WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lushey

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lushey

I hope everyone had a Happy Twelfth Night!

It’s a holiday that goes largely unnoticed in the United States, so in case you missed it, consider reading up on it and possibly practicing it a few days late. That way, you’ll be ready for it next year! And you won’t fall into the wassail bowl like this week’s word.

Twelfth Night by Isaac Cruikshank, 1807, British Museum.

Lushey

Drunk. Example: The rolling kiddeys hud a spree, and got bloody lushey ~ the dashing lads went on a party of pleasure, and got very drunk.

First came the ancient Roman holiday Saturnalia, the December celebration of the god Saturn, and making of all things debauched and merry. As little gods were gradually swapped out for one single God, the old customs centered around the winter solstice morphed into traditions and customs of a Christian nature, that of the birth of the single Savior. The ‘Birthday of the Unconquered Sun‘ became the Birthday of Christ by the Medieval era.

Twelfth Night festivities resulted in response to the 40 days of Advent the preceded Christmas. And what better way is there to break a fast than with tons of food, drink, and a bit of frivolous mayhem? The Advent fast would break on Christmas day; partying continued for twelve days and ended with a Twelfth Night feast the evening before January 6th, also known as Ephiphany.

True devotees of Twelfth Night fun would appoint a Lord of Misrule. It was his job to organize all the feasting and fun. Selection of the Lord was also part of the entertainment and entirely up to chance: a bean was baked inside a cake. Receive the slice with the bean and be crowned Lord of Misrule, you lucky devil. The Tudors even included a pea in their cakes, to be crowned Queen of the Pea. I’m not sure of her honors beyond that dubious title.

Traditional Porter Cake for Twelfth Night, made with Porter Ale, courtesy Historical Foods.

By the Regency era, beans and peas were replaced by silver trinkets and charms, and Twelfth Night traditions became purely secular in practice. The Victorians gilded the lily by wrapping their cakes in crowns.

I knew about the infamous Twelfth Night Cake, but not so much about the drinking. It’s time for recipes! And for authenticity’s sake, they’re metric!

Buttered Beere

Forget whatever Harry Potter drank. This here be Tudor buttered beere. The kind that puts hair on your codpiece. (That sounded better in my head.)

Tudor Butterbeer Recipe
(‘Beer’ means what today in the UK is called a ‘real ale.’ It is not a lager, or German-styled beer.)

Recipe Ingredients:
1500 ml (3 bottles) of good quality British ‘real ale’
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
200g demerara (brown) sugar (adjust to taste)
5 egg yolks (yolks only are needed)
120g unsalted butter (diced)

For The Chilled or Warm Milk Version:
1500 ml of chilled or warm butter beer (as above).
1500 ml of cold or warm milk to mix with the butter beer

Authentic Recipe Method:
Pour the ale into a saucepan carefully (without exciting it too much) and stir in the ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Gently heat this mixture to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer on a low heat – the frothy ale will now clear. If this butterbeer is for adults then only simmer it for a few minutes on a low heat; for any younger adults, heat the ale like this for 20 minutes at 140C, (use a cook’s or jam thermometer). This will burn off almost all of the alcohol.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. You may need to make this drink for the first time and then decide on how sweet you like it (if it comes out too sweet for you, make it again using less sugar next time). However the amount of sugar stated is from the authentic recipe, (if later blending with milk, then it is the perfect amount).

Once the spiced ale is simmering, remove the pan from the heat and add the egg yolk and sugar mixture, stir constantly, and return to a low heat, (you must stir constantly) until the liquid starts to thicken slightly. Be careful not to let the saucepan get too hot again or the egg yolks will scramble and the sugar will burn on the bottom before dissolving. Simmer at this low temperature for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the diced butter until it melts. Then froth the Butterbeer mixture with a hand-whisk until it looks like frothy, milky tea – you can also follow the Tudor advice and pour the Butterbeer from serving jug to serving jug to froth it up (like Mr. Carson would pour wine from decanter to decanter to aerate it and let it breathe). Allow to cool to a warm, drinkable temperature, pour into small glasses or small tankards, and serve immediately.

Authentic buttered beere of 1588, served warm in small pewter goblets. Photo courtesy Historical Foods.

Traditional English Wassail

This is not hot, mulled cider. Let’s just get that misconception tossed in the rubbish bin straight out. It is hot, and it is mulled, but it’s closer to beer than any cider you’ve ever had. To be fair, we’re talking Medieval recipes here. Apples were involved, although more as a garnish. Slices of bread even factor into the ingredient list; original wassail had toast in the bottom of the pot, with hot wassail poured over.

Perhaps the association of wassail and apples came from the tradition of wassailing the apple trees, that of pouring leftover wassail around the roots of apple trees to ensure a good harvest the following year.

<insert your own joke here about how many people you know who ‘wassail their trees’ after a night of exuberant drinking at a party>

Lambswool (Hot Wassail)

1.5 Litres (3 x 500ml bottles or about 6 1/2 cups) of traditional real ale
6 small cooking apples, cored (Bramley apples)
1 nutmeg freshly grated
1 tsp ground ginger
150g (3/4 cup) brown sugar (demerara)

Ingredients for lambswool wassail. Photo courtesy recipewise.uk.co.

Preheat the oven 120C. Prepare the apples in advance and time it so that they are ready about half an hour before you want to put them into the Lambswool to serve. Core the 6 apples fully, getting rid of the pips. Lightly grease a baking tray, then place the apples on the baking tray about 6cm apart (they will swell up a little). Bake the apples for about an hour or so.

Now, while those are baking, grate yourself some nutmeg. In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan (they make the rockin’ world go ’round – still with me? Yes, it’s late and I should be in bed, and yes, I’ve taken my bronchitis cough syrup already.) with high sides, add the sugar. Cover the sugar in a small amount of the ale and heat gently. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved, then add in the ground ginger and the nutmeg. Stir, and keeping the pan on a gentle simmer, slowly add in all the rest of the ale. Leave for 10 minutes on a gentle heat as you deal with the apples.

Take the baked apples out of the oven to cool slightly for 10 minutes. Break open the apples and scoop out the baked flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin. Either mash them with a fork or purée them in a food processor until smooth, but not liquid. Think thick, dry applesauce. Add the apple purée into the ale – which is now called Lambswool – mixing it in with a whisk.

Let the saucepan continue to warm everything through for thirty minutes, on a very gentle heat, until ready to drink. When warmed through, use the whisk again for a couple of minutes (or use a stick blender) to briskly and vigorously froth the drink up and mix everything together. The apple and light froth will float to the surface, and depending on how much you have whisked it, the more it looks like lamb’s wool.

Ladle the hot Lambswool into heat-proof mugs or glasses, and grate over some nutmeg (to taste, because a little goes a long way). Or, pour the drink into a communal bowl (with several thick pieces of toast in the bottom if you want to be completely authentic) to pass around if you happen to be wassailing the local apple orchard.

Traditional Lambswool Wassail. Photo courtesy recipewise.uk.co.

Cheers!

 

  • Slang term from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • You can learn a lot about Twelfth Night at the more specifically-titled A History of the Twelfth Night Cake.
  • The Guildhall Library Newsletter also tells much about Twelfth Night in a post entitled merely Twelfth Night Cake.
  • Find the Porter Cake Recipe at Historical Foods. A cake from the Tudor era made with 300ml of Guinness? Yes, please!
  • Here’s the link to the Buttered Beere recipe from 1588 from ‘The Good Huswifes Handmaide.’ There’s also a link to the 1664 version from ‘The Accomplisht Cook.’
  • The Lambswool Wassail recipe came from Oakden, and my brother’s kitchen right before we bid farewell to Auld Reekie. Yum-o.
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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sir Cloudesley

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sir Cloudesley

Sailors and drinking go together like peas and carrots or fish and chips. This week’s word fits that pattern, but it’s a bit of a sad, in memoriam sort of tale. This week’s post is less about the drink and more about its namesake.

Sir Cloudesley

Small beer, brandy, sugar, and lemon; a drink of sailors in memory of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, who used frequently to regale himself with it. Later to be known as a flip.

So who is exactly is this Sir Cloudesley?

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, 1650-1707, by Michael Dahl, 1702, National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich.

Norwich-born Cloudesley Shovell (1650-1707) rose from the ranks of cabin boy to Admiral of the Fleet before his untimely death at the young age of fifty-six. At seventeen, he was made midshipman on the Duke of York’s (the future James II) Royal Prince. He first saw action during the battles of the Third Anglo-Dutch War as a junior officer; as a captain, he fought at the Battle of Bantry Bay one week before the declaration of the Nine Years’ War in 1689. During the War of Spanish Succession, stories spread throughout the fleet of his swimming between ships, under fire, with dispatches clutched between his teeth to coordinate the fleet in the capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Málaga.

An Action of the English Succession at the Battle of Bantry Bay, 1689, attributed to Adriaen van Diest.

That’s how you become knighted and an admiral by age forty, by golly.

Working with the Earl of Peterborough, he commanded the forces that took Barcelona in 1705, and was named commander of the Navy thereafter. His final battle was one that failed to capture Toulon, the base of the main French fleet, in the summer of 1707, but caused the French so much damage they scuttled their own ships to prevent the combined English and Austrian forces from taking them.

So lost the battle but won the war, in this case.

Sir Cloudesley and the fleet sailed for home after the campaign at Toulon. Nearing Plymouth on 22 October 1707, the fleet were hit with westerly winds and a northern current that ultimately dashed several of them on the reefs and rocks of the Scilly Isles. Sir Cloudesley’s ship, HMS Association, struck Outer Gilstone Rock and was reported to have sunk in three to four minutes, with the loss of all 800 hands. Three other ships also sank: HMS Eagle, HMS Romney, and HMS Firebrand. With the deaths of nearly 2000 sailors, the Scilly Naval Disaster of 1707 is recorded as one of the worst maritime disasters in British history.

18th century engraving depicting the sinking of the HMS Association, during the Naval Disaster of Scilly (1707), artist unknown, National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich.

Sir Cloudesley’s body was temporarily buried on the beach at Porthellick Cove but was later exhumed by order of Queen Anne. The body was embalmed in Plymouth then carried in state to London, inspiring much mourning along the journey. Sir Cloudesley was interred in Westminster Abbey on 22 December 1707.

Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Grave, Westminster Abbey. (I know I shouldn’t, but does anyone else hear, “Draw me like one of your French girls…” or is it just me?)

The epitaph above Sir Cloudesley reads:

Sr CLOUDESLY SHOVELL Knt Rear Admirall of Great Britain and Admirall and Commander in Chief of the Fleet: the just rewards of his long and faithfull services. He was deservedly beloved of his Country and esteem’d, tho’ dreaded, by the enemy who had often experienced his conduct and courage. Being shipwreckt on the rocks of Scylly in his voyage from Thoulon the 22d of October 1707, at night, in the 57th year of his age his fate was lamented by all but especially the sea faring part of the Nation to whom he was a generous patron and a worthy example. His body was flung on the shoar and buried with others in the sands; but being soon taken up was plac’d under this monument which his Royall Mistress has caus’d to be erected to commemorate his steady loyalty and extraordinary vertues.

There is an apocryphal story associated with the death of Sir Cloudesley that states he actually made it to shore alive at Porthellick Cove on St. Mary’s Island, only to be killed by a local woman (the Isles were a but untamed at this time) when she saw the emerald ring he wore. Supposedly, some twenty (or thirty, by some accounts) years later and on her deathbed, she made this confession to her priest, who then sent the ring to either one of Sir Cloudesley’s friends, the Earl of Berkeley, or the original gifter of the ring, Captain James Lord Dursley. No trace of the ring has been found in either of these gentlemen’s histories, however.

Memorial to Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Porthellick Cove, St. Mary’s Island, Scilly Isles.

Gilstone Rocks location at Porthellick Cove, Scilly Isles.

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • For informational purposes, you will see Sir Cloudesley’s name spelled in myriad ways. I chose the spelling from his marriage lines and will. But it’s different on his epitaph, some of his citations, the occasional newspaper write-up. You name it.
  • The recipe for Sir Cloudesley can be found in Beverton’s Nautical Curiosities. Glance up at the Salty Dog recipe for a chuckle shiver on how to moisten the rim of the glass.
  • Sir Cloudesley Shovell was no doubt a man we’d have liked to sip some of his namesake drink with. Read more about him at History Today and Wikipedia.
  • There are surprisingly numerous letters about The Shipwreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovell on the Scilly Islands in 1707.
  • I had no idea there is a Find a Grave website. But there is and of course I think it’s cool. They had Sir Cloudesley’s temporary grave from Porthellick Cove.
  • Words from the grave inscription courtesy Westminster Abbey.
  • Last but certainly not least, not just a drink but a rock band, too. The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are “the last of a dying breed of Grease Rock Bastard musicians who somehow, despite and in spite of the last 3 decades trying their best to kill off balls out, non-bulls— rock’n’roll music, somehow, against all the f—–g odds, still exist.”
WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Twist

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Twist

This week’s word is exactly what it sounds like – a combination of two other drinks. Much to my disappointment, I could not find a specific recipe for this specific drink. I admit to hoping for a discovery of coffee + tea + some random addition like reduction of parsnip or “stir with the branch of an elderberry.”

Alas.

So I’m left to an examination of the individual parts of the whole. And we’re on our own to mixing the following recipes.

Do let me know if you add parsnips.

Twist

A mixture of half tea and half coffee.

Tea

According to the Jane Austen Centre, by the time you take that first sip of tea, you should know it’s going to be perfect because you’ve planned it be so every step of the way. The instructions are extremely specific:

  1. Start with a preheated pot. This prevents the tea cooling too quickly. To warm, pour boiling water into the pot.
  2. Use freshly drawn, not reboiled water, for the tea. Bring this freshly drawn water to a rolling boil for approximately ten seconds. Remove kettle from heat. Don’t boil the water for too long as this will boil away the flavour-releasing oxygen.
  3. Pour out the water used to preheat the pot and add the freshly drawn, freshly boiled water. [emphasis mine]
  4. Wait until the water is just off the boil before pouring it onto the tea. This brings out the rich aroma and avoids scorching the tea.
  5. Start with three-fourths of a level teaspoon of loose tea for every six ounces of water.
  6. Steep for 3-5 minutes, according to taste. If possible, cover the teapot with a towel or tea cosy while steeping to retain heat.
  7. Place a strainer over each teacup before pouring tea. If you would like to add milk (milk, not cream) pour it in the cup before adding the hot tea as this will allow the milk to better blend with the tea without curdling.
  8. Sweeten as preferred or serve with a slice of lemon.

Still Life Tea Set by Jean-Étienne Liotard, circa 1781-1783, Getty Museum.

Coffee

Coffee has a colorful history and has aroused passions in its consumers since it first passed lips and delighted palates. The first coffee beans reached Venice in 1615; the first coffee house opened there nearly 70 years later in 1683. A European obsession was born. When coffee and its houses began booming in London about thirty years later, they attracted intellectuals, artists, politicians, bankers, and merchants. They were known as “Penny Universities:” for a penny, you could pick up coffee as well as useful information on a variety of topics.

I have a fever…and the prescription is more coffee…

Telling Fortune in Coffee Grounds, 1790, Lewis Walpole Library.

Remember when Elizabeth was assigned coffee pot duty at Longbourn when the gentlemen returned (and Jane was in danger of making Bingley fall more in love with her than ever?), and Elizabeth longed to speak to Mr. Darcy and thank him for his service to her sister?

Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee; and then was enraged against herself for being so silly!
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

She needed to be serving some of this bewitching brew:

Regency era coffee recipe courtesy Jane Austen Centre.

And just when I thought all was lost, and that potions and syrups thrown into coffee were a modern-day invention, archaeological scholars at the University of Cambridge made a historical coffeehouse find: Calf’s foot jelly and a tankard of ale.

Researchers have published details of the largest collection of artefacts from an early English coffeehouse ever discovered. Described as an 18th century equivalent of Starbucks, the finds nonetheless suggest that it may have been less like a café, and more like an inn.

Customers today may settle for a flat white and a cinnamon swirl, but at coffee shops 250 years ago, many also expected ale, wine, and possibly a spot of calf’s foot jelly, a new study has shown. (Read the rest of the article here)

So the next time you’re shouting out your order at the coffee counter, make sure to enunciate clearly between ‘half caff’ and ‘half calf,’ or you may get something completely different.

Some of the 500 objects, many in a very good state of preservation, including drinking vessels for tea, coffee and chocolate, serving dishes, and 38 teapots from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit find.

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • For recipes at the Jane Austen Centre, head here for Tea and here for Coffee.
  • There is a great post over at Spitalfields Life featuring The Map Of The Coffee Houses. Definitely take some time to go over and check it out. In fact, Adam Dant has compiled an entire book of Maps of London and Beyond for your wish list. I know. I have a book addiction. But at least it’s an addiction for excellent books. Check out this map!

The Character of a Coffee House, map compiled by Adam Dant from Maps of London and Beyond by Adam Dant.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Huckle My Buff

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Huckle My Buff

Why this slang term ever went out of style, I’ll never know, when it’s so much fun to say. I don’t care if people quit drinking the concoction. I really think I need to appropriate this term for my own purposes.

Bless Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty for heading down to Harveys Brewery and leading the charge to bring this drink back for the recognition and regular usage the name alone deserves. While we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer and it’s hard to summon the desire to drink a steaming hot beverage, just file this one away for the wintery months around the corner.

Well, around several corners for a few of us.

Harveys Brewery Lewes East Sussex.

Huckle My Buff

Beer, egg, and brandy, made hot.

This early 18th century drink combined the three ingredients above, but also sugar and nutmeg, if one had it to hand. A pint of beer was combined with an egg, then heated with a hot poker so that it wouldn’t boil but would come nearly to the scald. Another pint of beer was mixed in, plus sugar, nutmeg, and brandy to taste. And you definitely served it hot.

In true modern, chef de cuisine fashion, Oliver and Doherty have updated this old chestnut of a recipe with the addition of ginger juice and cognac, and by using nitrous oxide and a sous vide rather than the red-hot fireplace poker. To each his own, I suppose.

The 21st Century Huckle My Buff

Fresh Egg Yolk
150ml Harveys Porter
35ml Cognac
20g Muscovado sugar
30ml ginger juice/Liqueur
Nutmeg

Gently blend all ingredients on a slow speed, then warm in a saucepan, gently stirring with a whisk. Pour into a warmed glass and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.

To make it like Jamie and Jimmy, whisk one fresh egg yolk then slowly whisk in 20 grams of muscovado sugar, 35ml of cognac, 150ml of Harvey’s Stout Beer, and 0.8ml of ginger juice. Pour the mixture into a soda syphon; close and charge with nitrous oxide. Gently warm the soda syphon to 60°C in a sous vide bath. Discharge the warmed syhpon into a glass and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Jamie Oliver and his Huckle My Buff at Harveys Brewery in Lewes, East Sussex. Courtesy Harveys.