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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BACALAO WITH A 13TH C VINAIGRETTE RECIPE & A DIGESTIVE DRINK





Codfish
Photo: by Ernst Vikne 
OCast vacalao, L. Gadus morhua, ME cod(e)lyng, Eng. cod. The Middle English should not be confused with ling (Sp adadejo). Codfish is edible. It inhabits northern seas, especially in the Atlantic. It is usually salted and dried and widely used as food. In medieval times, due to the number of fish days prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church, it was a basic food item consumed in England, Portugal and many areas in Castile. One thing people of medieval times were saved from was cod-liver oil, obtained by allowing the livers to decompose. Its medicinal value was not discovered until 1782 and it was not used as an oral medicine until a Philadelphia physician put it to use in 1885. See pescado. [Curye. 1985:179; ES: Sorrenti. Apr 4, 02; Fernández Muníz. 1994:187; and Tapiello. 1994:135]

CODFISH WITH A VINAIGRETTE ADAPTED BY BENAVIDES-BARAJAS IN
ALHAMBRA, EL ATÚN SECO (HOY DÍA EL BACALAO, A 13TH CENTURY RECIPE pp 120-121
For 4 persons

Ingredients

Codfish with a 13th C Vinaigrette
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 lb codfish

Vinaigrette
½  c olive oil
½ c vinegar
1 garlic clove mashed
1 tbsp parsley or cilantro
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil

Pear Syrup
2 pears
1 cinnamon stick
¾ c honey
¼ c lemon juice or grape marmalade

Preparation

Boil, bake or fry codfish. Serve with a vinaigrette 

Pear Syrup Digestive Drink
Photo by: Lord-Williams
For the Sauce

Combine all the ingredients and blend in a food processor.

For the Syrup

Benavides-Barajas explains that the syrup is drunk to facilitate digestion of this type of fish. It is like sherbet being served as a palate cleanser between courses.  For the syrup, peel the pears, quarter them and remove the core and seeds. Boil them in water with a cinnamon stick until tender. Discard water and put the pulp through a potato masher over the saucepan. Add the honey and vinegar and heat until all is blended and has the consistency of syrup. Discard the cinnamon stick and let cool. Serve lukewarm in sherbet glasses after the fish is consumed and before the next course.






Monday, January 30, 2012

BABORADA, 13TH C SWEET & SOUR SAUCE FOR FRIED FISH

sweet and sour sauce made with garlic, hazelnuts and walnuts. It can be used to accompany fish. As per Sent Soví, the etymology is unknown. [Anón/Grewe. 1982: CLXXXXVII:203:ftn 1: Apè IV:245]

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE FOR FRIED FISH ADAPTED FROM SENT SOVI # CLXXXXVII QUI PARLA CON SA DEU FFER BABORADA A PEX FFRIT O A SARDINA FFRESQUA, p 203
For 4 persons

Baborada on Fried Sole
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredients

For Sauce:
1 garlic clove
1 slice of bread, crusts removed
¼ c cider vinegar
4 chopped hazelnuts
3 chopped walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
½ c honey
2/3 c hot water
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg

For Fish:
1 lb fish fillets
¼ c flour
¼ c olive oil

Garnish with nuts or a sprig of basil.

Preparation

Peel garlic and mash. Soak bread in 1-2 tbsp of the vinegar. Blend all the sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Lightly flour the fish fillets. Heat skillet and olive oil. Fry the fish and put in a serving platter.

Remove excess oil from the skillet. Put the sauce in it and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Taste for flavor. Add more vinegar if necessary. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve.


Friday, January 27, 2012

AZUMBRE WITH BLANCMANGE WITH CHICKEN BREAST, 15TH C RECIPE


Azumbre Verdejo 2010
(in a white wine in 2 liter bottle)
OCast açunbre, Ar tumn, Eng liquid measure approximately ½ gallon, 4 pints, 2 liters or 504 mililiters.  [ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:ftn 6:glos; Martínez Rodríguez. Nov 3, 01; Nola. 1989::xxix-3:xlviii-2; Nola/Iranzo 1982:44:167; and Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:157]

BLANCMANGE, A BRIEF SUMMARY ADAPTED FROM NOLA'S MANJAR BLANCO EN MAS BREUE SUMA, xlviii-2





Ingredients

1 lb rice
1 chicken breast
1 azumbre (4 pts) cow's milk or almond milk
1 lb sugar
1 tsp clarified grease

Garnish:
sugar
raw almonds


Blancmange made with shredded chicken
Photo by: katewoods.typepad.com
Preparation


Grind the rice in a food processor until the consistency is like flour. Strain it through a sieve.
Cook the chicken breast in the milk until the meat shreds easily. Remove the breast from the pot, shred the meat and return it to the mixture without the bones. Add the ground rice little by little beating the mixture with a wisk. Add the sugar. When it is thick, add clarified grease. When blended into the mixture, set the pot on the hearth. Pour into individual serving bowls and garnish with sugar and almonds



Thursday, January 26, 2012

AZUFAIFO (THE TREE), AZUFAIFA (THE FRUIT) WITH 13TH C JUJUBE SYRUP RECIPE FOR PANCAKES

jujube_trees_1
Photo from: YardFarm
OCast açufeyfas, açufayfas, jujubas Hisp Ar. zufáizafa, zufeizel, aneb, za’rur or mespilus, Gr. serica, L. Zizyphus jujuba, LL zizipha, Fr. arbre où Judas or jujubier, Eng. jujube fruit. It looks like a cherry and is edible. It tastes like a cross between cherries and apples. The plant is cultivated from Catalonia and Aragon to southern Portugal. It is believed that it first appeared in northern China. It was introduced and cultivated on the Mediterranean and in northern Africa in ancient times. In Spain, particularly, it was a basic ingredient for pectoral decoctions.  Lozenges containing jujube fruit were used as astringents, tonics and diuretics. In Spain and Italy, it was a favorite dessert served raw, as a jelly, as a confection in honey or in sugar syrup. Further, the jujube could be dried and stewed with other ingredients such as millet. Perry maintains that Anon. Andalus provides a recipe for jujube syrup to calm coughing, reduce fever, lighten the constitution, purify and thicken blood and quench thirst. Huici states that was grape syrup not jujube. Avenzoar recommends jujube to alleviate coughing and urinary infection. It is high in vitamin C content. Eating a sufficient quantity of it alone serves as a laxative. Jujube pâté, the mucilage extracted from the fruit, was made into several varieties of bronchial pastilles. Today it is practically unknown. [Anón/Huici.1966:280:515; Chirino/Herrera. 1973: 183:9:238; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5 00:148; Font. Plantas. 1979:329:460-462; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:106; and Usher. 1974:618]

JUJUBE SYRUP ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN ANDALUS #515 JARABE DE UVAS p 280 (using jujubes instead of grapes)

Crowned Jewels: JuJubes
Photo from: chocolateandcroissants.blogspot.com
2 lbs jujubes
1 ¼ oz purslane
1 ¼ oz lettuce
2 ½ qts water
4 c  sugar

Place jujubes, purslane and lettuce in a saucepan with the water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer. Clarify it and then add sugar. Boil gently until it takes the form syrup. Drink ¼ c syrup with ¾ c water or better yet pour the syrup concentrate over pancakes instead of honey or maple syrup.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

AZUCENA WITH RECIPE FOR FRIED CHICKEN BREAST WITH LILY BUDS

There is a lily in the hand of the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation.
fPhoto from: ragrantica.com
OCast çuçena, açuçena, Hisp Ar  sussâna, L Lilium candidum, Eng Madonna lily (named as such in the 19th C). It should not be confused with the Easter lily, which is of Japanese origin while the Madonna lily is a native of the Mediterranean. The highly fragrant flowers bloom in June and July. It is one of the oldest known lilies to mankind. The legion is that the Madonna lily sprang from Eve’s tears when expelled from the Garden of Eden. Ancient Greeks and Romans made crowns for brides with them as a symbol of fertility. Vases made between 1750-1600 B.C. have been found on the Island of Crete with pictures of this lily drawn on them. Some claim that the crusaders took it to England but in the 7th C a Benedictine English monk declared that the lily should be a symbol of innocence and chastity and a symbol of the resurrection of the Virgin. The golden anthers represent “her soul glowing in heavenly light” and the petals symbolize her purity. Paintings of the Annunciation symbolically portray the Archangel Gabriel with a branch of lilies in his hand. The cooked bulb has been like the  used to thicken soups. Dried flower petals have been added to soups for flavor. Lilies taste somewhat like potatoes. It appears that during the Middle Ages the plant was used principally for its oil and to flavor wine. Laguna does state that the juice extracted from the roots is good for counteracting poison and yeast infections. Pliny recommended them boiled in oil or grease and applying them on the head to make hair grow back and to relieve burns. The bulb is a diuretic, antitussive, febrifuge, carminative, pectoral, expectorant, sedative and tonic. Decoctions have been made to relieve edema, coughs and haematemesis due to deficiency conditions, anxiety, apprehension and difficulties in urinating. See aceite de azucena, lirio and vino de azucena. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:51; ES: Bolton. Jan 14, 12; and ES: Font. Plantas. 1999: 640:893-894]

FRIED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH LILY BUDS


Azucenas
Photo by: nirene
Ingredients

4 tbsp Byzantine murri (see almorí, published August 25, 2011)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sherry
½ tsp salt
½ c virgin olive oil
4 chicken breasts
12 lily buds which have not been sprayed
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 c water

Preparation

Combine the murri, sugar, sherry and salt. Heat a skillet with ¼ c oil. Cover the chicken with the sauce and put it in the skillet. When browned remove it. Add the rest of the oil the lily buds and the mushrooms. When the mushrooms start to turn color return the chicken to the pan. Add the water and cover. Simmer until the chicken is tender.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

AZÚCAR VIOLADO WITH HOW TO MAKE VIOLET FLAVORED SUGAR

violet flavored sugar. This has always been an exquisite touch to gourmet food. [Ruíz/Saínz.1986:1337c:225; and Singleton. 1975:127]

HOW TO MAKE VIOLET FLAVORED SUGAR



Sweet Violet Cupcakes 
by Let's Do Cake!
Ingredients


violet petals
sugar


Preparation


Put alternating layers of violet petals and sugar in a jar. Close it tightly and leave it for at least one week. When satisfied with flavor discard the petals.


Monday, January 23, 2012

AZUCAR ROJO WITH 13TH C LEAF FAT PASTRY RECIPE

A Pakistani farmer boils juice of sugar cane to make raw sugar at a field on ...
Photo from: washingtonpost.com

Hisp Ar sulaimani, sulaymānī, Eng ‘red sugar,’ which was a heavy unrefined juice, sulaymānī, boiled a second time and left to settle. It is raw unrefined sugar due to the presence of molasses. It was of the least pure sugars. Between the 12-15 C it was wide spread in Iberia, especially between Almeria and Malaga. Brown sugar sold in supermarkets today is normally refined beet sugar to which molasses is added. Unrefined or raw sugar is much coarser. See alfeñique. [Castro. Alimentacón. 1996:245; and ES: Benavides-Barajas. “Cocina.” Sep 29, 01]

LEAF FAT PASTRY ADAPTED FROM FADALAT #60 CONFECCIÓN DEL 
HOJALDRE, QUE SON LAS MANTECADAS, p 22
Sugar Crystals
Photo by: ginparis2002
Four 4 persons

Ingredients

*2/3 c leaf lard
2 c semolina or fine flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/3 c ice water
lard for frying
a drizzle of honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 pint raspberry sherbet


Dip hands in lard and knead the flour with water, salt and baking powder.

Melt lard, extend a piece of dough as thin as possible kneading board. Pour lard over it, fold it over, extend it again, hit it with the palm of the hand. Squeeze a piece of dough between two fingers. If it holds together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, if not add 1 or 2 tsp cold water, knead and test again.

Knead the flour into a ball. Divide it in half. Flatten them into two disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for ½ hr.
  
Heat lard in a paellera or other type of frying pan. Fry a pastry disk. When done, remove it from the heat and hit it with both hands to break and separate some pieces from others. Then put them in a soup bowl and cover with a cloth and continue by frying the second disk. Pour hot skimmed honey over all the pieces and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top, add the raspberry sherbet serve.

*Note: the fat called for in Fadalat would have been that from a sheep. If that can be found it would make the recipe more authentic.

Friday, January 20, 2012

AZÚCAR EN POLVO WITH POMEGRANATE SAUCE FOR ROAST CHICKEN RECIPE

Ar. tabarzad, Eng. powdered sugar. It is the highest quality of sugar elaborated from the stem or trunk of the cane reduced to powder. Today it is sold as such in markets but can be made at home simply by adding enough granulated sugar to cover the blades of a food processor and running the machine on high until the sugar is powered. [ES: Benavides–Barajas. “Cocina.” Sep 29, 01; and Nola 1989:xxx-4]

*POMEGRANATE SAUCE FOR ROAST CHICKEN WHICH IS SWEET AND SOUR
ADAPTED FROM NOLA’S SALSERON PARA VOLATERIA ASADA, xxx-4 

Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce
Photo by:  kgs_gaby
Ingredients

1 c blanched almonds
½ c powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground ginger
1 ½ c pomegranate juice
2 tbsp rosewater

Garnish
Pomegranate Seeds

Preparation

Remove the skin from the almonds. Place them in a food processor  and grind until the texture is like flour. Add sugar and spices and blend well. Add juice and rosewater. Pour the sauce over a carved chcken and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

*See Barbar Santich's version in agrio published on October 23, 2010 and  ansarón, published on October 18, 2011 for the version from  Sent Soví #LX, pp 104-105)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

AZÚCAR CANDE WITH ROCK CANDY RECIPE

crystallized sugar. Around 1150, it was mentioned by Juan Ruíz in the Archpriest of Hita around 1350. In France it was not known until the middle of the 16th C. The name is derived from its place of origin in Candia, the Greek island. It was pink, white or various shades of brown. It was obtained by boiling four or five times until it became hard, crystallized and white or boiled less if brown. [Ruíz/Brey. 1965:1337b:207]

RECIPE FOR ROCK CANDY

Rock Candy
Photo by: IvanTortuga
Ingredients
4 c sugar
2 c water
food color optional

Heat water in a saucepan over high heat until it comes to a boil.

Add the sugar, 1 c at a time to the water, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved and the solution grows clear and it is boiling briskly. Remove from the heat. Add food coloring if desired. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a glass jar. Take a wooden screwer and wet it. Roll it in granulated sugar and place it in the jar securing it with a clothes pin, hanging it 1” from the bottom of the jar.

Put the jar in a cool place, away from lights. Cover the top with a paper towel.

Sugar crystals will begin forming within 2-4 hours. If this does not happen reboil the sugar adding another cup of sugar and repeat the process of putting it in the jar.

Allow the rock candy to grow for about a week. Take care to remove it from the jar before it starts growing on the sides. After removing it, allow it to dry for a few minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap to eat as desired.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

AZÚCAR DE CAÑA WITH 13TH C RECIPE MAKING DAFÂIR, BRAIDS

Sugar Canes
Photo by 星期三

 OCast açúcar, çacúcar, açúcar candi or piedra (crystalized sugar), L. Saccharum officinarum, Ar. súkkar, Pers. sakar, sakkar, Sans sarkara (milled), Eng. sugarcane. Some historians maintain that sugarcane was cultivated in New Guinea in 6,000 BC. At first it was not processed. The canes were sucked. Garcia Maceira and other  historians claim that it originated in Bengala in western India. Some think it was in India since 1,000 BC while others claim that crystallized sugar was being processed there in 3,000 BC.

It is known that it was refined in India in 300 AD. In 510 BC soldiers of Darius, the Persian Emperor, found it in eastern India and it is thought that it was taken back to Persia although there is no proof. Two hundred years later Alexander the Great did take sugar cane to Greece and it spread to Italy. It is mentioned in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 6:20). Dioscoredes, Pliny, Galen and Seneca knew about it. A Hindu document dated 500 AD indicates that Indians were making molasses and crystalline balls of sugar by boiling the cane. Arabs spread sugarcane and the technology to Syria, Cyprus, Sicily, North Africa, and Spain. 

Muslims produced various grades of crystalline sugar according to the molasses content, color, grain size and form. Some historians have reported that the cultivation of sugar began in 760 in Spain, fifty years after the Arab conquests began and they were cultivating sugarcane in Motril and Malaga but Castro states that this is not confirmed. García Maceira claims that it was introduced during the reign of Alhakem II (961). Others maintain that during the 9th and 10th C, it spread to Levante and in the south (i.e. 37ºN-30ºS), around the lower Guadalquivir River, Seville, Almuñecar and Salobrea. Marín states that sugar was imported to Iberia until the 10th C by which time it was cultivated in Iberia. By 1150, 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) were dedicated to the cultivation of sugar which was processed in 14 sugar mills in Granada. The rest of Europe was introduced to sugar during the crusades in the 12th C.

Sugar  was not diffused in Aragon and Castile until the 13th C. with the Christian re-conquest of Al-Andalus cities. Then sugar came to be known by the name of the area in which it was grown such as “Al-Andalus sweetness.” Then Christians copied Hispano-Arab recipes using sugar. It was used in meat, fish and poultry dishes as well as cakes and other desserts. It was thought that sugar could not spoil any dish. In Hispano-Arab and Christian recipes, it was added to food while cooking and sprinkled on just before serving, which could be scented. 

In the 14 C, sugar was available granulated, in a cone shaped loaf or crystallized (Sp. cande, Ar. qándi).  Açúcar cande, mentioned by Juan Ruíz, around 1350. It originated in Candia, the Greek island. It was pink, white or various shades of brown. It was obtained by boiling four or five times until it became hard, crystallized and white or boiled less if brown. See alfeñique. Contrary to brown sugar today which is white granulated sugar with molasses added, medieval brown sugar was raw sugar after boiling from which the molasses was not been totally removed. Sugar was such a popular product in a vast variety of desserts that even Spanish classes beneath nobility would not think of inviting a guest without offering sugared fritters, marzipans, almond pastes or turrons. Sugar was present at all feasts and weddings. By the 15th C. Motril had 15 sugar factories. During that time, the English were importing sugar from Alexandria. In England, brown loaves the most common were as they were cheaper than white sugar. The English maintain that sugar was only used in medicine until the 13th C. Then extravagant households were serving about ½ teaspoon (about 0.15 ozs) per week (or less than ½ lb per year) to members of the household as opposed to US calculations in 1999 that 158 lbs of sugar were consumed per person annually. Certainly, the Arabs were using more than ½ teaspoon a week for numerous recipes demanding sugar in the medieval Arab world. Dioscorides recommended it for stomach, the vagina and kidney problems. It was placed directly on the eyes for optical disorders. [Castro. Alimentación. 1996:242:244:245 etc; Curye. 1985:14; Enyc Judaica 1971:6:1396; ES: Eigeland. May/June 96; ES: Sugar. Jun 20, 04; Font. Plantas. 1999:669:944; García Maceira. 1875:6-10; Ibn Razīn/Merín. 2007:43-44; Nola. 1989:xxxi-2; OXF Eng Dict. 1989:XVII:Su:135; Ruíz/Brey. 1965:1337b:207; and Villena/Calero. 2002:121]

MAKING DAFÂIR, BRAIDS ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #160 HECHURA DE TRENZAS, pp 104-105

BRAIDS, sprinkled with coloured sugar
Photo from: coquinaria.nl
Ingredients

1 c semolina
3/4 c wheat flour
1/4 c hot water
1/4 c sourdough

pinch of salt (even sweet pastry needs some)
2 tsp. mashed saffron
2 tsp. hot water
1 egg
canola oil for deep-frying
1/3 c finely chopped pistachio nuts or almonds

Sauce:
2/3 c honey
black freshly ground pepper to taste
½  tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cassia
½ tbsp finely ground lavender flowers

Garnish:
½ c sugar

Preparation

Prepare the dough: Sift the semolina and the wheat flour. Moisten the semolina by adding hot water little by little. Then add sourdough, salt, and ½ of the flour, knead until elastic. 

Dissolve the saffron in hot water add the egg and beat the mixture. Mix this with the dough. Little by little, add the rest of the flour. Knead until the dough reaches the consistency of a soft dough for bread. Put the dough in a bowl, covered with a moist towel, and leave it in warm place. Let the dough rise for at least two hours. Sourdough takes longer than other dough to rise.

While the dough rises, make the sauce. Mix the honey with the other ingredients.

Add finely chopped nuts to the dough. Divide the dough in six or eight portions. Sprinkle the worktop and hands with flour. Take one portion of the dough, roll it and pull it into the shape of a thin string. Cut this in three equal strings of equal length, and braid them. Take care to pinch the ends of the strings together. Make six to eight braids. Let the braids rest for fifteen minutes before deep-frying.

Heat oil in a deep-frying pan. When it begins to boil, fry the braids one or two at the time until golden brown. Turn them once while frying. The process will take just a few minutes. Drain the fried braids on paper towels.

Heat the spiced honey slightly in a microwave. Put the braids on a plate. Drizzle some of the spiced honey over them, and sprinkle with sugar.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

AZOTARLO WITH RECIPE FOR ROAST CAT

OCast açotārlo, Eng to beat it. In the case of cat meat, it is buried to break down the fibers to tenderize it. As this, however, is not enough, the cat meat is beaten until it can be chewed easily.  [Nola. 1989:xlii-2; and Nola/Pérez. 1994:189-190]

ROAST CAT ADAPTED FROM NOLA xlii-2 GATO ASADO

Young and Tender
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredients

1 fat cat (this can be substituted with 2 rabbits or kid goat)
1 qt olive oil
4 garlic cloves mashed
1/2 c broth

Preparation

Select a fat cat and slit its throat. After it has died cut off the head and through it way for it is said that he who eats its brains will loose his mind. Clean it. Slit it open and remove the entrails. Wrap it in a clean linen an bury it in the ground leaving it for one day and one night. Place it on a spit. Baste it with olive oil mixed with 2 garlic cloves mashed and begin roasting it. While it is roasting continue basting it and whip it continually with a green twig. When roasted, carve it in the same way as a rabbit or kid. Place it on a platter. Mix ½ c olive oil with ½ c broth and 2 garlic cloves mashed. Pour this over the meat and serve.


Monday, January 16, 2012

AZOR - GOSHAWK ENDANGERED SPECIES

Goshawk
Photo by: Roger Ratcliffe

 L. Accipiter gentiles, Eng goshawk. Originally it was called goose hawk in English due to its size and barred gray plumage. It is found throughout Spain, the rest of Europe and North Africa especially in dense forests. During the Middle Ages, it was hunted for the king’s table. It seems that Castellan kings liked it so much that the expression “un reino por un azor” (one kingdom for a goshawk) became common. (See ajo for the Muslim equivalent.) During Suero de Quinones 1534 tournament, goshawk was not on the menu but when Quinones stuck his knife into the pie pigeons flew out. Goshawks and falcons were ushered into the dining hall to herd the pigeons out. Today, it is an endangered species.  [Alonso Luengo. 1994:33:50; Ency Brit. 1998:5:Freon:378:3a; and Jutglar. 1999:189-190]

Friday, January 13, 2012

AZANEGRO WITH SLAVES' STEW FROM THE ALHAMBRA

“Señora Principal" with her black slave
Artist: Vicente Alban
Museo de América, Madrid
Photo from: sftrajan

a slave from the Congo. During Muslim occupation the Alhambra was staffed with many slaves from Aghmat, on the Saharan caravan route in Morocco, near Ghana. Reputedly these people were weak because they only ate fish but when their diet was changed to include bread they became more energetic. This is a curious point as it concurs with monastic culture, which regarded bread physically and psychologically fortifying. See pan. [Benavides–Barajas Alhambra. 1999:138-139; and Castro. Alimentación. 1996:121]

SLAVES' STEW ADAPTED FROM BENAVIDES-BARAJAS GUISO PARA ESCLAVOS, ALHAMBRA p 139
According to Benavides-Barajas this was a special recipe prepared for slaves to eat in the Alhambra
For 4 persons

Stew Meat Browning
Photo by: tsuacctnt
Ingredients

¼ c olive oil
1 lb meat and entrails cut into chunks
1 onion
1 tbsp fennel
1 tsp cilantro
1 bunch rue
1 garlic clove mashed
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

Preparation

Heat a pot. Add olive oil. When hot, add the meat to seal in the juices and brown the meat. Seal all sides. When browned, cover with water. Add the entrails, onion, fennel, cilantro and rue. Bring to a boil. Reduce to moderate heat boil gently until the meat starts to fall apart. Add garlic, pepper and salt to taste.  Serve over rice.

Variations included meatballs or intestines filled with bread and egg.

Within the Alhambra there was a slave class system. The more important the slave, the better he was fed.  A prize slave received the liver, for example, while a less important slave received part of the bread and egg sausage. The darker the skin of the slave the more prestige he had. The Arabs in Al-Andalus introduced caraway to the peninsula and applied caraway water to the skin of their black slaves to give it gold tonalities, see alcaravea.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AZAHAR - ALMOND MILK DESSERT FROM ZIRYAB

orange blossom
Photo by flowergirl2005
Hisp Ar. azzahár, Ar zahr, Eng. white orange blossom, orange blossom essence. These flowers come from the Sevillian orange tree. In April, all over Seville the flowers emit swee smelling perfume. The blossoms are the most important product from this tree. They are collected in May. Then the petals are dried in the shade and kept in jars. A slightly hypnotic drink is made with orange petals distilled in water and it is drunk as an anti-spasmodic. It is given to women and children like tila. Midwives always carried it for it was thought to restore vigor and vitality to new mothers suffering from fainting spells.  It could be homemade as only a dozen orange blossoms are necessary to boil in water to make one cup. The blossoms, also, are used as tonic to clean the face, to remove old skin and to stimulate replacement with new skin. Medina Azahara, Ar. Madinat al-Zahra, one of the most magnificent palaces in the world, was built 8 km. northwest of Cordova and named for this flower but more importantly for Zahra, ‛Abd al Rahman III (912-61), the caliph’s favorite slave. Building commenced in 936 at the foot of Mount al-Arus (the Newlywed). Although she did not live to see it finished, the entrance was lined with orange trees, which were planted to curb her homesickness for southern Morocco for every April and May when the orange trees were in bloom, they looked like snow. Medinat al-Zahara became the seat of the government in 945 but construction took some 25 years. Four hundred homes housed 12,000 soldiers, 3,750 slaves and a harem of 6,000. A description of all materials used sounds like they came directly out of Knights: silver and gold plate, marble, jasper, crystal rock, pearls and rubies. On November 1, 1010, Berbers attacked and destroyed it. During the following centuries all that could be stripped was carried away. In spite of this, Juana of Portugal and her court stopped there in May of 1455 to powder their noses before her grand entrance into Cordova where she married Henry IV, Isabel I of Castile’s older brother. Since 1911 excavations have been carried out. Today, tourists can picture the city in its splendor by visiting the site. See naranja. [ES: Glos. May 23 03; Gran Enci Andalucia. 1979:6:Martínez:2417-2418; Holt. 1970:I:417; Laza. 2002:102; and Martínez Llopis. Historia. 1981:118:158]

ALMOND MILK DESERT ADAPTED FROM 
FAROUK MARDAM-BEY’S, KICHK AL-FAQARA  p. 180
For 6 persons

Almond Milk Pudding
Photo by: beagleNon
Ingredients

2 c milk
2 c blanched almonds
8 c scalded milk
½ c cream of rice
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp orange flower water
1 ½ c sugar

Garnish:
¼ c chopped pistachios or with a fruit variation & orange blossom syrup as seen in the photo (except the kiwi!)

Preparation

Put the almonds in a food processor and grind them into flour.  Add 2 c milk and blend. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth into a saucepan with the scalded milk.

Add the cream of rice, rose water and orange flower water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Gradually add the sugar. Cook for 1 hr, stirring constantly.  It is ready when it sticks to the spoon.

Pour into bowls, garnish and serve.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AZAFRÁN WITH A GOOD ESCABECHE RECIPE FOR FISH

Azafran La Flor | Azafranes de La Mancha Logo Flor
(Saffron Flower)
Photo from: Azafran La Flor
OCast açafran, Gr. krokos L. Crocus sativus, Ar. za’farān, zaarfaran, jadī, ješad, rihğan,  korkom, Per Ar safrón, Eng. saffron. It is thought to have originated in northern Turkey and to have been used in the Mediterranean for more than 5,000 years. Saffron consists of the stigma from autumn crocus. One ounce contains 14,000 stigma. As it must be hand picked still, it is historically known as flavoring for the rich. The Greeks thought it indispensable for good health and used it in healing tonics. Romans liked it so much that they colored the water in their fountains with it on festive occasions. There is a theory that the Romans introduced it to Spain but if so it fell into disuse with the fall of the empire. By the 10th C, the Muslims had reintroduced it to the Iberian Peninsula. Although cultivated in Andalusia, the finest saffron was grown along the Tajo River, around Toledo, Guadalajara and in Cuenca where it continues to be cultivated today. It was extremely important in Mediterranean cuisine for flavoring and coloring dishes yellow or gold. In Fadalat, it was the fourth most used seasoning after pepper, cilantro and cinnamon. Although saffron was recommended for flavor prior to Arab domination in Europe, the Muslims promoted it more as they thought color and flavor enhanced the quality of food. In Al-Andalus it was used in dishes containing garum or vinegar and food served between courses at banquets. It was included in stuffing and fowl. Sometimes saffron was dissolved in water and added at the end of cooking time as vinegar and garum to conserve the flavor and to prevent the meat from becoming too acid. It was added to other meats upon commencing preparation, with pepper and spices to regulate the flavor. It was used also in pastries, pottages and drinks. In medieval times, people delighted in coloring foods from rice to fish. By the 12th C. the English incorporated it into their cuisine. From the 14th-16th C, it was indispensable in medieval European cooking. Even the Berkley’s grew it in England and a town in Suffolk called Saffron Walden is named for this plant. It was said that with wine it makes one trigger-happy, as saffron is a type of laughing gas. Welsh fairies thrived on it. During the Middle Ages and the Rennaissance it was believed that saffron had magical powers. La Celestina painted the palms of hands with saffron as it was believed that it penetrates the heart. It was said that she also painted names, formulas and prayers on papers or parchment that only the superstitious could understand. Saffron does beautify the cutis adding color to it. It does fortify the respiratory tracts. As well, as a condiment, it is a stimulant. Only the stigma of the flower contains flavor and dye. It was prohibited to sell it as a paste. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:66; Chirino/Herrera. 1973:42:7;88:14;117:10 etc; ES: Nocera. Oct 12, 02; ES: Sorrenti. Apr 4, 02; Laza. 2002:102; Ibn Razīn/Merín. 2007:39; Nola. 1989:lxv-3; and Villena/Calero. 2002:115]

A GOOD ESCABECHE FOR PANDORA OR DENTEX
ADAPTED FROM NOLA lxv-3 BUEN ESCABECHE

PAGEL/PAJEL. Pez de color gris con una tonalidad roja sobre el lomo.
(Pandora. Grey fish with reddish color on loins)
delmaralamesa.com
Ingredients

For the Escabeche:
1 slice of bread without crust
¼ c vinegar
1/3 c blanched almonds without skind
1/3 c hazelnuts
1 c pinenuts
2 c fish broth
1/3 c seedless raisins
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp freshly ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp mashed saffron
1 c honey

For the fish:
¼ c virgin olive oil
pandoras or dentex

Garnish
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 c pine nuts
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Preparation

Soak bread in the vinegar. Grind the nuts with the bread in a food processor. Add the broth, bend well. Strain it through a cheese cloth. Return the mixture to the food processor and add raisins. Grind well. Pour it into a saucepan and heat. Add the spices. Mix a little broth with the saffron to dissolve it and add that to the mixture to give the sauce a deep color. Add the honey and cook until the sauce has thickened. Let cool.

Fry pandoras or dentex. Remove from pan and let cool. When that and the escabeche are cool pour the escabeche over the fish. Garnish with ground cinnamon and stick pine nuts into the fish pointing upwards and all around the plate. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the dish and refrigerate until ready to consume it or served warm is not bad. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

AZACÁN, AZACANA

El azacán
Photo from: ayto-toledo.org


watercarrier. A bag for carrying liquids commonly made with is a cured goatskin sewn up tightly. Water, bought at a high price, was stored in them. This custom was common still in the 19th C. Washington Irving provides vivid scenes of the water-carrier with jugs on his shoulders or on his ass walking up and down the tree lined streets of the Alhambra in Granada selling ice-cold water from the Sierra Morena to the poor carrying goatskins. See odre, cañada and barril. [ES: Irving. Jun 29, 02; and Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:33 ftn 62]

Monday, January 9, 2012

AYAT (OCat) WITH A 13TH C RECIPE FOR ALIDEM SAUCE

iron spit. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:CXXX:153]

*ALIDEM, CREAM SAUCE WITH GOAT, PORK, FRIED EGGS OR CHEESE, ADAPTED FROM SENT SOVÍ, CXXX QUI PARLADE UN ALIDEM ULS DÓNA A PORC HO A CABRIT HO A HOUS FFRITS E A FFORMATGES AXÍ MATEX, p 153
for 4 persons

Otra salsa descrita y conocida en el medioevo era el 'alidem' elaborada a ...
(Another sauce described and known in medieval times as 'alidem' made . . .)
Photo from: gastrosoler.com
Ingredients

goat, pork, fried eggs or cheese

For the sauce:
1 qt broth
6 finely chopped onions
3 sprigs each of mint, parsley and 1 of marjoram
salt to taste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
a pinch of saffron
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ broth leftover from boiled onions
3 eggs
1 tbsp vinegar or verjuice
½ c breadcrumbs

Preparation

If the goat or pork is desired put it on an iron spit or cook the meat in a pot but fried eggs or cheese can be served with alidem sauce. When the meat is half cooked cut it into pieces and sauté it in lard in a pan.

Put broth in a saucepan. Add herbs and onions. When the onions are translucent put them in a strainer and save the water. Put the onions and herbs in a food processer and make a puree. Put them back into the saucepan and add salt, pepper, saffron and spices. Put a little of the water from boiling the onions into a bowl add the eggs and vinegar and beat them. Add them to the onion mixture little by little, stirring constantly. Heat the mixture for a few minutes but do not let it boil. Thicken with breadcrumbs.

Add the meat, fried eggs or cheese to the sauce. Serve in soup bowls.

*See alidem for a variation of this recipe.