The Medieval Vegan

Vegan cooking, crafting, and other medieval fun

Soul Cakes

Souling_on_Halloween

Medieval Trick or Treating

Halloween (or Hallows eve) is over and it’s now All Saints Day (or All Hallows), a day for remembering and honoring those exceptional Christians who have gone before us. Tomorrow will be All Souls day, set aside for remembering all the faithful departed. This, then, is a season for remembering the dead and all that entails: prayers, visiting and tending to the graves of loved ones, and baking. In Medieval England the poor and children would go door to door (a proto-trick or treating) and collect cakes and sweets in exchange for singing carols and for praying for the dead. This was known as souling and the cakes were called soul cakes. So today seemed like a fitting day to try out making some soul cakes.

While not Medieval, there is a traditional English song that you can listen to here.

I used a recipe from food.com but subbed out vegan butter, egg replacer, and almond milk. They look like cookies to me but are really more of a biscuit. I think they would go well with some tea as they aren’t too sweet and have a nice, crumbly texture.

soulcake

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Saints and Animals: St. Francis of Assisi

mi399xOn the 28th of February 2013 a Jesuit from Argentina was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. His election was a first in many ways: the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the New World, and the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere. This new Pope was also the first to adopt the name of Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. This choice in name was no accident, St. Francis is beloved by many for his compassion and humility.

St. Francis grew up in a time where many felt that the Church had lost its way. Heresies were spreading in the countryside and the Church appeared opulent and aloof. Francis himself grew up the wealthy son of a merchant and lived a lavish lifestyle. He intended to become a soldier but changed his mind when he fell ill and began to have dreams and visions of a religious life. It was after this that St. Francis founded the Franciscan order in an attempt to revitalize the Church through humility and service to the marginalized.

In addition to his simple life and commitment to the poor, St. Francis had a number of interactions with animals and is considered to be their patron saint. Many a garden statue of Francis depicts him with birds as he was known to preach the gospel to birds. In another story, he convinces a wolf to quit eating livestock in exchange for food from the townspeople.

St. Francis’ love toward nature and animals is in many ways surprising considering neither has often been included within Christian sympathies. However, for Francis this is a thoroughly Christian understanding of the goodness of God’s creation. All that has been created (not just humans) have a duty to worship God and as stewards of creation, humans in particular have a responsibility to care for nature. It is no surprise that we look to St. Francis of Assisi┬áduring this time of environmental destruction, global warming, and cruelty towards animals. He points to a Christian way of interacting with nature that takes into account our responsibility for its care.

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lenten Meal: Maghmuma

Well I just discovered some pictures of one of my lenten meals that I never posted. This one is called Maghmuma and is another recipe eaten by monks and Christians during lent. It’s a layered vegetable dish with bread and came out like a very hearty stew.

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Lenten Meal: Tharida

Lent is a great opportunity for the Medieval Vegan since it was a time of fasting and so the foods eaten are a lot closer to what I’ve been cooking. Of course the medieval Christian would still count fish (and sometimes any meat that they made to look like fish) but even so there are a number of recipes that are truly vegan.

This first one was a fava bean recipe with a very strong sesame seed and lemon flavor to it. I’d never eaten fava beans before and they are very earthy. Even with the unusually strong sesame oil flavor it was a good and hearty dish.

 

Tharida

Tharida

Source: http://home.earthlink.net/~al-tabbakhah/Misc_ME_Food/CairoLent14thC.html#tharida

Friday Night Dinner

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Had a great dinner of Odessa Style Mushrooms, asparagus, and apple pudding. The mushrooms were incredibly rich and delicious. The apple pudding was a surprisingly good pairing with it and was something I certainly would have never thought to try.

Drank a glass of Riesling with the meal and ate the mushrooms with some bread.

Italian Pudding

Sunday Night's Meal

Sunday Night’s Meal

Otherwise known as bread pudding, which I’ve never had before. After making it though it is now one of my favorites.

I combined two different recipes: one medieval, and the other modern. Personally I like it best served cold.

Before Cooking

Before Cooking

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/quickeasydesserts/r/breadpudding.htm

http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/italian.html

Roman Noodles

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Basically a 15th Century Macaroni and Cheese from Italy. The recipe originally calls for parmesan cheese but I used a blend of vegan cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan.

http://www.greneboke.com/recipes/macaroni.shtml

Lord’s Loaf

This was a simple bread recipe that isn’t authentic but is inspired by medieval cooking. I ended up not using yeast though, I had read a lot about yeast being rare in medieval breads and wanted to try it. It was basically a very dense biscuit and so I ate it with jam.

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http://www.godecookery.com/begrec/begrec96.html

I used Earth Balance for butter.

 

Moroccan Spiced Sweet Potato & Couscous Salad

Went with a Mediterranean dish this time. This is another one of those dishes that isn’t very pretty but tastes awesome. The first time I cooked this I accidentally cooked the potatoes at 200 F instead of 200 C which led to a lot of confusion for me. The changes I made for this recipe was to leave the skins on the potatoes, left out the yogurt, and wasn’t sure what beans the recipe was talking about so I just stuck with the chickpeas it also listed.

Sweet Potato & Couscous

The recipe can be found here

Thursday’s 14th Century Feast

This turned out to be a pretty awesome meal.

I made a 14th century French mushroom and ‘cheese’ pie (Mushroom Pasty) using daiya mozzarella cheese. An apple tart (Tartys In Applis) and a dish of peas (Perry of Pesoun) both from 14th century England. The only changes I made to this recipe is using a vegan cheese and subbing the tart crust for a pie crust because I was lazy, and of course still no saffron.

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