Felicem diem natalem, Hadriane!

Happy 1944th birthday, Hadrian!

This year, I decided to bake a honey cake as Hadrian’s birthday cake.



Whip eggs with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat them until they are stiff and form peaks. Slowly pour in the honey, and continue to mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, small amounts at a time, by folding it into the egg mixture. Continue this until all of the flour has been incorporated. Pour the mixture into a greased 17cm cake tin, and bake for 30-40mins at 200°C. It is b


For dinner, I cooked one of my favourite Apician recipes, Pullus Vardanus (Chicken à la Varus). You can find the recipe here.


  • 1.4 kg chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 3 tbsp Liquamen (or soya sauce)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 ml fruity white wine (eg chablis)
  • white peppercorns
  • 150 g pine nuts
  • whites of two boiled eggs, mashed with a fork
  • 60 ml cooking liquid
  • 60ml/120ml milk


Cook the chicken by placing in a roasting tin, covering with the Liquamen, olive oil and white wine. Cover with a lid and bake at 180°C for 90 minutes or until the chicken is done. Drain the cooking liquor and reserve. Meanwhile, add the peppercorns, pine nuts, and egg whites to a pan. Pour the remaining cooking liquor from the chicken into this along with 60ml milk (for a thick sauce) or 120ml milk for a more liquid sauce. Gently heat the mixture, stirring all the time. When it is thick enough place the chicken pieces on a plate and cover with the sauce.

Pullus Vardanus (Apicius Book VI 245) & Carotae et pastinacae (Apicius Book III 122)

I also opened a bottle of Conditum Paradoxum. Conditum Paradoxum is a heavily spiced and sweet Roman wine, not dissimilar to the mulled wine we drink today. Conditum was so prized by the Romans that it is the very first recipe in Apicius’s cookbook ‘De re coquinaria’.

Propino tibi salutem!

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