I am getting way behind with blogging. the world has been far too busy and stressful, and I have been concentrating entirely on work out of those moments when directly interacting with the girls. This completely workcentric period is hopefully coming to an end, but it is clear that in this economic climate, i just can’t afford not to be a type A person at work, and that this will eat horribly into my home time.
we did have a really fabulous historyetc nearly a fortnight ago, which I promised to blog! It was a full house, with all the families there. there were also some additions. My niece and nephew, G’s nephew and B with daughter R who came with Michelle, and will hopefully come fairly regularly.
My parents tooke the opportunity to visit friends and play golf – I suggested that might be a more relaxing day
At this distance it is harder to remember all the ins and outs of a day, unfortunately, which is why i should have blogged at the time. I thought M and E did really well. They are both schooled, they both want a fair bit of my attention when I am around [understandable] and they are not so used to mixed ages and some freedom in choosing what to do. E settled with me and making the herbal remedies, as did M. However, E was grad persuaded to do more things without me so close, tho always nipping, admiring, hugging etc before moving on. M decided that he was a bit uncomfortable doing more crafts, initially grumping that he had to do schoolwork in half term! and mostly played with G’s nephew. He did say he had a great time tho.
SO, I started with the elderflower herbal remedy and pretty much everyone made this, and at the end of the day, with the 2 R’s I made the rosepetal distilled water
a) elderflower water
The Romans, as Pliny records, made use of it in medicine and in Italy in the medicine of the School of Salernum. Elder still keeps its place in the British Pharmacopoeia, the cooling effects of Elder flowers being well known.
How to make!
Fill a large jar with Elder blossoms, pressing them down, the stalks of course having been removed previously. Pour on them boiling water to half way up the jar, stand the jar in a warm place for some hours. Then allow it to get quite cold and strain through muslin. Put into bottles and cork securely.
washing to whiten and soften the skin
drink as a tea to help with chest complaints
soak linen and place agains boils and afflictions of the skin
soak linen and place against temples for migraine.
b) rose water
the Romans found it prudent to continually spray the audience with rose water, simultaneously making its members smell better and protecting them from errant germs with the rose’s antibacterial properties.
How to make!
2-3 quarts fresh roses or rose petals
Ice cubes or crushed ice
1. In the center of a large pot (the speckled blue canning pots are ideal) with an inverted lid (a rounded lid), place a fireplace brick. On top of the brick place the bowl. Put the roses in the pot; add enough flowers to reach the top of the brick. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses. The water should be just above the top of the brick.
2. Place the lid upside down on the pot. Turn on the stove and bring the water to a rolling boil, then lower heat to a slow steady simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, toss two or three trays of ice cubes (or a bag of ice) on top of the lid.
3. You’ve now created a home still! As the water boils the steam rises, hits the top of the cold lid, and condenses. As it condenses it flows to the center of the lid and drops into the bowl. Every 20 minutes, quickly lift the lid and take out a tablespoon or two of the rose water. It’s time to stop when you have between a pint and a quart of water that smells and tastes strongly like roses.
Antibacterial for skin infections
tea for digestive disorders or nervous tension
to flavour foods or as a perfume.
Other activities ongoing were making roman pestles and mortars for grinding fruit with clay, making a bulla, making roman coins and some roman maths, dressing peg dolls in a toga, making mosaics – several varieties – sticky felt squares; fimo; happy maize pictures. There were also some really delicious roman foods cooked up.
Globuli Curd cheese, 500 g or about 1lb, A cup of semolina, honey, olive oil.
Press curd cheese through sieve or let it hang in cheese cloth until it’s drained well. Mix with the semolina into a loose dough. Let it sit for a few hours. (Have a sip of the vino Caroenum while you wait). With wet hands form the mixture into dumplings. Quickly fry them in olive oil for a few minutes. Drain and roll in honey.
b)Libum (sweet cheesecake)
Libum was a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits during Rome’s early history. The recipe below comes from the Roman consul Cato’s agricultural writings, which included simple recipes for farmers. Libum, sometimes served hot, is a cheesecake he included.
Ancient Roman Libum Recipe
Libum to be made as follows: 2 pounds cheese well crushed in a mortar; when it is well crushed, add in 1 pound bread-wheat flour or, if you want it to be lighter, just 1/2 a pound, to be mixed with the cheese. Add one egg and mix all together well. Make a loaf of this, with the leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick.
Modern Roman Libum Recipe (serves 4)
1 cup plain, all purpose flour
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup clear honey
Sift the flour into a bowl. Beat the cheese until it’s soft and stir it into the flour along with the egg. Form a soft dough and divide into 4. Mold each one into a bun and place them on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath. Heat the oven to 425° F. Cover the cakes with your brick* and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden-brown. Warm the honey and place the warm cakes in it so that they absorb it. Allow to stand 30 minutes before serving.
*The Romans often covered their food while it was cooking with a domed earthenware cover called a testo. You can use an overturned, shallow clay pot, a metal bowl, or casserole dish as a brick.
Also sweet and salty dates – for which I can’t find the recipes. They were absolutely all delicious. I think more enjoyed by adults rather than the children. However, I am really enjoying the addition of some of the food of the time as well
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