Thursday, October 17, 2013

War of Wings Feast

This year at War of the Wings (a kingdom war here in Atlantia that takes place every October) I decided to spend Friday cooking a period feast over the firepit using as many period cooking techniques as I could.  I only used one modern sauce pan and a single dutch oven (which isn't the worst concession to modernity as they had similar things, I just don't happen to own the period equivalent as of yet).

The meal turned out really well.  The biggest disaster turned out to be the guest list, we had some missing people and ended up with a lot more leftover than planned but that's not so bad.  People wandering by were pretty impressed that we had a high table set up in camp in such a primitive camp site.  The food turned out well, everyone enjoyed it, and no one got sick, so I count that as a win!  Here's what we ate -

Bread - I made a honey wheat bread in the dutch oven.  While not necessarily a period bread recipe, baking in the coals is a period method and it was a lot of fun.  The first loaf turned out beautifully except that it got charred on the crusts.  I ended up giving it to the rest of camp and they made quick work of the inside of the loaf, leaving a scary carbonized crust.  The second loaf sort of collapsed a bit in the middle but baked perfectly and was still tasty.  I think the over wasn't quite hot enough but as this was the first time I had baked in the dutch over on my own I think it went pretty well.

Birds on the Spit - I spit roasted 3 chickens on the spit my cousin made me for Christmas.  These turned out quite nicely and the spit worked great, though they didn't cook as evenly as I would have liked.  I think the spit was overloaded.  Next time I'll limit myself to 2 birds at a time.

Pumps - Medieval meatballs.  These are really tasty and were a big hit.  I've made these twice before and decided to double up the recipe this time, which turned out ok but if I do this again I will need a bigger pot as they didn't cook as evenly as I would like.  The balls need more room to float around in the broth.

Buttered Worts - I used spinach this time, though you can use a range of leafy greens for this dish.  Last time I did this I had spinach and mustard greens which was quite nice.  This time I simplified the cooking, sauteing the leeks in a large pan over the fire in butter, then adding the greens then a bit of the stock from the pumpes.  When the greens were done I dumped everything over the sopes.  Very good and much easier than all the boiling, though I suppose the boiling may be necessary for some greens.

Roasted Turnips - again simplified the preparation by turning this into a single-step baking process, baking it in the dutch oven.  Worked fine and was very tasty.

Lumdardy Tart (beet pie) - Yum!  People had no idea this was beets until I told them.  To be fair, there is some debate about whether the recipe refers to beet root or beet greens.  I used beet root, and more than called for than the redaction linked, and it was good.  I've seen other people use Swiss chard, which might be interesting to try some time, but this is a tasty version that people like.

Apple Muse - Basically applesauce, with a twist.  If you can't get saunders, I would suggest cutting back on the honey and being careful with the saffron, perhaps adding a bit more salt.  Do NOT use food coloring, the saunders is doing more than adding color (I found this out the hard way the last time I made it).  It was a very nice dish a good way to end the meal, and is REALLY nice with a bit of heavy cream and powder blanch on top.  Be sure to use the best apples you can get.

Pears in Syrup - I like to add cinnamon, galangal, mace and a bit of nutmeg to the spice mix and try to always use turbinado or demara sugar for the extra flavor.  The leftover are killer on french vanilla ice cream.  This makes for a nice, light-ish dessert and is very easy to cool over the fire, you can set it in the cooling coals and pretty well forget about it until you are ready to plate it.


  1. My, that looks a pretty impressive feast. Well done you for making the effort. And shame on your guests for not turning up! How ill-mannered of them! I hope you were able to find some hungry warriors to eat up the left overs. Congratulations on using traditional methods out in the field.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.