Happy Labor Day Weekend!
This week, we’re excited to share a recipe from Fonthill Media‘s Food and Farming in Prehistoric Britain. You may be thinking, “Why in the world would I want to make prehistoric food?” but bear with us. This book actually has some great recipes, in addition to being a fascinating history of the dietary habits and lifestyle of Britain’s early inhabitants.
About the book
From spit roasting pig to hanging cream cheese from the rafters, from baking roast pork under the ground in pits to cooking trout on wicker frames over an open fire, cooking techniques in prehistoric Britain are ingenious and revealing. There were no ovens and many vegetables and breeds of animal familiar to us today had not yet arrived. In reconstructing some of these techniques and recipes, Paul Elliott has discovered a different world, with a completely different approach to food. This is native cuisine, cooked in a manner that persisted through the Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Ages. This book first tells the story of prehistoric settlement, and moves on to explore the hunting and foraging techniques of the Mesolithic. After discussing the way in which the Britons farmed, and what they grew, the book moves into the roundhouse and the tools and utensils available. The final half of the book examines the varied techniques used, from covering fish in clay, to baking meat underground, spit roasting, brewing mead, boiling water with hot stones and so on. All the techniques have been carried out by the author.
Now that summer is (sadly) coming to an end, we’ve decided to share an autumn-themed recipe! Autumn Bread is a sweet, simple recipe that’s perfect for a morning treat or an after-dinner snack. Give it a try:
This is a sweet bread that can be baked in the late summer or autumn.
500 g spelt flour
1 large cup of blackberries
Half a cup of chopped hazelnuts
200 g honey
About 250 ml water
Mix the flour with the salt, hazelnuts, and blackberries; add water little by little, stirring continuously in order to make a dough that is not too dry or wet. Add the honey at this stage. The blackberries bring with them a lot of juice and care must be taken not to let the mixture get too sloppy; if it is, then add a little more flour. Once a satisfactory dough has been produced, it should be broken up into small cakes, rolled out and placed onto a hot bakestone. Depending on the temperature of the stone and the thickness of the flatbreads, they should be ready in ten to twenty minutes. Check the underside or scorching, and turn the bread halfway through baking.
Now, obviously we don’t all have bakestones, so you can get a little creative with your cooking method (whether it be in a pan or in the oven). This could be a fun weekend project if you’re ever in the mood to try out your rudimentary baking skills.
More than just a recipe book, this title contains fascinating lessons in how our prehistoric ancestors hunted, gathered, grew produce, and cooked food. It even contains 16 pages of color photographs from the author’s own forays into prehistoric agriculture and cooking. If you’ve ever been interested in prehistoric times or the history of agriculture, this is a captivating read that belongs on your shelf.