A Spanish Feast – at Shire Birthday

Based on recipes from “Libro de Cozina” of Master Ruperto de Nola, 1529.  (Translated by Vincent F. Cuenca).  Original translated recipes are listed in the below.

First Course

Good Membrillate Which is a Pottage of Quinces

Take as many quinces as the number of serving dishes you wish to prepare: and cut them into quarters and remove the cores and seeds, and peel off the skins and when they are thoroughly peeled, wash them in lukewarm water; then take them out of the water and set them to cook in cold water; and when they begin to fall apart then they are done; and take them out of the pot and grind them well in a mortar and mix them with a little of the cooking water; and then take three pounds of almonds but do not peel them, but rather wash them in cold water, or lukewarm water which is better; and grind them thoroughly in a mortar, and once they are ground sift them, and mix them with tepid water, and if it is a meat day mix them with meat broth, and add the milk to the quinces; and then add to the pot all kinds of fine spices, which are: good ginger and good cinnamon and saffron and grains of paradise, and nutmeg, and mace, and if it is a meat day add two egg yolks for each serving dish; and if it is a fish day it is not fitting to do so; and when it is very thick prepare the serving dishes, and scatter sugar and cinnamon over them.

Ingredients: Quinces, ground almonds, spices (ginger, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg).  Egg yolks.

Stewed Mutton

Take breasts of mutton; and cook them in a pot with salt; and when they are more than half cooked remove them from the pot, and cut them into pieces the size of two fingers; and then fry them slowly with bacon fat; then take honey and all spices, and put them in a small pot, and take grated dry bread and add it to the honey and spices; and there should be more cinnamon then of the other spices: and then take the best broth from the pot and add it; and then as much fat as you deem appropriate; according to the quantity of bread and meat; then add a good cup of white vinegar because the sauce for this dish should be sour and sweet; and cook this all: and while it boils add the meat with a little saffron, because this sauce should be highly coloured; then prepare serving dishes of this pottage, and scatter cinnamon over them, but you should add pears; and quinces that have been cut up and boiled first; and add them to the meat.

Ingredients: Lamb (instead of mutton), honey, spices (cinnamon!), grated bread, vinegar, saffron, pears

Second Course

Pottage Called Gratonada

Take chickens that have been half-roasted and then cut them through the joints as it to serve them; and then gently fry them with good fat bacon; and then take well-toasted almonds; and grind them with chicken livers roasted in the coals; and when they are all ground thin them with good salted chicken stock; and add a pair of eggs for each serving dish; and force it through a strainer; and once it is passed add it to the pot; and cook it with the chickens; and add some of these herbs to the pot: mint and parsley and marjoram, which is a Moorish basil with wide leaves; and then add sugar; and this source is good for kid of breasts of mutton.

Ingredients: Chicken pieces, almonds (roasted, ground), chicken livers, eggs, mint, parsley, marjoram, sugar.


Take the thickest fresh sardines; and wash them in many changes of water; and then take pepper; and a little ginger and saffron; and all this should be ground, then take raisons; and almonds and pine nuts; and some of all the good herbs, which are parsley and mint: and then take the sardines and the spices, and once they are mixed with the herbs and the almonds and raisins and pine nuts, put them all in the casserole with a goodly amount of oil, and take it to the fire over coals, or if not put it in the oven. They are much better over a fire of coals; because in the oven they cook above and below and on all sides; and sardines cooked in this way do not suffer the heat of the oven, but only over coals and few of those because they cook at their pleasure; and if you wish to eat them in another fashion,  such as fried, they are best eaten with pepper; and a little vinegar or bitter orange juice and oil and salt; and a little water and pepper; and some of all the herbs except moraduj which is marjoram which is also called malgilana.

Ingredients: Sardines, pepper, ground ginger, saffron, raisons, almonds, pine nuts, mint, parsley, oil


Take barley groats and wash them two or three times in cold water, and when you have washed them well put them in the pot you will cook in and add good chicken stock and cook it on the fire; and when it is a bit more than half-cooked take good almond milk and add it to the pot and then add good sugar to the pot while it is cooking, and once it is cooked remove the pot from the fire and wrap it in a cloth and once it has rested prepare the serving dishes and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over them. And if you wish to make a sauce it may be done in just this way; and if you wish to make a more delicate dish of barley, make it in this way: take the barley groats and cook them in good lamb or chicken stock and when it is more than half cooked force it through a strainer, and with this strained liquor finish cooking with the almond milk and cook it enough so that it is thick and then sprinkle sugar over the dishes; and this dish is good for the ill because it is very delicate.

Ingredients: Barley, ground almonds, sugar, cinnamon

Eggplants in Casserole

Take eggplants and remove the skins very carefully and cut each one into three of four pieces and cook them in good beef broth, with a pair of onions, and cook them until they are well done, and once they are done take them out of the pot and dice them fine on a cutting board, and then add good grated Aragon cheese and a few egg yolks and then dice it again with a knife as if it were stuffing for a kid and add fine spices and add all these spices, well mixed, to the pot, ginger, mace, nutmeg and cilantro and parsley, and then return the casserole to the oven and once it is cooked scatter sugar and cinnamon over it.

Ingredients: Eggplants, onions, cheese, egg yolks, ginger, nutmeg, cilantro, parsley.

Leek Pottage

Take leeks, well peeled and cleaned and washed the night before, and put them in a bowl full of water to soak in the night air; and they should sit there all night until the morning; and then boil them well, for they are difficult to cook; and once they are well cooked press them out well between two cutting boards; and sweat them to cook with a good broth which should be fat and of a little amount and then take almond milk and add it to the pot and cook it until it is very thick; and when it has thickened taste it for salt, and if there is not enough add some; and then prepare the serving dishes and scatter sugar and cinnamon over them.

Ingredients: Leeks.  Veg broth.  Almond milk.

Final Course

Quinces Cooked in a Pot

Take a casserole or pot and a lid with many small holes; and the pot should be new so that the dish does not take on another flavour; and put the well cleaned quinces in; and then fill it with almonds and cooked wine so that it becomes like an unguent in the manner of thick honey; and add with the quinces some strips of cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg and mace and grains of paradise, and set it all on the coals with very low heat up to the rim; and cook it slowly; and it should be covered, and once it is cooked cut the quinces cleanly and remove the cores; and then put them on a plate, and scatter sugar and cinnamon and cloves over them.

Ingredients:  Quinces.  Wine.  Almonds. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.

Some notes on the feast

All recipes have been followed reasonably closely and redacted as made sense to the cooks as the time of cooking.  Some dishes were made vegetarian friendly by not using meat broth where suggested.  Some used vegan meat broth.

About the cook book

It is said to have been originally published in Catalan – a similar language to Spanish.  It was republished 4 times in Catalan and 10 in Spanish.   Recipes were added over the years.

Not much is known about Rupert de Nola.  He may have been cook to Ferrante I, King of Naples from 1458-1494.  He may have been Catalan, having writing the original in Catalan.  However we may also have come from Nola, a town in the province of Naples and been Italian.


“Libro de Cozina” of Master Ruperto de Nola, 1529, Translated by Vincent F. Cuenca, 2001.

Stefan’s Florilegium: http://www.florilegium.org/?http%3A//www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-MANUSCRIPTS/Guisados1-art.html

A big thank you to all who helped make this feast possible!

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