Happy 1943rd birthday, Hadrian!
This year, I decided to cook Cato the Elder’s recipe for Libum (sweet cheesecake) as Hadrian’s birthday cake.
Libum (original recipe from LacusCurtius):
Bray 2 pounds of cheese thoroughly in a mortar; when it is thoroughly macerated, add 1 pound of wheat flour, or, if you wish the cake to be more dainty, ½ pound of fine flour, and mix thoroughly with the cheese. Add 1 egg, and work the whole well. Pat out a loaf, place on leaves, and bake slowly on a warm hearth under a crock.
Modern recipe (serves 2)
- 180-200g plain, all purpose flour
- 225g ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- bay leaves
- 1/2 cup clear honey
Sift the flour into a bowl. Beat the cheese until it’s soft and stir it into the flour along with the egg. Form a soft dough and divide into 4. Mold each one into a bun and place them on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath. Heat the oven to 190°C/380°F and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden-brown. Warm the honey and place the warm cakes in it so that they absorb it. Allow to stand 30 minutes before serving.
For dinner, I also cooked one of my favourite Apician recipes, Pullum Particum (Parthian Chicken). You can find the recipe here.
I also opened a bottle of Mulsum. This Mulsum is today produced by the archeological site and Roman vineyard Mas des Tourelles in southern France and is made according to a recipe from Apicius. As testified by Pliny the Elder, the blend of wine, honey and a certain number of plants and spices are used to make this famous wine, which was often served as the «gustatio» (before the meal as an aperitif) or as a refreshment on its own.