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Thursday, December 9, 2010


Caraway Cheese Ball
Photo by: zanimatelno.com
OCast alcarauea, L. Carum carvi, Ar. kar’wiya.  Fr. carvi, OE care(a)wey, Eng. caraway, carvies, wild cumin, Roman cumin, Persian cumin. Today, it is used to season sausages, soups, sauces and meats. The root is aromatic. Some claimed that it is documented from 4 B.C., making it one of the oldest herbs used in Europe and that it is a native of Caria, Greece. Others refute this stating that it did not grow in Greece where Dioscorides and Pliny wrote and that it must have been confused with another plant but it has been found in remains of meals from the Stone Age in Egyptian tombs and along the Arab caravan route on the Silk Road. It is mentioned in Isaiah 28:27-29 in the Bible where it says that caraway is not threshed but beaten out with a rod. By the 12th C., it was being used medically in Seville as a carminative and aromatic stimulant. It has been administered also as a tonic and diuretic. An ounce of seeds is marinated in one liter of alcohol to make kǖmmel, a homemade drink, which afterward is mixed with sugar syrup. Caraway oil is used in processing aquavit and other alcoholic drinks. The Arabs in Al-Andalus introduced it there and applied caraway water to the skins of black slaves to give it gold tonalities. In cookery it was called carvi. Numerous recipes have been found that include it for its color and flavor. The seeds were added to bread and milk and in special pastries for traditional festivities. It substituted pepper in meat preparations. It was used to purify cabbage and vegetable dishes and added to soups to improve the flavor except when legumes were included. Anon Andalus uses caraway in an eggplant dish and with lamb, fish and chicken. It also gives a recipe for caraway paste which is caraway steeped in vinegar to 'excite the appetite.' Nola calls for caraway seed in two eggplant recipes. Further, in the Middle Ages, it was used as a protection from witches and added to love potions as it was thought to prevent unfaithfulness. It came to signify protection, lust, health, anti-theft and mental powers. See comino, as cumin is sometimes confused with caraway. [Anón/Huici. 1966:74:53:75:54:77:55 etc;  Bremness. 1990:62; Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:66; Curye. 1985:176; ES: Figueroa. “Refranes.” Jan 29, 03; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Nola. 1989:XXIIII-3:XLI-3; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:167; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a]

For 4 persons 


2 eggplants
¼ c salt
4 qts cold tap water
2 onions
3 c mutton broth
1/3 c blanched almonds
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp caraway
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves


Peel eggplants. Cut them into ½” slices. Put them in 4 qts cold water to soak with ¼ c salt for at least three hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Wash them in cold water.  Put them in a pot with 2 c. mutton broth and peeled and sliced onions stirring with a wooden spoon. Blanch almonds and grind them. Blend them with 1 c mutton broth to make almond milk and strain the mixture through a cheese cloth. When the eggplants are almost done, strain them with the onions to discard the excess water. Purée the eggplants and the onions, Return them to the pot and add the almond milk stirring until done. Add ½ c. grated cheese. Beat it in with a whisk, When thoroughly mixed, add egg yolks. Grind the spices together and add them. Mix thoroughly and pour into individual bowls. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Photo by: oldscroteshome.blogspot.com

L. Burhinus oedicnemus, Ar. al-karawän, MEng curlewes, curleus, curles, Eng. stone curlew. It is a large wading bird (l.40 cm) having an awkward appearance with long legs looking like stilts, big yellow eyes and a round head. It is a resident of Spain, northern Morocco, the Near East, Turkey and Iraq. In late March, migrants go to England, among other areas, leaving in late August. In the Middle Ages, it was roasted whole and basted with a egg yolk and saffron paste. The meat could be cut up and served in stew with garlic, savory, galantine, hyssop, sage, parsley, and red wine. Curlews could be baked in a pie like ‘five and twenty black birds,’ but not alive. At the inauguration of John Stafford as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1443, curlew was served with other game birds. The medieval cuskynoles or ryschewys close was an English variation of roasted curlew stuffed with fruit. The British Library Add 32085 instructs how to cut it into nine portions. Villena, on the contrary, advises that it should be cut in the same manner as the partridge, see perdiz. Laza explains that it was used by quacks in the canyon region of Chorro in Malaga to cure scars from scrofula or horse disease. It is mentioned in la Celestina. See untos. [Curye. 1985:183; ES: “Stone.” Dec 31, 02; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:138; Jutglar. 1999:238; Laza. 2002:91 and Villena/Calero. 2002:22a:28a]

Beach Stone Curlew (thick-knee)
Photo by: Andrew Ian Bell

for 4 persons


2 stone curlew (as average weight is 1 lb each)
2 garlic cloves mashed
1 onion quartered
1 tsp savory chopped
1 tsp galantine chopped
2 tbsp hyssop chopped
1 tsp sage chopped
2 tbsp parsley
salt to taste
1 c red wine

1 bullion cube
2 tbsp flour
olive oil
¼ honey


Remove all the feathers. Cut off neck. Cut off head from neck. Cut off legs at knees. Extract entrails and rub skin with salt to clean inside and out. Wash well with water. Remove the wings and the thighs with the legs. Chop the legs off at the thighs. Chop the breast in half lengthwise and each half widthwise. In a pot put the garlic, savory, galantine, hyssop, sage, parsley and wine.  Add the curlew except the head, claws and entrails.  Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently boil for one hour until tender.

When almost done, remove the onion. Chop in a food processor with one cube of bullion and enough liquid to mash well. Place in a saucepan and slowly add flour, stirring continually. When the flour is dissolved slowly add 1 c broth. Heat until the substance thickens like gravy. Place enough olive oil in a metal measuring cup to swirl around and coat the sides. Discard the excess. This way after measuring the honey, it will not stick to the measuring cup. Pour the honey into the gravy and stir until mixed.

Pour the sauce over the curlew and serve. 

*Chances of having to cook a stone curlew are few as it is an endangered species today. Also as it feeds on fish, like the solan goose (see alcatraz), the meat has a fishy taste. It is perfectly all right to try this recipe with other fowl.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Photo by: smgrowers.com
Hisp Ar. kappara, L. Capparis spinosa, Ar. kapar, nuwār al-kappar, fr. kápparise, Fr. cáprier, Eng. caper. It is thought that the word is derived from Arabic, which in turn comes from Greek. The caper is a button flower growing on a thorny bush about 1 m. high with heart shaped leaves. It is indigenous of the Mediterranean, growing, throughout Andalusia, especially in La Alpujarra, and other warm climates. Only the buds, collected in April during the morning after the dew has dried, are use in cookery. They are pickled in salt and vinegar after they wither. The drying process takes about three weeks. In Al-Andalus and Alexandria (Egypt), the most famous were produced, which were cured in salt brine. Adding capers and the flowers to soft cheeses gives them acidity, which is thought to help maintain lactic fermentation in uncured cheeses. They have been used to accelerate the process of curdling milk. They are added to other dishes like sardines and smoked salmon to enhance the flavor. To extract capers from a narrow jar use a vegetable scraper. The Spanish proverb is, ‘After curds, eat capers, and you will go directly to heaven.’ Further capers symbolized potency, lust and luck. Medicinally, the bitter root and bark are drunk various times a day to increase urination. It was said that they purged all the humors. The skin of the root is chewed before meals to increase the appetite. The roots were collected in the autumn and dried. [ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]


2 tsp capers
4 tbsp butter
1garlic clove
2 tbsp lemon
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 sprigs of parsley chopped

Melt butter. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, and simmer 1/2 minute. Add parsley, remove from heat and serve with fish.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Photo by: Brian Altonen, MGH, 
OCast cánfora, L. Cinnamum Camphora, Ar. kufūr, Fr. camphrée, caumfre, Eng. camphor, a gum resin, a whitish translucent crystalline volatile substance, chemically belonging to vegetable oils. Recipes in the Anon Andalus call for small amounts dissolved in rose water at the end of cooking time and added to the dish for the aroma. It is an extract from the Cinnamomum camphora tree of central Asia. The trees are reputed to be so large that they can shade 200 men. When they reach the height of 8-10 m., they are cut down. The wood is distilled and the white camphor crystals are separated from it, which are cold and dry in the third degree. It is a native of China and Japan and spread from there to India and Madagascar. The Arabs brought it to Europe where it grows in Italy and now in other tropical and subtropical countries. Versicles recited from the Koran in Al-Andalus mosques indicate that camphor mixed with liquid was thought to be a beverage in paradise. Camphor has been worn as a talisman against disease and is attributed to the Virgin Mary. In medieval Europe, it signified health and divination. The bitter aromatic tasting oil has a strong characteristic smell. Arabian pharmacists expanded the use of camphor in medicine. It has been made into a solution for skin problems. It has been believed to excite the brain, give energy to the heart and increase sweat, urine and bronchial secretions. It is a diaphoretic, antithermic and antispasmodic. It has been applied as a remedy for tuberculosis, angina, pneumonia, headaches, epilepsy and for eye irratation. It refreshes the liver and kidneys, stops bleeding and is mixed with oils for facials. It is used as an antidote against poisoning. Formerly it was thought to be an antaphrodisiac. Camphor is an insect repellant for moths, in particular, and used to preserve animal skins and wool. [Anón/Huici.1966:45:37-38: 50:40:323:180; Corominas. Cast. 1980:I:A:9; ES: Word. Dec 26, 06; Espasa. 1988:4:ALAL:240-243; and Laza. 2002:110]


Painted by: Amy HautmanIngredients

1/3 c almonds
1 ½ c rosewater
1 chickens or other fowl (pigeons or doves)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 sm onion chopped
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander
juice from 2-3 lemons
1/4 tsp camphor


Blanch almonds and remove skins. Place then in a blender with ½ c rosewater and chop. Clean chicken or other fowl and cut into four pieces (if smaller fowl cut in half). Heat pan. Add oil. When warm add salt, onion, pepper, coriander and fowl. When done remove add the almonds in rosewater to thicken the liquid. Slowly add lemon juice tasting continually until satisfied with the degree of acidity. Dissolve the camphor in the remaining rosewater and add that to the sauce. Let this rest for 20 minutes and serve.

Note: take care not to use too much camphor or it will taste like moth balls!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Photo by: healthfoodlover.com
L. Triticum spelta, Eng. spelt, a very white, hard-grained secondary wheat with which bread is made. Spelt is a graminaceous plant similar to wheat but the grass is harder and shorter and the grain is fitted more tightly in the husks. Some maintain that it originated in Iran between 6000-5000 B.C., while others argue that it is European and that it appeared later. It did exist during the Bronze Age (4000-1000 B.C.) in Europe, the Balkans and the Near East. During the Middle Ages, it was a major crop, with primitive wheats like emmer and einkorn. In Spain major producers have been Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Aragon and Catalonia. Then it was considered the poor man’s food. A type of spelt called Triticeum Amyleum, Amyleum Frumentum, or starch corn, was cultivated for the yeast content, which was used commonly in Roman times and is an obviously link between Roman and medieval cooking. See almidón, pan de centeno and pan de escanda. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica.1995:36-37; Gázquez. 2002:77; Curye. 1985:169; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:47; and Tapiello. 1994:139]

The Perfect Breakfast on a Cold Winter Day:

1 c. spelt berries (if flakes are available they are preferred as they do not have to be soaked overnight, take less time to cook, 3-4 mins, and make a creamier porridge)
salt to taste
1-2 c. warm water
1 tsp cinnamon
7-8 prunes chopped
2 c. water

Topping Suggestions
honey, brown sugar, 1/2c unsweetened almonds, raw nuts, seeds, hemp nuts, fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries

Grind spelt berries in a blender until coarse
Sprinkle with salt
Soak over night in warm water
Cook spelt in 2 c. water, cinnamon and prunes
Simmer until creamy, 35-45 minutes (spelt flakes 10-15 minutes)
Serve with honey and/or other topper

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Photo by: hubpages.com
alcachofera, alcací, alcacil, alcancil, alcarchofa, alcarcil, alcaucique, alcaucil, alcaucil silvestre, alcaulexa, alcochofa,, arcacil, cavaria, morrillera, morrilla, OCast alcachofa, alcanas, alcauçí, , cañarias, carchofa, Cat, alcarxofa, alcarxofera, carchofa, caroxfa, carxofer, carxofera, escarofera, escarxofera, escarxofa, Cartagena alcacil, Gal & Port alcachofra, alcachofra-de-comer, alcachofra-hortense, Hisp Ar. al-jaršuf, Vasc orrgurra, orrigura, orribura, orrbura, L. Cynara scolymus, Ar. al-cabcil, alcarxul, alcarxol, al kharshûf (dim.of kharshaf, cardoon), Fr. artichaut, Eng. artichoke. Artichokes are flower buds of thistle. They are harvested just before their blue and violet flowers bloom. The artichoke is said to have been known in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Columela maintains that they did exist in Al-Andalus when under Roman domination. Pliny, the elder, reports Romans eating them in 77 AD. Flower translates L. caedui as artichokes in the Apicius cookbook, but they seemed to have fallen into disuse with the fall of the empire. Charles Perry maintains that the Arabs developed them from cardoon, L. Cynara carduncculus, probably in Andalusia (see cardo silvestre). He does not believe they existed by the time the Anon Andalus was written and translates recipes calling for al kharshûf as cardoon. Others think that Arabs brought artichokes to Spain by the 9th C. while still others claim they were developed in Al-Andalus by Muslims between the 12th and 13th C. Huici translates al kharshûf as artichoke in his translation of Anon Andalus. Greus thinks Ziryab, the musician who came to Cordova in 822, ate artichoke salads. From Spain the artichoke was taken to Italy, today’s largest consumer. It is claimed that Catherine di Medici took them to France as she adored them. They have been consumed over the centuries to improve health, medicinally and in cookery. Covarrubias explains they have the same nature and virtue as cardoon. The great factor is that they produce insulin for diabetics. They are used also for liver problems. They were thought hot and dry in the second degree. They were prepared as electuaries and preserved in jars in apothecary shops. In Castile, they were included in pottages and stews. In Al-Andalus there were a favorite and highly consumed during the Middle Ages. A popular dish consisted of strips of meat, mixed with oil, vinegar, garum, coriander seed and capers, to which boiled and chopped artichokes were added. Almost always, artichokes were covered with eggs and eaten with pepper, breadcrumbs, onions and chickpeas. Villena provides a detailed description on removing the outer leaves, which are tough and cutting the heart into four pieces. He adds that they can be grilled or pickled as well as boiled. In the later years of Muslim domination, they were served stuffed or in a cold vinaigrette. It is thought to be a dish of a fickle lover scattering leaves from left to right. Marilyn Monroe in 1947 was named the Queen of the Artichokes. [Anón/Huici. 1966:161:280:162:281; Apicius/Flower. 1958:87-89; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 00:ftn 104; Bolens. Cuisine. 1990:36; Covarrubias. 1998:74; Font. Plantas. 1999:607:843; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:117; Greus. 1987:60; Mardam-Bay. 2002:147-150; Villena/Brown. 1984:111:4:112:60:112:72;113;85:164; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]

For 4 persons


1 c soaked chickpeas
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 lb meat (beef or lamb) cubed
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
*2 tsp murri
1 onion chopped
1 tsp coriander seed
3 c water
4 small artichokes
1/2 lemon
3 c water
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs
1/4  c breadcrumbs 
salt to taste


Put chickpeas in a bowl with bicarbonate soda and let soak overnight (8-10 hrs).  Heat 2 tbsp in a skillet and brown meat for a minute or two. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer until done. Heat a pressure cooker. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted add *murri, strained chickpeas, onion and coriander seed and sauté for a minute or two turning the ingredients to coat them with the murri, butter and oil. Add  3 c water, bring to boil and cook 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1 c of the liquid and pour out the rest. Cut off outer leaves of artichokes and tops. Rub them with half of the lemon to prevent them from turning brown. Put them water and bring to a boil. When done, cut them in fourths and add them to the pot with the chickpeas. Add pepper and salt to taste. When all is cooked add meat. Stir eggs and gradually breadcrumbs to thicken. Simmer until the grease comes to the top and serve.

*See almorí. This can be substituted with a meat or vegetable bouillon cube.     

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Photo by: wightfishing.co.uk 

Bleak is a European fresh water fish of the carp family, five or six inches long, so named for its whiteness. It is similar to saltwater fish and sometimes called a sardine although not related. It is recommended to fry bleak until the skin is crispy.  They are tasty hor dourves, See sardina. [Baena/Dutton. 1993:382:v11; and ES: Renfrow. Glos. Jun 16, 04]


Photo by: camyna.com Hisp 
Ar boronia, morona, alburnía, burâniyya (fr. alburün, jug), Ar būrān, al-borâniiya (in Knights), Eng deep glazed earthenware tub, vat or bowl used for  Burâniyya     as the recipes instruct to use an earthenware receptacle, not metal. Nola uses a "burnia" for a dessert of sugared roses with figs. 2. Burâniyya, an egglant casserole. The dish originated in Baghdad in the middle of the 10th C. and was named for Khadija, nicknamed Būrān, who married Caliph al-Ma’mūn in 825. She is said to be the inventor of eggplant dishes for the sumptuous foods offered at her wedding reception although they were not described in detail. When this eggplant dish stepped into vogue it was claimed that the Lady Būrān made it herself. This and other eggplant recipes were named for her. Recipes for them appear in the Bagdad Cookbook and in the Anon Andalus where some are named after Būrān. Sephardi-Jews traditionally served it with hamin or dafina, Sabbath day stews. For their continual search for fish day dishes, the Christian-Iberian version is a mixture of finely chopped eggplant, onion, garlic, and/or other vegetables, which are boiled and fried or pouched in olive oil. It can be seasoned with mild pepper and blended with almond, walnut or hazelnut paste, which are shaped into balls. Both Sent Soví and Nola use grated cheese. Sent Soví uses almond milk while Nola does not use any nuts. Theirs are the forerunners of pisto (L. Pistare, meat from fowl). During the 17th C. tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and paprika were added. See adafina and berenjena. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:CXXXVIIII:166-167; Anón/Huici.1966:331:184; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 00: Gitlitz. 1999:148:ftn 17; Lladonosa. Cocina. 1976:156; Nola. 1989:xxiiii-4:xliii-1:; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:167; Perry. “Būrān.” 2001:243-248]

BURÂNIYYA - EGGPLANT CASSEROLE ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN ANDALUS #331 HECHURA DE LOS PLATOS PREPARADOS CON BERENJENAS, p. 184  - Attributed to Buran, daughter of al-Hassan b. Sahl, who is said to have invented the dish.
For 4 persons

Buraniya with Egg
Photo by: Lord-Williams

4 sheets of paper towels
2 eggplants
20 meatballs the size of hazelnuts
1 c almonds
1 lb lamb
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander (substitutes caraway or cumin)
1 tsp cumin
4 tsp saffron mashed and dissolved
2 l.  olive oil (hopefully less required but just in case)
*1 tbsp murri naqi
2 tbsp vinegar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp lavender or cinnamon


Preheat oven at 325º F/188º C

Make murri naqi first, recipe below. Spread 2 sheets paper towels on counter top. Put the other two on top of the first two in order to have a double thickness. Wash and peel eggplants. Cut in half lengthwise and cut each half in half lengthwise. Fry eggplants in 1 cup oil and add more as needed. Fry meatballs. Fry almonds. Put thick slices of lamb in a pot with salt,  pepper, coriander seed, cumin, 1 tsp saffron and 1 tbsp oil; begin cooking over moderate heat. Add 1 tbsp murri naqi and vinegar. Cook until half done about 20-30 min. and remove from heat. In a roasting pan place alternating layers of lamb and fried eggplant.  Add fried meatballs and sprinkle chopped almonds over that. Color with 2 tsp saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp water; cover with ½ the egg yolks beaten with lavender or cinnamon and 1 tsp saffron and crown with the other ½ of the egg yolks; put it in the oven until the sauce is dry and it holds together; remove from the oven and let sit 20 minutes before serving.

*For this recipe see Almori.