Ancient Greek recipes- 4° part

 

Ancient ‘pizza’

2 cups organic whole spelt flour
aprox 3/4 cup water
pinch sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil

Blend the spelt and dried oregano and knead, adding the water, salt and olive oil gradually until it is a uniform, elastic mass. If it sticks, add a little more flour. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with a wet cloth and let it sit for about 10, 15 minutes. Afterwards, roll out with a rolling pin in a circle as wide as your pan. In a non- stick pan, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Turn the heat on medium, place the pan on the heat and let it heat for about 30 seconds. “Drop” the dough in the pan and fry on each side for about 2 minutes. The dough will bubble when it is frying – it’s very much like making pita bread.
When the dough is golden-brown on each side, place on a serving plate, drizzle with runny honey (2 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp warm water), sesame seeds (about 1 Tbsp), goat cheese (aprox. one cup) and a little bit on sea salt, just for enhancing the taste. Best served with olives on the side, arugula salad.

 

Sauce for Roast Fish

1 teaspoon pepper
1 dry onion
2 tablespoon vinegar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon dill
1 tablespoon oil

Crush pepper, lovage, satury, dry onions; moisten with vinegar, add dill, yolks of egg, honey, vinegar, broth and oil; all this mix thoroughly and underlay the fish with it.
If properly handled, it might turn out to be a highly seasoned mayonnaise, or a vinaigrette, depending on the mode of manipulation; either would be suitable for fried or broiled fish.

 

Stuffed Sardines

500g cooked and boned sardines
½ tsp ground pepper
½ tsp lovage seeds
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp rue
150g stoned dates
1 tbsp honey
4 hard-boiled eggs
50ml white wine
3 tbsp green olive oil (cold-pressed)
sprig of watercress to garnish

Sprinkle the surfaces of the sardines with freshly-ground pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until thoroughly cooked. Once cooked, allow to cool and remove the backbone by taking hold of the tail and pulling it out through the body cavity. Finely chop the herbs and dates, transfer to a bowl and add all the liquid ingredients. Mix together well and use this to stuff the body cavities of the sardines. Arrange the stuffed sardines on a plate, quarter the boiled eggs and place around the sardines. Finally garnish with some watercress and serve.

Sauce for eggs

120g shelled pine nut kernels
large pinch of chopped lovage (or celery leaves if not available)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt and pepper

Soak the pine kernels for a couple of hours in water then drain and let them dry. Place the lovage, pepper and salt in a mortar with the pine kernels and grind them with a pestle until they form a smooth paste. Mix this paste with the honey and vinegar and pour over some boiled or poached eggs (the original recipe calls for poached eggs, but this works just as well with halved boiled eggs).

 

Poached Egg in White Wine

6 eggs
3 tbsp fish sauce
6 tbsp dry white wine
6 tbsp olive oil

Take six ramekin dishes and grease them with a tablespoon each of olive oil. Crack an egg into each ánd place into a large pyrex dish. Fill to half-way up the ramekins with boling water. Very carefully pour a tablespoon of wine and half a tablespoon of fish sauce. Cover with a lid (or aluminium foil) and place in an oven pre-heated to 190°C for fifteen minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Mystron

2 cups pearl barley
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups chicken broth

Place barley, oil, and broth in a rice steamer. Cook until done. (Alternatively, combine ingredients in a large pot and cook on a stovetop as directed for barley) Serve in hollowed out bread loaves (optional).
‘Nicander of Colophon is the author who employs the word mystron when describing the use of the word barley groats in the first of his two books On Farming. He writes: “But when you are making a dish of fresh kid or lamb or capon, put some barley groats in a mortar, pound them well, then stir in some ripe olive oil. When the stock is boiling hard, pour it over the pounded groats, put the lid on the pot and steam it; for when it is cooked in this way, the heavy meal swells up. Serve it when lukewarm in hollow mystra.”

 

Chickpeas with Cheese

200g dry chick peas
100g Parmesan cheese (Pecorino Romano would also work well)
olive oil
Twist of black pepper and salt to taste

Soak the chick peas in water for about 1 night. Drain and place in salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain the water and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile grate the cheese and add a twist of black pepper. Add the cheese to the chickpeas and mash with a fork. Add a little extra virgin olive oil, mash this in and serve whilst still warm.

Nut omelette

60 gr nibbed almonds
60 gr broken walnuts
30 gr pine kernel
30 gr clear honey
60 ml white wine
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
ground black pepper
15 ml olive oil

Combine all the nuts and roast them in the oven at 180° for 10 minutes. Pound or grind them down to a uniform texture resembling coarse breadcrumbs. Place in a bowl and add honey, wine, milk, salt and eggs, and beat smooth. Season with black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a no-stick frying-pan and pour in the mixture. Cook as for a basic omelette and grill or 1 or 2 minutes to set the top.

 

Glykinai (Wine Cakes)

200g fine white flour
60ml olive oil
80ml wine
1 egg white, beaten
Put the flour into a bowl and form an indentation in the middle. Pour the oil into this and with your fingers start rubbing the oil and flour together until the mixture forms breadcrumbs. Add the Caroenum and knead into a smooth dough. Cover in clingfilm and set aside in the fridge for an hour. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll thinly. Cut into 3–cm rounds and arrange on a greased baking tray. Brush each biscuit (cookie) with beaten egg white to glaze and place in an oven pre-heated to 190°C and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before serving.

 

Ancient Greek recipes- 3° part

 

Gastris

Filling:
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

Crust:
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.
Assemblage:
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.

 

Patina Zomoteganon
“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
2 eggs

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 cardoon
hops
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
1 onion
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
(Archestratus 13)

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.”

Salad Dressing

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.

 

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
cinnamon
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.

Dates Alexandrine-style

20 whole dates
20 blanched almonds
cinnamon
25g butter
honey

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.

 

 

 

Ancient Greek recipes- 2° part…

 

Kapyria

In Cato’s day, it was made by mixing alica (large spelt grains) with flour and water; the dought has to be shaped round and then coated with oil, and then placed in the oven (Cato De Agr. 86).

2 kg wheat flour
1 kg spelt seeds
water added to make a dough

Soak the spelt seeds in water until they become soft; drain them and mash them until they make a compact paste. GRadually add the flour until it is assorbed; when the dough is the right consistency- not too sticky or too dry- mark various ‘tracks’ or lines across the dough that you will make into strips, then roll it out and dry over a rack. Next, rub the strips with an oiled cloth and leave them to dry in the air or in a warmed oven.
Once dried, the strips can be used as pasta with a favorite sauce. Or use durum (hard wheat) flour and water, and continue as above, again making pasta; or you can roll them out round and fry them in oil, dusting them with cinnamon once they are cooled,  as a dessert; or cook on an iron grill, over an open flame, and serve like tortillas.

Mint sauce

“Or even the downy leaves of tender mint- often again, chopping up fresh pepper or Median cress” (Athen. 2.66d)

30 gr mint leaves
30 gr green peppercorns (pickled)
30 gr safflower (false saffron)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil

Crush the peppercorns, mint, safflower and salt in a mortar; add oil and vinegar and stir..

Green olives

The recipe of Cato is perfect as an appetizer: “pick the olives before they turn black. Take any growths off of them and place them in a water bath. Change the water frequently and when they are well soaked, separate them and toss them in vinegar, adding oil and 170 gr of saltt per eight and one half liters of olives. When you are ready to use them, take them of the marinade, season them with fennel and a myrtle branch that has been soaked in oil.” (Cato De Agr. 107)
The water has to be changed daily for a week; the water should have at least 100gr per 8 liters when soaking the olives- rinse the olives before serving.

Olives pickled in fennel

“First of all, cover them with cold pickling sauce so that they maintain their color; when there are enough gathered to fill a jar, cover the bottom of the jar with fennel and myrtle branches that have been prepared in a small kettle. Now take the olives out of the pickling, towel them dry, and mix in seeds, completely refilling the jar. Finally cover the top with dry anise and 2 part of dry, fresh mustard and 1 of oil/vinegar brine. Olives treated this way will last a year.” The olives, as in the previous recipe, should remain in the brine for several days to a week before they are eaten.

Sauce for sea urchins
Sauce from Archippus, Fishes

1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon mint
1 tablespoon parsley

Dissolve the honey in the vinegar, then finaly mince the parsley and mint and mix the spices into the honey and vinegar. When ready to eat the urchins, split them in two, cleaning away the spine. Find and clean the egg, pour a dollop of the sauce on the egg in the shell and..enjoy.

Wild hyacinth bulbs (lampascioni)

The bulbs have terrible bitterness, and to render them edible, the bulbs should be boiled, with numerous changes of water. Then they are peeled and a sauce is made to season them.

Sauce:
1 teaspoon each thyme and oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon each honey, vinegar and wine must
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoon minced dates
salt to taste

Mix all sauce ingredients and pour over the bulbs, adding fresh pepper to taste.

A recipe for these bulbs with aphrodisiac power: “for those searching for the joys of Venus, boil wild hyacinth bulbs in water, and for the true honeymoon, serve them with pine nuts and a sauce made by boiling arugula and adding pepper.” (Apicius, 7. 14.3)

1 dozen wild hyacinth bulbs, already cleaned and boiled several times, or, if already marinated, rinse the bulbs until there is no more oil
20 gr arugula
a handful of pine nuts

Boil the arugula for about three minutes, then drain it and put it in a blender with 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour the warm green sauce over warm bulbs and add a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Thrion- stuffed leaves

These are none other than the stuffed grape leaves that can be found everywhere in Hellas even today; in ancient times, fresh, tender fig leaves called ‘thrion’ were used instead of grape leaves (in some parts of Hellas, they are still made with fig leaves and they are almost
identical to those made with grape leaves, though a bit sweeter). Today the filling vary, and this was probably true in ancient times as well.

20 grape or fig leaves, ready (either prepared by boiling fresh leaves, or from a jar already spiced)
260 gr spelt
2 cups broth or water, plus extra for the final cooking
1 teaspoon salt
3 medium onions, sliced thickly
600 gr plain yoghurt
60 ml olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (to soften onions)

Toss the leaves in boiling water, remove them after a few moments, and put them on a work surface. Select a copper pan that will allow the rolls to snugly fit one next to the other. Use any broken leaves to completely line the bottom of the pan, overlapping to ensure you cover the whole surface; this will help the rolled stufed leaves stay put during cooking.
Mix the grain and salt and cook until tender in the broth or water. When this is done, pinch off small pieces of the past, forming them into finger-sized sausage-like rolls of filling.
To stuff the grape leaves, start by stretching out the leaf and placing a roll of filling in the center; fold up one end and the sides, rolling the leaf around the mixture like a cigar, making them about 5 cm long by 2 cm wide, making sure to tuck in the ends to prevent leakage. When the rolls are all in the pan, cover them with broth or water and oil and place a plate on top, to weigh down the rolls during cooking. Cook over a low flame for about one hour, checking frequently to make sure there is sufficient liquid in the pan.
About 15 minutes before the rolls are done, make the sauce: sauté the onions in the butter until soft but not brown. Add the yoghurt and a bit of the cooking water, and pour this sauce over the rolls as you are ready to serve them.

Kondros

“When making a dish of goat, lamb, or a chicken freshly killed, throw fresh grain (barley) in a pan and crush it well, mixing in fragrant oil. When the broth is boiling vigorously, put in the rest, then cover the pan with a lidd and leave it to cook, covered, because that way the heavy mixture swells. Serve with a tablespoon of new wine.” (Nicander of Colophon fr. 68 Schneider)

1 cup cooked barley
shredded lamb or chicken- cooked
1 onion
1 tablespoon parsley
3 sages leaves
500 ml broth
60 ml olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Lentil soup
“The sweetest of delicacies”
(Ath. 4. 158c)

450 gr lentils
2 liters broth
1 large minced leek
1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 small onion- all sliced
2tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
olive oil
12 coriander seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the lentils thoroughly, then put them into a pot with the broth to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. When the hour is up, skim the top, add the vegetables and leave simmer again until it is cooked (about 30 minutes). If the soup seems too watery, pass some of the lentils through a sieve. Now add the vinegar and the honey. Pour into serving bowls and add a good dollop of olive oil, sprinkling on coriander seeds and salt and pepper to taste.