For the next week, we’ll be rolling out photos, video and exclusive interviews detailing Battle Castle’s medieval soup challenge.
Join the adventure - Like us, tag yourself in or comment on the soup pics on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/battlecastle), or Follow us, RT or hashtag #medievalsoup on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/battlecastle), or leave a comment on our blog to receive a copy of medieval soup recipes inspired by the Teutonic Knights.
Day 1: Writer Nicole Tomlinson details how it all began
A #gomedieval mission
June, 2011. I’m sitting in the Gothic Café, a restaurant in the heart of what’s believed to be the largest brick castle in the world. There’s a cookbook in front of me. It’s open to page #17. And I’m staring at this:
“Zupa Wisniowa”, the Polish call it. Heaps of cherries basking in red wine, topped with green, white and peaches. I close the book to examine the cover again – “The Cuisine of the Teutonic Grand Masters in Malbork Castle”, it says.
Confirmed: the crusader knights we were making a documentary about ate cherries just like this. Hundreds of years ago. Behind these very walls.
I stashed the book and got on with it – lunch was long over, it was our last day of filming, and there was still a lot of castle to cover. But as I left the restaurant for the last time there was only one thing on my mind …
I have GOT to try that soup.
A brilliant chef
The cookbook that I got was special issue, written by the chef at Malbork Castle – Bogdan Galazka. Once a chef at some of NYC's finest establishments, Galazka cooked for clients like Michael Bloomberg before returning to his native Poland years ago to take up at the Gothic Café. He's fashioned the restraurant’s menu after the Teutonic Knights who built the castle. He uses fresh herbs from a garden in the courtyard for his dishes. Oh … and, as I discovered, he has the best “chef hat” on the planet:
Galazka kept the smiles coming - even when got stuck with me … a castle-traipsing, documentary-writing vegetarian, scheduled to eat a three-course lunch in his restaurant every day for almost a week. To accomodate me, he went above and beyond, masterminding fabulous dishes like these strawberry pierogies, which, as you can see, I raved and raved and raved and raved about until Ian Herring, executive producer, series director and my boss, was tempted to jokingly choke me:
The soup challenge
When I got home, I was determined to make that cherry soup. Bogdan’s dedication, scribbled at the front of the book, told me to “Have a good cooking” … and I was not going to let him down. More importantly, I wanted to eat like the Teutonic Knights I was writing about did ... and I wanted to share the experience. So I showed the book with my mom and her partner, who love to cook. They were instantly keen on travelling back in time gastronomically.
We each chose a soup from Galazka’s book to make. The challenge: adapt the recipes to ingredients available to you, as Galazka did, but try and stick to items that would have likely been available to the Teutonic Order. If you want to change the recipe, the same rules apply.
The result: three amazing soup recipes, inspired by Galazka, the Teutonic Knights … and one great night of living history:
Join the adventure
As the strawberry pierogies proved, I could spend many words describing what that first bite of cherry soup was like.
But this time I will digress … and let you try it for yourself.
Take the medieval soup challenge: Like us or comment on the soups on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/battlecastle), RT or hashtag #medievalsoup on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/battlecastle), or leave a comment on our blog to get a copy of the medieval soup recipes. Bring the past to life at your dinner table, and share your stories, like I've shared mine.
We can’t all fire a siege engine, wield a sword, of visit Malbork Castle.
But in the Battle Castle universe, we can come together to enjoy a warm, delicious bit of history.
-Nicole Tomlinson, Writer