This party is both one of my most memorable and one of my most challenging. The recreation of a medieval banquet while appeasing modern taste required a lot of recipe research. This dinner party was hosted in full theme with rich medieval characters, we decorated in a medieval style with rich fabrics and tapestries, the dinner party included medieval games and a medieval puppet theatre.
This party includes a 6 course banquet plan for 8 people with recipes and free printables.
Creating a medieval table
I went with an opulent table of dark reds and gold, reminiscent of a regal banquet. The table cloth was a baroque upholstery fabric with a rich floral and stipe pattern. The central candelabra was gold with vine leaves to which I added red berries and greenery from my Christmas box.
Banquet tables were often decorated with exotic fruits - or meats disguised as fruits. For this party I went with real fruit placed in vintage colourful carnival glass pedestal dishes.
Fresh flowers also graced our table, these were placed in vintage copper urns, the centre of the table was full of berry garlands and small gold tea lights. Dark red velvet tie backs were used on the chairs to add richness.
A Medieval menu was created for this party, all recipes are included below. The party started with a warm mead served in vintage gold and red glasses.
Medieval gold goblets with gemstones graced the table with small brass deers.
The most challenging part of this party was the menu. Just what did the nobility eat in the middle ages? They ate a lot of meat, including a lot of game. Salads, fruits and nuts when available and a lot of soups. Hosts liked to be creative in the presentation of meals and great banquets went for many hours with many courses. This was also a time of plague with many people opting for herbal elixirs to combat the flux. Our recipes are all included below and you can download our menu
Our first course was Salad with herbs, fruit and nuts. In medieval times salad was called "salat". We served a version of a Waldolf Salad with edible flowers, this helped make this dish quite striking.
Our second course was Pottage with trenches. Pottage is a soup style dish to which you added anything that was available. We made a hearty winter soup and added purple cabbage to provide a striking purple broth. Given the number of courses served this day I went with Grissoni rather that a heavy trench of bread.
Our third course was scallops on the half shell with sage butter. We served these using each houses banner. You will read more on this later.
Our fourth course was a herbal plague elixer. This was a lovely basil and lime sorbet, a perfect fourth course. This was served in a vintage champagne glass with vintage ornate Asian spoons.
Our fifth and main course was a crown roast beef served with potatoes and green beans. You will require a good butcher to create the crown. The beef was served with a rich gravy, roast potatoes and garlic and a green bean and pomegranate side.
Our sixth and final course was spiced poached pear with mead. The mead was served warm in a petite glass
Medieval party decorating
The trick to this style of party is to plan well ahead so you can slowly collect objects to help transform your home into a medieval castle. It's amazing the effect that plastic stone wall has on a room, while tricky to get in place it really helps to create a medieval castle ambience.
An alter was created for meal serving complete with tall wooden candles, tapestries, rich vintage fabric and faux hides. Our Hosts were of viking decent so we included horned helmets. The medieval people were also deeply religious so a small shrine was included, complete with bible
Our deer (bob) fit in really well for this party.
Medieval Party Games
The party was held in character with the hosts Ragner and Lagetha inviting three formidably medieval couples to a winter solstice banquet. The night evolved often in character with each couple performing a puppet play and trying to murder the opposition using a "find the card game" Prior to the party each guest was sent specific party instructions, these included formal character descriptions for the evening, a brief bio on the other guests, some puppets to form a play and a house banner to make. The party games can be downloaded using the following links: Game instructions and character overview, Large Banners, Banner cards, Game Cards one, two & three,
The arrival of the house banners represented the arrival of our guests. Each house was asked to prepare a play for the medieval puppet show, our puppet theatre was made using cardboard boxes, pane velvet and a hand pained backdrop of the country side. House banners were displayed on tall candelabras.
Medieval card holders were made with vintage style jewellery and velvet. These were used for a game of medieval guess who. The game included medieval occupations, such as “Master of the Privy” and a “cupbearer” and items found around the standard castle.
Prior to the party, small images of the house banners were hidden through the dining and lounge area, as they were found they were placed on the corresponding house banner, the first couple to receive 12 cards on their banner met an awful death.
The invitations were delivered a few weeks in advance, I dressed my children as young vikings for the occasion. The invitations were secured within ornate flocked paper and sealed with a ribbon and wax seal. The invitations were in a box with party instructions, banners and puppets.
For this Medieval Dinner Party we did a lot of research on medieval banquets and the meals consumed by the wealthy in the middle ages, we then applied a modern overlay to transform some potentially unpalatable options to modern times. The menu also took into account what can be achieved in a normal domestic kitchen and served while entertaining guests, recipes are for 8 guests.
While the recipes were not difficult it did require a good plan to ensure the meals hit the table on time. I also asked different guests to assist with plating the various courses and this was invaluable help.
How I approached the cooking.
Some of these ingredients will not be available at your local supermarket, specifically edible flowers and micro herbs, find suppliers well in advance
Start the soup a day in advance
Order the crown roast a month in advance and ask your butcher to age the meat
Start the plague Elixer a day in advance
Prepare the dressing for the Salat a day in advance
Ensure the table is all set at least a day in advance
Have all the serving ware close at hand and ready to use
Salat with Herbs, Fruit and Nuts.
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
200g creamy Blue Cheese
Salt & Pepper
4 tablespoons lemon Juice
200 ml Olive oil
400ml sunflower oil
4 tablespoons warm water
8 Granny Smith apples
4 Celery Sticks
50 grams creamy blue cheese
Edible flowers (Pansies)
For the dressing, cream the egg yolk, mustard, cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper until smooth
Slowly add the two oils while slowly whisking the mayonnaise to form an emulsion, If the mayonnaise becomes thick half way through add the water and continue adding the oil while whisking. Season if required.
Roast the walnuts in a preheated oven at 180 C for 6 minutes cool completely
Wash and peel the celery, cut into 5 cm long thin sticks, keep them in a zip lock bag in the fridge until needed.
Wash apples and watercress.
When you are ready to serve remove the core with an apple corer, then use a mandoline to slice the apples into 2 - 3 ml thick slices. Keep the apples together to make them look as if they are whole again.
Lightly dress each slice with the dressing and place the apple in its natural shape in the centre of a plate.
Arrange the apple in the centre of the plate in its natural shape
Arrange the celery, walnuts and watercress around the apple and crumb the cheese. Spoons the dressing lightly around the plate and add some of the dressing. Place some edible flowers around the plate as a final touch
Pottage with Trenches
3 lamb shanks
4 litres of water
1 stick celery
1/2 small purple cabbage
1 stick extra celery
Salt / pepper
Packet Grissini sticks
Chives as a garnish
For the stock, place lamb, water, roughly chopped onion, celery salt and pepper in a pan.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook cover for 1 1/2 hours.
Cool the stock and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, strain stock and discard any fat, return the stock to the pan, add the roughly chopped meat from the shanks and ring to a boil
Add chopped carrots, potatoes, turnip, extra celery and cabbage and simmer covered for 1 hour.
Season as required.
Place two Grissini sticks and long chives on the side of a vintage bowl..
Scallops on the half shell with sage butter
24 scallops on the half shell
1 tablespoon olive oli
40 grams buter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Lemon wedges to serve
Micro herbs to serve
Heat a medium frying pan over high heat. Add oil, butter, sage and garlic and cook for 1 minute
Remove the scallops from the shells, reserving the shells.
Add the scallops to the pan and cook for 30 seconds each side.
Place cooked scallops back on the shells.
Add lemon juice and cook for a further minute, then add the chives.
Spoon the pan sauce over the scallops to serve
The scallops were evenly arranged on the plate with a lemon wedge and micro herbs.
A house banner was inserted into the lemon - you can read more about house banners in the Medieval Games section.
Herbal Plague Elixer
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 whole star anise
1 1/4 cups fresh lime Juice
30 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Extra lime for plating
micro basil for plating
Bring sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan; allow to boil 1 minute, then remove from heat.
Combine the above, lime juice and basil in a blender until they are a fine puree.
Pour the mixture into a container deep enough to allow you you to use an ice cream scoop
Ensure the container is completely covered to avoid icing, then place in the fridge for 2 hours.
Remove from the freezer and place in the blender for a second time until very smooth. Return to the container, cover and freeze until ready to use.
I used vintage champagne glasses with a gold pattern around the rim, these were placed on a set of three graduated plates. The spoons were a vintage set from Thailand with a wooden handle and brassy coloured metal spoon.
Using an ice cream scoop, place one scoop per glass
Place a wedge of lime on the glass and some micro basil
Crown Roast Beef
You will require a good butcher for this roast. I ordered this roast a month in advance so our wonderful butcher reserved and aged the beef. I used a wing-rib sirloin which the butcher secured into a crown with string. You will require approximately 12 ribs to form a crown. Ensure you ask your butcher to chine the beef joint between the upper spine bones so you can easily slice between the ribs.
Remove the meat from the fridge a good hour before cooking
Preheat oven to 240c
For medium/ rare roast at 240c for the first 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180.
Calculate time using 17 minutes for each 500 grams. If using a meat thermometer cook until internal temperature reaches 65c
Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes in a warm place or double layer of foil
We served the roast on a large platter and carved between each rib at the table.
The roast was served with sides of roast potatoes and garlic and green beans and pomegranate and a rich gravy.
Spiced Poached Pear with Mead
750 ml dry red wine
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
8 Just ripe pears, peeled with the stem attached and base trimmed to stand straight
Combine wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean in pan large enough to hold the pears.
Cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves
Add the pears and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, turning occasionally for one hour or until pears are tender (note: this can take longer if the pears are very firm)
Place the pear in the centre of the plate
Drizzle with the cooking juice.
Add vanilla ice cream
Decorate with small African violets.
Serve warm Mead to accompany the dessert.
We hope you enjoyed our GOT Medieval Dinner Party and games, it was a lot of fun, our guests fully participated with lovely dresses and great banter on life in the medieval ages. While we all enjoyed the games, it would also be a lovely party with decorations and food alone.
Credits: Ornate Medieval frames were purchased from Digitalya