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Friday, November 21, 2014

GERARD DE CREMONA (1114-1187) WITH A 15TH C ALMOND MILK DISH FOR THE VERY WEAK

Toledo. Restuarant at
Hotel del Cardenal
(Former y the Translators School)
Photo by: jsjones 89
He was born in Lombardy. He learned Arabic in order to become a translator in the internationally famous Translators School of Toledo founded by Archbishop Raimundo, which existed between the 12th and 13th centuries. There, works were officially translated not only from Arabic but also from Hebrew and Greek into Latin.

Gerard joined the school in 1150 and spent most of his life in Toledo. His translations were numerous including astronomy, mathematics and medicine. Gerard’s medical translations were not only his best works but the most prolific. He translated at least twenty-one medical writings, among them Ibn S’na’s Canon, and numerous works by al-Rāzī. 

While Europe was in the dark ages, under the patronage of the early Abbasiyyah caliphs, pharmacists were formally separated from physicians. Al-Rāzī was one of the few pharmacists who added very valuable contributions to medicine, pharmacy and culinary art. In his  Mnafi' al-Aghthiyyah he emphasized general regulations for healthy living. He discussed breads, waters, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, and fishes. He explained in detail different species, methods of preparation, physical properties,  therapeutic action, and when they were useful and when not. He described the disadvantages of frequent consumption of wines leading to alcoholism, which he thought often causes many serious diseases as epilepsy, paralysis, senile tremor in older people, cirrhosis, hepatitis, mental disorders, visionary distortions, obesity, debility, and impotence.

Escribano
Photo from: Lamson Library
Gerard translated all of Avicenna’s works including Al-Qanun fi'l-Tibb (“The Canon of Medicine”) and Kitab Al-Shifa (Book of Healing), which recommends chicken broth as an excellent food and a medication. The former work was published around 1150. The latter is an immense medical encyclopedia of five volumes and over one million words on ancient and Muslim theories. 

As a result, Gerard’s translations had an immeasurable impact upon Latin medicine of the Middle Ages. Thanks to the advanced state of Islamic Medicine, many of Cremona’s translations became medieval texts in medical schools and still are highly regarded by the medical profession today.


[ES: “Abu’l ‘Ali al-Husayn.” Dec 24, 02; ES: Kaf. Oct 26, 14; and Metlitzki. 1977:36;]

ANOTHER ALMOND BASED DISH FOR VERY WEAK SICK PEOPLE ADAPTED FROM PEREZ’ TRANSLATION OF NOLA OTRA ALEMENDRADA PARA DOLIENTES MUY DEBILITADOS, p 120


A Treat for the Healthy
as Well as the Ailing
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredients

½ lb blanched and peeled almonds
seeds from a melon (optional)
1 chicken breast
¼ c rosewater
¼ c sugar

Preparation

Roast or boil a chicken breast. Boil almonds and peel them. Put them in a food processor with melon seeds, if using them, and rosewater. Add the chicken breast and grind them with the rosewater[1]

Add chicken  broth. Mix well and strain the mixture though a metal strainer several times as the liquid is very thick. and finally through a cloth.

Add sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Serve warm or cold.



[1] The original recipe calls for mashing the almonds and chicken in a mortar and dipping the pestle in rosewater frequently while mashing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GELATINA WITH A 15TH C RECIPE FOR GELATIN

Beef Trotter
Photo by: Lord-Williams
OCast geladea, gelata, giladea, hiladea (fr. Cat), Nav geleas, Ar ŷeld (ice) OEng gely Eng gelatin, dry gelatin, jelly, isinglass. Gelatins called for in medieval Catalan cookery and in others recipes can have different uses. The first is the preservation of foods covered with jelled broth made from meats and/or antlers of male deer. They can also be made with fish bones and heads, which produce the same results as trotters. Further, gelatin was made with air bladders of sturgeon.


Gelatin also serves as decoration for various dishes, cutting it in pieces with various sizes or to cover foods and make them shiny. They can be colored with vegetables to give it a more showy presentation.


See adobo, aguasal and sal. [Aguilera. 2002:50; ES: Renfrow. Jun 16, 04; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:186; Nola. 1989:xxii-2; Pullar. 1970:92:247; Villena/Brown. 1984:170; and Villena/Calero. 2002:35b]


JELLY WHICH IS CALLED GELATIN ADAPTED FROM NOLA xxii-2 HILADEA QUE SE DICE GELATINA[1]

Ingredients

1 beef trotter
4 goat trotters
½ chicken
2 l dry white wine

spices: 1 tsp ginger peeled, 1 slice dried galingale , a cinnamon tube, 1 tsp white peppercorns, a few shavings of nutmeg, a few pieces of mace, a few grains of anise, 1 tsp saffron
Chicken in Jelly
Photo by: Lord-Williams


Garnish
bay leaves

Preparation

Cook trotters and chicken covered in wine and water. Add spices and let cook slowly.

The meat should be cooked in three hours. Remove the trotters and the chicken and let the broth cool. Cut the trotters in pieces and remove the bones and dice the chicken. Put them into a deep serving dish. Place bay leaves around the edges.


Heat the broth, bring it to a boil and let cook slowly. The impurities will rise to the surface. After ½ hour, filter this with a woolen cloth. The broth should be clear and clean. Pour it over the chicken and trotters until covered. It should take two or three hours to gel.



[1] See blog titled cuajar published September 25, 2013 for a different version of this recipe.
[2] The Medieval Spanish Chef’s addition.

Monday, November 17, 2014

GAZAPACHO WITH A 15TH CENTURY RECIPE WITH NO TOMATOES

Peeling Almonds to Make Almond Milk
Photo by: Lord-Williams
(from Ar. “soaked bread”), cold garlic soup. Surprised? Gazpacho was not “a liquid salad” or “garden soup” as known today. In the 15th C as there were no tomatoes or bell shaped peppers in European or Arab countries. Gazpacho was an Arab invention long before Columbus and could be served as a liquid or a solid.

It could be derived from the corruption of mozarab,must-arab,” ‘would be Arab’ or the Hebrew gazaz, to break into pieces, as basically it is bread broken into pieces. Others believe the word is derived from the Mascara word caspa, which normally means dandruff but in this case “residue” or “fragments,” referring to the small pieces of bread and vegetables in the soup. With the addition of vinegar some suspect it has Roman roots.

Selecting Garlic Heads for Gazpacho
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Gazpacho was a refreshing drink for peasants, fieldworkers in olive plantations, vineyards, citrus groves, cork farms and wheat fields. Andalusians, in general, cannot live without it in summer. Originally, gazpacho did not contain bread but water and olive oil with garlic. Bread was added later. In Spain, it was poor peoples’ food mashed in a dornillo, a wooden mortar. The oldest Spanish recipe transcribed is thought to have come from Cordova, which consisted of four basic ingredients: garlic, bread, oil and water. In later additions, one week old the bread was called for.

By the Middle Ages, it was a soup called ajo blanco, white garlic. Ingredients then generally consisted of olive oil, garlic, bread, almonds, garum (with an anchovy base), sugar, salt and vinegar. There were numerous inter-regional variations with or without almonds or vinegar. Others included apples and raisins.

Cordovans also used ground beans, pine kernels or onions and cucumbers. In Malaga, grapes were added. Some say it migrated to France where it is called pot-au-feu but others maintain that it was unknown outside of Spain until the 19th C. when Eugenia Montijo, the Andalusian wife of Napoleon III, introduced Andalusian recipes into the French court. By then it had evolved into a cold soup with the additions of tomatoes and bell shaped peppers. Gradually almonds were omitted for the cost.

In Estremadura there is a gazpacho made on an open fire in the country. The main ingredient is breadcrumbs to which game is added. In Valencia and Alicante gazpacho is a warm, heavy stew consisting of rabbit, hare, woodpigeon, quail or partridge (i.e. the game hunted or the catch of the day). To this unleavened bread, torn into pieces, is added to prevent it from boiling. Vegetables such as garlic, onions and mushrooms may be added. Each area and family has its particular recipe. [Covarrubias. 1998:635:ES: El Gazpacho. Jan 4, 98; ES: “Gastronomía.” May 2, 03; an17-30L d Pers. Experiences in Cordoba, Valencia and Trujillo. <1975>]

“SAUCE” WHICH IS CALLED A PINENUT AND GARLIC DISH ADAPTED FROM NOLA'S #xxxvii-2 SALSA QUE SE DICE DE PIÑONADA DE AJOS[1]

The Finishing Touch - 
Ready Made Rosewater
to insure absence of insecticides
on rose pedals

Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredinets

1/3 c olive oil
12 garlic cloves
½ c pine nuts[2]
1 1/8 c almonds
½ qts chicken or mutton broth
¼ c grated cheese
4 hard boiled egg yolks
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp rosewater
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp shredded ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground white pepper

Garnish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Medieval Gazpacho with Pieces of Torn Pita Bread
A Novelty that is Bliss on a Summer Afternoon
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Preparation

Grind pine nuts and peeled almonds separately[3] and then together.

Put garlic cloves in a small pot with broth and bring to a boil. Well well cooked, grind it with the nuts. Add grated cheese and egg yolks. When well ground blend it with the broth and cook.


Add sugar, rosewater and vinegar in which ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and pepper have been steeping overnight; Cook until very thick. 


Serve in soup bowls and garnish with sugar and cinnamon.
[4]



[1] This is the closest recipe to medieval gazpacho found by the Medieval Spanish Chef.
[2] Pine nuts are not normally added. The recipe can be made with only almonds in which case the total would be 2 c almonds
[3] A marble mortar with a wooden pestle are recommended.
[4] Nola does not instruct to chill the soup but garlic soups are served cold traditionally especially in summer.