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March 7 

Saint of the day:

Saint Perpetua & Saint Felicity

Patron Saint of mothers, expectant mothers, ranchers and butchers 

Saints Perpetua and Felicity’s Story

“When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’”

So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.

Perpetua’s mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.

In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: “What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby…. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”

Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity–a slavewoman and expectant mother–and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.

Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.

Perpetua’s record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. “Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will.” The diary was finished by an eyewitness.,_Saint_Felicitas,_and_their_Companions







Art with the Blessed Mother




Basilica Maiorum

Carthage, Tunisia

*This ancient church was erected over the original tombs of Saints Perpetua and Felicity




Tunisian Chicken (or chickpeas) with Cous Cous and Green Harissa Yogurt Sauce


  • 1 ½ lbs boneless chicken thigh meat
    (or substitute 3 cups cooked garbanzos,
    2 cans drained, or a combination of both.
    Vegetarians could also add cauliflower.)

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • Generous pinch salt and chili powder

  • 3 medium carrots

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger-minced

  • 5 garlic cloves- rough chopped

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, optional but very tasty

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 can diced tomatoes ( fire roasted if possble)

  • ¼ cup dried apricots, diced (or sub raisins)

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 1 ½ cups cous cous ( or sub cup quinoa )

Green Harissa Yogurt Sauce 

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
    (don’t use zero fat, or if you do, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil)

  • ½-1 bunch Italian parsley, small stems OK ( or substitute cilantro)

  • 1-2 garlic cloves

  • ½ to 1 whole jalapeño

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon coriander (or cumin)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional garnish: fresh mint leaves, toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts


  1. Pre heat oven to 400F

  2. In a large heavy bottom oven proof skillet or dutch oven heat to the oil. Cut chicken into bigger bite-sized pieces, 1-2 inches, and generously salt and pepper and sprinkle with chili powder (If using chickpeas, see notes). Sear chicken 5 minutes on each side, turning the heat down to medium if necessary until it’s golden brown. While chicken is searing, prep the veggies.

  3. Slice the carrots at diagonal ⅓ inch thick. Slice the onions into rings ⅓ inch think, then cut into half moons. Rough chop the garlic, and finely mince the ginger.
    Chop the apricots.

  4. When Chicken is golden, remove it from the pan, and set it aside on a plate (it will finish cooking in the oven).  Add the onions and carrots to the same pan (adding a tad more oil if need be) and cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring very often. Turn heat to medium and cook for just a few more minutes until onions become tender. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 2 minutes. Add the spices, and sauté for one minute to bring our their flavor. Add the salt, sugar, undrained tomatoes, dried apricots and water. Bring to a simmer and stir a bit. Once it’s simmering, stir in the cous cous. Nestle in the chicken cover and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

  5. While its baking, make the Green Harissa Yogurt Sauce …by placing the parsley or cilantro, garlic and jalapeño in a food processor and pulse (or finely chop) then place in a bowl. Stir in yogurt spices & salt.

  6. After 15 minutes, pull the pan from the oven. If you want the chicken to darken up a bit, broil for a minute or two. Scatter with the mint leaves and serve with Green Harissa Yogurt Sauce.


  • NOTES: If subbing chickpeas, drain them first. For the fastest preparation, place them directly over the cous cous to heat in the oven,sprinkle with a little salt. OR for added flavor, give chickpeas a quick fry: drain, pat dry and sauté with olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little chili powder or cumin, sautéing for just another minute. To keep them crispy, add them to the cous cous after it comes out of the oven. Another option is to add cauliflower, same preparation.

  • If subbing quinoa: Add 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 1 ¾ Cups water. Extend cooking time by 10 minutes.


Tunisian doughnuts (Yo-Yos)


  • 1 TBSP dried yeast

  • 1 tbsp white sugar

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) orange juice

  • 1 orange, zest

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry

  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted

Honey syrup

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 110 g (½ cup) white sugar

  • 360 g (1 cup) honey

  • 2 tsp orange blossom water or Rose water (see Note), optional

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection),
reduce the temperature by 20˚C.

We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals
5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml.

All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed.

All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified.

All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.



  1. Resting time 2 hours

  2. Place yeast, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) lukewarm water (110'F)  
    in a bowl and stir to combine. Let it Bloom...

  3. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.

  4. Add orange juice, zest and 2 tbsp oil, and stir to combine.

  5. Place flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

  6. Pour yeast mixture into the well and stir until combined.

  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes
    or until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.)

  8. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

  9. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until dough doubles in size.

  10. Meanwhile, to make honey syrup, place lemon juice, sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a pan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves.

  11. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil.

  12. Add honey and orange blossom water, if using, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook mixture for 35 minutes or until the consistency of runny honey; watch syrup to make sure it doesn’t boil over.

  13. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.

  14. Using a rolling pin roll out the dough to a half-inch thickness.

  15. Create circles (2-2 ½ diameter) with a hole in the middle.

  16. You may use a mini doughnut cutter or a cookie cutter and a smaller hole maker.

  17. Let your dough rest again for about 15 minutes

  18. Fill a deep-fryer or large pan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds).

  19. Gently drop dough into oil and deep-fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until crisp, golden and cooked through.

  20. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

  21. Using a skewer, pierce yo-yo on both sides, then soak in honey syrup for 4 minutes each side. Serve immediately.


• Orange blossom water or Rose water is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.

Tunisian Mint Tea Recipe

The tea is a brilliant green, garnished with pine nuts and served with cookies. It tasted of mint

and would have been bitter if it wasn’t so sweet. When I say sweet, I mean over-the-top sweet!
In Tunisia tea seems to be the most evident symbol of hospitality

in a culture that still knows how to treat a guest. 


  • 4 TBSP loose green tea leaves (or 4 bags of green tea)

  • 2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste; see caveat below)

  • 1 cup  loosely packed mint sprigs

  • 4 teaspoons pine nuts


  1. Add tea, mint, sugar and water to pot and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.

  3. Remove from heat and allow tea to steep for 5 minutes.

  4. Strain out tea and mint.

  5. Pour remaining liquid from a height into small, clear glasses
    (should produce a frothy head).

  6. Add about 1 t. pine nuts to each glass.

Makes 4 servings.

Caveat: This recipe calls for about half the sugar a real Tunisian would use, so if you’re Tunisian you’ll need to double the sugar. If you’re not, however, you may want to try using even less sugar than I’ve recommended (which will still produce wicked sweet tea). You can increase the amount of sugar as you build up your tolerance.

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