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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Photo from: quisnovus
cardo arrafiz, cardo arrazife, cardo de arrecife, arrefiz, OCast. cardo arreçife, cardo arraçife, L. Cynara cardunculus, Ar. kharshaf,  Eng. cardoon, thistle, artichoke thistle, wild artichoke. It is a very large thistle with edible stalks and leaves. It is a native of the Mediterranean. The artichoke was developed from this plant. In Anón Al-Andalus there is a recipe for “Preparing a dish with Artichokes,” but as there are no instructions for preparing the leaves or the choke. Perry believes that it is actually a recipe for cardoon as he does not think that the artichoke had been developed by the time the manuscript was written. Columela, however, maintains that the artichoke did existed in Al-Andalus in the 12th-13th C. Huici appears to support this as he translates the al-kharshaf as artichoke, not “little cardoon.” Cardoon has been cultivated for the leaf stalks, which are blanched and eaten as a vegetable in Europe particularly. The taste is like a bitter and sweet cross between artichokes and celery. They are so filled with flavor that they can be eaten raw with garlic, an olive oil sauce and anchovies. They provide calcium, potassium and iron. Anón Al-Andalus gives a recipe for thistle syrup in which it is recommended to drink during one’s bath for a better effect but the recipe does not state for what ailment it was imbibed. Cardoon looks like long gray celery stalks. It has been especially popular in Spain, Italy and France. In the Middle Ages, Jews and Hispano Arabs thought highly of them but Christians thought they were peasant food buthey were included in dishes boiled for nobles. Villena provides detailed instructions on how to cut the stems, to remove the prickles from the leaves and to remove layers that are not tender with the back of a gañivete (a 25 cm curved knife). [Anón/Huici.1966:161:280:162:281:516:282:516:281; Capuano. 1988:90; Espasa. 1988:11:CANAL.866-867; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 00:ftn 104; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:114:116:117; Usher. 1974:194; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:40a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]


Using Gloves to Cut off Thorns
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1 cup black chickpeas
1 ½ lb cardoon, leaves and stalks
1 oz bay leaves
1 handful orange leaves
½ oz anise
½ oz wild carrot seeds
½ oz keckies (conium seeds)[2]
1 oz  bitter almonds
1 oz sweet almonds
1 lb sugar
1 lb honey

Herb Sachet:
½  oz English lavender
½  oz cardoon
½ oz cloves


Soak chickpeas in 3 qts water for 24 hours.

Grind all the roots, greens and seeds and almonds. Put them in a pot and cover them with water from the chickpeas.  Cook until the water is reduced by half, then strain it through a cloth into another pot.

A Novel Drink that Costs Nothing!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Add sugar and honey. Make an herb sachet of English lavender, cardoon and cloves. Add this to the pot. Cook until the mixture becomes a syrup.  

Drink 2 tbsp syrup with 6 tbsp warm water and above all if drunk while bathing the effect is better if it be God’s will.

[1] Due to the impossibility of finding ingredients, this recipe was not tried. The juice was made instead: The sharp thorns are cut off of a bunch of thistle and the stalks and leaves are put through a juicer. Then strained this though a cheese cloth.  Add juice lemon from ½ a lemon and 1 tsp sugar. The taste is reminiscent of celery and artichoke stocks mixed.  This juice is free as thistle is collected growing wild in the country.
[2] Probably dried, as they are not as poisonous if dried.

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