Principality of the Mists
Bardic Competition and Feast
Courses Three and Four

Primera Mensa : First Course

Cena Prima : First Table

Acetaria : Mixed Greens Salad
Hypotrimma : Cheese Sauce
Pullus cum Iure : Chicken with Plum/Prune Sauce
Boletos : Another Mushroom Dish
Erebinthoi Knakosymmigeis : Saffron Chickpeas

Cena Secunda : Second Table

Ham with Figs in Pastry
Lucanicae : Smoked Lamb Sausages
Sinapim : Mustard Sauce with Ground Nuts
Patina de Persicis : Peaches in Cumin Sauce
Cabbage in the Style of Athens
Pulentium : Barley Polenta

NOTE: All recipes serve 80 to 100

Roman Frieze

Primera Mensa, Cena Prima
First Course, First Table


I could find no specific recipe for salad.

Patrick Faas in Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome, p. 229, suggests as suitable for a Late Antique Roman salad, besides lettuce:
basil, beet greens, celery, chervil, chicory, cilantro, goosefoot, leek, lettuce, mallow, mint, parsley, purslane, rocket (radicchio), rue, sorrel, thyme, watercress, etc.

My Version:

Several large packages of mixed greens (mesclun) with several types of lettuce and radicchio
One bunch fresh basil
One bunch fresh cilantro
One bunch fresh mint
One bunch fresh thyme
One bunch watercress

Tear the mixed salad greens by hand.
Tear the herbs by hand.
Add to the salad greens.
Toss by hand to blend.

HYPOTRIMMA : Cheese Sauce

Hypotrimma. Pepper, lovage, dry mint, pine nuts, raisins, Jericho date, sweet cheese, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, oil, wine, defrutum or caroenum

[--- Apicius, Book I, Chapter XIX]

My Version:

1 quart Olive Oil
2 cups Wine Vinegar (red or white)
1 cup Red Wine
1 cup defrutum or caroenum - we used White Grape Juice Concentrate (not reconstituted)
1 cup Honey
fresh Lovage or Chinese Celery
fresh Mint
ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
5 cups Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Raisins
1 cup Pine Nuts
  1. Put oil, vinegar, wine, juice concentrate, honey, lovage, mint, and pepper in blender and mix.
  2. Set aside a dish without cheese for the Prince, and stir 1 tsp. fish sauce into it.
  3. Add ricotta to remainder and blend.
  4. Pour out of blender, stir in raisins.
  5. Set aside a dish for the vegetarians, and stir 1 tsp. soy sauce into it.
  6. Add fish sauce to remaining dressing.
  7. Serve with a spoon in each dish along with green salad.

Various people who have "redacted" this recipe - both scholars and SCAdians - have come up with VERY different interpretations, ranging from cheese spread to sauce to salad dressing. I chose to use it as a salad dressing...

This could have used much less liquid, in my opinion. I'd suggest halving the first five ingredients, mixing and tasting, then adding back as you think it needs them.

I intentionally left the pine nuts out, as they were in several other dishes throughout the feast. But I forgot to add the raisins.


Sauce for Various Birds. Pepper, grilled cumin, lovage, mint, stoned raisins or damsons, a little honey; blend with mytrle wine, vinegar, fish sauce, and oil. Heat up and stir with celery and savory.

[--- Apicius, Book VI, Chapter V, Recipe 1]

My Version:

Plum/Prune Sauce

60 pitted Prunes
warm Water to cover
40 fresh Plums
1 gallon Red Wine
1-1/4 cups Red Wine Vinegar
1-1/4 cups Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
1-1/4 cups Olive Oil
1/4 cup & 3 Tb. Honey
2 Tb. fresh Mint
2 Tb. Lovage Herb or Chinese Celery Leaves
1 Tb. ground roasted Cumin Seeds
1-1/2 tsp. ground Black Pepper
5-10 leafy stalks Celery
1 container fresh Savory Herb

Soak prunes in lukewarm water.
Plunge fresh plums in boiling water.
-- Drain and remove and discard skins.
-- Cut in half and discard pits.
Drain and chop prunes, saving liquid.
Tie celery and savory into bouquets.
Put all ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil and simmer 20 min., stirring with bouquet, and mashing prunes and plums occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.
When done, leave bouquet in sauce until ready to serve.

Plums didn't grow in Italy at the time. Rather, dried plums were imported from Syria, where they grew. I assumed a sauce entirely of prunes would be too sweet, so I mixed fresh and dried in hope that the sauce would be less cloying... see note below.

In fact the sauce was not sweet enough and needed more honey. Shoulda just done all prunes. And, hey, I really like the taste of prunes.


36 lb. Chicken Thighs and Legs

Put pieces in a single layer in enough roasting pans.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, turning so they brown evenly until cooked through, between 30 and 45 minutes.

To serve, plate cooked chicken and pour sauce over.


Another Mushroom Dish: Put chopped mushroom stalks (from a variety of wild mushrooms) in a baking dish, add pepper, lovage, and a bit of honey. Blend with fish sauce, and a bit of oil.

[--- Apicius, Book VII, Chapter XIII, Recipe 6]

My Version:

10 lb. thawed Trader Joe's frozen Mushroom Medley
3 Tb Lovage Seeds
2 Tb ground Black Pepper
1-1/4 cups Honey
1-1/2 cups Olive Oil
1/2 cup Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
1 tsp. Salt

In a saucepan mix honey, oil, pepper, and lovage.
Cook on medium-low heat until honey is liquefied and ingredients well blended.
Put mushrooms in a baking dish.
Pour sauce over mushrooms.
Bake until cooked.
Remove vegetarian serving and add salt to taste.
Stir fish sauce into remaining mushrooms, taste and add more is needed.

As far as i know, the Romans didn't farm mushrooms and would have used a mixture of wild mushrooms.

I like the "Mushroom Medley" because it contains a mixture of mushrooms with varying flavors, colors, and textures. It includes champignon (i.e. button), shiitake, oyster and kikurage mushrooms, not all necessarily mushrooms the Romans would have had (OK, most they definitely wouldn't have). Since Trader Joe's brand is only available at Trader Joe's Markets, you can use a mix of whatever fresh mushrooms are available and affordable, especially if you live where this product is not available.

Erebinthoi Knakosymmigeis : CHICKPEAS IN SAFFRON SAUCE

"And then chick-peas marinated in saffron, plump in their tender youth"

[Piloxenus, The Dinner, quoted in Anthenaeus (circa 170-239 CE), The Partying Professors]

My Version:

A couple generous pinches of Saffron
a few Tb. Warm Water
3 giant cans Chickpeas
2 cups Olive Oil
Salt to taste, as garbanzos already salted
2 Tb. ground Cumin Seed
2 Tb. ground Coriander Seed
2 tsp. ground Black Pepper

Crumble saffron threads in a tablespoon or two of warm water. Let stand about 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse canned chickpeas.
Put chickpeas in a pot with olive oil and a little water, stir well, and heat on medium fire, adjusting heat as needed so they don't burn.
Add saffron, coriander, cumin, and salt to taste.
Stir and simmer until warm through.
Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more cumin and coriander seed, as needed.

It's possible that the Greeks used FRESH chickpeas, but i didn't think i'd find them, so...

There was some controversy among scholars as to whether the Greeks would have used saffron, which is flavorful as well as colorful, or safflower, which adds color but no appreciable flavor. I chose to use the tastier saffron, a flavor i love.

These were surprisingly popular, considering what i have heard about how much people dislike chickpeas. We had quite a bit left over, but nowhere near as much as i expected, and several people asked for the recipe.

Roman Frieze

Primera Mensa, Cena Secunda
First Course, Second Table

Ham with Figs in Pastry

After you have cooked the ham in water, with many dried figs and 3 bay leaves, remove the skin, make reticulated incisions, and fill them with honey. Then work together flour and oil and replace the skin. When the pastry is cooked, remove from the oven as it is, and serve.

[ ----- Apicius, Book VII, Chapter IX, Recipe 1]

My Version:


25 lb. Ham, cut into 10 serving chunks
Water, as needed
3 lb. dried Figs (i used black Mission figs)
30 Bay Leaves
1 cup Honey

1. Simmer ham with water, figs, and bay leaves, until figs are very soft.
2. Slice ham and stuff with figgy bits.
3. Coat with honey.
4. Refrigerate.


30 cups White Wheat Flour (3 cups per serving piece)
1/2 cup Salt (2-1/2 Tb. per serving piece)
Oil, as needed to moisten flour
Water, as needed to moisten flour

1. Make pastry, by mixing flour and salt and cutting in oil.
2. Divide into 10 balls, and roll each one out into large oval.
3. Stack with pieces of waxed paper between them.
4. Refrigerate

At the Feast:

1. Wrap hams in pastry.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F. until crust is golden, about 1/2 hour.
3. Slice and put on serving dishes.

I boiled the hams with the figs and seasonings, but we did not cut the ham into table pieces, nor did we wrap them in pastry. Instead, at the feast site, we sliced it with an electric meat slicer, plated the slices, and topped them with the pureed figs.

Lucanicae : Smoked Sausages

Original Recipe:
Lucanicae made similarly to the above: crush pepper, cumin, savory, rue, parsley, mixed herbs, bay berries, fish sauce, and mix with well-beaten meat, pounding it well with the ground spice mixture. Mix with fish sauce, whole peppercorns, plenty of fat,and pine nuts, stuff into an intestine pulled very thin and hang in the smoke.

[ ----- Apicius, Book II, Chapter IV]

These are traditionally made with pork. However, since the Prince cannot eat pork of any kind, i wanted a non-pork meat for him to eat (and everyone else, of course).

My Version:

15 lb. ground Lamb (3 oz per sausage)
some Fat
1/4 cup and 1 heaping Tb. ground Cumin Seeds
1 Tb. ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup dried Savory
1/4 cup chopped Chinese Celery Leaves or Lovage Herb
1/2 heaping cup chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) Parsley
(other herbs)
300 Juniper Berries
1-1/2 cups Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
1 Tb. Liquid Smoke Flavoring
1-3/4 to 2 cups whole Pine Nuts
300 whole Black Peppercorns

Before Feast:

1. Mix herbs and spices.
2. Add fish sauce and liquid smoke.
3. Divide the meat and seasonings into quarters to assure even distribution of seasonings.
4. Mix seasonings well with ground meat.
5. Mix pine nuts and whole peppercorns with meat.
6. Shape into 80 sausage-kebabs.
7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until done, turning occasionally.
8. Freeze.

At the Feast:

1. Thaw sausages
2. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until well-heated through.

Because i couldn't find bay berries i substituted juniper berries.

These were snarfed down with no leftovers and people coming to the kitchen asking for more.

I wanted to stuff them into casings, but it was not easy to find a small quantity of non-pork casings (take a look at the ingredients for those chicken sausages in the supermarket - most are stuffed into pork casings). While a local halal market could get non-pork casings for me, i had to buy a whole package - $45 for enough casings for 50 lb of meat - and to use them, one has to soak the whole package and then untangle them and you can't save what you don't use. And a local butcher, who was going to stuff my recipe into casings for me, said that the synthetic casings are horrible. Maybe some other time i'll make that 50 lb. of sausages and freeze them.

Sinapim : Mustard Sauce

To prepare mustard: Carefully clean mustard seed, sieve it. Wash in cold water. Soak 2 hours. Squeeze by hand. Put in a mortar and grind. Put in a few glowing coals, pour water with natron over it, so bitterness is removed. Pour off all the liquid. For banquets add pine nuts and almonds, grind together thoroughly. Then add vinegar. Mix and strain.

[ ----- Columella, de Re Rustica, 12, 57, edited]

My Version:

two 2.25 lb jars of Grey-Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 cup Pine Nuts
1 cups ground Almonds

1. Grind pine nuts.
2. Mix with mustard and set aside a clearly marked dish for the Princess.
3. Stir in ground almonds.

OK, OK, so i took the lazy way out. It's not that hard to mix powdered mustard with vinegar. I made Lombard Mustard to put in the Compost i made...

Patina de Persicis : Peaches in Cumin Sauce

Original Recipes:

Peach Patina: Peel some firm peaches, cut in chunks, and cook. Place in a patina pan and drizzle with oil. Serve with cumin sauce.

[ ----- Apicius, Book IV, Chapter II, Recipe 34]

Cuminatum: Another cumin sauce: pepper, lovage, parsley, dried mint, a large amount of cumin, honey, vinegar, fish sauce.

[ ----- Apicius, Book I, Chapter XV, Recipe 2]

My Version:

Cumin Sauce

1 Tb. roasted Cumin Seed
1/2 cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) Parsley
1/2 cup Chinese Celery Leaves or Lovage Herb
1 Tb. crumbled dried Mint
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 cup Red or White Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Honey
2 Tb. Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce

1. Roast cumin seed in a dry pan until fragrant and just darkening.
2. Cool somewhat, then grind cumin.
3. Mix roasted cumin with pepper, lovage, parsley, and mint.
4. Put vinegar and honey in a sauce pan on medium heat.
5. Stir in seasonings.
6. Simmer briefly, stirring, until liquefied and well seasoned.


40 fresh ripe Peaches
1 cup Olive Oil

1. Plunge peaches into boiling water briefly.
2. Drain, then remove skins.
3. Halve, removing pits.
4. Cut in chunks - putting 4 peaches on a separate dish for vegetarians.

Finish Dish

1. Put 4 peaches for the vegetarians in a small baking pan.
2. Put remaining peaches for everyone else in a large baking pan.
3. Toss all peaches with olive oil.
4. Separate a dish of sauce for the vegetarians. Season with a tsp. of soy sauce. 5. For remaining sauce, stir in fish sauce. 6. Pour cumin sauce onto peaches in baking dishes, keeping vegetarian dish separate.
7. Bake in 350 oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until just barely beginning to bubble.
8. Plate, keeping vegetarian peaches separate.

The peaches were ripe enough to peel without plunging in boiling water. We also didn't cook them. We just cut them up and mixed them with the sauce.

These were incredibly delicious, in part because of the high quality of the peaches which were perfectly ripe. I had bought the case of peaches about 4 days before the feast, and kept them in a cool dark place until the feast. Most of them were eaten and we in the kitchen kept slurping them up. They were my favorite dish of the feast.

Cabbage the Athenian Way

Original Recipes

Cabbage should be sliced with the sharpest possible iron blade, then washed, drained, and chopped with plenty of coriander and rue. Then sprinkle with honey vinegar and add just a little bit of silphium.

[ ----- Mnesitheus (4th c. BCE),
quoted in Oribasius, Medical Collections, Book IV, Chapter 4, part 1 (4th c. CE);
another version in Cato (c. 234-149 BCE) and quoted by Pliny the Elder (24-79 CE)]

Oxymeli - Honey Vinegar
Simmer honey until it foams, discard, the scum, add enough vinegar to make it neither too sharp nor too sweet, boil again until it is mixed and not raw. For use, mix with water, just as you would mix wine with water.

[ ----- Galen, Staying Healthy, Book 4, Chapter 6]

My Version:


1-1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Red or White Wine Vinegar

Mix honey and vinegar; simmer until well blended; cool.


10 lb Cabbage - we used 1 head green and 2 heads napa
3/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh Rue or Chinese Celery Leaves
2 cups Oxymel
1/4 cup Salt
1-1/4 tsp. Asafoetida Powder

1. Finely shred cabbage.
2. Mix herbs, oxymel, salt, and asafoetida.
3. Toss with cabbage.
4. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Silphium, also known as laser, is no more, alas. However, many historians are convinced it was closely related to asafoetida and it appears that, in fact, asafoetida was used as a replacement after siplhium became extinct.

Pulentium : Barley Polenta

Vicenis hordei libris ternas seminis lini et coriandri selibram salisque acetabulum.

20 librae of barley, 3 librae of linseeds and 1/2 libra of coriander, in addition to an acetabulum of salt.

[ ----- Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 18, 73]

My Version:

2-1/2 lb. Barley Grits (from health food store)
3 gallons Vegetable Broth
1-1/2 cups Flax Seeds/Linseeds
1/2 cup whole Coriander Seeds
additional Salt as needed
additional Water as needed

1. Put all ingredients into automatic rice cookers - this will take several batches, not all at once.
2. Turn on rice cookers.
3. When the rice cookers indicates that it is done, check it. It might not be. If not, start up rice cooker again, or finish on the stove or in an oven.

No store seemed to be carrying the Arrowhead Mills barley grits i had purchased last year!!! So i bought whole barley with the hulls off, (rather than pearl barley, which i later learned the Romans had). Then we ran it through the food processor a few times. It never achieved the character of grits but most of it was broken up to a greater or lesser extent.

The cook in charge of making the polenta decided to do it on stove top, rather than in the rice cookers, as i had done before, which worked fine. Also the coriander seeds and flax seeds didn't make it into the pot with the barley, so we cooked them separately in broth, then mixed them into the barley. While the texture of the barley was much "chunkier" than at the previous feast because of how we had processed the barley itself, it tasted fine.

In reviewing the original recipe, it appears to me that the flax seeds and coriander seeds should also be ground... next time...

On to the 2003 Mists Bardic Fifth and Sixth Courses (Desserts and Afters)

Back to the 2003 Mists Bardic Menu and Introduction
Back to the 2003 Mists Bardic First and Second Courses (Appetizers)

Back to the Dining Niche in Dar Anahita
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Comments? Questions?

Page created 14 May 2004