Baron's War: Dueling Cooks!
A few weeks back, I went to my first SCA event here in the frozen north (not so frozen right now) with my friends Rosslyn and Camilla. The two local baronies of the area had heard contentious words about the state of their cooks and declared a war to find out who is the best cook, and which barony produced them! It was so much fun! First, some pictures from the war itself, where of course there was some fighting (I only got pics of the rapier fighters running through the woods in their skirmish--pretty awesome), and then onto the dishes!
We liked the look of this cooking setup and received permission to photograph them in action.
Ambience--one of the rapier fighters' gear left behind.
A lovely Viking.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: The War of the Cooks! The theme was Flock and Field, so each cook had to come up with the ingredients from the Frozen North itself's natural land--no store bought ingredients that don't grow here naturally, that sort of thing.
To start us off, we have Padruig's Helmet Soup, for the camping soldier. He really did cook in his helm, and only used his eating knife and a sharpened stick to stir and prepare it all with, and cut the ingredients on the same shield you see. He was graciously given plastic spoons and cups to dish things up.
The soup has 2 green onions, 3 scallions, 3 potatoes, and 2 coneys in it, with a little bit of garlic as the only seasoning. Dessert was sliced apple. This meal was delicious for it's simplicity and received Rosslyn's vote as the best dinner. "Not only was his food period, but so was his technique. And, I have a soft spot for travelling crusaders....And it was tasty."
Next was my favorite, Baroness Casamira's Polish dinner. She made two lamb pies (the lamb was given to her by Dame Hilda), two versions of apricot soup (yes, apricot soup: one was unsweetened with mint and the other was sweetened with ginger. It's a Polish dish), homemade cheese with her own terragon, homemade bread with her own basil in it, homemade cordials and ahem, meads, and then the drink in the pitcher: sekanjabin. The entire set up was stunning, very tasty, and the Baroness was a delight to talk to. I want to make that last drink sometime. We'll see.
Lady Malatesta and Lady Fiametta Datrastevere's chicken-shaped challah, moorish chicken, gnocchi, and Orange Omelette for Harlots and Ruffians. Yes, that is the actual recipe's name. I'd never had sweet eggs before, but now I am a believer. I went back for seconds on these and I generally don't like eggs! Plus, their presentation was very medieval.
Lady Allegratza's simple farmstead meal. Apple buttermilk almond pudding; hand churned butter with rosemary, parsley and chives; cabbage stew with chicken broth, cabbage, leeks, turnips, and cardamom; sourdough bread that used an 8 month starter; and finally handsqueezed apple juice, and red grape juice. Amazing.
Loch Salaan's best, Lady Lianor da Costa and Lady Katherine Kelly's Portuguese meal. Chicken Vinha d'Alhos with rosemary; homemade barley bread; peach sauce; two kinds of linguinca sausage; and gingerbread for dessert.
Mistress Aliseanderia provided several large trenchers full of coneys and gravy with apples and onions; hot apple mousse; royal spicerie; gingerbread with almonds; and manchet with homemade bitter trenchers.
Lady Bianca da Ravenna's dinner. Fresh salmon in herbs, roots with honey, and then...cake bread. This cake bread was made to look like a log with mushrooms and flowers on it. The mushrooms are made of meringue (which is actually extremely period!) and the flowers you see are actual candied flower petals (rose tasted nice), and then figs were formed into the walnuts you see, and then cinnamon was used to tie it altogether.
And last but certainly not least was the meal made by Dame Meraud des Belles Feuilles of the Barony of Gryphon's Lair. She had fresh venison (mmmmm......); fresh baked bread in the covered basket; cheesecake; churned butter; and various sauces, like the pomegranate cherry and green sauce (?) you see before you.
I will admit I didn't meet a single meal I did not like. If any of the above-mentioned people notice their work or name and see something misspelled or otherwise gotten incorrectly, please let me know so that I may correct it. Enjoy!