Cinnamon and Catteren Cakes

Though ’tis rare that Mistress Agnes can afford spices, she does have to enliven Sir Francis’ food with such exotic items, so she thought it was timely to share her thoughts on cinnamon. In our time, it is the Dutch who have the monopoly on cinnamon and the Dutch are not our greatest friends. In truth we will be going to blame them for the gurt fire that we hear will take place in London afore long.

Pestle and MortarThe leaves and the bark can be used. Oft times Mistress Agnes will sprinkle cinnamon in her jumble mixture and it is also added to Catteren cakes. Down in Darkest Devon, where Mistress Agnes doth abide, there are ladies who do weave the threads with bone to make lace. St Catherine’s Day is 25th November and on this day the lace makers cease their labours and Catteren cakes are distributed. These small fruit cakes are flavoured with caraway and with cinnamon. If truth be told, Mistress Agnes prefers the accompanying “Hot Pot”, a mixture of rum, beer and raw egg. ’Tis believed that King Henry’s Queen Catherine was the first to show kindness to the lace makers of Bedfordshire, by giving them both cakes and work.

Cinnamon can also aid those who ail. It makes a wonderously healing tea for those who suffer from the noxious wind of the belly. It also encourages the flow of blood to the extremities and can be used to swill the mouth after imbibing too much fortified wine. ’Tis a gentle herb for use in cases of debility.

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To Make Fritters of Sheep’s Feet

Mistress Agnes has been sharing receipts for various delicacies that she connects for Sir Francis and his guests from time to time. This one seemed too good not to pass on.

cookingTake your sheep’s feet, slit them and set them a stewing in a silver dish with a little strong broth and salt, with a stick of cinnamon, two or three cloves, and a piece of an orange pill. When they are stewed, take them from the liquor and lay them upon a pye-plate cooling. When they are cold, have some good fritter-batter made with sack, and dip them therein. Then have ready to fry them, some excellent clarified butter very hot in a pan, and fry them therein. When they are fryed wring in the juyce of three or four oranges, and toss them once or twice in a dish, and so serve them to the table.

From W. M’s The Compleat Cook

Swords and Spindles give presentations about the food and drink of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.