Common tavern fare in Valdemar. Meat pies come in two basic forms. A large baked pie for main meals and a smaller pie, shaped in a half circle that fits comfortably in a hand to be eaten as a snack or as a travelling meal.
Basic Recipe: Pastry Dough
The pastry dough is a combination of lard, salt, and finely sifted flour. The lard salt and flour are cut together, mixing the lard and dry ingredients thoroughly. Enough cold water is then added to form a stiff dough. This is rolled out thinly, and the desired size of the pie is cut out of the rolled dough. For large pies, the dough is shaped into a shallow pan, the filling is placed in the pan, and then a second piece of dough is placed over the top, and the edges crimped together.
For small pies a small circle of dough is cut out, the filling is place in one half of the circle, the dough is folded over, the edges are sealed and crimped shut, and a few holes are poked n the top of the dough to let steam escape during the cooking process.
Basic Recipe: Meat filling
This varies depending on location, season of the year, and availability of meat and produce. The filling starts with finely chopped cooked meat, either raw meat lightly cooked, left over meat (the remains of the previous evenings a roast) or broiled meat. To the meat, vegetables in season are added, usually a combination of root vegetables, onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Winter pies often include dried fruit mixed with the meat in a mince-style filling.
A small amount of flour and water, wine or broth is added to the meat and vegetables, then this mixture is seasoned to taste, and sealed in the pastry shell. The resulting pie is baked in the same oven that the daily bread is cooked in, typically using the residual heat from the first baking of the day.
Each inn or tavern cook has their own version of this common dish, and many cooks prick an identifying design into the crust of their pie. Prosperous inns will brush the top of the pie with water and beaten egg to give the crust a lovely golden brown color, and have the apprentice cooks fold the edges of the pastry of the meat pies together in an intricate design rather than use the faster method of pressing the edges together with a fork. Recipes are passed down within a family, or from master cook to his students.
A handful, a large bowl, a bit, and a pinch are the most common measurements, cooking being a fine art, and not an exact measured science.
A favorite treat in Valdemar. Sweet pies come in many forms, utilizing any fresh or dried fruit locally available. The pies come in the same two basic forms as the Meat pies, a large baked pie for service to tavern customers for their main meals and a smaller pie, shaped in a half circle that fits comfortably in a hand. In the northern part of Valdemar, a large slice of the sharp yellow cheese of the region is served with a sweet pie made from the local tart apples.
Egg and Onion Pie
Favorite tavern fare across all of Valdemar. Egg and Onion pie is created in an open pastry shell usually baked in a round pan. Onions are sauteed in some kind of grease, bacon or goose grease is common. Some cooks include the green tops when cooking the onions for the pie. The cooked onions are placed in the pastry shell, and a mixture of beaten eggs and heavy cream is poured over the onion mixture, to completely cover the onions. This is typically baked in the bread oven, after the first baking of the day has been removed, and the second batch of bread is rising. The pie is removed when the egg mixture is completely firm. The pies may be eaten hot, right out of the oven, or cold later in the day.
cabbage and sausage
A late winter staple, made entirely with vegetables that are good winter keepers and preserved meat. Start with sausage, any kind, brown. Add sliced onion and garlic to the browning sausage. Once the onion is transparent add water to cover, sliced potatoes and sliced carrots, peppercorns, salt and caraway seeds. Simmer till the vegetables are cooked. Add sliced cabbage to pot, cover, cook for a few minutes and serve. This is a common and very flexible dish, and every holding has their own special version. The Ashkevron version is made with smoked venison sausage, purple cabbage and a dash of cider vinegar to help the cabbage keep its color.
cheese and ale soup
A favorite with the Ashkevron clan, this is often served on cold wet days after the men have spent a day in the fields. Start with strips of pepper cured bacon, brown, remove the bacon fat. Add sliced onions and saute until the onions are soft and limp. Sprinkle in flour and heat till the flour is cooked. Add chicken stock, ale, and grated sharp yellow cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. Adjust proportions of the ingredients to number of people to be served. Serve this hearty soup with new bread and fresh butter, and ale.
A favorite with Lady Treesa and the women of her bower. Clover tea is reputed to prevent aging and keep the complexion young. Red clover is preferred, but white clover is also used. To make, steep a handful of clover blossoms in a large teapot full of water just under the boiling point. Sweeten with honey to taste.
Hard dense baked bread carried as field rations by the Heralds and Valdemar’s Guard. Old journeybread needs to be soaked in water or broth before it becomes soft enough to chew.
Crumbly slightly sweet cakes made out of coarse meal. While easier to eat than journeybread, journeycakes do not have the durability or long keeping qualities of journeybread.
Compact meat roll that consists of a layer of beef skirt steak, rolled around a filling of hard boiled eggs, carrots, onions and egg soaked bread crumbs. The roll is tightly wrapped with string and then steamed or baked. The finished roll is served by cutting the roll into rounds sections. Due to the long cooking period, this keeps moderately well for meat, and is often carried by travelers to supplement rations of journeybread.
Treesa’s Nut & Jam Tarts
Vanyel’s mother Treesa’s favorite desert. The dainty tarts are made by combining ground pecan nuts with a standard pastry crust, and ground cinnamon. The pastry dough is then shaped into small cups and baked until golden. The resulting cup is filled with blackberry jam, and then dusted with powdered sugar. Lady Treesa always makes sure that there is an ample supply of tarts at hand in the bower for her ladies to nibble.
Here are some of the ingredients that can be used to make dishes from Valdemar.
The pod, and seeds of a tree that grows in the very southern portion of Valdemar. This is very popular among the fops at the court, both for the taste, and as a display of wealth and status. This is a very expensive treat, usually consumed as a drink sweetened with a large amount of sugar. This is a court affection that the Healers disapprove of, not liking the stimulating effect of the chocolate, or the sugar used for taste. The main objection of the Healers is that stimulants should be used with care, and not for frivolous displays of wealth.
A bitter stimulating drink brewed from the seed of a tree that grows in the southern mountains of Valdemar. This drink is very popular at court, and very unpopular with the Healers, who frown on the drink as being excessively stimulating
Dietary staple for most of Valdemar. Eggs from chickens, ducks, geese, and quail are commonly used as a major source of protein. Cooks in Valdemar make use of eggs in noodles, pastry, and cakes. Hard boiled Duck eggs are wrapped in pork sausage and bread dough then fried for a common tavern fare. Variations of the classic Egg and Onion Pie can be ordered in most Inns across Valdemar
The rivers and lakes are inhabited by a variety of edible fish, ranging from trout in the highlands to many kinds of small fine-boned fish, bass and catfish in the rivers and streams.
A favorite festival dish all over Valdemar. On the borders, wild goose is preferred, while in the city, farm raised goose is more common.
When rendered and purified, goose fat is used as the base for many healing ointments, salves and cosmetics.
Goose liver, lightly salted and broiled is also a delicacy, and widely believed to impart fertility when eaten by a couple seeking children.
A common way to preserve fruit for later use. Soft fruit like blackberries do not dry well, and are usually preserved by making jam. Each region of Valdemar has their own specialty, all created out of locally grown berries and fruit.
A common way to preserve meat. Raw lean meat is cut into thin strips and air dried, or hung over a smoky fire to cure. The resulting dried meat is very light, highly nutritious, and a staple for heralds riding circuit. Jerky can be prepared with any lean meat, however wild game like deer and elk are preferred due to their naturally lean tissue. Any fat in the meat used to make jerky can quickly spoil and turn rancid. Jerky is often ground and mixed with dried sweet fruit and a small amount of melted fat to create the meat bars used as winter trail rations.
Popular food in Valdemar, they are included in most meals. Mushrooms are eaten raw, baked, broiled, batter fried, and are included in many stews and roasts. The most common button mushrooms are grown in a mixture of manure and straw. Valdemar is blessed by having very few dangerous mushrooms, and most are easily identified. The toxic Goatsfoot Mushroom is a rarity.
Valdemar has many hardwood forests with abundant nut producing trees. Nutmeats are an important source of fat and protein for many border steadings. Nuts are added to bread, grain and sweet dishes.
All-around useful food animal found everywhere in Valdemar. Pigs are farm-raised in pens or left to run wild and hunted in the fall in the forest regions of Valdemar. The meat is smoked and turned into ham, processed into bacon, pickled in brine, salted, and preserved as spicy sausage. The fat from hogs is rendered and turned into lard that is used in cooking, cosmetics, healing, and for industrial applications.
A herb used in tea making, it is a strong soporific.
A large white fleshed freshwater fish that lives in the deep rivers of Valdemar. Normally a large fish, the specimens that live in the magic tinged waters of Lake Evendim grow into true giants. The tough fisherfolk hunt the sturgeon with harpoons and harvest the roe for caviar.
An expensive delicacy made from the salted roe of the Lake Evendim sturgeon. Reputed to have aphrodisiac powers, this caviar is always in great demand.
An available, but expensive sweetener. Processed out of a large sweet white beet, this is the preferred sweeteners among the cooks that serve the palace and collegium. Honey and a syrup processed from a northern tree remain the more common in the rural areas of Valdemar.
The brown brook trout is another common source of protein in the rural diet. Fresh trout are occasionaly avaliable in Haven, transported there in large barrels of fresh water in the cool weather of the early spring and fall.
Turtles abound in the fresh water streams, creeks and rivers of Valdemar. They provide an additional source of protein for the farm folk, and borderes.
A natural medicinal containing salicylates, thus a useful analgesic when made into tea.
A popular Valdemaran analgesic. Willowbark contains salicylic acids and is effective in easing pain. It is the main component of the brews the Healers prescribe for Heralds, and has a particularly bitter astringent taste which clings to the back of the tongue well after the drink has been finished. Thus the evil reputation healer’s potions have among the Heraldic Circle.