Halloween roman feast

Would love to take and breaking out some lamellar armor, complete with leather skirt….thats right roman soldier…oh yeah…specifically first spearmen. Marcus Calpurnius Merula Esquilina Germanicus fresh off the field of battle cooking your dinner. Ok…so I get into it…it’s all in good fun.

We shall start out with Patina de Sabuco. Elderberry souflee, this is a gustatio (starter)

6 bunches of elderberries (or a mix of 75g blackcurrants and 75g blueberries)
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp liquamen (recipe down the bottom)
125ml white wine
125ml Passum (A sweet wine sauce. This is made by adding honey to must and boiling until it has thickened. Must is essentially very young wine that’s been boiled after the first stage of fermentation. To make must boil a young sweet white wine until reduced by half.)
125ml olive oil
6 eggs

f using elderberries, remove the fruit from the stems with a fork. Wash them properly then add to a saucepan with just enough water to cover and simmer until softened. Drain and pour into the base of a shallow baking dish. Menawhile add the pepper, Liquamen, wine and Passum to a saucepan mix well before adding the olive oil. Then bring the entire mixture to the boil. At the point where the mixture is just boiling add the eggs one by one and stir to mix everything together. Pour on top of the elderberries in the baking dish and place un-covered in an oven at 160°C for about 40 minutes. When set sprinkle with pepper and serve. (Alternatively allow to cool, place in the fridge and serve cold.)

Now for the Prima Mensae (main course) Aliter Haedus sive Agnus Syringiatus, boned suckling kid or lamb.

1 baby kid goat or lamb
liver, heart, lungs and kidneys from the animal
intestines of the animal
200g minced lamb or goat
2 onions, finely chopped
300g breadcrumbs
600ml lamb or meat stock
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp lovage seeds (or celery seeds), ground
1/2 tsp ground cumin
60ml red wine
600ml milk
100ml honey
2 tbsp freshly-ground black pepper
salt, to taste
pinch of asafoetida
70ml liquamen
70ml honey
8 pitted dates, pounded to a paste
300ml red wine
2 tsp cornflour (originally wheat starch would have been used)

Take your lamb or goat, cut off the heat then bone the animal from the neck, removing the vertebrae and ribs (leave the legs inside). This will give you an inverted bag which you should wash throughly. Take the intestines and wash thoroughly in warm water, running the water through then to ensure they are clean. Bring a pan of lightly-salted water to a boil. Add the liver, lungs, heart and kidneys from the animal. Bring to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes, or until tender. Drain and then cool. Mince the meat finely and mix with the minced meat, onion, breadcrumbs and seasonings then moisten with the wine. Use this mixture to stuff into the intestines then place the filled intestines in the animal’s body. Pour in the stock and seal any openings closed. Place the animal in a braising pan. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, black pepper, salt and asafoetida. Pour this over the meat then cover with a lid (or with foil) and transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160°C. Roast for about 150 minutes, or until cooked through. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Combine the liquamen, honey, dates and red wine in a pan. Bring to a simmer, then whisk the cornflour to a smooth slurry with a little water. Whisk this into the sauce and simmer until thickened. When the lamb is ready, arrange on a serving dish and pour over the wine sauce. Serve immediately.

For out Accompanyment, Lenticula (roman spicy lentils)

200g lentils (green)
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Slice of lemon
½ tsp crushed sumac berries
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ground coriander seeds
handful of coriander leaves
sea salt to taste

Boil the lentils in 500ml of water for about 40 minutes or until they are tender. Drain off the excess water and return the lentils to the pan. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, slice of lemon, olive oil, the ground coriander seeds and crushed black peppercorns and sumach to the drained lentils, along with 3 to 4 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile chop the coriander leaves and when the lentils are done pour them into a bowl and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.

Next we move to the secundae…(dessert)….wich will be Kydonion syn Meliti (honeyed quinces)

10 quinces (Pears can be substituted but quinces are tarter. If using pears reduce the honey by 1/3 and add the juice of half a lime)
100ml honey
250ml sweet white wine

Peel, core and dice the quinces and put them in a saucepan. Add the wine and honey and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until they are soft (reduce the time for pears). Transfer to a blender and puree. Pour into individual bowls. (I like mine a little chunks so salsa consistancy.)

On my tables will be a roman wheat bread.

2 pk Fast-rising dry yeast
2 1/2 c Tepid water
1 c Whole-wheat flour
1/2 c Rye flour
Unbleached white flour to
-make up 2 lbs. 3 oz. of
-total weight
1 ts Salt mixed with:
1 tb Water
Cornmeal for baking sheets

Put the tepid water in your electric mixer bowl and dissolve the
yeast. Use a paper lunch sack for weighing out the flour. Put the
whole-wheat and rye flour in the bag first, and then make up the
weight with the white flour. Put 4 cups from the bag into the mixer
and whip it for 10 minutes. Add the salted water. If you have a
KitchenAid, allow the dough hook to do the rest of the work.
Otherwise, add remaining flour by hand. Knead until the dough is
smooth and elastic. Put the dough on a plastic counter and cover with
an inverted steel bowl. Allow it to rise once, punch it down, and
allow it to rise a second time. Punch down and form into 2 or 3
loaaves. I never use bread pans for this, as they will ruin the
crust. Place the loaves on baking sheets that have been dusted with
cornmeal and allow the loaves to rise until double in bulk. Bake in a
450 degree oven about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and
the loaf light to the touch. It should make a hollow sound when you
thump your finger on the bottom of the loaf.

(I am planning on ditching commercial yeast for a homemade roman style yeast…when i can figure out what it would be and I’ll post it)

Finally everything is winding down….so let’s break out the cenulae (snacks)….I plan on 3 snacks, they are….

Thorion Tarikhous (makerel-stuffed vine leaves)

Tyros eis Halmen (pickled cheese)

Epityrum (Olives with herbs)

First the cheese…it’s the easiest.

200g Feta cheese
A handful of fresh thyme
200ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp clear honey

Wash and dry the Feta cheese to remove excess salt then cut into 1cm cubes. Using a clean pickling jar place a layer of the cubed cheese in the bottom. Cover this with a layer of thyme and then a layer of cheese. Keep on adding alternating layers until the entire jar is filled. Thoroughly mix the honey and vinegar and pour the mixtue into the pickling jar until the final layer of cheese is covered. Seal the jar and leave to infuse for a day.

now for the olives….

100g whole green olives
100g whole black olives
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 spring rue
2 or 3 mint leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Grind the cumin and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar. Finely chop the coriander rue and mint. Add the herbs and spices to a mix of the olive oil and vinegar. Stone then slice the olives into rings. Add these to a bowl, pour over the dressing and toss them together. Serve immediately it hence forth for your guests to enjoy.

and for the slightly harder mackerel stuffed grape leaves

250g smoked mackerel
250g Feta cheese
20-25 salted vine leaves
1 fish stock cube (or fresh fish stock)
2 tbsp garum (or Nam Pla)

Skin the mackerel fillets and remove any bones then place in a bowl and mash roughly with a fork. Add the feta cheese and mash them together. Lay out one of the vine leaves and taking a tablespoon of the mackerel and cheese mixture lay it along the bottom third of the vine leaf. Bring the bottom portion of the leaf over the mixture, fold-in the sides and finally roll the leaf up to form a parcel. Repeat this process until all the mackerel and cheese mixture has been incorporated into vine parcels. Tightly pack the parcels into a heavy dish so that there is almost no space between them. Make 100ml of fish stock by dissolving a fish stock cube in 100ml of boiling water, or use 100ml of fresh fish stock. Season with 2 tbsp of Garum and pour over the vine-leaf parcels. Place the dish in an oven pre-heated to 170°C and cook for an hour. Serve immediately. If you make a cheese sauce and pour this over the vine parcels, topping with a sprinkling of paprika.

The original recipe calls for brains, the concerns about the safety of central nervous system components in the wake of the various prion disorders (BSE, Scrapie etc) has led me to leave them out of this redaction. However, the recipe works well enough without their inclusion.

Finally for our drinks….wine of course will be there, but I got 3 other drinks that are on the menu….mulled mead…rose honey…and rose wine and violet wine…

1 bottle of my red mead Juice of 2 oranges, 2 limes, 1 lemon 100ml brandy or cognac ½ orange studded with cloves ½ lemon, ½ lime Muslin bag containing the mulling spices: 1 cinnamon stick cut in half 1 cm piece of ginger cut into slivers ¼ tsp freshly-ground black pepper ½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

Take an orange half and stud 10 cloves into its rind. Take the remaining spices and tie into a muslin bag. Meanwhile juice the limes, oranges and lemons. Add the juice to a saucepan and pour in the mead, brandy (or cognac). Place this on a medium heat and add in the clove-studded orange half, the lemon half, the lime half and the muslin bag of spices. Heat until just at the point of boiling, simmer for at least ten minutes and serve hot.

Rose honey

250g honey 2l rose water

Take 2l of rose water and bring to a light boil stir in 250g of runny honey. Mix well and place in a storage jar or bottle (this can be made in summer and if the bottle is stoppered well enough will keep for several months in a cool dry place. In addition to being a refreshing scented drink this can also be used as an ingredient in making cakes or biscuits.

2 bottle white wine 6 generous handfuls of fresh, scented, rose petals and sweet violet petals, want 3 of each 120ml runny honey

Collect the rose petals as early in the morning as you can, when the dew has just risen. Chose roses that are as fragrant as possible and trim off the white base of the petals, as this portion can be bitter. Take about a handful of petals and sew into a muslin (cheeselcoth) bag. Sit in a large bowl and pour over the wine, ensuring that the petals are submerged. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside in a cool place to steep for seven days. After this time, take out the bag, discard the old petals and sew in a handful of fresh petals. Set aside to steep for even days then repeat the process once more. After the final steeping discard the petals, filter the wine then mix in the honey to dissolve and serve. Repeat this except using violet petals to make rose and violet wine.

garum or liquamen recipe….

500 gram small fish (smelt, sprat, anchovy, sardine), whole
375 gram seasalt
1 tablespoon oregano with a top

Rinse the fish under running water, leave them intact (do not remove gills, innards or whatever).
Put fish, salt and oregano in a cooking pan, add enough water to cover the fish with one or two inches of liquid on top.
Bring to the boil, let boil for fifteen minutes. The fish are cooked to a pulp. Crush the fish even more with a wooden spoon, continue boiling until the liquid starts to thicken.
Now start straining. First use a coarse strainer or colander to remove all the larger bits and pieces. Then strain the liquid several times through a kitchen cloth until the liquid is clear. Depending on the fish you use, and how long everything has boiled, you’ll end up with a pale yellow to deep amber coloured liquid.
Let it cool completely, and keep it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It may be that salt crystals are collecting at the bottom of the jar.

Because of the high content of salt, this sauce will keep for years. You’ll need but a teaspoon or tablespoon full at the time. Take care that you use a completely clean spoon for taking garum out of the jar.

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