As we have discovered in earlier posts, I love food; and have on a couple of occasions written about food that I have discovered in literature. Well I have an interesting selection for you today.
I will start by mentioning that Venison Stew was delicious, I couldn’t get pheasant or rabbit locally and it was going to cost far too much to get them shipped in. If you read the previous literary food post you will know exactly what I am talking about, if not you should check it out – it will tell you what book I found each item in. The Banana Beignets were delicious, but the mix yields a lot from what I had thought was a moderate amount of batter. Shortly after New Year we are going to try out the Fried chicken (see what happened is that I forgot that the last post was foods that I want to try…); High Tea… well that was delicious – bearing in mind that I don’t eat jam (I have issues with the wee seeds in it). I haven’t had opportunity to try the falafel with fig jam, nor the African stew, though the flat bread I found a little difficult to get right, and a little unremarkable.
Okay, now that we have been through the results of the last post let’s get cracking on the ones for this post!!!
Our first number I noticed in what is actually a movie. Sleepers (1996) starring Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, Robert De Niro and Dustan Hoffman. Soda Bread, for which I found a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage. Like most (if not all) non-yeasted breads it has a tendency towards being a high density loaf. And after a couple of goes – the first time I slightly over cooked it, giving it a very thick, tough crust – I finally got it right. I would have to say that it didn’t get rave reviews from the Natives (my family), and that it better the next day toasted and spread liberally with butter.
Syrniki is from a story on Wattpad.com called To Serve and Obey, they are a Russian cheese fritter (in the simplest explanation). We made these twice, and with Ricotta instead of the cheaper cottage cheese, or homemade yogurt cheese (both of which I am tempted to try). But the key to proper enjoyment of these is the garnish… the first attempt we just drizzled them with honey, and they got a 6/10 from the Natives. Our second attempt we had them with sour cream on homemade pear and ginger jam (I only had sour cream – I don’t eat jam) and they received an 8/10; plus my mother was making indecent noises at her end of the table. This was a resounding success.
Molasses Cake was found in another Wattpad.com story: Mail Order Bride Mishap. My friend Megan came out to our house in the middle of proverbial nowhere to help me bake it. It certainly got a good review from her, especially when she had no idea what Molasses was beforehand, and that she was worried about it being bitter after licking a drop off a spoon to try. The following is her review of the cake:
“Tasty, rich and not as bitter as I thought it would be. A little goes a long way which helps as it is more of a teacake to be served with drinks then an actually cake. 7/10”
It also went down well with the Natives, but they all like cake, and molasses…
Finally we get to possibly my favourite item: Chicken and Dumplings from The Runaway Mail Order Bride. I have a lot to say: included with the review is all the things that I did differently (or perhaps wrong), but essentially it is a thick chicken soup with dumplings in it. No chance of it needing a haul over to get better marks. It got a resounding 8/10 from the Natives. There were some slight changes to the recipe right off the bat with this one though: the recipe called for 4 quarts of water, which is 3.8 litres – this is A LOT of water; I used 2.25L (the 0.25L was rinsing the onion out of the food processor – I don’t do onion). I didn’t pull the pre-cut dumplings in half before I put them in, I also cut them at a generous 1.5inches (note for next time – they swell). I didn’t have any condensed cream of chicken (or cream of celery) soup, so I mixed up a packet of chicken noodle with some cornstarch and used that in its place. The final change that I made was I added 3 carrots sliced in rounds. It really suited the Natives – they love simple rustic cooking, and this just screams ‘comfort food’; it was right up their alley without even trying.
Just one final note before I sign off, while I highly recommend all of the books in today’s post, the ones from Wattpad.com may require you to join the site in order to be able to read; you can log in using your Facebook, or not; and it is free to join and to use. There is even an app for mobile reading, the only way to read them comfortably if I am honest. By all means give the books a read, have a crack at the dishes; and DO let me know how it went for you. I usually only run into a new food in every fifth book (or so) that I read, so I save them up to give you more than one food review at a time. Also a book is likely to get a higher starred review from me (on Goodreads) if it has a new food in it for me, though I am selective enough that by reading the blurb (traditionally on the back cover) that I already know whether or not I am going to like it, sometimes I am surprised (or disappointed) as the case may be.
Until next time, enjoy your sunny (or white for those in the Northern Hemisphere) Christmas!