Food and Fandom: A Tortallan Feast

Happy birthday to me!

I thought about actually doing a Top Ten Tuesday today, but come on, it’s a good day to celebrate with food! It also occurred to me that this would be my 50th Food and Fandom post ever, so how does one celebrate both her name day and her 50th F&F post?

Well, make a feast, that’s what!

Now, I realized I hadn’t actually reviewed Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, so let me tell you how amazing it is first.

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide is kind of a compendium of notes and guidelines that were compiled by George Cooper. As the spymaster and Whisper Man of the Tortallan Crown, George has…quite a bit of interesting notes about the characters within the kingdom as well as notes on Immortals and the world around. The book itself is divided into several parts, and Tamora Pierce’s co-writers include Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger.

I won’t get too much into this book, because it’s really chock-ful of information–mostly spoilerish if you’ve never read a Tortall book before–of the series itself.

One of the sections in the book, however, dealt with a chef that George’s spies end up following with the thought that said chef was a spy. Turns out he wasn’t, but there’s a ton of journal entries in the book itself that details the chef’s plans for several dishes and feasts.

They want a great feast! I cannot believe it…I must prepare a feast to impress ambassadors and guests from other realms.

Some of these foodstuffs were very interesting, and I wish I’d had the time–and the ingredients–to do more! Maybe I’ll return to a few of them, including the George soup. But for now, I have a list of three!

Appetizer – Custard Tart with Cranberry Sauce

I have decided to include gooseberry tarts. Her Majesty loves my gooseberry tarts and such beauty should be made happy.

Alright, so this could technically be a dessert as well, but the illusion egg was all sweet, so I moved things around. The original recipe was for a gooseberry tart, however, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a gooseberry around me. So when I looked up a substitute recipe, the suggestion was for cranberry. Anyway, I found Paul Hollywood’s Egg Custard tarts recipe on BBC (because I’m obsessed by The Great British Bake Off and it was just perfect in this case). I topped it off with a cranberry sauce glaze.

For the cranberry sauce: 1 cup frozen cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water. Just reduced the sauce a bit, filtered the skins, and voila! Pretty easy.

Main Course – Poultry Pot Pie

As well as suckling pigs, I cannot get enough of any one small bird–quails, pigeons, doves, larks, ortolans, partridges–to make pies for everyone. I will use a mix, and call the resulting pies “a medley of small birds.” Our guests will believe I have done this on purpose and not because I could not obtain enough birds.

So I’ve been visiting the local H Mart, which is this Asian supermarket, and one of the awesome things I found is that they have given more variety to the term “poultry”. No longer is it just chicken, but all other manner of birds, game and domesticated. Anyway, I wasn’t daring enough to try the gamier birds like the fowl and the pheasant (but I will eventually!) but I did want to play with small birds, so I went with the Cornish hen and the quail!

I don’t think I really followed a recipe here. I was mostly improvising, but if anyone is looking to figure out what I did…

Ingredients

  • 1 Cornish hen
  • 6 quails
  • 1 package of peas
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound of potatoes (I used an assortment of purple and red), chopped
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

The Cornish hen was taken apart and boiled, then shredded. I’ve been using the new air fryer recently as well, so I used that for the quail, which I also shredded. I kept the legs because they were nice and crispy.

Dessert – Illusion Egg

I have designed an illusion dish. I will take the uncooked eggs of many birds–not just chicken eggs, but those of quails, geese, swans, and so forth, so my eggs will be of various sizes and colors…I will have Mathy the undercook place a mixture of sweetened almond milk and gelatin. We shall leave the filled eggs in our cold room to set for a day. Peeled, we will have white, yolkless “eggs” that seem perfectly normal until they are tasted. Then let visitors marvel at how sweet and mild our birds are!

The dessert was pretty much straightforward. While the chef in the Tortall book went with sweetened almond milk, I went for condensed milk, water, and gelatin. You’re pretty much just eating sweet milk jello, but it made me giggle!

And, that’s pretty much it! Omnomnom. Now time to go eat cake and stuff.

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