I miss London a lot. I can’t believe lucky I was to be able to make that trip earlier this year and be back before the whole Covid craziness began. I still remember how the entire Europe was still drowned in concerns regarding UK withdrawing from the European Union and how little everyone knew about the Coronavirus back then even when I asked them about it. Now, it is a different story altogether. A year has almost passed by and I hope that everyone I met back then at the V&A and the BM are all staying well and safe, wherever they are.
I visited the Tower of London while I was in London, to reminisce the memories that I had when I was attached there as an intern. The yeoman wardens were still there, and so were the ravens with their clipped wings. I love entering this space because it transports you back in time to the medieval past where people were slightly more ravage in actions, words and thoughts – killing, inprisonment, battling, surviving. And sometimes, you wonder about what these people in the past eat and how they cook these dishes especially during the harsh winter times.
Which is why I love revisiting Maggie’s medieval recipe book from time to time, to try out some of the recipes within. One would be surprised, that most of what they eat are very similar to what we still do today (!) though there are some interesting finds as well. This lombard chicken pasty (pastry) recipe is one of the interesting finds in the book as it looks plain and uninteresting at first glance, but tastes really yummy and juicy if cooked well – I couldn’t stop eating it myself!
Such pasties would have been served in a more grandiose form as a double-sized, two crust pie at home. However, smaller ones like this one would be baked for eating on the road e.g. during pilgrimages. The meat would be deboned for stuffing inside the crusts.
‘Chickens be set in a pasty on their backs with the breast upward and large slices of bacon on the breast, and then covered.
Item in the Lombard manner, when the chickens be plucked and prepared, take beaten eggs (to wit yolks and whites) with verjuice and spice powder and dip your chickens therein; then set them in the pasty with strips of bacon as above.’
- Breast meat: 400g, thinly sliced
- Orange juice: 1 orange
- Ground ginger: 1/2 tsp
- Ground blackpepper: 1 tsp
- Short crust pastry: 350g
- Egg mixture: 2 eggs beaten with a pinch of salt
- Back bacon: 3 slices, halved
- Preheat oven at 220 degrees Celsius.
- Marinate breast meat with orange juice, ground ginger and ground blackpepper. Set aside.
- Roll out short crust pastry to 3mm thick.
- Cut out large circles from pastry dough. I used an 8cm cutter, and rolled out further into 2mm thick circles.
- Scoop 1 tbsp full of breast meat and dip into egg mixture. Place on 1 half of pastry circle.
- Lay 1 halved bacon over breast meat.
- Brush edges of pastry slice with remaining egg mixture. Fold pastry over and press with hand or fork to seal. Prick in several places with fork.
- Place greased baking sheet onto tray. Place pastries onto baking sheet.
- Bake 15min.
- Lower oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Bake another 15 – 20min till golden brown.
- Serve hot.
This recipe was kindly adapted from ‘The Medieval Cookbook’ by Maggie Black.
The original recipe called for verjuice or lemon juice instead of orange juice. Verjuice is a medieval concoction of highly acidic juice made with pressed unripe grapes or other sour fruits. I had oranges in the fridge and decided to use this instead of buying additional lemons to add to the ready stock in my fridge.
10 palm-sized pasties