Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Tudor Cookery Lessons

 For the second part of our busy weekend, we went somewhere a little nearer to home - Haddon Hall - for a day of Tudor cookery and feasting.

 This was another event by the ever popular Tudor Group, who specialise in bringing the Tudor world to life through re-enactments. This weekend they were preparing a feast for the lord of the manor - using techniques and equipment from the period. It was possible to walk among the cooks, watch them at work and ask questions.

 There was the sort of thing you might expect of Tudor banqueting - a roasted pig's head, for example,

but also other, to me more fascinating, things were being prepared...

The time and effort involved in presentation was staggering - not  only in the things we might expect, such as whipping cream or grinding nuts by hand.....

grinding almonds for marchpane

dyed and decorated marchpane

 ....but in the presentation of food for the table. Ground almonds and sugar were made into marchpane (marzipan), coloured and formed into all sorts of dishes
marchpane flowers with salad

marchpane piglets

the pastry to this pie is being shaped and decorated as a peacock.

gilding the head

decorated, unbaked 'tail'

baking the 'body' in the Tudor pastry oven

half-assembled, waiting for the tail!

in all his finished glory, waiting for the Lord's table
peacock resting on a bed of flowers

More prosaic items, that we take for granted, also had to be laboriously hand made. Some of the team members were busy making sausages the hard way....

pre-soaked intestines

no sausage machines for the Tudors!

forcing down the sausage-meat

a long way still to go...

At last everything was ready for the High Table in the Great Hall....

all served with great ceremony before the arrival of the Lord and his family

A totally fascinating day  - I just wish I'd been able to sample some of the food!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this looks pretty spectacular. I would have loved to attend this. The only bit I wouldn't have liked is the pigs head though, because I am almost-a-vegetarian and I would draw the line at eating bits of identifiable animal. Which is probably hypocritical of me or something, but there we are :)