A few weeks ago my friend Teri sent me a link to something she thought would interest me – A Cozinha Mediaeval, or in English – the Medieval Kitchen. I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered it sooner – a web site that combines two of my favorite things: Portuguese cuisine and medieval history. Yet another reason for me to keep working on my Portuguese language skills, which are quite poor, sadly.
I have not yet had the chance to try any of the recipes that are on the site, but there are so many that look absolutely delicious: carne estufada (called stewed beef but actually a beef rib dish); and arroz frutado (a rice dish with fruit and almonds) are two of my favorites so far. And the site doesn’t stop with just recipes. There is a wealth of other information as well, such as senhor Djalma’s excellent essay on the myths of medieval cuisine and his review of a 15th century Portuguese cookbook that was reprinted in 1963 by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture.
I used the mutton stew recipe I mentioned yesterday to make this, but I did make one change: I added yellow carrots, which would certainly have been known in Europe by the late middle ages. Orange would not become the typical carrot color for a few more centuries. Red would also have been common, but those are a little more difficult to come by these days, at least outside of a farmer’s market full of heirloom gardeners. It just felt like the stew needed something besides meat, an egg, and seasoning.
Note to self: get a better background for medieval cooking photos.
This week has become one snow event after another, and we are starting to actually run out of places to put the snow when we shovel. There are really only two piles: the big one on the other side of our trash and recycling bins, between them and the neighbor’s fence; and the small one in this little corner between the steps and the house, where there is a stump I want dead anyway. So the little pile is getting close to its maximum practical size, and the other one has reached the height of the bushes. And trying to chip away all the melted, compacted snow that had refrozen as ice all over the walk and steps took almost an hour of hard work. Thirty degrees outside and I was sweating.