Dar Anahita > Front Hall Directory > al-Iwan Dining Niche > 2002 Mists Bardic Feast


Principality of the Mists Bardic 2002
Mediterranean Tour Feast
First Course - mixed cultures


  • Bread - mix of sourdough bread and white dinner rolls (purchased)
  • Butter - unsalted (purchased)
  • Mostly Period Cheese Plate: emmenthaler, fontina, munster, provolone (purchased)
  • Carrot Paste - Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
  • Meatballs - Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
  • Sinab - Almond-Honey-Mustard Sauce - Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
  • Almond-stuffed Prosciutto-wrapped Dates - Catalan
  • Steamed Asparagus - asparagus tossed with olive oil, vinegar, salt - Italian


Cheese Sampler Plate

This was made of a selection of cheeses which are most likely "period":
  • 4 lb. Emmenthaler - Switzerland, 13th cent
  • 4 lb. Fontina - Italy, 13th cent
  • 4 lb. Munster - France, 13th cent?
  • 4 lb. Provolone - Lombardy - possibly "period", possibly modern

Cut each block of cheese into equal 10 pieces
Put one piece of each kind of cheese on the serving plate for each table.
This makes a little over 3 oz. of cheese per diner.

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Carrot Paste

ORIGINAL
the 13th c. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook
trans. by Charles Perry

Take a ratl of carrots, of which you have cleaned the interior. Cook it in a ratl of water, some two boilings, then take it off the fire and let it dry a little, over a sieve. Add it to three ratls of honey, cleaned of its foam, and cook all this until it takes the form of a paste. Then season it with ginger, galingale, cubeb and flowers [of clove?], half an ûqiya in all for each ratl. Eat it like a nut at meals. Its benefits: it fortifies coitus and increases desire beautifully; it is admirable.

MY VERSION

5 lb. carrots
5 c. water
2-1/2 lb. honey
2 cups sugar
1 Tb. + 1-1/2 tsp. ginger
1 Tb. + 1-1/2 tsp. galingale
1 Tb. + 1-1/2 tsp. cubeb
1 Tb. + 1-1/2 tsp. clove

1. Cook carrots in water until soft.
2. Add honey to carrots.
3. Cook until very tender, mashing a bit.
4. Add sugar and a bit more water.
5. Cook and continue mashing until it forms a paste. If you mash by hand, there will be some lumps, which is what i did. For a smoother paste, you could puree the pulp in a blender.
6. Remove from heat, then season it with ginger, galingale, cubeb and clove.

NOTES:

  • I added sugar instead of more honey because i think the flavor of the honey would be overpowering, whereas sugar adds sweetness with a less assertive flavor.
  • This reminded me incredibly of a Gujarati sweet i've eaten which is made with grated carrots cooked with sugar, cardamom, and other spices.
  • There were many favorable comments on this recipe. I thought it was delicious.


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Andalusian Meatballs

My thanks to Mungo Mor who made the meat balls from my recipe.

ORIGINAL
Based on an analysis of several meatball recipes in the 13th c. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook.
trans. by Charles Perry

Some of the recipes just say to make meatballs "in the way that they are made". To find out what this might mean, I read five recipes and looked for common or typical ingredients.

The method of cooking the meatballs varies as well. Some are boiled, some fried, some simmered in a sauce. Because these meatballs were served with Sinab, a mustard sauce, they were cooked simply, rather than boiled in sauce.

MY VERSION

30 lb. ground meat - we used beef
10 lb. onions
3 bunches fresh cilantro
3 Tb. salt
6 Tb. ground coriander seed
4 Tb. + 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin seed
3 Tb. powdered cinnamon
3 Tb. ground white pepper
12 eggs

To keep meatballs consistent, I suggest doing this in batches, rather than all at once, by dividing ingredients by 3 or 4.

1. Peel onions, cut off tops and tails, then quarter.
2. Puree onion in blender or food processor with cilantro, salt and spices.
3. Beat eggs.
4. Mix eggs with onion-spice puree.
5. Mix egg-onion-spice puree with ground meat. Be sure all ingredients are blended well together.

At this point, I suggest that you cook a couple small meatballs first and taste them to see how seasoning is. If it needs adjustment, write down what you add and process remaining batches with the same amount of spices. If the sample batch tastes fine, continue to the next step.

6. Form into meatballs about the size of a walnut.
7. Cook meatballs. Some recipes call for frying, others for boiling. You could also try baking. Do whatever is most comfortable or convenient for you. If you want, you could even try all methods simultaneously... For the feast, they were baked in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit.
8. When meatballs are cooked, cool them until they are cool enough to handle.
9. When they are cool enough, freeze them in zip-close plastic bags.

To Serve:
Meatballs can be served at room temperature.
Thaw in refrigerator. Heat water and pour into a large container - immerse bags of meatballs in hot (not boiling) water until they are warm enough.

Variations:
If you like, you can add any or all of the following:

1. Murri
Murri is a Medieval Middle Eastern liquid seasoning, originally made with fermented barley, spices, and flavorings. There is also another simpler, quicker historic version, a recipe for which can be found at:
http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Medieval.html
For 30 lb. of ground meat, I suggest using 1-1/2 cups of murri. If the murri is salty, cut down on the amount of salt.

2. Crushed Garlic
For 30 lb. of ground meat, I suggest purchasing either a jar of already crushed garlic or a bag of already peeled garlic cloves and puree the necessary amount in a blender or food processor. It takes a long time to separate and peel the cloves from multiple heads of garlic. Once you have your garlic, use the equivalent of one clove per diner.

3. Saffron
Crumble and blend with the onion-and-cilantro (it needs moisture to release its color and flavor). For 30 lb. of ground meat, I suggest a minimum of 1 Tb.

4. White Wheat Flour
You can add this to extend meat and make the balls hold together, if you like.


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Sinab - Almond-Honey-Mustard Sauce

ORIGINAL
the 13th c. Anonymous Andalusian cookbook
trans. by Charles Perry

Clean good mustard and wash it with water several times, then dry it and pound it until it is as fine as kohl. Sift it with a sieve of hair, and then pound shelled almonds and put them with the mustard and stir them together. Then press out their oil and knead them with breadcrumbs little by little, not putting in the breadcrumbs all at once but only little by little. Then pour strong vinegar, white of color, over this dough for the dish, having dissolved sufficient salt in the vinegar. Then dissolve it well to the desired point, and strain it thoroughly with a clean cloth; and there are those who after it is strained add a little honey to lessen its heat. Either way it is good.

MY VERSION

2 quarts of prepared Dijon mustard
3 lb. almonds, very finely ground - about 3-1/2 cups
several slices of white bread, barely toasted and ground to make 3-1/2 cups
1-1/2 quarts honey

1. Pour mustard into a large bowl and stir in almonds.
2. Then stir in breadcrumbs, and mix well. Make sure there are no pockets of dry almonds or crumbs.
3. Then add honey and mix well.
4. If it is too hot, add equal parts of bread crumbs moistened with a little water and finely ground almonds, until taste is satisfactory.

Notes:
To save time, I used purchased mustard. The Dijon was quite sharp, so I added a lot of honey. You may prefer more or less. The diners seemed to like it quite a bit.

If you want to make your own, i've broken down the process and ingredients here, but you'll have to experiment.

sufficient salt
strong white wine vinegar
mustard powder, sifted
shelled almonds, finely ground
breadcrumbs
a little honey

1. Dissolve sufficient salt in the vinegar.
2. Stir together ground almonds and mustard powder.
3. Then press out their oil.
4. Knead in breadcrumbs, little by little.
5. Then pour the vinegar over this paste and dissolve it well to the desired point.
6. Add honey to taste.

NOTE:
Keep tasting and mixing - add more almonds and more bread crumbs, along with the honey, to balance the flavors.


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Almond-stuffed Prosciutto-wrapped Dates

These were made by Duquessa Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez. My thanks to her for her assistance.

16th c. Catalan. I don't have a recipe, but basically:

pitted dates
blanched almonds
prosciutto (a pork product)

1. Stuff each date with an almond.
2. Wrap each date in a small piece of prosciutto.


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Steamed Asparagus

We had this in part because asparagus was a really good price. I had been checking, and would not have served it if it had been expensive.

Italian
This recipe is found in Apicius (2nd c. CE), Anthimus (10th c.), and Platina (15th c.), among others.

MY VERSION

80 stalks asparagus
virgin olive oil
salt
white wine vinegar
1. Gently wash asparagus.
2. Cut or break off white woody parts at the bottom of each stalk.
3. Steam the asparagus until just barely done - this takes just a few minutes once the water boils.
4. Gently toss asparagus with olive oil.
5. Gently toss asparagus with salt
6. Gently toss asparagus with vinegar, about half as much as oil.

This dish will depend on the quality of the asparagus, the quality of the olive oil (get the best you can afford, there really is a difference in flavor), and the quality of the vinegar (each kind tastes quite different - wine vinegar is good, sherry vinegar is good, cider vinegar and plain "white" vinegar will not be very good)


NOTE:
This is a real, genuine, historically accurate recipe. But because it is so similar to what we eat today, some people commented that it seemed too ordinary. Too bad. I like asparagus whenever it's fresh and affordable.




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This page modified 14 May 2004