I recently had the pleasure of working with 20 fabulous students on a Food History and Historical Cookery workshop that I ran for the Heritage Lincolnshire “Layers of History” project. I would like to share with you one of the recipes which we all made, for an early Tudor dish aptly named “Tarte Owt of Lente” and how you can get involved with this fantastic project too.
The workshop was an action-packed morning, starting off by looking at cookbooks as a resource for social history and how they are always more than just a collection of recipes or techniques. We then explored some cookbook authors from the past and I shared an 18th century recipe by Hannah Glasse for “Hysterical Water”, which involves the use of dried millipedes and copious quantities of brandy! A whirlwind culinary tour of the past took us up to the break, when we had a much needed “cuppa”, (I spared them Hysterical Water) and a chance to taste the dishes that they were going to make, including “Tarte Owt of Lente” and “Filo Purses”.
We all great fun making our dishes from the past, with teams working well together. All the students were able to take their creations home in their own takeaway dishes and “doggy bag” with instructions on how to cook them. Many posted proud pictures of their finished dishes later on Twitter and everyone was pleasantly surprised how tasty they were.
The “Tarte Owt of Lente” dates from around 1500, when the dietary observance of Lent was much stricter than today. This dish includes all of things that you were to abstain from during that period – Butter, Cheese, Eggs, Cream! It’s not one for if you are on a diet, but it is really tasty. I like it warm out of the oven with a nice green salad, but you can enjoy it cold too.
200g pack of Cheshire Cheese
150 ml Double Cream
25g butter (soft)
Pinch salt and ground white pepper
Pack short crust pastry
Egg yolk to glaze
Preheat oven 180c fan, 190c non-fan or gas mark 5
Line a baking tray with parchment and put in oven to preheat
Chop and pound cheese in a mortar or sturdy medium sized bowl, with either a wooden spoon or pestle
Add in egg, double cream, butter and seasoning and make a spreadable paste
Chill filling in the fridge
Line a 25cm/10-inch pastry case saving enough pasty to make a thin lid.
Make a hole in the centre of your lid, I use the end of a funnel to do this.
Spread your filling in the case and use the egg yolk to seal the tarte lid on.
Glaze with egg yolk.
Put on your preheated baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes.
It should be a nice golden-brown colour when done. Cool slightly before slicing and eating.
I love being a volunteer for the “Layers of History” project, it is a great way to get out and about in our beautiful countryside, to meet new people and develop new skills and knowledge. Over the three years they will be covering eight study sites in total, this year exploring Revesby and Freiston Shore. They are looking to recruit 250 volunteers, including Carers, Armed forces personnel, ex -servicemen and women and young people. The focus will be on military landscapes, parks and gardens and medieval settlements.
Heritage Lincolnshire who are running “Layers of History” are a wonderful charity, having recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. They are committed to conserving and enhancing our county’s rich and wonderful historic buildings, landscapes and archaeology. They work hard to make our history and heritage accessible to all. The “Layers of History” project offers courses and activities to suit many interests and abilities. You can learn how to read the landscape, take part in free online courses, be involved in study sites with activities such as field walking, earthwork surveys, learn how to undertake research and create exhibitions and submit your findings to the Historic Environment Record. There really is something for everyone and this is such a unique opportunity to be involved in so many different ways. If you would like to find out more see www.heritagelincolnshire.org/layers or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about becoming a volunteer.
Sadie Hirst is a member of Select Lincolnshire and The British Society of Baking. With her Husband Russell they own multi award winning RJ Hirst Family Butchers in Woodhall Spa. Sadie is passionate about preserving our culinary heritage and often works with community groups with her talks “Off the Beeton Track”, “Much Ado About Food” and workshops on food history and historical cookery. If you would like to contact Sadie email her email@example.com visit www.rjhirstfamilybutchers.co.uk or follow on Twitter Sadie Hirst@RJHirstbutchers