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al-Warrag-Fst-art - 6/20/15


A Middle Eastern Feast based on Al Warrag held at the Insulae Draconis Coronet Tournament & University by Aodh O Siadhail.


NOTE: See also the files: ME-Refrsh-Tbl-art, ME-feasts-msg, Caliphs-Ktchn-rev, Md-Cu-Islmc-Wd-rev, fd-Mid-East-msg, ME-revel-fds-art, Murri-Project-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 11:07:01 +0000

From: Drew Shiel <gothwalk at  gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Insulae Draconis Coronet Tournament & University: Feast Menu


Unto the List does Aodh O Siadhail send greetings!


This is the menu that was eventually served for the Saturday evening feast at the Insulae Draconis Coronet Tournament & University, which took place in Crawfordsburn, near Belfast, Northern Ireland. This was my first time cooking Middle Eastern for a feast, but our outgoing Prince (Nasr ibn 'Isa) has a ME persona, and I wanted to do something in his honour.


The recipes are all from al-Warraq, in so far as we could manage. I mad some adjustments and compromises for budgetary purposes and allowances for allergies, dietary requirements, and so on. I could not, for the life of me, locate either rue or a reasonable substitute, so this was left out in all cases (which was, to be honest, most of the recipes). I cooked some rice for those who couldn't have wheat (about 4 out of 60-odd people), and sourced good naan bread from a local Asian shop for everyone else. Several of the diners taste coriander as being soapy, so I cut down on or didn't include this; it made very little difference to the end taste.


We opened with Bazmawardat in beef (very much as per al-Warraq) and chicken (much like the beef, with shredded grilled chicken instead), and also a chickpea-and-courgette version for the vegetarians. They're rolled sandwiches - thin bread, spread with the meat mix, then some boiled eggs, rolled up like a Swiss roll, baked, and sliced. These were quite tedious to make up, but we got a sort of production line going, and since they were served cold, we were able to do them well in advance. They were well received - I only saw a very few come back into the kitchen. I felt they could have done with more salt, but several diners said they were good as they were.


The main meat was a roast of lamb. We had got a whole lamb (17kg) on a special offer from a local butcher, so I had to adjust my initial thinking to use it all. I feel this kind of adjustment was very likely in period as well. It was a very plain roast, quite deliberately; several of the diners favour plain meats, and one suffers from an aspect of Aspergers, which makes complex tastes or textures difficult for her. It's very clear from al-Warraq that plain roasted meats were a common feature.


Tabahija, "um al-tabahijat" and tabahija firakh: As written, these two dishes involved effectively deep-frying slices of lamb and chicken until the oil evaporates. Initial tests showed that this produced very, very crisp shards of dry meat. I quite liked them, but I didn't feel they were going to be a general hit. I compromised with a shallow fry at a high heat to crisp them on the edges, but still leaving some moisture and substance.  I wasn't quite happy with the lamb - in the cuts we got from the butchers, it just wasn't possible to slice it the way I wanted, in wide flat slices, but the chicken was good.


Mulahwaja: A spiced stew of lamb, onions, leeks, and spices. I've cooked the mulahwaja before, and it's gone down well. Indeed, her Majesty Queen Morrigan remembered that I'd cooked it for her before, and was pleased to find it would be included. That was rather gratifying. I also did a vegetable version, substituting beans for meat, and cooking for a shorter time, for the vegetarians, of whom there were 5. I'm never entirely happy with the vegetarian version of this; the tastes don't seem to balance in the same way.


Barida of dressed carrots: Carrots served cold with an onion and vinegar sauce. These were much more popular than I expected. As a devoted carnivore myself, I sometimes don't pay as much attention as I should to the vegetable sides. We had issues getting the stove in the kitchen to a sufficient boil to do carrots for 60 people, annoyingly, but the long cooking time at a not-quite-boil seemed to benefit them in the end.


Bawarid of squash: This was something of a riff on the original. Butternut squash, served cold with yoghurt, into which ground mustard seed had been stirred. This came out almost like a puree, and was a love it or hate it dish; I observed two people try it and push it away, and another walking around the hall later with a dish of it in his hand, dipping naan bread in on a regular basis and trying to persuade others to try it.


Not in al-Warraq at all was a salad of chopped cucumber and pomegranate seeds, because I got a good deal on both, and they're plausible. Nothing further added, and praised by many.


For dessert, I sent around platters of grapes, pomegranates, dates, and almonds, and followed a little later with a platter of entirely non-period but much-enjoyed baklava, which I carried around myself.


Overall, I was happy with the production. There were a few niggling details, mostly with getting food hot to the tables, that I would seek to do differently next time, but that's more to do with the shape of the hall and the number of people in it than the food.


I will be cooking from al-Warraq again.


Le meas,




Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 09:33:20 +0000

From: Drew Shiel <gothwalk at gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Insulae Draconis Coronet Tournament &

        University: Feast Menu


On Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 12:18 AM, Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at gmail.com> wrote:


<<< Thank you for the good review with your commentary on each dish. Was this the entire menu or did you skip any dishes? Was it served all in one course? >>>


This was the entire menu; the bazmawardat went out as a sort of first

course, and then the rest followed pretty much all at once with dessert

about 45 minutes to an hour later. As it happened, someone (not any of the SCA people - I think they were Scouts using another part of the site) was setting off fireworks nearby, so almost everyone piled out to watch them, and I wandered through the crowd with the platter of baklava. It was a very pleasing way to end the feast, and rather nice timing for our newly Invested Prince and Princess.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org