Menu from Gulf Wars XVII

Updated 1 March 2008

Just like last year, Gulf Wars this year (2008) was in the heart of Lent, and I tried to follow the Orthodox fasting regulations. Again, I tried to follow the more strict of the various versions of Orthodox Lent with the menu - no meat, poultry, fish (except shellfish), eggs, dairy products, wine or oils for most days. Wine and oils were allowed on Saturday and Sunday.

Breakfasts:
Almond kasha
Spiced breakfast kasha

Sides:
Fine cheate bread buns
Raspberry jelly
Dried fruit
Pickled mushrooms
Dill pickles

Main dishes:
Boiled "crayfish" with vinegar
Cold Sweet Borsch
Nombyles of Clams
Clams in Grauey
Lentil Stew
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Oysters (Saturday)

Sweets:
Prianiki (gingerbread)

Beverages:
Water
Mint sekanjabin


Almond milk kasha: (my favorite)
1 cup almond milk
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
1 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
Honey to taste

Bring almond milk and water to a boil and immediately stir in bulgar. This likes to boil over so be ready to add the bulgar right away. Simmer over low heat stirring every 15 minutes until the desired texture, approximately 45 minutes. This seems to thicken quicker than the milk kasha, which is why I have the extra half cup of water to add during the simmering process if needed. Iíve used both homemade almond milk and store-bought almond milk. The homemade milk seemed to make the kasha sweeter.

Almond milk:
1/2 cup (2 oz) slivered almonds
1 cup water

Food process almonds (or grind some other way) until as fine as possible. Slowly add water while continuing to process the mixture. Then process for a full minute to get as fine a blend as possible. Use as is for the kasha above, or strain out the nut residue.

Documentation: kasha is a traditional Russian food mentioned frequently in period Russian sources. Remains of appropriate grains are found in archeological digs. There are no surviving period Russian recipes. I based the above recipe on modern Russian kasha recipes combined with the Frumente recipe of Curye on Inglysch as redacted by Cariadoc, and the instructions on the package of the bulgar that I used.

Spiced breakfast kasha: (nice and satisfying)
1 cup almond milk
2 to 3 cups water
1 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
2 tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup raisins
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced
Optional Topping: 3/4 c chopped walnuts, 1 tbs brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Bring almond milk and 2 cups water to a boil and immediately stir in bulgar, sugar and spices. This likes to boil over so be ready to add the bulgar right away. Simmer over low heat stirring every 15 minutes until the desired texture, approximately 45 minutes. The dried fruit absorb some fluid, which is why I have the extra cup of water to add during the simmering process if needed.

Documentation: kasha is a traditional Russian food mentioned frequently in period Russian sources. Remains of appropriate grains are found in archeological digs. There are no surviving period Russian recipes. I based the above recipe on modern Russian kasha recipes, the Frumente recipe of Curye on Inglysch as redacted by Cariadoc, and the instructions on the package of the bulgar that I used.


Fine Cheate Bread: (made fresh loaf in a Dutch oven partway through the week)
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tbs dry yeast (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 c whole wheat flour
4 c unbleached flour (bread flour best)
Pour water into large mixing bowl and crumble in yeast. When yeast has softened and expanded, stir in salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir in 3 cups of the white flour, one cup at a time. Sprinkle remaining flour on work surface. Turn dough out on ti and toss until covered with flour. Knead 5 minutes. Put dough into clean, warmed mixing bowl large enough for doubling. Cover andset in warm place to rise 1 to 1.5 hours. Tourn out dough on the floured surface, punch it down and knead into a ball. Divide into 12 and knead into balls. Flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Cut around circumferance about 1/8 inch deep. Place on floured cookie sheet 2 inches apart and punch fork holes (or cut a cross) into the tops. Set to double/rise approx. 45 min. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

This is meant to be a sourdough bread, but I skip making the sourdough when I'm in a hurry. The dough doesn't quite rise as much, but the final loaves are indistinguishable in size. There is only a subtle flavor difference.

Documentation: recipe from Master Gawaine of Miskbridge, Shire of Shadowdale, Kingdom of Calontir.


Raspberry Jam, Dill Pickles and Dried Fruit:
Store bought items.


Pickled Mushrooms - made by my friend, Lady Antonia Stefani, based on her Ukrainian grandmother's recipe.

Mushrooms are a traditional obsession of the Rus and their descendants.


Boiled shrimp with vinegar
Pre-cooked pouch shrimp
Apple cider vinegar

Open pouch of shrimp. Dip in vinegar to eat.

Documentation: Le Menagier de Paris and the 15th century English Harleian MS 4016 (at Gode Cookery) both mention boiling shrimp/crabbe/lopster/lobster with salt and using vinegar as a sauce.

Cold Sweet Borsch: [popular with those who like pickled beets]
15 oz. canned, sliced beets
3 turnips
4 tbs, heaping dried fruit (mixed berries - cranberries, blueberries, cherries)
5 tbs vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt (reduced because of salt in canned beets)
3 1/2 TBS sugar, approx.
1/8 tsp pepper
water as listed below

Clean dried fruits, add 1/2 cup cold water and the sugar and cook over low medium heat until soft. Cut beet into strips, and put into pot with beet juice, 2 cups hot water, vinegar, pepper, the cooked fruit (a cup of water was used to rinse the fruit pan) and boil for about 10 minutes. At the same time, boil cubed turnips in water for approximately 10 minutes, then drain (to remove bitterness). Add the turnips to the main pot and boil all together for approximately 10 more minutes, until turnips are tender. Taste to ensure proper balance of vinegar and sugar. Freeze until ready to serve. Served cool. (I did not bother with thetraditional sour cream, green onion, and chopped egg garnishes.)

Documentation: soups are a standard part of traditional Russian meals and often would have been made with whatever produce was at hand. Tangy soups and beet soups seem to be a favorite. This recipe is modified from RussianFoods.com and uses ingredients available in period.


Nowmbyls of Clams:
10-oz can of (cooked) clams
2 (?) cups almond milk
pinch of saffron (or turmeric or food coloring)

Drain clams and chop into large pieces. Make a thick almond milk and color it with the saffron/turmeric/food coloring. Can make as thick as desired.

Documentation: modified from Nowmbyls of Muskyls, 15th Century English MS Harley 5401, found at Gode Cookery..

Clams en Grauey:
10-oz can of (cooked) clams
2 cups almond milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1 medium onion minced
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp mace

Drain clams. In a large pot over medium heat combine almond milk, minced onions, stock, spices and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onions are done. Stir in clams and simmer, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes, adding stock or water if it starts to get too thick. Serves four to six.

Documentation: modified from Oysters en Grauey from 15th century English Harleian MS 279 on Gode Cookery.


Lentil Stew
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup pearl barley
6 cups of water or stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
2 tsp salt
1 cup leek, chopped (white parts only)
1/4 cup fresh dill weed
3 tbsp olive oil (omit for most days of Lent)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped

Bring 5 cups of water/stock with a teaspoon of salt added to a boil. Wash the lentils and drain. Add the lentils to the boiling water/stock and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the lentils are soft.

After about an hour of cooking, add the leeks, dill, olive oil, vinegar and mint. When the lentils are soft, bring 1 cup of water/stock to a boil in a separate saucepan. Add the barley and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until soft. Put the entire contents of this saucepan into the lentils-vegetable pan. Stir to mix.

Cook the entire contents together about 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Serve hot.

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Oysters
11 oz can of plain split pea soup
approx. 11 oz. water
3.5 oz can of smoked oysters, drained and cut in half

Prepare soup as directed on the can, with the addition of the oysters. OR make the soup from scratch as below...

Documentation: Pea dishes are part of medieval Russian cuisine according to the "Cloister Meal in the 16th Century" and the "Domostroi". Traditional Russian pea soups are called "Gorokhovye" and can include smoke bacon or pork. Period recipes are available - Green Pea Pottage on Jane Williams "Medieval Cookery" website, based on recipes from "Curye on Inglysch" and "Two fifteenth-century cookery books". Le Menagier de Paris also discusses various ways of preparing "Soup of Old Peas". Smoked oysters seemed like a logical substitution for smoked pork during Lent.


Prianki (Russian gingerbread): - baked thinner to make them easier to eat
2 c dark honey
1 c rye flour
1 c flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom

Heat honey in a pan until thin. Let the honey come up to the boil once, then keep it very hot. Sift together rye meal and flour and stir constantly in a pan on low heat. Do not allow the flour to brown. Add the spices to the flour, mix quickly and add part ofthe four to the very hot honey. Stir together then add the rest of the flour mixture. Beat it all together as hard as you can with a wooden spoon. Keep beating until the dough comes off the spoon easily. Shape into a long roll, flatten it slightly and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Put on a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) till light brown - about 30 minutes. The cookies should come out quite crispy. (Medieval Western European recipes use breadcrumbs instead of flour/rye meal, and they do not bake the candy/cookie.)

Documentation: while this recipe is based on traditional Russian recipes it bears a striking resemblence to medieval gingerbread.


Mint sekanjabin (a refreshing change from plain water)
2.5 cups water
4 cups sugar/honey
1 c wine vinegar
1/2 c mint (or 8 sprigs)

Dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring to a boil and add the vinegar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the mint, stir, and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and strain out the mint. Dilute syrup to taste to serve, approximately 1 part syrup to 5-10 parts water. The syrup does not need refrigeration.

Documentation: recipe found in Cariadoc's Miscellany.


Marinated Fruit (didn't actually make, but looks interesting)
6 c water (reduce to 5 c if use standard vinegar)
2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp peppercorns
5-6 bay leaves
3 c sugar
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 1/2 ounces 33.33% acetic acid (or 1 cup 5% vinegar)

In the form of vinegar, acetic acid solutions (typically 5% to 18% acetic acid, with the percentage usually calculated by mass) are used directly as a condiment, and also in the pickling of vegetables and other foodstuffs. Table vinegar tends to be more diluted (5% to 8% acetic acid), while commercial food pickling generally employs more concentrated solutions.

Boil all ingredients for 5 minutes. Chill and take out the cinnamon stick before pouring over fruit of choice. Makes enough for 1/2-gallon jar of fruit.

    Apples and Pears - Wash fruit and put whole in cold water. Bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Watch the fruit so the skin doesn't crack. Take out of the cooking water and leave whole or cut in half. Put in container and four marinade over and leave for 2 days.
    Quinces - Peel and cut into long pieces. Boil until soft. Strain well. Pour marinade over.
    Cherries and Grapes - Bring marinade to boil. Drop in washed fruit and remove from heat. Chill, then pour into jars. Eat in a day or two.
    If kept in a cool place or in the refrigerator, the fruit will last for months.

Documentation: Preserved fruit is known from period Russian texts such as the Domostroi. The above recipe is from a modern Russian recipe that uses period ingredients.


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