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The Delicious Legacy

Ancient Greek and Roman Food

Imagine yourself dining with Socrates, Plato, or Pythagoras... maybe even Cicero and Julius Caesar...being a soldier marching with Alexander's the Great army in the vast Persian empire discovering new foods... or try and
Latest Episode2/8/2023

Wassail - The Ancient Traditional Blessing of the Apple Tree!

Season 3, Ep. 6
On a glorious sunny winter day on 21st of January, I arrive on Horsenden farm intrigued by what I am about  to witness next. It’s a crisp bright afternoon just about lunchtime. People had already gathered and chatted and they were all dressed with some very interesting attire, all mysterious and pagan they’ve seemed to me. Some of them resembled the Holy Man, the winter incarnation of the Green Man that kind of thing, with leaves and branches adorning their head and upper body and capes. Bells around the thighs for noise when walking. And of course all this interesting stuff included hot cider, and people had gathered around a table, waiting for the possession to start, helping themselves with the hot spiced beverage, very welcome on a cold winter day but also delicious.I too helped myself to one or three cups while waiting for the ceremony to start… The whole vibe was very folk, very old spirit of the forest type of thing, really ancient England stuff. I wondered if it was the effect of the hot cider that amplified these surreal scenes, or indeed I stepped into the past…An overall feeling of revelry and party was hanging in the air, people with instruments practising the tunes…and of course plenty to drink and keep us warm on this winter day…The purpose of the Wassailing ceremony is to awake the cider apple trees from the winter sleep and to scare away the evil spirits. And so what happens is the people wet the trees with cider and play music and bang on drums and pans to frighten the evil spirits. This is definitely a weird and wonderful sight to behold.On the verge of extinction, now Wassail is back, almost from the dead! What’s going on? Are we going back to something, hankering to return to some mythical age? Or the disconnect with land, the growing of food and the old folk traditions, breeds a strange not nostalgia but thirst perhaps for knowledge and understanding of our past? Something to connect us in the current disconnected age?Whatever it is that made it possible, it seems Wassail has returned for good in the parts of England that originated, but also in many places that aren’t in Somerset, like Sussex and well, even here in London!Thank you and enjoy!Thom
2/8/2023

Wassail - The Ancient Traditional Blessing of the Apple Tree!

Season 3, Ep. 6
On a glorious sunny winter day on 21st of January, I arrive on Horsenden farm intrigued by what I am about  to witness next. It’s a crisp bright afternoon just about lunchtime. People had already gathered and chatted and they were all dressed with some very interesting attire, all mysterious and pagan they’ve seemed to me. Some of them resembled the Holy Man, the winter incarnation of the Green Man that kind of thing, with leaves and branches adorning their head and upper body and capes. Bells around the thighs for noise when walking. And of course all this interesting stuff included hot cider, and people had gathered around a table, waiting for the possession to start, helping themselves with the hot spiced beverage, very welcome on a cold winter day but also delicious.I too helped myself to one or three cups while waiting for the ceremony to start… The whole vibe was very folk, very old spirit of the forest type of thing, really ancient England stuff. I wondered if it was the effect of the hot cider that amplified these surreal scenes, or indeed I stepped into the past…An overall feeling of revelry and party was hanging in the air, people with instruments practising the tunes…and of course plenty to drink and keep us warm on this winter day…The purpose of the Wassailing ceremony is to awake the cider apple trees from the winter sleep and to scare away the evil spirits. And so what happens is the people wet the trees with cider and play music and bang on drums and pans to frighten the evil spirits. This is definitely a weird and wonderful sight to behold.On the verge of extinction, now Wassail is back, almost from the dead! What’s going on? Are we going back to something, hankering to return to some mythical age? Or the disconnect with land, the growing of food and the old folk traditions, breeds a strange not nostalgia but thirst perhaps for knowledge and understanding of our past? Something to connect us in the current disconnected age?Whatever it is that made it possible, it seems Wassail has returned for good in the parts of England that originated, but also in many places that aren’t in Somerset, like Sussex and well, even here in London!Thank you and enjoy!Thom
2/7/2023

Herdwick Cured Mutton - Macon

A little short taster of promo stuff for tiered listeners!Enjoy!The Delicious LegacyYou've heard mutton. You've heard bacon.We now have macon! Yes, it's an old old technique, and extremely delicious.Have a listen about this traditional English, cured leg of lamb, which is music to my ears!Where can you find it? I don't really know. I basic google search doesn't yield many results...! I guess you can make your own?"Two breasts of mutton, deboned came to around £4 as it’s just £1.50/kg, another reason why this is bloody brilliant. For the cure I opted for roughly equal sugar to salt, I went with a mix of dark brown and light brown sugar as that’s what I had on the shelves. Herbs and spices wise I had left the fennel in the garden to go to seed and that needed cutting back so that mixed with various bits and pieces from the pantry was all I needed.Ingredients:2 deboned breasts of mutton, total weight 2.4kg1.4kg salt750g dark brown muscovado sugar600g light brown soft sugar1 handful juniper berries, very lightly squeezed to open1 heaped tablespoon green cardamom pods (lightly crushed just to open)8 bay leaves1 tablespoon fennel seedsstalks, trimmings and fronds of some fresh fennel from the garden2 tablespoons peppercorns4 allspice berries2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds1 sprig rosemary lightly bruised with a pestle to release oils1 small bunch fresh sage leaves lightly bruised with a pestleMethod:Combine all the cure ingredients together in a big bowl.Thoroughly wash and dry the salad tray from the bottom of your fridge, yeah move those salad leaves and vegetables aside and clear the way for MEAT. Put a layer of cure mix in the bottom.Place one of the breasts on top and squish down. Cover with a layer of cure then put the other one on top and press down. Cover with another layer of cure so it’s completely covered. Don’t use all the cure mix though.Place in the fridge overnight. The following day pour off any liquid, flip the breasts around and rub more cure into any nooks and crannies, sprinkle more cure over.Repeat this the following day.On day 3 I felt the breasts were ready. They are only thin and they had firmed up nicely, if you have thick ones then you may need an extra day before this step. Rinse off the cure and pat dry. You now have mutton bacon, or macon. Fry a bit off and BEHOLD ITS AWESOMENESS.Weigh each piece and make a note of the weight. You can simply keep it as is and store in the fridge to cook as you please, as they are big I’d recommend cutting into portions and vac packing/freezing it to use as needed
1/25/2023

A History of Indian Food - Interview with Sejal Sukhadwala

Season 3, Ep. 4
Since starting this podcast over two years now, I’ve covered many many topics from the ancient world. But I’ve never ventured in great detail in India’s past, to examine her vast, rich cuisine and history into any detail. Of course we know the ancient Greeks and Romans had trade networks in land and on sea that stretched to the Indian subcontinent, and there was a complex and interconnected commerce of spices, of many expensive ingredients used in the ancient Greek and Roman cuisine. Chiefly pepper, black and long pepper, but also cinnamon and ginger and various others. Some of the world's earliest civilizations rose and fell in the Indian subcontinent long before the Greeks wrote and spread the homeric epics. But what do we know of the Indian culinary history? What do we know of their foods and ancient recipes? Did the complex mix of religions over the millenia and especially with Hinduism and later on Buddhism played a significant role in the diet of the people?Have many things survived? What's the lineage that connects the past inhabitants of this vast land to the present day? Many of our staples today and some of the most popular vegetables and fruits have their origins in India. Cucumbers and aubergines are two prime examples. Sugar from sugarcane first is mentioned in ancient India of 1000BCE as we’ve seen in the episode of the podcast with Dr Neil Buttery a couple of months ago…Well I’m very happy to say that I have a very esteemed guest on today’s episode to talk to us about many aspects of the complex and often misunderstood cuisine! Today’s episode will be a sort of introduction to the world of Indian cooking and I hope in the near future to explore a lot more in depth and detail the fragrant sweet and savoury character of the food from ancient times till the modern age of spice trade with the English, Portuguese and Dutch…Sejal's book "The Philosophy of Curry" is out on British Library. You can buy a copy here:https://shop.bl.uk/products/the-philosophy-of-curryYou can find her on twitter: @SejalSukhadwalaand on Instagram @sejalsukhadwalaRemember that if you shop online at Maltby and Greek you get 15% discount with the code "delicious"https://www.maltbyandgreek.com/Thanks for listening!The Delicious Legacy