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Recipe for lenticula ex spondilis siue fondilis
(Lentils with Mussels)

by Apicius, V, II, 1

 lenticula ex spondilis siue fondilis (Lentils with Mussels)

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Cooking Apicius

Okay, this recipe... I have no idea where it originally came from (I mean on the site). In researching along, I found a lot of stuff online, but the best, was on the Edesian Experiments blog... It is explained there well (better than us) and I shamelessly swiped the photo, but as there is no contact method on the blog to ask permisso (which I DO try and do) — I am hoping that I will not be met with pins in my voodoo doll. Visteth that blog!

BTW, I think from reading it, that the blog used Sally Grainger's big book, Apicius as a reference — you know how I am: BUY that book please and support these authors who write this stuff out of a love for the subject — I certainly don't think they're getting rich.

Original recipe: lenticula ex spondilis siue fondilis: accipies caccabum mundum, adicies in mortarium piper cuminum semen coriandri mentam rutam puleium, fricabis, suffundis acetum, adicies mel, liquamen et defritum, aceto temperabis, reexinanies in caccabo. spondilos elixatos teres et mittes ut ferueant. cum bene ferbuerint, obligas. adicies in boletari oleum uiridem.

Translation: Take a clean pan, (put the lentils in and cook them). Put in a mortar pepper, cumin, coriander seed, mint, rue, pennyroyal, and pound them. Pour on vinegar, add honey, liquamen, and defrutum, flavour with vinegar. Empty the mortar into the pan. Pound cooked mussels, put them in and bring to heat; when it is simmering well, thicken. Pour green oil over it in the serving dish.


  • 1-1½pt (0.5-0.8l) mussels per person
  • 12 oz (350g) lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A pinch of each of:
    • peppercorns
    • cumin seeds
    • coriander seeds
    • dried mint
    • rue
    • pennyroyal
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) honey
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) defructum
  • 1 tsp (5ml) garum
  • olive oil


  • Clean the mussels thoroughly and throw away any that are open.
  • Place the remainder in a rinsed pan and cover closely with a folded damp tea-towel.
  • Heat quickly, shaking the pan at intervals, for about 5-7 minutes until the shells open.
  • Take the mussels from their shells, removing the beards and crush them in a bowl until they become a paste.
  • Put the lentils in a pan of cold water with the onion and bring to the boil. Cook until the lentils are soft.
  • Grind the pepper, cumin, coriander, mint, rue and pennyroyal in a bowl, then mix in the vinegar, honey, defructum and garum
  • Pour this mixture into the pan with the lentils.
  • Add the mussels to the lentils, and bring them to the boil, stirring regularly.
  • Serve hot, sprinkled with a few drops of olive oil.
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