1 point something kilo of pork shoulder roast. Allow to come to room temp for an hour or so before putting in the oven. Score the skin deeply and rub in half a teaspoon of salt.

par grind 1 teaspoon each of fennel and caraway seeds.
mix with half a teaspoon of salt, the finely grated rind of a lemon and enough lemon juice to form a paste.
Spread this paste over the non skin parts of the meat. (can do this the day before, but just before the oven is fine)

Place meat, skin side up, in a covered casserole dish*. Add 1 cup of white wine (or cider, water, stock). Bake at 160C for 3hrs. Remove lid, turn heat up to 180C. Bake for a further 1hr. Keep an eye on it so the liquid reduces but doesn't dry out completely. Meat should be falling apart, you will have cracking if you are lucky and good gravy under the fat of the liquid.

(was served with jacket potatoes, roast pumpkin cubes and pan fried green beans)

*can use foil over a regular roasting pan. I used an enamelled cast iron pot because I've got one.

I've a version of this in the oven now (early Aug) with lemon rind/thyme/lemon thyme/salt as the rub. Larger piece of meat. I think the one about was about 1.2kg. This is 1.6kg. Heat the pot with a little oil in but no pre browning as such. Just put the meat in the hot oil, add wine, then into a 160C oven at 2:30pm. (preheating to reduce oven cooking time but I still added about 30min to the method above).


montjoye: (Default)
( May. 28th, 2017 01:12 pm)

How many times will I rework these cherries? This has all been sort of fun, but frustrating too. I'm much happier when my cooking actually works. If I ever end up with cherries to cook again, I might make a cordial perhaps, or a chutney with proper proportions. If there is any attempt at jam, there will be apples involved to try to get a set.

Half a box of cherries came home with me from mrsbrown. I pitted them and tried to make marmalad with 1:1 fruit to sugar weight. That didn't seem to be working, so I bottled it, thinking I'd made jam instead. Checking it after it had cooled and sort of set, the consistency was odd. Very thick, ultra sticky. Sort of half way to toffee. Way too stiff to spread on bread or cake, but it would still flow, very slowly. So I let it sit for several months in the jars while I dealt with festival and a bunch of other things.

IMG_9971 .

Then a few days ago, those jars were getting in my way. So I drained them over several days into a pot, but the simple method of upending them over a rack. One still needed persuading.

IMG_0789 IMG_0804

I heated this mix gently until it was fairly runny and blitzed it with the stab blender to break up the cherries. In the first round, I had just pitted the cherries, not chopped or mashed them. Then I brought it to a boil and took it up to 116C (should make fruit jelly). I poured it into a pan lined with baking paper and set it aside. The last bit that needed scraping out of the pan had obviously received more heat and gone closer to toffee, so I put that out separately.


After this was fully cold, it was fairly clear that the more cooked bit had set, but the jelly hadn't. I couldn't face trying again for jelly. I've had a couple of failed attempts in the past too. Maybe it's just not my dish.


So I managed to cut up the toffee into serving pieces (by golly it's tasty) and put them into some little chocolate papers I've had for ages*. I also wrestled some of the not-jelly into papers, stopped when I'd filled the only decent storage box I have for such things. Besides, I was loosing the will at that point.

This pic is after the jelly had time to flow slowly to levelish. The toffies are the ones still holding some sort of shape.


Then... I got the rest of the jelly off the paper and into a pan. Not easy! I proceeded as follows below.

~525ml failed cherry jelly
1c cider vinegar
1/2 c water
~1t ground spices
allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, clove (in decreasing amounts

heat gently to combine
boil ~7min

This has way too much sugar for normal chutney but should hopefully give a manageable consistency. If I like it, reproducing it won't be straightforward. Prior to boiling, the syrup tasted like liquid sour lollies, in a good way. I have hopes that after some maturing time, it might do well in a bacon sandwich, like the syrup from quatrefoil's fickled pigs.


*(from reverse garbage I think, perfectly clean and unused though)

montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2017 02:08 pm)
The cabbage dish from the last night of festival 2017 that Katherina was surprised to actually like. The quantities are really flexible. We eat a lot of cabbage at festival because it keeps so well. Apples do too of course.

1T butter
~150-200g salt pork cut into lardons (can use bacon)
~8 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped (leave the peel on)
~3/4 cabbage, coarsely chopped
~1t caraway seed, ground at least a bit
~1t fresh ground black pepper
1c white wine (could use cider I suppose, or even beer, but we drank all of that)

Melt butter in a large pot (this was done in one of our "tiny"s)
Fry salt pork until it browns and the fat runs
Add chopped veg and spices, stir to coat
Add the wine. Cook at about medium heat, stirring regularly until the veg are cooked through. I prefer it quite well cooked but you can stop whenever you prefer.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2017 09:52 am)
Mushroom rice as made on the last night of festival. It worked even better than I hoped. Tasty. Of course it can be scaled down for a smaller version. One can also substitute like crazy. The important thing is the rice to liquid ratio. It's gluten free. Leaving out the cheese and substituting olive oil for butter would make it dairy free too and still yummy.

~30g dried porcini mushrooms (the magic ingredient for this)
5-6 large field mushrooms roughly diced
2T butter
1c white wine
5c basmati rice
7.5c water, including porcini stock
2 chicken stock cubes (replacing the non porcini water with real stock would be better, but these keep for last night of festival)
a goodly handful of thyme leaves
~1t freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
~200g hard cheese, grated or fairly finely chopped.

Soak porcini in enough hot water to cover for half an hour or so. Fish them out and chop them up. Save the soaking water!

Melt butter in a large pan (one of our tinys)
Saute all mushrooms until mostly cooked.
Add wine, then rice and spices, stir to coat the rice.
Add the porcini stock/water. Stir. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer (lid on) for 15min. Stir and check that the rice is cooked. If not, leave a bit longer, adding a little hot water if it seems to need it, we are aiming for quite a dry finish though. Check if more salt is needed. Stir in cheese.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 5th, 2017 10:57 am)


Macaroons (based on verbal instructions from Mistress Elspeth):
3 egg whites
300g almond meal
300g sugar
mix, roll to balls on baking paper, bake ~25min at 150C or until lightly browned.

They seemed pale to me, then I realised that the last two years I have included some roast hazelnut meal. That would explain the colour difference! The hazelnut version is more effort though because I make my own meal, and I'm recovering from lurgy so that was deemed too hard this year.


The biscotti recipe I used is the same as last year, but not GF this time. Based on a "traditional" italian one, and not far distant from the medjeeval one, but less fatty, no cream or butter and with the sugar in the mix rather than used as a dredge.www.cooks.com/recipe/o23qs8us/italian-biscotti.html. This year the mix wouldn't come together without extra liquid, hence the alcohol and water/juice additions.

My changes:
Made up in two halves, no vanilla

One half add:
1/2t aniseed, crushed and mixed with the dry ingredients
1/2 cup unblanched almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted in the oven
1t vodka
water to bring together

Other half :
finely grated rind of half an orange
1/2t ground coriander
1/t grand marnier
juice 1/2 orange to bring together
(I wanted some alternate flavour for those who don't like aniseed and R had already planned a sweet with rose water. R tells me she has evidence for coriander being used in biskit in our time frame)

Of course, now I'm worried there isn't enough. Sensibly, I think there is. It's the hind brain that wants more on hand. The macaroons are 2 and a half each for a dessert, hopefully to go with fluffy lemon cheese. The biscotti are meant for a lunch. There is one of each flavour per person plus a bunch spare. I could make a batch of different macaroons for spare if I have time?

The anise ones could use more anise. They tasted lovely but no noticeable anise flavour. Quanities were fine.SaveSaveSaveSave
montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 30th, 2017 03:51 pm)
An alternative red meat sauce, or my answer to the price of zucchinis in winter :-).


1kg beef/pork mince browned in olive oil
3 small/med carrots grated
1 200g turnip grated
6 leaves savoy cabbage shredded
two parsley blocks
4T sweet paprika
2t smoked paprika
1cup tomato paste
330ml ale/beer
1/2t salt
1t fresh ground black pepper
water to not quite cover.

Bring all to boil, then down to a slow simmer for a few (I aim for 3) hours. Cook uncovered for the last hour if needed to reduce the liquid. Adjust seasoning to taste

It's great served with sour cream and cheese over rice, pasta, or potatoes. Or eaten as a dip dinner with corn chips. Or one can have two lots of cabbage and serve it with coleslaw. Or... whatever you like really.

montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2017 12:51 pm)
Festival salt meats are in their cures. It's 5 weeks to game on.

730g eye fillet (after trimming). This is my standard recipe. From:

100g salt
100g white sugar
5g Prague power #2
5g peppercorns}
3ish g fresh rosemary leaves}
3g juniper berries} ground in coffee grinder with a little of the salt

Reserve half the mix
Rub other half into meat
Seal in zip lock bag- fridge for a week, turn daily
Dry off meat, rub in other half of cure, repeat the week of fridge+turning.
Quick water rinse, dry. Vinegar rinse (I put vinegar in a small bowl and use a cloth to pat it on the meat), dry off again, weigh and record.
Tie, wrap and hang as per link until 30% weight lost. (I invert it every few days in the first week. If the cloth gets wet, change it).
Slice thinly and eat- with olive oil and lemon juice is recommended.

I think this was 600g when hung?
at 2weeks ish drying 450g wrapped. so 25% of weight lost. Theoretical end weight 420g?  this calculates out to ~$71/kg. Ouch. I'll use a cheaper cut of meat next year.

Salt pork
- experiment based on bresaola recipe. I usually just pack it in lots of salt. Trying for a more elegant product, but still an air dried one.

900g pork belly, without skin or bones.
150g salt
55g  dark brown sugar
5g Prague power #2
5g peppercorns}
leaves from large sprig of thyme} ground in coffee grinder with a little of the salt

Same method as above.
I think that after festival, I'll do another piece of pork belly with even ratio salt/sugar and see how that works. The previous pancetta recipe I tried, failed for me but used way less cure.

at 2weeks ish drying 625g wrapped. Say 583g if another 5% lost. ~$36/kg.
Neither of these costs accounts for the meat weight that needs to be purchased and isn't used for the salt meat.

Both are now (22nd March) out of their cures, rinsed, vinegar washed, dried, wrapped and hung to dry. Looking good so far. Bresaola was 600g straight out of the cure.

to think about for next time:
"the number of days the ham will be salted is 2.5 times it's weight in pounds" -research by watching River Cottage :-)
montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 10th, 2016 04:16 pm)
I have a new blog over on WordPress: montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/. My plan is to post over there the project type things I used to post openly here, colouring my writing with the awareness that some viewers will be new and not know me. Wooo, deliberately posting in a more open forum. I threatened to do this a few years ago, but got talked out of it. DrQ encouraged me to do it a few days ago and I've taken the plunge. Basically, the readership here is just too small. I get lots of feedback on FB but history keeping and searchability is poor to non existant.

I think I'll still post some things here. Stuff I don't want on open forum, but want to be able to refer to later. Also perhaps, non project subjects? We will see. Feel free to put the new blog on a feed if you still want to read it here. Feel free also to point people to it if you think they would be interested. It's a deliberate reaching out to a wider world of maker folk I suppose. I don't yet know how that will play out.

I must say, the stats available in WordPress are rather fun. I wonder if I'll keep watching them? (numbers of visitors, views etc)

montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2016 09:00 pm)
I make lots of these but this one was amazing. Trying to remember what I did:

roux sauce:
500ml chicken stock (home made of course)
100ml white wine
100ml cream
~1T butter
1/4c flour
1t mustard powder
and after thickened: 1/2c grated cheddar and 1 dessertspoon grain mustard

1 pasta bowl of spirelli, boil until half cooked
add half a chopped green capsicum, several sliced sticks of celery
boil further 2min

plus 3 medium mushrooms and one med zucchini, about 1/3c shredded ham. Also 1T chopped fresh parsley and about 1T caraway thyme. all chopped.

mix all the above, put in a buttered casserole dish, add a light cover of grated cheese. Bake in mod oven 45min or until brown.

montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2016 03:45 pm)
I have a new green cardi


from what? )

montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2016 03:26 pm)
I went searching for the post from last time I made strawberry jam, but there wasn't one. So this time there will be. Strawbs were 3 punnets for $4.

I pretty much followed Pam the Jam's recipe. Except it would seem that English jam sugar is lots weaker than Jamsetta. I used about a quarter of a 50g packet of Jamsetta, plus  I boiled the peels and cores of three pears (from the pear compote I had just prepped) in about 100ml of water and strained off the liquid through a cloth. Otherwise this is 1kg of strawbs, 900g sugar, 100ml lemon juice and Pam's method. Good colour eh?

There are several 14thC finds that seem to be garment fragments with tablet woven edges illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”, by Elisabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard and Kay Staniland. 4 of these fragments have tablet woven edges and no buttonholes, another 4 fragments have the woven edges plus buttonholes. I'm not going to place pictures here for copyright reasons, but here is a link to "the sleeve" which has the edging in question down the buttonhole side.

the rest under here )
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveRecommended order of operation:
-make or otherwise aquire your buttons
-work out how long the buttonholes need to be
-make the sleeves, with facings wide enough for the buttonholes
-sew your buttonholes
-do the tablet edge (can be done later, but not have buttons to catch on is a bonus)
-mark the button positions
-sew on the buttons.
I've written this up for a class I run occasionally on demystifying the art of testing for fibre types by burning. Keeping it simple, just dealing with the basics.

rest under here )
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 27th, 2016 03:00 pm)
Close set rows of buttons are a characteristic of 14thC clothing. We know that metal buttons were used. Other materials were also used, including walrus tooth(Greenland) and fabric. My work on these fabric buttons is mostly based on finds illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”. This is a link to an image of the most complete sleeve fragment collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/online/object/288417.html Some of the other button finds are more spherical, and it is these that my technique most closely resembles. I'd love to include a picture here but I don't think copyright allows. For those that have access to the book, see p169, fig144. In fact, if you are interested in this sort of thing, go buy the book:www.museumoflondonshop.co.uk/store/product/26129/Textiles-%26-Clothing-1150-1450-by-Elisabeth-Crowfoot%2C-Frances-Pritchard-%26-Kay-Staniland/

all the rest under here )Save

Whoa, that was sudden. I'm in mourning for a peach tree.

A little less than four years ago, as spring was about to sproig in 2012, I fell over an eager looking dwarf peach tree at my favourite garden shop. It looked about to burst into blossom, but still bare rooted. I took pity on it and adopted it without any plans of where it would fit in my garden. I got it home and plonked it into the middle of my herb garden. When it bloomed, the flowers were so lush that they inspired his name* from then on "Luciano", for Pavarotti of course. He grew well over the next few years, with a huge growth spurt across last spring and summer. I got a sudden terror that he either had or would, get his roots into the sewer pipe, which he was planted right on top of. I failed to think of that when I planted him.

So I came up with a plan to transplant him. The only place I could think of to put him meant that other plants needed to be evicted or moved. I've just done all that, including finding a bluestone boulder that was too big to move. A bit more than a day's work produced the hole to move him to. When I tried to dig him up, I felt there was no chance of getting enough of the roots moved to allow him to survive. So, very quickly I decided to cut him down. So sad! but I thought it would be better than either leaving him or having him die after moving. Sorry Luciano. I'm glad you lived long enough to have one good fruiting season. 3kg yield last summer.

I've kept an attractive bare branch, so he gets to live on as a new twig tree.



The luscious flowers


Now there was still a great gaping hole ready for a substantial plant. So I ran off and bought a new dwarf peach tree. This one even comes pre named. The variety is "O'Henry". So he is of course dubbed "Henry O'Henry". He ticks all the boxes: Yellow fleshed, full flavoured, free stone, red colour on the skin, minimal fuzz, mid season ripening. Welcome Henry, I hope you like it here. I've given him a whole bag of manure and half a bucket of compost for his roots to find .


*of course(?) all my fruit trees have names :-)

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 29th, 2016 01:55 pm)

I've had some black food dye for ages but hadn't tried using it yet. Today I had a sudden enthusiasm to do so. The black dye is made up of three different colours, and I'd heard the black dyes have a tendency to split, so I was unlikely to get an even effect.

I first overdyed these merino leggings. I just wanted them darker so I felt less like I was wearing clown pants.

IMG_5440-2 .

I'm pretty happy with these. I did deliberately twist the legs of the orange pair to get a bit of striping. The dye variation on the blue/green pair is quite random, I just shoved those in the pot foot end first.

Then I overdyed the cream skirt I made last winter, because I wasn't wearing it, and for fun. This so didn't come out the way I thought! I wanted black at the top, grading to whatever at the hem. Well, I at least managed some whatever :-)


It is interesting but I'm not sure yet whether I like it. I tried to get a blacker colour at the waist with extra dye, but it just went a slightly darker purple. I quite like the mottly green at the hem though.

Because I'd added more dye that wasn't working for the skirt, I had some to use up. The red tones are taken up first, then green is left. So I had a pot of mostly green dye. I popped in four balls of a wool yarn I'd liked when I purchased it, but now think is a bit dull. Original colour shown bottom right. I love how these have come out. You can tell what order I put them in the pot eh? Yes I should have skeined them first but oh well, I didn't. Each ball will have a casual gradient of overdye. I'll let them dry a bit before skeining them so they can finish drying. Later. And no I don't yet know what I'll make with this.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 20th, 2016 05:57 pm)
reposting here for better findability.

I think it’s time. I’m going to have a bit of a holiday from the SCA. I have not been having a good time at standard SCA events with fighting+court+feast+lots of people(all of whom I’m supposed to know and interact with) or any combination of the above really. All of those things distress me in various ways. I’ve been feeling this way for quite some years but forcing myself to go to events because I think I ought, feeling like a fish out of water and not having a good time. So I’m going to try having a break before I burn out the remainder of my enthusiasm. I still love making things, knowing other people who make things, wonderfully crazy people, dressing up etc, but it’s hard to be involved in those things without large helpings of the rest.

I will still attend Polit university. A&S is cool, I’m booked, and anyway, I’m teaching. I will still make things, some of them might even be medjeeval. I think I will otherwise plan to stay away until Canty Faire (flights already booked). If I have a good time there I will likely come to festival. The very large events actually work better for me, I’m more able to find a safe corner and mostly avoid the things I’m not coping with. After that we will see.

Of course I might miss it and attend anyway, but I’d rather come when I’m not expected than feel I’m expected to go. We will see.
more recipe notes in case I like the result

butter wide cloudy pyrex dish
loosely fill with cubed sourdough bread
3/4 of a jar of sour cherries, drain off most of the liquid and put aside,
mix a slosh of brandy with the fruit
spoon fruit in with bread and mix
beat 3 eggs with 1/3c sugar and two cups milk including the leftover brandy. Plus a grating of nutmeg, a spoon end of cinnamon and a small slosh good vanilla.
pour over bread mix. Let stand 30-60 min.
Bake 25min 160deg lid on, then 25min lid off

a success I'd say. Lovely flavour, not too sweet. A bit richer would have been nice but really edible as is. I reckon it will be nice served warm with yoghurt for breakfast.

Inspired by this: but way less sweet.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 2nd, 2016 09:23 am)
Having taken note of Mr Darcy's last moult, and he started again yesterday, I'm inclined to keep a record for a little while. Very minor science :-)

April ~20th. Fairly major moult. >10 large feathers, no tail feathers
June 1st. One wing feather so far plus a bunch of medium ones (bigger than just down)
that gap is only about 5wks, I thought it was a couple of months between moults.
July 10th. Again about 5wks. lots of down, a few flight feathers and one tail feather.
montjoye: (Default)
( May. 28th, 2016 07:26 pm)
2 chicken thighs
brown in olive oil-until some crispy bits and the fat runs
deglaze with a glass of white wine, reduce a bit.
1tin diced tomatoes
1t dried oregano
3 sticks celery, sliced
1/4t salt
~10 turns black pepper

bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for about an hour (if on a slightly too high heat it will reduce)
pick out the bones, stir to divide the meat. Add in 6 halved, destoned calamata olives

serve with spaghetti (or rice) and grated parmesan, pecorino or similar



montjoye: (Default)


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