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Recipe for
Pultes Iulianae
(Julian Pottage)

Julian Pottage (Pultes Iulianae)

by Apicius V, I, 1

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The Roman Cookery of Apicius
AFAIK, this recipe comes from Edwards and was inserted by original site author (I will say again to PLEASE buy these author's books! By doing so, you will help support them — even for books that are older and might not sell as well anymore... These authors do not do this for money, they do it for love. Please support them!

Puls (pottage) was considered the aboriginal food of the Romans, and played a role in some archaic religious rituals that continued to be observed during the Empire. The basic grain pottage could be elaborated with chopped vegetables, bits of meat, cheese, or herbs to produce dishes similar to polenta or risotto. "Julian stew" (Pultes Iulianae) was made from spelt to which was added two kinds of ground meat, pepper, lovage, fennel, hard bread, and a wine reduction; according to tradition, it was eaten by the soldiers of Julius Caesar and was a "quintessential Roman dish."

Original recipe: Alicam purgatam infundis, coques, facies ut ferueat. Cum ferbuerit, oleum mittis; cum spissauerit, lias diligenter. Adicies cerebella duo cocta et selibram pulpae quasi ad isicia liatae, cum cerebellis teres et in caccabum mittis. Teres piper, ligusticum, feniculi semen, suffundis liquamen et uinum modice, mittis in caccabum supra cerebella et pulpam. Ubi satis ferbuerit, cum iure misces. Ex hoc paulatim alicam condies, et ad trullam permisces et lias, ut quasi sucus uideatur.

Translation: Soak hulled spelt, cook. and bring to a boil. When boiling, add oil. When it thickens, stir to a creamy consistency. Take two previously cooked brains and half a pound of meat, minced as for rissoles. Pound the meat together with the brains, and put into a saucepan. Then pound pepper, lavage. and fennel seed. moisten with liquamen (garum) and a little wine. and put into the saucepan over the brains and the meat. When this has cooked enough, mix it with stock. Add this mixture gradually to the spelt. mixing it in by the ladleful, and stir until smooth, to the consistency of thick soup.


  • 8 oz (225g) whole wheat grains, soaked overnight
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
  • 2 cooked brains
  • 8 oz (225g) minced meat
  • A pinch of:
    • pepper
    • lovage
    • fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp (5ml) garum
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) wine
  • 2 pt (1.1L) stock


  • Drain the wheat grains and bring them to the boil in a pan of water.
  • Simmer until soft, add the olive oil and continue to cook until thickened to a creamy consistency.
  • Mash the brains and minced meat in a bowl, then put in a saucepan.
  • Grind the pepper, lovage and fennel seed, and moisten with garum and wine.
  • Add this to the meat in the pan.
  • Bring gently to the boil and add the stock, then add this mixture gradually to the wheat, mixing it in by the ladleful, and stir until smooth, to the consistency of thick soup.
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