Continuing with posts of activities from last year, and one which really shouldn't wait much longer, is that of the A&S competition from the Champions of Lough Devnaree event.
This was my first proper A&S competition entry at this event (a previous last minute entry of a re-created necklace with portrait inspiration does not proper documentation make), and the theme chosen by the previous winner, Lady Agnes des Illes, was "Paradise".
Initially, I wasn't quite sure where to start with this one, but I browsed Wikipedia a bit and eventually came across a reference to the land of Cockaigne, or Cloud Cuckoo Land as it is known in modern terms. Using this page and reference as my springboard, I found repeated reference to small honey cakes sold at fairs being the origin of the phrase. An A&S entry about research and baking? Sounds ideal for me!
I chose to make three types of cakes from period recipes; gingerbread from a 15th century recipe, a simple Lebkuchen recipe, not having the moulds for anything but a simple recipe, and a perhaps slightly less period Elizabethan almond cake recipe, because I just adore almonds.
Cakes made, I delivered them up for the competition and waited anxiously for the judges to judge, trying not to watch them all the while. I'm not sure I'm really able for the waiting. It's the anxiety that keeps me from entering in more competitions I'm sure.
Results weren't announced until feast was over, and it was difficult to eat on top of that many butterflies. My thanks to Lady Sela for enduring my steel grip as I waited for the winner to be announced.... and I won! I was so utterly delighted!
I asked Lady Agnes to go through the comments on my scoring afterwards, and I can see where I failed to take into consideration the strength of modern spices compared to what would have been used in period (except for the gingerbread. I think that may have been a personal taste thing, as it was perfect for me). And my referencing is a bit rusty. But both very workable-on things.
Next year's CoLD is due to be held in early September, and I get to keep the staff of office and the title of A&S Champion of Lough Devnaree until then. I've restrained myself from carrying around the staff too much though, given how I almost knocked someone over in the first half hour of holding it... *ahem*