[Sca-cooks] mustard

Michael Gunter countgunthar at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 22 11:49:39 PST 2007

> If it's that good, make the 20 cups and mail the extras to me ;-)
>From my LPT notes:
Moustarde, Le Menaigier de Paris (1393)
Translation by Janet Hinson
Item, if you would make mustard in the country in haste, bray mustard seed in a mortar & moisten it with vinegar & run it through the strainer & if you would prepare it at once, set it in a pot before the fire. Item, if you would make good mustard & at leisure, set the mustard seed to soak for a night in good vinegar, then grind it in a mill & then moisten it little by little with vinegar; & if you have any spices left over from jelly, clarry, hippocras or sauce, let them be ground with it & afterwards prepare it.
This is a pretty straightforward recipe.  Since I had a few weeks before the mustard was to be served I decided to “make good mustard at my leisure” and soaked the seeds in a good red wine vinegar overnight.
The next morning I took the seeds and ground them in my marble mortar and pestle.  This is rather hard work and slow going when using rather smallish mortar, so the other half I tossed into my electric coffee grinder and let spin.  Although it is a horrid mundanity, the grinder produced virtually identical results.  To add flavor, I took the advice of the recipe and added some sweet spices.  I ground whole nutmeg, whole mace, cinnamon and some sugar together since all of these are common in hippocras and sauce recipes of the time.  I ground the rest of the sodden mustard seeds with the spices to a thick paste.  More red wine vinegar was added until the correct consistency was achieved. 
I didn’t care for the husks of the seeds so I took the aromatic mass and placed it in a sieve above a bowl.  A spatula was used to force the mustard through the sieve and the result was a much smoother mustard in the bowl and a lot of mangled husks in the sieve. The final quantity was about half of the amount before the sieving but it was just enough to fill my “mustard pot”.
The mustard was rather harsh with a bitter aftertaste but not as hot as I expected. It also isn’t as vinegary as I thought it would be.  After two weeks stored in an earthenware jar and covered with wax paper it had mellowed appreciably.  The mustard has a nice bite and also a complex flavor of the spices as well as a touch of sweetness.  This is a perfect mustard to be served with the sausages.
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