram, as I was limited by what was on my plant - but this has a stronger flavour, so this worked alright. I used raisins rather than gooseberries or verjuice grapes, since this was what was available, and this would have been appropriate in winter anyway. Scappi says that the meatballs should be "more cubed than spehrical". Since I had some square-shaped moulds and I knew that they liked moulding food where possible, I made mine completely cubed. I used a commercial broth rather than making my own. The herbs that I added to the broth (in addition to the saffron, which was quite strong11) were mint, marjoram and parsley, since I'd run out of sorrel and these were commonly used herbs.
This is the dish that continues to have everyone who hates broad beans raving about how good the broad beans are. I had previously used dates instead of figs as we'd had them in the Baronial supplies and Scappi uses dates and figs in all the same recipes12. The recipe works equally well with either. As the volumes aren't specified, I used equal amounts of broad beans, onions, figs, and apples which worked realy well. I chopped the onions, figs and apples finely, as the recipe referred to in the recipe I was using specifies that the apples and onoins should be finely chopped, and it made sense to have smaler pieces of fig so that they would blend better with the other ingredients. I used a fairly substantial amount of sage as it is quite a soft delicate flavour and would otherwise have been lost amidst the other ingredients. Since Martino calls for "some good herbs" I went with the classic combination of mint, marjoram and parsley, which crop up in just about every other dish. Since he also calls for "some good spices" to top the dish, I went for cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sugar13, using the same reasoning, that these are the most popular spices.
Secondo & Ultimo Servitio di Cucina – Second & Final Service from the Kitchen
From my experience cooking duck this way previously14, I learnt that the duck comes out of the brine falling off the bones. So this time when we served it we took it all off the bones and put it in a bowl before serving. This goes against Italian serving practices of the time15, but it made it much easier for the servers to handle and was visually better than having a carcass falling apart on a plate.
For the tortellini pastry Scappi says that it should be made "as in the preceding recipe". This leads to a backwards hunt through the book, as the preceding recipe helpfully says "make a tourte by following the directions for making a rather thick shell in a tourte pan"16 but does not give you the dough recipe. Eventually the recipe appears in V.218. As an eggless pasta recipe, it works rather well. I substituted in almond milk in place of pinenut milk, as it was slightly cheaper.
For the filling I omitted the caviar to keep the recipe vegetarian. I also omitted the burnet, as again I just did not have enough. I was unsure what the exact difference was between the raisins and the "seeded muscatel raisins" that Scappi calls for, but since my selection was limited to "raisin of brand x" or "raisin of brand y" I chose one of those. I used pistachios as my old nuts because I had them on hand and they were genuinely old, and they are also a nut that comes up quite often as part of a feast, so likely to be among the choices that Scappi had on hand. I added in mushrooms as Scappi suggested since I thought that would make the recipe a little richer. I chopped them finely though since they were filling tortellini, rather than just peeling them as for the pie.
I chose the sauce because I was cooking fowl, albeit not spit-roasted, and because we had a large quantity of currants in the baronial supplies that really needed to be used. I wished I had tested this recipe ahead of time, or at least made it in advance, as it did not make as great a quantity as I had envisaged. It was very sticky, which was completely unsurprising. I used some of my own biscotti for the mostaccioli that Scappi calls for, as the two are very similar.
Scappi offers two versions of this, one for normal days and one for lean days. I cooked the lean day version to make it dairy free17. Instead of using wheat flour, I dusted the pieces of eggplant in rice flour so that it would be gluten free as well.18 I used large dark purple skinned eggplants rather than the white or white and purple skinned ones, as these are more readily available. I find that the dark purple skinned ones are slightly more bitter than the others, but once they've been soaked and cooked there is no perceptable difference.
I omitted the eel flesh because the steward refused to tolerate eel anywhere near her event19, and also then these were vegetarian. I used roughly even volumes of nuts and breadcrumbs as these made up the main content of the stuffing. Since I had someone helping me to make these, I went with just rolling the mixture into balls about the size of tennis balls20 and wrapping them in the middle of the leaves. I tied them up to transport and cook them. I retained the outer leaves, to make a bed for them in the bowls as then it looked quite a lot like a whole cabbage was being served up so it was quite pretty.
Scappi calls for these to be made into "little ciambelle", or little rings. He also tells you that the dough should be split into two-ounce lumps - about 50g - which in itself limits the size. I began by trying to make them about the same size as my (finished) zuccarini, into rings of about 6cm in diameter. This didn't work as I had interpreted the "creamy, plump, moderately soft cheese" by using ricotta. I immediately realised that this was not the best interpretation, because it made the mixture far too runny and really, really hard to encase in dough. My finished ciambelle stufati consequently ended up being about 8cm in diameter, and using more dough than Scappi specifies. On reflection, a ricotta is far softer than Scappi means by "moderately soft" - whcih makes it really hard to encase in dough. My personal definition of "creamy" and Scappi's are quite different, although this is partially a problem with the translation of the term "grasso"21. I think of something more like a cream cheese in texture, Scappi seems to think of it as being a "fat" cheese22, and therefore not necessarily so soft in texture. I think if I could find it, using something similar to a mozzarella in texture but made with cow's milk would be better, or else buffalo milk mozzarella would be a better substitute. I did not colour them "as offelle are coloured" - which would be to brush them with saffron tinted water and later with egg yolks23. I would probably do this if I make them again though to see how they come out.
Secondo & Ultimo Servitio di Credenza – Second & Final Service from the Credenza
Although Scappi does not specifically say that the pastry twists can be made with other ingredients, I thought it seemed a reasonable assumption. I had previously made recipe VI.116 as given, but in this case thought that apples would make a nice change. I used cream cheese with the apples, although on reflection I think that a buffalo milk mozzarella would have been more appropriate as provatura is a soft buffalo milk cheese. I had learnt from experience that although Scappi says the sheet of dough below the roll ought to be "quite thick", it is best to make it as thin as possible because the rest of the dough sticks to it and you cannot just pull it off afterwards. The dough is more breadlike than pastrylike.
I had made these before and have made them since, they are one of the easiest and most satisfying things to make. Scappi calls for "fine sugar that is reduced to powder", so I use icing sugar. You need to put in as much sugar as possible in proportion to the egg whites: three egg whites will take about a kilo of icing sugar. That's enough to make about 50 zuccarini. Adding in a little rose water as suggested gives these a lovely hint of flavour. They are made in the form of ciambelle, which are little rings. To successfully get a ring shape once cooked, they need to be made really quite small with a very large hole in the centre because they puff up so much when being cooked that the hole closes if it's too narrow. Also if they are too large they won't cook evenly all the way through. I cooked them at about 150̊C as they are very meringue-like and that's a good temperature for meringues. I placed them just above halfway in the oven as Scappi calls for less heat below than above. I was dubious at first about brushing them with beeswax, but this gives them a really nice glean and just a very delicate taste of honey and is delicious combined with the rosewater.
My trial run of these was making them as a standard pie size, to be cut and served to eight people. However, the filling is extremely sticky and has a tendency to seep through the dough if you have not precooked it. Scappi makes no mention of precooking the base, but I decided to do this anyway to help mitigate the stickiness. I also made individual small pies so that we could avoid the need to cut them. I added small pastry crown shapes to the top as an extra decoration and they looked quite lovely stacked on platters. The dried peaches that I was able to purchase were actually only semi-dried, so still quite moist. I decided that they probably didn't need steeping, since the purpose of that would be to soften them. Scappi calls for a beaker of rosewater to be added. I don't know how big a beaker is, so it was a case of adding "some" so that it became softer rather than completely stiff as it would have been without it. Since I was concerned about cost, I used almond milk instead of pinenut milk. I again used some of my own biscotti for the mostaccioli that Scappi calls for, as the two are very similar.
Piu sorti di Pere & Mele – Assorted Pears & Apples
It is standard practice at the end of Italian feasts to serve fresh fruit24. Pears and apples seem to be quite common. I used pears and apples since they were in season, buying a variety of each since it was common practice to offer several different sorts. I labelled them as being "piu sorti" as like with the olives, mine did not have regional European names to attach to them. Scappi will often label the fruit this way, but Lancelotti will usually specify where it comes from. The trick with having pears that are perfectly ripe seems to be to buy them a week before you want to eat them.
I ended up using a combination of the recipes. It turns out that it makes absolutely no difference to the quality of the peel whether you steep it or not25. It pays not to soak it in salted water at all as it is really hard to get rid of the taste of the salt and it does nothing to improve the end product. The most important thing is to get as much of the pith as possible off the peel, and to really boil the peel extremely well in water. If you try reheating the peel repeatedly in the sugar as Scappi says, it is prone to caramelising26. Having water in with the sugar as Nostradamus says to in chapter III helps prevent this - but I have yet to find a way to extract the orange peel from the syrup to reboil it once the syrup is on the peel. After I was sure the peel was candied, I drained off the excess syrup and stuck the pieces to waxed paper until I needed them, then rolled them in caster sugar to serve. There was no point doing this earlier as the humidity in Auckland just inclines things like this to go soft and sticky (see the sugared plums below), so it would have just been adding extra unnecessary sugar.
I tried both recipes. I had thought that the second recipe might keep the plums more whole, as they were only cooked once, but this seems to make no difference. I also attempted to remove the skins of some of the plums after they burst, but again this makes no difference to the end result. Both recipes came out about the same. However, the instruction in the second recipe to cast the pieces briefly into boiling water is really, really important. It suddenly gives the fruit a wonderful jellied texture. I dried the plums out in my hot water cupboard for a number of weeks, but the did not really dry well because of the humidity in Auckland. So I rolled them in sugar and packed them in greaseproof paper. What happened was the plums soaked through the sugar and through the paper to form a sticky mess. However, I was able to extract them from the paper fairly easily - but at that point I left them until closer to the event before re-rolling them in sugar, rather than end up with too many superfluous coatings of sugar on them.
Albicocci Sechi – Dried Apricots
I now think it more likely that apricots would have been offered in a sugar syrup rather than dry. The sixteenth century sees the start of preserves, and the Italians especially were very keen on coating just about everything you could think of in sugar. Covering fruit in a syrup of sugar (preferably) or honey became normal practice, and many of the dishes served in the final courses were fruits preserved in this way.
I used my own translation and redaction of Nostradamus' recipe in Chapter XV of his book for this. He has several other recipes for this as well, but this one was labelled as "fit for a King", so I thought it the most appropriate one for a Coronation banquet. Two kilos of quinces turned into about 300 grams of finished quince paste - but it tasted absolutely incredible.
This recipe came out more like a boiled lolly than a jelly in texture, I am not sure why. I need to try it again this summer to see if I can get a better result.
Levata la tovaglia & data l’acqua alle mani – Raising of the Tablecloth & Washing of Hands
This was done with the high table only, due to time constraints. It should have been done with everybody.
Conditi, & confettioni a beneplacito – Assorted Confits
These were store-bought from the local Indian store, and I managed to get some that were silver coloured. They were most notable because they tasted like soap. The volume of confits on offer was not near enough compared to what would have been served in the 16th century.
Stecchi in piatti con acqua rose – Sticks on a plate with rose water
For a while I was mystified about what these were, but had an inkling that they might be toothpicks. This was backed up by seeing them in a few different paintings of feasts, including the one below27. Then it got even more backed up by reading Messisbugo, who specifies that one should have "stecchi per nettari denti" - that is, sticks for cleaning the teeth28. They tend to be longer and broader than what we would think of as a toothpick - about as thick as a pencil. I used very wide kebab sticks, cut in half and sharpened at both ends.
Mazzetti di fiori profumati – Bunches of Scented Flowers
I still have not made up my mind about how these were served and what was done with them. Scappi just lists them as part of what happens after the tablecloth gets raised. Lancelotti generally says that there is a bunch of flowers for each gentleman29. Messisbugo on the other hand says that the flowers are to go over the serviettes, and that they should should follow the season - in winter, flowers of silk, gold, and silver ought to be used30.
1 Yes, it is the Nostradamus most famous for his prophecies. I think it quite a shame that his most important work on candy making is so overlooked, the recipes are mostly excellent even if he does like to ramble on about how wonderful they are.
2 The non-Italian surname is because he was Flemish in origin. His book was not published until 1549, the year after his death. I use the 1610 facsimile.
3 Messisbugo, p 3r
4 And here I do not mean as a decoration for other foods, I mean in a bowl in their own right. Lancelotti will usually specify when serving them as part of a kitchen course that they are "di credenza" - that is, from the credenza.
5 For example, Scappi (pp400-401- f. 226r; 1581 f. 185v) serves "Olive di monte Rotondo" in the first course, and "Olive di Spagna" in the second; (pp402-407 f. 286r; 1581 f.237v) "Olive di Spagna" are served in the second credenza course, "Olive di Tortona" in the second kitchen course, and"Olive Napoletane" in the third credenza course;Lancelotti (pp23-29) in the meal served on the Monday of Carnivale in 1613 serves them in both the fifth and sixth credenza courses.
6 Lancelotti, on the other hand, does not
7 Of various sorts
8 With permission
9 You can only do this if you are using must made from red grapes, since the grape juice is not available made with green grapes.
10 Scappi specifies that they are "the size of half a Florentine ball". Scully in his footnote reminds us that Scappi has earlier said this is about the size of a sea urchin. I looked sea urchins up on Wikipedia and it said they're about 4-10cm in diameter - I also bought some shells as a teaching and learning reference, and this correlates with that information. So assuming that the size of sea urchins hasn't changed too much in 400 years, and doesn't vary greatly by region, the rice fritters were a bit on the big side since they were 4-6cm in diameter.
11 I cannot taste saffron at all because I have no sense of smell, so I tend to put plenty in. People assure me that everything I cook with saffron definitely tastes of saffron.
12 I could swear he actually specifies the use of dates as a substitute for figs at one point, but I cannot find the reference.
13 Sugar is often included among the "spices" for a recipe.
14 Refer to my write up here: http://www.shannonloveschocolate.net.nz/Autumn%20Feast.html#duck
15 Everything should be carved by the carver at the table, preferably held aloft on the carving fork - carving in aria being the fashion. Yes, really. Refer to Albala, pp 153-158
16 Scappi V.228 p530
17 This always saddens me because it's really really yummy when you can make it with cheese.
18 I also discuss this recipe on my website http://www.shannonloveschocolate.net.nz/Autumn%20Feast.html#eggplant
19 She expressly forbade this when I tested a pie recipe that included eel, even though it didn't taste of eel at all. Apparently she is really not very keen on eel.
20 That's roughly twice the size of a Florentine ball.
21 Scappi, Book I.8 pp 108-109 discusses qualities of cheeses, and in his footnotes Scully comments that Scappi quite often calls for cheeses with a high fat content, which he has translated as "creamy cheese" throughout.
22 He specifically calls for "bazzotto grasso", which Scully in the footnotes to V.141 (p498) says is a plump, semi-soft cheese.
23 Scappi, Book V.48 pp458-459
24 I would provide an example except I cannot find an exception to this rule so it seems a bit redundant.
25 However, this is a very convenient way for keeping the peel a bit longer so you can add to it for a number of days if you are eating one orange a day.
26 This is also known as burning.
28 Messisbugo p 3r
29 For example, in the meal presented in 1613 for Cardinal Aldobrandino (p50) "Si diede alla fine l'acqua mani, con un mazzo di fiori regalatissimo per Signore."
30 Messisbugo p 3r "Mazzoli di fiori secondo la stagione, & nella verna a finti di seta, & Oro, & d'argento da mettere uno per posta sopra le saluiette volendone...".
Primo Servitio di Credenza – First Service from the Sideboard
Scappi V.237.To prepare dainty biscuit morsels.
Get two pounds of white breadcrumb and bake it a second time. Grind it in a mortar and put it through a sieve so it becomes like flour. For every pound of that sieved substance, add as much again of fine flour, two and a half pounds of finely sieved sugar and four ounces of leaven ground in a mortar and moistened with fifteen fresh eggs; then everything should be mixed together with three-quarters of an ounce of raw anise ground into powder and four ounces of rosewater. When everything is thoroughly mixed and beaten together so that it looks like fritter batter, let it sit for two hours in a warm place. Beat it again, adding in four more eggs and an ounce of salt; then let it sit for another hour. Then have a buttered tourte pan and put the filling into it so it is a finger's width in depth. Put that into an oven that is not too hot. Leave it there until it is dry. Remove it and with a sharp knife cut it into little long rectangles, as wide or narrow as you like. Just as soon as they have been cut up, put them immediately into marzipan tourte pans, set out apart with paper under them, and put them back into the oven with a very moderate heat. Leave them there for half an hour, turning them several times until they have firmed up. In order to keep them white, keep them covered with rag paper.
In that filling instead of wheat flour you could use the same amount of starch flour, though with more leaven and more eggs. You can also make biscuits like taht with fine flour, eggs, sugar, coriander flour and musk. And instead of flour you can do it with double-baked white bread, powdered, eggs, sugar and leaven. And when you put them into the tourte pan to cook them, instead of greasing the pan you put wafers or host wafers under them.
If you want to do it differently, see the Book titled On Convalescents, separate from this Fifth Book, at Recipe 142.
Scappi VI.140.To prepare small ciambelle with eggs.
Get ten fresh eggs and six ounces of fine sugar and make a dough of them with as much fine flour as the eggs can hold; the dough should be thick. Knead it for an hour, taking care not to add any flour when you knead it or when you make them, but rather greasing your hand with almond oil or Greek wine. When they are made, put them into boiling water and leave them boiling until they float up. Take them out with a holed spoon, put them into a basket to let them drain. When they have cooled, set them out in tourte pans of a big enough size, with edges that are not too high, and that have nothing on their bottom; arrange the ciambelle regularly in the pans. Bake them in a moderate oven which is hotter above than beneath. And before you take them out of the oven, make the rosette on them with a feather dipped in fresh egg white. Serve them however you like.
Scappi III.273. To cook stuffed eggs.
Cooks eggs as in the previous recipe, but they should be firmer. Shell them, split them in two lengthwise, and dig out the yolk. Grind it in a mortar with sugar mixed with raisins, pepper, cinnamon, raw egg yolk, a little salt, orange juice, and beaten mint, marjoram and burnet. Fill the hollow of the egg white with that mixture, then put the eggs, with their filling upwards, into a shallow, lidded tourte pan with enough butter to half cover them. Cook them with fire under and over them. When the mixture has set, serve them dressed with a sauce made of verjuice, sugar, orange juice and cooked raisins. Alternatively, when they are slightly undercooked, pour over them a sauce made of ground almonds with a little breadcrumb and raw egg yolk moistened with verjuice, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring everything to a boil together, tasting it to see that it is both bitter and sweet. Then serve it rather hot with the sauce over it and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
Primo Servitio di Cucina – First Service from the Kitchen
Scappi II.1. To make stuffed bresaola and croquettes from a loin of beef.
Get the leanest part of the loin and cut it up into slices a hand in length, four fingers wide and a knife's spine thick. Beat them on both sides with the spine of a knife, splash them with a little vinegar and sprinkle them with fennel flour, ground salt, pepper and cinnamon, piling them up on top of one another for two hours so that they absorb that mixture better. Cook them on a grill with a slice of fat salted bacon on each one: that is done to keep them from drying out. When they have been turned two or three times and you see them colouring, they are served soft like that with orange juice over them, or else with a sauce made of vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. If you do not want to cook those brisavoli on the grill, fry them in rendered fat or lard.
Should you wish to make stuffed croquettes, as mentioned, with a knife pound some of the loin with the same amount of port fat and prosciutto, adding in two cloves of garlic, egg yolks, a little cheese, pepper, cinnamon, beaten parsley, mint and wild thyme. With that mixture stuff the brisavoli, rolling them up like wafer cornets and pu tting them on a spit with a thin slice of pork fat and sage leaves between each one. When they are almost done and taking on a little colour, put them into a pot with a little broth, must syrup, verjuice and raisings, and finish cooking them with the pot stopped up. When they are cooked, they need to be served with their sauce over them. You can also serve them without stewing them, letting them finish cooking on the spit; but they can also stew in a pot or braise in the oven, and cook in all the ways that the above tenderloin is done.
Scappi II.173. To prepare a thick soup of tagliatelle.
Work two pounds of flour, three eggs and warm water into a dough, kneading it on a table for a quarter of an hour. Roll it out thin with a pin and let the sheet of dough dry out a little. with a cutting wheel trim away the irregular parts, the fringes. When it has dried, though not too much because it would break up, sprinkle it with flour through the sifter so it will not stick. Then take the rolling pin and, beginning at one end, wrap the whole sheet loosely onto the pin, draw the pin out and cut the rolled-up dough crosswise wiht a broad, thin knife. When they are cut, broaden them. Let them dry out a little and. when they are dry, filter off the excess flour through a sieve. Make up a soup of them with a fat meat broth, or milk and butter. When they are cooked, serve them hot with cheese, sugar and cinnamon. If you want to make lasagne of them, cut the dough lengthwise on the pin, and likewise divide it lengthwise in two, and cut that into little squares. Cook them in the broth of a hare, a crane or some other meat, or in milk. Serve them hot with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.
Scappi VI.100. To prepare a thick soup of cauliflower.
Get the flower, which is the firmest and whitest and best part, and wash it well. Then have water boiling and put the cauliflower into it, letting it boil for a quarter of an hour, with salt, because by nature cauliflower cooks quickly. It has branches like coral. To see whether it is done, try the rib. When it is done, put it dry into a dish with orange juice, prime olive oil or sweet-almond oil and a very little broth; cauliflower likes pepper.
You can cook broccoli in the spring that way. And instead of water, get chicken or veal broth.
Scappi V.235. To prepare rice fritters.
Get one pound of rice, clean it, wash it in several changes of water and put it on the fire with enough cool water to cover it. When it has absorbed the water, get milk made from a pound of almonds and half a pound of sugar; put half of it in and add the rest gradually until it is well cooked and thick. Then take it and make little balls of it the size of half a Florentine ball; coat those little balls with a batter made of fine flour, water, salt, oil and white wine. Fry them in oil. When they are done, serve them hot with sugar on them.
You can do them differently: when the rice is dry, grind it in a mortar adding in the crumb of a loaf of bread soaked in the broth that the rice cooked in. Then make little balls of it as above, coat them in fine flour and fry them in oil. Serve them hot, garnished with sugar.
Scappi VI.42. To prepare braised little balls of capon breast, the size of a tomacella.
Get some of the same mixture as in Recipe 36 and of it make little balls that are more cubed than spherical. Then get a high-rimmed tourte pan with melted capon fat in it. Put the little balls into the pan, heating them very gently from below and above and stirring them until they are rather firm. Then put enough saffron-tinted chicken broth into the pan to cover them by a finger, heating them very gently from below and above, and cooking them with a low heat, as is described above. At the end add in a little verjuice or gooseberries and beaten fine herbs.
Scappi VI.36. To prepare a thick soup of boiled capon meat.
Get the breast meat of a capon cooked in salted water, and using knives beat it very small along with the kidney-far of a calf or a goat kid, and mint, marjoram, sorrel and burnet, and, for every breast, two egg yolks with or without the whites; with that you can mix in gooseberries, verjuice grapes, seeded and peeled, raisins and sugar - that depending on the season. Then give that mixture the shape of a small soft cheese. Have a good fat broth of capon boiling in a very clean pot, and into it put the mixture so that the broth floats it, because if there were not much broth the mixture would stick to the bottom. Boil it for an hour more or less, depending ont he heat of the fire, kieeping the pot covered. It is served hot with a little of the same broth over it.
Martino p 66
Take some fava beans, and sage, and onions, and figs, and some apples, as above, and some good herbs as well, and mix together; and fry in a pan with oil; and after you have finished preparing this fry, remove and top with some good spices.
Secondo & Ultimo Servitio di Cucina – Second & Final Service from the Kitchen
Scappi II. 145. To boil poultry-yard geese and ducks and do them in various dishes.
Old poutlry-yard ducks are very tender between October and Christmastide, which is when their proper season is. They have to be plucked, either dry or in water, and be left to hang undrawn for three days, more or less, depending on the relative coolness or warmth of the place. Draw them, wash them, remove their neck, wings and feet. If you want to stuff them with grated cheese and eggs along with their fat and common spices, that is a possibility. Cook them in salted water or in a meat broth. When they are done, serve them hot with garlic sauce or some other sauce in dishes. If you want you can also cover them with macaroni or tortellini, or else with rice.
If you want to stew them, cut them up into pieces and, when those are washed, put them into a pot with verjuice, prosciutto cut up small or vine saveloy, and some of the condiments in the previous recipe group up with a little saffron. Cook them with the pot sealed tightly. They have to be served hot, covered with their broth.
In all of those ways you can do up a domestic duck, and a Muscovy duck, which is bigger and darker than our local one. From the breast meat of a goose or duck you can make all those dishes that are made from a turkey cock in Recipe 141.
In the above ways you can also do a swan, which is much bigger than a goose, has a longer neck, extremely white plumage and a black beak. Many of the above wildfowl are found on the banks of the Po. In the winter, after they have been hung, they can be roasted on a spit the way a crane is done in Recipe 142.
Scappi V.229. To prepare tortellini of marzipan or various other fillings.
Get a pound of shelled Milanese almonds, four ounces of pinenut paste and one pound of sugar, and grind them together with three ounces of rosewater. With that make large or small tortellini, in a pastry shell made as in the preceding recipe and cut with a pastry wheel or with a wooden dough-cutter, and fry them in oil. When they are done serve them hot, garnished with sugar.
In the same way you can make tortellini with the fillings used in all the crostate and tourtes described above.
Pastry: Scappi V.218 (this can be found below in the Secondo & Ultimo Servitio di Credenza recipes)
Scappi V.220. To prepare a tourte of spinach and other aromatic herbs for a day in Lent.
Get tender spinach and sauté it in a very good oil. When that is done, strain the liquid away and beat the spinach small, adding in beaten mint, marjoram and burnet, raisins, seeded muscatel raisins, old nuts ground in a mortar along with caviar and water-soaked breadcrumb, and pepper, cinnamon, sugar and a little sautéed spring onion; the amount of each is at the cook's discretion. Have a tourte pan oiled and prepared with a rather thick sheet of dough; put the filling into it. Cover the tourte with another sheet of dough made like a jalousie or rippled. Bake it in an oven or braise it. When it is almost done, give it a glazing with sugar. Serve it hot.
Into that filling you can combine boiled crayfish tails, and snails sautéed with spring onions, and also peeled field mushrooms, or else a few thin slices of apple, and many other sorts of ingredient, depending on the cook's judgement.
Scappi II.250. To prepare a sauce popularly called galantine that can be used as a sauce or a garnishing for spit-roasted fowl and quadrupeds.
Get a pound of dried currants, grind them in a mortar with six hard-boiled egg yolks, three ounces of mostaccioli and three ounces of bread toasted on the coals and soaked in rose vinegar; moisten all that with six ounces of malmsey and four ounces of verjuice. Put it through a filter or strainer, adding in a pound of sugar, three ounces of semi-sweet orange juice, half an ounce of ground cinnamon and one ounce of ground pepper, cloves and nutmeg together. When it has been strained, heat it in a casserole pot, then let it cool. When it is cold, serve it as a sauce, with sugar and cinnamon over it. If you want it for garnishing fowl and game roasted on a spit, keep it thinner with a little lean meat broth.
Scappi III.229. To braise eggplant - that is, pomi sdegnosi.
Get eggplants that are not too ripe or too bitter, and clean off the purplish skin they have - although you do find white ones - and cut them lengthwise into several pieces. let them steep for half an hour; discard that water and set them to boil in a pot in fresh water that is lightly salted. When they are well cooked, take them out and let them drain on a table. Have an earthenware baking dish or a tourte pan ready with oil; carefully flour the pieces and make a layer of them in the pan. Get beaten mint, sweet marjoram, burnet and parsley, and beaten fresh fennel tips or ground dry fennel along with crushed garlic cloves, and scatter all that over the layer of eggplant, as well as enough pepper, cinnamon, cloves and salt; splash verjuice on that and sprinkle it with sugar. Repeat, making up two or three layers. Cook it the way a tourte is done. When it is done, serve it hot in dishes with the broth over it. If [it] is not a fasting day you can put slices of provatura or ordinary cheese and grated bread between each layer; and, instead of oil, use butter.
Scappi III.239. To cook stuffed Savoy cabbage in Lent.
Get a cabbage from which the harder leaves have been cleaned away and bring it to a boil in water. Then take it out and put it into cold water. Have a mixture ready, made up of old walnuts taht are not rancid, ground with a small clove of garlic, breadcrumb soaked in hot water, mint, marjoram, burnet and parsley, those herbs beaten, raisins, pepper, cinnamon and a little salted eel flesh which is cooked and ground in a mortar. Stuff that mixture between each of the leaves toward the middle of the stalk. When the stalk is full, wrap it around with a large cabbage leaf brushed with hot water and tie it with a string. Cook it in water with oil and salt. If you want to make the cabbage's broth thick, put grated bread into it, and a handful of beaten fine herbs, pepper and saffron. If it is not a day during Lent, you can add cheese into the stuffing and some eggs, and instead of oil, butter.
You can stuff the stalks of lettuce that way, thickening the broth with ground almonds instead of grated bread.
Scappi V.150. To prepare filled ciambelle.
Get a pound of creamy, plump, moderately soft cheese - that is, of cow's milk, without salt - a pound of grated Parmesan cheese, six ounces of fresh butter, twelve fresh eggs and a little saffron; mix all that together. Then make up a dough of three pounds of fine flour with ten ounces of warm goat's milk, four ounces of breadcrumb soaked in that milk, six egg yolks, four ounces of butter and enough salt. When the dough is well kneaded, gradually knead in a further four ounces of butter. Split the dough up into two-ounce lumps and with a pin roll them out making them round and leaving them the thickness of a tourte shell. On one side of each round of that dough put two ounces of the above filling, rolling them into little ciambelle, falttening them with the palm of your hand. Put them on butter-greased paper in a tourte pan and colour them as offelle are coloured. Bake them in an oven. When they are done, serve them hot.
In a different way you can roll out a big sheet of the dough and, along its length put a ridge of the filling a finger in height. Make a roll of that, and bake it in a tourte pan in the oven with melted butter over it. With the same filling you can make lanterns and Brescian cascades, and a thick soup of ravioli cooked in a good broth and using the same dough.
Secondo & Ultimo Servitio di Credenza
Scappi VI.122. To prepare a filled twist.
Make a dough of two pounds of fine flour with six fresh egg yolks, two ounces of rosewater, an ounce of leaven moistened with warm water, four ounces of either fresh butter or rendered fat that does not smell bad, and enough salt. That dough should be kneaded well for half an hour. Make a thin sheet of it, greasing it with either melted butter that is not too hot or with rendered fat. With the pastry wheel cut the edges one after the other, which are always quite a bit thicker than the rest. Sprinkle the dough with four ounces of sugar and an ounce of cinnamon. Then get a pound of currants that have been brought to a boil in wine, a pound of dates cooked in that wine and cut up small, and a pound of seeded muscatel raisins that have been brought to a boil in wine; combine all those ingredients and mix them with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Spread that mixture out over the sheet of dough along with a few little gobs of butter. Beginning at the long edge of the dough, roll it up like a wafer cornet, being careful not to break the dough. A twist like that needs only three rolls so it can cook well; it should not be too tight. Grease its surface with melted butter that is not too hot. Begin at one end to roll it up, not too tightly, so it becomes like a snail shell or a maze. Have a tourte pan on hand lined with a rather thick sheet of the same dough greased with melted butter and gently put the twist on it without pushing it down. Bake it in an oven or braise it with a moderate heat, not forgetting to grease it occasionally with melted butter. When it is almost done, sprinkle sugar and rosewater over it. Serve it hot. The tourte pan in which the twists are baked has to be ample and with low sides.
Scappi VI.116. To prepare an apple tourte.
Get red apples and roast them in the coals, then remove the burnt skin with wine and water. Cut the best part into thin slices, grinding them in a mortar with two ounces of mostaccioli for every two pounds of apple slices, along with four ounces of grated cheese and six ounces of fresh provatura. When everything is ground up, add in six raw egg yolks and two eggs with their whites, half an ounce of ground cinnamon, half an ounce of pepper, clvoes and nutmeg together, and eight ounces of sugar. With that mixture make a tourte in a tourte pan with a rahter thick pastry shell and the twist around it. If you do not want to roast them, slice them and sauté them in butter or else stew them in sugar, wine and rosewater, following the procedure for baking the tourte in an oven or braising it, like the previous ones. A tourte like that can always be served cold or hot, as you like.
Scappi VI.139. To prepare zuccarini that look like ciambelle.
Get fine sugar that is reduced to powder. Get beaten fresh egg whites and put them into a shallow basin along with as much of that sugar as the eggs can hold - that is, so they form a thick paste. With that paste make up ciambelle, which you put into a tourte pan. They should be sprinkled with flour and brushed with white wax. Bake them with little heat under them and somewhat more above. They need little cooking because the egg whites swell up in a lively way and end up light. Along with those ingredients you can put in a little rosewater or musk water if you like.
Scappi V.218. To prepare a cinnamon tourte, or some other sort.
Get a pound of Milanese almonds and grind them with a pound of sugar, two ounces of Neapolitan mostaccioli, three ounces of pinenut paste, one ounce of cinnamon, four ounces of clarified honey, two ounces of dried peaches that have steeped, and two ounces of candied orange peel. When everything has been ground up in a mortar, add in a beaker of rosewater to make the mixture thinner. Then have a tourte pan ready, lined with a rather thick sheet of dough made of fine flour, salt, oil, pinenut milk and sugar; put the filling into it. That tourte should not be too deep. Cover it over with another sheet of dough worked in any of a variety of ways. Bake it with a low heat, giving it a glaxing of sugar and rosewater. Serve it hot or cold as you like.
Scappi VI.210. To prepare lime peels and orange peels with sugar, with which peels various preserves can be made; also, how to set them aside together when they have been candied like that.
Get citron peels - the bigger they are the better. Most especially, they have to be fresh. When the peels have been cleaned of both the pulp on the inner side and the cotton-coloured part that is under the pulp, let them steep for four days and nights, changing the water twice a day. Then take them out of that water and put them into boiling water, leaving them to boil until they become tender. Then take them out and put them into cold water, again changing it several times; let them steep two more days. Then have melted, clarified sugar ready, a pound and a half for every pound of peel; put the peel into the sugar. In a casserole pot boil it slowly for an hour, skimming it with a wooden spoon. Then take them off the fire, leaving them in that pot or in some other pot. Every day for eight days heat them up in their decoction so the sugar will penetrate into the peels all the better. At the end of eight days they can be set aside in an earthenware or glass jar.
The same can be done with orange peels, although they need to steep longer in water and they need to be parboiled twice in water. When those peels are done they can be served as a garnish and for crostate.
If you want to make a preserve of them, though, when they have been thoroughly cleaned with hot and cold water as above, they are taken out of the hot or cold water and put on a cloth or in a sieve to press the water out of them. Then they are ground in a stone mortar with a wooden pestle. When that is done they are strained without adding anything. Then a pound and a half of melted, clarified sugar is made ready for every pound of what is strained, and the strained substance is put into it and cooked in it, being stirred continuously with a wooden spoon so that it thickens like quince jam. When it is almost cooked, test it; if it is not sweet enough, add in some sugar. When you take this preserve out of the pot you can put in with it a quarter of an ounce of cinnamon and half an ounce of cloves per pound. If you have citron peel and orange peel together, it will be quite delicious.
Nostradamus - Chapters III & IV, my own translation.
Pour confire l'orengeat en succre, ou en miel, qui sera bon par excellence.
To candy oranges in sugar, or in honey, which will be most excellently good.
Take some oranges, and put them into four or six pieces for the least they be put into four: and remove them so that there is not a trace of peel, and the flesh, and the juice, and the seeds are out: and then take your peels, and make them moist in good clear water, and put them there for the first time a good handful of salt, because the salt will carry off the extreme bitterness of the oranges: and leave the said peel for the space of 24 hours: and then after you change the water, and put them in there again: and all the days change it, for nine days: and at the end of nine days you take them to boil with good fountain water, until you test them with a pin if it will go into them easily: and then when you know that the pin will go into the peel swiftly, then you take them from the fire: and take them with a pierced spoon, and put them in cold water:and when they are cold, you leave them to dry a little on a white linen: and when they are made a little less watery, you put them in a vessel of glass, or of earth, so that it is full of peel: and then, you take two or three pounds of sugar, this of the size of the vessel: and if the sugar is good, you do not need to clarify it, but mix it together with water, that weight of water like there is of sugar: and mixing it, make it cooked to the form and the cooking of a well cooked syrup for the first time: and then you take it from the fire, and let it cool: and when it will be cold, you put it in the peel: and make sure they are well steeped in this said syrup: and the next day you put the said syrup in a pan, without the peel, and make it boil until it is cooked, like you have already seen, and them make it cold again: and then put it again in your vessel where are the said oranges, and leave it for the time of three days.
And at the end of three days you make it cook as you have seen: and when it comes that the syrup will be cooked, you pour in the peels, and make them boil five or six ebullitions/boilings, and not without benefit, because they will not be hard: and then after you take them from the fire: and let them to cool: and then put it all in your vessel: and don't eat them for a month, or thereabouts: and if at the end of one month you know that it needs to cook, make them, or otherwise leave them as they are.
And if you want after all are well cooked put them in cinnamon and cloves pounded together, for this will make a confiture that will be good in all perfection.
And if you want to make them with honey, take honey of the quantity that you would, and put if in a frying pan, and make it melt until all the scum is on top: and when you see that all the scum will be on the top, and then let it rest, until it will be cold: and then with a skimmer, or pierced spoon remove all the scum which is on top, and throw it there: and the honey will be well put with the oranges, and used like was said of sugar.
Pour confire les orenges qui soient bonnes a manger dens un iour comme si elles auoient trempees quinze jours.
To candy oranges that will be good to eat in one day like if they were steeped 15 days.
Take the peels of oranges, and let them boil unrestrained in clear water with a good handful of salt: and so that the quantity of salt will be that of the peel: and make [it] boil until you see that the water will be yellow: and then you throw this water: and after wash them with five or six waters, without weakening them each time, nor breaking: and when they are well washed, you taste them on the tongue, to see if they still taste sharply of salt: and then make them boil with clear water, until a pin enters them easily: and then take them from the fire, and put them in cold water, and return to taste if there is any sharp taste of salt: and if there is in them, you wash them with as much water, until this taste of salt is no loner there: and then take your peels, and put them on a good white linen, and clean them the best and the most that you can, and as clean as they are, you take sugar, or honey the quantity the same as the peel, and make it melt and cook to its perfection: and then put in it the peels to boil a little: and then take them from the fire, and put it all back in your vessel which was empty, and leave it there: and if it needs it, cook them at the end of five or six days, if you see that the sugar, or the honey is too liquid: because if the sugar or the honey was not cooked to its perfection, the confiture is corrupt: but if in the first day you know that all is well with your peel, and that the honey is well cooked, or the sugar, in the first day they will be good, the same as they will be if made three months earlier, truly the better that the confiture is made, then the better it will become, and the sweeter: because the bitterness of the oranges of their nature, by the long period of time will become remain with the sugar or the honey will become sweetened, and this is the best and the most delicious to the mouth.
Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, 1604 - To Drie Apricocks, peaches, pippins or pearplums1
Take your apricocks or pearplums, & let them boile one walme in as much clarified sugar as will cover them, so let them lie infused in an earthen pan three days, then take out your fruits, & boile your syrupe againe, when you have thus used them three times then put half a pound of drie sugar into your syrupe, & so let it boile till it comes to a very thick syrup, wherein let your fruits boile leysurelie 3 or 4 walmes, then take them foorth of the syrup, then plant them on a lettice of rods or wyer, & so put them into yor stewe, & every second day turne them & when they be through dry you may box them & keep them all the year; before you set them to drying you must wash them in a litlle warme water, when they are half drie you must dust a little sugar upon them throw a fine Lawne.
Recipe from "At the Sign of the Sugared Plum"
Place about twelve firm, pitted plums in sufficient water to cover and cook gently until just tender. Strain the liquid, keep back about half a pint in a jug and add 6 oz sugar. Boil this up and pour over fruit.
Leave for two days, then drain off water into a saucepan and add another two ounces of sugar. Boil up and pour over fruit.
Repeat this process every day for eight to twelve days, until the liquid is as thick as honey. Leave the plums soaking in this for a further three to ten days, according to how sweet you want them to be. Remove and place the plums in a very low oven or airing cupboard until thoroughly dry, then dip each fruit quickly into boiling water, drain off excess moisture and roll in caster sugar. Pack in greaseproof paper until needed.
Nostradamus Chapter XV, my own translation
Pour faire gellee de coings d'une souueraine beaute, bonte, saueur, & excellence, propre pour presenter deuant un Roy, & qui se garde bonne longuement.
To make quince jelly of a Sovereign beauty, goodness, flavour, & excellence, correct for presenting in front of a King, and which will keep well a long time.
Take however many quinces as you would like, above all being well ripe and yellow, and put them in to pieces, without peeling them: (because this which you would peel, or remove would not be advised because it belongs to them: because the skin augments the scent) and with each quince cut into five or six pieces: and taking away the seeds, because they will jelly well without these: and these while you are cutting them, put them into a bowl full of water, because once they have been cut, if they are not submerged in water, they will become black: and sliced as they are, boil them with a largeamount of water, until they are well boiled,when they are near to breaking into pieces: and then when they are well cooked, you strain this water with a new linen, which is [?suspended?], and strongly express all the decoction that can be extracted: and then take this decoction: and if there are six pounds of decoction, you take one and a half pounds of Madeira sugar, and put it into the decoction, and take it to boil spread [?sus under?] over the coals of a moderate fire, so as you would like, that near the end it will consume a lot: and then take this over a little fire which will not burn the sides, and to know when it is perfectly cooked, you take it with a spatula, or a silver spoon, a little, and put it in a square: and if it looks square when it is cold, that the offered drop is more round without taking[moving] either here or there, then it is cooked, & removing it from the fire: and making sure that the scum that it has on top is taken: & then all hot tip the mixture into a box of wood, or of glass: and if you would like to write something, or take it from within the box, to take pieces, because it will be easier: because the colour will be so transparent, that it will resemble an Oriental ruby, so will be of excellent colour, & taste even more so, that one can present it to the sick, and with this they will be well.
Nostradamus Chapter X, my own translation
Vn'autre mode pour faire gellee de guignes, qui est plus delicate que la premiere, mais elle est plus chiere, & est pours grands seigneurs.
Another way for making jelly of sour cherries, which is more delicate than the first, but it is more expensive, and is for grand lords.
Take sugar which is good, and make it into a rough powder, and put it in a pot, & of which you have a weight of two pounds, & then take sour cherries all alone the stem removed, a weight of them of six or seven pounds, or better eight, and grind them, & crush them with well cleaned hands, and put them into the pot in which you have the sugar: and take them and boil them until everything is liquid, then grind them again with a clean baton: & when they are boiling again, strain them through a well closed and well clean linen: and express them a little: and take that which will be strained, and boil it in another pot over a small fire, watching it continually until it is cooked: because it will diminish a lot: and taking it all with a spatula or a pierced spoon to see if it is cooked: and be careful not to put it on a fire too hot or fierce: because where it will be over, or it will burn: & when you check if it is cooked, it is to put a drop on a marble, the drop will be firm and round without moving, neither here nor there: or put it over a piece of wool, or over a knife: & see that the drop will be vermilion like a perfect claret wine: & then when it is cooked, you put it in a little glass vessel or a box of the king in which you put quince jelly. And when your jelly is cold and set, you will have a fashion and type of jelly that it is not possible for jelly of sour cherries to be so good, of more excellence and beauty and goodness: truly this on is more delicate and magnificent than the first: all together the two are not to be despised, that when you are looking in all the world, and have tried all the modes and fashions that you can see or have heard a true report of, or by continual and long experience, it is that you will not make one more excellent. And if this little book falls into the hands of someone who it is possible to know well to do this, if they are not accustomed to speak badly, they will not be able to dispraise it: because this mode is the most Sovereign of all that which can be made not only in this here, but also in all the other recipes that together here are comprised. Protesting that of all that I have written it is all fact or made factual: and the largest part in my eyes: it is well true that the exclamations that were in the first book, all the quantity that has gone is not there: but of all the confits that are written above, and that will follow that by all, & in many and diverse regions they have been made, & in my presence: are testified to be which in this century testified truly: it is possible that there will be scoffers, which will not know to imitate me, which are accustomed to speak badly, which will say that this here is not as good as confessed, is less than that first one, which in this work is of this second tract in our language to show the passage, and to cut the ice: also not having the knowledge to do this: & there will be more people to which the lust is well known to make more confits, that will be satisfied in this: & which will know to make one, in which will be many: for want which they know well to make & administer sugar, or honey, while making the cooking, that which it will appear.
Mistress Renata Kestryl of Highwynds, Visions of Sugarplums
Sharon Cohen, Visions of Sugarplums, http://www.godecookery.com/friends/frec74.htm
Samira Kawash, Sugar Plums: They're Not What You Think They Are 22/12/2010 http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2010/12/sugar-plums-theyre-not-w...
Vittorio Lancellotti, Lo Scalco Prattico (Francesco Corbelletti, Rome, 1627)
Christoforo di Messisbugo, Banchetti composizioni di vivande e apparecchio generale (Lucio Spineda, Venice, 1610)
Michel Nostradamus, Excellent & moulte utile Opuseule à toute necessaire, qui desirent auoir cognoissance de plusieurs exquises Receptes, diuisé en deux parties (Antoine Volant, Lyon, 1555)
Bartolomeo Scappi, Terence Scully (trans.), The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) L'arte et prudenza d'un maestro cuoco (University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2008)
Ken Albala, The Banquet (University of Illinois Press, Illinois, 2007)
Mary Hooper, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Bloomsbury, London, 2003)
Roy Strong, Feast (Pimlico, London, 2003)