Friday, 14 March 2014


“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” - Laura Ingalls Wilder

For Food Friday today, a Byzantine recipe. The Byzantine Empire was the Greek-speaking continuation of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally known as Byzantium. Initially it was the Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire (often called the Eastern Roman Empire in this context), and it survived the 5th century fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire, continuing to exist for an additional thousand years until Byzantium fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the Byzantine Empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe.

We know the Byzantines ate three meals a day - breakfast, midday meal and supper. They had many fast days, corresponding with the Greek Orthodox Christian tradition. While the lower classes made do with what they could get, the upper classes were served three courses at their midday and supper meals consisting of hors d’oeuvres, a main course of fish or meat and a sweet course.

They ate all kinds of meats including pork, and numerous types of fowl. Large amounts of fresh fish and seafood were very popular given the proximity of the sea. There were many types of soups and stews and salads were popular. They liked a variety of cheeses and fruits, the latter being eaten both fresh and cooked. Fruits included apples, melons, dates, figs, grapes and pomegranates. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios were used in many dishes as well as being eaten by themselves. Sugar was not known in Europe at the time, so the sweetening agent used was honey.

PASTÉLI (Sesame-Honey Diamonds)


Toasted sesame seeds (put into the oven and roast until golden – do not over-cook!)
Orange flower water

Use equal weights of honey and sesame seeds. In a heavy skillet bring the honey to a very firm ball stage (120° to 125° C). Stir in the sesame seeds and continue cooking until the mixture comes to a bubbling boil. Spread the mixture 1 cm thick on a marble slab or tray moistened with orange flower water. Cool and cut into small diamonds. Garnish each diamond with a blanched, toasted almond if desired.

This post is part of the Food Friday meme,
and also part fo the Food Trip Friday meme.

1 comment:

  1. oooh,i love this! i think i tasted something similar a couple of years back ... :)

    thanks so much for sharing and linking over at Food Friday, Nick