So, the skeleton in the car park is indeed that of Richard III. With that in mind here's an entry from my book on Bosworth Jumbles biscuits, which comemortate the battle that ultimately put him there.
When matters need celebrating, we reach for cakes, pastries and other sweet delicacies. Getting hitched? Time for a wedding cake. Another year older? Have some birthday cake. Killed Richard III in battle thus crushing the house of York and establishing a Tudor Dynasty? Ah, then you and the boys will no doubt want to party with a Bosworth Jumble. Apocryphal though it surely is, the story goes that the recipe for Bosworth Jumbles was found on the actual battlefield of Bosworth in Leicestershire; one version of the tale even states the recipe was prised from the cold, dead hands of Richard III’s chef.
The name jumble comes from gemmel, the latin for ‘twin’ which was also the name given to a two fingered ring. Made from butter, sugar, eggs and flour, a common flavouring was caraway seed or occasionally aniseed or almond, either mixed in with the dough or sprinkled on top. The dough was shaped into long rolls, cut into lengths and tied in a loose knot shape or like rings interlaced: a medieval pretzel.
Only the wealthy would have worn such jewellery, or been able to afford the sugar to put in jumbles, or indeed have the literacy to read the recipe in The good Huswifes Jewell by Thomas Dawson (London, 1585). Dawson’s recipe – he calls them iombils – calls for the dough shapes to be first boiled, before being baked, in a similar way to the way bagels are made.
‘Take twenty Egges and put them into a pot both the yolkes & the white, beat them wel, then take a pound of beaten suger and put to them, and stirre them wel together, then put to it a quarter of a peck of flower, and make a hard paste thereof, and then with Anniseede moulde it well, and make it in little rowles beeing long, and tye them in knots, and wet the ends in Rosewater, then put them into a pan of seething water… Then take them out with a Skimmer and lay them in a cloth to drie, lay them in a tart panne, the bottome beeing oyled, then put them into a temperat Ouen for one howre, turning then often in the Ouen.’
The above recipe makes a hundred jumbles, with which to impress your guests after a hard days battling. Today they’re rather hard to come by – they’re not even found in the cafe at the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.
Click here for to read more samples from Food Britannia and to buy a copy.
There's some lovely bits from the University of Leicester on the dig that lead to the discovery, as well as videos. This one is about the search for The Blue Boar Inn, where Richard spent his penultimate night, perhaps enjoying a jumble or two? If you want to make them, here's a recipe. Finally the Guardian has an interactive guide.