Vegetarian Dishes (Sawadhij)

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This spread is really good!  It is similar to the Roman dish Moretum (Goat Cheese with Herbs) in that a cheese is flavored with garlic, salt and olive oil.   Though this Middle Eastern spread is with out spices, that does not detract from the great flavor!  If you like garlic, add a little more.  If you are more vamperic add a little less.

Laban Condiment

(Flavored Dry Cheese)


Take as much cheese as you like.  Cut off the rind and, using a grater (iskirfaj), reduce the cheese to powder.  Next, put it in the mortar with garlic and salt, then dissolve it in hot water and mix well.  Finally, pour some good olive oil on it.  Eat with the blessing of God.  Then, with the will of god, add walnuts that have been shelled and ground up in the mortar.

Zaouali, pp. 109


½ lb goat cheese           1 tsp salt           3-4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 Tbs olive oil               1/3 C. crushed walnuts

My redaction:

The recipe calls for a cheese with a rind.  I have not found any Middle Eastern grocery stores that carry such a cheese and I’m not 100% sure that Parmesan would work so I had to compromise a little.  I took a good soft goat cheese at room temperature and worked the cheese over with a fork, till a more crumbled look was achieved.

cheese w garlic n salt

I then added the salt and the garlic to the cheese.  Now here I wasn’t sure if the water was to moisten the “powdered” cheese for a better texture, so at this point since the goat cheese I was using was already moist I skipped adding the hot water.

garlic cheese together

The 2 Tbs of olive oil were added next and everything was given a good stir till well mixed.

cheese spread w bread

The first round of this cheese I did not add the walnuts.  This is, in my opinion, an optional step.  The cheese tastes great with or with out.  With out is a really nice sharp garlic and salt; with adds a nice nutty flavoring to the garlic to mellow out the bite just a little.

I had been wanting to do this recipe for awhile now.  This just looked so very unusual to me.  It is not a creamy eggplant dip that we see nor is it a strictly sour relish.  The fact this is made with eggplant just gave it one more little curiosity twist!

Sibagh Tayyib

Eggplant (or Apple) Relish


Boil and dry eggplants.  Take walnut meat, minced parsley, honey, wine vinegar, pepper, Chinese cinnamon, ginger, garlic, oil, caraway, dried coriander and atraf al-rib.  Boil them on the fire, and put the eggplant down in it and leave them until they sour.

Rodinson, pp. 399


1 eggplant (or 3 apples)            ½ C. walnuts                2 Tbs. fresh parsley      ½ C. honey

½ C. wine vinegar                     6 cloves garlic               4 Tbs. olive oil

½ tsp pepper, Chinese cinnamon, ginger, caraway seed, coriander

*Atraf al-Tib – is a combination of premixed spices that ranged from mild to spicy.  These were either made at home or purchased from a spice merchant much like today’s powdered curries.


As can be seen from the ingredients picture, there are quite a few elements to this recipe.  Once everything is assembled (peeled and chopped) the cooking goes very quickly!

Sibagh Tayyib spices

The translation does not say if the eggplants are peeled or not.  I used a large regular eggplant (a common black beauty I believe) though experimenting with other types of eggplants is highly encouraged (as well as using apples).

Erring on the side of caution as eggplant skin is very bitter, I peeled the eggplant then cubed.  The cubes were placed into boiling water until just tender.

boiling eggplantOnce the eggplant was cooked the water was drained.

While the eggplant was cooking all other ingredients were blended into a pot and cooked till boiling.

blurry boiling spices

When the eggplant had been drained and dried, the cubes were added to the spice mixture.  The mixture was allowed to cook until the eggplant took the flavors of the spices, honey and vinegar.  A very sweet and sour taste.

boiling spices w eggplant

Note:  In this recipe, eggplants can be substituted with apples.  I would suggest cubing and cutting of the apples.  Peeling of the apples is optional as apple skins are not as bitter as eggplant skin.

Try this on flat bread or meat.  Very very tasty…depending on what type of spicy spice mixture you used…this can be very spicy and tasty too!

My theory on how pickling of eggs resulted, was that a chicken farmer with an overabundance of eggs tried various means to save eggs for future use, one of which was the farmer putting hard boiled eggs in vinegar.  Vinegar being an acid and hostel to bacteria, made for the perfect holding liquid but not every one liked vinegar eggs.  This means either the same farmer or  some other enterprising soul  decided to add spicing, making the eggs tastier, there for even yummier!

Pickling seems to cross many boundaries with the different regions having different spices for their pickling.   So with out further ado…I present the historic Middle Eastern pickled egg,  with out the chicken.

Baid Mukhallal

(Pickled Eggs)


Take boiled eggs and peel and sprinkle with a little ground salt and Chinese cinnamon and dry coriander.  Then arrange them in a glass jar and pour wine vinegar on them, and put it up.

(Rodinson, pp. 397)


6 hard boiled eggs        ¼ tsp salt, cinnamon, and dry coriander

Glass Jar                      Vinegar to cover

My Redaction:

This dish is very simple.  Hard boil 6-10 eggs (depending on the size of your glass container).  Water, eggs and heat for about 30 minutes.  After boiling for 30 minutes, I turn off my gas stove and let cool in the water till they are able to be handled easily, then peel.

eggs spices

The third spice next to the cinnamon and cumin is salt…a little hard to see in a white dish.  Sorry about that.

After the eggs are peeled, the recipe says to sprinkle…now sprinkling can mean a light coat or a heavier coat of spicing.  I choose to use a heavier coating of spicing for a stronger flavor that will off set the vinegar.

eggs rolled in spices

I mixed all the spices together then rolled the egg in the mixture.  Once the egg was liberally coated I place the egg into a glass jar.

jar of eggs

The amusing part was the eggs bounced slightly when dropped into the jar.  It was funny at the time! So here we have 6 eggs in a jar with spicing.  There should be just a little left over as 1/4 tsp of these 3 spices coats 6 eggs almost perfectly.  I believe there wasonly 1/8 of spicing remaining.  Put the remainder of the spicing into the jar then fill with vinegar.

I used apple cider vinegar, instead of wine vinegar.   Apples were used in a variety of dishes and I believe that if the flesh of the apple was used then juice was made.  If apple juice was made then apple vinegar was not far.  That and wine vinegar was not on hand though procurement today would be fairly easy.

Depending on the size of the jar, the size of the eggs and the number of eggs used will determine how much vinegar you will need.  Fill the jar with vinegar AFTER putting in the eggs.  Make sure the eggs are covered completely.  Covering the eggs completely lessens the chance of bacteria getting a foot hold into the boiled eggs, causing a loss of the entire batch.

A little light snack or a compliment to a spicy dish.

I have a few cups of baby carrots on hand and was going hmm….that and a real craving for some thing sweet.  Voila!  I have found this little gem of a recipe.  A period way to turn a salty veggie (in my mind carrots need to be slathered in butter and salt to be yummy) into a sweet treat.

Historically speaking carrots could be preserved by either drying or turning into jam with out loosing to much nutritionally while still retaining a vitamin and caloric necessity, but this is probably one of the sweetest ways to preserve carrots…ever.


(Carrot Jam)


It is necessary to select fresh, red carrots, to wash them, clean them and cut them as thinly as possible.  Put them in a ceramic pot, add a little bit of honey, and cover them with water.  Cook them until they are soft, then strain off the water with a sieve and add a quantity of skimmed honey equal to that of the carrots.  Mix in seasonings chosen from among pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cubeb, spikenard, mace, galangal, aloe wood (aquilaria aqullocha), saffron and musk.  Cook to thicken the carrot jam…Pour into a glass Jar and consume as needed.

*Note: Wild carrots were considered very pungent and not particularly edible though good for medicinal purposes. (Staug, pp. 44).   In the medieval Middle East, there were many varieties, the two main being distinguished by their color, either yellow or red (some times purple) (victoryseeds).  The red were considered more edible as the yellow were woody in hardness of the main stalk.  A similar but not completely the same type of red carrot can be found in today’s farmers market marked as “heirlooms”.

Zaouali, pp. 135.


2 C carrots                   1 C honey                1 pinch saffron

1/4 tsp ea of ground pepper corn, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, mace cinnamon

1/4  tsp anise seed

My redaction:

I have a couple of choices of carrot types in the summer when the farmers markets are open, giving me the choice between either a red or even a yellow variety of carrot, and not just the ubiquitous orange type.  My choice is far more limited during the winter and due to my narrow choice in the winter when I did this recipe, I used what was on hand.

I took 2 cups of modern  day baby  carrots (or regular orange carrots if available) and sliced them in the  “matchstick” style. I did matchstick as the carrots, in period, were quartered with the inner core removed to take out the woody taste, which leads me to believe that to cut them thin matchstick is an excellent choice.  However slicing thinnly in 1/2 circles after the carrot was cored could have happened just as easily.

CarrotsHere are the carrots, sliced with the multitude of spices and the first 2 Tbs of honey.

carrots w spices

The next step after cutting the carrots into thin slices is to place them  in a shallow casserole dish covering with water and adding 2 Tbs  of honey.  The recipe says to just add a little bit of honey and cover them with water.  I figured 2 Tbs is enough to still give the carrots a little sweetness while cooking them in water.

carrots water honey

Unfortunately the honey is lost in the picture.  This is to just give an idea on the carrot:water ratio which is to put in just enough water to cover the carrots.

Cook until the carrots are soft.

baked carrots

Now I judge soft carrots to be when I can stick a fork in them easily.  These were really tender after cooking for about 45 minutes at 400.  Keep an eye on the carrots though, your oven may be hotter or cooler and either scorched or undercooked carrots are not good.

Once the carrots are soft, drain the water and honey.

Period honey was a bit more “raw”, with wax and bees parts so required cooking prior to using skimming of the foam which contained the extra unwanted bits.  Modern honey is usually cleaned of inclusions so skimming is not necessary.  With that not if the honey used is from the store pour the remaining cup of honey onto the carrots.  If the honey is freshly drawn from a hive, start by cooking all of it in a large container, skimming off any froth that develops.

Once the carrots and honey have been combined in a pot add the ground spices and saffron.

carrots spices honey start

The honey may not look like enough, you want just enough to cover with out submerging.   The honey will thicken and reduce, so what was 2 cups of carrots and honey will coalesce into about a cup of jam.

Add the spices and start to cook the honey and carrots on the stove till thickened.  I would suggest to stir the mixture together and taste how the spices flavor the honey and carrots.  The fresher the spices the better the out come.  The mixture of spices suggested by the original recipe is very good though I added a couple of extra myself and did not add a couple due to availability.

This batch took 3 heating sessions.  I didn’t want to scorch the honey or carrots, so I would heat the mixture till it boiled then allow to cool.  The first two times the mixture was not thick enough which means either I didn’t heat the mixture enough, allow enough time to boil, or I added to much honey to my batch or a combination of the three.  The flavor is not ruined if the jam has to be heated more then once, so don’t worry if the honey hasn’t condensed enough the first time.


Once the jam is cool, spoon into a glass jar, securing the lid tightly.  As you can see the 2 cups of carrots have reduced to about one cup of jam here.  I used a recycled jam jar with a screw on lid.  Period containers would have been of glass but the lid would have been the type to fit onto the top and not a screw top.

I have to admit a little bread and a spoon to scoop the jam on to and you are in a spicy sweet carrot heaven!

It’s pronounced HHHHerbs…because there’s an H in it!  Waaay to much Eddie Izzard.  I just couldn’t resist.  I know, I should probably try harder but it’s just sooo much fun!  Any way, back to our regularly scheduled recipe addition.  Today is more yogurt, or yoghurt, and a bit of herb spicing.

Shiraz Laban Bi-Buqul

(Thickened yoghurt with herbs)


Take mint, celery leaves and vegetable leeks and strip them all from their stalks and cut them up finely with the knife.  Throw them in the mortar, and, when they release liquid after pounding, dry them off.  Then mix them well with shiraz (yoghurt drained of whey).  Throw a little salt on it, as much as it will bear, and mustard pounded fine, and moderate its flavor with the mustard…If you like, put pounded walnuts on it.

Medieval Arab Cookery p. 398-399.


1 C yogurt                                            1/3 C chopped mint

1 Leek                                                             salt to taste

1 ½ tsp ground brown mustard seed     1/8 tsp pepper

1/3 cup celery leaves chopped

My Redaction:

This recipe is extremely easy.  A little care needs to be taken when washing the leek but other then that the dish is pretty much just chop, mix and eat.

Yogurt spices

Leeks are grown in sandy muddy soil which collects in the upright leaves.  The dirt needs to be washed out of the leeks other wise you have a very gritty muddy dish.  Not everyone’s favorite.  When I chop a leek I cut of the roots and the dark green hard leaves, leaving me with the pale green and white sections.  These are cut into halves then halved again.   Then I slice the quarters into 1/8 inch pieces (roughly).  These are put into a bowl and rinsed with running water till there are no more blotches or sandy bits to be seen or felt.

Using only the light green and white part  doesn’t sound like a lot, however once the leek is sliced into smaller bits it sort of falls to pieces and fluffs up considerably.  You should get roughly 1/2 to 1 cup worth of chopped (no compressed) leek pieces from that small bit left over.

If leeks are not available or in season I have made do with shallots or a mild onion in a pinch.

The mustard seeds are ground.  I did use a mortar and pestle this time as only a little mustard seed was needed.  The mint was actually store bought.   For adding the mint I would suggest 1/2 of the called for recipe, taste, then add a bit at a time.  I like the minty flavor as it compliments the yogurt’s depth and the leeks mild onion.  The celery leaves were optional this time around; however I usually use the inner leaves found on a celery bunch’s heart.  Definitely a nice inclusion though.

Yogurt mix

Once everything has been prepped mix into a bowl and you are ready to consume!

This is the historic coleslaw version of cabbage from the Middle East.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of cabbage.  I like my cabbage with corned beef and this recipe, flavored cabbage.  I have had people come up to me at events, when this dish was being displayed, asking for the redaction recipe.  It’s just that good!

Flavored Cabbage


Take walnut meats and blanched almonds and toasted hazelnuts.  Pound everything, then take caraway which you toast and pound fine, and with it a little thyme and garlic seed.  Then you perfume the cabbage with good oil.  Then you take a little bit of vinegar; you dissolve the walnuts and ingredients with it.  Then you throw on a sufficiency of tahineh, and let there be a little Syrian cheese with it.  Add the spices to them and arrange them, then you throw the rest of the ingredients on the bowl.  Then throw in some of the first spice enough to perfume their taste and aroma.  It is not eaten until the next day.


1/2  Cabbage                                      ¼ C. ea. ground walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts

1 tbs. ground toasted caraway  1 ½ tsp thyme (ground or fresh chopped)

2 cloves garlic                                       4 Tbs . sesame oil

1/3 C. vinegar                                       ½ C. Tahineh

1 C. Feta

My Redaction:

I had in my garden a few heads of cabbage.  Now the cabbage I grew is not the tight packed cabbage head normally seen in the grocery store, nor was it any of the Chinese variations of cabbage.   The cabbage I used was a loose leaf and not very tight packed head that survived one of the worst droughts of the SW seen in years.   The flavor was good but mild with a crisp leaf and dark green color.


My suggestion for the type of cabbage to use, is one that you will eat.  If you like a specific type try the cabbage in the recipe.  In the past I’ve used both green and red with tight packed heads; however my favorite thus far is the type grown in the garden.

I used a coffee grinder for the walnuts (and hazelnuts when available) while buying almond meal, putting these in a bowl to the side.

The caraway can be toasted in the oven (keep a very close on the seeds if you choose to do this) or toasted on top of the stove using a hot pan.  Once the seeds have been toasted, grind them up, either by hand in a mortar or in a cleaned coffee grinder.  I used pre-ground thyme and regular garlic instead of seeds.  (Seeds were unavailable.)

SpicesHere you can see the nuts (only walnuts and almonds), with dark sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, ground caraway seeds and the tahini.

I cut the cabbage heads ( I used 2 small cabbage heads the size of my fist since they were very loosely packed) in half and then sliced about a fingers width.  Once the cabbage is sliced, flavor with the dark sesame oil.

Cabbage w sesame oil

Now here you can use either light (toasted) sesame oil or a dark sesame oil.  I used the dark for a full body, richer taste.  The dark sesame oil will not be over powered by the tahini and spices.

The next step is to stir the ground nuts into the vinegar.

nuts to vinegar next to spices

Then incorporate the spices once the nuts are well mixed with the vinegar.

Then include the tahini into the mixture.

All incorporated

This looks a little bit like hummus just a bit more liquid.  Once everything is well mixed toss with the cabbage, adding a 3/4 of the feta cheese.

Cabbage w spice cheese

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.  Cover and let sit for a day for the flavors to blend together.

This is one of those dishes that is almost a meal.  The nuts, cheese and oil add an excellent taste and heartiness to the dish.  If there was nothing else in the house to eat then  cabbage with bread was it.  So the calories had to be packed in some how…and flavor incorporated enough to actually want to eat.

No really, even if you don’t like cabbage except in small amounts, try this one recipe!

With the gallon of home made yoghurt sitting in the fridge, it’s time to do some thing useful besides dribble sweety tasty honey over the yoghurt and dive in head first.  Time to make…Cheese!!!

This soft cheese is a quick easy cheese that can be made in as little as a few hours with only 2 ingredients.


(Soft Cheese)


Use milk that is just drawn, still warm, incorporating the renet as it is, with its skin, and whipping the milk while it is warm so that it coagulates.  Then pour it into molds made from willow…sprinkle salt (over it) and set it aside.  If you wish to eat it right away, it is not necessary to salt it, in which case it is called simple cheese.


1 pint yogurt (full fat)                 1 Tbs salt


1 gallon milk                             1 tablet Rennet             1 Tbs salt

Note:  Rennet is an enzyme of a young mammal’s stomach that  is still drinking milk.  When the calf (cow) or kid (goat) was slaughtered the stomach lining cut into squares and mixed with freshly drawn milk to produce cheese.  Modern day solution are chemical tablets which produce the same effect with out the need of a young mammalian’s stomach lining.


Take whole milk fresh, if available, if not warm up a gallon of whole store bought milk.  Heat the milk to the just boiling, then mix the milk with rennet tablets.   Stirring until the milk starts to turn solid.  Pour into molds and salt.  The molds used can be anything from a butter mold to a bread mold, though a bread mold would make a very large loaf of cheese.

A second way to make cheese is to take full fat yogurt and mix with 1 Tbs of salt then pour into a lined strainer (either multiple layers of muslin or a coffee filter) that is supported in a bowl.

yogurt and strainer

Drain of the resulting liquid until very little liquid continues to be produced from the salted yoghurt.

The translated recipe does not say pour of the liquid though there is nothing that the liquid can be used for.  I believe the draining part is omitted because this step is so common sense, that to include it would waste ink and paper.

Once there is no more liquid being produced take the soft cheese out of the filter and eat.


This type of cheese is much like a soft cream cheese or a farmers cheese. I put mine into the refrigerator where the resulting soft cheese can last up to a week, 2 weeks in a sealed container.  This is also known as a Persian yogurt or Persian cheese.

Unless the weather was cold 24/7, milk didn’t last very long in it’s raw liquid state.  Some thing about a protein rich environment just waiting to be eaten.  So preservation of a vital source of protein was needed.  Hence the start of preserving milk with bacteria in the form of yoghurt and cheese.

I have been wanting to cover the basics of yoghurt making for awhile and then the opportune moment came in the form of a gallon of whole milk with a small but growing hole in the container as well as live culture yoghurt on hand.  So here we go, today we cover the basic of yoghurt making that includes items on hand and nothing special or gadgety.

I have yet to find a period documented recipe on how yoghurt was made in any of the Middle East cooking texts I have.  I believe this was so well known, much like milking a cow (Cow, bucket and person…all you needed to retrieve the milk, well that and a stool to sit on) that there was and would be no need to ever mention how milk was turned into yoghurt.  Where I did pick up a good very low tech yoghurt recipe was off of a website blog called   There was no relying on thermometers to say when the milk was hot enough or cool enough, nor yoghurt incubators.  A cook had to know when the milk was ready to be taken from the fire and when and how to add yoghurt.

So here is the very basic for making yoghurt with whole milk.

Supplies: Clean all dishes and utensils prior to using.

1 large pot

1 gallon whole milk

1 spactula

2 small bowls

1 table spoon measurer

2-3 Tbs yoghurt

Step 1: Put one gallon of whole milk in a clean pot.  (Any milk will do as long as it is whole milk…you want the fat that whole milk offers for good period yoghurt.)  Stir the milk every few minutes, while bringing the pot up to boil,  so the milk does not scorch on the bottom.   The pot, the spoons, bowls and jars used for this were cleaned prior so that there was not any extra bacterium to contaminate or turn the milk from yoghurt into some thing else calling out for “Mommy!” at the back of the fridge.  The milk should be allowed to boil and foam, but don’t let the milk boil out of the pot.  Then things just get messy!

boiled milk

You can see where the milk boiled up to before I turned off the flame.  I cut it a little close at the boiling/foaming phase, but just a little!

Step 2: Allow the milk to cool till you can hold your pinky finger in the milk for 10 seconds.  This is a crucial step!!  To hot and the added yoghurt bacteria will be killed off.  To cool and extra floating around the house opportunistic bacteria  will start to grow.  This would be a baaaad thing.

Step 3: Once the milk has cooled, take out 2-3 Tbs of yoghurt from a previous batch (or a store bought container with live culture) and place in one of your two clean bowls.  In the 2nd bowl place a cup of the warm milk.  Stir the yoghurt in the bowl till of a smooth and creamy.  I know this sounds silly as yoghurt is already smooth and creamy but you want to warm up and spread out the cold yoghurt in the bowl.  stirred yogurt

Step 4: Slowly poor the milk from the other bowl into the yoghurt stirring the entire time.

yogurt and milk combined

Here the cooked milk is now thicker and cooler with the addition of the yoghurt which in turn is warmed enough to add to the main pot of milk.

Step 5: Add the bowl of yoghurt and milk to the pot of boiled milk, stirring the entire time.  This is more a dribble then a pour.  Dumping the entire contents of the bowl into the pot while quick will result in less the perfect batch.  So dribble and stir until till the bowl’s ingredients have been emptied into the pot.

Step 6: Pour the pot of milk into clean jars.  I luckily had two large glass jars on hand, cleaned prior to using, and closed securely with screw on lids.

jars with milk

Step 7: Place jars in warm area of the house.  Wrap a towel around the jars to retain heat.  Let the jars sit for 12-14 hours then place into the fridge.

You will then have a gallon of yoghurt on hand.  This is a  LOT of yoghurt.  Luckily for us there are a LOT of recipes from which to use this wonderful tasty treat.  Like herbed yoghurt or Persian dried yoghurt.  There are also a variety of cheeses that can be made as well.  But first, take a bowl of your newly made yoghurt, a spoon, then drizzle a bit of honey over the yoghurt.  This is a sweet sublime treat!

This is a seasonal dish/item.  So while I actually do have pickled plums on hand I can’t show you how I made them…yet.  I will update this with pictures as soon as I get my hands on some fabulous plums.

So a quick history of plums:

Plums were known in Egypt by the provisions of dried prunes, cultivation of plums were spoken of by Pliny during Roman times and “the dark-skinned ‘damask plums’” were highly prized in France. (Toussaint-Samat, pg. 642).  The plums bought mundanely are referred to as black plums; however the correlation between medieval “dark-skinned” plums and today’s black plums may be only somewhat  related as the modern variety has had centuries of cultivation.  The plum thought to be closest to the original plum described is the Damson plum which “Originating in the Middle East, they were brought back to Europe during the 12th century by the crusaders”. (Krachmal)

I used a generic black skinned plum that was sweet but firm.  The sweeter the plum the squishier the fruit which does not preserve as aesthetically as if the plum were slightly greener but less sweet.  So pick a firm plum that is on the cusp of being really really ripe but can be squeezed while remaining firm to the touch.

Qarasiya Mukhallala

(Pickled Plums)


Put them in a pickling jar and put water on them, and a little vinegar and a like amount of honey.

Medieval Arab Cookery, pg. 397

Simplistic, yes?  There are no quantities given so a little experimentation was in order.


5-8 plums (varying due to size and quality) per jar*

¾ to 1 cup water                                  1/4 cup (white wine) vinegar                             1/4 cup honey

My redaction:

jar and plums

This original translation does not call for pitting or cutting of the plums; however due to today’s sized plums it is a better choice that the plums be pitted, then cut into roughly 1 inch sized cubes/chunks.

cut plums

The reason I say that today’s plums as opposed to in period, is that period plums were probably much smaller (due to not having regular irrigation or modern fertilizers) and might have been used with the pits, they might not have.  The recipe is not specific enough to know which.  I personally do not like the idea of keeping pits in fruit when preserving.  This is dislike of keeping fruit and pits together is due to bacteria that may have formed from the stem opening and be working out from the pit area if whole, with that being said I am writing what I have used and find that works for me.  On that note, pit and cut your firm just ripened plums into to quarters and place into a clean jar till the pieces are just under the rim by 1/2 inch.  I can usually fit 5-8 plums per cleaned jar (depending upon spaghetti jar or canning jar used).  This jar  holds 6 plums.

For the amount of water to vinegar to honey ratio; we know that the vinegar and the honey must equal the same amount as the comment is “…a little vinegar and a like amount of honey.”.  So with that in mind and I like sweet, I filled the jar that is filled with plums 1/2 with water.

plums w water

Do NOT fill the jar with water piror to putting the plums in.  Then things get really mess.  Fill the jar with plums first then half way with water.  Fill the next quarter with a honey, but only a quarter of the way.

plums w honey

The final quarter will be filled with vinegar to the rims edge.  make sure that the vinegar covers the pieces of plum.   Here I used a balsamic vinegar.  Any vinegar can be used i.e. wine  or apple cider.  I just liked the tart/sweet tast of the balsamic with the plums.

plums w vinegar

Then seal with a lid.  Once you seal with a lid, turn the jar upside down a few times.  This mixes everything together and gets the air bubbles to the top.  Unscrew the lid and add a little more honey or vinegar.  Seal.  Repeat once more.  You want all the air bubbles out so that bacteria does not have an air pocket to gain a foot hold.

Why were water, honey and vinegar used together?  Besides the sweet and sour taste?  Couldn’t the water be done away with?  Addressing the honey and vinegar issue first.  The honey acts as an anti-bacterial while the vinegar is extremely acidic.  Both help retard bacteria that would be on and attracted to the cut up fruit.  Water is a neutral liquid.   With the addition of a neutral liquid neither the honey nor the vinegar overwhelm the taste of the fruit while just giving a hint (strong hint) in equal portions to sweet and sour.

Note on jars:  I reuse my old spaghetti jar’s or apple sauce jars after putting them through the wash.  I do not boil to sterilize as this was not a period practice.  I do however place the jar(s) in the fridge for longevity sake.  One container of pickled plums will last a year for me (the time may vary for you so be careful!!!).   The pickled plums can be used either as a tasty treat or in recipes that call for pickles, honey and vinegar.

Hummus Kasa

Period hummus is very hearty.  This  is not the usual 5 ingredients and smooth hummus that many are use to today.  Period hummus walks into a room and demands the best spot on the table because it can stand on it’s own as a meal!


Take chickpeas and pound them fine after boiling them.  Then take vinegar, oil, tahineh, pepper…mint, parsley dry thyme, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, Ceylon cinnamon, toasted caraway, dry coriander, salt, salted lemons and olives.  Stir it…

Medieval Arab Cookery p. 383.


1 can chickpeas   (roughly blended…unless you reaaaaly want to chop them by hand)

1 C tahineh

1/3 C vinegar

1/3 C olive oil

1/2 tsp each of dried mint, thyme, cinnamon, caraway, coriander, salt, black pepper

1 tsp parsley

¼-1/3 C walnuts, almonds, pistachios (roughly chopped)

1 preserved lemon (salted and stored in olive oil)

My Redaction:

Once all the ingredients are assembled the rest is pretty easy.  Hummus makingsThe nuts are roughly chopped, the garbanzo beans have been blended, the spices assembled, oil and vinegar assembled, and the preserved lemon roughly chopped as well.

Once everythign is on hand, put into a bowl and stir.  Today’s palate may prefer the smoothness of everything blended into a paste however that is not quite period.  Things were a tad more chunky.  I put all these ingredients into a bowl then stirred everything till the tahini was well blended.  Why did I base my blending on the tahini?  Well…try string peanute butter into a mix.  If the peanut butter is not mixed well there are lumpy parts instead of a tasty blend of spices.

happy hummus

Here is the blended lumpy full meal hummus with a little olive oil and mint.  It’s happy to see you!