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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MEZQUINO, -A, WITH A 14TH C RECIPE FOR QURSAS, SWEET FLATCAKES, FROM TUNISA TO COVET!

Ebenezer Scrooge
Photo from: Toni Holt
1. a miser,  a scrooge, a miserable person who hoards everything for himself. 2. poor, needy, lacking the necessary. 3. cutting costs excessively. 4. small, diminutive. 5. lacking a noble spirit. 6. wretched, disagreeable, or miserable person. 7. slave at a Christian estate as opposed to a Moorish one during the Middle Ages. [Berceo. Milagros. 1965:76:381d: 112:664a:128:752c, etc]

QURSA (SMALL ROUND FLAT CAKE) MADE WITH DATES, A DISH OF THE PEOPLE FROM IFRIQIYA ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #424 “ALCORA” HECHA CON DÁTILES, UNO DE LOS PLATOS DE LA GENTE DE IFRĪQIYA[1]

Ingredients[2]


Little flat cakes Hot from the Oven
Photo by: Lord-Williams

For basic flat cakes:

1 ½ tbsp fresh yeast
2 c plain flour
1 ½  semolina flour
1 tbsp salt
canola oil for frying

For qursas:
¼ c canola oil
12 oz dates
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp spikenard
½ tsp cloves
1½ tsp ginger
1 tsp galingale
heather[3]

garnish:

a mixture of ¼ c ground sugar, 2 tsp spikenard and 1 tsp cloves
½ raw and peeled almonds fried in oil and ground

decorations[4]


Preparation

Cheating with Store Bought Decor
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For flat cakes:

Dissolve the yeast in 2 ¾ c warm water.

Mix the flour, semolina and the salt a large bowl.

Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually incorporate the water to form a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If too sticky add more flour until proper consistency is reached.

Divide it into 10 even pieces (about ⅔ c each).

Roll the balls with palm of hand until smooth. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes.

Excellent Petit Cakes Highly Recommended 
for all Hoarders!!!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Pat balls out into make cakes about 6” in diameter. Dust with semolina flour. Put them on to a clean towel, and dust with more semolina flour. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Let rest until they puff up more than double in thickness (from ¼” to about ¾”).

Once the dough has rested, heat a frying pan with canola oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Once cooked, they will sound hollow when tapped. Let cool.

For Qursas.

Crumble flat cakes. Remove pits and pellicles from dates. Pound in a mortar until the consistency is like jam. Put them in boiling oil. Stir constantly. Add the breadcrumbs little by little. Continue stirring until blended into a paste. Remove from heat. Let sit while oil disappears. Then sprinkle with spices. Blend well. Pour the mixture into a food processor and add flat cake crumbs until a cookie dough constancy is obtain[5].

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400ºF/200ºC

Make small circular cakes like cookies. Make a hole in the middle of each little cake. Bake cakes in oven 10-15 minutes taking care that they do not burn.

Remove from oven and fill each little cake with ¼ tsp melted butter. Grind and mix spices for garnish. Mix with powdered sugar. Sprinkle each qursa with this. Sprinkle with ground almonds. Decorate with fanid flowers or other decoration[6].

This recipe has no expiration date but it must be eaten immediately or it becomes to hard to eat - serves the miser right!


[1] Today Tunisa. A perfect dish for a miser to hoard!
[2] As this is a large quantity, it is recommended to divide the recipe by th
[3] It was not available.
[4] Huici translates this as putting a fanid cake on top. Fanids are cakes make with cylinders of almond paste and then decorated with type sugar or almond paste flowers or other. As the scribes writing what they thought dictated to them there are misinterpretations as they were not chefs. In this case, only possible decorations of fanids were used, not the whole cake.
[5] In this case only 8 flat cakes were used to obtain the desired consistency
[6] The store bought decorations would not stick. An almond paste decoration is advised.

HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #424 




Monday, June 27, 2016

MESUE WITH 14TH C RECIPE FOR YUMMY QURSAS

14º Ramadan mosque (aghdad, Iraq)
Photo from: SHMALOO ;))
Yuhanna ibn Masawayh, (786-856) Nestorian physician in Baghdad, author of medical works, personal physician to four caliphs and hospital director. Sometimes in Europe, he has been called Joannes or Jean Mesue, the Ancient, but actually Yuhanna Ibn Masawayh is the author of only four Latin treatises attributed to Mesue. Hispano-Arabs and Jews in Al-Andalus carefully studied his works on nutrition. He is noted for having consulted with patients and discussing matters with pupils, including Hunayn ibn Ishaq, at a type of assembly. His works dealt with fevers, medical aphorisms, eye diseases, leprosy, dietetics and melancholy.

Mesue and other wise men of the period cited foods they thought to be the most nutritious. These included semolina bread, legumes such as lentils, fava beans and chickpeas, pasta, young lambs, ragouts, meats prepared in sweet and sour sauces, sweet dishes, pastries, sherbets, rose water and orange blossom water. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:14-15; and
ES: Islamic Medical, Feb 24, 03]
Cutting Cookies Out of Thin Dough
Photo by: Lord-Williams


ANOTHER QURSA RECIPE ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #178 OTRA RECETA DE ALCORZAp 116[1]

Ingredients for about 80 circles 1" in diameter

¾ -2 c white flour
1 egg
½ c cheese
1 egg white
canola oil for frying



º
So Simple to Make
Too Simple to Devour - So Yummy!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Garnish:

⅓ c peeled and chopped almonds
1 c honey
⅓ pistachios
¼ c pine kernels
powdered sugar (optional)

Preparation

Mix flour in a food processor with eggs, fresh bread and cheese. Mix until the cheese is blended. Then knead with egg white. Roll out qursas until paper thin Deep fry in oil. Remove when lightly browned.

Boil honey with chopped almonds. Remove from heat and add slightly ground pistachios and pine kernels. Pour this mixture over  the qursas. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired, and serve.


[1] Alcorzas in Spanish are called qursas en English. They are cookies with a sweet topping. See blog titled alcorza, published November 7, 2011 almizcle published August 23, 2011; arroba published November 17, 2011; and embadurnar published February 7, 2014 for other qursa recipes.

HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #178