Saturday, February 13, 2016

Challenge four Sweets for the Sweet.

The challenge is: It’s sugar, and maybe spice, and definitely everything nice. Test out a historic recipe for sweets, sweetmeats and candies - but don’t let them spoil your appetite! 

I am cooking a historic feast in May and I am making candied orange peels.  This worked perfectly for this challenge.  The recipe I used:

(I got it from

This text is quoted on a lot of other sites as being the original.  

"A goodlye secret for to condite or confite Orenges, citrons, and all other fruites in sirrop", a recipe from Thomas Dawson, THE SECOND PART OF THE GOOD HUS-WIVES JEWELL, 1597.

"Take Cytrons and cut them in peeces, taking out of them the iuice or  substance,  then boyle them in freshe water halfe an hower untill they  be tender, and when you take them out, cast them into cold water, leave  them there a good while, then set them on the fire againe in other  freshe water, doo but heate it a little with a small fire, for it not  seeth, but let it simper a little continue thus eight daies together heating them every day inn hot water: some heat the watre but one day, to the end that the citron be not too tender, but change the freshe water at night to take out the bitternesse of the pilles, the which being taken away,  you must take suger or Hony clarified, wherein you must the citrons put, having first wel dried them from the water, & in winter you must keep them from the frost,  & in the Sommer you shal leave them there all night, and a day and a night in Honie, then boile the Honie or Sugar by it selfe without the orenges or Citrons by the space of halfe an hower or lesse with a little fire, and being colde set it againe to the fire with the Citrons, continuing so two mornings: if you wil put Honnie in water and not suger, you must clarifie it two times, and straine it through a strayner: having thus warmed and clarified it you shall straine and sett it againe to the fire, with Citrons onely, making them to boyle with a soft fire the space of a quarter of an houre, then take it from the fire & let it rest at every time you do it, a day & a night: the next morning you shall boyle it again together the space of half an hower, and doo so two morninges, to the end that the Honie or Suger may be well incorporated with the Citrons.  All the cumuing (sic) consisteth in the boyling of this sirrope together with the Citrons, and also the Sirrope by it selfe,and heerein heede must be takken that it take not the smoke, so that it savour not of the fire:  In this manner may be drest the Peaches, or lemmons Orenges, Apples, green Malnuts, and other liste being boile more or lesse, according to the nature of the fruits."

My husband loves oranges, he eats at least two per day.  So I had him keep the peels for me.  First step as in the description is to take out the juice and pulp, I also took most of the pitch as well. I used a sharp small knife to do just that.I tried to clean the pitch off after boiling the peel but I found the peel really soft and I mostly made a mess.  I found it easier to do so before they where boiled.    
The next step was to boil the peels in water for thirty minutes, I simmered them as boiling them seemed to soften then to quickly.  After which I set them in cool water.  It says to do this 8 times but I found after five they where very soft. I do not know if this has to do with modern oranges or not.  It might.  I have tried blood oranges wish were around in that period and the result if the same.  It also indicates to throw away the water you boil the peels in as it is bitter.  I have saved it and used it for the sugar mixture and I have thrown it out to use it for the sugar mixture.  I do find there is a bitterness even with the sugar to the peel where i save the water.  I like both versions.  I however life bitter.  My husband prefers the other.  You can tell when the peel is done it gets rather floppy, you have to feel and see it to really understand what I mean.   I then let them dry for two days, on a tray with a tea towel then just on the try.  I put the tray on a self over our radiator.  They dry out quite well that way.  
So the next you can use honey or sugar.  I used sugar. I will make a batch with honey but only one as it is expensive and see what the difference it.  I am working on another batch at the moment, it is in the first stages so I might use that one.  I looked up a bunch of modern recipes for orange peel. The sugar water ratio seems to be two parts water to one part sugar.  I used that ratio and it worked quite well,  let the peels sit in the sugar water over night then simmered them for about 15 to 20 minutes.  I again let them sit over night, and simmer them for a total of three times.  The sugar mixture is soft ball stage by the time you are done.    
I then put them on a tray covered with parchment paper.  Left them to dry two days on the tray and then put them on a cookie rack without the try to dry for two more days.  I have to keep these until May so I needed them to be quite dry.  When they are first cooled from the hot sugar they are sticky and sweet.  
After the four days of drying this is way you get, they stay nicely in a sealed jar and do not really stick together.  They are good I like them a lot but I hope we stay out of them.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Noblese Largess

I have started my project for this spring,  The theme is ambiance.  I am so lucky I have received a Norse women YEAH.  I started today, I am making a fibre basket for my recipient.  Picture will come one I recharge my phone

Monday, May 18, 2015

Part two of the stuff my Husband does.

Lovely things he has made.


Talent People of Hamilton

Okay this is a bit shameless because the first person I want to talk about is my husband Sam.  He is a blacksmith by hobby.  We do re-enactment we are both Norse (Vikings).  He is a smith. I think he is wonderful.  First are the tools of the trade that he has made. 
This is his bellows stone a little dull by very important, this out this the bellow will catch on fire.  The stone also holds the tube for the bellows and allows a concentrated place for the air to flow. 

These three pictures are of his Forge.  The Viking used ground forges, not practical when we move around.  He based this design on the fire box in the Bayeux tapestry.  He use tree nails he has lined it with fire bricks to help maintain the wood and heat. The Vikings did not have fire bricks.  But this is a good compromise. In this forge he uses charcoal like the Viking did, not gas or coke. 

Cut this with a friend,

So all these tools pictured here are tools  that my husband made.  The only one that he had help with is the square anvil. He also did not make the bicker, that is the pointy thing it you are like me and need it explained to you.  He also made the nails that attached everything to the stump.  So now that he has a hammer and other tools he can begin to make iron wear.