Cookery: Manna and locusts

07 February 2007

by Terence Handley MacMath

BUY Cooking with the Bible* for your beloved, and perhaps he or she will produce Solomon’s love feast for you on St Valentine’s Day. This blend of biblical stories, culinary notes, and recipes has seduced me.

The authors’ parishioners were invited to a supper that changed their concept of “Bible class” for ever. After all, how can you authentically study the Song of Songs to an accompaniment of Tetley’s tea and a digestive? The result of many more suppers is a compendium of Bible study for heart, mind, and taste buds (if you can get the frozen cubed goat-meat, that is). Some ingredients will take a little tracking down, but most are freely available, and there are notes about suitable wines.

Try something like manna and quails; a Passover meal; a wilderness meal — surprisingly rich, with Salome’s honey-carob brownies; or Zachariah’s temple loaf. There’s even a recipe for locust soup, and, yes, they mean real locusts. There’s enough here to keep an Alpha, MU, or study-group busy, happy, and fed for years

So, for those lovers in the garden: Pounded chicken breasts with pomegranates and walnuts (using American-measure cups.)

2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ cup walnut oil
1 cup diced onions
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 cup fresh pomegranate juice

Mix the walnuts and garlic powder by shaking in a plastic bag; then add to the oil and sauté in a frying pan for 5-10 minutes. Scoop out the nuts and reserve.

Using the same pan, sauté the onions in butter, then add ketchup and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well. Lower the cooking temperature and return the nuts to the frying pan, cooking for approximately 5 minutes.

Push everything to the side and put the chicken in the centre. Cover with the nut mixture. Blend the rest of the ingredients with 3 cups of water and add to the pan.

Cook for about 20 minutes, until the breasts are browned and easy to cut. (This serves 12.)

Follow this with Pleasant fruits in cinnamon spice syrup.

½ each cantaloupe and honeydew or muskmelon
½ cup each pear nectar and   white grape juice
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
¼ cup each: brown sugar;
  balsamic vinegar;
  freshly squeezed lime juice;
  fresh mint leaves
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 cinnamon sticks

Carve the melons into balls with a melon baller. Combine all the other ingredients (except the lime juice) in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over the melon, finishing with the lime juice. Chill before serving.

*by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse Jr (Greenwood, £41.95; 978-0-313-33410-8)

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