For the second part of our busy weekend, we went somewhere a little nearer to home - Haddon Hall - for a day of Tudor cookery and feasting.
This was another event by the ever popular Tudor Group, who specialise in bringing the Tudor world to life through re-enactments. This weekend they were preparing a feast for the lord of the manor - using techniques and equipment from the period. It was possible to walk among the cooks, watch them at work and ask questions.
There was the sort of thing you might expect of Tudor banqueting - a roasted pig's head, for example,
The time and effort involved in presentation was staggering - not only in the things we might expect, such as whipping cream or grinding nuts by hand.....
|grinding almonds for marchpane|
|dyed and decorated marchpane|
....but in the presentation of food for the table. Ground almonds and sugar were made into marchpane (marzipan), coloured and formed into all sorts of dishes
|marchpane flowers with salad|
the pastry to this pie is being shaped and decorated as a peacock.
|gilding the head|
|decorated, unbaked 'tail'|
|baking the 'body' in the Tudor pastry oven|
|half-assembled, waiting for the tail!|
in all his finished glory, waiting for the Lord's table
|peacock resting on a bed of flowers|
More prosaic items, that we take for granted, also had to be laboriously hand made. Some of the team members were busy making sausages the hard way....
|no sausage machines for the Tudors!|
|forcing down the sausage-meat|
|a long way still to go...|
At last everything was ready for the High Table in the Great Hall....
A totally fascinating day - I just wish I'd been able to sample some of the food!