Over the past year I’ve often thought about posting about viking camp life.
I have posted about Moesgard before, but this selection of photos are from this year. They are mainly of the camp itself and the beach and I hope you enjoy them.
To be honest I don’t think any major description is needed so I will just leave them for you to enjoy!
Anf if you enjoyed these, you may also like my post on Swimming with the Horses!
When we were at the Corfe Castle event I wrote about making bread viking style.
Last weekend I had a chance to try this out myself when we were at a Fingal Living History event held in the grounds of Malahide Castle near Dublin.
I had the basic recipe that I had used in the past, and after watching the Manaraefan ladies cooking some, I was pretty confident that this would work.
I used spelt flour (purely because I use spelt rather than wheat in all my baking). For measurement purposes I used a 2 cups to 1 ratio of white to brown flour. I added some yeast and some crushed garlic, and then used just enough warm water to bind it together to create the dough. Then I divided the mixture into small balls and left for about 15 minutes until it had risen a little. To cook the bread I just placed the bread balls onto the pan and cooked over the fire. A word of warning; you need to be careful with the heat from the fire. If the pan is directly on the fire, the bread may burn on the outside before it is cooked. Also, dust the pan with a little flour to stop the bread from sticking to the pan.
You know the bread is cooked when you tap it and it sounds hollow.
For the second batch I actually cooked it on the griddle suspended over the fire.
I also made the cheese/butter spread I had been shown at Corfe.
I took half a block of butter and allowed it to soften enough that I could mix the same weight of Cashel Blue cheese through it – delicious.
No picture though – it got eaten before I could take the photo!!
Meanwhile over at the FLHS kitchen the girls were also cooking bread. Their bread mixture was made with oatmeal and apple. I’ve done this in the past where I’ve added some pinhead oatmeal to the bread mixture.
This was fun to do and quite easy to make……….
In 1904 a viking burial mound containing a viking ship was discovered at Oseberg in Norway. The grave contained two female skeletons and an array of grave goods. Irish archaeology have a great post on their blog which outlines the burial and the finds; they also have some great photos.
My main interest in the Oseberg ship is purely selfish! And if you have ever camped you will fully understand why I was so interested in them!
There is nothing worse than waking in the morning after having spent the night on the cold damp floor of a tent. Yes, we had beds and coverings to make life more comfortable, but we were on the ground. I’m no spring chicken any more and I like a bit of comfort when I’m away.
During the Oseberg excavations, the remains of three beds were found. I first saw one of these beds at a viking event in Northern Ireland and thought ‘that is a great idea!!’
So Bob and I had a wee chat, and over one winter he built us a bed. It is based on the Oseberg design, but the ornate carvings on the corner posts were not really an option as our little A-frame tent wasn’t big enough to accommodate that. Our solution was to make the bed ends without the carvings. To be honest it’s a bit more like the Gokstad bed, also discovered in Norway (in 1880).
Here are a couple of photos of the bed assembled in the tent. You can see that if we had the carved ends then they would have pushed hard against the canvas.
The bed is flat pack. We joke that there is a reason that the Swedes have Ikea…….. and that the vikings were the first ‘flat pack people’! It makes sense, as the bed packs away easily for transport. I’ve included a couple of photos of how the bed slots together at the corners.
When it’s all assembled, we cover it with our sleeping skins. Looks pretty comfortable – and trust me…….. it is! Another great thing is that it increases our storage space as we can use the space under the bed.
Bob swears he should have made one years ago. Just proves my point; it takes a good woman to sort these viking lads out!!
If you’re interested in making one of these beds yourself, there are some plans here on livinghistory.co.uk.
When we were at Corfe I got the chance to see some bread made over the campfire. I’ve tried this in the past (and it worked quite well) but I was interested to see how other re-enactors made theirs.
The bread recipe I had tried in the past had used equal quantities of spelt and barley flour mixed with a little oil ( I used olive oil) and then I added some water or milk to make a dough.
After mixing thoroughly, I made flat-breads and cooked them on the griddle over the camp-fire. Served with smoked mackerel it made a delicious breakfast!!
The recipe I used is pretty close to the one described in this blog (in the section about Baking without Yeast).
At Corfe, we were lucky to be camped beside some members from Manaraefan. These guys have great experience doing living history displays, so I figured I’d pick their brains.
I was delighted to see that they made their bread in a similar way, except they added a little yeast to allow the bread to rise, and some roasted garlic to add a little flavour.
The bread was delicious – but then again I love freshly baked bread. And another treat; another member of the group had made a Blue Cheese Spread to go with the bread, Unfortunately I didn’t write the recipe down, but from memory it was equal quantities of butter and blue cheese; cream the butter until smooth and then add the cheese.
I’m definitely going to try this again at the next show we go to. The roasted garlic sounds wonderful; I love garlic bread with cheese – viking pizza!!