The International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds
& Medieval Stuffed Eggs Recipe
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of historical recipes, ingredients and cooking, and I have been working on a Historical British cookbook over the last few years, so I was delighted to accept an invitation to this years International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, my alma mater, as well as trying my hand at cooking some of the recipes that will be featured in this year’s “Feast”, as researched and devised by the well-known food historian, Caroline Yeldham. The theme for this year’s congress is “Empire” and Caroline has taken her recipe inspiration from two interesting cookbooks from the late medieval period, Libre de Sent Sovi and Cuoco Napoletano, with the theme being centred around cuisine from one of the lesser-known medieval empires The Kingdom of Aragon.
I was invited to “test drive” some of the recipes that are being served at the IMC feast this year and this recipe for Medieval Stuffed Eggs was the first on my list, as I have a surfeit of eggs at present! Other recipes that were sent to me to try were: Bolognese torte, Chicken turnover, Limonea – chicken in lemon sauce, Sosenga – meat sauce for various meats, Coriander, Armoured Turnips, Chickpeans, Pastanagat (carrot puree), Crespells, White or Elderflower torte and Cherry torte. I will be featuring two or three of these recipes over the next few weeks, so do look out for them. But for today’s recipe, it’s stuffed eggs, and not just your average devilled egg, but eggs that are packed with herbs, spices, fruit and cheese. The recipe was easy to follow in a modern kitchen and the rather unusual method of frying the cooked, stuffed eggs added a different taste and texture to them.
But back to the Congress - The International Medieval Congress at University of Leeds is a vibrant gathering of around 2,000 medievalists from around 60 countries, who come together to discuss their individual areas of specialism and share their passion for Medieval history. With its full-frontal nudity and epic battles, cult ‘histo-rotica’ fantasy, Game of Thrones, has a significant influence on students when it comes to choosing a degree in Medieval Studies, but that’s no bad thing, according to Axel Müller, Director of the International Medieval Congress at University of Leeds. And this year interest in their subject is at an all-time high. The Congress celebrates its 21st year this year and is the largest event of its kind
Whether it’s the hype surrounding Game of Thrones, the debate concerning the location of important medieval battlegrounds across the country or the regional in-fighting to secure the remains of King Richard III, our medieval ancestors are never far from the headlines. Axel Müller says: “The appeal of medievalism is that whilst we recognise it as local to our own experience, time gives it an element of distance and a sprinkling of fairy-tale. Game of Thrones may be a long way from historical fact, but it is a powerful indication of the enduring fascination of our ancestry and shared experience.”
As well as the obvious lectures, discussion and academic debate, there is of course the Feast: the extravagant medieval feast is a focal feature of the Congress, bringing together cuisine from a ‘forgotten empire’ to honour a variety of medieval recipes, such as traditionally roasted meats, chick peas and unusual cheese-stuffed eggs, not to forget Yorkshire’s finest bitter, specially brewed for the Congress. Over 18,000 gallons have been quaffed so far since 1999, and despite careful planning, delegates still manage to stretch the supply to the limits each year…..
…..The public are encouraged to come along and get involved in this medieval extravaganza. There are numerous events for people to join in and experience medieval culture, craft and cuisine. Advanced booking is recommended, but tickets for most events are also available on the door. For further information, including ticket availability, and how to buy tickets on-line, please visit the website: Leeds Events. Building on the success of last year’s ‘Medieval Fair’ there will be a range of enjoyable activities will be offered on the University Campus this year. Historical crafts such as mail armour production, spinning, textile production, dyeing and even an apothecary will all be available to the public on Thursday 10 July. The local community are given the chance to enjoy samples of medieval food, fantastic falconry displays, medieval musicians and storytellers.
I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to attending the Congress and enjoying the feast, but in the meantime, we have these Medieval Stuffed Eggs to enjoy for our tea, alongside my Elizabethan English Herb and Flower Salad with Honey Dressing recipe. Please do check back regularly to see what other recipes I have made, and for now, I can heartily recommend this recipe for stuffed eggs – the fruit and saffron make them extra special – especially when enjoyed with a pint of Yorkshire ale! Karen
(Images of the congress courtesy: Leeds University – all other images are my own)