French spice blend (16th century)

February  9, 2018
Photo by Wikipedia commons
Author Notes

This recipe reflects medieval trade and tastes, but is very much usable today. You may recognize its grandaughter recipe in Quatres Epices. Both that blend and the recipe here may be used for savory dishes (braised or roasted meat) or sweet ones (gingerbread, apple pie and so on). Galingale, long pepper & grains of paradise, 3 unusual spices used here, give tingly and complex flavors. They are findable and worth seeking out, at bricks-and-mortar or online specialists. I have liked and cooked with this blend for years, and bottle it for gifts. Original had 1 tablespoon clove, which I omit as I don't like it, but you can restore that spice. Adapted from Livre fort excellence de cuysine, 1555. —Nancy

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes 1 cup (110g)
  • 4 tablespoons (about 30g) ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (about 30g) ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (about 15g) ground nutmeg &/or mace
  • 2 tablespoons (about 15g) ground black peppercorns (round pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon (about 7g) ground long pepper (featured in attached drawing)
  • 1 tablespoon (about 7g) ground grains of paradise
  • 1 tablespoon (about 7g) ground galingale, a member of the ginger family
In This Recipe
  1. Get whole spices if you can, roast (optional) and grind them in a coffee grinder or blender. Measure and mix.
  2. If whole spices are not available, use ground ones from a store where turnover is high or a jar that is newly opened. Measure & mix.
  3. Put in air-proof container, and keep in a dark, cool cupboard for up to a year.
  4. If you want to make less or more, pick another measure (e.g., teaspoons instead of tablespoons) but maintain the ratios used here.

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