Bolognese Torte. Get a pound of new cheese and of old cheese, and grate it; get well cleaned chard, parsley and marjoram, and beat them as much as you can with a knife and fry them in a little good butter, then take them out; get four eggs, saffron and a good lot of pepper, and lard or good butter, and mix everything together; make a thin pastry crust on the bottom of the pan and put this mixture in it; have another crust on top, or else get buffalo cheese, cut it into strips and cover the mixture with it instead of a crust. Note that it should have a good smell of pepper, and cook it slowly; when the upper crust puffs up – I mean, rises – then it is done.

  Note: This is an incomplete process. Normally I would only post something I have hammered into submission, but life has intervened.

 I did this two different ways, for curiosity and as planning for an upcoming dinner. I made a traditionally understood pie as well as a yeast dough “torta” more closely resembling what we understand as a white pizza.

I was unable to locate marjoram, and mine is not grown enough to use, so I substituted oregano, which is somewhat similar in profile.

Traditional deep pie; I prepared a cold crust, blended the “old”, or parmesan cheese with the “new” farmers cheese, and added the herbs and egg. I thought about frying the herbs and spinach, but it is 80* out, and I thought there might be a limit to my tolerance for richness. I used a smaller, but proportional quantity; a half pound of the cheeses, 2 eggs, and so on. I have minimal access to worthy Buffalo mozzarella, so the regular varietal of fresh had to do.  I used frozen spinach, and should have dried it out more thoroughly. Sauteeing in the butter as the instructions guided would have solved this issue. Silly me.

For the second iteration, I used a yeasted dough, and went for a more minimalist approach. I layered the cheeses, first  the farmers, then the parmesan. I then seasoned the cheeses, layered on the greens, seasoned again, and layered on the mozzarella. It was a lovely white pie, but suffered from the cheeses and herbs being separate.

 

IMG_5291The classic iteration is perfect for a small dinner, but I believe it to be too rich to be a regular thing. It is pretty difficult to eat at room temp. A little goes a very long way.

1 pie crust

1 bag chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed hard, or 2 lbs fresh spinach, minced

1 large bunch parsley, minced

1 bunch or marjoram (sub oregano if marjoram is a challenge)

1/4 stick of butter

6 oz farmers’ cheese

6 oz Parmeggiano Reggiano, grated

8 oz  fresh mozzarrella

2 eggs

1 TBS black pepper

Please note that while I love saffron, I did not use it. I am not fully satisfied with the results, and don’t want to use saffron til I am certain of the dish.

Blend the Parmeggiano and the farmers’ cheese. Season. Set aside.

Blend the greens, sautee in the butter. Allow to cool.

Blend the cheeses and the herbs,

Press the herbed cheese blend into the pie shell. Lay the mozzarella on top. Bake til the cheeses are fully melted, and the mozzarella and crust are golden brown. Serve.

The cheeses I used were rather lemony and bright. Saffron would mellow and darken this flavor nicely, I will use it after I get the moisture levels where I want them.

 

IMG_5290The simplified version was actually more problematic, due to very moist spinach.. I did not get the crisp crust I had hoped for. I deleted the eggs, butter, and saffron in this iteration.

1 half sheet

1 ball of pizza dough, stretched to shape

1/2 lb farmers cheese, dotted evenly on the crust

1/2 lb parmeggiano reggiano, sprinkled about

1 TBS black pepper,

 

1/2 lb frozen spinach, well wrung.

2 oz minced parsley,

1 bunch stripped marjoram (I used oregano, supply issues)

Mozzarella, sliced and layered nicely on top.

Bake until done at about 400*.

 

I will be making some adjustments.

If you enjoy the occasional cheese platter with trimmings, you are likely familiar with Pan des Higos, the fig wedge stuffed with Marcona almonds.

This is similar, but with raisins instead of almonds. It benefits from access to some equipment, and from patience,

Simmering the figs in wine takes some care. You want them to plump, then begin to burst, but be cautious not to allow any to burn.

Figge (5)

A figge

To mak a figge tak figges and boile them in wyne
then bray them in a mortair put ther to bred and
boile it with wyne cast ther to clowes maces guinger
pynes and hole, raissins and florisshe it withe pongar-
nettes and serue it.
4 lbs figs
1 lbs raisins
1 bottle wine (I used a riesling type, semisec. Pick one that goes well with figs.)

1 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp salt

Fig jam for the cheeses

Bowl, spreader.

Simmer figs in wine til they are soft and bursting.
Run through a meat grinder.

Fold in raisins and spices.

Place in a mold or form.

Put in a warm oven or cool area overnight to set, then unmold, wrap in paper, and store for as long as it needs to dry some.

Cut into wedges, wrap and store, serve as an accompaniment to cheeses.

 

We both tasted as we seasoned, in hopes of enhancing the flavors rather than spicing the food. It’s meant to complement other foods rather than to be a centerpiece.

I was dreading braying it in a mortar. This would be outdoor work, with a fair amount of loss, as cooked figs are so juicy. Instead, it went through the meat grinder. That took about 10 minutes and was far less scary than a mortar would have been.

Figge (7)

After adding the raisins and spicing it, the dish is to be served. However, we need a dry consistency, and a dish which will hold, so I put it into pans and dehydrated it.

It is currently wrapped in paper, on a rack, awaiting the day it will be served. I can’t wait.

If you are familiar with Mostardo or Chutney, this dish is pretty approachable.

It’s a mixed pickle of several vegetables, simmered then marinated. It can be canned, and it lasts a fair time.

First, if you don’t have lombard mustard, you might wish to make some.

I like equal proportions of mustard seed, honey, and wine vinegar by weight, and to allow it to age for at least a week in the fridge.

COMPOST. C. Take rote of parsel. pasternak of rasenns. scrape hem waisthe hem clene. take rapes & caboches ypared and icorne. take an erthen panne with clene water & set it on the fire. cast all þise þerinne. whan þey buth boiled cast þerto peeres & parboile hem wel. take þise thynges up & lat it kele on a fair cloth, do þerto salt whan it is colde in a vessel take vineger & powdour & safroun & do þerto. & lat alle þise thinges lye þerin al nyzt oþer al day, take wyne greke and hony clarified togider lumbarde mustard & raisouns corance al hool. & grynde powdour of canel powdour douce. & aneys hole. & fenell seed. take alle þise thynges & cast togyder in a pot of erthe. and take þerof whan þou wilt & serue forth.

Take Parsley root, Carrot (or parsnip), scrape and wash.
Take turnips and cabbages, trimmed appropriately
Put them in a pot, and cook them through.
When they are done, blanch pears.
Blend the items together, and cool overnight.
The next day, when chilled, add salt
then vinegar, “powder” (pepper), and saffron.
The day after that, add “Greek” wine and honey which have been blended together,
and lumbard mustard, as well as currants.
Add cinnamon, poudre douce, and whole anise.
Put it all in a crock, and serve at need.

I keep lumbard mustard and poudre douce in stock, and kept pretty decent records of my garden’s productivity, so I had a good sense of what would have been available.

I am using a moscato as my wine.

I made this a few times. Once, I tried cutting all of the vegetables into different shapes. It wasn’t nice. I ran them through a shredder, a processor, and so on. Eventually I got to cutting them all as close to matchstick as I could, and it worked out nicely.

Also, I don’t recommend those giant storage carrots, they have a watery sweetness that works well in other dishes but not so well in this one.
3 medium carrots, matchstick or rounds

And / Or

2  large parsnips, matchstick

2 larger white turnips, matchstick

1 bunch radishes, about 8-10, matchstick

1/2 medium green cabbage, shredded

4-6 hard pears, chopped

2 TBS -1/2 cup salt

1.5 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 Tbs pepper, ground or 1 TBS whole

a pinch of vinegar

2 c moscato.

1 cup honey

1/4 c lombard mustard

1 cup currants

2 tsp cinnamon (canela)

 

If you like anise, use a teaspoon each. I didn’t because I don’t like it.

Assemble your vegetables, not the pears. Poach them til they are bendy.

Remove them to a colander to cool, use the same water and poach the pears.

Add to the colander.

When fully cooled, add salt.

Once the salt is fully mixed in, add the vinegar, pepper, and saffron.

Then, finally, the next day, add the rest of the ingredients.

Allow it to sit for a week, and taste. If you like it, you can can it now,

or adjust seasonings and flavors first.

If you are low in the canning jars, add more vinegar to top up rather than

wine, in order to boost acidity slightly.

This is 6 canning jars worth. Two didn’t pop their lids, so I am storing them in the fridge and will use them first.

Compost (11)

http://www.medievalcookery.com/search/display.html?forme:99:PSTRNK

I think it counts as health food. It also falls under leftover buster.

I have been making quelquechoses this way for probably almost 10 years. It gets a lot of compliments, even when it doesn’t flip neatly.

A couple of things; the recipe after this in the book says you edit the ingredients and still be within the parameters; other meats, other vegetables.

I don’t add meat, because I don’t want to.

Quelquechose makes for a dense, rich breakfast or late supper.

 

To make a quelquechose, which is a mixture of many things together, take eggs and break them, and do away with one half of the whites, and after they are beaten put to them a good quantity of sweet cream, currants, cinnamon, cloves, mace, salt, and a little ginger, spinach, endive, and marigold flowers grossly chopped,, and beat them all very well together; then take pig’s pettitoes sliced, and grossly chopped, and mix them with the eggs, and with your hand stir them exceeding well together, then put sweet butter in your frying pan, and being melted, put in all the rest, and fry it brown without burning, ever and anon turning it til it be fried enough; then dish it up upon a flat plate, and cover it with sugar, and so serve it forth. Only herein is to be observed that your pettitoes must be very well boiled before you put them into the fricassee.

 

4 whole eggs

4 yolks

1/3 c heavy cream

1/4 c currants

1 lbs spinach (or kale, or cabbage, or chard) washed and torn, if needed

1-3 endives, depending on size, chopped

1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 cloves

4 or so blades of mace

a few chunks of ginger

bowls of separate ingredients

If you have pigs feet or other leftover meat cooked to the point of falling apart, reduce the spinach by half, or add another egg and yolk per 1/4 lbs.

 

Crush and combine the spices.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the cream into the spices and blend them, then put the spices into the cream.
Add the currants to the cream as well, particularly if they are dry.

Fold the cream into the eggs.

Heat a 10-12″ pan, add a decent quantity of unsalted butter, about 2 TBS.

While the butter melts, fold the vegetables into the eggs

Pour the mixture into the pan. I have put a lid on top to help it set up more quickly, as flipping the omelet can be problematic.

omelet that broke while flipping

I used a nonstick pan, but it stuck. I ate it anyway, because it tastes very good.

I don’t add sugar for the dinner version, but I do for the party version.

 

 

73 Take chiches  wrye hem in askes al nyght other al a day, other lay hem in hoot aymers. At morowe waische hem clene in water, and do hem ouere the fire with clene water, Seeth them up  and do therto oyle, garlek hole safroun, poudour fort and salt, seeth it & messe it forth.

 

Take chickpeas and set them in ashes and embers all night or all day.

Wash them clean in water, seethe them up,

add whole garlic, oil, powder fort, and salt.

Simmer together and serve.

 

I had a few options for this, though not the one I was most interested in; I do not have fresh chickpeas.

I first split a bag of dried chickpeas, and soaked half overnight.

Then I roasted the soaked peas, the still dry from the bag ones, and a tray of canned peas.

I treated the three iterations the same, as I wanted to see what different results I got.

The ones which had been soaked then roasted wound up tasting a lot like soggy, cooked corn nuts.

Those which had not been presoaked were reminiscent of uncooked potatoes in texture, with a bit of the nutty notes from the soaked and roasted iteration.

The canned peas were just about halfway between the two.

TL; Canned. TR: Dried and soaked. Bottom, Dried, not soaked.

TL; Canned. TR: Dried and soaked. Bottom, Dried, not soaked.

If I can get fresh chickpeas, I might revisit this dish.

I used powdre fort which was a very kind gift from a friend. It was pleasant.

spices measured for the dish.

Working with what I did for the dried, unsoaked peas, here’s what we did;

 

1 bag chickpeas, picked over.

1/4 c olive oil

1 TBS garlic, whole or minced

1 tsp powdre fort

1 tsp salt

1 pinch saffron, to taste

Roast peas for a few hours at 250*. They won’t change color.

Simmer them in water for an hour. Add salt.

Continue simmering, add spices and saffron.

Keep an eye on the water level.

When you taste and find them fully cooked, add the olive oil

and raise the temperature on the pot slightly.

Cook off excess liquid. Stir til incorporated.

The flavor is quite nice. The texture is a bit potato-like.

 

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 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.

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.

Aliter caroetas: elixatas concisas in cuminato oleo modico quoques et inferes; cuminatum coliculorum facies

Boil the carrots and chop them in a cumin sauce with a little oil, finish cooking, and serve. Make the cumin sauce as for cabbage. (3.9.3)

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

This is one of the simplest, quickest, and most delightful side dishes I know. It’s inexpensive and can be on the table from ingredients to completion in under 15 minutes, when making a half recipe for two people.

If you need a recipe to demonstrate the contemporary viability of historical food, please consider this one. It’s nice.

 

1 lb carrots
½ gallon poaching water
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tsp cumin

Trim and peel the carrots, leave them whole, watching for woody cores.
Poach in salted water until done.
Drain water, chop coarsely.
Return the carrots to the pan. Add oil, dust with cumin.
Watch the temperature, allow to get evenly coated and begin to blister.
The pan should be slightly brown and orange with toasted, not burnt, bits of cumin and carrot.
Taste for salt, plate.

Serves 4

Grocock, Christopher, and Sally Grainger. Apicius, a Critical Edition with an introduction and English translation by. Devon: Prospect Books, 2006. pp 172-173. Print.