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15th c. Dutch - Gent KANTL 15 vol 2 manuscript 1460

15th c. Dutch - Gent KANTL 15 vol 2 manuscript 1460


INGREDIENTS: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger and Nutmeg


Savoring the Past: Unveiling a 15th-Century Dutch Spice Blend Recipe



In the rich tapestry of culinary history, recipes often transcend being mere instructions for preparing food, morphing into artifacts that offer glimpses into the tastes, aromas, and traditions of bygone eras. One such recipe has emerged from the venerable pages of Gent KANTL 15, volume 2, a 15th-century Dutch manuscript penned in 1460. The manuscript graciously grants us a passport into the world of medieval gastronomy through a delightful spice blend recipe that echoes the fragrances and tastes that tantalized palates nearly six centuries ago.


The Manuscript: Gent KANTL 15 Volume 2

Before diving into the recipe itself, let us traverse the corridors of time to delve deeper into the enigmatic origins of the manuscript. The Gent KANTL 15, held in the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, stands as a testament to the culinary prowess and artistic ingenuity of the medieval Dutch people. This manuscript is a rich source of not only culinary recipes but also medicinal concoctions, demonstrating the deeply intertwined nature of food and medicine during that era.


Written in Middle Dutch, a precursor to modern Dutch language, the manuscript offers a captivating insight into the culinary landscape of the 15th century, a time when spices were not just culinary ingredients but a symbol of status and wealth.


A Spice Blend from the Past

Now, let us unravel the layers of this gastronomic time capsule — a spice blend recipe comprising a rich and flavorful combination of black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. These spices, exotic and highly valued, were central to the culinary and trading narratives of the medieval period, a time when spice routes were as fiercely guarded as they were traversed.


The recipe, which intricately balances the fiery punch of black pepper with the sweet depth of cinnamon, the fragrant bloom of cloves, the warming embrace of ginger, and the unique, nutty flavor profile of nutmeg, presents not just a blend of spices but a tapestry of aromas, flavors, and textures, transporting one back to a culinary era defined by depth and complexity.


Historical Context

To appreciate this spice blend fully, it’s essential to contextualize its place in history. The 15th century marked a period of vibrant trade and discovery. Spices were not only culinary gold but acted as preservatives and medicines, given their antimicrobial properties. Moreover, they were symbols of luxury, often finding their way into the courts of the noble and the affluent.

Nutmeg, native to the Indonesian Banda Islands, was one such luxury. At that time, it was believed to ward off diseases, including the plague, and it was so prized that it spurred economic and territorial wars. Similarly, spices like ginger and black pepper were sought after, their journey tracing thousands of miles, passing through countless hands before reaching the Dutch shores, weaving tales of adventure, desire, and intrigue.



As we stand at the confluence of history and culinary artistry, the spice blend recipe from the Gent KANTL 15, volume 2, not only offers a delightful concoction to enhance our modern-day dishes but also beckons us to savor a piece of history, to taste the passions and aspirations of a bygone era.

With every pinch of this authentic 15th-century Dutch spice blend, one is not merely seasoning a dish but inviting a rich, storied history into one’s kitchen, resurrecting flavors that once graced royal feasts and transcended boundaries, continuing a tradition of culinary excellence that began over five and a half centuries ago.


By recreating this medieval spice blend, we are honoring the rich culinary traditions laid down in the Gent KANTL 15 manuscript, paying homage to the spice traders and culinary maestros of the past, and enjoying a symphony of flavors that have stood the test of time.


Recipe 1: Medieval Spiced Roast Chicken


  • 1 teaspoon of 15th c. Dutch
  • 1 whole chicken (around 4-5 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, and sage)
  • Salt, to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Clean the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • In a bowl, mix together the spice blend with olive oil and salt to form a paste.
  • Rub the spice paste all over the chicken, both on the outside and under the skin.
  • Stuff the chicken cavity with lemon halves and fresh herbs.
  • Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up.
  • Roast the chicken for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (75°C).
  • Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with your preferred side dishes and enjoy a taste of history in your meal!


Recipe 2: Spiced Dutch Apple Pie


  • 1 teaspoon of 15th c. Dutch
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
  • 6 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place the pie crust in a pie dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the apples with sugar, flour, and half of the prepared spice blend. Mix until the apples are well-coated.
  • Transfer the apple mixture into the pie crust and dot with small pieces of butter.
  • If desired, cover with a lattice-top crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg for a golden finish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining spice blend over the top of the pie.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.
  • Let it cool on a wire rack before serving. Enjoy your Dutch apple pie, infused with a rich blend of historic spices!


Recipe 3: Medieval Spiced Lentil Soup


  • 1 teaspoon of 15th c. Dutch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Salt, to taste


  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes with their juice, and half of the spice blend. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  • Before serving, stir in the remaining spice blend and season with salt to taste.
  • Serve hot, accompanied by a slice of crusty bread for a comforting, historically-inspired meal!

    Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger and Nutmeg


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