murreyandblue

A great WordPress.com site

Archive for the category “Events”

York’s “Viking” tourism is recovering, but not yet for Richard….

from the link below

York Archaeological Trust says “….’Limiting admission numbers has probably had the most significant impact on our performance, but we have extended our opening hours at JORVIK Viking Centre throughout the school holidays, opening an hour earlier at 9am and closing at 8pm seven days a week’….”

The Viking Centre is able to accommodate the required social distancing during the Covid 19 outbreak, but other attractions, such as the Richard III Experience at Monk Bar, do not have the capacity to do this. Here’s hoping that situation is soon in the past as well.

Visit Minster FM to read more.

Sometimes, it is hard …

… to know whether to take certain images at face value. Although we have often been told that snooker was actually invented in India during the late Victorian era, here is Phillip II with a cue in hand.

Furthermore, the cue extension known as a “swan-neck” must surely have been named after Harold II’s wife. Another piece of apparatus is the spider, obviously named after Louis XI.

The ladies who made linens for Richard III’s 2015 reinterment….

I had to answer a questionnaire to read this, but it wasn’t intrusive – mine was about whether or not I’d had flowers delivered in last six months. Anyway, the article is quite interesting, and concerns the ladies who made linens for Richard’s reinterment.

Their company is based in Waterford in the USA, and makes vestments for all denominations. They made linens for Richard III’s 2015 interment in Leicester, and “…The pattern for the linens was one Leicester Cathedral found at a 6th-century church nearby…” . St. Nicholas, perhaps?

They’re very successful, and rightly so.

The chance to see living history at the Battle of Evesham….

Medieval Free Company

If you go to the Medieval Free Company‘s website, you will find the following:-

“….The Medieval Free Company is a group of families and individuals who all share a common interest in medieval history. We specialise in the recreation of the lifestyle of a group of mercenaries during the Wars of the Roses period. Everything within the camp is recreated, through research, with as much historical accuracy as possible using materials and methods that would have been available at the time. Our focus is on authentic living history camps and archery with traditional English longbow….”

They are living history, and among their fixtures this summer, on 1st/2nd August, Lammastide, they are re-enacting the Battle of Evesham at which Simon de Montfort was defeated in 1265. The anniversary event will take place at Evesham Crown Meadow, Abbey Road, WR11 Evesham.

Definitely one to put in your diary!

The above was written some months ago, before all the Covid 19 restrictions, so it’s best to check that the event is still scheduled. It may be one for next year!

 

A piece of Richard’s sarcophagus….

 

Nevill Holt Opera – from the article

Here is an interesting little comment: “….in the Picnic Chapel, which contains a small stone that is a remaining part of the stone used to make Richard III’s sarcophagus in Leicester Cathedral….”

This stone is at Nevill Holt Opera, near Market Harborough, and the sentence is right at the end of this link. this link

Nevill Holt Opera’s 2020 season runs from 10 June to 1 July. For full details and tickets visit the Nevill Holt Opera website.

The connection with Richard is an extra attraction!

Nevill Holt Opera – from the article

 Of course, this post was written before Covid 19 descended upon us all, but I’m sure the Opera will return!

And here we have, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival 2021….I think….!

 

from the article quoted below

Well, it’s safely past April 1st now, but this post from the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival is too good not to preserve! The pictures it conjures are, well, hilarious. If only it were true! Anyway, here it is:-

“….Tewkesbury Medieval Festival are pleased to announce that for 2021, the 550th Anniversary of the Battle, Lady Avril M’Oron has agreed to sponsor a Royal Barge.

“….This stately craft, which will be constructed by Federated Oar-propelled Occasional Leisurecraft, to the finest standards, complete with velvet covered seats, and an awning of Cloth of Gold, will be used to transport King Edward along the Swilgate.

“….He will then be hoisted ashore at the far side of the Battlefield with a reconstructed Medieval crane and winch, based on the design of the crane and pulley that still exists in the Tower of Tewkesbury Abbey where it was used during the building. Dangling in full armour he will be lowered onto his steed, Mendax, thus reminding people of the cranes used in Laurence Olivier’s Film of Henry V. Galloping at full speed across the battlefield, King Edward will meet up with Queen Margaret – and the rest is history.

“….The Royal Barge will remain on the Swilgate during the battle and will be used by our highly trained medics as a field station should there be any injuries to anyone during the battle. The velvet covered seats can swiftly be converted into stretchers, and the Awning will provide welcome shade to anyone suffering from heat-exhaustion.

“….(Given we are running on corona time, we hereby declare an exemption to standard etiquette and have postponed midday!)….”

A French Medieval Lenten Repast

the good man of ParisGood Friday falls today and in commemoration of the crucifixion of Christ we offer several meat free loosely-based receipts from the medieval manuscript Le Menagier de Paris or The Goodman of Paris.  First published anonymously in 1391, it is amusingly similar to Mrs. Beeton’s famous 19th century book of household tips covering diverse subjects such as food, medicine, herbs, gardening, marital accord and its corollary of good wifely behavior.

For those who follow food trends across the globe, it is always amazing and perhaps comforting to find that the French, whether living in medieval times or soaking up rays in Southern California, tend to stick to the tried and true products and gustatory formulas of their beloved patrie.  Looking through Raymond Oliver’s excellent history “The Gastronomy of France” one realizes that most medieval recipes can still be found in Jacques Pepin’s newest cookbook or on a menu at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire.

The following receipts are adapted from a menu in the 1540 Le Menagier de Paris:

First Dish and Plate

sorrel

Sorrel is an easily grown herb.  Its name simply means “sour” and it is often used in a cream-based soup.

 

Cress and Sorrel with Vinegar

1 bunch of Watercress, 1 bunch of Sorrel, several handfuls of peas and Arugula (Rocket).  Layer the ingredients on a large white plate or bowl.  Dress with:  Olive oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Salt & Pepper.  If dressing is too bitter, a hint of sugar is appropriate.

***

The French consider figs and bay leaves a match made in heaven in much the way we might pair chicken with tarragon, fish with fennel and seafood with bacon or ham.

 

bay

Fig Crostata with Bay

1 1/2 cups of flour (approx. 200 grams), 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 stick of cold butter (110 grams), ice cold water.   Dice cold butter.  In a food processor, pulse flour and salt.  Add the diced butter and mix until it has a mealy appearance.  Add small amounts of water until it binds.  Place dough on a cold surface and knead with a bit of flour until it forms a ball  – don’t over knead!  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.  When ready to use, roll out to a nine inch circle.  Add:

Figs cut into quarters, several teaspoons of honey, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Mix and add to the crostata.  Place two bay leaves on top.  Fold over the edges of the crostata so that the pie mixture won’t spill out while baking.  Use an egg wash if you wish to have an attractive appearance.  Place in an oven heated to 375F (approx. 190 Celsius).  Bake for approximately 35 minutes.  While the bay leaves will perfume the crostata, they should be not be eaten.

Second Dish

Most of the French Lenten dishes that are included in medieval texts appear to be freshwater fish:  Trout, Eel, Perch, Pike, Carp with the occasional Cod, Sole or crustacean thrown in for variety sake.  But in looking for a dish that would satisfy a hungry penitent but not overtax one’s culinary ability, let’s turn to the New World for a receipt.   The classic “Charleston Receipts,” first published in 1950 by the Junior League, showcases the overlapping ethnic influences of anyone who ever passed through this romantic coastal city.  That would include the Creeks to the Spanish, French, British and Africans.  This receipt comes straight from Paris:

Fillet of Sole Marguery as submitted by Mrs. Robert Small

1 large sole or flounder, 2/3 cups of white wine, 1 tablespoon of flour, 2 cups of heavy cream, cooked shrimp, fresh sliced mushrooms, butter and salt.  Place filleted sole or flounder in a buttered pan and sprinkle with salt.  Pour a portion of white over the fish.  Bake twenty minutes, basting often.  Remove fillets to platter.  Thicken stock in which the fish has been baking with flour.  When well blended, add cream, shrimp, mushrooms (that have been sautéed in butter).  Now add remaining wine.  Pour this over fillets; garnish with parsley and serve piping hot.

fish

It would seem sinful to offer a dessert on Good Friday given that the recipes above feature wine, butter, heavy cream, honey and sugar.  So let’s wait until Sunday when the Easter Bunny will deliver his chocolate eggs and candy-laden baskets.

Notes:

Watercress, pea, sorrel salad by Darren Robertson and Mark Labrooy

Fig Crostata, Melissa Rubel Jacobson, Food and Wine Magazine

Sole Marguerey, Charleston Receipts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remains of Emma of Normandy found, and a fascinating exhibition of Winchester Cathedral’s history has opened….

“….Seven years after the remains of Richard III were discovered under a Leicester carpark, another legendary but lost English monarch has turned up in Hampshire.

“….Emma of Normandy, twice crowned Queen of England and the mother of Edward the Confessor, was interred in Winchester’s Old Minster in 1052 and was later transferred to the newly built Winchester Cathedral.

“Queen Emma, a powerful figure in late Saxon England, lay peacefully in a mortuary chest high above the cathedral choir for 600 years until the English Civil War….”

The above paragraphs are taken from this article.

Now there is a fascinating exhibition at Winchester Cathedral  .

“…. The opening of Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation marks the culmination of an ambitious seven-year project to unlock the Cathedral’s stories and treasures by inspiring active engagement in the interpretation and exploration of our heritage….”

When it comes to Winchester, that heritage is vast!

The sexual exploits of the Tudors….

“….history buffs are set for a ‘rip-roaring tumble’ through the sexual exploits of Britain’s most infamous royal family.

“The sexual exploits of the Tudors will be exposed at a special buffet and lecture, which will take guests back in time to hear about the sex lives of the English and Welsh during their reign.

“The talk, called Sex and the Tudors, will be held at Tutbury Castle at 7pm on Valentine’s Day – Friday, February 14….”

To read more, please this article

Hmm, I don’t think there’s a single Tudor monarch whose sex life secrets would set the world on fire. Well, there’s Henry VIII of course, but he was just an obsessed, unprincipled monster. And his story is now tired. In my opinion anyway. He was a dreadful man.

Anyway, If you are agog to know more, Tutbury Castle on Valentine’s Day is clearly the place for you.

PS: It’s evident from the above photograph that Good Queen Bess was blessed with the gift of foresight. How else can she be wielding the Union Jack?

Gourmet Magazine Does a Christmas Medieval Feast

gourmetLong before Gourmet Magazine went out of business in 2009, collapsed under too many overwrought articles on bovine emissions, it had been an intellectual colossus in the culinary world.  From the 1940s through the ’60s, it featured lush travel articles on world cuisine venturing into far-flung places such as Persia, Bhutan (“a taste of Shangri-La!”) and the Texas prairie.  Only Gourmet Magazine could print recipes from ordinary folks in the Midwest (“Nicoise Salad Abramowitz”) to the finger food of the Whirling Dervishes.  Its writing staff featured charmingly rococo names like Malabar Hornblower, Waverly Root, Doone Beal and Irene Corbally Kuhn all of whom had long literary and culinary careers.  Waverly Root wrote the classic Food of Italy and Hornblower did major historical work digging into the eating habits of the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.  Gourmet took food and travel so seriously that articles were often published in two or three chapters over the course of several months no doubt incurring skyrocketing expenses that only post-war prosperity could support.  In its last years, it played more to the penurious and attention-deficit youth market:  store bought pizza dough recipes and textless photographs of Brooklyn mixologists.  Where oh where had the monthly columns “Specialites de la Maison New York” and “Paris Journal” – undoubtedly written by tubby gourmands with napkins askew – gone?

mario micossi

Mario Micossi’s etching for “A Medieval Feast”

Luckily, that’s where Ebay comes in.  For a pittance, one can buy ten old Gourmets and wile away a nostalgic hour or two remembering New York City or London restaurants one dined at in 1979.  Still, I was surprised to see Gourmet time travel.  While flipping through a 1976 edition, I came across an article called “A Medieval Feast” by the self-styled Pressure Cooker Queen Lorna J. Sass.  Written in the present tense, it captures something of the heated expectations of the barons seated in King Richard II’s Great Hall and the hysterical mood of the chief steward, pantler and butler.  Imagine two hundred cooks in the kitchen with slaughtered animals piled to the roof!  Here is a list of some of provisions she cites:

“14 oxen lying in salt, 2 freshly killed oxen, 120 sheepheads, 12 boars, 13 calves, 100 marrowbones, 50 swans, 210 geese, 200 rabbits, 1,200 pigeons, 144 partridges, 720 hens and 11,000 eggs”

While the kitchen is in tumult, minstrels play and jugglers and acrobats wander among the noble and refined diners.  “Like the Prioress in the Canterbury Tales, they are careful to leave no traces of grease on either their lips or their mazers (drinking bowls).”  How those merry Yorkists could rock it!

Here are two slightly adapted recipes from “A Medieval Feast” that reinforces how our western ancestors applied the modern notion that savory and sweet can be combined in a delicious and sophisticated manner.  Everything old is new again.

Try these during the Christmas season:

medieval-pie

Pork Pie with Herbs and Spices

Make two pie dough crusts and drape one round over the rolling pin and fit it into a pie pan.  Prick it with a fork and chill for 30 minutes.  Do a blind bake at 400 degrees F (200 C) for 10 minutes.

In a bowl combine 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup each of minced pitted dates and raisins, 2 tablespoons of chicken broth, minced parsley and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, salt, sage, 1/2 teasoon of ground ginger and crushed saffron threads.  Add 3/4 pound of boneless pork loin cut into cubes and combined well.  Transfer to pie shell.

Place the second pie round over the rolling pin and unroll over the pie.  Trim and crimp and paint with either milk or beaten egg.  Prick the crust to allow steam to escape.  Bake the pie at 350 F (175C) in the lower third of the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until crust is golden.

Spiced Pear Puree

In a heavy saucepan combine 6 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and diced along with a cup of sherry.  Add several cinnamon sticks (to taste), 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of allspice, mace and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce until pears are soft.  Discard cinnamon sticks and puree the pears.  Return to fire and cook until slightly thickened.  Stir in homemade breadcrumbs or graham cracker/digestive biscuits crumbs and serve with sweetened whipped cream with a little nutmeg grated on top.

pears

And while you enjoy these dishes, give a nod to the Plantagenets and their Yorkist cohorts who brought such joy and abundance to the Christmas season and a doleful sigh to the Tudors who brought them low.

gourmet

 

father christmas

 

 

 

 

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: