While I read quite a few Arab cooking books when I prepared for this feast I found one that had everything I needed in it with the added advantage of having not only the translation of the recipes modern recipes with measures and detailed instructions. The book is “Scherazade’s Feast” by Habeeb Salloum, Muna Salloum and Leila Salloum Elias. It is a well researched book and mentions the respective sources fro each recipe and has an extensive glossary that was very valuable for my endeavour. The measures in the recipes below are measured for 60 people and quite sometimes I paraphrased the recipes rather than copying them. If you use store bought ground spices you want to increase the stated amount by quite a bit. Freshly ground quality spices are usually a better choice. I hope this helps at least some of you as an introduction into the medieval Arabic cusine.

Vitus Polonius

1st Course: Beneath the Waves

  • Pickled Fish (gluten, alium)
  • Almond & Mustard Condiment (almonds)
  • Fava Beans with Yoghurt & Garlic (allium, dairy)
  • Fava Bean Salad
  • Green Olive Spread
  • Bread (gluten, free from option available)

2nd Course: On the plains

  • Chicken Salad (allium, free from option available)
  • Eggplant Stir Fry (allium)
  • Lentils & Squash
  • Spinach with Garlic and Coriander (contains no allium)

3rd Course: Atop the hills

  • Lamb with Rice and Lentils (lamb)
  • Chickpea Patties (allium)
  • Honeyed Carrots with Rosewater

4th Course: In the Heavens

  • Sweet Cheese Fritters (gluten, dairy)
  • Almond Cookies (almonds, gluten, dairy)
  • Fried dough bites (gluten, oranges)
  • Dried Fruit

Green Olive Spread

  • 1.2 kg pitted olives
  • 50 g ground walnuts
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • juice of one lemon or to taste
  • scraped peel of one or two lemons
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped mint
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground caraway
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Grind the olives together with the other ingredients to the consistency of a slightly coarse paste.

Fava Bean Salad

  • 2.5 kg fava beans
  • 2 tsp ground caraway
  • 2 tsp cinnamon or more
  • sesame oil
  • vinegar to taste
  • salt to taste

Boil the fava beans in slated water until soft. Place the beans in bowl and combine with the spices. Mix oil and vinegar and pour over the beans. Serve cold

Fava beans with Garlic and Yoghurt

  • 2.5kg fava beans
  • greek yoghurt
  • 4 or 5 large garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • thyme finely choppes
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil

Boil the fava beans in water, drain and let cool. Mix with yoghurt and the other ingredients. Sprinkle with thyme and olive oil before serving. Serve cold.

Chicken Salad

  • meat of 6 roast chicken
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh tarragon
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 tbsp of candied ginger
  • 6 boiled egg yolks
  • vinegar
  • red miso
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tbsp ground caraway
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon or more
  • 1 large onion
  • black olives
  • pickled turnip slices

Chop the chicken in small pieces. Finely chop the herbs, ginger and cucumber and combine. Crumble the egg yolks and mix with the rest of the ingredients as to make a loose paste. Mix with the chicken. Refrigerate. Before serving finely chopped onions and olives and decorate with the onions and olives. Serve cold.

Almond and mustard condiment

  • almonds, ground
  • vinegar
  • mustard seeds, ground
  • mixed spice

Mix almonds with vinegar to make a thick paste and refrigerate. Before serving add mustard and mixed spice and mix well. If necessary add more vinegar so that it forms a smooth paste.

Eggplant Stir Fry

  • 10 eggplants
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch of mint, chopped
  • ground coriander
  • ground caraway
  • mixed spice
  • salt
  • sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • vinegar

Peel and dice the eggplant, then boil in lightly salted water for 15 min. drain and let cool for 10 minutes Sauté the onions and garlic in the sesame oil. When done add the eggplant and fry ofr another 5 minutes or so. Add the spice and fry for another 5 minutes. Add olive oil and vinegar to taste and some salt if necessary. It should be tangy but not overly so.

Honeyed Carrots /w Rosewater

  • 3 kg carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 360g honey
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 120ml vinegar
  • mixed spice
  • salt
  • rosewater

Bring the honey, ginger and vinegar to a boil on low heat while continuously stirring. Add the carrots and gently cook for about 20 minutes. The liquid should be slightly thickened put on serving dishes and sprinkle with salt and rosewater.

Lentils and Squash

  • 2 kg squash diced
  • 2 kg red lentils
  • 2 tsp asofoetida
  • 8 tbsp red miso
  • 2 tbsp cumin, ground

Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.

Spinach /w Garlic and Coriander

  • 3.5 kg spinach, blanched
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp asofoetida
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • salt
  • sesame oil

Heat sesame oil in a pan and sauté the blanched and drained spinach for 3 minutes while stirring constantly. Add the other ingredients and stir for another minute.

Lamb /w Rice and Lentils

  • 3.5kg lamb meat, diced
  • 2 tbsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp cinamon, ground
  • 2.5 kg rice
  • 1.5 kg lentils, soaked
  • 3 cinnamon stick
  • salt
  • olive oil

Fry the meat in batches over high heat until brown and set aside. When all is fried sprinkle with salt and coriander. Add water so that the meat is just covered and boil until tender. Remove the meat from the broth and set the broth aside. Sprinkle the meat with the cinnamon and some more salt.

Add oil to a pan and heat it up. Place rice, lentils and cinnamon sticks in the pan and add some salt. Stir for a few minutes. Add the broth so that the ingredients are well covered. Put a lid on and let gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Place the meat on top and let steam for about 60 minutes. Remove the meat, divede the rice onto serving dishes and place the meat atop the rice.

Chickpea Patties

  • 2 kg chickpeas, soaked
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp red miso
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 100gr corn starch
  • salt

Boil the chickpeas until soft but do not overcook. Put the ingredients in a blender and process to a coarse paste. Add corn starch and from patties. Fry in plenty of oil.

Sweet Cheese Fritters

  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 10g dry yeast
  • 1kg plain flour
  • 340ml warm milk
  • 80g melted butter
  • 12g salt
  • 1kg soft cream cheese
  • 750g ricotta
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the lukewarm water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and add milk, water and meted butter. Kneed into a firm dough adding milk or flour if necessary. Set aside to rise until doubled in size. When risen knock back and for into balls. Roll out the balls into rounds 10cm in diameter. Mix the cream cheese and ricotta with a pinch of salt and two tbsp of sugar. Place a tbsp of the filling in the middle of each round and close them with wet fingers. The can be made into little horns or into balls and twisted closed. Deep fry and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Fried Dough bites

  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 10g dry yeast
  • 1l lukewarm water
  • 900g flour
  • 100g corn starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sugar syrup
  • caster sugar

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in some of the lukewarm water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and add the yeast and mix well. Add the rest of the water and mix to from a batter adding flour or water as necessary. Cover and set aside until slightly frothy. Drop a tbsp of the batter into medium hot oil and fry until golden. Place on paper towels to drain and then drop into the sugar syrup. Arange on plates and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Almond Cookies

  • 600g flour
  • 600g ground almonds
  • 200g sugar
  • 400 g butter
  • sugar for dusting

Combine to make firm dough. Make into rolls and slice of little rounds. Bake for 10-12 min at 160C on the oven. Dust with sugar while still warm and arrange on plates.