Campfire Cooking - Company of the Staple

Campfire Cooking - Company of the Staple

Introduction

Items Needed

On the Day

Main Infrastructure

Fire Equipment

Serving Equipment

Shopping List

To be purchased before Precook

To be Purchased Just before the event.

Recipes to Precook

1 lamb roast on the bone.

Tart in Ymbre Day - Forme of Cury

Crustardes of Flessh - Forne of Cury

Apple Tart - Forme of Cury

Lamb Harricot - Le Menagier de Paris

Recipes on the Day

Cheese Fritters - Forme of Cury

Fenkel in Soppes

Pink Garlic Sauce - Libre de arte coquinaria

Cameline - Forme of Cury

Pevre gresse - Sharp Pepper Sauce “Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections (12th Century)

RUN SHEET

Allergy Matrix

Cooking With Ceramics


Introduction

Cooking a meal for twenty people is hard. It’s exponentially so when you’re trying to do it over a campfire for a show. This is a detailed guide containing the list of equipment, the shopping list for the food, dietary matrix and other tips and tricks that you will need to make this happen.

This guide will continue to be updated as we learn further tips and tricks which make cooking for a show easier.


Items Needed

On the Day

Main Infrastructure

Fire Equipment


Serving Equipment


Shopping List

To be purchased before Precook

Meat

1 x 2kg lamb on bone.

350g of chicken breast

1kg lamb

Fruit And Vegetables

2 kilo onions

Sage

Thyme

Parsley

Mint

100g drained cottage cheese

24 eggs (hardboil all eggs not used in recipes)

4 dried figs

450g peeled and cored dessert apples

100g peeled pears

100gms of currents

Super Market

12 pastry sheets

300 ml light stock

1 Lt Beef Stock

Cinnamon

Saffron

Ground ginger

Salt

1 kg Sugar

Butter

Lard

Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar

Mace

.

To be Purchased Just before the event.

Deli

1 kilo of ham

½ kilo of different types of salami

Half round of brie

Half round of camembert

150gm of blue cheese

250gm of cheddar

1 jar pickled onions

1 jar pickled olives

Fruit and Vegetable

1 bunch fennel

1 leek

1 head Garlic

100g almonds

500g black grapes

1 bunch white grapes

100gm bread crumbs

Flour

4 x loaves of bread

Honey

1 kilo small apples

1 kilo small pears

3 x oranges


Recipes to Precook

1 lamb roast on the bone.

Needs to be at least a 2 kilo roast. I like to rub it with lard before it goes into the oven, and add rosemary.

Tart in Ymbre Day - Forme of Cury

Take and perboil oynouns and erbis and presse out the water and cut it small. Take grene chese and bray it in a mortar, and temper it up with ayren. Do perto butter, safroun and salt and raisouns corauns and a little sugar with powder douce and bake it in a trap and serve it forth.

450g onions

1 tsp each sage and thyme

100g drained cottage cheese

2 eggs beaten

pinch of saffron

½ tsp salt

15g sugar

pinch cinnamon

30g currents

1 x pastry sheet

Peel the onions and simmer with the herbs for some 20 minutes until just tender, allow to cool, drain and chop finely

Grind the cheese to a smooth paste, beat the eggs in to make a smooth batter, mix in the onions and other ingredients, pour into a greased 8 inch shallow dish on top of the pastry sheet  and bake at 180C for some 40 minutes.

You can switch the herbs out for any fresh herbs. I like thyme and sage though and since I need to buy my herbs regardless, that’s what I use.


Crustardes of Flessh - Forme of Cury

Take pejouns, chykens and smale briddes; smyte him in gobettes and sethe hem alle ifere in god broth and in gres with verjows. Do therto safron and poudur fort. Make a crust in a trap, and pynche it and cowche the flessh therinne; and cast therinne rasouns coaunce, powder douce and salt. Breke ayren and wryng hem thurgh a cloth & swyng the sewe of the stew therwith, and helde it upon the flessh. Covere it and bake it well and serve it forth.

Original recipe calls for pigeons, chickens and other small birds, I just use chicken.

350g of chicken meat cubed

300 ml light stock

45ml cider vinegar

25g butter or lard

1 tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

pinch of saffron

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

30g currents

2 eggs beaten and strained

2 x pastry sheets

Gently stew the meat in the stock, vinegar, fat, sugar salt and spices for 1 hour and allow to cool.

Drain the meat, reserving the stock, arrange in the pie case and scatter with the currents.

Beat the eggs into the stock, pour over the meat, dampen the edges, put on the lid, pinch the edges, cut a hole in the centre and bake at 200C for 35 minutes.

It doesn’t matter if the pastry gets soaked with stock (which it will), once it cooks and cools, it will be fine. Or, you can blind bake the pastry first, using rice to weigh the pastry down which will reduce the sogginess of the pastry.


Apple Tart - Forme of Cury

Tak gode Applys and gode Spycis and Figys and reysons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd with Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and yt forth to bake wel.

4 dried figs

450g peeled and cored dessert apples

100g peeled pears

30g rasins

pinch of saffron

¼ tsp ground cinnamon and ginger

Pastry sheets, cut to fit 20 x muffin tins.

Simmer the figs for five minutes, cool drain and chop.

Mix all the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste. (I do this in the food processor)

Fill the muffin trays and bake at 190C for about 40 minutes until the fruit pulp is browned. Blind baking is best to reduce the stickiness of the fruit pies once they are out of the oven.

Using different apples does change the taste slightly. I have used Granny Smiths in the past and I think this goes well with the other flavours. Pears should ideally be corellas but again any will do.  

Normally when I make this recipe, I have left over currants from the other dishes, so I like to throw a handful into the pie. Also, more raisins.


Lamb Harricot - Le Menagier de Paris

Cut it into small pieces, then bring it just to the boil, then fry in bacon grease, and fry with onions chopped small and cooked, and mix in beef stock, and add mace, parsley, hyssop and sage, and put it on to boil together.

700g lamb cut into cubes

3 medium-large onions

1 liter beef broth

1 tbsp lard

chopped parsley

fresh sage chopped

pinch mace

2 tsp fresh mint

Peel the onions, cut into slices and fry in lard until slightly browned. Brown the lamb (in lard) and add lamb and onions into a large pot.

Just cover with the stock and add herbs and spices. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and cook gently for and hour to 90 minutes.

It is possible to make Lamb Harricot on the day. But you have to start early. It’s a lot easier for the inexperienced cook to pre-cook this dish and warm it up over the fire an hour before intending to serve.


Recipes on the Day

Cheese Fritters - Forme of Cury

(Le Menagier de Paris also has a variation on the cheese fritter although that recipes involves a slightly harder cheese and cutting it into sticks and frying it.)

Take cruddles and presse out the whey clene; do therto sum whyet of ayren. Fry hem as to fore, and lay on sugur and messe forth.

2 cups fresh curd (or a ricotta or cottage cheese)

4-5 egg whites

⅓ cup flour

½ tsp salt

oil for frying

½ cup sugar

Drain and press out the whey. Beat cheese, egg whites, flour and salt together, using enough flour to make a thick batter. Drop this mixture by spoonfuls into the hot oil or fat and cook long enough to brown slightly. Drain onto paper (or a tea towel), sprinkle with sugar before serving.

I normally don’t bother with the sugar, they taste pretty good without it. Make sure you have a blanket, don’t put an oil fire out with water. Only attempt this if you have a fairly study trivet for your saucepan.

(it is possible to make a soft cheese that works well for this recipe on the day if you have extra people. I don’t recommend it for the inexperienced though, it takes time and patience over a fire and is a bit tricky without a thermometer to check the temperature.)

Fenkel in Soppes -Forme of Cury

Take blades of fenkel; shrede hem not to smale. Do hem to seep in water and oil and oynouns mynced therwith. do therto safroun and salt and powdour douce. Serve it forth. Take bread toasted and lay the sewe onoward.

1 bunch fennel (some places call it loose aniseed, probably because of the smell of fennel)

2 medium onions, minced

water to cover (about 4 cups)

¼ cup olive oil

½  teaspoon ginger

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 leek

 

Cut the white part of the fennel into stripes, about a cm in width. You can eat the green feathery bits in salads. Heat oil in a heavy pot and add onions and fennel - you are just wilted them, not browning.

 Add water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until fennel is tender. Place a slice of toasted bread in each bowl and pour the soup over the bread. tastes good without bread, bread makes it a bit more filling.

Pink Garlic Sauce - Libre de arte coquinaria

500g black grapes

⅓ cup almonds

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup breadcrumbs

Stem the grapes, place in saucepan and crush thoroughly with hands. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes, then strain, pressing to extract maximum juice.

Meanwhile, blanch the almonds and dry them throughly. Grind them in a mortar along with the garlic. (Grind the almonds first, once you’ve added the garlic it becomes a royal pain)

Soak breadcrumbs in ½ cup of reduced grape juice  and when softened, whisk until smooth, blend in almond-garlic mixture. Whisk in additional grape juice until it becomes a creamy sauce.

You have to do this on a brazier. I’ve never gotten the colour to come out right when trying to do it on a firebox.

Cameline - Forme of Cury

Cameline is mentioned in most recipe books with slight variations. It appears to be one of the standard sauces of the 14th century.

This one is based on Forme of Cury

Take rayouns of courance and kyrnels of notys and crutes of bread and powdour of ginger, clowes, flour of canel bray it wel togyder and do therto salt. Temper it up with vinegar and serve it forth.

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

⅓ cup apple cider vingar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground ginger

(you can also add currents, nutmeg and cloves but I don’t bother)

Blend all ingrediants.

Pevre gresse - Sharp Pepper Sauce “Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections (12th Century)

1 cup white grapes

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ tsp each ginger, pepper

2-3 slices bread crusts removed diced. (I usually just add breadcrumbs until it’s a sauce....)

Crush grapes with salt and vinegar, strain and reserve juice, disregard pulp.

All bread and spices to juice, when bread has softened, blend.


RUN SHEET

An assumption is made that the person following this guides only tasks involve the kitchen. Tasks such as setting up tents, setting out displays, talking to the public about anything other than what’s being cooked need to be delegated to someone else. You do not have the time to do anything else.

Week Before

In the lead up to the event, precook all the items that will be precooked, and store in the fridge. (watch out for Tart in Ymber Day and fruit pies -these guys can be sticky so lay down paper towel underneath them in the fridge)

Night Before the Event

Soak the ceramics. Pack all dry ingredients into a basket. Have all cold ingredients in the same place in the fridge, ready to be put in the eski first thing in the morning.

Day of Event

7:00 Arrive at site already dressed in at least the first layer of clothing (Since this guide assumes a cooking fire, you need to be wearing natural fibres, preferably wool as the outer layer. Sleeves need to be either tight against the forearm or able to be rolled up. You should either be wearing an apron, or make one by putting a tea towel in through the front of your belt. Regardless, a second tea towel should be tucked into your belt for cleaning up minor messes and as an immediate pot holder should it be necessary.)

7:30 - Discussions should now have occurred about the kitchen tent and the placement of the firebox. You should be able to stand up right in the tent. You need a minimum of one table dedicated JUST for cooking preparation. Another table will be needed for serving the lunch but can be cleared off just prior to serving. Guard the preparation table like a dragon with it’s hoard. It’s your table. No, nobody else can use it “just for a second”.

8:00 - set up the kitchen tent so that you know where everything is and things are in a logical place to find them.

9:00 - Get the fire started. Ideally you will be using charcoal. But the initial lighting of the fire will need to be done with tinder and wood to get started. If using ceramics, put them on the edge of the fire to gradually increase the temperature (see Appendix Cooking with Ceramics)

9:30 - Get Soup ingredients chopped. (If Lamb Harricot wasn’t pre-cooked, it’s ingredients need to be chopped first, starting with the meat. As soon as the meat is chopped, it needs to be browned in batches).

10:00 - Soup MUST be on the fire now. (Unless you precooked it). You must check on the fire and the pot at least every half hour. Stir the pot and turn if necessary.

11:00 - if you are using a pre-cooked stew, it must be on the fire now.

11:30 - Start cooking the Pink Garlic sauce, to be followed by the other sauces.

12:00 - begin bring out the food and arranging it on the table. Carve the lamb into thin slices. Cut any cold cut meat (ham, salami etc) and arrange. Cut bread into slices and arrange on a bread board. Cut up cheeses, set out butter and honey.

Water to be put on the fire to be boiled for washing up.

12:30 - Call lunch and allow people to eat.

13:00 - Washing up after lunch to be done.

13:30 - Make Cheese fritters

14:00 - pass cheese fritters around as snack.

15:30 - begin packing up kitchen items and storing away

16:00 - Show ends, pack down of tents and remainder of equipment.


Allergy Matrix

An Allergy matrix can be super helpful for big events. For a twenty person event, you should know everyone who will be eating and what their dietary restrictions are, allowing you to tell each person separately what the  allergens are, and what you can do to avoid it. (Like cooking a portion of the pie mixes without the pastry crust, making it gluten free.)

Allergy

Gluten

Dairy

Eggs

Meat

Nuts

Onion

Dish Name

Lamb Roast

Y

Tart in Ymber Day

A

Y

Y

Y

Crustardes of Flessh

A

Y

Y

Apple Tart

A

Lamb Harricot

Y

Y

Cheese Fritters

Y

Y

Fenkel in Soppes

Y

Pink Garlic Sauce

Almonds

Cameline

Sharp Pepper Sauce

A - A portion can be made without the allergen by cooking the ingredients in a separate pie dish. .

Appendix A - Cooking With Ceramics

We predominately use ceramic cooking pots now, except when the size of the event that we’re cooking for absolutely precludes it. (And even then we still use them, we just use bigger iron pots for the main dishes.)

So some helpful tips that we’ve picked up

  1. Ceramic pots will eventually crack. Even with love and tender care they will eventually fail or be dropped. They do not last forever. Be prepared to replace them. Luckily they’re very reasonably priced! That said, our pots last an average of 6 years with 6 weekends per year and cost about $40, so they’re great value.
  2. Ceramics must be soaked prior to use. They should be soaked at least overnight before the first time they are used, and for a couple of hours every time after that. (They don’t need to be resoaked during an event if they were soaked before coming to the event, just before the next event.)
  3. Ceramics don’t like rapid temperature change. They must be placed on the edge of the fire, and gradually moved closer to the heat source. Similarly, when removed from the fire, avoid putting them into cold, wet ground. If possible, move them out to the edge of the fire to cool.
  4. Ceramics have to be rotated during the cooking process especially if coals aren’t on all sides. Ceramic doesn’t transfer heat as evenly as metal does.
  5. Cooking is slower. Always takes at least twice as long as you think it will. Allow some extra time for gently bringing the food up to temperature. This is a combination of ceramic cookware and campfire cooking.
  6. Plan your pot movements. Know where the pot will be moved and ensure the landing area and path is clear before you move the pot. You do not want to be holding the heavy, hot pot any longer than absolutely necessary.
  7. Ceramics are hotter than they look. Your medieval pots will not show the heat shimmer or discoloration of metal cookware. A cold pot is visually indistinguishable from a hot one. Don’t pick up things that have been on the fire with your bare hands, always use a tea towel to get it off the heat. Likewise, don’t assume a pot near the fire is safe to touch.
  8. Charcoal is way better than firewood for cooking. Charcoal and a bellows will give you a clean, easily managed cooking fire. (Less smoke, more even heat, heat is more tightly contained, meaning you can get closer for stirring, or checking, doesn’t need to be topped up as much)
  9. The outside of the pot is going to get grubby. It will never, ever be as clean as it was when you bought it. Bring a cloth to wrap the pot in after the event and prevent black smudges getting on your other gear.
  10. For frying, braziers are just the best. Braziers, or chafing dishes are stands hold a small charcoal fire to give a compact, focused heat source more like a modern stove. Trying to fry on an open fire (such as the one pictured above) is just painful.

We buy our cooking pots from Flaming Gargoyle Pottery.  We can’t recommend them highly enough for their meticulous research, consistent craftsmanship, professional communication and reliable delivery.


Appendix B - One Less Thing to Hide – Washing Up

As anyone who knows us and what Company of the Staple does, knows that we like to cook. It’s our thing. It initially started off as a way to stop us losing several people on the display when it came to lunch time, and then those people having to hide behind the tents while they ate hamburgers and chips and finished their cans of soft drink.

The change was slow as we learnt recipes, with the first events all cold spreads; pies, meats, cheeses, pates and breads. We moved on to stews, to harder pre-cooked recipes, to making more complicated sauces and dishes on site. Over the past few years at the St Ives Medieval Faire, we’ve even used a bread oven to make fresh bread and this last year (2016), we made a complex subtlety, a burning pastry castle.

It’s a display in it’s own right. Showing how food was prepared, the meanings behind food, how it tied back to medicine in the humoral theory, how they made food last without fridges and without being able to import food from the other side of the world.

But there was still a part missing. When food is cooked on site, and it’s no longer cheese and bread but soups and sauces, a wash up is required. It’s a lot easier to wash up if people aren’t being sent back behind the tents like naughty children, but are instead able to be part of the display, showing a very normal, everyday task.

 

Our washing up system is that we try to always have a pot of water heating on the fire.

We have a wooden tub – in which an inch of cold water is placed first (the wooden tub is waxed to help seal it, so pouring hot water straight in will melt this and ruin the seal) before warm water is added to bring it up to temperature.

We have a bar of olive oil soap (known as aleppo soap) which we buy from Mainly Medieval and a small wooden brush (palm sized and with brushes like a scrubbing brushes. We’ve been able to purchase these from Essential Ingredient in Rozelle, Sydney.) These live in a linen bag when not actively in use.

The brush is rubbed on the soap to get soap in it.

Glasses and cutlery and the least dirty bowls get washed in the tub and then the the next most dirty dishes.

Super dirty pots get warm water poured into them and are scrubbed by themselves.

When the water gets too filthy, it’s tossed and the process starts again.

It means that you don’t need a bag to hide the detergent. That the dishes don’t have to be swept away out of sight and then brought back. that the washing up doesn’t have to be done out of sight or the washing up gear to be carefully hidden. It can just be out, on the display. One less thing to hide.