Medieval Cookery - Recipes from John Crouch

Following our Medieval Cookery demonstration on 20th July we are posting the recipes from John Crouch so that you can all have a go at the dishes.  Please let us know how you get along and if you can send us pictures to



1kg (2lb) fish fillets


1 teaspoon coriander seed

pinch of aniseed

sharp white vinegar

  • Put the fish fillets in a frying pan. Barely cover with water, and season with coriander and aniseed.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Discard the liquid and serve the fillets with a sprinkling of vinegar.



6 venison steaks 1cm (½in) thick

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine

the juice of 100g (¼lb) sour grapes



¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • Grill the steaks until well done, lay on a very hot dish, sprinkle with the ginger, pepper them well, salt very lightly, mix the liquids together and dribble it over the steaks.
  • Then sprinkle with the cinnamon and serve.



1lb clear, strongly flavoured honey

½ teaspoon pepper

finely ground crumbs from the inside of a brown loaf

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

tiny pinch of powered saffron

12-15 box leaves, washed and dried


  • Warm the honey over gentle heat until it is too hot to touch in comfort.
  • Add the pepper and the saffron, stir it, take away from the heat and add the cinnamon.
  • Now add the breadcrumbs, a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a solid mass. It is impossible to say exactly how much breadcrumbs the honey will absorb – it varies both with the honey and the bread – but the mixture must be as stiff as marzipan so that it can be shaped into a long block and cut into rectangular slices about an inch and a half square.
  • At this point if you wish, colour half the gingerbread red with food colouring.
  • Arrange the squares on a dish in a pretty pattern and ornament some of them with a box leaf and a clove.



700g (1½lb) cabbage or spring greens

225g (8oz) onions, peeled and finely chopped 225g (8oz) white parts of leeks, thinly sliced

1/8 teaspoon dried saffron strands

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon honey

850ml (1½pt) vegetable stock

  • Cut off the stalks of the cabbage.
  • Cut the leaves into strips and put into a large pan with the prepared onions and leeks.
  • Stir the saffron, salt and spices into the stock, adjusting the quantity of salt if required, then pour the mixture over the vegetables.
  • Cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes or until segments of firm cabbage are tender.



3 small apples and 3 small pears, peeled, cored and sliced ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or 1 teaspoon dried mint

2-3 tablespoons honey (depending on the sharpness of the fruit)

1 tablespoon red wine or cider vinegar

90ml (3floz) each medium white wine and water

  • Put the sliced fruit in a flat pan (if it is not to be cooked immediately store the slices in some acidulated water to prevent them turning brown).
  • Sprinkle over the pepper and mint.
  • Melt the honey with the vinegar, wine and water and pour the mixture over the fruit.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes or till the fruit is cooked without being mushy; transfer to a serving dish and serve either warm or cold with or without cream.



800g (2lb) minced lamb

3 egg yolks

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon wine or cider

a pinch each of mace, cloves, cumin and cinnamon 1lt (2pt) hot strong stock 250ml (½pt) cold strong stock 100g (4oz) ground almonds salt pepper

1 tablespoon flour blended in 2 tablespoons water

  • Mix the cold broth and slaked flour and simmer gently.
  • Make the meatballs from the meat, spices, egg yolks, sugar and wine.
  • Dampen your hands if the mixture is too sticky,
  • Poach them in the hot stock for 5 minutes.
  • Add the ground almonds to the stock.
  • Lay the balls in a serving dish and pour the sauce around.
  • Add extra spice to the sauce if you like or try an alternative sauce of thin syrup made from half clear honey and half water, with a dash of sharp vinegar added to it.