I didn't mean to make a Pokeball.  Cotija cheese, a line of spices, and an undressed area.

Piglia tre pani he levali la crosta he gratali molto bene he metteli supra una tavola, he metteli atorno una libra he meza de bona farina; he mete cum lo dito pane quatro ho cingue oca he batile bene cum lo cultello risguardando sempre lo pane cum la dita farina; he quando te parirache sia minuto como (f* 8r) anesi confetti, pone ogni cosa in uno sedazo he cacia fora la farina; poi falli secare alo sole ho alo focho; et quando li vorai cocere, coceli in brodo de carne, he fallo ghialdo cum saffrono; he falle bullire adasio per spacio de meza hora; et mette de sopra le menestre caso he specie.

Take the crusts of three loaves of bread. grate them, set this on a table and lay out a pound of and a half of fine flour around it; and put five eggs in with the ground bread and beat that well with a knife, always being careful (to coat) the breadcrumbs well with the flour; and when you have lumps that look to you to be the size of candies aniseed, put everything into a sieve and discard the (excess) flour; then dry them in the sun or by the fire. When you want to cook them, use meat broth made yellow with saffron; boil them gently for half an hour, serve them up garnished with cheese and spices.

 

The book commentary says “think ditallini.” I disagree. I think “couscous.”

This is about the easiest recipe I have made to date, but it relies on a couple of factors.  Use of a food processor is extremely helpful for ease of production.

I saved the crusts from several loaves, and staled them in a low oven while it was cooling from making some other dishes.  I crushed them and processed them, then ran them through a coarse strainer to make sure they were of a size.

 

bread crusts stacked and placed on baking sheets to dry

making breadcrumbs

The first time I made this, I worked from the proportions in the book. Knowing I had 5 eggs of indeterminate size and a pound and a half (not modern pounds! only 12 oz lb, so 18 oz in modern parlance) of flour, I started with a half pound of bread crumbs. There was a lot of tweaking, as I made this dish on dry days and more humid days, and each time the proportions changed.   Be prepared to add more eggs or flour, but do not add more breadcrumbs, as the addition will become gummy and harder to recover.

After several batches, the following numbers are pretty reliable in a medium processor, and result in both a quantity that comfortably fits an oven and that feeds 4 people an ample portion.

.

1 c (150g) home made breadcrumbs (I do not suggest commercial, they have quite an ingredient list)

3 eggs, about 150g  to coat, a fourth in reserve for in case.

1/2 c (100g) farina, fine semolina, or other very fine low gluten flour, as needed.

To serve the dish, I needed

about a half gallon of nice broth, or a quart of stock. This is most of the flavor in the dish, so if it tastes good the dish will as well.

Saffron if you like it (I like it!)

4 oz ricotta, farmers cheese, queso fresco, or other creamy new cheese

1 tablespoon Spices as you prefer. I chose black pepper, canela, and clove.

 

Place the breadcrumbs in the processor, and add the eggs. Whir until you have  a homogeneous paste. It should look gritty, like concrete, rather than soupy.

Add flour until the mass separates into tiny pellets. If they seem too small or incompletely coated, add more egg then more flour until you feel you have a pleasantsize and presentation of pasta. Remember that too large a pellet will be difficult to dry, and uneven in an elegant serving.

Spread out evenly on baking sheets and place in the bright dry sun, or alternately, place in a low oven for several hours, There will be quite a bit of shrinkage. I choose to turn the pasta several times, to avoid clumping and aid drying.

coarse pellets laid out on two pans to dry in the oven

thin layers dry faster

You can now store the pasta in a cool dry container, such as a mason jar in the fridge. or a zip bag in the freezer.

 

In order to prepare the dish for service, put about a half cup of broth per person into a pot, and add the optional saffron.

When the broth is warm, add a quarter cup of pasta per person to the pot, and watch carefully, Add more broth as needed, as the pasta absorbs. I prefer the dish dry, but you may prefer it with more liquid. I prefer not to stir overmuch, just enough to prevent clumping.  I find it works much better to add pasta to broth, rather than the other way.

hot broth in a pot, the pasta is being poured in slowly while stirring to prevent clumping

gently adding the pasta do the broth

If there is too much broth, you might allow it to simmer down, but if there is not enough broth and you are running low, water will not ruin the dish.

To serve, place in a warmed bowl, top with a dollop of milky cheese, and sprinkle with spices. Alternately, this would be a lovely bed for a roast or braised dish.

There is a fair amount of room to adapt this dish, whether by using an herb or vegetable broth, or making it more brothy or more fluffy by changing the broth proportions. The only things that cannot be adjusted are that it is unabashedly an egg and wheat dish.

 

Round biscuits from honey and toasted sesame and olive oil
Athenaeus, (The Partying Professors)

1/2 oz olive oil
2 oz raw sesame seeds
3 Tbs Honey
pinch salt

Place olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds, toast til they are “jumping”.

Add honey and sugar to the saucepan.
Stir consistently until the mixture simmers slightly, and is a little darker.

Prepare a setting pan, preferably silicone, by brushing it well with olive oil.
Dollop the mixture off of a soup spoon, allow to set.

Serves four as a treat.

sardines (19)

10.1.8 Another Alexandrian sauce for grilled fish

pepper, lovage, green coriander, onion, stoned damsons, passum, liquamen, defrutum and cook it.

 

We saw the fishmonger the other day. He had some really gorgeous looking sardines in. I found them irresistable, which was a little bit of a logistical problem. We canceled the rest of the day’s plans so I could get them home and prepared as soon as possible. They were that fresh.

Happily, all of the ingredients were easily available, which was a surprise this late in the season.

A couple of months ago we went to the wine making supply shop and bought almost 70 lbs of grape juice, fresh pressed to order. We made a gallon and a half of defrutum, and the rest into sapa.

I used this and some bortyrised wine trying to pass itself off as a tokaj as the passum.

There was a nice second round of lovage in the garden, and plums were still available at the fruit stand. Not damsons, but plums nonetheless, and they worked out acceptably well..

All of the solid ingredients were chopped and simmered.. A lid would have been helpful, but it was forgotten. Some of the water evaporated, leaving a denser, more caramelised sauce.

I did use a potato masher as the solids softened, and considering the intended audience, I strained the sauce well before plating.

Other recipes for grilling fish (Scappi, not entirely relevant) mentioned leaving the scales on the fish, and gutting them as cleanly as possible.

The scales insulated the very delicate meat, and allowed the skin to come off very cleanly. That was a factor in protecting the delicate flesh, as well as in being more easily able to present the fish at table.

Serve with lots of napkins, and plan to do laundry.

 

sardines (6)

3-4 sardines per person,

4 large plums or 8 smaller ones,

4 oz whole cilantro plant, preferably including roots

5  oz reduced grape juice

3 oz fish sauce

a baseball sized onion (I had a leek)

2 -3 oz fresh lovage, or the leaves from one bunch of celery

 

Coarsely chop all of the fruits and vegetables. Place in a pot with the liquid ingredients, and simmer until fully cooked.

sardines (7)

Grill, roast, pan fry, or otherwise prepare the fish as you are most comfortable doing.

The prescribed method calls for carefully placing the fish on skewers and grilling by charcoal, which is an excellent and delicious method.

Mash the sauce well, in order to release juices from the fruit. Strain and place on the plate, or in a separate dipping bowl.

sardines (11)

Serve hot.

 

 

Sols, A Vinegar Dressing (salad)

Si vols fer sols a que et vulles, a carn o a peix, pren de la carn o del peix frit a fets-ne trossos, e gita’ls en vinagre; e dessus gita primerament farigola.
E si vols lo sols cald, hages pebre a safra e vinagre, e del brou de la carn o del peix, e ceba tallada; e destrempa-ho tot e gita-ho dessus.

If you wish to make vinegar dressing for whatever you want, for meat or fish, take the meat or fried fish and vut them in pieces and pour them into vinegar, and first pour thyme over the top.
If you want the dressing hot, take pepper, saffron and vinegar, and some meat or fish broth and sliced onion, and mix it all together, and pour it over the top.

Mixtura cum Caseo; Mixture with Cheese
LIX. QUEMADMODUM MORETUM FACIAS
Addito in mortarium satureiam, mentam, rutam, coriandrum, apium, porrum sectivum aut, si id non erit, viridem cepam, folia lactucae, folia erucae, thymum viride, [vel] nepetam, tum etiam viride puleium et caseum recent<em> et salsum. Ea omnia pariter conterito acetique piperati exiguum permisceto; hanc mixturam cum in catillo composueris, oleum superfundito.
Put into a mortar savory, mint, rue, coriander, parsley, leeks, or if you have none, a green onion, , lettuce leaves, rocket, green thyme or catnip, and also green pennyroyal and fresh and salted cheese. Pound all of these together, and blend in a little pepper. When this mixture has been arranged in a bowl, pour olive oil over it.
A composed green salad of lettuces, served alongside a saffron vinaigrette.

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

 

¼ c Vinegar, Sour Orange juice, Verjus, or diluted pomegranate molasses.
½ tsp salt
1 pinch Saffron, bloomed
¼ tsp Black pepper
¾ c Olive oil

A green tossed salad with herbs of your choosing.

Use a jar with a good lid.

Add salt and saffron to vinegar, allow to rest 15 minutes or more.
Add pepper, olive oil.
Place lid on container, shake briskly.

Note: Many people are unable to safely eat pennyroyal, I choose to substitute other available mints when I am serving guests, though for my own use I do use pennyroyal.  Select a wide variety of lettuces, bitters, crisps, and juicy types. This salad can be composed as an elegant, layered display piece for a formal meal.

 

 

Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 106. Print.
Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 84-85. Print.

Marcos, Juan Jose. “LUCIUS IUNIUS MODERATUS COLUMELLA.” The Latin Library. The Latin Library. Web. 16 Oct 2013. <http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/columella/columella.rr12.shtml>

 

 

Parsnips (9)

Parsnips make me happy, that was reason enough to make this dish.

I chose small, tender parsnips of about 5-8″ long, and not much more than 2″ across. The larger ones were in poor condition,

Parsnips (1)

First, after peeling them, I cut them into 5 sections so they would cook evenly. If yours are larger, you may get more sections, though I do suggest removing the core on any parsnip over 3″ across or 10″ long. The cores are a challenge to eat no matter how good your teeth.

Parsnips (2)

I used water to poach them, but added salt.  A broth would have been a nice poaching medium, but I wanted to keep the preparation simple.

The flour is a locally milled whole wheat which I sieved to reduce the rough matter.  The saffron steeped in warm water for about 15 minutes while I cut and poached the vegetables.

I chose to fry in grapeseed oil, which I keep on hand. It is a modernly available oil with minimal flavor and a high smoke point. My assumption is that olive oil or lard might have been more likely, but I did not wish to use either.

They are heavy, but they didn’t completely fail overnighting in the refrigerator. I reheated them in a dry pan in the oven at 300 for about 15 minutes.

 

170. Parsnips.

Clean big ones well and remove the woody part in the middle, and boil them; when they are cooked, flour them and fry them in good oil- but before that, dry them well on a small board; then, to make them better, get a bowl of flour tempered with water, add sugar, cinnamon, saffron and rosewater, coat the parsnips with this mixture and put them in the pan with hot oil; then put spices on top of them and serve them properly seasoned like that.

 

1-2 lbs parsnips, cut into 1/2″x 4″ spears

1/2 c flour

1 TBS sugar (promotes browning, can be omitted)

6-8 threads of saffron, bloomed in 1/4 C warm water

1/2 tsp cinnamon (Canela)

1/2 – 1 oz rosewater, to taste

Water to complete batter

Sufficient oil to fry

salt and pepper, for after frying

A heated oven for the parsnips to rest in

knife and board for trimming

a cloth or wooden rest area for the parsnips to dry while making the batter

 

 

Place saffron in water before beginning other processes.
Choose small parsnips.

Wash and peel parsnips. Cut to half length, then cut the thick section into quarters the long way, so all 5 pieces are about the same size.

Poach the cut parsnips til cooked most of the way through, but not enough to turn to mush.

Parsnips (4)

Allow to cool.

Make batter: by blending dry ingredients then adding liquid til it is a runny consistency. Set aside.

Parsnips (5)

Prepare frying oil, taking the usual precautions.

Dip parsnips in batter, fry. (watch some videos if you are not comfortable with frying. Using a countertop frying machine makes sense)

Parsnips (7)

Remove to a screen or cloth to give up excess oil.

Serve.  We really like this with recipe 157 from Los Guisados; Horseradish http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-MANUSCRIPTS/Guisados1-art.html

Parsnips (9)

Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection. 4th ed. University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000.  Print.

Salsa de Pago; Sauce for a Peacock
(too long to transpose)

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
Poached collops of chicken
served with a sauce of

¼ c chicken fat from poaching pot
4 oz onion
2 c chicken broth
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp grains of paradise, ground finely
¼ tsp cinnamon or ginger
1/8 tsp cloves,
1 pinch saffron
½ tsp salt
1 Tbs approx honey
1 Tbs approx Sour Orange juice

Collect fat from pot.
Fry onions in chicken fat.
Pour off frying fat.
Add dry spices to onions.
Sautee in residual fat.
Add chicken broth to the onions, simmer.
Add saffron water, bit by bit, til color shifts toward red.
Taste. Adjust. If too saffron-y, add chicken fat.
Add sour orange juice (modicum, not a lot)]
Taste.
Add honey to balance
Taste again.

Use immersion blender to homogenise if you wish.
It should be red/tan in color, with a pleasant sweet/acid balance from the
sauteed onions, the honey, and the sharp sour oranges.
If sour oranges are not available, try a blend of orange and lime, or
perhaps some grapefruit juice for home use.

Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 42-45. Print.

I got lucky! I managed to get a beautiful shoulder of mutton locally. This is a rare treat.

While mutton has a reputation for strong flavor and aroma, I find this to be misleading. The meat has a distinctive flavor, yes, as opposed to the bland meats of the supermarket, but the flavor is in fact a component of the dish, rather than an obstacle to be overcome. We don’t need to season as assertively if the foods we are working with bring plenty to the table.

I love mutton.

.  I had a shoulder, not a thigh. Thigh is the same cut as leg of lamb, minus the shank. Leg has more meat and simpler carving, and less intramuscular fat. Surface fat is where stronger flavors tend to lie, so peel off any fat that has yellowing to it, no matter what cut you may have. Shoulder is a bit of a bear, as it has all kinds of bones and things going through it, it’s the tough end of a tough animal. It takes some care to carve, but with a little patience pays off quite nicely. A major modern advantage is that a shoulder fits pots more easily. Please don’t get one of those boneless legs of lamb in a net, they are not going to offer enough in the way of flavor to be worth the cost.

Beef or veal fat is suggested as the cooking grease because sheep fat sets at a low temperature, causing objectionable texture. It’s important to peel off that surface fat. Hand it to a soapmaker if you are uncomfortable discarding it.

This translation is from http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html

Item MUTTON PIE in a POT. Take a thigh (of mutton), and grease or marrow of beef or veal chopped small and onions chopped small, and set to boil and cook in a well-covered pot in a small amount of meat stock or other liquid, then put to boil in it spices, and a little vinegar to sharpen it, and arrange it in a dish.

Item, if you want to salt mutton in hot weather, moisten beforehand, and sprinkle with coarse ground salt.

 

1 leg (or shoulder) of mutton (goat, lamb, venison), about 4 lbs including bone.

2-3 baseball sized onions, cut to a fine dice

1/4 lb suit, optional

a quart of good stock or broth

1 TBSP salt

1 tsp grains of paradise

1/4 stick cinnamon, or a quarter teaspoon

heads off about a dozen cloves, or about a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves

1/4 c red wine vinegar

IMG_5008

Choose a pot with a well fitting lid, that the meat will fit snugly. A slow cooker is an excellent option for this dish.

Place the meat, onions, and stock in the pot. Add suet if you feel you ought to add some fat to the dish. This will help temper the mutton flavor.  (I did not add fat)

IMG_5009

Seethe on a low flame with the lid on for approximately two hours, then add the spices to the pot. Add about half of the vinegar at this time as well.

Continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes. The meat ought to be rather tender and fully cooked to the falling-off the bone stage.
Remove the meat, reserving the cooking liquid. Taste for balance, add more vinegar and reboil, if needed.

If the sauce is too greasy, you might use a gravy separator, float a towel on top to absorb, or carefully drag an ice cube across the surface to quickly set the fat, making it easier to remove.

Allow to cool, slice, serve. with the sauce made of cooking liquid.

 

I chose my spices based on what blends are common in the book, what would taste nice together, and what I believe would play nicely with the flavors inherent in the onions and meat. You may choose your spices differently. For instance, the dish Yellow Mutton calls for saffron, ginger and verjus, while another note says that if venison is basted, it may be served with cameline, which implies to me that a poached dish should specifically not be served with cameline. Other notes in the manuscript say that in summer use saffron, but in winter use pepper.  I feel my choices to be internally consistent, and successful.

I cannot grind my cloves as finely as commercially available. I would use commercially ground cloves, or perhaps stick whole cloves into one section of onion in order to more easily remove them later.

The onions as I presented them were not chopped finely enough. I suggest making them about the size of modern gambling dice.

While this has little to do with our modern understanding of pie, lacking crust and being a very simple pot stew, it is not roasted before seething, nor after. The meat is intended to be cooked once, so it must be cooked fully.

 

 http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html 

 

XLV Si vols fer bunyols, hages de la pasta damunt dita, que sia llevada, ee ous ab formatge rattlat; e sia tot mesclat e be espes. E fe’n redolins aixi com un ou. E hages una cassola e del greix dessus dit; gita’ls en cassola. E, quan seran cuits, posa’ls en un tallador ab sucre dessus e dejus.

If you want to make cheese fritters, take the dough described above, which is leavened, and eggs with grated cheese. Everything should be mixed together and quite thick.And make round shapes like an egg. Take a casserole dish and some of the grease saif above, pour (the fritters) into the dish. And when they are cooked, put them on a plate wuuthh sugar over and under.
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup warm (100 degrees F) water, for proofing
2 c warm water, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup
3 oz Manchego, grated
1 TBS salt

frying oil, fryolator

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

I like these as a cheesy beignet. We made them small, about a half ounce of dough per bunyol, as they puff when frying and are quite rich.

The recipe really relies on a flavorful cheese. We used an earthy Manchego.  Our poor fry guy could not keep up with demand.

Dissolve yeast in ½ c warm water. Wait til foamy, add 1 c water and the bulk of the flour. Incorporate.
Allow to rise 1-3 hr til doubled.
Reserve the last cup of water.
Fold dough into last cup water, adding cheese as you go.
Add more flour if needed.
Allow to rise as time permits, at least 15 mins while prepping fryer depending on the ambient temperature.
This dough really does not need a full rise.

Fry.

Salt as they come out of the fryer.
Dust w more cheese if available. Serve.

Rest on platters lined with paper.
Move them so they don’t get soggy.
Serve in a bowl lined with cloth towels, but they probably won’t last long enough to worry about sogginess.

Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 132-133. Print.

IMG_5014

Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil , cheese and spice powder.

It’s autumn. I want easy hot lunch food that tastes nice. Mushrooms are technically out of season, but they are commonly available at any time of year now, and as I am unwilling to risk health foraging at a store is as far as I am willing to go.

Having decided to make this dish as hand pies, I had to consider the cheese. There being so few flavors, I did not want to compete with the fine spices nor the delicate flavor of the farmed mushrooms themselves. I decided that ricotta would be too wet, Camembert too gummy, and chose a queso fresco, which is like farmer cheese which has been pressed to a somewhat drier consistency.

IMG_5010

“Baby Bellas,” criminis,  were looking freshest, with the closed gills asked for in the recipe. Other mushrooms with other values of flavor would have been just as good, though perhaps suggesting more thought to the seasoning.

I sliced the mushrooms and poached them with the spices and salt, then decided to mince them for better texture.  I think they would have suffered had I minced them first, as mushrooms can tend to become either slippery or rubbery.

 

1 lb fresh small mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1/2-1 tsp poudre fine

1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4-1 tsp salt, depending on the saltiness of the cheese

1/4 c water

1-2 TBS olive oil

6-12 oz queso fresco, farmers’ cheese, or other fresh cheese

10 hand-pie wrappers of your preference. (I chose to use commercial empanada wrappers)

 

 

Taste cheese for saltiness and liquidity, set aside

Slice mushrooms.

Place mushrooms in pan with water, simmer on low until reduced in size and liquid is dark

IMG_5011

Add spices and salt if you are using it

Mince mushrooms if you wish.

IMG_5012

Allow to cool

Fold in cheese. Include any mushroom liquid which has not absorbed or evaporated

Place two ounces of the mixture on each wrapper, fold them over, and seal the edges.

IMG_5013

Bake at 325-350 for 10 minutes, then puncture the tops to prevent explosions

Continue baking til wrappers are browning. The filling is fully cooked, so don’t worry too much about it.

When mine had finished baking,  I brushed the tops with a little butter, You might like

to use an egg white, or to leave them plain.

IMG_5012

This is my Poudre Douce recipe, which I used in place of poudre fine.

1 Tbs sugar
½ Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
¼ tsp ginger

 

Lentils are good when washed and carefully boiled in fresh water. Make sure that the first lot of water is poured away, and a second lot of hot water is added as required, but not too much, and then boil the lentils slowly on the stove.
When they are cooked, add for seasoning a little vinegar, with the addition of that spice which is called Syrian Sumac. Sprinkle a spoonful of this spice over the lentils while they ae still on the fire and stir in well.
You can add for flavoring a good spoonful of oil from unripe olives to the second lot of water while the lentils are still cooking, as well as one or two spoonfuls of coriander including the roots, not ground but whole, and a pinch of salt for seasoning. (Anthimus)

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

8 oz brown lentils, picked over
24 oz water
24 oz water (not a typo), cool
1 fl oz olive oil
1 fl oz vinegar
1 tsp sumac powder
2-3 sprig coriander
10g salt.

Pick over lentils, rinse.
Simmer lentils in unsalted water. When water changes color, drain and add cool fresh water.
When water boils, lower temperature.
Add olive oil, put in unchopped coriander. When coriander changes color, remove and discard.
Add salt, finish cooking. Do not add salt earlier, as texture will be affected.
Add sumac and vinegar just before service, as the sumac loses flavor quickly.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves two as an entree, four as a side dish.

You might prefer to serve this dryer or with more of the cooking liquid. I prefer it as a salad, but it is also a good soup.

Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 138. Print.