Apart from the costumes, we prepared and cooked a selection of Roman dishes taken from "Apicius". Naturally enough not all the recipes could be showcased, but one turned out to be very well received - prawn balls in hydrogarum.
After some trial and error, mostly to get the prawn balls to hold their shape, the version of the recipe we used for the programme was adapted from Sally Grainger's book "Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today" If you love the idea of creating your own Roman style feast, then we cannot recommend more highly than to follow Sally's lead. As for the recipe itself, a couple of things to note. It's best to use fresh king prawns if possible as frozen can contain too much water and this can cause problems getting the balls to bind together. If this happens, then you may need to add more breadcrumbs. The prawn paste can be made in a food processor but this risks pureeing the prawns too much which, in turn, means you lose some of the dish's texture. If possible, to recreate historic recipes, use a pestle and mortar for more authentic Tastes of History:
Britain's Most Historic Towns (Ep 2/6) continues on Channel 4 next Saturday, April 14th, at 8 pm with a look at Viking York.