vigil

Marek’s Vigil Food

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Photo by Lord Sasson

For Marek’s vigil at Ice Dragon, I had the task of creating a Viking-themed spread. This wasn’t as easy as one may imagine, because most of their food was boiled or otherwise cooked in a pot in some way, cheese wasn’t incredibly common, and fish was prevalant near the coast. None of these things are particularly helpful, so I aimed for derivatives.

I used my recipe for Keftedes (meatballs) as for Baron Janos’ vigil, but used beef and pork this time. I used 6lbs of meat and filled a crockpt to bursting with them and somehow had meatballs left over.

Angel’s food is a modern take on a sweet Viking cheese that calls for simply mixing honey and ricotta. I served it with berries and wheat crackers.

The rest was fairly derived but made for good snacks — slices of cheese, crackers, lightly roasted herbed almonds, pickles, figs, and raw berries, apples, and pears.

I am very thankful to Sir Ian for providing his delicious baklava, to Lady Aine ny Alain for her bacon wrapped dates stuffed with feta cheese in a garlicky balsamic vinegar reduction, to Lord Sasson for the strawberry jam and shortbread cookies, and to Mistress Bryn for the white-belt sugar cookie.

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Tartlets for Laurencia’s Vigil

I was honored to have Baron Janos ask me to contribute tartlets for Laurencia’s vigil at Ice Dragon. I’m not overly familiar with medieval English food, so I relied on recipes from the good folks over at Medieval Cookery.

Photo by Sir Ian
Photo by Sir Ian.

I made well over 10 dozen tartlet crusts using their recipe Short Paest for Tartes (A Proper New Booke of Cookery, 1575). The recipe calls for 1 1/2c flour, half a stick of butter, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of saffron, and ~ 1/2c water. After rubbing the butter into most of the ingredients, add water until the dough just sticks together. Let it rest, roll it out, and fill your pan with the dough. What I failed to notice was that I’d grabbed the self-rising flour instead of the all-purpose, so my tartlet crusts got a bit fluffy..

..which nixed the Ember Day Tarts from my planned offerings. So I went with the other two I’d planned: Chardewardon and Mon Amy.

Chardewardon (various 15th century books) is a light custard made by creating a “pear sauce” (as you would applesauce), then adding egg yolks to thicken it. The recipe calls for one egg yolk per pear, softened by simmering in wine. I added ginger and cinnamon while the pears softened, strained the liquid off, then added yolks and half the amount of sugar the recipe called for and simmered until it thickened. I grew frustrated with this recipe because it didn’t thicken as I’d expected it to in the pot, but rather thickened and sat up after cooling in the fridge overnight. The resulting custard is light and refreshing, and I’ll likely make it again for feasts and non-medieval functions.

Mon Amy (A Noble Boke of Cookry, 1468) is, essentially, a medieval cheesecake, and I chose it for this reason — who doesn’t like cheesecake? The recipe is more complex than the chardewardon by far, and I’m going to fiddle with it for future use. It calls for making fresh cheese, which is then strained per usual, and though I was wary of this step, I followed it anyway, and was met with the issue I’d anticipated.. Fresh cheese, after having the whey strained, is hard and crumbly. It doesn’t melt well, in my experience, and is..chewy. Simply “whisking until smooth” isn’t feasible, so I poured my hot cream and fresh cheese into a food processor and pulsed it a few times until the big chunks were reduced to..smaller ones. I returned the mixture to the pot and followed the rest of the directions.. However, the cream, sugar, honey, and yolks only thickened enough to create something like a thick porridge of fresh cheese curds, and it carmelized a bit as I prepared my ice bath to cool the pot down. (I’d thought it had scorched and was about to cry until I tasted it. Thankfully it hadn’t!) I wasn’t happy, but let it settle in the fridge overnight, and what I awoke to was a very dense, delicious cheesecake-like custard that needed to be softened a bit with heat before I could really spoon it into the tartlet shells. It wasn’t a disaster, but I’m going to revise my own methods for this recipe before serving it again.

Ice Dragon 2016

This past weekend, I had the privelege of being the vigil wrangler for THL Marek Viacheldrago as he sat and contemplated elevation to the Order of the Chivalry. Marek was one of my first mentors when I started fighting, and it made me incredibly happy to see the Order recognize what many of us had seen in him from the start. Being included in his day and hearing the great words spoken about him has made this one of my more memorable events, and I’m grateful to Sir Marek, his wife Sybilla, and his knight Sir Tristen for trusting me with the task of coordinating the vigil. Normally a Peer holds this position and is planning it out for more than just a couple of weeks, but Gulfnado saw his vigil quickly moved from Gulf Wars to Ice Dragon, and there were many of us who pulled it off. I first need to thank Mistress Hildarun Hugelmann, Mistress Chrestienne de Waterdene, Sir Tristen Sexwulf, Master Janos Meszaros, and of course, Lady Sybilla, for their guidance in planning and executing all and various parts of the vigil. Hilda and Chrestienne did the bulk of manning the vigil book, and Lady Aine ny Alain, Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria, THL Darian Valski, and Sir Ian Kennovan contributed to the food. Hilda also contributed pitchers, and Sir Stefan and Mistress Marsi contributed some platters and bowls. Sir Guido, Sir Alric of the Mists, Baroness Osa, Lord Olaf Steinabrjotr, and Lady MacKenna Henderson helped with set-up and tear-down.

Sitting just a sheet-wall away, also sitting vigil before her elevation to the Laurel, was Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle, who also holds a special place in the day’s memories. When my fiance, THL Darian, had first entered the SCA, it was Laurencia and her husband Edval who took him in and helped guide and clothe him. Laurencia accomplished something I still have not — getting Darian to sit down in front of a sewing machine! I was honored to contribute food to her vigil spread well, and those recipes will follow soon.

There is so much to say about this year’s Ice Dragon, but I had to get my thank you’s out first. I’m so grateful to everyone! Thank you!!