Narnia

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe – The Chronicles of Narnia

In The Magician’s Nephew, Polly and Digory plant a piece of toffee into the magical Narnian ground, and the next morning they find a toffee tree has grown in its place.

“Just beside them was a little, very dark-wooded tree, about the size of an apple tree. The leaves were whitish and rather papery, like the herb called honesty, and it was loaded with little brown fruits that looked rather like dates…

Polly and Digory got to work on the toffee-tree. The fruit was delicious; not exactly like toffee — softer for one thing, and juicy — but like fruit which reminded one of toffee.”

-The Magician’s Nephew-

I figured it would be pretty impossible to recreate the fruit of the toffee tree in real life. It’s got to look like a date, taste like toffee, and be juicy. While I was puzzling over how to pay homage to the toffee fruit, I discovered this sticky toffee pudding recipe from Nigella. It was the perfect compromise. It has dates and toffee in it, so I like to think this is what toffee fruit would taste like if it were baked into a pudding. Plus, sticky toffee pudding is a traditional English dish, and many English dishes are also traditional Narnian dishes. Fancy that!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe – The Chronicles of Narnia

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups dates, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups boiling water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter a large pudding dish or souffle dish.
  2. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter, and stir until incorporated.
  4. Fold the dates into the batter, and pour the batter into the pudding dish.
  5. Sprinkle the 1 cup of brown sugar evenly on top of the batter.
  6. Dot the top of the brown sugar with the 2 Tbsp. of butter.
  7. Pour the boiling water over the whole mixture.
  8. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes, or until set.

After this pudding cooks, it will have a springy, almost cake-like upper layer, with a bottom layer of sticky toffee sauce. The dates added to this sticky toffee pudding recipe gave it a nice texture, and the toffee sauce was absolutely divine. It tasted almost as magical as I’m sure fresh toffee fruit tastes. Yum!

 

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Soft Caramel Recipe – The Chronicles of Narnia

In The Magician’s Nephew, Polly and Digory are on a quest in Narnia and are desperate for something to eat for dinner. The only thing they have available is a bag of toffees in Polly’s coat pocket. They eat all of them but one, and they plant the final toffee in the ground to grow a toffee tree. More on that later 🙂

“The little paper bag was very squashy and sticky…it was more a question of tearing the bag off the toffees than of getting the toffees out of the bag. Some grown-ups (you know how fussy they can be about that sort of thing) would rather have gone without supper altogether than eaten those toffees.”

-The Magician’s Nephew-

One of my favorite things about C.S. Lewis’ writing in The Chronicles of Narnia is how he talks about grown ups. It cracks me up and makes me realize that I am still a kid at heart. Toffee is delicious, even if it is “squashy and sticky.”

The way this toffee is described, it sounds more like caramel than toffee to me. Most toffee recipes produce a hard, crunchy candy. I love hard and crunchy toffee, but it is more difficult to make, as it requires a candy thermometer and can be easily burned. Plus, a soft caramel recipe would be more authentic in this situation, I think. So, that’s what I did.

I adapted this soft caramel recipe from Creme de la Crumb, and it did not disappoint!

soft caramel recipe

Soft Caramel Recipe – The Chronicles of Narnia

Ingredients

  • 10 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine the butter and the sugar in a saucepan, and stir it until the combination is melted and incorporated together.
  2. Add the corn syrup and the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk the ingredients together until the mixture boils.
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low, and whisk the mixture constantly for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be bubbling softly the whole time. You’ll know when to take it off the heat when it turns a golden brown color and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Allow the caramels to cool completely.
  6. When the caramels set, cut them into squares and wrap them in pieces of wax paper.

This soft caramel recipe produces candies that are buttery and sweet and definitely squashy and sticky. Perfect for growing a toffee tree!

 

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The Magician’s Nephew Feast – Chronicles of Narnia

The Magician’s Nephew is the prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It tells the story of how Narnia was created, and also how it was discovered by a young boy and girl, named Digory and Polly, from our world. It is a magical tale, and made even more lovely by the featured food.

Magician's Nephew Feast
Tuck in to this glorious Magician’s Nephew Feast

There aren’t many specific foods mentioned in this book, but the ones that are mentioned usually have a sort of magical quality to them. So, what this Magician’s Nephew feast lacks in quantity, it makes up for it in pure magic.

The Magician’s Nephew Feast Menu – The Chronicles of Narnia

Grapes

Digory’s mother is ill, and it is implied that she is dying. This is of course very distressing for Digory. When a neighbor brings over some fresh grapes for Digory’s mother, Digory hears his aunt remark that only fruit from the land of youth would do his mother any good.

Apples

Digory remembers this comment his aunt made about fruit from the land of youth when he is in the newly formed Narnia. He asks Aslan if there is any magical fruit in Narnia that could make his mother well. Aslan directs him to a tree with beautiful shining apples.

Toffee or Caramel

This was a bit difficult, because the book mentions toffee that Polly has brought to Narnia in her jacket pocket. Toffee, by modern definition, is hard and crunchy. However, the toffee in Polly’s jacket pocket is described as being “squashy and sticky,” which to me describes caramel rather than toffee. I decided to remain true to this description and make some “squashy and sticky” caramel wrapped in wax paper.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Now this bit of the story is my absolutely favorite because it is so very magical. Because Narnia is so new, the ground is still infused with Aslan’s magic, so that anything planted in it will grow. Digory and Polly see a bar from a lamp post grow into a lamp tree after it is flung into the dirt. (By the way, this is the very same lamp tree that Lucy encounters many years later in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.)

Later, when Digory and Polly are hungry, they decide to plant one of the toffee pieces they brought so that it will grow into a toffee tree. The toffee tree grows overnight, and the fruit it bears is described as looking like dates.

Rather than try to recreate this toffee fruit in and of itself, I decided to use those two elements (toffee and dates) to make a delicious sticky toffee pudding. What makes it even better is the fact that this is an English recipe, which meshes well since Narnia has many English influences.

This Magician’s Nephew feast is so delightfully indulgent. I just know you’ll love it. I feel like it perfectly harnesses the magic that is The Magician’s Nephew.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this does not cost you any extra money!

Good food is meant to be shared!

Centaur Breakfast Menu – The Chronicles of Narnia

“A centaur has a man-stomach and a horse-stomach. And of course both want breakfast. So first of all he has porridge and pavenders and kidneys and bacon and omelette and cold ham and toast and marmalade and coffee and beer. And after that he attends to the horse part of himself by grazing for an hour or so and finishing up with a hot mash, some oats, and a bag of sugar.”

-The Silver Chair-

I adore this quote from The Silver Chair. It’s just so whimsical and fun, I knew I had to try to recreate a typical centaur breakfast for myself. Since I only have a human stomach, I took just a few elements from the horse breakfast and incorporated them into the human-style breakfast.

Graze happily with this centaur breakfast menu from Narnia

Centaur Breakfast Menu – The Chronicles of Narnia

Oat Porridge with Sugar

The reference in The Silver Chair does not mention what type of porridge the centaurs eat, so I thought I’d make it an oat porridge with sugar mixed in to incorporate some of the horse food items that the centaurs eat at the end of their breakfast.

Pavender Fish

Pavender fish can only be found in Narnia, but you can substitute any kind of fish that you like. Pavenders are rainbow colored, so perhaps trout is the best substitution from our world. Since I do not like fish, I left this part out of my centaur breakfast entirely.

Kidneys

Okay, gross. Sorry, centaurs. If you want to be thoroughly authentic, cook up some kidneys. I decided against it, however. 😉

Bacon

Always a good idea.

Omelette

Again, this reference doesn’t specify the type of omelette the centaurs eat. I created a spinach and parmesan omelette, but I think an herb omelette would work well, too, if you happen to have fresh herbs around.

Cold Ham

I left out the cold ham when I recreated this breakfast, since I think bacon and ham in the same meal is a bit overkill. But feel free to add it to your own menu.

Toast and Marmalade

This one was simple and yummy. I used orange marmalade.

Beer and Coffee

I don’t drink either of these things, so I enjoyed this breakfast with some milk and juice.

While there’s nothing too fancy about this centaur breakfast, it is hearty and filling. Plus, I love the thought that I am eating like a centaur. It makes me feel all magical and noble. 😉

 

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Calormen Saddlebag Provisions – The Chronicles of Narnia

In honor of the #AslansFeast Narnia recipe link-up hosted by Alison’s Wonderland Recipes, I’m writing up a menu from one of my very favorite Narnia books.

This Narnia menu is inspired by a scene from The Horse and His Boy. A large portion of this book takes place in Calormen, which is one of the other countries in the Narnia world. The main character, Shasta, escapes from his abusive adoptive father and also helps Bree, an enslaved talking Narnian horse, to escape with him. Once they get on their way, Shasta becomes hungry, so Bree suggests they look in his saddlebags, leftover from his former owner.

“They investigated the saddle-bags and the results were cheering — a meat pasty, only slightly stale, a lump of dried figs and another lump of green cheese, a little flask of wine, and some money…”

The Horse and His Boy

Journey from Calormen to Narnia and beyond with this delicious menu
Journey from Calormen to Narnia and beyond with this delicious menu

The meat pasty was the easiest part of this menu to come up with, and you can find a link to the recipe I used below.

As for the “green cheese,” I had to do a little bit of research. When I first read this description, I thought it meant a lump of cheese that was green in color. After researching a bit, I discovered that, in the cheese-making industry, “green” means “new” or “fresh,” meaning that it is unaged. This sounded much more appetizing to me that literal green cheese. Some “green” cheeses include queso fresco, ricotta and paneer. Since ricotta and paneer tend to be a little wetter, it makes them hard to carry around in a saddlebag, so I went with a lump of queso fresco cheese.

I have a little confession to make regarding the dried figs. The dried fruit you see in these photos are prunes, not dried figs. I ordered dried figs from the Walmart grocery pick-up app along with some other groceries, and when I arrived to pick up my groceries, the employee loading up my car said, “I’m sorry, we had to make a substitution. We were all out of dried figs, so we gave you prunes instead…” Well, I didn’t want to be “that person,” so I just said, “Sure, okay.” It’s all dried fruit, am I right? So anyway, if you want to be more authentic, you can find actual dried figs. Or, you can be lazy like me and just use any old dried fruit. 🙂

I used grape juice instead of wine, since I do not drink alcohol, but feel free to make substitutions for your own personal Calormenian feast.

Calormen Saddlebag Provisions – Narnia Menu

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Calormen Saddlebag Provisions

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Meat Pasty Recipe – The Chronicles of Narnia

 

In The Horse and His Boy, which is one of the lesser known books in the Chronicles of Narnia series, a young boy named Shasta escapes from his abusive adoptive father and helps a free Narnian talking horse named Bree along the way. Shasta is from Calormen, which is a land in the same world as Narnia. When Bree and Shasta escape, they find some food and money in Bree’s saddle bags to help them along the way. One of those items is a meat pasty.

Fuel up for the journey back to Narnia with this meat pasty recipe.
Fuel up for the journey back to Narnia with this meat pasty recipe.

This meat pasty recipe is an adaptation of this Cornish pasty recipe I found from BBC Good Food. Since C.S. Lewis was British, I figured adapting a British recipe was the way to go. This recipe was fairly easy and it turned out delicious. I used ground beef, but the book doesn’t specify what kind of meat is in the pasty, so I think you could use any kind of meat and still be authentic.

Calormenian Meat Pasty Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 pie crusts (I used store-bought refrigerated pie crust to save time)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pan, and drain off the excess grease.
  2. Add the diced potato and diced carrot to the pan.
  3. Add the flour to the pan, and stir until the flour is incorporated.
  4. Pour the beef broth into the pan, and add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  5. Heat the mixture on the stove for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Stir occasionally to keep the food from burning on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cut out 6 circles of pie crust, about 6 inches across.
  7. Place a few spoonfuls of the beef mixture towards the edge of each of the pie crust pieces.
  8. Brush the edges of the pie crust with egg, and fold the edges over the beef mixture, sealing the edges tight.
  9. Place the pasties on a cookie sheet, and brush the tops with egg.
  10. Cook the pasties for 25 minutes at 375 degrees F.

These meat pasties can be eaten either warm or cold. While I prefer to eat them warm, Shasta definitely ate them cold in the book, so that’s what you’ll want to do if you want to be authentic to the book. Enjoy, whether you find yourself in Calormen or Narnia.

meat-pasty-from-calormen2

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra.

Good food is meant to be shared!