A duo of dishes documentation

A Duo of Dishes

Exploring the palettes of Italy 
and the 
Holy Lands in side by side comparison

By Lady Finnech inghean Labhrainn

Tredura :

This recipe is from a cookbook written in the fifteenth century in a dialect belonging to northeastern Italy. (Even though it is not exclusively from that region.) There is a note that this dish known as Tredura or Tridura was part of a Florentine tradition. In the manuscript Archivio Arcives-covalent at Florence the notary Ser Lorenzo Tani describes the St John’s day ceremonies for 1356 where this dish was made as a offering to the people as it was in Florence for so many of the Holy days.

Take whites of leeks and boil them whole then chop them well with a knife then fry them with the fat of the meat you have cooked take bread and grate it and soak it in hot water take a piece of meat and chop the bread and the meat with a knife then take the beat egg and plenty of saffron beat together and pour over the fried leeks with plenty of spices and it will be good. 
2 1/4 pounds of leeks 7 ounces salt pork belly or pancetta 4 ounces dry country bread three eggs a good pinch of saffron and salt.

For the spice mixture1/4 tablespoon ground ginger 1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1/4 tablespoon ground Nut Meg

A ffare tredura toy lo bianco delli porri e miltilo a lessare intriego e pot li batte con coltello ben trito; poy lo frizi con lo grasso della carne che tu coxi; toy pan e gratillo e mitilo a moglo in acqua calda; toy una peza de carne e bait lo pan e la carne con coltello, pot ove batute e zafarano assay el bait in sema e miti su quelli porri grittier cum specie assay e sera bon. 

From Ludovico Frati ed/ Libro di cucina del decolonization XIV Livorno 1899 / reprinted Bologna Forni 1970

Leek dip

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks, and the onion and the garlick 
Numbers 11:5

The ancient Hebrews were fond of onion, garlic, and leeks. They served them a number of ways: Raw with vinegar, cooked in oil, or in broth. Leeks are still as popular today in the near east as they were in biblical times

Trim and thoroughly rinse the leeks under running water. Finally chop the light bulb ends and tender green parts of the stem. Heat the olive oil and add the leeks. Cook until they are lightly caramelized transfer to a serving bowl and mash.

Winter Squash Tart : 

Take squash and peel them carefully and grate them as you would grate cheese, and boil them in good broth or in good milk. And take as much fresh cheese and mixing in a little good aged cheese and take a libra of good pork tripe or calf head boiled very well and chop fine with a knife. If you like it to replace these two things using butter or lard if you prefer. Add a half libra of sugar a little ginger and cinnamon with a glass of milk and six eggs when the squash appears to be cooked to remove them from the water and put them through a sieve. And put it in a pan with only one thing bottom crust on the top crust and when it seems to have cooked top with a very fine lasagne in place of a crust when it is fully cooked top it with a layer of good sugar and Rosewater

For the filling : 1 3/4 pound of winter squash 1 cup milk 11 ounces whole milk farmers cheese drained at room temperature 14 tablespoons of butter softened 1/2 cup of sugar 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 4 eggs beaten 1/4 tablespoon ground ginger 1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon and salt 
For the topping: 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons rosewater.

For the pastry : 1 3/4 cup flour 9 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup water one scant tablespoon salt

Mondale como voliono essere, et poi cocile con brodo li carne, overo con acqua et mettevi un pocha de cipolla secunda la quantita Che tu vorrai fare. Et quando parera cotta cacciala fore et passa ongi cosa per le cocchiara straforata overo pistoles molto been, et metteli accocere in una pignatta con brodo grasso, et con in pocho d’agresto. Et siano un pocho goalless di zafrano; et quando sono cotte toglile dal focho et lasciale un pocho refredare. Dapoi togli di rossi d’ova secundo la quantita et sbattili con un pocho di Cason vecchio et gittagli in ditte zucche menando continuamente col cocchiaro accio che non si prendano : et fa le menestre et mectevi sopra spetie dolci. 
Taken from : Maestro Martino , Libro de arte coquinaria edited by Emilio Faccioli, in Arte Della cucino, Libro di riveted: Testi sopra lo scalco, il trinciante e i vini dal XIV al XIX secolo. Milan I’ll Polifilo,1966, 115-204

Squash and mint dip

And the Lord God prepared a gourd and made it come up over Jonah that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from grief. So Jonah was exceedingly glad of the gourd. 
Jonah 4:6

As with many things from long ago there is some debate among biblical botanists as to what species of gourd this biblical passage is referring to. Most however agree that it is referring to a squash that is native to Abyssinia. The following recipe also calls for capers which ancient Hebrews used as a condiment by pickling the young buds of the plant.

1 pound squash 1 cup water 1 clove garlic minced 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 15 mint leaves finally dropped 1 tablespoon of pickled caper juice 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon drained capers and whole mint leaves

Combine squash and water and cook till a boil and squash is tender. Then place squash in a bowl and mash. Add salt pepper mint caper juice vinegar and olive oil and mix well. Garnish with whole mint leaves and whole capers and serve.

Tiered dry fruit pie 

Medieval doctors considered dried fruit the healthiest kind of fruit, noting its great strengthening qualities. This recipe is good for winter festivals when dried fruits are at their peak and are best to serve.

Take the whitest flower you can get, three libra in quantity and take 2 ounces of sugar and take a libra of almonds and 36 good walnuts and a half libra raisins and 25 dates and half of quarto of cloves and take a good quantity of almond milk take the flower moistened with water to make it very slick, and take the pan and grease it well with oil, make a crust from the flower with crush sugar and the aforementioned spices take the walnuts the chopped dates and well washed raisins, and the red cloves and put a crust between each layer and put a crust on top of all things to make a torta.

Torts in balconata per dodeze persona: Toy farina piu Bianca che tu poy avere in quantita de uva passa e XXV datali e mezo quarto de garofali e mezo quarto de garofali e toy bona quantita de late de mandole toy la farina che tu ay destruta con aqua si che sia ben spesso e toy la paddella e onzella ben de alio e de questa farina fassi crosta ad una polverizata de zucaro e delve dite specie e toy la noce possa li datali minuzati e I’uva passa ben lavata e garofali russi e tute queste croste su chaschauna la suva parte e poni crosta sopra tute queste cose e si che said torta
Taken from : Ludovico Frati editor Libro di cucina del decolonization XIV . Livorno 1899 reprinted Bologna Fori 1970 TestiAntichi di Gastronomia

Dried fruit pastries

You caused the grass to grow for the cattle, and plans for the people to use, to bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the human heart oil to make the face shine and bread to strengthen the human heart.
 Psalms 104:14-15

There were two large harvest celebrations in the mediterranean world of Jesus. The festival of Weeks and the festival of Booths. The festival of Weeks was also a large annual religious festival enjoyed in the spring. It was a completion of the wheat harvest. Grains were eaten and prepared in a variety of ways to celebrate as well as fresh fruits. It gave way in the fall to the festival of Booths which was again a celebration of the harvest, but also a very communal holiday. Both holidays celebrated with food and dance. However; the fresh fruit of the celebration of Weeks, in the spring, would be replaced in the fall with dried fruit at the celebration of Booths

Crust 2 1/2 cups flour 1 cup butter 1 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons water one egg 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Filling 1 cup dried apricots one cup dates for teaspoons honey 2 tablespoons Madeira wine

Mix all ingredients for the crust together roll out and cut in small rounds. Mix the filling together and place in the center of the rounds. Fold rounds and cook until golden brown.

Cheesecake is a Roman invention. They made several types of cheese to serve plain or to cook with. Ricotta was a cooking cheese. Early Romans served cheesecake two ways. An unsweetened variety that was called libum. The original recipe is the essence of simplicity. Knead a pound of flour with 2 pounds of crushed fresh cheese and an egg, bake and serve. Savillum was a dessert cheese cake: you mix half a pound of flour 2 1/2 pounds of cheese 1/4 pound of honey and egg. Cook in a greased earthenware mold tightly covered. After it is done pour honey over it, and sprinkle with poppy seed. These recipes are the origins of what today we know as cheesecake.

The cheese cakes presented today are from two different centuries so you can see their evolution.

The first is from early Rome – a wedding cake described by Cato. Cato lived about a Century before Jesus and wrote about farming and wine making. He also included examples of how food was prepared. The second cake, ricotta torta, is an example of a late century recipe and is a variation on one of many recipes of the time for cheesecake.

Wedding Cake

1cup flour 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 egg beaten 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon honey and fresh Bay leaves

Mix flour, cheese, egg and oil and 1 tablespoon honey combined till soft. Divide the dough into four and shape into cakes. Place Bayleaf under the cakes cover, cook till brown. Pour remaining honey on cakes once they are finished baking.

Ricotta Torta

1 cup flour 1 cup sugar 2 cups ricotta 1/4 cup lemon zest 1/4 cup honey 1/2 cup slivered almonds

 6 eggs

Mix flour sugar ricotta lemon zest and eggs together. Cook till cakes have risen and are slightly brown. Garnish with honey and slivered almonds and serve. Other variations on this dish include using orange zest instead of lemon or the addition of brandy into the dish. The one I am presenting however is the base form of this cake.

Roast rib of beef: 

You will find little to no reference of roast beef in medieval cookery. Many authors, as well as physicians of the day viewed it as a gross or unhealthy meat, and even the author of this particular recipe made his notes ” that all the meat that should be boiled in water as are the flesh of the pork beef and Mutton”. As was often true of spices the sauce of boiled pepper was undoubtedly intended as a corrective, to make it easier for the diner to digest this unhealthy meat.

Roast of beef taken from the ribs near the spine is simply spit roasted and served with boiled pepper.

Assatura bouina, cum costis iuxta dorsum acceptum, simplicer in ueru assatur et cum bullito pipere administratur. Take from Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria edited by Marianne Mulan, in “Deux traites inedits d’ art culinaire medieval,” Bulletin philologique et historique 1 1971

Pomegranate marinade

Let us get up early to the vineyards let us see if the vine flourishes whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth, there will I give thee my loves.
Song of Solomon 7:12

The pomegranate shrub grew throughout the holy land. It’s fruit symbolic of fertility was well known to the Hebrews. Its image decorated the columns at the entrance to King Solomon’s palace. It also adorned the robes worn by temple priests. The Hebrews ate the raw seeds as well as making the juice into a concentrated syrup of molasses and honey to be eaten with a variety of items including unleavened bread and fish. For this tasting however we are pairing it with the roasted beef in pepper.


1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses 2 teaspoons honey one clove garlic minced

 Mix all ingredients together in pot let simmer on low until thick.


A Biblical feast
Foods from the holy land

by Kitty Morris copyright 1998

The foods and feasts of Jesus

By Douglas E Neel &Joel A Pugh copyright 2012

The cooking of Italy

By Waverley Root copyright 1968

The medieval kitchen
 Recipes from France and Italy

Dilemma Redon, Francoise Sabban,& Silvano Serventi
Copyright 1998 


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