Tag Archives: recipes

Week 5 has a banquet: here are the recipes!

John's makeshift kitchen at next to the Summer Dining Room in the Commanding Officer's House at Arbeia
John’s makeshift kitchen next to the Summer Dining Room in the Commanding Officer’s House at Arbeia

Professional chef John Crouch joined us at Arbeia in South Shields the day we filmed the 5 videos that make up the fourth century banquet in week 5 of Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier. John put together a menu inspired by Roman recipes in order to help us visualise what a Roman banquet might have been like in the summer dining room of the Commanding Officer’s House.

We blogged a couple of recipes earlier as a teaser for this week. And now, here are the rest of the recipes which make up the Roman inspired menu which John devised for the event. He very kindly agreed that we could share them with you.

John's menu
John’s  Roman recipe inspired menu

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 cup pork and chicken livers, sliced
3 chicken breasts, sliced

dash of pepper
½ teaspoon celery seed (or lovage)
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup white wine

In a saucepan, soften the onion in the olive oil. Add the sliced livers
and chicken (or meats from small birds). Add the white wine and stock
and cook for about 30 minutes until the liver and chicken are cooked.
When the meats are almost cooked, combine the pepper, celery seed (or
lovage), stock, and white wine for the sauce. Add a little liquid from
the casserole dish and bring the sauce to a boil. Pour the sauce over
the meats. Bring to a boil, thicken with flour if you wish, and serve.

36 large fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
7 tablespoons dry white wine
4 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
crusty bread to serve

For the pesto
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
100g (4oz) basil leaves
25g (1oz) pine nuts, chopped
50g (2oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
120ml (4floz) olive oil

Put the mussels in a pan with the wine, put on the lid and shake over
high heat for 3-4 minutes until the mussels have opened. Discard any
that remain closed.
As soon as the mussels are cool enough to handle, strain the cooking
liquid and keep it for another recipe. Discard the empty half-shells.
Arrange the mussels in their half-shells in a single layer in four
individual gratin dishes. Cover and set aside.
To make the pesto, put the chopped garlic and salt in a mortar and
pound to a purée with a pestle. Then add the basil leaves and chopped
pine nuts and crush to a thick paste. Work in the Parmesan cheese and,
finely, gradually drip in enough olive oil to make a smooth and creamy
paste. Alternatively use a food processor.
Spoon pesto over the mussels placed in the gratin dishes. Mix the
parsley, garlic and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the mussels. Drizzle
with the oil.
Preheat the grill to high . Stand the dishes on a baking tray and grill
for 3 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve with crusty bread.

We picked fresh herbs from the Arbeia garden.
We picked fresh herbs from the Arbeia garden.

1 tablespoon fish pickle
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of cumin
2 tablespoons hazel nuts, chopped

Use fresh watercress and serve it as a salad in a dressing made by
combining the fish pickle, olive oil, vinegar, pepper and cumin.
Garnish with chopped nuts.

400g (13oz) sea salt
700ml (24floz) water
1 jar of salted anchovies (100g (4oz))
a pinch of dried oregano
1 teaspoon sapa *

Dissolve the salt in the water over low heat. Add the anchovies to the
salted water with the oregano and sapa. Simmer for 20 minutes and then
leave to cool. Strain the garum through a fine sieve or muslin cloth
and store in a jar ready for use.

1lt (2pts) red grape juice

Pour the grape juice into a saucepan and boil vigorously whilst
stirring until one third remains. Leave to cool and decant into a
sterilised bottle.

2-3kg (4-6lb) boar roast

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon myrtle berries, or juniper berries
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons honey
125ml (¼pt) pork or chicken stock
65ml (1/8pt) red wine
½ teaspoon ground pepper
roasting pan juices

Wipe the roast dry. Immerse for 24 hours in a marinade of salt, water,
myrtle or juniper berries, peppercorns, and cumin. Roast uncovered in a
180ºC (350ºF/Gas mark 4) oven for 30 minutes per 400g (pound).
To make the sauce, combine pepper, honey, stock, and pan juices. Bring
to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with the slices of meat.

1kg (2lb) fish fillets
1 teaspoon coriander seed
pinch of aniseed
sharp white vinegar

Put the fish fillets in a frying pan. Barely cover with water, and
season with coriander and aniseed. Bring to a boil and simmer for about
10 minutes. Discard the liquid and serve the fillets with a sprinkling
of vinegar.

1-1½kg (2-3lb) poached salmon

½ teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of aniseed
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon fresh of dried mint
pinch of rosemary
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon white wine or cider vinegar
125ml (¼pt) white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
250ml (½pt) fish stock

In a mortar, grind together pepper, aniseed, cumin, thyme, mint, and
rosemary. Combine with honey, vinegar, white wine, olive oil, and
stock. Bring to a boil and simmer gently to reduce for 25 minutes.
Thicken with flour, if you wish, and serve with the poached fish.

500g (1lb) asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Scrape any stringy bark off the asparagus and tail the ends. Steam the
asparagus until tender. Then heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add
the salt and toss the asparagus briefly before serving with the oil,
salt and the frying juices.

The cheese in this recipe sticks the chickpeas together and allows them
to be eaten easily with the fingers. Parmesan and pecorino cheese are
both ideal as they grate finely and impart a robust flavour to the dish.

200g (8oz) chickpeas
100g (4oz) Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Soak the chickpeas overnight, boil them in salted water for 40 minutes
or until tender and then drain. Finely grate the cheese and stir into
the chickpeas. Serve while still warm/ The cheese will coat the
chickpeas and add a glistening effect.

4 eggs
125ml (¼pt) milk
4 tablespoons butter or oil
2 tablespoons runny honey

Take the eggs, milk, and butter and combine. With butter, grease a
shallow pan or skillet and then heat. When the melted butter begins to
bubble, pour in the eggs and cook the omelette. Do not fold. Serve with
honey poured on top and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

6 dates per person
shelled almonds, hazelnuts or pine kernels (1 per date)
3 tablespoons honey

Stone the dates and stuff with the nuts and a little pepper. Roll the
dates in salt, then heat the honey in a frying pan, fry the dates
briskly, and serve.

Try a Roman inspired recipe this weekend! #saturdaykitchen

Celebrity chef John Crouch cooked us some Roman inspired food for our free online course Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier which starts on Monday.

John very kindly said we could share his recipes. Why not try cooking one of them this weekend?

Visualising a Roman banquet at Arbeia.
Visualising a Roman banquet


1 white cabbage
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons clear honey
a bunch of fresh coriander leaves
a sprig of fresh rue
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
salt (optional)

Thinly slice the cabbage as for a coleslaw and arrange in a salad bowl. Combine the vinegar with the honey in a cup. Finely chop the coriander and rue and add to the honeyed vinegar. Season with salt if you wish, although the dressing is strong enough not to need it. Stir the asafoetida into the dressing and pour over the cabbage. Toss before


1½kg (3lb) hare

1 tablespoon olive oil
250ml (½pt) chicken stock
65ml (1/8pt) reduced chicken stock
2 teaspoons chives
1 teaspoon coriander
pinch of aniseed

¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon celery or lovage seed
½ teaspoon cumin
pinch of fennel
1 teaspoon mint
pinch of rosemary
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
125ml (¼pt) stewing pan juices
125ml (¼pt) boiled red wine
1 teaspoon white wine or cider vinegar

In a stewing pot, put the olive oil, stock, chives, coriander, and aniseed. Cut up the hare into pieces and add to the pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook the hare for about 1 hour over low heat.
For the sauce, in a mortar grind the pepper, celery or lovage seed, cumin, coriander seeds, fennel, mint, and a pinch of rosemary. Add the onion, and combine with the honey, liquid from the hare pan, boiled wine, and vinegar.
Uncover the hare, add the sauce to the stewing pan, and cook for a further 30 minutes. Thicken the sauce with flour, and serve the meat drenched in sauce. Sprinkle with pepper at the table.


200g (8oz) nettles
100g (4oz) fresh mushrooms, sliced
200g (8oz) cheese, grated
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
100g (4oz) flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish-pickle
3 eggs
350ml (12floz) cream
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pick a basket of young spring nettles and steam in a covered pan for 30 minutes. Take 200g (8oz) of nettles, drain and chop. Arrange in a buttered quiche dish. Cover with layers of mushrooms, cheese, and onion. Now blend the flour, salt, fish-pickle, well beaten eggs, cream, coriander, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the quiche dish. Bake in a 200°C (400°F/Gas Mark 4) oven for 35 to 40 minutes, and serve hot with a sprinkling of pepper. Alternatively, chill and serve cold.

We’ll share some more recipes with you as we get nearer to the visualisation of a Roman banquet at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields.

Have a great weekend.