Thursday, August 21, 2008

Harvest Days 2008

I'm now in the middle of preparations for the Harvest Days event. I've got a substantial - all English - feast planned, with some new dishes (OK, the recipes are actually some 500 years old, but they're new to the re-enactors of this region).

The feast is going to be held on September 6th, so naturally I'm going a bit nuts right now. Therefore it seems like a good idea if I add to that workload and start posting bits and pieces about what I'm doing.

The Menu
All was good with the menu until a couple of months back when I realized that the current Prince (and future King) of the Midrealm is allergic to pork - which of course appeared liberally throughout the feast. So I scrapped a half-dozen dishes and added three or four different ones. Then I heard from my local huntsman and game-keeper (Hi James!) that the pigeons weren't breeding fast enough and kept dropping dead for no reason. There goes another dish (bother! I was so looking forward to serving everyone squab. Oh well, there's always next time).

So now as it stands I've got a menu consisting of 3 courses and 16 dishes (give or take, depending on what you count as a dish. Medieval menus are pretty flaky about the number of dishes claimed for a feast, so I see no reason to me more accurate than they were).

I've also got at least three sotlties (entertaining/amusing bits for during the feast - in France they were called entrements) planned that should go over reasonably well. I can't tell you more about them though as it would spoil the surprise.

The Kitchen
My apprentice visited the site yesterday evening and reported back that the kitchen is the size of a small country. There's also an outdoor barbecue pit (which is good because one of the dishes - pommes dorreys - works best when cooked over an open fire).

That's enough on things for now. Sometime in the next few days I'll probably post some pictures of the kitchen with comments, instructions and examples of making a Brain Book™, and various notes about food and prep-cooking.

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