Fantasy Cooking

Yesterday I promised to demonstrate the upside of fantasy cooking, a la Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, and today I’m going to make good on that promise.

Entry D in our A-Z Cuisine challenge is Discworld, a world of witches, dragons and a peculiar dessert named Nobby’s Mother’s Distressed Pudding. All recipes here are sourced from Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook, and while Nanny Ogg is a fictional witch, the book is real, so check it out if you can. :D It’s well worth the laugh as well as the recipes.

Tonight I’m making three dishes; a starter, main and dessert, as follows;

Rincewind’s Potato Cakes

Brodequin Roti Facon Ombres (Man’s Boots in Mud)

Nobby’s Mother’s Distressed Pudding

All recipes in the book are both makeable with Earth ingredients, most of which you’ll have in a decently stocked kitchen, and also edible! Don’t mention the blue travesty, because I’m in denial about it and LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU. Right! So to start with, allow a few hours for cooking time. Once you’ve gone back in time to do just that, you’ll need the following:

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Beef, beef stock, mushrooms (more than you’d think), garlic, dill, stout ale, dark soy sauce and a skull named Bill. To start, we’re going to marinate our beef in soy sauce for a couple of hours.

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Beef nicely marinated (good work on going back in time there, it worked well), find a large casserole dish and start slicing the mushrooms. You will use more mushrooms than you thought possible to fit in a casserole dish. Don’t worry that you don’t have a lid for the casserole dish, because you can use foil. I did and it worked fine. You can take heart at this, because hardly anything I do in the kitchen works fine, so you can be sure this is pretty solid advice.

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Add mushrooms to beef. Then add ale, and then the rest of the ingredients. If you’re not sure which ale to pick, just ask the staff at your bottle shop. We had a handy guy who knew exactly what we were after – the only problem he foresaw was that the particular ale required a bottle cap opener to be opened. I assured him we weren’t intending to open it on the travelator and he relaxed.

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Right, now, isn’t that pretty? This is our main, Man’s Boots in Mud. It will apparently replicate the look but not the flavour of said man’s boots in mud. It smells wonderful and works with some great traditional ingredients. Cover the dish with foil or a lid if you’re posh enough to have such things as lids for your casserole dishes, stick it in the oven, and let’s get started on dessert.

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Nobby’s mother may or may not have used Yoplait rice pudding for her Distressed Pudding. Along with the rice pudding, you’ll need a few slices of bread, stewed, pitted prunes, treacle and maple syrup. Line a small ovenproof dish with half the bread, no crust. Pour a little maple syrup and treacle over the bread. Spoon rice pudding over the treacle. Add prunes. Layer bread. Add rice pudding. Prunes. Treacle. Stick in oven and forget!

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All right, now we’re getting to the business end of things. The starter! I chose potato cakes and despite reading the recipe I had no real grasp on what I was making until I made it. Such is my approach to cooking. Anyway, it was very straightforward and even my lack of preparation did nothing to harm this sturdy dish.

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For this we’ll need pre-boiled and mashed potatoes, which came as a surprise to me at this point, and I was required to make some. You know you’re doing well when you begin cooking with a surprise. Take an onion, some sage, oil, eggs and bread crumbs. Chop up the onion and fry it up in a pan. Chop up a little sage and stir it into the mashed potato. I used my mother’s method of making mashed potato, which is while the potato is still on the heat, add a good bit of skim milk and salt, then mash. For the intentions of this recipe, it could have used less milk, but it’s still a damn fine way of making mashed potato. Anyway, when the onion is fried, stir it into the mashed potato.

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With bowls of breadcrumbs and egg, take your mashed potato mix and make it into patties. Brush each patty with egg and then toss into the breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a frying pan, add crumbed patties.

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After a while you’ll have something beautiful, like this:

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Remove from heat. Remember to take the dessert from the oven, it should look a little like this and smell delicious;

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Remove the foil/ posh lid from your Man’s Boots in Mud and leave in oven until the copious amount of beef stock/ ale reduces. Perhaps because I used foil, or too much stock, my “mud” was still thin after twenty minutes. To speed up the process, you could strain the dish, add the liquid to a frying pan with a little cornflour, and make gravy.

If you’re not making gravy, take a time out while the mud reduces.

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Oh, Bill!

When everything is ready, serve up. The canon drink with this meal (aside from the recommended paint thinner in a rusted tin) is beer, with tea and/ or brandy afterwards.

Picture of the Day 56: cooking with witches

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and, for dessert;

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I loved these recipes. I had a lot of fun making it, I didn’t destroy anything aside from a certain blue unmentionable, it smelled fantastic and tasted better. No one died. Well, Bill, but Bill was dead already.

Both Ryan and I gave it 10/ 10, would go back in time and eat again.

Ah! And, I know there are vegetarians and vegans following this blog (and so probably not reading this recipe). Just in case you are reading, very soon I will be doing a super special and highly dangerous vegan dish: Post-Apocalyptic Vegan Cuisine. Expect casualties.

About Anneque G. Malchien

Writer, reader, villainous experimenter. Anneque was born in the Tumut Valley in the Snowy Mountains, by far the youngest of five children. Long car trips to Queensland for the holidays were brightened by audio books of the likes of Pongwiffy the Witch and Vlad the Drac, which may have inspired her fascination with the macabre. Her childhood hero and first love was MacGuyver. Now slightly older, Anneque's writing is inspired by the restless life of a traveller, a love of human sciences, a thousand stories, and MacGuyver's penchant for disaster.
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