Posts Tagged With: medieval

Fun Festivals – The International Witches Fair

 

Such fun

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? Did you or your mom spend days making a truly scary costume? Do you want another such day? Each and every year?

Then go to the Witchcraft and the Trasmoz’s Curse Fair. Other towns have their own witch fairs. But do not go to them! Do not accept substitutes. The first and still the best such fair is the one in Trasmoz, Spain. This fair is the one that truly deserves to be called, The International Witches Fair.

This fair takes places every first weekend in July and is just the thing for people who prefer to watch movies about witch burning over roasting marshmallow over an open fire.

This fair is such fun. Watch reenactors capture witches and heretics. Watch the lost souls get tried. Be enthralled by their torture. Be entranced by lovingly recreated witches’s covens. Honestly, is anything near your home that can rival this? I think not.

But wait! There’s more. Listen to the excommunication of the entire town. Puts your “Damn you, (your enemy)” to shame doesn’t it?

Watch as Pope Julius II curses the entire village.

But you can’t see the reenactment of the lifting of the excommunication and cursing. They never happened. The town is still excommunicated and cursed. Can New York City, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, or Bora Bora can say that? No they can’t, only Trasmoz, Spain.

Wait! There’s more.

The festival sports an authentic medieval market place and medieval camp. There are parades, magic shows, musical shows, and medieval combat. You’ll want to go year after year just to see everything.

But wait! There’s more.

Learn about medieval plants. Perhaps you’ll want to learn how to poison someone. It’s okay, it’s okay, all medieval poisons were organic. Or maybe you’ll want to heal people with medieval medicinal plants. To each his own.

But wait! There’s still more. Absorb the town’s rather exciting history as you wander around.

The history

During the 1100s, the town of Trasmoz  clashed with the nearby Veruela Monastery over firewood and pastures. Such disputes were normally decided by lawsuits or mediation by a higher lord or church official. Such a process proved unsatisfactory to the Monastery’s abbot. He excommunicated the entire town saying that witches and covens were running amok. Excommunication was an unambiguously horrible thing to happen to you in the Middle Ages. However, while bad for the town, excommunication is now an annual economic boon for Trasmoz, a town vying with other village for the tourist Euro.

In 1511, the lord of the town and Abbot Pedro Ximénez de Urrea quarreled. Perhaps the lord would point at the abbot and say, “Look, there goes urea breath.” Who can say? But we do know that the abbott complained to the higher ups. Eventually Pope Julius II cursed the entire town.

Some think the curse came about due to counterfeiting. Local counterfeiters didn’t want visitors poking their noses into this illegal activity. So the law breakers told the abbot stories of wickedness and the rest is history.

The excommunication and curse have never been lifted. Only the pope can do that. It’s something to think about should you ever ponder settling in Trasmoz.

So enjoy the history, the torture, and the food. Go to the International Witches Fair. Make your bookings now. It’s fun for the entire family.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Shrimp Briouates

Moroccan Entree

SHRIMP BRIOUATES

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove
2 green onions
1 small yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil (maybe ½ cup more later)
¼ teaspoon chives
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces filo (phyllo)* sheets
¼ cup melted butter
1 egg yolk**
3 tablespoons olive oil.

* = It’s more authentic to buy ouarka or warqa sheets. They, however, can be very, very difficult to find no matter what the spelling might be.
** = It’s a frustrating experience buying a single egg yolk at the store. For that matter, purchasing a single egg is often difficult as well.

Makes 30. Takes 1 hour 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, green onions and yellow onion. Add garlic, green onion, yellow onion, and 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add chives, coriander, cumin, paprika, parsley, and pepper. Add shrimp. Lower heat to medium and sauté for 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Mince shrimp.

Add filo sheet to flat surface. (Keep other sheets covered until needed. They dry out fast.) Brush filo sheet with butter. Cut filo sheet into strips 4″ wide. Add ½ tablespoon shrimp ½” from the end of the strip. Take one corner of the strip and fold it over diagonally to make a side of a triangle. Take bottom corner of triangle and fold it up to make another triangle. Continue to fold dough until you come to the end. You now have a briouate. Dab loose end of briouate with butter and fold into pocket formed by the open edg.

Add olive oil (½” deep) to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat. Add as many briouates as possible without them touching. Deep fry on medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown. (Frying times go down with successive batches.)Turn briouates enough to prevent burning. Removebriouates and drain on paper towels. Repeat for successive batches. Goes well with harissa.

TIDBITS

1) Frankia, modern-day France, was named after I. A. Frank.

2) Frank operated a chain of sausage stands/inns for hungry, weary pilgrims.

3) The pilgrims loved Frank’s sausage in a bun.

4) So much so that they started calling his delicacies, Franks.

5) The entire land went so hot-dog made that the entire region started calling itself Frankia.

6) See the seminal work on Medieval treatise by Monk Jean de Tours, Mon Dieu, Mon Pays, et Mon Frank.

7) Reading this literary masterpiece is harder than just seeing it. You really do need to be fluent in Medieval French.

8) Anyway in 732*, an invading Arab army under Emir Abdul Rahman threatened Frank’s culinary empire and Frankia itself.

9) *That’s 732 AD. AD stands for Anno Domini, Latin for the year of Our Lord. This system of dating is falling out of favor with many historians who prefer the less assertive, CE, or Common Era. I like to refer to this date as 1246 APB, or After Paul’s Birth. In a strange coincidence, my name is Paul.

10) So why did the Arabs invade Frankia? To convert Frankian Christians to Islam.

11) Culinary historians assert, however, that the reason was that Frank’s Franks were made out of pigs. The Arabs believed no one should eat pigs. So by conquering Frankia, they’d rid the land of forbidden pig-filled Franks.

12) To be replaced by Shrimp Briouates The invaders believed this blessed dish to be the best entree in the entire world.

13) I, personally, do not wish to take sides in the Great Hot Dog/Shrimp Briouate Controversy that has racked humanity for centuries. I can see, however, how they came to believe so strongly in the tastiness of the Shrimp Brioautes.

14) But the adherents of Frank’s Franks prevailed in the Battle of Tours. European pilgrims came to visit Tours to give thanks for hot dog’s victory. Larger and larger groups of pilgrims came, necessitating the forming of tour companies. So many tours came to Tours, that people took to changing the town’s name from Tours to Tours.

15) As a side note, briouate is one of the few dishes that’s spelled with all the vowels: a,e,i,o, and u.
You can even use the sometime vowel, y, if you want to spell briouatey, as in “That pastry is so flaky, it’s positively briouatey.”

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dijon Mustard

French Appetizer

DIJON MUSTARD

INGREDIENTSDijonMustard-

1/2 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup mustard, dry
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

colander
airtight jar

PREPARATION

Mince the onion and garlic. Put wine, onion, garlic in pot. Cook at high heat until wine boils. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Pour mixture through colander into mixing bowl. Let liquid cool.

Add mustard to mixing bowl. Stir with whisk until mixture is smooth. Add wine/garlic/mustard, honey, vegetable, and salt to pot Simmer for about 10 minutes or until liquid thickens. (Don’t look down too long at pot. The vapor will make your eyes sting.) Let cool. Pour into airtight jar. Keep refrigerated. The Dijon mustard will get slightly milder over the next 5 days.

TIDBITS

1) Ancient doctors used mustard to cure toothaches, epilepsy, and PMS, increase blood circulation, clear sinuses, and stimulate appetite. It had indifferent success in curing death as shown by the mustard found in King Tut’s tomb. Listen to the comedian Steve Martin & the Toot Uncommons sing the praises of King Tut.

2) Many cultures scatter mustard seeds around the home to repel evil spirits. Bear traps are a good way to tackle bad spirits taking on animal form. Leaving lutefisk outside your door wards off all spirits ethereal or corporal, including mimes selling aluminum siding door to door.

3) Indeed, people in medieval Paris could buy mustard by the wheelbarrow. This facts suggests lots of door-to-door mimes ran around back then. On the other hand, there is scant evidence of 13th-century Parisian homes, stone, wood, or otherwise, being adorned with aluminum siding.

4) Canada is the largest producer of mustard. There aren’t many evil spirits in Canada. See?

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: cuisine, history, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greek Lemon Potatoes

Greek Entree

LEMON POTATOES

INGREDIENTSLemonPotato-

6 potatoes
3 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 parsley
1/4 pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Mince garlic cloves. Put all ingredients except potato cubes in mixing bowl. Mix with fork or whisk. Put spice/herb/mixture in casserole dish. Add potato cubes. Turn potato cubes around until coated with spice/herb mixture.

Put casserole dish in oven. Bake at 425 degree for 1 hour to 90 minutes or until potato is tender and starting to turn golden brown.

TIDBITS

1) Rosemary has long been held to improve memory.

2) Rosemary was sometimes worn at the wedding ceremony to remind the happy couple to always remember their wedding vows and to bring good luck. At funerals, it meant the living would always recall the dearly departed.

3) The Chinese used rosemary to get rid of headaches and cure baldness.

4) Rosemary has long been held to improve memory.

5) The Greeks thought rosemary could aid the liver and improve digestion.

6) In the wonderful British television series, “All Creatures Great and Small,” the main characters wax ecstatic over the prospect of having rosemary added to lamb. This is the only time out of more than a hundred episodes that they ever mention a spice or a herb.

7) Rosermary branches were used in Medieval Europe to combat the plague.

8) Rosemary is a safe herb for “brown thumbs” to grow.

9) Rosemary is connected with the Virgin Mary. Their flowers obtain their color from the shawl Mary placed over the shrub.

10) Rosemary is a happening herb.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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