Yes, I fail at Vegan MoFo, but perhaps another recipe from the fourteenth-century Forme of Cury will make up for my lapse. This one is basically a fairly simple recipe for whole boiled garlic cloves. Sure, you’ll stink after this, but I promise it’ll be worth the stench. The original reads, “Aquapatys. XX.III. XV. Pill garlec and cast it in a pot with water and oile. and seeþ it, do þerto safroun, salt, and powdour fort and dresse it forth hool.” My method was to first brown the whole garlic cloves in a bit of olive oil, add water and bring to a boil, simmer until they’re tender.
The “powdour fort,” or “strong powder,” bit requires a bit more imagination. Powder forte was a blend of spices that occurred in quite a few medieval and renaissance recipes, but the exact composition is a little obscure. Samuel Pegge, the eighteenth-century editor of Forme of Cury, speculated that it was a mixture “of the warmer spices, pepper, ginger, &c. pulverized: hence we have powder-fort of gynger, other of canel [cinnamon].” It probably included also a few spices that are today a bit hard to find, such as grains of paradise, a relative of cardamom, and cubeb pepper, sometimes called Java pepper.
For this incarnation, I just blended up the warmer spices I had on hand: cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and loads of freshly ground black pepper. I added salt and a pinch of ground saffron, tossed the boiled and drained cloves in the mix until well coated, and then ate them spread on slices of baguette. The boiling really cuts the harshness of the garlic in case you’re a bit wary of eating whole cloves, and they become nicely creamy and spreadable. Good times.