Saturday, August 1, 2015

I have made the pilgrimage to Hampton! Alternate Title: Day 10

EDIT: I made an error in one of the historian's name, it was not Oliver but Robin. My apologies.

I have made it! Greetings Tudor fanatics!

Soooo....this day was long and coming and I don't know if this post will do it justice. I will try, but man there was so much info.

The day started out beautiful, Jeff was coming with me, so he made sure we had a good breakfast before we headed out. To be honest, I was not hungry. I was just too nervous to eat, but I made sure I stuffed my face. lol

Jeff decided he was going to video tape our ride to Hampton. When he is done with it, I will post it. It should be awesome.  We decided to walk to Canada Water tube station since it was so nice, then hoped on the Jubilee line to Waterloo station. From Waterloo station we took the train to Hampton, which is about a half hour ride. I can't say how amazing it was outside...and of course I am going to be in a kitchen all day. In fact, I think this weekends weather will be the best since we have been in London. Figures!

Main gates - 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace

Starting the walk up the drive!

Amazing Palace

Our instructions were to go to the reception office and Richard Fitch was going to meet us there. So at the reception desk, we had to get special name tags to wear.

Very official!

An excited Erin...or really nervous, hard to tell

Richard came and got us and brought us through to the main building and had us do the audio guide till they were ready to help us get started. I was so nervous, my stomach was doing flips. We had done this before, but there was some new stuff added since we were there last. Since they are celebrating the 500th anniversary, there are special activities happening till the end of august. We made our way to the main court to see the Henry VIII come in with his courtiers.

Singing and dancing Tudors
I am not sure how accurate this singing and dancing Tudors are, but it was fun to watch and listen to. Marie, maybe we can find something like this for the choir. Jeff has some video! 

I think this is Henry...they really didn't say! lol
It was a fun thing to watch, but I think anyone who has to do protocol work for Royalty would be kinda offended. lol

Heading back to the kitchens, we watched Robin (My mistake yesterday - it was not Oliver - I apologize for that.) & Zak working the roasting meat. The great thing is that anyone can have a go at it. In fact, they encourage it. Richard had us start with Jorge who was playing the kitchen clerk. His specialty is period handwriting and manners. we watched him chat with all the visitors and get them to sign the visitor book they were creating. He even created a nice Tudor letter for our visit and sealed it with his personal seal.

Our personal letter from Jorge
His amazing handwriting
Jeff had a go at creating a ledger list.

Jeff's ledger
Jorge was telling us all about the paper and that it was important to have this linen paper as they had examples that are well over 2000 years old. Modern paper is just not the same, it is too acidic and won't keep like historical parchment. We talked about inks and how cheap it was to make, and sealing wax. I really want to learn how to write like this. :) He then had us help him set up a Tudor table to talk about table manners. He explained how strict they were in Tudor time and how the table was set and the dishes used. This is very interesting!

A Tudor table setting
The table linen is better quality than the linen smocks I own. Sigh, my standards need to go up I think.

Once we were done with learning with Jorge, Richard had us come back to the kitchen area and work on some recipes. First up was Pudding of an Ox (or blood/black pudding) with Marc. Now I missed the messy part of making it, but I was there to stuff them. :)

Getting instruction on using the horn to stuff the pudding.

getting ready to stuff

poking in the stuffing

pushing the stuffing down, making sure no air is in there.

Pleased with my sausage. :)
The second dish I was working on was Sorge (sp?)

This dish was really easy and Jeff and I completed it together. First was the chicken Richard had been boiling for some time. Then we needed to get some hard-boiled eggs going.

Richard checking the chicken

getting the spices ready
So the recipe calls for eggs whites and egg yolks, chicken, vinegar (vine, ale or cider) sage, galangal, ginger and cloves. A very simple recipe. Jeff placing the very heavy bronze pot on the fire with the eggs inside.

Jeff putting on the water for the eggs

Eggs are on
 Jeff and I worked together to get the spices ready. The ginger and galangal were dry so we had to shave it before placing it in the brass mortar and pestle. We started with the ginger, then ground it fine in the brass M&P. Once it was a nice consistency, we dumped it into the very large marble mortar with a wooden pestle. We did 2 cloves next, it was recommended to chop the clove a bit before using the mortar. The last one was the galangal, we also shaved this before putting it in the M&P as it was very fibrous and like a dried mushroom (which it is not). Once all the spices were done, they were placed in the large mortar and pestle and the fresh sage was added. the technique to get the fresh sage to mix was really interesting. Richard showed me the proper technique and it had a unique sound, when done right. I need one of these!

The herb and spice mixture
When the eggs were done, we needed to peel them (damn eggs are just like that lunch we did), then we needed to separate the yolks and whites. the yolks were then added to the large mortar and mixed together with the spices. Once it was well mixed, we added malt vinegar to the mixture to get a wet consistency (like a deviled egg). It was quite a bit of vinegar, but the flavour was really nice. Then I shredded the whites into the mortar as Jeff stirred it with a spoon. I then placed the mixture into the bottom of the bowl. Richard recommended that I smooth out the top before placing the shredded chicken on top.

The egg mixture going into the bowl
Below is the final dish, this recipe is served cold and boy was it delicious!

chicken on top - the final dish
This ends day 1 of my Tudor adventure. All I can say is that this is all I have ever wanted to do, I am in heaven!