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Please note that I generously recived permission from English Heritage, the publisher of the book by Peter Bears from which the following excerpts are taken, to publish the text excerpts below on this non-commercial website. This means the permission is exclusively for display here, and for personal use regarding the text, and you may not use the text elsewhere.
Food & Cooking in 17th Century Britain,
by Peter Brears.
Published in 1995 by English Heritage.
Copyright © Peter Brears and English Heritage, 1985
ISBN 1-85074-537-4

The recipes have been chosen to demonstrate a typical range of seventeenth-century dishes, and to give some impression of their diverse flavours. They include some of the newly introduced varieties of pudding and bakery, in addition to contemporary versions of well-established foods. First and second courses for a meal may be made up from a combination of any of the meat dishes with a pudding and either hot or cold roasts; while the various sweets, cakes and biscuits, with fresh fruit and cheese, can form a banquet or third course. As an alternative, any of the recipes can be used individually as part of an otherwise modern meal.

Diet Bread

14 oz (400g) plain flour
2 tbls (30 ml) dried sage
1/2 oz (15g) fennel seed, bruised
1/2 oz (15g) dried yeast mixed
with 1 tsp (5ml) sugar and
1/2pt (275ml) warm water

Mix the dry ingredients in a warm bowl, make a well in the centre, work in the liquid, knead, and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. Knead the dough on a floured board, shape into a round cob or a number of small cakes, and allow to prove for 15 minutes before baking at gas mark 8, 459 F (230 C) for 15 minutes, and then for a further 40 minutes at gas mark 6, 400 F (200 C). This bread has a delicate aniseed flavour, and makes an interesting accompaniment to soups, fish or cheese.
A Temple Newsam recipe quoted in The Gentlewoman’s Kitchen


 For the salad:
young leaves of lettuce, sorrel, mustard, cress, dandelion, spinach, radishes
8 oz (225g) capers
12 dates, sliced lengthways
2 oz (50g) raisins
2 oz (50g) currants
2 oz (50g) blanched almonds
6 figs, sliced
6 mandarin oranges, peeled and divided into segments
For the decoration:
5 small branches of rosemary
4 lemons
8 oz (225g) fresh or glacé cherries
6 hard-boiled eggs.

Mix the contents of the salad together (reserving half the capers, dates, almonds and oranges for decoration) and spread evenly across a wide shallow dish. Spike each branch of rosemary into the pointed end of five half-lemons, and hang with the cherries before placing one in the centre of the salad, and the remaining four equidistant around it. Prick four half-eggs with the reserved almonds and dates. Both sliced lengthways, and place these between the four half-lemons. Quarter the remaining eggs, and alternate with slices of lemon just within the brim of the dish. The decorate the brim with alternating orange segments and small piles of capers.
From the Second Book of Cookery

Chicken Cullis

 1 chicken
1 1/2 pt (850ml) white wine or white wine and water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 pt (575ml) single cream
1/2 tsp 2.5ml) ground ginger
2 tbls (30ml) sugar
1 tbls (15ml) rosewater

 Simmer the chicken in the wine, or wine and water, until tender - about 45-50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it hot, ready for the table. Beat the egg white into the stock, and continue to whisk over a moderate heat until it comes to the boil. Stop whisking immediately and allow the liquid to rise to the top of the pan before removing it from the heat for a few minutes to allow the fine particles to form a soft curd with the egg white. Pour the liquid through a fine cloth into a clean pan, place on a gentle heat, an stir slowly while pouring in the cream. Heat the cullis almost to boiling point, stirring continuously, and finally add the ginger, sugar and rosewater just before serving. 
The cullis may be poured over the chicken resting on crustless cubes of white bread, in a deep dish. Alternatively, it can be served separately as a soup, when its smooth texture and rich, delicate flavour can be enjoyed to the full.
From Sir Hugh Platt: Delightes for the ladies

Marzipan Bacon

 8 oz (225g) ground almonds
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
2 tbls (30ml) rosewater
red food colouring
cornflour or icing sugar for dusting

 Beat the almonds and sugar with the rosewater to form a stiff paste. Divide into two, and knead a few drops of the red food colour into one half. Using either cornflour or icing sugar to dust the paste, roll out half the white mixture into a rectangle about 1/8 inch (10mm) in thickness, and the remainder into three thinner rectangles of the same size. Divide the red paste into four, and roll each piece out into similar rectangles. Starting with the thick white slab (‘the fat’) build up alternate red and white layers to form a miniature piece of streaky bacon, from which thin slices or ‘collops’ can then be cut and allowed to dry.
From The Complete Cook and Queen’s delight, 1671 edition


 1 pt (575ml) double cream
7 fl oz (200ml) Rhenish white whine
2 tbls (30ml) dry sherry
4 oz (125g) caster sugar

 sprigs of rosemary or the peeled zest of a lemon
Beat the cream, wines and sugar together to form a thick froth, and spoon into large wine glasses. Insert the rosemary or lemon as desired, and allow to stand in a cool place for at least 12 hours before serving. The resulting syllabub is one of the most delicately flavoured, smooth and delicious of all seventeenth century dishes.
From Sir Kenelm Digby: The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened.

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Text Copyright © Peter Brears and English Hertiage 1985. With permission.
Graphics Copyright © N. Kipar 1999.