The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Today marks the penultimate episode of Season 3 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and for those gearing up for the big finale next week, you might be thinking of preparing a big feast to enjoy while sitting around the television set.
Perhaps a series-inspired menu might strike your fancy, but just where might you find a recipe for Dornish snake with fiery sauce or pigeon pie?
Luckily Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer took all of the guesswork out of creating a menu in their new cookbook “A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook.” The book is a selection of more than 100 recipes separated out into the different regions of the “Game of Thrones” world: The Wall, The North, The South, King’s Landing, Dorne and Across the Narrow Sea.
The authors create foods mentioned in the series of books the television show is based upon. Each recipe includes a quote from the text where it is first mentioned, as well as passages in medieval, Roman and Elizabethan cookbooks from where the authors drew inspiration.
We were struck by a few things while perusing the book. First, nearly everything calls for honey. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering granulated sugar probably wasn’t a household ingredient in most medieval kitchens, but as you can see, each of the four recipes we tackled called for the sweet stuff ... even the savory dishes.
Secondly, some of the recipes are weird. Really weird. There’s a dish that calls for rattlesnakes, there’s something called “bowls of brown” and another called honey-spiced locusts. Other recipes are pretty common dishes eaten even in today’s non-fantasy world, but have different, or unrecognizable names: lemonsweet is basically lemonade, sister’s stew is a seafood chowder and chickpea paste is hummus.
We enjoyed the book and the simplicity of instructions. Every recipe was accompanied by a photo, which helps those of us a little uncertain of how our finished dishes should look. We’ve picked a few of the less unusual dishes to share with you below.
Arya’s snitched tarts
“She filched one anyway, and ate it on her way out. It was stuffed with chopped nuts and fruit and cheese, the crust flaky and still warm from the oven. Eating Ser Amory’s tart made Arya feel daring. ‘Barefoot surefoot lightfoot,’ she sang under her breath. I am the ghost in Harrenhal.” — “A Clash of Kings”
Despite the fact that pastry dishes can often involve dozens of steps and take way too much time, these tarts were a straight-forward treat. (The pre-made frozen puff pastry certainly helped in that regard).
I used a martini glass and a pint class to create my different sized rings, which turned out perfectly.
The resulting creation was an impressive-looking, not-too-sweet tart with a nice touch of tang from the lemon. Good thing I only made half a batch, or I’d have snitched all these up in one day.
2 17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (4 sheets), thawed
1 egg, beaten
6 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese (about 3/4 cup packed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 medium Gala apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup honey, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped candied nuts (optional)
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch square. Using a 3- to 4-inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut out four rounds from each pastry sheet to make sixteen total. Place four pastry rounds on each of the prepared baking sheets and pierce the dough all over with a fork.
Using a 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or glass, cut out smaller rounds from the center of the remaining eight rounds, forming rings. Brush the outer 1-inch edge of the solid rounds on the baking sheets with beaten egg, and top each with a pastry ring. Arrange the smaller rounds wherever they fit on the baking sheet. They make tasty snacks on their own with just honey and cinnamon. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the cheese, lemon juice and salt in a bowl, then spread the mixture inside the rings of the frozen pastry rounds. Overlap the apple slices on top.
Combine the honey and butter in a small bowl, then brush the mixture over the apples. Sprinkle the tarts with allspice and nuts, if you’re using them.
Bake until the apples are tender and the pastry is golden, about 35 minutes. Place the tartlets on plates. Drizzle a little honey over each and serve warm or at room temperature.
— Danielle Haynes
“The lower tables were crowded with knights, archers, and sellsword captains, tearing apart loaves of black bread to soak in their fish stew.” — “A Clash of Kings”
Homemade bread has a reputation for difficulty, but this was nearly as easy as yeast bread gets. I was thrown off when the beer/yeast mixture didn’t foam up as expected, but it still rose well and was easy to knead.
Make sure to pick a beer you like, because you can taste (and smell) it in the finished bread. It’s a very dense loaf (would perhaps be perfect for bread bowls for stew, as the book suggests), just what I could see being eaten on a dark night on the Wall.
21/4 teaspoons dry yeast (one packet)
One 12-oz. bottle dark beer such as stout or porter (I used porter)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
4 to 5 cups mixed flour (Like the cookbook authors, I used two cups white flour, two cups rye and 1/2 cup whole wheat), plus additional white flour for working
In a small bowl, add the yeast and honey to the beer and allow the mixture to sit for five minutes until foamy. (In my experience, the mixture does not necessarily get very foamy, but stick with it.) Add the beaten egg to the wet ingredients, then begin adding in the mixed flour, one cup at a time. The ideal consistency for the dough is when it forms one cohesive mass.
At this point, flour your work surface and turn the dough out for kneading. Using firm motions, knead the dough for about five minutes until it bounces back when poked. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for at least one hour.
Punch down the dough, then replace the towel and let it rise again for at least two more hours, or refrigerate it overnight, which will give it the slightest sourdough taste. (Jill’s note: This is the method I used. I worked well.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Form the dough into two loaves, dust then lightly with flour and lightly slash the tops.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is browned. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.
— Jill Keppeler
Iced green minty drink
“Slave girls scurried through light and shadow, bearing flagons of ale and wine and some iced green drink that smelled of mint. One table in twenty was occupied at this hour of the morning.” — “A Dance With Dragons”
As a fan of iced mint tea, I had to give this one a try. While the final mint taste isn’t the stronger (I would add more mint if I made it again), it’s a nice change from the bottled teas available this time of year, which I find horribly sweet. At least with this, you can add as much or as little sweetener/honey as you would like.
Plus as the recipe is based off Moroccan mint tea, it just seems a little more ... exotic ... even if you picked the mint right out of your Western New York garden.
1/2 tablespoon loose matcha green tea
4 cups boiling water
1/4 cup honey (or to taste)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
4 small stalks lemongrass, for garnish
Pour the loose tea and boiling water into a 1- to 11/2-quart teapot and steep the tea for two minutes. Stir in honey to taste, followed by the mint leaves, and steep for three to four minutes longer. At this point, you can either serve the tea hot in small heatproof glasses or chill it for a few hours. Serve it garnished with a stalk of lemongrass. (Jill’s note: This is optional. I had a hard time finding lemongrass.)
— Jill Keppeler
“If I could fly, I’d be back at Castle Black eating a pork pie.” — “A Clash of Kings”
There were a lot of savory pies included in the cookbook, yet surprisingly few sweet ones. I honestly picked this one because I wanted an excuse to use up some dried figs I had in the cupboard instead of the dates called for in the recipe. I imagine any dried fruit would work in its spot.
Again, a surprisingly easy recipe — if you use a pre-packaged pie crust — that seems easily adaptable to include other ingredients. It seemed a little heavy on the sweet flavors for it being a savory dish, but the honey and fruit work well with the pork.
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped dates
double pie crust for 9-inch pie (homemade or store-bought works fine)
Preheat oven to 375.
Brown the pork in a skillet over medium heat. Let cool slightly, and mix well with the salt, egg yolks, spices, honey and fruits. (The filling should be very moist). Place the mixture in the pie shell and add the lid. Fold the top dough under the edge of the bottom crust and pinch the edges shut. Cut decorative steam holes in the top of the pastry, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.
— Danielle Haynes
Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116, or follow her on Twitter @DanielleHaynes1. Contact Tonawanda News reporter Jill Keppeler at 693-1000, ext. 4303.
Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116 or follow her on Twitter @DanielleHaynes1. Contact Tonawanda News reporter Jill Keppeler at 693-1000, ext. 4303.