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Medieval dishes on the menu

Medieval dishes on the menu

Over 2,000 medievalists from nearly 60 different countries arrive on campus this week, to share their passion for history, as well as the extravagant medieval feast which is a focal point of the IMC.

This year's International Medieval Congress (IMC) will see a collaboration between the University Catering team and the well-known food historian, Caroline Yeldham, with a feast bringing together cuisine from a ‘forgotten empire’ to honour a variety of medieval recipes, such as traditionally roasted meats, chick peas and unusual cheese-stuffed eggs, not to forget Yorkshire’s finest bitter, specially brewed for the Congress.

Caroline has chosen one of the forgotten empires, the "Crown of Aragon", connected to two interesting cookbooks from the late medieval period, the Libre de Sent Sovi and the Cuoco Napoletano.  

Dishes include Bolognese torte, Chicken turnover, Limonea – chicken in lemon sauce, Sosenga – meat sauce for various meats, Coriander, Armoured Turnips, Chickpeans, Pastanagat - carrot puree, Crespells, White or Elderflower torte and Cherry torte - as well as Medieval Stuffed Eggs (recipe below).

The University's head chef, Marc Mottershead, said: “I’m delighted to have been involved in this project.  It’s not every day you get asked to recreate an authentic medieval feast and the whole process has been fascinating.

“My preconceptions about what to expect from a medieval menu were far from the reality; instead of dull, uninspiring dishes, the recipes called for cloves and spices and really unusual combinations which are close to modern Middle Eastern cuisines.  One of the biggest surprises was the recipe for Crespells, which turned out to be a medieval take on a doughnut!”

A recipe for a Medieval Stuffed Eggs delicacy

Boil fresh eggs whole in water until they are quite hard; shell them carefully, cut them in half and then life out the yolk without breaking the white; of the yolks grind a part with a few raisins, a little old and new cheese, parsley, marjoram and finely chopped mint, adding in two egg whites with mild spices depending on the amount you are making; mix all of this together with saffron and fill up the hollows left by the yolks and fry the ‘eggs’ gently in good oil, see that a lot of cloves and cinnamon are in the filling; when they are fried, serve them.

9 eggs 
20 grams raisins
25 grams curd cheese
25 grams hard cheese (eg parmesan/pana gradano)
10 grams parsley
10 grams marjoram
5 grams mint
Pinch saffron
¼ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and salt
Olive oil to fry

Hard boil all the eggs bar 2.  Shell and cut in half lengthwise.  Remove the yolks and mix with the raisins, cheese, finely chopped herbs, saffron (liquid, as described above) and the spices.  Separate the whites of the other two eggs and beat the whites lightly.  Mix with the yolk stuffing.  Refill the hard egg whites and put together.  Fry gently and serve.

The MeetInLeeds team will be serving around 3,000 meals a day, turning the University refectory turned into a dining room.

The local community are invited join in with a series of events open to the public. A free guest lecture by Michael Wood and a range of different medieval activities on and off the University campus will be available, including historical crafts such as mail armour production, spinning, textile production, dyeing and even an apothecary. 

For further information

Contact the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

A list of public events can be found at: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/publicevents.html

Details about the Congress' programme can be found here: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2014.html


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