[Sca-cooks] Small Feast for Prince & Princess of the Mists

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 20 17:26:31 PDT 2008

I cooked a small feast for the Prince and Princess of the 
Principality of the Mists, Sigifrith and Kamiilah, at our Fall 
Coronet, a weekend camping event.

Due to a series of mishaps, instead of arriving around 9 AM on 
Saturday, as i intended, i did not arrive on site until noonish, set 
up camp, ran the Sciences competition, and did not get started 
cooking until 3:30-ish. So the feast was later than originally 

At an event like this there is little that can be predetermined. One 
cannot know how many will be in the lists, how long the fighting will 
go on, what other things will be taking time (rapier, page school 
foam weapons), when court will be - afternoon or evening, how long 
court will last, etc. (for example, we've had kingdom courts start 
before sundown and go on until 8:30 PM (my friends and i just got up 
and left because we needed eat and i was freezing), we had a kingdom 
court START at 8 PM. All this is at camping events.

I did want to serve dinner while there was still some light, but 
didn't get the first course out until a little after 7 PM.

One set back was the state of the chicken and chicken soup. A couple 
days before the event, i cooked the chicken pieces with the skin on 
in water to make broth - the chicken was still flavorful and the soup 
was good - it gelled when cold. But to make sure i didn't poison 
anyone, i froze them.

I loaded up a small old cooler on Saturday morning - with NO ice - 
figuring the chicken/soup would keep the other food cool and the 
chicken/soup would thaw.


So there i was with icebergs of soup and rock-hard chicken. That 
added an extra hour to cooking time, as i thawed the chicken and the 
soup together. If the chicken hadn't been frozen, i could just have 
shredded it for the Barida. And warming the soup wouldn't have taken 
long at all.

Anyway, enough about me.


The Menu:
-- Barida of Abu Ja'far al-Barmaki - Cold Herbed Chicken Salad - ibn 
Sayyar al-Warraq, 9th c. 'Abbasid
-- Terbiyeli Tavuk Shorbasi - Chicken Broth with Gourds and 
Chestnuts, Seasoned with Egg-Lemon Sauce - reconstructed, 16th c. 
-- Zirva - Lamb with Fruit - Shirvani, 15th c. Ottoman
-- Isfanakh Mutajjana - Spinach with Garlic and Spices - al-Baghdadi, 
13th c. 'Abbasid
-- Rice in Three Colors - reconstructed, 16th c. Ottoman

I was going to make some sweets, but it was the Princess's birthday 
and other members of her court bought a chocolate cake.

The soup and the rice were reconstructed 16th century Ottoman dishes 
- the soup based on menu lists from ordinary meals at the Topkapi 
Palace for the sultan and the elite corps of eunuchs and pages, and 
from records of circumcision ceremonies of the sultans' sons; rice 
from a combination of memoirs, menus, and purchasing records.

I served the meal in three passes: first, the chicken salad (which 
was supposed to be cold or room temp., but was warm from reheating 
the chicken) with flat bread; second, the soup with more flat bread; 
and third, the lamb, spinach, and rice.

I brought home a couple servings of each of the three colors of rice 
and of the soup.

The Recipes

Chicken Preparation

Several days ahead of time: In a large stock pot, put 20 chicken 
thighs with skin on (skin adds richness to the broth), cover with 16 
cups water, bring to a boil, then simmer until chicken is tender - i 
don't recall, i think i cooked this about 45 minutes. Remove chicken 
pieces. Cool separately. I slipped the skins off and dropped the 
thighs into 4 freezer bags (only 5 to a bag so they'd cool more 
quickly) and placed them into the freezer. I let the soup cool for a 
while, then divided it more or less evenly into double-zip freezer 
bags (more or less 1 quart of liquid per bag) and carefully placed 
them in the freezer.


Barida of Abu Ja'far al-Barmaki
Cold Herbed Chicken Salad
from ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's 10th century Kitab al-Tabikh, a 
collection of 9th and 10th century 'Abbasid recipes, food poems, 
humoral theory, and dining etiquette.

A fowl is taken, roasted, jointed and thrown in a jar into which are 
put coriander, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Verjus is added, and mint, 
tarragon and fresh thyme are cut over it, and good oil is poured over 
it. Fresh spices are minced onto it, and it is decorated with chopped 
-- Charles Perry, from his article "In the Kitchen of the Caliphs" in 
Saudi-Aramco World on-line, Spring 2006

My Version
to serve 20

20 chicken thighs, boiled
3 Tb. ground coriander seed
1 Tb. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon
3 TB minced fresh mint
3 TB minced fresh thyme
2 cups verjuice
1 cup olive oil
2 Tb. salt
8 Persian cucumbers, sliced

When chicken is cool, remove skin, and tear meat off bones into small 
pieces into large serving bowl.
In small bowl mix coriander, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, mint, tarragon, 
thyme, verjuice, and oil.
Toss chicken with herbs and spices and season with salt.
Next add diced cucumber.
Finally, pour in verjus and oil and toss.

Comment: Persian cucumbers are small, not shiny skinned or watery 
fleshed, and my new favorite cucumber. Substitute fewer of the larger 
"English" "hot-house" cucumbers, maybe two will be enough. If you 
must buy standard cucumbers, peel them and seed them and cut in 
smallish pieces.


Terbiyeli Tavuk Shorbasi
Chicken Soup Seasoned with Egg-Lemon Sauce
16th century Ottoman, reconstructed

There are no exact recipes surviving for this dish, but there are 
descriptions from the 16th century of various kinds of soups served 
to the Sultan, to the highest echelons of Eunuchs and Pages in 
Topkapi Serai, and at the circumcision festivals of the Sultans' 
sons. From these descriptions i made the soup.

My Version
to serve 20

1 gal chicken broth (16 cups)
a little finely chopped onion
1 opo gourd, peeled and cubed
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 lb pre-cooked chestnuts
1/4 lb (1/2 small can) pre-cooked chickpeas, drained
4 eggs, beaten
scant 1/2 cup lemon juice
Optional Garnish: toasted almond slivers

Heat broth.
Add opo and continue cooking until tender.
Stir in chestnuts, chickpeas, and cinnamon.
Beat together eggs and lemon juice.
Stir warm broth into lemon-eggs, a little at a time, until eggs are warm.
Stir lemon-eggs into broth. Do not let boil. A soon as the broth 
becomes "creamy" from the eggs, remove from the fire.


Lamb with Fruit
Mehmed bin Mahmoud Shirvani, folio 123 verso
15th century Ottoman

Composition of zirva. Brown the meat. When it is a little cooked, add 
some broken chickpeas, some apricots, some grapes, some black plums, 
and chop as well several onions. Also add some almonds, some figs, 
and a little saffron. Salt and put a little starch to thicken. Also 
put a quantity of honey from which one has lifted the foam. One 
should not put too much so that it does not give heartburn. Then 
arrange it [in the serving dish] adding poppy seeds. If the meat is 
first cooked with the honey it will be exquisite.
-- My translation

My Version
to serve 20

2 large onions, chopped
a few TB. olive oil
3 lb lamb stew
a little saffron
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
20 dried apricot halves
20 dried light-colored figs
20 dried plum halves (NOT prunes - these are from a different plum)
1/2 small can chickpeas, broken and peeled
2 Tb. honey
2 cups fresh pink grapes
1 Tb. wheat starch
1/4 c. water
1/2 cup or more slivered almonds
2 Tb. black poppy seeds

1. Fry onions in oil until tender.
2. Add the lamb and brown, stirring occasionally, to prevent burning.
3. Then add a little water, just so it won't stick to the bottom of 
the pan, and cook until tender. How long will depend on the size of 
your lamb pieces and the age of the critter (most lamb in the US 
isn't lamb, but hogget, that is adolescent sheep)
4. With kitchen shears (or knife) cut dried fruits into strips into a 
bowl, then cover with just enough water and soak, stirring from time 
to time.
5. When lamb is tender add a generous pinch of saffron, salt, and 
pepper, and mix well.
6. Add chickpeas, apricots, grapes, figs, and plums until warm.
7. Then add pink grapes.
8. Add honey, stir well to mix thoroughly.
9. Dilute starch in water, then stir into meat to thicken the sauce.
10. Pour into serving bowl, and decorate with slivered almonds and poppy seeds.

-- I may have gone a little overboard with the dried fruit - it sure 
looked like a lot. But my lamb chunks were pretty big, and several 
people made enthusiastic comments, so i guess it was ok.
-- Zirva is originally a Persian dish, the name meaning 
"cumin-flavored". Obviously there's no cumin in this recipe. There 
are zirva recipes in 'Abbasid cookbooks, such as al-Baghdadi's, but 
the details are extremely different. The 'Abbasid recipes use 
vinegar, a multitudes of spices, and no fruit, quite unlike the 
Ottoman recipe. Pretty much the only things they have in common is 
the lamb and the name.


Isfanakh Mutajjana
Pan-fried Spinach with Garlic and Spices
Kitab al-Tabikh by al-Baghdadi
early 13th century 'Abbasid

Take spinach, cut off the [lower] roots, and wash: then boil lightly 
in salt and water and dry. Heat sesame-oil, drop in the spinach, and 
stir until fragrant. Chop up a little garlic, and add. Sprinkle with 
fine-ground cumin, coriander seed, and cinnamon: then remove.

My Version
to serve 20

1 c. cold pressed sesame oil (NOT Asian roasted)
3 pkgs. baby spinach leaves
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tb. ground cumin
1 Tb. ground coriander seed
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. powdered Ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Put 1/3 c. oil into a heavy shallow pan on medium heat.
2. When warm, add 1 pkg. chopped spinach, stirring until wilted, 
adjusting heat as necessary. Remove to serving bowl when just wilted. 
Repeat steps (1) & (2) until all spinach is wilted.
3. Stir the smashed garlic and spices into the oil - of the spices, 
the cumin should predominate.
4. Cook until the spices become fragrant, only briefly so the garlic 
doesn't burn.
5. Then add spinach, stirring to distribute spices and warm 
thoroughly, and remove from heat immediately. The consistency of the 
dish should be a bit unctuous, but not too oily.


Ottoman-Style Rice of Three Colors
16th century Ottoman, reconstructed

There is no recipe for this. There are, however, descriptions of 
colored rice dishes in the feast menu lists from the 16th century, 
and often several colors were served at a time, along with rice 
cooked with noodles, with chickpeas, and more - for a big ceremony 
there could be a half dozen or more rice dishes. I based my colored 
rice on these descriptions. The rice would likely have been cooked in 
chicken broth, and enriched with almonds. Since i know there would be 
vegetarians dining, i just used water, and i omitted the almonds, 
since they were in the lamb dish with which the rice was served.

My Version
to serve 20

6 cups raw Basmati rice (makes 4 cups cooked for each color)
12 cups water
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 tsp. Saffron
2 or 3 Tb. pomegranate molasses - dibs rumanni (Arabic)/nar pekmez (Turkish)
1 or 2 Tb. pekmez (Turkish grape molasses)
several Tb. chopped Parsley
several leaves Spinach

1. Put rice in large pot, add water, let soak 15 minutes, then bring 
to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until done, about 15 minutes.
2. Add butter, stirring so that butter melts and is evenly distributed.
3. Divide cooked rice into three equal parts.
a. Red: Add 2 or 3 Tb. pomegranate molasses - dibs rumanni 
(Arabic)/nar pekmez (Turkish) - and 1 or 2 Tb. pekmez (Turkish grape 
molasses), and toss to distribute evenly. The result will be pink and 
have a fruity, sweet and sour flavor.
b. Yellow: Soak saffron in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes and stir 
so the water is nicely yellow. Pour the saffron water into the rice, 
then fluff well to distribute the color.
c. Green: Puree spinach and parsley in a blender or food processor 
with a little water. Pour into rice and toss well to distribute 

Comments: As i mentioned above, the rice would have been cooked with 
broth, mostly chicken.The butter, possibly clarified, would have been 
poured in more generously than i did. Finally, there would be 
almonds, definitely blanched (i.e., skinned) and probably halved - 
although i'm not certain if they'd be tossed with the rice or just 
sprinkled on top of the dish.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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