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    Recipe for Cucurbitas more Alexandrino (Alexandrine Squash)

    from De Re Coquinaria, Apicius

    A favourite to accompany nearly any meal

    Apicius 3,4,3: Elixatas cucurbitas exprimis, sale asparges, in patina compones. Teres piper, cuminum, coriandri semen, mentam viridem, laseris radicem, suffundes acetum. Addicies cariotam, nucleum, teres melle, aceto, liquamine, defrito et oleo temperabis, et cucurbitas perfundes. Cum ferbuerint, piper asparges et inferes.

    Translation: Press the water out of the boiled pumpkin, place in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, ground pepper, cumin, coriander seed, green mint and a little laser root; season with vinegar. Now add date wine and pignolia nuts ground with honey, vinegar and broth, measure out condensed wine and oil, pour this over the pumpkin and finish in this liquor and serve, sprinkle with pepper before serving.


    • 1 gourd, courgette or pumpkin
    • water

    For the sauce:


    • 1 gourd (small pumpkin or squash)
    • peppercorns
    • cumin
    • coriander seeds
    • 3 – 4 mint leaves, shredded
    • 1 garlic
    • 3 tbsp vinegar
    • 50 g dates, finely chopped
    • 50 g blanched almonds, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp clear honey
    • 4 tbsp Defritum (or Wine or Grape Juice reduced by two thirds)
    • 20 ml olive oil
    • Sea salt to taste


    • Cut the gourd, courgette or squash into chunks.
    • Place these into a steamer and cook until done.
    • Squeeze out the excess water. Transfer the remaining pulp to a saucepan.
    • Whilst the squash is cooking, put the dried spices in a pestle and mortar and grind.
    • Next add the mint and garlic, grinding to a smooth paste. Spoon this from the mortar and add to the cooked squash.
    • Next add the dates, almonds and the honey.
    • Finally add the oil and mix with the squash.
    • Place the resulting mixture back on the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes for the flavours to combine.
    • Serve immediately sprinkled with salt and black pepper.
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