Mar 17, 2013

Dinner for King Richard

Richard Armitage has long been interested in bringing the story of King Richard III to the screen or stage. He was named after him, born on the day Richard III died.

I love history and was interested in Richard III long before I even know Richard Armitage existed.  So when the two collided for me it was serendipitous!

When the announcement was made about the analysis of the DNA in Leicester last month, I was glued to the radio. On that day I made another discovery:  BBC Leicester Radio, specifically Ben Jackson's afternoon program, which I have been listening to since.

Every Friday is Food Friday where someone comes in and prepares a dish live on Ben's show. On the Friday of  the announcement he shared the following recipe.  I emailed Ben asking if I could share it and he graciously said yes.  So a big shout out to Ben Jackson, BBC Radio Leicester and to Jo Medhurst the creator of the dish.

To end FanstRAvanganza week, 
I give you a dinner fit for Richard Armitage as King Richard III, 
long may he reign!

Potage for a King

To be truly medieval, serve the King's potage, sprinkled with roughly chopped parsley, in a hollowed out loaf of bread, a small loaf, perhaps Sweet Parsley and Onion (see below). Any bread with a good thick crust will do.

Serves 4
1 cinnamon stick
3 large onions peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 bramley apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 large parsnip peeled and roughly chopped
500g Pork Shoulder diced into bite size pieces
Large bunch parsley
Half a cup of pearl barley
1cm fresh ginger finely grated
2-3 cups cider
2-3 cups water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 carrots sliced (no need to peel, just give them a rinse)
1. Place the cinnamon stick in the bottom of a medium casserole dish
2. Cover the cinnamon stick with the sliced onions, the chopped apple and the chopped parsnip.
3. Scatter the diced pork on top of the onions, add half the chopped parsley, salt and pepper, grated ginger and the pearl barley. Season generously.
4. Add the cider and water, enough to come to the top of the ingredients and a little over.
5. Place the carrots on top, arranging them to overlap and cover the top completely.
6. Cover with a tight fitting lid or a layer of greaseproof paper and foil.
7. Place into a preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 150c and cook for another 2-3 hours until the meat is really tender. Check after an hour and add more cider if the pearl barley has soaked up a lot of the moisture. Serve on your edible bread plate!

For a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with 2 small leeks, washed and thickly sliced, and use a little more pearl barley.


1 onion finely chopped
1 small bunch parsley finely chopped
1 small sachet fast action yeast or 10 g fresh yeast
360g full cream milk
10g honey
270g strong white flour
130g plain white flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
20g softened butter
Combine the two flours together with the salt in a large bowl. Heat the milk until just warm, add the butter and whisk until it is melted. Now add the honey to this, whisk, check that the whole mixture is blood temperature, add the yeast and leave to one side until it starts to bubble (about ten minutes). Now add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, combine well and knead on a clean scantily floured work surface for about 3 minutes.
Oil a large tupperware box or a bowl and place the dough inside it to rest. Cover it with a damp cloth or some oiled cling film. After ten minutes gently pull and fold the dough about ten times from one side, then another and so on. Repeat this gentle 10 minute interval kneading about two or three times. While the dough is resting, gently sauté the onion in a little butter until soft, add the chopped parsley and put to one side to cool. After the last kneading, pat the dough down, place the onions and parsley in the centre and fold the edges to the middle working right around the outside of the dough until the onion is completely enclosed.
Twist and knead the dough until the onions and parsley are evenly distributed, pat the dough down, fold in the edges as before, turn it over so the seam is on the bottom and shape into a round. Sprinkle the dough with flour and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour.
Place into a preheated oven 210c for 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 180c and bake for another 20-25 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Leave to cool and hollow out for your trencher bread plate. This bread is also lovely without the onions and parsley, made in a loaf tin and used for sandwiches and toast.

I was named Richard being born on the anniversary of Richard III’s demise at Bosworth; one of my father’s favourite novels is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and I read this many years ago. In recent years it has lead to a tentative interest and line of research into the rehabilitation of this story. As an actor, it’s a project I would love to achieve. I believe it is a great story, a socio-political thriller, a love story and a dynastic tragedy. My challenge is to convince commercial producers to see beyond the ‘history lesson’. ~~ Richard Armitage


  1. This looks good -- could it be made w/o pork?

    1. At the bottom of the recipe it talks about a vegetarian version: "For a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with 2 small leeks, washed and thickly sliced, and use a little more pearl barley."

  2. Sounds absolutely delicious. Makes me hungry just reading the recipes! :)

    1. Jo did a great job with it and I love the picture! It was actually made outside.

  3. Looks very tasty! I may try the vegetarian version, good for a cold winter's night.

    1. I would opt for the vegetarian also.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  4. Sounds and looks really, really good!

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Thanks for stopping by!