Month: September 2015

Letter of Intent Scroll

Next month, my love Darian and I are entering our very first Crown Tournament. Because this is special to us, and because I was inspired by THL Gwydeon’s own LOI scroll from a couple tourneys back, I decided to try my hand at illumination.

The scroll-work was all free-handed, and I had to buy a higher quality set of gouache to get decent paints that I liked. (My first set was..not great.) This was my first serious attempt at painting with gouache, and it’s something I intend to work at. I’m not the best at painting, or at straight lines for that matter — linework and cartoon-style drawing are more my style.

There are so, so many mistakes, but I’ve been told that as this is my first scroll ever, it’s something to be proud of. And really, I am. I’ve spent months learning enough Old Norse and Old Icelandic to be dangerous, and Master Fridrikr was kind enough to help me out with some syntax issues in one of the last drafts of the brag. I tweaked it a little bit after his revisions, so it (again) may not read exactly correctly, but I think Old Icelandic is more of an art form anyway, haha.

Here’s all the research I put into it:

Scroll is free-handed by Lady Astridr in the style of several rune stones, in India ink and gouache on Strathmore Mixed Media Paper, 400 series 140lb. From top to bottom, it is based on designs and elements from the following stones:

Rasmund Carving – Sodermanland, Sweden 11th century
Harald Bluetooth’s Stone – Jelling, Denmark 10th century
Ledberg Stone – Ostergotland, Sweden 11th century
G 134 Stone – Gotland, Sweden 11th century

Words are in the style of an Old Norse Brag, which was written in English and then translated into Old Icelandic, then transliterated to Younger Futhark by Lady Astridr. Old Icelandic proofreading courtesy of Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

Note: Revisions were made to the Old Icelandic text after Master Fridrikr’s revisions to reflect Darian’s current accomplishments — so if there are any mistakes, they are surely not his fault. 🙂

Old Icelandic Brag:

Darri inn Valski, kallaðr Darian, hét skjaldsveinn mikill í ríkum Aethelmearcum. Hann var húskarl Maynards hertogi ok Kappi Rhydderich Haels ok Kappi Sjau Perlna. Um sumar, hann sá Astridr vigaskegg ok hana elskaði. Hon tók hann suðr til Svartasteinfjall, ok eptir Þar görðu heim þeira, alað hon dottir, Elora. Varð hann þet kappi barúns, ok þá enn kallaði sighri hann yfir allir kappabarúnar, ok varð hann Kappi Sjau Perlna í annat sinn.

Um einvaldum annat Tindal konungs ok Etaine dróttningar, Darian ok Astridr í Turnimenti Kórónum kappkostar svá at þeir muni verða óðalsmannum til AEthelmearcs.

English Brag:

Darri inn Valski, called Darian, was a great shieldman in the kingdom of Aethelmearc. He was a húskarl to Duke Maynard and Champion of the Rhydderich Hael and of the Seven Pearls. In the summer, he saw Astridr vigaskegg and fell in love with her. She took him south to Blackstone Mountain, and after they made a home there, she bore a daughter, Elora. He became that baron’s champion, and then he again claimed victory over all barons’ champions, and he became Champion of the Seven Pearls a second time.

In the second reign of King Tindal and Queen Etaine, Darian and Astridr would strive in Crown Tournament, so that they might become the rightful heirs to AEthelmearc.

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Venison Pie Recipe

I am a big fan of the recipes found in Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. They’re full of flavor, they’re recognizable, and they take little to no tweaking to fit the modern palate. Fitting all three of these categories makes my life easier as I’m planning my menus, so I go back to this cookbook over and over.

For my barony’s first Twelfth Night revel in many years, I wanted to use locally-sourced venison, which was made easy by the family farm. Because this was a small feast and this was one of the main courses, I added standard pot-pie vegetables. The rye crust turned out to be a problem because of how coarsely-ground the flour I chose was, so it ended up as a shell and a crumble instead of a flat pie topper; this is definitely something I’ll revisit and experiment with until I get it right.

Venison Pie
66 A game pie
Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553

“Take beef fat, and chop it small, and rosemary, which can be fresh or dried. If you have none, take marjoram or anise or sage, as much as you would like. Chop them finely together, put cloves, pepper, ginger and salt into it, as much as you would like, pour one pint of wine on it. The game must be cooked beforehand. And make a shaped pastry the same way as for the veal pie, and let it bake, serve it warm. In this manner one can also prepare a loin roast.

Makes: 1 large pie
Ingredients:
1 lb Venison
~1.5 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon (or red wine of your choice)
Herb bag (or linen or cheesecloth)
Rosemary
Sage
Parsley
1 med onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped
Anise
Ground cloves
Ginger
Salt
Pepper

Thoroughly soak your venison in a water-vinegar mixture until all the blood has been leeched out. (I usually do two 1-hr long soaks, but it can take longer depending on how well the deer was processed.)

Because this particular venison was a bit tough, I boiled the venison in a 1-part water, 1-part wine mixture with the herbs secured in an herb bag until the meat was cooked through. (This saves you the grief of picking out the rosemary bit-by-bit!) Use this time to chop your vegetables.

Once the meat was cooked through, I drained the water mixture, replenished my herb bag, and added roughly 1/2-3/4 bottle of wine, some water, and 2 tubs of Knorr’s concentrated beef stock to the pot, along with the herbs, spices, and vegetables. Unfortunately, all this is to taste — I don’t use measuring spoons in my kitchen if I can avoid it. 🙂 Bring your pot to a boil, then continue simmering at a reduced temperature until your vegetables are finished.

If you don’t want to make a pie, then you could cut the recipe here and have a nice stew instead. If you want to make the pie, then onwards!

Next, pull your meat and veggies from the pot and bring that delicious stock back to a hard boil, and make sure to stir it frequently. Reduce it by about a half, then pull it from the heat. If the reduction is still to runny, thicken it with cornstarch or flour until you reach the desired thickness of your gravy. Pour it over your meat and veggies and set it aside.

The last step is the obvious — you’ll need to have prepped your pie crust, whether hand-made or store-bought, you’ll pre-bake it, load the shell, and place the crust topper, and bake until crust is finished. I’m omitting my rye crust, since I wasn’t pleased with it. Google is your friend to find a recipe that works for you!

2015 Blackstone Mountain Twelfth Night Feast Menu

I became Seneschal of my barony in 2013, and ever since donning that particular hat, I’d wanted to resurrect the Twelfth Night revels that had gone the way of the dodo long before I joined. So when a member of our populace decided to step up and autocrat it for me, Lady Odette d’Arques and myself jumped on the chance to make this small feast, which was accompanied by a potluck-style day board and a dessert competition throughout the day. Odette was responsible for most of the feast, but I again tapped the resource of my father and stepmother’s rural farm for the venison pie.

Blackstone Mountain Twelfth Night 2015
Salad
Lemon duck with root vegetables
Grape sauce
Minted grapes
Venison pie
Minted peas

White Hart XVII Feast Menu

The Lord and Lady of the White Hart for WHXVII are dear friends of mine, so for their special event, I wanted to do a fun menu based on their personas, so I came up with my Viking World Tour menu. We’ve all seen the concert-style t-shirts that list the places and dates of Viking invasions around Europe, and I wanted to take a dish from (or based in) that area, group them in courses based on date, and serve them something fun.

The Lutefisk was my “subtlety” for the evening. I’d built the hype up — some were excited about it, but most were dreading it. The actual dish, which was served to both HRM Timothy (and his high table) and the populace all at once, was actually a chocolate lute and Swedish fish, prepared by my co-feastocrat, Lady Odette d’Arques.

As an extra surprise, the goat I’d ordered and had butchered from a local farm came with its organ meat. After a special lunch of goat ribs with a home-made teriyaki sauce for HRM Timothy and Their Excellencies of Blackstone Mountain, I soaked in buttermilk and pan-fried the goat liver and also the goat heart(!), which I challenged HRM and the combatants of the heavy tournament to taste.

White Hart XVII Feast Menu

GF = Gluten Free
V = Ovo-lacto Vegetarian/Pescetarian friendly

Beer and Onion Soup
(England, 15th cent – Harleian MS 4016), V
Beer, onions, vegetable broth, salt, pepper

Rarebit
(Wales), V
Bread, cheese

Baked Brie
(France), GF&V
Brie, cranberries, almonds

Roasted Vegetables
(Ireland), GF&V
Carrots, parsnips, kale, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, thyme

Pelmeni
(Russia)
Dough (flour, buttermilk, butter, sour cream), butter, beef, pork, onion, garlic, sage, salt, pepper
GF&V Alternatives: Baked potato stuffed with mashed potatoes with or without meat

Saqlabiyya
(Spain, 13th cent Al-Andalus cookbook), GF
Goat, onion, garlic, olive oil, GF soy sauce, corn starch, coriander, caraway, parsley, thyme, pepper, salt, lime zest

Couscous
(Morocco), V
Couscous, eggplant, carrot, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, garlic, veg stock, butter, lemon juice
GF Alternative: Rice with eggplant and spices

Lutefisk
(Iceland)
Fish

Stuffed dates
(Greece), GF&V
Dates, honey, almonds

Cheesecake
(Italy), GF&V
Cream cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, vanilla, salt, sugar, eggs, corn starch

Cider
(America), GF&V