Tudor cookery
Monarchs have always dined in style and the large numbers of mouths to feed in a palace required vast and extravagant menus.

Photos by Robert Hoare

Cooking in the tudor kitchens, Hampton Court PalaceRoyal menus since the medieval period read like a dieter's nightmare. As you would expect, monarchs impressed their many guests with vast quantities of food. A look at their menus and recipes today can be both shocking and familiar. Today, cooking days in the Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace are an enormous delight to visitors.

A 1526 menu for Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon

Dynner 1st course
Cheat bread and manchett
Ale and beare
Pottage [a thick broth]
Organe Lyng [cod]
Poudred Eales or Lamprons
Calver Salmon
Haddocks, Mullets or Basse
Playce or Guarnard
Sea Breame or Soalles
Congers, Door
Purpose [porpoise], seale
Carpe, Trout
Crabbes, Lobsters
Rascalles or Flage [cuts of venison]
Tarte closed

Dynner 2nd course
Second pottage
Tench [carp]
Perch or other dish
Eles with lampreys rost
Chynes of salmon broiled
Creves [crayfish]
Baked pepins [apples], oranges
Butter and eggs

To make Onion Soop

Cooking in the tudor kitchens, Hampton Court PalaceTake two Quarts of strong Veal Broth, fourteen large Onions, and cut them thin, and fry them tender, then turn half a Quarter of a Pound of Butter black; and toss up your fry’d Onions, and pit in; then stew them Half an Hour in your Broth, and take the Yolks of eight Eggs well beaten, six Spoonfuls of Spanish Wine, and put them in a quarter of an Hour before you serve up, and keep stirring it till you send it away. Let your bread be cut in Dice and fry’d.
Adapted from Court Cooker by R Smith, 1725

Apple muse

Take Appelys an seth hem, an Serge hem thorwe a Sefe in-to a potte; thanne take Almaunde Nylke & Hony, an caste there-to, an gratid Brede, Safronn, Saunderys, & Salt a lytil, & caste all in the potte & lete hem sethe; & loke that thou stere it wyl, & serue it forth.

Put some apples ina saucepan with water to cover them, place on the heat and bring to the boil. Cook the apples until very soft, adding watter occasionally if needed; then pass them through a sieve, collecting the puree and liquid in a clean pan. Add to this puree some honey, saffron, salt and a little bread. In another pan place some chopped, blanched almonds and some water then bring to the boil. Strain the liquid through a sieve and add to the puree. Bring this all to the boil and cook until the the consistency of whipped cream and serve.

Swan rosted

Kutte a Swan in the rove of the mouthe toward the brayne enlonge, and lete him blede, and kepe the blode for chawdewyn; or elles knytte a knot on his nek. And so late his nekke breke; then skald him. Drawe him and rost him even as though does goce in all poyntes, and seue him fort wit chawd-wyne.

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