Roman Vegetarian

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My house is redolent of spice, honey and decanted mead.  Had to do a couple of new Persian mead batches which meant emptying the full carboys to bottles to make room for the new.  What does this have to do with eggs you ask?  Not a thing but if you’re going to have deviled eggs you might as well have some excellent mead to go with them.

June 2015 052

Ova Elixas: Boiled Egg or Roman Deviled Eggs.


Boil 5 eggs for 5 minutes. Crush 1 clove of garlic with some pepper and 5 anchovies. Add the egg yolks and pound smooth. Add a little olive oil and a little wine and stir well. Pile the mixture into the white egg whites.

Faas, pp. 315)


5 eggs (boiled, peeled and cut in half eggs removed)

1 clove Garlic

1/2 tsp pepper

5 anchovies

Olive oil




Gather up all your ingredients.  Do NOT add more garlic.  You’re going to be tempted.  Just don’t.  One clove is more than sufficient to flavor these 5 yolks.  Trust me.  You will still be able to scare off vampires with just this one clove and the anchovies.

June 2015 046

Boil 5 eggs. Peel the shell off, cut in half and remove the yolk to a separate container.

June 2015 047 Place the empty half egg whites on a plate.

Mash the yolk, pepper, anchovies with a little olive oil and wine together to form a paste.  Roughly about a tsp each of the wine and olive oil.  Just enough to stick everything together.

June 2015 050 Take a teaspoon and refill the empty egg whites.

June 2015 052 This is pretty good.  A bit garlicky and a bit fishy with a great blend of the flavors.  Not sure I would eat this everyday but this dish will shake up any party or feast.

July 21, 2015 | No comments

It’s that time of year again.  Candlemas and Kingdom A&S.  Which means I’m busy….busy busy.  Yes, after this I’ll be having even MORE recipes.  However here is one more Roman until I can get back the regular scheduled cooking and not writing of research papers on chickens and peacocks.  Not to worry, you’ll be seeing those soon!

Pine-nut Sauce for Medium-Boiled Eggs


For medium-boiled eggs: Pepper, lovage, and soaked pine nuts.  Pour on honey and vinegar; mix with garum.


Medium-boiled eggs                 1 tsp pepper                 1 cup pine-nuts

3 Tbs. honey                            ¼ cup vinegar               1 tsp garum

Giacosa, pg. 47


First gather all the ingredients into one area.  This step always helps especially if short on time!

Soak the pine-nuts, the time is dependent upon the whim of the cook.

This is after 24 hours.

After soaking the pine-nuts, separate the nuts from the vinegar,

and grind the pine-nuts into a paste,

pour the vinegar back into the pine-nuts adding honey, garum and pepper.

When I did this recipe the very first time, I did not read carefully enough on soaking the pine-nuts.  The first time I did this recipe I used a spice grinder for the pine nuts.  They were un-soaked and chewy.  The next few times I made this, I soaked the pine nuts for 24 hours, which caused them to swell slightly and become soft and grindable. These I ground in a mortar and pestle.  Note of caution, when grinding in a mortar and pestle…don’t put the full cup of pine nuts to be ground in it, unless the mortar is very very large.  I had to do a half cup per grinding so that I was not having to stop and pick up falling nuts every other moment.  The vinegar soaked nuts were very squishy and formed a nice paste though by hand grinding the pine nuts I did not get as smooth a paste as I really had hoped for.  I believe that in Roman times the kitchen slave(s) would have done nothing but this one task to smooth perfection.  I did not have the luxury of grinding one item for 20 minutes for smoooooooooth perfection.  I like how I did the grinding, it just took a lot longer then I wanted to!

The peppers used were peppercorns, of various colors, ground in a mortar and pestle.

I didn’t see the need to go with one type of peppercorn over another.  I like them all!  The honey in period would probably have been a wildflower variety; unfortunately I did not have access or a good supplier for Italian wildflower honey.  I had to do with the Costco honey.  The vinegar originally used was a common variety apple cider vinegar.  I believe that wine vinegar would be used for a richer taste, there for I did this batch with a red wine vinegar.  (I was out of the rose hip wine vinegar).

The finished tasty mix!

The dish I used to mix everything together really is to dark for a vinegar and peppercorn mix.  However give this a try.  You will be amazed!

The eggs are organic, the chicken type that laid them unmentioned at the grocers.

My over all impression of the sauce over boiled egg is a rich, sweet, salty taste that highly complements an egg’s natural mildness.  Very good if not what I would call a common taste.  Some thing to grow into, I’m sure!

I like carrots.  Very very tasty veggies!  I found this recipe and now I really LIKE carrots.  This recipe is one of the best for making carrots crunchy tasty or roasted chewy tasty.  Cook’s choice!

I did do this recipe as a combination of Roman carrots with Saracen lamb.  Not precisely in the recipe books but hey, it’s Roman and anything goes for a Roman cook!

Roman Parsnips and or Carrots

Quick addendum:

Apicus equated parsnip with the carrot with the recipes being interchangeable with out detriment to either vegetables taste. (Faas, pp. 214)


Cut the boiled carrots into small pieces and boil in a cumin sauce with a little oil.

(Faas, pp. 214).

Cumin, salt, old wine, and oil.  Fi you wish add pepper, lovage, mint, rue and coriander. (Ap.118/Faas, pp. 215)


24 oz carrots (I use baby carrots)

Water to cover

1 tsp salt


1 tsp each of  salt, ground pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander and whole thyme.

1/3 c olive oil

½ C wine (red or white depending on taste) if desired.


I have added a slightly different twist to this due to my own palate.  Boiling carrots till they are just cooked leaves, even with spices, a slightly bland taste.  I have altered this as to boil then roast then carrots for a richer taste.  This is my own preference.  Should roasting not be desired stop at the boiling of carrots and mixing in of the sauce.

First boil the carrots until just slightly tender.  Usually about 10 minutes.  The carrots are then drained.  While the carrots are draining I mix all the spices and oil together.

This is the oil and spices on the carrots.  I forgot to take a picture of the carrots/spice mix.  It looks better once everything is mixed together!

I do a taste test to make sure no one ingredient is over powering the others.  The fresher the spice the stronger the flavor, so if one spice is not as strong as it should be, add in more starting at ¼ a tsp at a time.

I usually do not add wine.  In my opinion this makes the sauce a little to soupy.  I want my spice mix to stick to the carrots.

Next I place the carrots in a backing dish, mix the spices over and roast for 30-45 minutes.  This gives the carrots a deep rich roasting flavor that will quickly endear them to any palate.

I have also done this dish where I added foreleg of lamb with a Middle Eastern rub spice mix called Rogan Josh.  This mix contains Paprika, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, Saigon cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and spices. (From the Savory Spice Shop)

I decided on foreleg as a whole leg was to big but a foreleg was just enough meat for one person.

When the meat was cooked over the carrots there is this delectable rich meatiness as well as the wonderful taste of spicy carrot goodness.

This is an awesomely delectable dish that you can not go wrong on!  The foreleg per person may be to much to do for a feast but for 2-4 people they are just right over Roman Carrots!



Cucumbers are a tasty little treat fresh from the garden.  Like many people, I find that fresh home grown cucumbers beat out those store bought.  Unfortunately, in the heart of Ansteorra at this time, fresh cucumbers are just about impossible to come across in most home gardens so store bought it was!


When Scraped and cooked in olive oil, vinegar and honey, cucumbers are with out doubt more delicious.

Mark, pp. 135


Cucumbers                   ¼ C honey

½ C vinegar               1/2 C olive oil


I did a little alteration, in the best of Roman way, with this recipe.  I chose not to cook the cucumbers  as I really did not want to deal with squished cucumber goo.  So, with that in mind, I chose to submerge sliced cucumbers in this wonderful little mixture and let them braise for 2-5 days at a time.

First gather all your ingredients.

Peel the cucumbers.

Now slice them into spears.

Now here you can keep the slices long or cut into half.

Mix the oil, honey and vinegar together.

Place your sliced cucumbers into the mixture.

Now this picture is only for one cucumber.  I sliced up five and the bowl was not big enough so I had to increase the mixture to accommodate all the cucumbers slices.

Looks a bit like a forest!  But a very tasty forest at that.  This is a wonderful light savory sweet treat to be eaten with bread, cheese and figs.  Give this one a try during those hot summer months or on a cool winter evening when you need a bit of green!


This dish is more like an appetizer or an after dinner treat.  A little sweet with a bit of savory.  Simple elegant and easy on the tongue, not to heavy.

Caseus cum Recenti Fico

(Cheese with Figs)


A recent idea has been to eat a fresh fig instead of salt with cheese.  Pliny Natural History. (Grant, pp. 79)



Cheese such as Feta or a good sheep milk cheese (Has a very mild nutty slightly salty flavor)

Optional:  Honey


Fresh figs.

Cut in half.

Place a bit of cheese on the fig.  Consume.

I like mine a bit sweet so I added a touch of honey.  I almost consumed a full pound but restrained myself.  A few of these and both the sweet and savory tooth is satisfied!

As for the type of cheese I will suggest a good goat or sheep milk cheese.  Some thing light and or creamy.  Or even a creamy nutty flavor.  I used Feta for this redaction though a good sheep milk cheese such as Petit Basque. will work very well.



Butter Beans in Herb Sauce


Put wheat groats, coriander, leeks, onion, dill, basil and a little aniseed into a mortar.  Boil on the stove and moisten with water, wine, garum and wine vinegar all mixed together.  When it has boiled and you are about to take it off the heat, sprinkle on some ground pepper.  Some people make it slightly sharp with wine vinegar by pouring over a little, and then remove it from the fire; but others boil everything when the wine vinegar has been added and by adding green herbs they make it ready to serve.

(Grant, pp. 131 from the Heidelberg Papyrus)


¼ C whole barley or wheat groats                     1 leek   1 onion

1 tsp dried dill, basil, coriander              1 pinch aniseed

½ C water                    1 C wine                      1 tsp garum

¼ tsp ground pepper    1 tsp parsley


The day before, place the 1 C dried butter beans in a pot of water and let sit over night.

cooked beans

Before making the sauce the next day, boil the beans for 30 minutes or until soft.  Drain and set to the side.

With the translation I did a little ad-libbing this into 2 parts.  One sauce is a dry sauce with the ingredients roughly chopped, the other is a cooked with the ingredients ground into a more liquid type of sauce

Slice the onions and leeks into small pieces.  (Optional part is to fry the onions and leeks till soft before adding to the boiling pot.)

Zomos spices 2

Mix the dill, basil, coriander and aniseed in a mortar.

sauted spices

Take the water, wine, garum and wine vinegar and mix in a pot, then bring to a boil.   Add the onions, leeks and barley.

sauted 2

Boil the mixture till the barley (or wheat groats are soft).  Sprinkle with parsley and serve over butter beans.

over beans 1

This is what the first redaction looked like when the onions were coarsely chopped and barely grains were added whole.

The 2nd redaction I ground the onions and spices and cooked in the wine but did not reduce the sauce until almost dry.

sauce over beans2

Both sauces are very tasty over the beans, yet the look is very different.  This may be more of an aesthetic for the cook on how to make the sauce!

I had been wanting to do a little bit of Roman cooking for a couple of weeks now.  I had this really cheesy salty garlic recipe on hand and thought I’d share.

A little bit of history here about this period Roman dish.  There are several variations to the cheese with herbs recipe. Some call for leeks, savoy, and rocket leaves while others call for a plethora of spices.  There is one Roman cook who describes the making of this recipe with so much garlic that the person grinding the garlic into a paste has tears coming from his eyes at the strong fumes given off by the garlic.


Cheese with Herbs


Four garlic cloves/ 4 garlic bulbs (depending upon which translation is used), celery, rue, coriander, salt grains, and cheese.


1/2 cup garlic cloves                 the heart of 1 celery bunch        1 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp salt (or to taste) 2 cups Feta                              4 Tbs olive oil

3 Tbs. vinegar

Herkotz, pg 54/Grant, pg. 72,73.

My Redaction:

I have taken liberties with the recipe from both Herkotz and Grant.   The type of cheese is unspecified in the original recipe.  The assumption would be that any soft goat or sheep cheese would suffice.  My choice is a feta cheese, unfortunately cow instead of goat feta.  The cow feta has a nice sharpness that compliments the multitude of garlic used.


Garlic seems to be used sparingly, in most Roman cooking, as garlic breath was considered to be plebian by the more urban Romans.  Herkotz chooses to use only 4 cloves while Grant writes of how 4 bulbs were used.  That is a very big difference in amount for these two recipes.  I have chosen to go with roughly 2 bulbs worth of garlic and finely chopped instead of ground.  Grinding would have formed a paste blending well with a soft creamy cheese however with the use of a crumbling Feta I believed the finely chopped garlic was a better choice.

Both Herkotz and Grant suggest the addition of oil and vinegar, to which I agree are excellent additions.  The feta and garlic mixture with just coriander and celery is moderate in taste; however the addition of just a little oil and vinegar makes the dish much tastier.  Sea salt was used to taste.

The celery is not pictured in the above ingredients.  So we’ll add the picture below.

cellery being chopped

This is the heart of a celery bunch being finely chopped.  The leaves, for many period cultures and dishes were the prized ingredient not the fibrous ribs, we eat today.  Seems the flavor is strong in the leaves with out any extra work being required to eat the stems.  No stuffing of cheese or pate into stems for the Medieval Gourmet, they wanted all the flavor with out any of the work of actually chewing and chewing and chewing!

Once the ingredients are set out, mix together.  There is no need to apply heat…just mix and eat!

cheese with crackers

I would suggest a good flat bread and a nice bit of red wine to go with, as this dish is very VERY garlicky.  Ok, so I cheated a little and used triscuts.  They were on hand to help convey the cheesy spread from bowl to mouth!