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Friday, July 20, 2018


Photo from: José Martín Peñatel
OCast solrrayo, Cat. salroig, L. Odontaspis ferox. Eng. smalltooth sand tiger.  The dorsal is gray-brown or a medium gray. It can have ochre spots on the flanks and dorsum. Underneath, it is pale gray or white with dusty colored botches, which are present also on the pelvic fins. It is a stocky shark. The female can grow to be 360 cm long but in general they are about 300 cm. The male averages some 275 cm in length. It is not well known as it lives at least 420 m below sea level. Due to a weak, unserrated tooth structure, it diets on small fishes, crustaceans and squid. Villena indicates that it was eaten in medieval Spain but being a large, tough fish, the meat was carved into pieces. [ES: Shark Gallery. Mar 27, 03; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:37b]  

Monday, July 16, 2018


Breaded Fish with Flour and Water Paste
A Duty of te Kitchen Helpers
Photo by: Lord-Williams
OCast sollástrico, Eng. kitchen helpers’ duty, such as coating a roast by smearing a flour and water paste on it.[Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:215]

Friday, July 13, 2018


Slowly Frying Turnovers
Photo  by: Lord-Williams

socarrarOCast soffreyr, Cat. sosenga, sohenga, Eng to fry slowly over low heat. (This was very typical in Catalan cooking.) to burn, to scorch, to stick to the bottom of the vessel, to toast. To obtain eatable parts from the head of the pig that has been singed to remove the hair see chamuscar and sofritoFor different versions of Nola's recipe xvii-2 Potaje de adobado de gallina and Janet de gallinas (Chicken Janet) at: Cedazo published October 10, 2012; Destemplar published December 27, 2016; and Janet published June 22, 2015. 
See sofrito. [Anón/Grewe. 1979:CCVI:209:ftn 3; Lladonosa. 1984:159; Nola. 1989.xvii-2; Nola/Pérez. 1994:211] 

See the following blogs for different versions of Nola's recipe xvii-2 Potaje de adobado de gallina and Janet de gallinas (Chicken Janet) at: Cedazo published October 10, 2012; Destemplar published December 27, 2016; and Janet 
published June 22, 2015.

[Anón/Grewe. 1979:CCVI:209:ftn 3; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:234; Lladonosa. 1984:159; Nola. 1989.xvii-2; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:171; Nola/Pérez. 1994:211 and Villena/Calero. 2002:101:31b]

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Little Chef Makes Waffles
Photo from: Colleen Proppe
sobrecoch, long white apron worn by cooks. It became mandatory for cooks in the in the Aragonese court in 1344 to wear one. At that time Pedro IV issued an ordinance regulating the duties in rituals relating to food, the preparation of it and the ceremony of serving it. [Alonso Luengo. 1994:41:49; and Martínez Llopis“Prólogo” 1982:11]

Monday, July 9, 2018


Rolling out Kneaded Dough
Photo by: Lord-Williams

ablandarloOCast souarlo,Eng.to knead it, soften it, to add lard it, oil or dough during the kneading process. Actually this means dipping hands in grease when kneading dough.

Granado, in Libro del Arte de Cozina(1599), gives several recipes for meat and fish pastries. His pastelof meat in "oxaldre" has a bottom crust of flour and water, kneaded for half an hour until it is firm, and a top crust of leaf-pastry. 

[Anón/Huici 1966:146:409:410 etc.; Granado. 1971; Ibn Razīn/Granja.1960:1:19:60:22:86:23; Medieval Spanish Chef. “cobertor.” Feb 27, 13;Nola. 1989.xliii-2:xliiii-3:lxx-1 etc; “Flatbread,” Feb 6, 17; “hallulla.” Jan 30, 15; “hoz” :27 Apr 15; etc Nola/Iranzo. 1982:171; and Sas. 1976:590]
[Medieval Spanish Chef. “cobertor.” Feb 27, 13; Ibn Razīn/Granja.1960:1:19:60:22:86:23; Nola/Iranzo. 1982:171; and Sas. 1976:590]

Friday, July 6, 2018


Little Bustard
Photo from: Peter Beesley

OCast. seysón, sysón, susón,L. Tetrax tetrax, Eng. little bustard. These are medium size birds, about 40 cm long or 16” long. The top of the head is black with pale rusty spots, the sides of the head, throat and chin are reddish white with some dark spots. The male’s neck is black with a white collar. The back and wings are a red with brown spots and irregular little black lines. Underneath, the body is white as well as the outer edges of the wings. Eighteen feathers make up the tail. The two outer sides are white with irregular black bands, while those in the middle are tan. 

The female is smaller and has no collar. She lays three or four eggs in June. The chicks follow her around like those of hens until they start flying in mid-August. 

They are residents of Iberia, northern Morocco, central and southern France, Italy and Sardinia. In Spain, they are most frequently seen in Estremadura, the Sierra de Guadarrama (Madrid), the Coto Donana (Huelva), Daimiel National Park (Ciudad Real) and Moncayo in the Ebro River Valley (Zaragoza) where Francisco Goya, the painter, was born. As per Villena, they were abundant in Aragon during the 15 C.

In summer, some may visit northern areas such as England, Ireland, Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Poland. They prefer open areas like pastures, meadows, steppelands or cultivated fields where alfalfa, clover or cereal crops are grown. There they eat seeds, herbs and insects. They are very timid but crafty. When they sense danger, they will fly close to the ground about 100 yards and then run swiftly. 

Little bustards are faster on foot then men. As the great bustard, they are considered exquisite being tastier than chicken or peacock but as they are "near threatened species today, they not eaten. In Great Britian they were found in the moors of southern and eastern England, northern Wales and southern Scotland but became extinct along with beavers for man’s gluttony in those areas. Villena instructs that they should be carved in the same manner as the partridge. See avutarda, castor  and perdiz. 

[ES: Bewick. Nov 14, 00; ES: COMM/DGENV. Mar 5, 03; ES: “Little Bustard.” Nov 1, 2003; Black. 1998:11; and Villena/Calero. 2002:101:22a:28a]

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Pouring Syrup
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ar.sharab  (wine or other beverage), Eng. syrup, a thick sweet liquid concentrated solution of sugar in water with fruit, in accordance with the time of the year, boiled until thickened. Syrups were made in Persian style, known as efshurjwhich were boiled three times, as juwarish, a fruit paste or others times known as faludajor dried fruit paste. They were used as preservatives and sweeteners in cookery and confections, as a cold drink or for purging. 

Avenzoar gives recipes for various syrups for digestive purposes and to regulate the humors. Hispano-Arab syrups were original as they contained flowers such as roses The Anon Al-Andalusprovides two recipes for flowers as well as many others that include aloes and citron leaves. Avenzoar’s provides recipes calling for roses and lilies. See almíbar, jarabe and arrope. 

[Anón/Huici.1966:50:40:490:269:492:270 etc; Delgado. 1994:207; Zuhr/García Sánchez1992: 101-109; and OXF Eng Dict.1989:XVII:Su:945]



½ lb borage leaves
½ lb mint leaves
½ lb citron leaves
½ lb sugar
1 tbsp aloe stems
1 tbsp Chinese rhubarb
1 tbsp Chinese cinnamon
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cloves


Cook leaves covered with water until tender. Add sugar. Pound aloe stems, Chincese rhubarb, chinese cinnamon, cinnamon and cloves until coarse. Put them in a cloth bag and tie well. Place this in a pot and macerate it svral times until the flavor comes out and the liquid takes on the consistency of syrups. Then add three cups of hot water for every ½ lb of leaves. 

Take half a ratl each of borage, mint, and citron leaves, cook them in water to cover until their strength comes out, then take the clean part and add it to a ratl of sugar. Then put in the bag: a spoonful each of aloe stems, Chinese rhubarb, Chinese cinnamon, cinnamon and clove flowers; pound all these coarsely, place them in a cloth, tie it well, and place it in the kettle, macerate it again and again until its the flavor comes out, and cook until [the liquid] takes the consistency of syrups. Take one û qiya with three of hot water. Benefits: It profits [preceding two words apparently supplied; in parentheses in printed Arabic text] weak stomachs, fortifies the liver and cheers the heart, digests foods, and lightens the constitution gently, God willing.

Monday, July 2, 2018


Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Photo from: Chcuk Kime
L. silphium(Firulanarthex)Ar. anjudān, Fr.silphium, Eng. silphium. It is a Mediterranean plant also called laser and laserpitium. The Arabic “’Ūd al-raqqa” is the “mahrūth”or root of silphium from which the resin or juice is extracted. This yields asafœtida, also called Devil’s dung, fetid gum or resin. 

The Ancients used the juice medicinally for its extensive heeling properties. It was added to food in small quantities to give it a fragrant effect. Too much spoils the food. 

Romans used the powdered root is a condiment as much as liquamen. Barbara Flower recommends it for fish specially. It is thought that it was used for its aphrodisiacal effect and in food prepared for banquets especially. It was a major export from Cyrenaica as it grew in large quantities there but was extinct by Pliny’s time. Apicius provides two rcipes for Silphum Sauce.

In North Africa it was grown especially in Cyrene where it was cultivated for export. There it was used in medicine and in cooking. The Anon al Andalus calls for it in "Tabahaja," a dish of fried goat meat. Today, several Middle Eastern recipes call for asafœtida. [Anón/Huici.1966:250:149; Apicius/Flower. 1958:28-29:57; ES: Lord “Asafœtida,” posted Feb 28, 07; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 02; and Pullar. 1970:242] 



dry mint
silphium root


“Dissolve silphium from Cyrenaica or Parthian silphum
in luke-warm water and mix with vinegar and liquamen; or mix pepper, parsley, dry mint, silphium root honey, vinegar, liquamen.

[1] Measurements are not indicated. 
[2] le asafoetida.