"Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real."

Cormac McCarthy

Last updated 4 October  2019  © Julia Edwards

  • Facebook Classic

​Viking recipes can be a bit tricky to recreate - a lot of the meat and fish is dried or smoked in a way that would be difficult to do at home (without irritating or frightening your parents!). So the recipes I've chosen are all food that Joe eats in "Saving the Unicorn's Horn", but they're not quite a three course meal. You can find all of these and more on the Viking Answer Lady website, which is a very good source of information about Vikings.  

 

Bon appetit!

The only difficult thing about this recipe is getting hold of the barley flour. You can't get it at the supermarket, or even in health food shops. However, you can buy it online easily enough, or better still, make your own by putting some dry pearl barley in the blender in and whizzing it up into powder. Failing that, you can use ordinary plain flour which is made with wheat rather than barley. The result won't be quite the same, but you'll get the general idea. The recipe itself is very simple, and makes about 8 flatbreads.

I'm going to try this recipe with my children one weekend when I find the time, so watch out for a picture of our efforts!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups barley flour

1/2 cup water

 

Method:

  1. Mix the ingredients together and then knead them into a firm dough.

  2. Warm a griddle over a fire (if your parents will let you!) or put a baking tray in the oven to heat up. Since the Vikings didn't have ovens like ours, we have to guess the temperature, but since you're trying to imitate a fire, I would guess 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 is about right. You'll need the tray to be very hot, so be careful not to burn yourself when you put the dough on it.

  3. Divide the dough into eight sections and roll each piece into a ball about the size of a walnut.

  4. With a rolling pin, roll each ball flat until it is as thin as you can make it.

  5. Lift the first flat disk of dough (you may need some help with this) and lay it on the griddle or baking tray. Don't burn yourself!

  6. Cook the flatbread over the fire or in the oven for about 30 seconds, then flip it over and cook for 30 seconds on the other side.

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the remaining disks of dough.

 

Eat while still warm, either with the honey-glazed vegetables below, or just with butter. 

This was one of the recipes I had in mind for the feast at the end of "Saving the Unicorn's Horn". We may not eat much in the way of turnip these days, and Viking age carrots would have been purple, yellow or whitish rather than orange. But otherwise, this food is really very similar to what we might cook today. This recipe makes four helpings, but you'd need a meat or fish dish to make a full meal of it.

Ingredients:

1 turnip

2-3 carrots

1 thick slice of white cabbage

1 leek

butter

honey

salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Peel the turnip and carrots and cut them into fairly small pieces.

  2. Add half a teaspoon of salt to 1 litre of water and boil the turnip and carrots for about 5 minutes.

  3. Drain the water from the saucepan.

  4. Add a fairly large lump of butter to the drained turnip and carrots and sauté (stir around in the butter over a low heat).

  5. Chop the leek and cabbage into pieces.

  6. After the turnip and carrot have been sautéd for about 10 minutes, add the leek and cabbage and sauté with them for another 5 minutes, or until everything is soft.

  7. Add some honey (no measurement is given, but I'd guess about 1 tablespoon would be enough) and stir carefully so that all the pieces of vegetables get honey on them.

  8. Season with salt and pepper.

Viking carrots may have been more like some of these weird and wonderful specimens!

This was another recipe I imagined for the feast at the end of "Saving the Unicorn's Horn". Like the glazed vegetables above, the taste is quite similar to the pancakes I make for my children, though this recipe is for one big pancake baked in the oven, more like a yorkshire pudding. This recipe makes four helpings.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup white flour (100g)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (70g)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups milk (650ml)

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup berries (the Vikings would have used whichever berries were in season where they were living)

 

Method:

  1. Turn on the oven to 225°C / 425°F / Gas 7.

  2. Put both kinds of flour, the salt and the milk together in a large bowl and whisk into a smooth batter.

  3. Stir in the berries.

  4. Melt the butter in a fairly deep baking tray and pour the batter into it.

  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.

  6. Cut into pieces and serve with jam.

 

I'm also planning to try this one out at some point, one day ... Where does the time go?