Ancient Times

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Some recipes have been adapted for modern use.


Taking a small quantity of barley flour mix it with warm water and make a dough shaped into a round mound. Indent in the centre, approximately half the way through, and mark it with a cross using a knife. Place the dough on a plate and fill the dent with water. Leave this in a warm place for a few days to ferment and the dough will split open like a overripe fruit. The dough is then ready to use as yeast to make bread.

Sweet Wine Cakes

430g flour
15ml sweet white wine
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of aniseed
50g animal fat
25g finely chopped cheese
1 beaten egg
12 bay leaves

Add wine to flour, also the cumin and aniseed. Rub in the fat, cheese and bind with the egg. Shape mixture into 12 small cakes and place each one on a bay leave. Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 400F (200C, Gas mark 6)

Honey Cakes

These can be made from the above recipe using any left over sweet wine cakes. Remove stale crusts, put the remaining cakes into an oven proof dish and steep them in milk. Cook at 350F (180C, gas mark 4) for twenty minutes. Warm 45ml of honey and pour over the cooked cakes, pricking the surface so the honey can be readily absorbed. Finally sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Date Candy

1 cup of fresh dates
1 t of cinnamon
1/2 t of kardemam seed
1/2 cup of fresh ground walnuts
small amount of warm honey
dish full of fine ground almonds

mix the dates with some water to paste
mix in cinnamon and kardemon seeds
kneed in the walnuts
form balls, spread with honey and cover in the ground almonds
It is actually pretty good tasting
This recipe was from 1600 BC Egypt and was found on an ostraca *
* ostraca: an inscribed potsherd **
** potsherd: a fragment of broken pottery, especially one found in an archaeological excavation.

Chicken Biryani

This delicious Pakistani/Indian rice dish which is often reserved for very special occasions such as weddings, parties, or holidays such as Ramadan.

From what we have read, throughout the centuries this dish has changed the method of how it is cooked, but most of the ingredients are still the same.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (2 inch) piece cinnamon stick
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pinch powdered saffron
5 pods cardamom
3 whole cloves
1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large skillet, in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee) fry potatoes until brown, drain and reserve the potatoes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chili, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yogurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick gravy left when chicken is finished cooking. If necessary cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the gravy.
Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
In a medium-size pot, heat the chicken stock and salt. When the mixture is hot pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking. Spoon biryani onto a warm serving dish.

Fish Fritters

Boil the fish, and mash very well their white pulp. Take some almonds, well ground, and a little white flour with sugar and cinnamon. Mix all these things into a little water. Then make the fritters in the shape you prefer, and fry them in oil.

Epones Et Melones (Water and Honey Melons)

1/2 honey melon peeled, diced and stoned
1/2 water melon peeled, diced and stoned
500ml Passum
a little bit of honey (or Passum)
1 tblsp minced parsley
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
a little bit of Liquamen, or a dash of salt
Poleiminze, Silphium, vinegar, if wanted

Cook diced melons in a pan together with spices and herbs until done. Sometimes Silphium is added.

Roast Wild Boar

Boar is cooked like this: sponge it clean and sprinkle with salt and roast cumin. Leave to stand. The following day, roast it in the oven. When it is done, scatter with ground pepper and pour on the juice of the boar, honey, liquamen, caroenum, and passum.

For this you would need a very large oven, or a very small boar, but the recipe is equally successful with the boar jointed. Remove the bristles and skin, then scatter over it plenty of sea salt, crushed pepper and coarsely ground roasted cumin. Leave it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, turning it occasionally.

Wild boar can be dry, so wrap it in slices of bacon before you roast it. At the very least wrap it in pork caul. Then put it into the oven at its highest setting and allow it to brown for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, and continue to roast for 2 hours per kg, basting regularly.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. To make caroenum, reduce 500ml wine to 200ml. Add 2 tablespoons of honey, 100ml passum, or dessert wine, and salt or garum to taste. Take the meat out of the oven and leave it to rest while you finish the sauce. Pour off the fat from the roasting tin, then deglaze it with the wine and the honey mixture. Pour this into a saucepan, add the roasting juices, and fat to taste.

Carve the boar into thin slices at the table, and serve the sweet sauce separately.

Soft-Boiled Eggs in Pine-Nut Sauce

For 4 small eggs

200g pine nuts
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons garum or anchovy paste

Soak the pine nuts overnight in water. Then drain and grind them finely in the blender or pound them in a large mortar. Add the pepper, honey and garum. Heat the sauce in a bain-marie. Meanwhile put the eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Let them cook for 3 minutes, then take them off the heat, plunge them into cold water and peel them carefully. The outer edge of the egg white must be firm, but it must be soft inside. Put the eggs, left whole, into a deep serving bowl and pour over the sauce. Serve.

This recipe can be adapted easily to other eggs, such as quail's eggs. In that case keep an eye on the cooking-time: a quail's egg will be firm in 1 minute.

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