In my Barony a Cooks’ Guild meeting was held. Having just gotten Nawal Nasrallah’s most recent book Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table (available from Brill Publishing) I thought to try a recipe that had caught my eye.

In the “miscellany of dishes” chapter (the largest in the book) recipe 85 reads-

You need meat, rice, black pepper, coriander, and dill (shabath).
Boil the meat, [take it out of the broth] and brown it. Pound the fat solids attached to it, and return them to the meat.
Pound black pepper and coriander with some meat and a bit of rice, and shape into meatballs (mudaqqaqa). After the rest of the meat brown [as mentioned above], pour it’s broth [back] on it. Add the meatballs, and let them cook until done.
Wash some rice, and add it to the pot along with a bit of dill, [and let them cook] and simmer gently and serve.

800g minced beef
Bunch of coriander and dill
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried and ground coriander
1 & 1/4 cups Basmati rice
1 litre beef stock
1 egg
1 tablespoon ghee
1 table spoon olive oil

Mix minced beef, chopped coriander and dill (roughly one cup), black pepper and ground coriander in a large bowl with the egg and 1/4 cup rice. Roll into meatballs.
Heat oil and ghee in pressure cooker pot then fry the meatballs until brown. Remove from pot. Place washed rice in oil for 1 minute, stirring. Add stock and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill, then place meatballs back. Once simmering, put lid on & pressure cook for 15 minutes. Once finished, stir and serve.

Pros and cons-
Needed much more pepper! The ghee was too heavy to make fluffy rice but I was unable to get any sesame oil. Recommend sesame oil if anyone wishes to try. Very easy to do, and doesn’t need a pressure cooker. I just wanted to do something relatively fast. The recipe didn’t have egg mentioned, but I tried to mix it without the egg and it wouldn’t hold together. The rice in the meatballs makes a difference from adding breadcrumbs. Beef was used although most likely to have been lamb. I picked up a packet of mince with a high fat content since the rendered fat is returned to the dish in the recipe. Tasted better the next day!


A homemade sampler

This sampler is one have been working on the last few months. It is based on Mamluk samplers I have charted over the years, which are available for download on the Embroidery charts page.

I had written up documentation, which may be of interest. It is available as a pdf.
WCoBsamplerentry PDF

It was done for a competition for the Worshipful Company of Broderers in the Kingdom of Lochac. For the Lochac Kingdom event of 12th Night, the topic of the competition was working sampler. I won! The item has also been graded as a masterwork.

Timurid jade

This jade jug was thought to have been made during the Timurid era in India, the 15th century C.E. It had been carved with the dimensions of 10.1 cm high by 15.1 cm wide and a depth of 13.2 cm and with a Chinese dragon handle, similar to other Timurid handled cups and jugs. It is currently on loan to the Freer and Sackler Museum.

This 15th century jade jug was made specifically for Ulugh Beg in Samarkand. The inscription around the neck gives his titles. Later in the 17th century it was in the treasure collection of the Mughal ruler Jahangir, with his name and titles added to the inscriptions along with his son and heir Shah Jahan. The jug is currently in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

This cup was also made for Ulugh Beg, with an inscription bearing his name next to another saying

The generosity of God is infinite.

Also made in Samarkand, the cup is 7.3 cm high, 19.5 cm wide with a depth of 12.4 cm. There is a repair made in silver done during Ottoman times. The cup is currently in the British Museum. More views can be also be seen.

Recommended reading
Jade– Encyclopedia Iranica.

BBC- History of the World: Jade dragon cup.

Only the Best: Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum– edited by Baetjer, K. & Draper, J.D., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000.

Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum– edited by Ekhtiar, M., Soucek, P., Canby, S., & Haidar, N., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2011.

Jade edited by Roger Keverne, Anness Publishing Ltd, New York, 1991.

A wave embroidery

This textile is Egyptian, made between the 10th-15th century C.E. It is a base fabric of plain woven linen, embroidered in double running stitch in blue and brown silk.

The textile is 21 cm high by 18.5 cm wide, with three rolled hems. It is likely that this is a decorated end of a larger textile, possibly a sash. The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

There is not much left of the original embroidery, so I extrapolated what the chart would be completely filled.

ashmoleanwave PDF

Please let me know if there are any issues downloading the PDF.

A digitized copy of the Mishneh Torah

The Bodleian Library has digitized a manuscript of Moses Maimonides‘s authorised work Mishneh Torah which had been written 1168 C.E. to 1178 C.E.

Containing 14 books with almost 1,000 chapters, Maimonides drew on the Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash and Talmud. Considered one of the greatest works on Jewish theological studies meaning the Mishneh Torah is still studied today.

The manuscript can be seen here.

Another digitized manuscript from the British Library can be read here.

Maimonides other great work is the Guide for the Perplexed, a treatise using Jewish tradition (based on the Talmud etc) and rational philosophy.

This image is a 14th century illumination of the work, while the original was written around 1186 C.E to 1190 C.E. A popular translation done in 1903 is available for download here.

Recommended reading
Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds Joel L. Kraemer. Via Google Books.

Hebrew Scholarship and the Medieval World edited by Nicholas de Lange. Via Google Books.

Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages by Colette Sirat. Via Google Books.

Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times edited by Zion Zohar. Via Google Books.

An update to an interpretive embroidery

Late last year I posted an embroidery I did based on an extant textile in the Museum of Fine Arts. The post can be read here.

The Kingdom of Lochac has an embroidery Guild called the Worshipful Company of Broderers. They have Guild competition that are judged at Kingdom events. The most recent event was goldwork. I entered my embroidery and won. I put together my documentation on the extant and reproduction and it is available for download in pdf format.

WCoBgoldworkentry PDF

I had heard from the Museum of Fine Arts about the actual date of the extant textile!