On Monday, we were delighted to host a pop-up Roman recipe as part of the Christmas Market at Royal Holloway University. As well as having a display of our posters and food quiz, we had various tasty tidbits for people to try, including beef casserole, spelt bread and marinated olives. Lots of people cam by to try the dishes and talk to us about Roman food. The day was a great success, which I hope we can repeat soon.
I would like to extend a very big thank you to the catering staff, especially Darren Coventry, at Royal Holloway who cooked such tasty food and to the undergraduate and Masters students who helped me run the stall throughout the day and did a great job drumming up business: Will, Felix, Rosie, Thandi, Leah, Cassandra, Shivani and Kallie – couldn’t have done it without you!
We’d love to hear what you thought about the food, so please let us know here or via our twitter: @NotJustDormice
If you would like to try some of the food we cooked today at home, the recipes are included below.
Beef Casserole (carnes vaccinae)
1 kg beef
1 tsp olive oil
2 stalks celery
Half head of fennel (c. 175 g)
120 ml red wine vinegar
90 ml red wine
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tbsp reduced grape juice
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Cut the beef into small pieces and brown in the olive oil.
Coarsely chop the celery, leek and fennel, then add them to the beef with the vinegar and wine.
Pour on enough water to cover the ingredients.
Put the lid on the casserole and place it in the oven for 2 hours.
Add the ground peppercorns, ground cloves, honey, salt and reduced grape juice to the stew.
Stir and leave to marinate for 6 hours.
Reheat before serving.
Marinated olives with herbs (epityrum varium)
100 g whole green olives
100 g whole black olives
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp fennel seeds
Bunch of fresh coriander leaves
Sprig of rue
3 mint leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Grind the cumin and fennel seeds to a fine powder.
Finely chop the coriander, rue and mint.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir.
(Olives can be chopped as well as whole)
Cato’s Roman Bread
500g spelt flour
Pinch of salt
Some olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Add the flour to the bowl along with the pinch of salt and mix.
Pour a splash of olive oil into the bowl.
Slowly add in the water, mixing as you go, until you get a dough which isn’t too floury and isn’t too sticky.
Knead the dough and form into a circular shape. Score the top of the loaf with a knife, dividing it into 8 (this will make it look like the bread found in Pompeii).
Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes.
The bread is cooked when it sounds hollow if tapped on the base (as the bakers on Bake Off do!) – it won’t rise much because there isn’t any yeast.
We also added some dried apricots into ours, which gave a nice fruity twist.