Sunday, August 2, 2015

My last day at Hampton...sadness... Alternate Title: day 11

I am greeting you with sadness, this will be my last post for this trip. :(

Today was my final day at Hampton with the amazing team working there. Jeff was off on his own today, so I made the last trek on my own. It was a beautiful day and they had the Prudential Ride London today, so if I was coming in by car, I would probably have cursed. LOL but I was on the train again. It is a really nice ride.

When I arrived the street was blocked and a lot of cyclists were coming around the corner there. It was really exciting to watch.

Cyclists for the Prudential Ride London @ Hampton.
Walking to the palace I was struck with how wonderful it really is, and that this would be my last time for a while. I was sad. So I took a selfie! LOL

I think the Palace was smiling. ;)
I was excited to see everyone again. I popped into registration and waited to be picked up. This morning it was Barry who came and got me. We chatted about yesterday and what I wanted to today, I explained I would like to maybe do a couple of the audio tours and of course do some more stuff in the kitchen.  We said good morning to everyone and Barry walked with me to get my audio guide. I love talking with him, so much knowledge and great tidbits. I wish I could be there longer to get ALL the information from them. OK, it's and excuse to want to sponge all the information.

So I decided to do the Henry VIII apartment tour. They had the actors in, and I would always seem to get stuck when they would be doing a scene. I video taped some of the music bits for Marie again. :) (I hope they are of use for you, Marie).

The great hall - amazing tapestries
I have more pictures on my real camera, so you will have to wait for those. I will create a nice picture gallery when I get home. I went to see the Chapel again (sorry no pictures allowed). Once I finished the tour, I headed back to the kitchens, excited to start my day.

As I entered, Marc told me there were SCAdians from Canada at the table, so of course we introduced ourselves and chatted. They were curious about how I came to be cooking here. It was fun to meet fellow Canadians AND Scadians!

Once they moved on, Marc was working on the Pudding of an ox again, so this time I helped mix the items together, so I almost did the whole recipe. What I didn't do was prepare the blood, chop the bacon fat, measure out the oatmeal or spices. It was really fun AND I got to taste it from yesterday. They had sliced it and fried it in bacon fat...Yum, it was quite tasty, and with an egg it would have been even better. I like it when I am surprised on the taste of something.

It is so easy to get distracted by the people coming through. Everyone was saying really if they finished a recipe it was great, but the main purpose was to engage the visitors and let the food facilitate the interaction. It was a lot of fun explaining what I was doing.

When there was a bit of a lull, Richard had me work with Robin on a recipe called Ryschewys close and fryez. Which is basically a paste pouch with minced dried fruit and spices, fried. Really delicious. So the first thing we needed to make was the paste (or pasta). I opted to have saffron in it, so it would be a really nice yellow colour. The first thing we needed to do was to grind the saffron, the once it was ground we added water to it, which was a lovely yellow colour. So we put flour in a bowl, add sea salt to it (it helps with the gluten in the dough), mixed it with my hands, then I made a small well in the flour and added the saffron water to it. We mixed it until it started to form a dough. We then had to kneed it until it no longer stretched or bounced back. This is so we can get it as thin as possible. For me with no muscles and little hands was really hard to do. Robin would take over and get it going really well. He said that it should take about 20 min to get the right feel to it.

The dough waiting to be rolled. Under a damp cloth
While that was resting, we had to get the filling together, so robin had my cut some dates, figs and raisins. Putting it into the big mortar, add a little bit of red wine to give it a bit of liquid, I needed to make a paste with it. This was also really hard, as I have no muscles or muscle memory. Poor Robin had to take over to help wimpy me. :p

Fruit paste coming along.
Once it was the right consistency, it was time to decide on the spices. Now I was really nervous here as I have never tried some of these spices. Robin was very patient with me and explained what they had, how it tasted (and gave me tastings) and how it smelled. One I had never seen was cubeb. Robin crushed it and had me smell it. It had a floral note to it and a little bit of heat when you tasted it. Really a nice spice. You don't need much either. So, I decided on this mixture: cubeb, long pepper, black pepper, cannelle buds (Cassia buds). I ground them up, Robin suggested I give it a sniff and see if it smelled ok. So I did and I said it was missing something....maybe cinnamon. So he shaved some and put it in the mortar for me to grind. When I smelt it again, I announced it was perfect. He said, if it smelt good it would taste good. :) Into the fruit it went. I have to say I was really nervous that it would taste awful. I felt so out of my league.

spiced have been added
We then rolled out the paste, it needed to be paper thin, so that when fried it would crisp nicely. I loved the rolling pin I was using. It wasn't as long as a French pin and it was a lot thicker, about 3" diameter and about 1.5' long. Really awesome pin. Then I needed to cut out circles in the paste to form the packets. we used the very technical top of a mug. :) I cut out about a dozen circles, then Robin showed me how to stuff them, and try not to rip the dough. also we needed to get all the air out too.

Frying them up
We couldn't have a full fryer on site, so we made due. This was really cool as you can control the heat of the oil on the fire really well, and just take it off when it was too hot. While it was cooling you could add another one in.

The final product:

waiting to be eaten. 
These were so delicious! delicate, crunchy and gooey. Really nice. Thanks Robin for all the time on this one. :)

I realized that it was soon time to head back to London, as I had to meet Jeff at the Globe for Measure for Measure. We were going to be groundlings, I was very excited.

I made my way around, saying my goodbyes to Richard, Jorge, Marc, Robin and Barry. They were so nice and amazing to work with. I can see why these guys have been together for so long, they are the well oiled machine. I hope I didn't disrupt too much, but I am very grateful for all the time they spent me Jeff and I.

I wasn't able to get a picture with everyone, but here is one of Richard, me and Jorge - taken by Barry. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Richard, Erin and Jorge (Barry behind the camera)
Missing was Marc and Robin.
I left Hampton Court Palace with a lot of new ideas and concepts. It was amazing watching these guys cook and interact with the visitors. I would love to work with them again. They are very inspiring!

Now to stand for 2.5 hrs watching Shakespeare...can it get any better? Jeff was waiting in line for us, so I could be close to the stage. The only problem with being short. This show was amazing and being a groundling...I felt I could be a little more rowdy. Lots of sexual innuendos (that's how I like my Shakespeare) and lots of laughs too. Really amazing and I would be a groundling again any time.

Well time to pack!



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