A Neopolitan Feast

A Neapolitan Feast in Celebration of Spring

The event was based on “The Book of The Courtier“ by Baldassare Castiglione, published in Mantua in 1508. An Italian event calls for an Italian feast. My sources were Platina (Cariadoc’s Translations), The Neapolitan Recipe Collection by translated by Terence Scully, with a couple of English and German sources for some vegetable dishes. I relied heavily on www.medievalcookery.com for Prof. Terrence Sculley’s translations, and also Kristen Wright’s translations. Other recipes I took from Cariadoc’s “How to Milk an Almond, Stuff an Egg, And Armor a Turnip.”

The Site: Camp Pipsico, Spring Grove VA. I LOVE this site. I’ve cooked here several times before. The equipment is top notch. It has 2 convection ovens, a huge griddle, a giant soup cooker, 4 burner gas stove, 3 washing stations including a Hobart dish washer, 2 walk-in freezers, 2 refrigerators, and lots of cooking and serving equipment. Just wonderful…

The Budget: 50 people at 10$ a head including breakfast. The total was actually 58 w/ 8 comps for high table. That brought my budget to 500$. I spent 419$. I actually managed to buy for 64 people, so we could have made serious money on this feast if enough people had shown up for the event. As it was we only got 42 for feast. Disappointing, as (if the feedback I got was accurate) this was one of my best feasts ever.


The Menu:


fruit –strawberries and grapes


1st Course:
Emerald Soup Bread
Fresh Cheese

2nd Course:

Tarts of Sausage with Fennel
Salat of Herbs, Greens, Berries and Flowers Diverse Pickles

3rd Course

Mirause of Catalonia
Salat of Apples and Onions Spiced Oranges

4th Course

Zabaglione (wine custard tarts) Marzipan Tarts
Strawberries Stuffed w/ cheese

The Recipes


Flat Bread- Scrambled Eggs
Turnip Hash Browns- Chopped turnips (really rutabagas, they were all out of turnips) fried in butter w/ onions and mushrooms.


Emerald Soup– I base this on several green pottages; 1) “An Excellent Boiled Salad’ from English Huswife, book 2 p.40 2)”A puree with Leeks” Buoch von Guoter Spise #64

I left out the eggs and used turnips as the starch
Fresh Spinach
Fresh Peas
Chicken Stock

Sautee the onions celery and leeks. Add water. Bring to a boil. Add the turnips and peas. Slowly add the spinach until it’s all wilted. Turn off the stove and bring it to room temp. Blend the soup in a blender until creamy. Bring soup back up to a boil for a couple of minutes and serve.

Fresh Cheese– This is an attempt to mimic fresh farmers cheese Greek Yogurt

Riccotta Green onions Garlic

Strain the yogurt overnight. Mix Greek yogurt, ricotta half and half. Add the rest of the ingredients to taste.


This is an excerpt from The Good Housewife’s Jewell

(England, 1596)

The original source can be found at MedievalCookery.com

To make a fresh Cheese and Creame. Take a gallon or two of Milk from the Cowe and seethe it, and when it doth seeth, put thereunto a quarte or two of morningMilke in faire cleansing pans, in such place   as no dust may fall therein, and this is for your clowted Creame, the next morning take a quart of mornings Milke, and seeth it, and when it doth seeth, put in a quarte of Creame therunto, and take it off the fire, and put it into a faire earthen pan, and let it stand vntill it be somewhatbloud warme, but firste ouer night put a good quantitye of Ginger, with Rosewater, and stirre it together, and let it settle all night, and the next day put it into your said bloudwarme milke to make your Cheese come, then put the Curdes in a faire cloth, with a little good Rosewater, and stirre powder of Ginger, and a litle Suger, so last, great soft towles together with a threed and crush out the Whey with your clouted Creame, and mixe it with fine powder of ginger, and Suger, and so sprinkle it with Rosewater, and put your Cheese in a faire dishe, and put these cloutes round about it, then take a pinte of rawe Milke or Creame, and put it in a pot, and all to shake it, vntill it be gathered into a froth like Snowe, and euer as it commeth, take it off with a Spoone, and put it into a Collender, then put it vpon your freshe cheese, and pricke it with Wafers, and so serue it.


A Tarte of Sausage w/ Fennel- This was based off of the sausage recipe from “Opera dell arte del cucinare” by Bartolomeo Scappi.

Traditional pie dough Puff pastry
1 ½ ground beef Fresh fennel
1 garlic clove crushed to paste Cinnamon/salt/pepper/clove to taste
¼ lb Serrano or prosciutto 2 oz. chorizo
4 hard boiled eggs


  1. Butter a 10 inch tart pan
  2. Line the pan with pie dough
  3. Cook ground beef in a skillet w/ garlic fennel ,and spices
  4. Layer ground meat, chorizo, ham, and eggs
  5. Top with puff pastry
  6. Bake for 50 minutes in a 400 degree oven


Salat with Fruits and Flowers – I used the recipe below from “Forme of Cury” and added raspberries, black berries, and strawberries

Leek, rondels
Garlic, minced
Parsley, chopped
Olive Oil
Red wine or Apple Cider vinegar

Chop all herbs and mix with onions, leeks, garlic. Dress with oil, vinegar and salt.

 Original Recipe Sources

Source [Forme of Cury, S. Pegge (ed.)]: Salat. XX.III. XVI. Take persel, sawge, garlec, chibolles, oynouns, leek, borage, myntes, porrectes, fenel and ton tressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye, laue and waische hem clene, pike hem, pluk hem small with thyn honde and myng hem wel with rawe oile. lay on vynegur and salt, and serue it forth.

Kristen Wright’s Translation Copyright 2011


Diverse Pickles

I used a “Salat of Asparagus” and added to that olives stuffed with garlic and artichoke hearts.

Original Recipe sources

Source [Archidipno overo dell’insalata e dell’vso di essa, Salvatore Massonio]: In tre maniere h io veduto mangiare gli sparagi, fannosi prima lessi, e poi divisi in parti sbattute con ova, e fattane frittata con olio, o con strutto. Mangiansi tessi in brodo di carne grassa, ma conditi con formaggio, & uova. E mettonsi a cuocere in acqua legati in un giunco, ma poco bollore ammettono, e separati con diligenza

dall�acqua, servono per insalata, conditi, o con ordinario condimento, o in vece di

aceto con succo di Narancio, overo di limone, e con pepe, che assai piu grato, e questo quasi il modo ordinario di mangiare gli sparagi. E mettonsi a cuocere in acqua legati in un giunco, ma poco bollore ammettono, e separati con diligenza

dall�acqua, servono per insalata, conditi, o con ordinario condimento, o in vece di

aceto con succo di Narancio, overo di limone, e con pepe, che assai piu grato, e questo quasi il modo ordinario di mangiare gli sparagi.(2)


[Translated by Louise Smithson]: In three ways have I seen asparagus eaten. First boiled then chopped into pieces and beaten with eggs, and made into omelets with oil or lard. Eaten in broth with fat broth, but dressed with cheese and eggs. And put to

cook in water and leaves it in a spac�, but little boiling give it, and divide it with

care from water (dry it well) and serve it as a salad dressed, either with the ordinary

condiments (i.e. vinegar, oil and salt) or in the place of vinegar with sour orange juice or lemon juice and with pepper, and it will be more flavorful, and this is the ordinary way one eats the asparagus.

© Copyright 2011: Kristen Wright


Mirause of Catalonia (Platina)

Put together on a spit capons or pullets or pigeons well cleaned and washed and turn them over the hearth until they are half cooked. Then remove them and cut them in pieces and put them in a pot. Then chop almonds that have been toasted under warm ashes and cleaned with some cloth. To this add some bread crumbs lightly toasted with vinegar and juice and pass all this through a strainer. This is all put in the same pot with cinnamon and ginger and a good amount of sugar and left to boil on the live coals with a slow fire until it is done, all the time being stirred with a spoon so that it does not stick to the pot. It is quite nourishing, long in being digested; it warms the liver and kidneys and fattens the body and stirs the belly.

Catalonia, from which this recipe is reputed to come, is a Frankish province on the border of al-Andalus. It lies to the north of Valencia, the city ruled by Roger Canbitur (curses be upon him for an unbeliever), a wicked man but a marvel of Allah for valor and prowesse. It is said that he is now dead; Allah grant that it be so.

Spiced Oranges

I chose cinnamon instead of rosewater for the main flavor because I was already using rosewater in the marzipan.

10 lbs oranges, peeled and sliced
1 cup orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
½ cup sugar

Source [A Book of Cookrye, M. Waks, J. Waks (eds.)]: To make Conserve of Orenges. Take Orenges and pare them very thin the red of the out sides away and quarter them in four, and take away the white of the inside, then seeth them in faire water softlye for breaking, ofte change them in warm water til they be lost: as the yelownes dooth seeth away, so weareth away the bitternes, then take them out of the water and lay them in a fair vessell that the water may run away from them, then beate them small with a spoone, and put to every pound of Orenges one pound of sugar, and half a pound of Rosewater, and boile them togither and box them.

Published: October 23, 2003


Salat of Apples and Onions

Country: Italy Century: 17th

1 medium gala apple
1/2 medium sweet onion
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Peel and cut apple into small cubes. Dice onion into similar sized pieces. Mix apples and onions together. Mix oil, vinegar, and pepper and pour over apples and onions. Serve.

Please note that the quantities are estimates. You can vary the amounts according to your personal taste.

Original Recipe sources

Source [Archidipno overo dell’insalata e dell’vso di essa, Salvatore Massonio]: Fassi la seconda insalata di mele crude, monde dalla scorza, e tolcone via il midollo, e di cipolla, amendue divisi in non minute parti: e se le mele son agre, haveranno maggior

possanza di destar la fame; s�elleno on dolci, faranno gratiosa compagnia all agro

della cipolla. Quest insalata si condisce anch�ella dell�ordinario condimento, ma con l�aggiunta del pepe, che la rende di sapore pi grata. E suol questa in salata farsi nel tempo, che l�asprezza, & orrore del Verno o h in tutto inaridite l�herbe de gli horti, o le neve in tutto le ricuoprono.

[Translated by Louise Smithson]: One makes a second salad of raw apples, peeled, and cut through the middle, and of onions, also cut into not too small pieces. If the apple is sour it has the major possibility of rousing hunger, if they are sweet they will make better company the sour of the onion. The salad one dresses also with the ordinary dressing, but with the addition of pepper, that makes the sauce more graceful.

Marzipan Tortes- These did not work out as intended but they were still tasty. I was running out of time so I did not blanche the almonds. This made for a lumpier filling. I had meant to serve this in a traditional tart shell, but again I had run out of time so I use leftover puff pastry. It looked funny but it was still delicious.


Original Recipe Sources:

Source [The Neapolitan Recipe Collection, Terence Scully (trans.)]: CXV. Torta de marzepane. Piglia amandole he falle stare a moglio una notte, poi spellale che sian ben bianche, he pistale molto bene, et poi pone equale zucaro he equale amandole; per far questa torta megliore che sia una libra de una – cioe, de amandole – he una de zucaro fino, ho piu ho manco secondo la quantitache vori fare, he adiungeralli una onza de aqua rosata; dapoi incorpora ogni cosa insieme; poi piglarai bone nevole fate cum zucaro he aqua rosada – he primo bagnate cum aqua rosata – poi distendele sopra el fondo de una tiella he pone de sopra la dita compositione, he spianala molto bene cum uno cughiaro he fala bassa supragiongendoli zucaro he aqua rosa; poi falla cocere adasio. He cusi te Torta de Marzapane.

Marizpan Torte. Get almonds, soak them a night, skin them so they are quite white, grind them thoroughly and add to them the same amount of sugar; to make this Torte better, use a pound of the one – that is, of almonds – and a pound of fine sugar, either more or less depending on the amount you want to make, and add to them an ounce of rosewater; mix it all together; get good wafers, made with sugar and rosewater, first soaked in rosewater, lay them on the bottom of a baking dish and put the mixture over them, spreading it carefully with a spoon, and make it low, adding sugar and rosewater on top; then cook it slowly. That is what a Marzipan Torte is like.

© Copyright 2011: Kristen Wright


Zabaglione- This is a traditional sweet wine custard. I made a traditional custard and flavored it with marsala wine. I put the custard on puff pastry and then added sweetend berries.

Strawberries Stuffed with Cheese- This is not a period recipe, but it does have period ingredients. I serve it partly to hear women make “oooo” noises. It’s a crowd-pleaser.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

from Nutmeg Nanny


-1 lb large strawberries
-8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
-3-4 tbsp powdered sugar (4 tbsp for a sweeter filling)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-graham cracker crumbs


1-Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.

1-In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.