Fennel and Leek Soup or About the aforementioned.

Standard

So I was looking for medieval recipes (if I am going to cook with a cook book anyway…) for vegetables to use up some greens I had going off. I found this cute recipe below and since it called for cheap ingredients I already had in the fridge I decided to experiment with it.

I love that it calls for the fennel bulb not the leaves, since it is much easier to get the bulb here.

Anyone who cooks a fast soup knows about softening veggies before adding a broth. I wondered what adding water instead of broth would be like. I also wondered what frying fennel in lard would be like.

My daughter declares it “good” and that “it tastes like pho” which is her highest compliment. I think the flavours worked together and it would be even better as a campfire dish–which I will try at my next opportunity.

I think this was a dish meant for an invalid or for maybe winter. I am just tired and the air conditioner is set too high.

20170810_181137

 Take white fennel minced finely, and then fry it with a little of the white part of a leek minced finely, with egg or lard, and put in a bit of water and saffron and salt, and boil it, and put in beaten eggs, if you want. Anonimo Toscano, Libro della Cocina (late 14th or early 15th c.)  Ariane Helou’s translation

Ingredients:
* 1 heaping tbsp lard **
* 1/3 cup leek, a few inches of the white end, minced
* 1 cup fennel, white from the bulb end, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Heat frying pan on medium-high, add lard to melt.
  2. Add fennel and leek, reduce heat to medium low, and stir to soften veggies.
  3. Pour fennel mixture into a sauce pan, add water and salt. Heat sauce pan on medium-high until mixture comes to boil.
  4. Add beaten egg into fennel mixture while stirring. Bring to boil a second time, then remove from heat.
  5. Serve hot***.

** Use vegetable lard or olive oil if making for a vegetarian. 

*** and with rice noodles if you want to take the pho thing a little too far. 

Advertisements

That’s Not Lasagna or Lasagne in Lent

Standard

I made “Its NOT Lasagna” for my family today. It looked like lasagna but it was gluten-free, nightshade-free  and cow’s-milk-cheese-free . They had two helpings of “Its NOT Lasagna” –if you could call the portion they took initially a serving. I used commercially available gf noodles, home made hamburger and pumpkin sauce, and three different kinds of goat cheese.

It could be argued that tomato sauce based lasagnas are not lasagna either if you are a big food history nerd, like myself. Which I did.

I’ve made a vegan lasagna from Libro de Cucina (14th century) before.

Walnut Lasagne
If you want to make lasagne in lent, take the lasagne (wide pasta noodles) and put them to cook (in water and salt). Take peeled walnuts and beat and grind them well. Put them between the lasagna (in layers), and guard from smoke (while reheating). And when they go to the table dress them with a dusting of spices and with sugarLibro di cucina

Ingredients
* 1 package of fresh lasagna noodles, or 1 package of dried cooked to soften
* 3 cups of walnuts, ground
* 1 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a lasagna pain or grease pan.

  3. Put a layer of noodles on pan, cover noodles with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover the walnut layer with another pasta layer, and then repeat with 1.5 cups of walnut meal. Cover last layer with noodles. Brush top crust with oil or almond milk.

  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until  top is golden. Remove from oven and evenly cover top of pie with sugar and spices. Serve hot or cold.

  5. Optional, but not strict to original recipe, mix sugar or honey and spices in with walnuts to bake. 

There are other version from the 14th and 15th century, no tomatoes, just layers and cheese. Helewyse at medievalcookery.com compiled a fantastic list of different Italian recipes from the 14th-15th century. No tomatoes, but real lasagna.