1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked overnight
1/2 cup dark raisins, soaked overnight
1 cup almonds, soaked and blanched
1 cup dried apricots, soaked
8 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups hazelnuts
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked overnight
2 cups poppy seeds
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper (optional but highly recommended)
Water as needed
3 Tbsp honey
2 cups sesame seeds
In a medium pan, dry toast the poppy seeds on medium heat for 1 minute. Transfer the poppy seeds in a separate contained and toast the hazelnuts the same way. Add all the ingredients for the filling in a blender, starting with the soaked dried fruits, then adding the almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, then the honey and olive oil. At last, add the poppy seeds and the pepper. If the mixture gets too dry, add cold water, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should not have a liquid consistency. You need a strong blender for this.
The crust: blend together the sesame seeds and the honey until you have obtained a homogeneous mixture.
Divide the sesame paste into two equal parts. Spread the first half on a parchment paper lined 8X11 pan, add the filling on top, pressing down with the back of a spoon until it is evenly spread in the pan. Add the second half of the sesame seed on top of the filling and refrigerate for at least eight hours. Cut in squares and serve.
“Arrange any chosen fish, uncooked in a pan. Add oil, fish sauce, wine, a bouquet of leek and coriander. While it cooks crush pepper, rub in a bouquet of lovage and oregano, add the juice from the cooked fish, beat in raw eggs, blend. Empty into the pan, allow to bind. When set, season with pepper and serve.” (Apicius, 4, 2, 27)
This simple dish can be made with any fish- I find it particularly good with white fish such as sole or plaice.
2 fillets of sole
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
150 ml white wine
1 bouquet garni of leek and fresh coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Place the fillets in a backing dish and pour on the oil, fish sauce and wine. Add the bouquet garni and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190° for 20 minutes. Remove; drain off the cooking liquid and reserve. In a mortar pound the pepper, lovage, oregano and the cooked bouquet. Flush out the mixture with the cooking liquid and mix in the eggs. Pour this over the fish and return to the oven until it has set. Serve immediateley sprinkled with freshy ground black pepper.
Alternative: Patina of asparagus
“Put asparagus tips in a mortar, pound, add wine, sieve. Pound pepper, lovage, fresh coriander, savory, onion, wine, fish sauce, oil. Put purée and spices in a greased shallow pan, and, if you wish, break eggs over it while cooking, so that it sets. Sprinkle ground pepper.” (Apicius 4. 2.6)
A country soup
Below an indicative list of herbs, but one can use almost any greens that suit your fancy:
1/2 liter cold water per person
(2 sliced potatoes per person: optional)
1 bunch of chicory
1 bunch of salad greens
1 bunch of red poppy flowers
1 bunch of borage
2 tablespoon of lard
chopped green peppers to taste
3 cloves of garlic
a dash of sage
basil to taste
Put cold, lightly salted water in a pot and add the potatoes; when they are nearly cooked, add the greens, cut into large pieces. Peel the cardoon and chop coarsely. Next add the lard, pepper, garlic, onion, sage and basil, and stir. Let it boil for 25 minutes- serve it in a bowl on top of a slice of crusty country bread.
Bream in cheese and oil
1 sea bream or porgy
250 gr pecorino romano cheese
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Clean and descale carefully the fish; break up the cheese and put it in a mortar with the oil. Work for few minutes until you have a firm, smooth paste. Brush a non-stick baking tray with olive oil and lie the fish on this. Spread half the cheese mixture over the fish, ensuring that the skin is completely hidden by the cheese. Carefully turn over the fish and repeat. Heat the oven to 220° and bake the fish for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven, carefully turn it over and return for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the salt and the cumin together and sprinkle it over the crust. Finish with a tablespoon of olive oil dribbled over the fish.
Baked Fish of Archestratus
“The best fish you can find..sprinkle with marjoram. Wrap the fish in fig leaves and bake. Have the slaves serve it on silver platters.”
1 white fish (cod, sole, flounder)
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
salt and pepper
1 lemon, juice of
4 green onions, sliced the long way
12 fig leaves or 12 grape leaves, drained and rinsed
1 cup dry white wine
Cut fish into 1-cm-square pieces. Sprinkle with marjoram, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Pour hot water over the fig leaves to soften, or rinse the canned grape leaves in cold water. Spread leaves out one by one. Place a piece of fish and a bit of green onion on a leaf and wrap it up, tucking in the sides as you roll. Place the rolls side by side in an oblong baking pan and pour the wine over all. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° for 20 minutes, uncovered, then serve.
An alternative: “The best way to present this fish I mean, then in fig leaves with not too much origano is the way. No cheese, no fancy nonsense. Simply place it with care in the fig leaves and tie them with rush-cord from above. Then put into hot ashes and use your intelligence to workout the time when it will be roasted: don’t let it burn up.”
30g lovage leaves (substitute young celery leaves if not available)
½ tsp raisins
¼ dried mint
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
A pinch of salt and pepper.
Finely chop the lovage leaves and the raisins. Place these in a small bowl and add the other ingredients. Whisk to mix properly then serve with the green salad.
Hazelnuts with Herb Purée
100g hazelnuts (or walnuts if desired)
Handful of fresh parsley
80ml olive oil
80ml red wine vinegar
½ tsp ground black pepper
125g Feta cheese
Handful of fresh coriander
2 or 3 mint leaves
Sprig of rue
sea salt to taste
Shell the hazelnuts and roast under a hot grill for five minutes, ensuring you turn them frequently to prevent burning. Allow the hazelnuts to cool and remove as much of the skin as you can. Roughly chop the cheese into cubes. Put this as well as the hazelnuts, herbs and black pepper in the mortar. Add the olive oil and wine vinegar then blend into a smooth paste. Pour the purée into a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with lightly-toasted baguette rounds.
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)
250ml sweet white wine
Peel, core and dice the quinces and put them in a saucepan. Add the wine and homey 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 and chill in the fridge before serving.
20 whole dates
20 blanched almonds
Heat the butter until just molten then stone the dates. Dip the almonds in butter and roll the in the cinnamon before stuffing one into each date. Place in an oven-proof dish and coat each date in honey. Pour over the remaining butter and bake in a very hot oven (210°C) for 5–8 minutes before serving.