St Alban’s Day – June 22nd

When brought before the judge and required to comply with the rituals of the Roman ‘Pagan’ gods, Alban refused and declared, “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.”

According to the venerable Bede, Alban lived and was martyred in Verulamium (now St Albans) Roman Britain, sometime during the 3rd or 4th Century.There are several versions of the martyrdom but in essence, Alban converted to Christianity while sheltering a Christian priest from persecution having been impressed by the piety and faith of the priest. So much so, that when the Roman soldiers deployed to arrest the priest arrived at Albans house, Alban donned the cloak of the priest and gave himself up in the priest’s stead.

When brought before the judge and required to comply with the rituals of the Roman ‘Pagan’ gods, Alban refused and declared, “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.” (The words are still used in prayer at St Alban’s Abbey).

After various torture, Alban was sentenced to execution by beheading and it is during the journey to his martyrdom that Alban caused several miraculous events to occur including the drying up of a river to allow the execution party to cross to the place of beheading, and a spring to flow forth at the place of execution to slake Albans thirst.

It was here that Alban’s head was struck off, along with the head of the first Roman soldier who was miraculously converted and refused to execute him. Immediately after delivering the fatal stroke, the eyes of the second executioner popped out of his head and dropped to the ground along with Alban’s head so that this second executioner could not rejoice over Alban’s death. It is this scene which is typically depicted in the medieval pilgrim’s Badges of St Alban.

 

 


References;

Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People

10th century Passio (ASS = Acta Sanctorum, 347-8) second, 11th century Passio (ASS 345-6).

Antonio Niere, Bibliotheca Sanctorum, op.cit. pp. 354-8; ASS Oct XIII 335-48

Spencer B, Pilgrim souvenirs and secular,  EAN 9780112905745

Blick S, Beyond Pilgrim souvenirs and secular, 9781842172353

 

 

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Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

It’s a terrible feeling when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.

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Cooking with Ceramics

Ceramics are a great tool for use in campfire cooking. Cheap to make, there’s a reason that pottery fragments are the most common find in any archeological dig. Ceramics, particulary for use over a campfire are a lot less common now. Company of the Staple provided some great tips which they’ve kindly allowed us to reshare for everyone to spread the word about ceramic cooking.

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Midwinter Cookbook – AS51

The Midwinter cookbook

Assembled and Redacted by Lady Rosalind Beaufort

and Lady Safiya bint al-Shahid

 

Lady Rosalind and Lady Safiya did an excellent job at Midwinter AS51 and were kind enough to provide their receipes, scaled down to a normal portion serving. Here it is for everyone to enjoy the delicious receipes. The original source has been provided and then a modern redaction of how it was made, making it clear and easy to understand.

Midwinter Cook Publication

Pictures of the Salt dough serviced with the beef, pork and fish at Midwinter AS51

 

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Brass Care

Tips and instructions for caring for brass

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Annunciation – 25th of March

This month in the medieval world we celebrate not a saint – but the principle Marian (Cult of Mary) event; Solemnity of the Annunciation or ‘Festum incarnationis’ (feast of the incarnation). It is held on the 25th of March and documentation across the medieval and renaissance world show that it has been celebrated on this date from the 4th Century.

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How to pickle eggs

Pickling is a very important part of medieval life. Preserving food to last the winter when one doesn’t have access to greenhouses or to aeroplanes capable of tranporting goods from the other side of the world.

Pickles need a dark consistent temperature during the pickling process. Pickling in medieval times would have been done in stoneware or in ceramics, with oil, or waxed linen covers to seal the tops.

Kept in a dark cool cupboard or cellar, it would have been safe until ready to eat.

Here’s a good redaction of one of the earliest written down picking sources – Compost from Forme of Cury
http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec5.htm

I’d post more links about the history and written sources, but someone has already done it, so I’ll link to them instead.
https://turnspitandtable.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pass-the-pickled-eggs/

Medieval chickens don’t lay every day like modern chickens and they don’t lay in winter. So keeping eggs becomes important as a good source of protein during winter and as a way to save any excess eggs.

So here’s a simple and easy way to pickle eggs.

Things you will need
12 eggs
Steralised sealing jar (about 1 L)
600ml of apple cider vinegar
Pickling spices (You can buy a combination of spices called, surprising, “pickling spices” in most supermarkets. It’s dill, whole mustard, peppercorn….)

Firstly, hard boil those eggs. You want a long hard boil, about an hour to get them nice and hard. Make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot and the eggs are covered or they will explode.

Let the eggs cool and then peel them. An easy way to do this is to gently roll the eggs between your hand and the bench until it peels.

If there are any eggs where the yellow yolk breaks the surface of the white or is very close to the surface, put those aside to be eaten. If the yellow is too close to the surface, it won’t work well for the pickling.

Put the rest of the eggs into the jar.

Take a small saucepan and put the vinegar and the pickling spices in it. Let these boil together for about half an hour. Then pour the mix over the eggs and seal the jar.

If there is any left over liquid, you can use this as the base for a new pickling solution.

The eggs want about a month for pickling and are then good to eat within 6 months.

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