Today is the feast day of Saint Onuphrius, who, like the rest of the Saints I have featured in this blog, is only on my radar on account of a food connection. Saint Onophrius was a hermit, as Saints are wont to be, and lived during the 4th Century in
The date palm is native to
There is an old saying that there are as many ways of using dates as there are days in the year, and I don’t doubt that is true. They were certainly known and enjoyed by Europeans in the 13th century, no doubt thanks to returning crusaders. They were enjoyed only by the wealthy of course, who must have relished their sweetness in the centuries before sugar became cheap. I have chosen two medieval recipes for you featuring dates, either of which would be perfect for today.
The first is from an Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, translated Charles Perry, and is for a sort of date and nut paste or cake that would be excellent on a cheese platter.
A Sweet of Dates and Honey.
Take Shaddâkh dates. Clean them of their pits and pound a ratl of them in a mortar. Then dilute with water in a tinjir on a gentle fire. Add the same amount of skimmed honey. Stir it until it binds together and throw in a good amount of peeled almonds and walnuts. Put in some oil so it doesn't burn and to bind firmly. Pour it over a greased salâya (stone work surface). With it you make qursas (round cakes). Cut it with a knife in big or little pieces.
For To Make Flownys [flans] In Lente.
Tak god Flowr and mak a Past and tak god mylk of Almandys and flowr of rys other amydoun and boyle hem togeder' that they be wel chariaud wan yt is boylid thykke take yt up and ley yt on a feyr' bord so that yt be cold and wan the Cofyns ben makyd tak a party of and do upon the coffyns and kerf hem in Schiveris and do hem in god mylk of Almandys and Figys and Datys and kerf yt in fowr partyis and do yt to bake and serve yt forth.
Tomorrow’s Story …
Pleasure and Health.
Quotation for the Day …
The first of all considerations is that our meals shall be fun as well as fuel. Andre Simon.