Learn Latin Vocab - MENSAE SECUNDAE


          RIGHT – Tell the slaves to carry away the table with all the remains from those Fercula dishes!

         It’s time for….




In our Roman Banquets, nobody usually had much room left after the first two courses…people were generally happy to make do with fruit and nuts (as the Romans themselves did most often just have on their ‘Second Tables’).  

      But here are two or three recipes that have occasionally been tried, especially one which is served every year – the Roman Honey Cake with the mysterious ‘hidden flavour’…!




     You can use the links in the box below again to find the recipes for particular dishes.



Links to Recipes

Pears Poached in Wine with Thyme 

Roman Thick Egg Custard

Baked Stuffed Peaches

Roman Honey Cake

Fresh Fruit & Nuts











             Ingredients:   Pears
                                Red Wine
                                A few leaves of Thyme

              Mix enough wine to cover the number of pears you want to poach with plenty of honey to your taste, and tear in the thyme leaves. Bring to the boil.

              Place peeled pears (whole ones are fine, but you can slice them if you prefer) into the liquid, reduce heat to simmering and poach for about 30 mins, turning frequently.

               The liquid may be reduced further after poaching and used to pour over the pears before serving.












           Ingredients:  Milk
                             Nutmeg (or Cinnamon)

         This recipe, strictly speaking, resembles a less-firm 'panna cotta' rather than 'custard'. It can also be served (and was!) as a savoury dish with less honey, and with pepper replacing the sweet spices.

         Dissolve several dessert-spoons of honey (to taste) in milk. Using 5 eggs to I pint, or 3 eggs to ½ pint, work the eggs into the milk and honey mixture until smooth. Strain and bake in a medium oven (time will depend on quantity - keep checking until it is firm).

         Sprinkle with the spices (or pepper!) before serving.










            Ingredients:    Peaches
                                  Chopped Crystallised Ginger
                                  Chopped Almonds
                                  Ground Cinnamon

           Cut peaches in half and remove the stones.

           Make a thick paste by combining the rest of the ingredients and fill the stone-holes: fit the peaches back together (you can 'glue' them with the mixture or just plain honey). Wrap the peaches in tin-foil (if you do not have vine- or fig-leaves available…!) and bake in the ashes of the BBQ. You had best experiment with the time needed - it will be a good 15 mins before they are warmed through, but you may prefer them softer.

             The peaches may of course be baked in the oven in the manner of baked potatoes!








Roman Honey Cake



    Ingredients:  Flour
                        Flaked blanched almonds
                        Ground Cinnamon
                        Ground dried Rosemary
                        Grape or Grapefruit Juice
                        Sweet White Wine
                        Chopped Hazelnuts
                        Baking Powder   

      This recipe makes enough cake-mixture for a 9-inch baking tin.    

      Mix a cup and a quarter of flour with a teaspoon of baking powder. Crush a quarter of a cup of flaked almonds (roughly), and add, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of ground dried rosemary.

      In another cup, dissolve 2 tablespoons of honey in a half-cup of sweet wine (muscadet), add a quarter of a cup of sharp fruit juice (grape or grapefruit) and top up to a full cup with milk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients to form a cake-mix.

      Grease a 9-inch baking tin with oil, and pour the mixture in evenly. Bake in a medium-to-hot oven for 20-25 minutes (the colour of the cake will show when to remove: do not let it get too brown). Turn the cake out and allow to cool.

      Before serving, coat with honey and decorate with chopped hazelnuts; you can also prick with a fork and drizzle some more sweet wine in if you like! The cake goes well chopped into small pieces and served with fruit such as cherries or strawberries.

   Challenge your guests to identify the mystery ingredient (rosemary)! It's obvious - once you know!








Fresh fruits and nuts




         Just as common and popular would be bowls of fruit and nuts.

         Choose your own selection - but try to keep it authentic!




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