Bastard Gravy appears in several medieval texts as a sauce for different dishes, including oysters, baked meat or "wheder that thou wolt" (Austin 1440). The etymology may be from its being made with ingredients which would not normally be put together, for instance both sweet and sour ingredients, such as honey with salt and pepper. It seems to be distinct from the 'Bastard Sauce' made with the Spanish 'Bastardo' wine, however the term also appears in the Austin Manuscript of 1440 as some kind of baste.
From the 1888 version of Austin 1440
See also: Oysters in Bastard Gravy
Original Receipt in the 15th Century 'Austin Manuscripts' (Austin 1440)
lxxxviij. Mammenye bastarde - Take a potelle of Clarifiyd Hony, & a pounde of Pynys, & a pounde of Roysouns Coraunce, & a pound of Saunderys, & pouder canelle, & .ij. galouns of Wyne or Ale, & a pound of Pepir, & caste alle on a potte, & skym yt; ŝan take .iij. pounde of Amyndons, & a galon of Wyne, & a gode galon of Venegre, & let stepe vp to-gederys, & draw ŝorw a straynoure; [leaf 18.] an whan ŝe potte boylith, caste ŝe lycoure ŝer-to, an lat it be alle stondyng; ŝan take pouder Gyngere, Salt & Safron, an sesyn it vppe, an serue alle flat on a dysshe, all hote, an caste pouder Gyngere ŝer-on, an serue forth.
[Elsewhere in the same m.s ...]
Clj. Creme Bastarde - Take ŝe whyte of Eyroun a grete hepe, & putte it on a panne ful of Mylke, & let yt boyle; ŝen sesyn it so with Salt an hony a lytel, ŝen lat hit kele, & draw it ŝorw a straynoure, an take fayre Cowe mylke an draw yt with-all, & seson it with Sugre, & loke ŝat it be poynant & doucet: & serue it forth for a potage, or for a gode Bakyn mete, wheder ŝat ŝou wolt.
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