Blackberry Sponge Cake – A Redwall Recipe

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Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there’s something very rustic about blackberries. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries get a lot of attention and seem to have a lot of modern uses, but I don’t often see recipes involving blackberries. That’s why, when I came across a reference to a blackberry sponge cake in one of the Redwall books, I knew I had to get baking.

I baked this cake in the Fall, but I never got around to posting it until now. I know it can be hard to find fresh blackberries to use this time of year, but I think frozen berries could work well, too. You can also substitute for a different kind of berry, or just save this recipe for the summer when you can find fresh blackberries.

I had a hard time finding a blackberry sponge cake recipe to follow, but I finally found this recipe. A note about the measurements for my fellow American cooks: You’ll notice I’ve kept the ingredient measurements in weight measurements (grams) instead of cups. Usually, I like to convert British recipes to American baking measurements since I know not everyone has a kitchen scale. However, I’ve discovered the hard way that sponge cake really does turn out best when the ingredients are measured in grams rather than cups, since it’s more precise. You can find a kitchen scale for around $10 to $15, so it’s a relatively inexpensive addition to your kitchen, and I think you’ll find a lot of other uses for it, too, in addition to making delicious sponge cakes.

Blackberry Sponge Cake – A Redwall Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125 grams unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 125 grams sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Splash of milk (any kind)
  • 12 ounces blackberries

Directions

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add a splash of milk and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased round cake tin.
  6. Lightly coat the blackberries with flour and scatter them over the top of the batter.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.

You can serve this cake with ice cream or whipped cream, but it’s also delicious on its own. A dusting of powdered sugar is yummy, too.

My Top 5 Favorite Recipes

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Last month, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of this blog! I started this blog because I wanted to reconnect with two passions of mine: fantasy stories and food! What started as just a fun little hobby has turned into much more than that. Through re-reading my favorite books, rewatching my favorite movies, and creating delicious new foods, I really feel like I have rediscovered a piece of myself that I had previously let fall by the wayside. In addition to that, I’ve met lots of wonderful people and discovered that there are tons of fans out there who love recreating fantasy foods as much as I do!

As part of my celebration of blogging for one whole year, I decided to make a list of my top 5 favorite recipes on this blog. These are all recipes that just felt so magical to me, like I was stepping straight into a fairy tale. If you’re a more recent follower, some of these recipes may be new to you. Regardless, I think they are all worth revisiting. Enjoy!

Apple Dumpling Recipe - Disney's The Apple Dumpling Gang

The Apple Dumpling Gang was one of my favorite movies as a kid. When I started up this blog, I realized I had never tasted an apple dumpling, let alone made one, so I knew I had to turn it into a blog post. I’m so glad I did! Apple dumplings are so easy to make and they have that “down home cooking” taste. Even if you’re not familiar with the movie, give this recipe a try!

Another favorite story from my childhood! I’ve always loved English muffins, but had never even attempted to make them from home until I wrote this post. These English muffins may not be much to look at, and the dough can be a bit tricky to work with, but don’t let that put you off. Homemade English muffins taste infinitely better than the store bought kind! They were so flavorful that I could eat them plain, without any jam or even butter. Couldn’t do that with a store bought English muffin.

Bilbo Baggins Seedcake Recipe Hobbit Lord of the Rings

I absolutely felt like I had stepped into the pages of a storybook when I created and ate this seedcake, and you all seem to agree! This recipe for Bilbo’s seedcake is by far the most popular recipe on my blog. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? It will make you feel like a hobbit, I promise.

I got this recipe from the official Narnia cookbook. I just love official fandom cookbooks, don’t you? These cakes were like a more rustic fantasy version of an oatmeal cookie. They were so yummy and sweet, but with really simple ingredients. In fact, if you bake often, you probably have all the ingredients you need to make these oatcakes right now. Go for it!

As a girl, I loved all the American Girl books, and my American Girl Doll, Kirsten, went everywhere with me (seriously no exaggeration! I have a very vivid memory of flying home after visiting my grandparents, and I had to place Kirsten on the security belt to be x-rayed at airport security. I was so worried to let her out of my sight!) I have a copy of Kirsten’s cookbook that I received as a gift when I was a little girl, and it is well worn because the recipes in it are out of this world. One of those recipes is for a traditional Swedish spice cookie called Pepparkakor. My whole family loves Pepparkakor cookies so much that the cookbook automatically opens to that page after over two decades of use. Even if you couldn’t care less about American Girl dolls or books, check out this recipe. It’s a perfect Christmas cookie.

 

So there you have it! My favorite recipes on this blog (so far). I look forward to spending another year reading enchanting books, watching awesome movies, and cooking and eating delicious food. Won’t you join me?

Oat Farls – A Redwall Recipe

Oats are a common food in Mossflower Country. Whether cooked into a porridge, baked into a scone, or sprinkled on a berry crumble, oats provide hearty nourishment for all creatures at Redwall Abbey. When reading in one of the Redwall books about the adventures of a travelling band of creatures, I saw that they ate a lot of oat farls.

Oat Farls - A Redwall Recipe

I had never heard of oat farls, only soda farls, so I looked it up. It turns out, “farl” is just the word used to describe the shape of a type of bread or scone, rather than describing the actual ingredients or method. A farl is a scone cut into a sort of triangular shape before it’s baked.

As the base of the farls, I adapted this recipe for Scottish Oat Scones. I changed up the ingredients slightly and shaped them accordingly to earn the name “farl.” These oat farls are sweet and hearty, perfect for any time of the day, and they travel well, too, as they’re not too crumbly.

 

Oat Farls – A Redwall Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Mix together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the egg, butter, and buttermilk to the dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated.
  3. On a floured surface, pat the dough into a circle, about 1/2-inch thick.
  4. Cut the circle of dough into 6 farls (triangular pieces).
  5. Place the farls on a baking sheet, using a silicone baking mat.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes

You may use either rolled oats or quick oats, but I prefer quick oats because they incorporate into the dough better. The rolled oats will give you a chewier texture, so it’s really up to personal preference.

 

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A Hobbit Thanksgiving Menu

Besides being all about gratitude, Thanksgiving is also all about the food! The way to properly celebrate Thanksgiving is with a huge feast full of delicious foods, shared amongst family and friends. There’s possibly nothing a Hobbit likes more than a good feast, so I think Hobbits and Thanksgiving were a match made in heaven. That’s why I decided to put together a Hobbit-themed Thanksgiving menu for you all. If you want to throw a Hobbit Thanksgiving feast, just follow the links below for all the recipes you’ll need!

A Hobbit Thanksgiving Menu

Main Course

Side Dishes

Salads and Veggies

Dessert

Miscellaneous

Mix and match any of these components to plan your very own Hobbit Thanksgiving menu, or check out all the other Lord of the Rings recipes I’ve posted on the blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sam’s Mashed Taters – A Lord of the Rings Recipe

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Sams Mashed taters - A Lord of the Rings Recipe

“Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew.” I like to think that if Samwise Gamgee made mashed potatoes (or “taters” as he calls them), they’d taste a little something like this. I knew that I wanted these potatoes to be bursting with flavor, so I turned to the Lord of the Rings Online game for inspiration.

In LOTRO, the “Masterful Mash” dish is made with potatoes, cheese, and Shire seasonings. I chose sharp cheddar cheese, as it gives the dish a nice flavor and a bit of color, too. As for the seasonings, parsley is a flavor that can be found in many Shire dishes, and the nice green color really stands out.

These mashed taters are super easy to make, and they make a perfect side dish to any Shire feast.

Samwise Gamgee’s Mashed Taters – A Lord of the Rings Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes in water until they are tender.
  2. Drain the water from the pan, and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well until smooth.

Addy’s Sweet Potato Pudding – An American Girl Recipe

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Addys Sweet Potato Pudding - An American Girl Recipe

When I was a little girl reading the American Girl books, a lot of the foods in the books captured my imagination, but none more than this sweet potato pudding. In Addy’s Surprise, Addy and her Momma are preparing for their first Christmas in Philadelphia. This story is really very sweet, though also heart wrenching, with lots of lessons about family and helping those less fortunate.¬†Since Addy’s father, brother, and sister are all still being held as slaves, it’s just Addy and Momma for Christmas. This sweet potato pudding gives her comfort, since it is her Poppa’s favorite.

When I was a kid, reading about sweet potato pudding was a mystery to me. I didn’t think I knew what sweet potatoes were (I actually did, as we had them every Thanksgiving. Since we called them “yams” in our family, I didn’t know they were the same thing), but the way it’s described in the book sounded scrumptious.

I used to constantly browse the American Girl doll catalog as well, and one of the accessories you could buy for Addy was a sweet potato pudding kit. It came with a recipe and even a little doll-sized cast iron skillet to make it in. So cute! It made my desire to make sweet potato pudding even stronger.

Needless to say, finally making this pudding after decades of pining after it was a magical experience. To me, this sweet potato pudding is perfect in every way. The brown sugar adds a lovely flavor, and the edges of the pudding get delightfully chewy as it cooks. I used this recipe from AllRecipes.com, tweaking it a bit for my own taste preferences.

Addy’s Sweet Potato Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Use a sharp knife to slash a few holes in the skins of the sweet potatoes. This will allow the steam to escape as they cook so that they don’t explode in the oven.
  2. Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet at 425 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  3. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool, then peel their skins off. You should be able to do this by hand.
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl, and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour the pudding into a baking dish or pie plate (you may need to use 2 dishes).
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

 

Autumn Harvest Breakfast Bread – A Redwall Recipe

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Autumn Harvest Breakfast Bread - A Redwall Recipe

The inhabitants of Mossflower Country are very in tune with the seasons. They count their lives in seasons instead of years, and they cook and eat seasonally as well. The gardens and orchards of Redwall Abbey provide much of the food they need, and it’s up to the Friar to turn this bounty of nature into a delicious meal.

I think of the Redwall gardens in autumn practically bursting with a plentiful harvest, and I recalled that the inhabitants of Redwall often enjoy seasonal breads with their breakfast. So, I set out to make a breakfast bread perfect for the autumn season. I started with this pumpkin bread recipe from Betty Crocker, added a few of my favorite autumn flavors, and reduced the sugar a bit to make it more suitable for breakfast.

I am sure the creatures of Redwall would have added some chopped nuts to this bread, but I left them out since I personally don’t like nut bread. But if you like them, it would make this autumn harvest breakfast bread heartier and more authentic.

Enjoy this bread with a warm cup of herbal tea for a truly comforting breakfast.

 

Autumn Harvest Breakfast Bread – A Redwall Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir until just combined and no clumps remain.
  3. Divide the batter into two greased loaf pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for just under an hour (start checking at around 50 minutes). If the middle is not done yet, but the top is getting too dark, cover it with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning while it finishes cooking.
  5. Allow to cool before serving.

The White Witch’s Hot Drink – A Narnia Recipe

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White Witch's Hot Drink - A Narnia Recipe

Edmund felt much better as he began to sip the hot drink. It was something he had never tasted before, very sweet and foamy and creamy, and it warmed him right down to his toes.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

This month, everyone at Fandom Foodies is celebrating #Witchtober, in which we create recipes inspired by our favorite fiction witches. Though she’s not really a typical “Halloween-style” witch, my favorite fiction witch is The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia. She is beautiful, powerful, and totally evil.

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, there is an iconic scene in which Edmund encounters The White Witch on his first trip to Narnia. Trying to trick him into trusting her, she offers him something hot to drink to warm him up. In the movie adaptation, this drink is hot chocolate, but I like the idea in the book that this is a totally new and different drink. It seems more enchanting that way.

While reading the description of the drink quoted above, I tried to create a hot drink that met all those qualities. Sweet=sugar, of course. Foamy and creamy=milk. When I read that it “warmed him right down to his toes,” I thought of warm spices like cinnamon. So, combining all those elements, I came up with a recipe for hot spiced milk.

This drink was definitely, sweet, foamy, creamy, warming, and delicious! Even before I drank it, it filled the room with a wonderful aroma. I could definitely see myself using this drink to warm up in the middle of a snow storm. Enjoy, and happy #Witchtober!

 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Heat on medium, stirring frequently, until the mixture is foamy.
  3. Pour into a mug and enjoy.

Gaffer’s Mince and Tater Hash – A Lord of the Rings Recipe

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…in the matter of ‘roots’, especially potatoes, the Gaffer was recognized as the leading authority by all in the neighborhood (including himself).

The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Gaffer's Mince and Tater Hash - A Lord of the Rings Recipe

Over at Fandom Foodies, we’ve been discussing all things Hobbit this month, especially as it concerns food. In talking about different foods found in Middle Earth, a member of the group mentioned the cooking mechanic in the Lord of the Rings Online game, and gave us this link to a list of all the foods you can make in LOTRO. I’ve never played this game, but I loved having a resource for foods and basic recipes that the people of Middle Earth might cook and eat, and I plan on referring to it frequently for cooking inspiration!

One of the dishes on this list that stood out to me was “Mince and Taters,” which is made of leeks, beef, carrot, taters, and herbs. Since this is a rather rustic dish, and since it has several root vegetables in it, I thought it might be something that the ol’ Gaffer would cook up. This is basic Shire fare at its very best, and it’s incredibly simple to make.

Fandom Foodies is hosted this month by Bryton Taylor of In Literature. We’ll be linking up Hobbit and Lord of the Rings recipes all month!

Print

Gaffer's Mince and Tater Hash - A Lord of the Rings Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 3 large potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pan on the stove.

  2. Transfer the cooked beef to a bowl. Set aside.

  3. Add the veggies to the pan, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Return the ground beef to the pan, and add seasonings. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

 

Raspberry Cordial – A Redwall Recipe

At Redwall Abbey, whenever the creatures gather together for a feast (which is quite often!), they offer a variety of drinks. Many of these drinks, like October ale, are alcoholic and therefore not enjoyed by everyone. I wanted to recreate one of the nonalcoholic drinks offered so that it could be enjoyed by all! All the dibbuns (the children) at Redwall Abbey love raspberry cordial, and can be seen drinking it in almost all of the Redwall books.

Raspberry Cordial - A Redwall Recipe

I had never had raspberry cordial until now, but I can see why the dibbuns like it so! It is sweet and fruity, but quite rich, so a little bit goes a long way. Follow this recipe for raspberry cordial to bring a little nonalcoholic cheer to your next gathering.

Print

Raspberry Cordial - A Redwall Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water

Instructions

  1. Place the raspberries and sugar into a sauce pan, and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

  2. As the berries cook, crush them a bit to help release the juices.

  3. Once the raspberry mixture appears thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), remove it from the stove.

  4. Pour the raspberry mixture through a fine strainer into a pitcher, crushing the berries against the strainer to release all the juices. The strainer should remove all the seeds and excess pulp.

  5. Add 6 cups of water to the pitcher, and stir well.

  6. Chill the cordial in the refrigerator for several hours, and stir once more before serving.