Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Showing posts with label Kris Kennedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kris Kennedy. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spotlight on Kris Kennedy's DECEPTION

So happy to be here with Eliza today, hanging with you, my fellow historical romance loving peeps!

I’ve got a new release this week, Deception!  Smugglers and sword fights and sexytimes, oh my! 

It’s a big, epic, hot-hot-hot medieval adventure, a second chance romance with an Irishman on a mission of revenge and the woman who can bring the whole thing crashing down around him.

First he loved her. Then he abandoned her.
Now he’s the only one who can save her.

The hero, Kier, is a black-hearted Irishman working a long con against some Very Bad Men who once tried to destroy him (there were smugglers’ huts and ropes and incinerating fires).   Kier rebuilt himself mind and body and now he’s back, on the hunt for retribution. Everything’s going according to plan…until Sophia shows up.

He’s shocked and stunned by the reappearance of the only woman he’s ever cared for (he can’t call it love…he doesn’t know the meaning of the word yet).  But Sophia has her own desperate plans too, and when she forces her way into his schemes, Kier is furious.

But Sophia is so very, very good at charming the people Kier needs charmed, and he’s a risk-taker to the bottom of his heart, so he’s not above using her. But he will never, ever protect her. It’s a most solemn vow.

I'm sure it’ll all work out.  After all, they're two adults, one on a mission of vengeance, the other on the run from the most dangerous men in England. They both want the same thing. Only one of them can have it.

Oh, and they want each other with a scorching hot desire that won't be denied. What could possibly go wrong??

Come find out!

I thought you might like an excerpt!


 ...Kier turned and stared through the open doorway at her.

He looked like sin. His hair was dripping dark and wet over his face. His clothes were molded to him, his tunic slack with rain, pressed to his body, his breeches tight, his black boots gleaming, as were the dark eyes he pinned on her.

“Where were you going, Sophia?”

His words were quiet and low, but they unleashed a shiver through her body, prickling her skin from chest to belly.

He advanced a step. “Where were you going with the ledger?”

“Kier,” she said in a low, warning tone.

He kicked the door shut behind him.

“Kier, stop,” she said firmly, but the resolve in her words was belied by the way she started backing up, one hand stretched out behind her, feeling for obstacles. She bumped into a bench and backed around it.

“Where were you going?” His eyes never left hers as he shoved the bench out of his way. “To Cosimo? Or had you others in mind? Perhaps you meant to sell it to the highest bidder?"

"Kier, stop."

"Surely you could have offered me rights of first refusal, could you not, now?” His Irish was getting stronger as his emotions ratcheted up. Jagged chills raked across her chest, a saw-edge of fear.

She shook her head wildly and tripped backward another step. The back of her knees hit the bed and she dropped onto it. “Kier, no, you must see—”

“See what? Perhaps you were evening the score, aye? I left you, now you leave me?”

She scooted across the bed, pushing with her elbows and heels. “No, ’tisn’t—”

He closed his fingers around her ankle.

“Oh, Jésu,” she whispered as he pulled her toward him, bundling the sheets beneath her, until she was laid out beneath his towering body.

His eyes were like fury, his face like stone. “You erred, lass,” he rasped.

She stifled a scream, kicked hard into him, and launched herself over the bed and took off running for the door. She made it two steps before his arm closed around her waist, stopping her like an iron bar. He yanked her back into his chest and the raw, barely-restrained power of him.

"You wanted to negotiate? Let's negotiate," he said, his breath hot in her ear.

I love big, sexy, adventure romances with reluctant heroes and smart, feisty women who push their buttons, so if you do too, you might like the stories too!
You can check out Deception right now!

Unfortunately, iBooks and GooglePlay are being difficult, so they’re not live there yet. But you can sign up for the newsletter to get informed when they are!
And stop by the website for all links and loads of excerpts from all the books (including the first 4 chapters of DECEPTION!)

How about you?? What’s your favorite kind of historical romance?

Kris Kennedy is a USA Today bestselling author writing super sexy, adventure-laden historical romances set in England and Ireland during the ages when chivalry and bad boy knights reigned supreme.  They're hot, epic romances with big bad alpha heroes and strong, fiery heroines who aren't afraid of them (well maybe just a little afraid...)

Come on in and indulge!  Ride the king’s highway on horseback and visit smugglers caves. Travel to medieval France & England & Ireland, and get a taste of the Holy Lands. Visit sea towns shrouded in darkness...sneak into hidden caves...sail on ships…
get snowbound in a firelit cottage with no one but a dangerous outlaw and the way he’s looking at you, firelight glinting in his eye.

You can do it all in the books!
Have fun in there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Behind the Research Scenes of The King's Outlaw with Kris Kennedy

Welcome to History Undressed, guest author Kris Kennedy! I'm thrilled to have been part of an anthology with Kris that just released yesterday: Captured by the Celtic Warrior! Today, she's written a fun post on the history behind the dagger that features in our book! Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Kris Kennedy, and I’ve got a little ‘Behind the Research Scenes’ glimpse for you, from THE KING'S OUTLAW, in the Captured by a Celtic Warrior anthology that I’m doing with fab authors Eliza, Vonda Sinclair, and Jennifer Haymore!

The story is set in 1193, deep in the era of crusading knights and questionable chivalry, and despite all my research on this time period already, while researching THE KING’S OUTLAW, I learned still more!

One of the coolest things I got to research was the history of the Hashashin, the real, original Assassins.

This were a Nizari sect of Islam that formed in 11th century, lead by the "Old Man of the Mountain." They were a military order, but conducted high-level espionage and political murders through one class of their order, the "fida'i." These were young men, highly trained in many arts and skills, from combat to linguistics to espionage techniques.

Although they often conducted extremely public murders of high-ranking figures, to terrifying effect, they primarily worked covertly, in secret and quiet. They would assimilate into the towns and social worlds around their targets, sometimes for months on end.

They were immensely fond of using daggers, sometimes poisoned, both as a weapon and as a threat. They were legendary for sneaking into the tents of political opponents at night and leaving a dagger and a note lying on the pillow or the floor, right beside the body of leader they'd stood beside, undetected, in the dark.

One of many stories of their exploits: In 1092, upon his coronation, the new sultan of the Seljuk empire rebuffed a Hashashin ambassador. Bad idea. He woke up one morning soon after with a dagger stuck in the ground beside his bed. He didn't say anything about it--who wants to announce a weakness like that??--but a little while later, a messenger from the Assassins arrived, saying, "Did I not wish the sultan well that the dagger which was struck in the hard ground would have been planted on your soft breast."

Gotcha. For the next several decades there was a ceasefire between the Nizaris and the Seljuk.

Saladin, the Crusaders best opponent, was repeatedly targeted by the Assassins, and finally came to terms. Many, many Crusading leaders did as well. In fact, almost a hundred years later, Prince Edward—later to become King Edward I of England, the ’Hammer of the Scots’—was wounded by a poisoned Assassin's dagger in 1271 while he was crusading!

The reason all this entered my research lens during the writing of THE KING’S OUTLAW for the CAPTURED BY A CELTIC WARRIOR anthology is because there’s a jeweled dagger that runs though all four of our stories. Since my story was appearing first, I knew I wanted to set up a compelling, exciting ‘tale for it.  But I also had to keep the storyline relatively tight—no sprawling 400 pg epics here!    And of course, it had to be über-sexy. All within a ‘captured’ theme.
So, there I was, looking for a crusade-era story that did—or could—involve a dagger.  And I found the Assassins. 

In fact, not only did I find the Assassins, but I found them involved in the very public murder of about-to-be-crowned king of Jerusalem, Conrad of Montferrat, in 1192.  And more not onlys…when captured, the surviving Assassin claimed that Richard the Lionheart, King of England, had hired them to murder Conrad. The perfect tie-in!

Sometimes research can feel external, like a layer atop the story, but I like it best when it shapes and informs the story, when it’s so integral to the unfolding events that you couldn’t transplant it to any other time period.

I didn't get to use my research on the Assassins as I would have liked, so I might have more crusades-related stories in my future!

For more info on the anthology:


Kris writes sexy, adventure-laden romances set in England and Ireland, during the ages when chivalry and knights reigned supreme. With hard alpha heroes, strong heroines, and loads of adventure, her books have won multiple awards, including DECEPTION, which received Romantic Times' Book Reviewers K.I.S.S. Hero Award, for the best historical hero of the year, and THE IRISH WARRIOR, which won the Romance Writers of America's® Golden Heart Award.
To learn more about Kris, visit her website at http://kriskennedy.net, find her on Facebook at https://facebook.com/kriskennedybooks, and on Twitter @KrisKennedy.
To get all the latest release news and deals, click here to sign-up for Kris's Book Alert newsletter.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Author Kris Kennedy on Undressing the Heroine: Medieval Girls

Today I'd like to welcome back guest author Kris Kennedy to History Undressed!  Some of you may have read the Medieval Cookery blog, which Kris did with me a couple years ago. Since it published on HU, its been the most popular blog to date, and still gets hundreds of readers a week.  She's the author of sizzling and intriguing medieval romance--which I recommend you read, her books are awesome! Today, Kris is back to tantalize us with one of my favorite topics: historical clothing! 

Undressing The Heroine: Medieval Girls
By Kris Kennedy

A few weeks ago, Mia Marlowe came by and chatted about women’s dress in the Victorian age. I, though, write sexy stories set in the middle ages.

It’s difficult to imagine two eras more dissimilar. But there were still find important commonalities. Trappings change, technology advances, but what was important to people in 1215 was important in 1857 and is still important today: food, friendship, family…sex.

You knew that was coming, right? Clearly, one of the most important similarities shared among all time periods is this: heroes still have to undress their heroines.

Today we’re going to chat about this pressing issue, and I’ll run through what, exactly, our intrepid medieval hero will encounter as he attempts to do what romance heroes do so well: undress their heroines.

As with Victorian era, there were many fashion changes over the era considered ‘medieval,’ from gowns to headgear to footwear, from eye loops to buttonholes. So let’s focus on . . . oh, say the early 13th century, around the year 1215, the year of Magna Carta and, why, look at that, coincidentally the year Defiant is set.

First, our medieval hero is going to have a much easier job getting to the object of his desire than the Victorian hero.

copy of image permitted
credit to: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart

Assuming he is dealing with a lady of some means, he’s going to first have to remove the girdle, the gilded belt. It hung off the hips, circling the waist, dipping to a V low, usually over the abdomen, and cascading in a decorative fall to the knees or below. Made of hammered metal and precious stones, it would be gorgeous and lush. Often, suspended from it would be the keys to the home or castle. Nothing would be coming off until that did.

This is where the hero is going to begin his assault.

After that, his job gets a lot easier. He has two layers of tunics to get through, starting with an outer tunic, originally called a bliant, which came simply to be the surcoat. By the mid-century, there was even the daring sideless surcoat for women, cut to be form-fitting. It was laced up the back or sides. A brightly colored chemise would be worn, sweeping to the ground, and would show through the places on the sides.

Our hero is so getting in that way.

Sleeves were long, often beyond the wrist, to the knuckles or covering the entire hand. They were stitched tight at the wrist so the hands could still be used. (Buttons and buttonholes made their appearance in the West from about 1200 on, but probably weren’t used on wrists in 1215.) The hero would have to battle his way past these. Let’s hope he’d be gentle.

The sleeves of the outer tunic, on the other hand, began to hang quite long and wide, falling almost to the ground as time went on, creating a billow, luxurious look. Much later, they became mere thin bands of fabric, called tippets.

Once he’s through these, the hero’s job is pretty much done. Women wore hose, generally to the knee, either woolen or silk, held up by garters. No need for a Victorian-style slit in the pantlets; the entire skirt could just be flipped up at need, should the occasion require, ahem, quicker action.

And don’t be fooled in thinking the hero is flinging aside drab layers of linen and burlap as he works his way in. Women were highly decorated. (So were men and walls and food and saddles and sword hilts and…well, you get the picture) Ornamentation was the rule, not the exception. Valuable stones, precious metals, embroidery, and above all, color.

Gems decorated anything to which they could be affixed, including girdles and hair, brooches and purses. Fabrics were dyed bright, rich hues. Metalwork was intricate and expensive. Soft wool and silk, silk gauze and satins were dyed brightly, tempting and beguiling the hero.

So, remember to admire the romance hero in every era who has the determination and persistence to work his way through all the layers required to finally achieve the object of his desire.

Kris Kennedy writes sexy medieval romances for Pocket Books. Her latest, DEFIANT received a starred Publishers Weekly choice, and is out now. Her previous release, THE IRISH WARRIOR (Kensington, 2010), won RWA’s 2008 Golden Heart Award for Best Unpublished Historical Romance. You can find exclusive excerpts, newsletter sign-up, and more at the website: http://kriskennedy.net


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Medieval Cookery and a Special Guest!

Today’s post is a little bit different. I’ve paired up with a writing friend of mine, Kris Kennedy to bring you some gripping, appetizing and fun facts about medieval cookery! If you do try any of these recipes, please let us know how they turn out.

Let us take you back to the time of lords and ladies, peasants and servants. Where meals were cooked over an open flame and fire while cooking was an everyday danger. (Hmm…with some cooks today, fire still is a danger!) There are two perspectives we’ll journey through today, that of a noble feast/dinner and the meager meal of a peasant.

As it is still today in most cases, what type of food you ate in medieval times set you apart in social classes. Nobles and the rich had a vast variety of foods and spices, their meals often rich and plentiful. With lots of sugars used in their foods, it wasn’t uncommon for people to have blackened teeth… As medieval history is often romanticized, thinking of a king or queen with black teeth is not often spoken of. I have read before that Good Queen Bess (Elizabeth I) had very black teeth, but I’d prefer not to think of such a strong and intelligent woman with rotten teeth *shudder* And you certainly won’t find any heroes or heroines of romance with anything other than pearly whites. (For more on medieval dentistry, click this link for a previous post.)

Those of the poorer social classes, had quite meager foods, and with hardly any spice the foods were quite bland.

Some of you may think of dinner as your evening meal, but in medieval times (and still today throughout many countries in Europe) dinner, the heavier fare, was served mid-day, and your evening meal was a small repast called supper.

The mid-day meal was a big to do, with everyone dining together, and for nobles a grand affair. Having your meal served alone was often an affront to your company. This big fare of consumption was often the highlight of the day.

Let me take you to the castle kitchens in The Conqueror, (Kris's debut novel!) The Nest, the main residence of the lords of Everoot earldom, where Cook rules and delights the watering palates of Griffyn, Gwyn and their guests…

As the noblemen and women sit on the dais and watch the crowd of knights and other guests talk merrily, they are entertained by musicians, bards and jongleurs. Servants scurry around to pour the various beverages of ale, wine, mead, etc… (Curious about their beverages? Check out this previous post on medieval beverages.)

Today is a slightly more extravagant meal, because several nobles have come to pay a visit. Nobles will eat off of silver dishes while everyone else will make do with pewter, and even lower, the servants may eat from hard bread trenchers, which is typical of most when the meal is not so lively. The tables are covered in white cloth, the table on the dais has a cloth of white silk. Candlesticks line the top of the tables, and roped flowers adorn the skirts. Fresh rushes have been placed on the floor, which has been swept celan of debris. Servants are coming around with bowls of water and linen cloths so that the people may wash their hands.

After the blessing is given, servants swarm into the great hall with platters of marinated vegetables and succulent fruits, fish cooked in savory sauces, meat pies filled with pork, beef and raisins, rabbit with gravy, capons smothered in a creamy sauce, herb salads, aromatic breads, roasted cheeses with nuts, steamy stews filled to the brim with melt in your mouth meats and vegetables, and of course since this is a special meal, our guests will be delighted with a Coqz Heaumez, a redressed goose riding the back of a pig, and a Cockentrice, a capon entered in the center of pig making for a very entertaining meal. *Note, please click on the links to read a more detailed account from the Boke of Gode Cookery, as I could never do it proper justice*

Also good to note, forks were not widely used in England until 1611. They were used in Italy starting in the 11th century, but those in England considered it an effeminate Italian tradition. In France, they began using forks in the 14th century. Most forks were only 2 tined, with 4 tines coming later. What did they use to eat? Wooden spoons, knives, bread and of course their fingers.

After tasting small bites of each delicious dish, deserts are presented to the group, bread puddings, fruit tarts and pies, seed cakes, to die for pastries, elderflower cheesecake, and pears seeped in wine sauce.

All of these tantalizing creations were slaved over starting before dawn, by Cook and his helpers, in the kitchen a separate building from the main castle. The cook used spit boys to turn the meat on spits over an open fire. There was usually several others cutting vegetables, preparing the meat, and scullions doing dishes and other cleaning. Stews, sauces and soups were cooked in large iron or copper pots in the hearth. Bread and pies were usually baked in an oven or bakehouse, or when an oven wasn’t available the cook would use braziers or clay pots that went into the hearth for baking, but they didn’t turn out as well here. How did the ovens work? The ovens were made of brick, and a person would fill the over with peat or wood and burn it. Once the oven was hot enough, the embers would be removed, and the bread or pie placed on a flat hardwood peel that was then lifted and placed the food into the oven. This same tool would be used to take the food out later.

As I am not a medieval chef, I found these recipes for your viewing and tasting pleasure, from The Boke of Gode Cookery, if you click on each link the website will give you a little background about each recipe.


Take parsley, sage, green garlic, scallions, lettuce, leek, spinach, borage, mints, primroses, violets, "porrettes" (green onions, scallions, & young leeks), fennel, and garden cress, rue, rosemary, purslane; rinse and wash them clean. Peel them. (Remove stems, etc.) Tear them into small pieces with your hands, and mix them well with raw oil; lay on vinegar and salt, and serve.

Mushroom Pasty

1-1 1/2 lbs. whole button or sliced mushrooms
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup grated or shredded cheese
1/2 tsp. each salt and ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
one 9" pie shell (lid optional)

Parboil or sauté the mushrooms; drain. Add oil, cheese, and spices. Mix well. Place in pie shell, add lid if desired, and bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes, or until pastry is a golden brown.
While I prefer using grated parmesan or a combination of parmesan & cheddar cheese, feel free to use any variety of cheese or combination that suits you. Finer cheeses, such as brie, also work quite well, and brie itself is very appropriate for a recipe of French origin. Some other period cheeses include Farmers and Mozzarella.


1 package yeast
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk, scalded
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. oil
6 1/4 cups flour, sifted

Soften yeast in warm water. Combine hot milk, sugar, salt, and oil. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 1/4 of the flour; beat well. Add the softened yeast; mix. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Knead till smooth. Shape dough in ball; place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down. Let rise again until doubled. Cut in portions. Shape each in a smooth ball. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Shape in round loaves. Place on greased pans. With a sharp knife, slash an "x" or a cross on top, and let rise until doubled. Bake at 400° F for 35 minutes or until done. Brush tops with butter.

To Make Pyes

1 ½ lbs. beef or lamb roast, cooked and minced in very small pieces
½ tsp. pepper (or to taste)
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
½ cup beef suet or marrow, diced or cubed
1/4 cup vinegar, red wine or cider
½ cup prunes, sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dates, chopped
1-2 cups beef broth
Paest royall
In a large bowl, combine meat, spices, suet or marrow, vinegar, & the fruit. Add enough broth to thoroughly wet the mixture - the final consistency should be runny. Line a 9-inch pie pan with Paest royall and fill with the meat mixture. Add a pastry lid or leave open-faced. Bake at 375º F until filling is bubbling and the pastry cooked, approx. 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Paest Royall

4 cups pastry flour
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1 1/2 cup butter
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2-4 Tbs. ice cold water (optional, but potentially necessary)
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry knife until mixture is crumbly & somewhat resembles coarse sand. Add egg yolks. Knead, adding the water a spoonful at a time if and as needed, until pastry forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl. Separate dough into 2 equal portions, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Roll out one portion for pie shell, another for the lid.

Henne in Bokenade

1 whole chicken
fresh chicken broth (optional)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2 Tbs. chopped sage leaves
1 Tbs. chopped hyssop
1 tsp. each mace & cloves
1 dozen egg yolks, beaten
1 Tbs. ginger
1/2 cup verjuice (red wine vinegar)
1/8 tsp. saffron
1/8 tsp. salt

Place the chicken in a large pot; cover with water or fresh chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking until the meat is tender & falling from the bone; remove from the broth & allow to drain & cool. Pick the meat from the bones, discarding the fat & skin, and cut into large chunks. Place meat in a separate large pot. Strain the broth to discard all meat, fat, etc.; add just enough broth to the chicken in the pot to just come to the top of the meat. Add the herbs & bring to a boil, then reduce heat; beat in the egg yolks, spices, and vinegar and simmer until thick. Serve as a main meat dish. Serves 6-8.

1 cup water
1 cup beer or ale
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary leaves
4 Salmon steaks (or any variety of fish)

Combine all ingredients except fish in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer. Place fish in a shallow baking dish, then add enough of the beer mixture to immerse 2/3 of the fish. Cover baking dish, then place in a 400° F oven for approx. 15-20 minutes, or until fish becomes tender and flakes with a fork when pierced. Remove fish from baking dish & serve.

Sambocade (elderflower cheesecake)

1 nine-inch pie shell
1 ½ lbs. cottage cheese
1/3 cup sugar
whites of 3 eggs
2 Tbs. dried elderflowers
1 Tbs. rosewater

Combine all ingredients and blend thoroughly. (A food processor or blender will do the job nicely.) Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes to an hour, or until filling has set and the crust is a golden brown. Let cool and serve.

2 cups red wine
2 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup sliced dates
4-6 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
pinch salt
drop or two of red food coloring

Boil the pears until they are tender but not too soft; drain well. In a separate pan heat together the wine, cinnamon, and sugar. Remove from heat, strain the mixture to remove the cinnamon (I recommend using a sieve or China cap lined with cheesecloth or paper towels), then return to the fire. When hot, add the dates, pears, salt, and food coloring. Bring to a boil, allow to cook together for several minutes, then remove from heat. Place pears and wine in a wooden dish and allow to cool slightly before serving.


That ought to be an enjoyable feast for you! If you do try it out, please tell me what you think.

Meanwhile if we travel through the bailey and the outer gates, across the fields to the little hovels that provide housing for the serfs and peasants who work the land, the meal is quite different. Unlike the lords and ladies who eat their meal in grand style during the day, most peasants eat what is sometimes referred to as a “ploughman’s” meal, meaning their mid-day meal is consumed in the fields, often consisting of one or several of the following: salted meat, bread, cheese, onions, apples or nuts. It should be noted that if the peasant had meat it wasn’t all that often. The meats they would eat were generally pork/bacon, deer, squirrel, rabbit, and the occasional sheep.

***I wanted to note here that while doing research for this blog, I came across a few articles that indicated the medieval peasant’s diet was much healthier than our diets today. Their diet consisted of a lot of vegetables, whole grains and a small portion of meat. Does it not sound similar to fad diets of today, like Zone and South Beach? Hmm…it is true that you’d never find a fat peasant, yet you often hear of the overly large nobles. Sure peasants died a lot sooner than the nobles, but I personally think that had a lot more to do with cleanliness, lack of healthcare and being worked to the bone from the time they could walk until their last breaths.***

Mother peasant’s shoulders stoop from years of labor as she stirs the concoction in the pot over the fire. One scrawny chicken runs around the only room in the little house, but she dare not kill it and pluck its feathers, because it will bring her some coin at the next market day so she might buy some grains. As her children and husband meander into the little space, the scents of dinner cooking are appealing to their starving bellies, but were Griffyn to walk through the door, he might rather wait to break his fast in the morning… What is the meal for the day? Pottage, a thick soup she’s made with vegetables and barley. Mother quietly serves her family’s meal, and breaks apart a stale loaf of brown bread for her children to soak up the soup’s juices with. There will be no meat today, but still she smiles secretly, because she has a surprise for her large hungry family.

Earlier while gathering rushes, she found a berry bush, plentiful with ripe juicy fruit, and they will have a nice dessert tonight of fresh berries.

I know I said I’m not a medieval chef, but I did make up these recipes *smile* perhaps I used to be a peasant.

Here is our peasant’s recipe for pottage:

4 onions
1 head of cabbage
3 leeks
5 handfuls of peas plucked from their pods
4 handfuls of barley
Several sprigs of parsley (peel off the leaves)
Pot ½ full of water

Chop the vegetables, combine all the ingredients. Cook in large pot over fire for several hours or days. (For a tastier pottage if you have any spare salt pork or fatty bacon, add that too. Wild mushrooms make a nice addition, as does garlic. If you can come by saffron, salt or coriander, you’ll make it even more mouth watering.)

Peasant’s Bread:

6-7 Handfuls of flour (Use Barley, rye or oats as wheat is very pricey and grind it into a flour)
Some leavening agent – use ale yeast known as “barm” Take the sediment from the ale, mix with water and then dry it out for the “yeast” or strain the dregs from the ale to use as your leavening agent. (In modern times, I would use two packets of ready yeast)
A pinch of salt if you can get it
Enough water to bind the ingredients, add more flour as needed

Mix the ingredients together and knead for eight – ten minutes.

Roll into a round shape. Place in tin box that is nestled near to the flames for a few hours, or take to the village communal oven for baking, but remember you will have to pay a fee to the baker, who then pays a portion of it to your lord. Bake your bread the day before, as if it isn’t ready by meal time, hungry bellies will be disappointed. (Or bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, top should be golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on it.)


Just for you fabulous History Undressed readers, Kris has a very special treat for you! Something unheard of and completely exciting! Drum roll please… For your reading pleasure, a deleted scene from The Conqueror, which just so happens to have a lot to do with today’s blog topic!

Look for Kris’s medieval romance, The Conqueror, coming to stores in May of 2009 from Kensington!

Back Cover Blurb:

England, 1152. Stephen is king. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honor. But when his family’s estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengeance—even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l’Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed…

As war strikes, Gwyn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he’s hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn’s trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test…

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I hope you enjoyed today’s special post. As always, if you have any comments, suggestions, questions etc… please feel free to share!

Eliza and Kris