Not all projects work out

So here’s a failure.

Rhubarb lemonade small, that exploded at 5am. It was gonna be boiled to pasturize. Oh well.

The method (was loosely on a short mead) :

750g white sugar
Big pot of strained rhubarb water (2L ish)
Around 500ml fresh lemon juice
Total volume 4.6L and bread yeast

In a jug and bubbler for 3 days then bottled for 3 then to be boiled this morning. It didn’t work out that way 😂

Glass and syrup everywhere. Everywhere. One bottle exploded first which woke me up and then about ten minutes later the next seven went at once, this time I had a towel on the pot. I popped the last one outside, with a towel and by dropping a hammer. It was pretty expensive, and felt fairly dangerous. An exciting morning đŸ˜‚đŸ€ 





To make mushroom pies for a Canterbury Faire market stall by Kotek Torzhokskoi and Cecily de Montgomery

Several times for Canterbury Faire, Lady Cecily de Montgomery and I made a vast number of pies, the quantity and work of which was fearsome. Here I have included our modern recipe for 400 serves, and also a smaller domestic level for the home or household cook. To make the approximately 400 pies you will need around 14 hours of man-labour in a home kitchen. The pies are tasty, popular and freeze well in sealed containers. While the origional recipe calls for the mushrooms to be boiled, they are far tastier fried in vast amounts of butter. Variations on this to save labour are to oven-roast the mushrooms with the butter, and the addition of onions and/or garlic are not amiss.


Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil, cheese and spice powder.

The Goodman of Paris (Le Ménagier de Paris). A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by A Citizen of Paris (c. 1395). New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928.


For 400 pies;

  • 9kg button mushrooms
  • 2kg butter
  • salt, pepper
  • Roughly 3 tspn ginger,
  • 4 tspn nutmeg,
  • 6 tspn fine ground white pepper,
  • 2 tspn ground cloves
  • 750g-1kg Parmesan grated
  • 10 pkts pre-rolled savoury short pastry (50 sheets) (7-9 per sheet)

For 20 pies;

  • 500g mushrooms
  • 200g butter
  • salt, pepper
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • half a packet of Parmesan cheese (~100g)
  • One packet of pastry

Cook mushrooms until soft in generous amount of butter, set aside to cool and then add cheese and spices and mix thoroughly. Mushrooms should be thoroughly softened and coated, but shouldn’t be drowning in butter, or the pastry will be soggy, drain butter before this step if neccesary. Cut pastry to fit greased mufffin tins and put mixture in. Bake about 15 minutes, at 180c degrees, or until pastry is golden. Cook at a slightly lower temperature if using fan.

This recipe is fairly vague, because we usually do it on a large scale, and to a certain degree by eye, the important bit is just – mushrooms cooked in butter until soft, some combination of those spices, and a bit of parmesan, you can vary stuff up a fair bit. In theory each kilo of mushrooms makes about 30-40 tarts, depending on how enthusiastic you are with filling them, and if you are willing to reroll pastry scraps. These freeze quite happily in sealed containers for few months. They can be served cold, but are really yummy warmed up in the oven. The spices may seem a bit odd for a savoury flavour, but are delicious with mushrooms. You can cut the pastry with a round cutter/glass to make tidy ones, or just whack in some squares with pointy bits up, as long as it makes a cup shape to hold the mushrooms.


~Kotek Torzhokskoi and Cecily de Montgomery

 *originally posted in July 2012 From The Tower 

Recipe; CF2020 Cider

Boil together in a large pot for a few minutes of bubbling;

  • 1.1kg Dark Manuka Honey
  • 200g White Sugar
  • approx 4L water

Then pour into a clean sanitized fermenter with some cold water in, then mix in

  • 1 packet Mangrove Jacks Pear Cider with sweetener and pear flavor sachet (~$65)

Top up with water to 23L and pitch with the M.J. yeast. (Pitched 10.10.19). Ferment then prime and bottle. Potential alcohol is 6.5% for this batch, YMMV.


Recipe; CF2020 Dark Spiced Beer

  • 2x Tin Coopers Stout ($25)
  • 450g Dark Manuka Honey (spare from mead)
  • Hop Pellets; fuggles 24g, 5.3% alpha acid
  • 2t black cardamom
  • 1T allspice
  • 2t whole black peppercorn
  • 1T ground ginger
  • 1T nutmeg ground
  • 1T whole juniper berries
  • One handful cassia bark
  • 1t whole clove
  • 1t ground star anise
  • a foot of fresh rosemary

Boiled for 60 minutes of rapid boiling in approx 5L of water, then strained into a clean sanitized fermenter with ~5L of water and 5L ice, then topped up to 25L. It will be primed with 180g of white sugar and bottled in the next fortnight or so.

On Stouts and Dark Beers

Here are two recipes for a simple dark beer in its evolution;

Beer for the vigil for James of Southron Gaard’s elevation to the Order of Defense;

Can of Coopers Stout (1.7kg hopped malt extract kit)

Boil for an hour with;

  • 1t Black cardamom seed
  • 1/2T allspice
  • 1t black peppercorn
  • 1t whole clove
  • 1T juniper berries (dry)
  • 2T ground cinnamon
  • 2x anise stars
  • 1t diced fresh ginger
  • 14g fuggles hops
  • 300g brown sugar
  • a foot of rosemary stalk for the last half hour

strain, top up to 15 liters, ferment and bottle as normal for a homebrew beer.

This was well received by its drinkers

Spiced Stout II 24/2/18

Can of Coopers Stout (1.7kg hopped malt extract kit)

Boil for an hour with;

  • 1t Black cardamom seed
  • 1/2T allspice
  • 1t black peppercorn
  • 1t whole clove
  • 1T juniper berries (dry)
  • quite a lot of cinnamon bark
  • 2x anise stars
  • 1t diced fresh ginger
  • 14g crystal hops (Pellets, 4.1% alpha acid)
  • a foot of rosemary stalk for the last half hour
  • a handful of sage leaves for the last half hour

Top up to 12L, ferment and bottle as normal for a homebrew beer. Bottled 10/3/19. This was also well received.

Spiced Stout III will be the camp beer at Canterbury Faire 2020; which will be a double batch of the above.

A fyne wine of Grapes

I got a ‘pinot grigio’ kit cheap, which naturally lead me to a favorite drink of hyppocras;

  • One pack of “Pinot Grigio Wine Kit (21L) expired in 2017
  • wine yeast, nutrient from kit (still alive)
  • 8L Red grape juice
  • ground spices; 2t ginger
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1t cardamom
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1/2t clove
  • 1/2t anise

the potential alcohol reading was 15% ABV. Pitched with the wine yeast on 17/7/19. Fermented til it could bubble no longer, then used the kit stabilizer and finings from the kit. Hopefully this will produce a fruity and mildly spicy wine with a little sweetness.

Southron Gaard Baronial Anniversary 2019; Sunday Lunch

I was asked to cook a simple last-day-lunch for this event, here is the menu;

  • A stew of mutton beef pork and cherries spiced; sweet in a slow cooker, put on the night before.
  • Onion Sops; diced onions boiled a long time in (vegan, powdered) stock, served on cubed toasted bread
  • Dressed noodles; egg noodles tossed with olive oil and a lot of cheese
  • pickled vegetables
  • salad of cucumbers and yogurt
  • left over feast food
  • shortbread (purchased)

Digby’s Cock-Ale

while I was reading  Kenelm Digby’s Closet Opened (published in 1669) I stumbled across this gem;

Take eight Gallons of Ale; take a Cock and boil him well; then take four pounds of Raisins of the Sun well stoned, two or three Nutmegs, three or four flakes of Mace, half a pound of Dates; beat these all in a Mortar, and put to them two quarts of the best Sack; and when the Ale hath done working, put these in, and stop it close six or seven days, and then bottle it, and a month after you may drink it.

My interpretation is thus;

Boil for an hour 4L water with 3 large meaty chicken frames

strain through a cloth and cool to approx 70c

Add and stir in the ground grain (Gladfeilds);

  • 50g Sheppard Delight
  • 50g Munich Malt
  • 10g Dark Chocolate Malt

infuse until cool.

Remove the fat from the top and strain through another cloth into a large pot

then, boil an hour with;

  • 500g dry unhopped light malt extract
  • Hop Pellets; 8.5g fuggles
  • 330g white sugar

cool and dilute down to 5.5L

Ferment with bread-yeast and bottle and prime as normal for a homebrew beer.

It has yet to be tasted but looks delightful and red and has a definite savory nose.


UPDATE; 29/10/19

This has been tasted at an SCA brew guild meeting, and no one was sick from it. Hurrah. Received reviews of being suprisingly pleasant and savory.



CF 2019 Repast Menu

This is a simple meal;

Lavender Chicken, Thumiyya; a favorite of mine – original from here . My method: In a large pot, heat oil and a lot of garlic, then add diced chicken (mostly thighs), spices, then water and almonds. Stew a few hours.

Couscous with Herbs

Salad section; lettuces, red onions, carrots, spring onions, what ever was left over from the meal plan

Bean and Pea Salad.

Lavender Chickpeas for the vegetarians


2021 Aged Competition

For a competition of aged brews , I set aside a box. All made in 2018, to take to CF2021


The Spicy Salamander : A Spiced Dark Beer for James of Southron Gaard’s Vigil to the Order of Defense. From a Coopers Stout kit, extra hops and loads of spices.

The Wines

Blackcurrant and Honey 19-2-18

Apricot Wine 24-2-18
Honey Strawberry and Pomegranate wine 20-5-18
Feijoa wine 16-6 18
Blackcurrant Wine 1-1 1-1-18
Blackcurrant Wine 29-7 29-7-18
Elderflower and Strawberry 23/12/18 10%

Fortified Blackcurrant Honey Wine Feb 2018 and 17-10-18 20%Mead 25-5-18
Orange Mead 2-8-18
Apple Mead 29-7-18

Foraged Cinnamon Cardamom CF2018 (Air Still) 35%
Blackcurrant Brandy January 2018 (Caramel Coloring, Air Still) 40%
Blueberry Oak and Anise January 2018 40%
Cocoa nib Schnapps January 2018 35%
Cinnamon, Oak, Mace, Lavender, Clove & Anise first run 40%
Licorice Root and Star Anise Schnapps first run 40%
Malt Vodka 7/6/18 40%
Malt Spirit w Oak,Spice/Honey 15/6/18 37%
Honey,Oak Cocoa and Spice 1/5/18 35%
Vodka from Mead 40%
Raw Rum 40%
Oaked Rum 1 40%
Spiced Rum 10/10/2018 40%
Rose Brandy w/Oak 40%
Rose Brandy w/Persimmons,Sugar, Caramel Coloring 35%
Brandy Base Creme de Cassis 35%
Oaked Brandy 25/10/2018 40%
Sage Flower Brandy 20/10/2018 40%
Honey, Blackcurrant and Apple Brandy 9/12/2018 42%
walnut and oak brandy 40%