Lombardy Custard (A Baked Mete)

Today, the recipe for a Lombardy Custard.

picture by Andrea Ewing Callicutt, 2019

Custards (called “baked meats”), both sweet and savoury, were considered meat dishes, as the cream and eggs used in the recipe came from animals. Custards could be eaten during Lent and on “fish days”, when no meat (pork, beef, chicken, lamb/mutton) was permitted. This recipe is from the 15th Century, and serves 6.

You will need:

  • 9″ pastry round
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas), cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, diced
  • 2 dried figs, diced
  • 1 tsp ground mace (you can substitute allspice for mace)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 1 large pinch saffron strands for decorating

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line the base of a quiche dish with parchment paper. Lay pastry round in quiche dish, prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F. Remove from oven, set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350F.

Mix the dried fruit, then arrange it in the cooled pastry in one even layer. Mix remaining ingredients, except for the saffron strands, and pour into pastry over fruit. Sprinkle the saffron strands gently on top. Bake for 1 hour at 350F. The custard will still be a bit soft; let sit for 15-30 minutes to set, or allow to cool and refrigerate.

Custard can be served hot or cold (I think hot is tastier).

October Tavern Work Day

Upon the 17th of October, a few Gardiner’s and friends gathered at the Tavern site to continue brick work on the Tavern base. Seven of us started work in the crisp air of Saturday morning; mixing mortar, soaking bricks prior to laying, cutting bricks down to size, and laying bricks.

We quickly discovered that we were disturbing the sleep of a local barred owl. Of course, the photographer didn’t bring her real camera, so it hung out quite a while despite the noise of breaking bricks and calls for supplies. Eventually it flew off and moved to a lower limb, but further in the woods.


After a break for lunch, Ann joined us back at the work site. She started laying bricks for the doorway plinth wall working towards the same corner Vic was working towards. Bob set the bricks for the final corner, and let Vic and Ann meet up in the middle.

At the end of the day, the tired crew had made significant progress. We have completed all of the low plinth walls that will serve as a base for the timber framed walls, and built up a few courses along the back chimney wall.


Happily at the end of the day, tired and sore, Laura fed us full of salad and Shepherd’s Pie, and then Key Lime Pie. You can see a few more photos from the day on Tavern Site photos, if you need more.

Tavern Site

We staged a few photos on Sunday morning to give a better idea of the space of the newly cleared tavern and kitchen site. It’s quite large and spacious with plenty of room for kitchen, tavern, tents, drilling, skirmishing, archery, and games.

Bandesmen stand at the approximate four corners of the kitchen.

Marking the proposed corners of the tavern, while Fanny admires the space.

Looking to the gathering in the tavern, with a corner of the kitchen to the right

Looking across the drilling green to a gathering of Bandesmen in the tavern

A few more photos of our first meal on the Tavern site during a break in work on Saturday, and the site on Sunday morning, are available on Flickr.

Gardiners Site Cleanup


The site is cleared and cleanup has begun! Several members spent this past weekend, cleaning up debris, pulling up small roots, moving logs around and marking out the kitchen and tavern site.

The site is beautifully situated with a large level area dotted with beech and oak trees for shade and completely surrounded by forest. There’s a nice rise of trees on one side creating a perfect berm for archery and black powder. It’s far enough from the road for privacy, atmosphere and quiet.

The morning was spent picking up branch debris and digging up or hacking away roots waiting to trip you up. Then Bob and Alan headed up the driveway to move some trees. Alan used his tow chain to line the drive with a few, while others were towed to the kitchen site for firewood.

Harv, Rob, Jeff and Jen tackled the large pile of trees left by the clearing company. The hope is to have someone come with a portable mill to cut the trees for use in the kitchen and/or tavern in exchange for them taking some trees for their own. We’ll see if that works out. The group spent some time rolling some logs off the huge pile onto a sled so they can be worked. A combination of strategic chain sawing, leverage and the occasional tow chain from Rob’s Suburban brought down a dozen or so logs without injury.

That wrapped up the day, but there is still a lot of work to do. There are several holes where large trees came down that will need to be filled. Bob and Harv  will be starting on the kitchen soon, digging footers and tackling the brick work. The plans for the kitchen along with a cut list will be done soon.

Thanks to Bob and Laura for hosting and coordinating everything! Jeff and Rob who drove down for the day from Maryland and Harv, Alan and Jen for all their work!

To see more images of the site, visit my Flickr site.

Timber Framing

Two of our members, Bob and Harv, traveled up to Michigan to take a Timber Framing class with Tiller’s International. It was encouraging to discover that creating a timber framed building for a kitchen, and eventually even a Tavern of our own is possible. We look forward to them sharing their tales and skills with the rest of the group.

Tiller's Timber Framing Oct 2013 181

You can see some pictures of the process on Flickr:

Tavern site

Land has been cleared for the Tavern, and Kitchen, and a space to play away from the main house.

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Wooded site prior to clearing

021 - Copy reducedMore woods with a pile of rocks, likely created many many years ago when the land was a farm.

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Cleared land, making way for the Tavern

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Laura shows where one of the corners of the tavern will be. You can see previous pile of rocks in the lower right of this image.