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Daily Dig 2011

Cheese, Archaeological Mice & Amy’s Kitchen

Amy’s previous blog on the site kitchen was hugely popular. We are pleased therefore to bring you an update, along with the exclusive recipe for Supervisor Scott’s Tagine:

The last week in the kitchen is going to be interesting. Making sure there is enough food for the masses and also that there is very little left over at the end is going to be tricky – if the food runs out I’ll be having to run very fast away from starving archaeologists, but if there is a lot left over the budget will haunt me! Unfortunately with only 4 days of cooking and a whole shipment of tinned tomatoes to eat there might be a lot of repetition in the food. Ragu and Chilli are definite and possibly again if there are still tomatoes left, but cheese is the biggest issue. We get through vast amounts – I’m pretty sure we’re all related to mice and if we run out I’ll lose a lot of friends.

Amy, with help from James, prepares Sunday dinner

Amy, with help from James, prepares Sunday dinner

I’ve got a permanent helper this week in the shape of Miss Emily – a fellow bossy graduate (and the same graduate responsible for the comment about clay). She’s got into the swing of things very quickly, nagging away at those who would rather chill than clean the toilets. Between the two of us we’ve motivated the troops much quicker. This afternoon she also proved a dab hand at boggle during the tournament which followed our speedy cleaning (she won by 12 points over 5 rounds).

There was a request for a recipe last time, so here is Scott’s Tagine (courtesy of a Woman’s Weekly recipe book I hope belongs to his wife!). Most of the cooking has involved chopping up vast amounts of vegetables and throwing them into a pot, occasionally with meat or meat substitute. This is one of the few proper recipes we’ve used, others being unique site creations.

For 4-6 people:
1 kg chicken/quorn
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
300g chopped onions
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
375ml chicken/vegetable stock
85g seedless dates, halved
60ml honey
80g blanched almonds, toasted
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

  • Cut chicken into strips.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil and cook chicken in batches til browned and drain.
  • Heat the rest of the oil.
  • Add onions, garlic and spices and cook til onions are soft.
  • Return chicken to pan with stock and simmer for 30 mins til the mixture is thickened
  • Stir in dates, honey and almonds about 5 mins from the end.
  • Serve sprinkled with coriander.

Of course, in our case, it’s just been a case of throwing in as much food as the pan will hold, with lots of spices to make it unbelievably tasty.

Amy with spoon, guarding the cheese from any digger sized mice...

Amy with spoon, guarding the cheese from any digger sized mice...



About Cosmeston Students

We are the student labour at the Cardiff University excavations of Cosmeston Medieval Manor.


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Day of Archaeology 2011

Cosmeston contributed to Day of Archaeology 2011. Click through to see our posts!

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