Character Themed Meals: Margaery Tyrell

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When I polled our Facebook followers a few months back about which character they would most like to have a character themed meal for, the winner was resoundingly our lovely young queen Margaery.

This should be a delightfully tasty meal to create. The weather is warm, fruits are ripening on tree and vine, and there is an abundance of flowers everywhere. It’s a perfect time for some Highgarden fare, instead of the heavy stews from Castle Black that get me through the winter!

Because Highgarden is so rich in edible goods, and the Tyrells wealthy enough to purchase what they cannot grow, we pretty much have our pick of ingredients. I’m thinking the dishes should be lighter fare, not quite as informal as tapas, but not far off, either. Something including floral notes is a must, whether roses or something else. My elderflowers are just coming into bloom, so I think perhaps those will go into a drink.

Grains and fresh fruits are always good. After all, the Tyrells brought wagonloads of bread to distribute amongst the poor of King’s Landing to bolster support for Margaery, so we can guess that a variety of grains are grown in the Reach. Overall, I suspect the meal should be flavorful, interesting, fresh, and healthy.

So, what do you all think? Have any regional favorites that you think are just begging to be included in a Highgarden meal? As always, I’ll pick out my favorite suggestions and incorporate them into the finished meal, so points for creativity. ;)

Gooey Apple Rolls with Caramel Sauce

Gooey Apple Cinnamon Rolls - no rising necessary!

Thoughts:

Every now and again, I get recipe suggestions from readers, and when they’re good, I like to share them, too. My notes from over a year ago say that this one comes from FB reader Karyn, 

And it is definitely a winner. 

Dear readers, this is a recipe well worth making. The gooey warmth of the straight-from-the-oven rolls as you pull them apart is so comforting. Although it took me ages to try these out, it has actually become a staple here at The Inn, especially when overnight guests merit something a little special for breakfast. 

One serious perk of this recipe is that it has the feel of cinnamon rolls, but the advantage of being a relatively last minute dessert, since it requires no time at all for the dough to rise, something that is often the downfall of my very good breakfast intentions. 

Where in Westeros?

Honestly, anywhere I can still eat them. 

But they strike me as a more northern dessert, with their hearty richness and apples. It’s a simple dish, at the end of the day, but filling and delicious. Because cinnamon is the only spice used, that could reflect the distance from bustling trade ports of the dish’s point of origin; spices in the medieval period in Europe were expensive ingredients, and I can only assume the same would be true of Westeros. 

 

Recipe for Gooey Apple Rolls

Dough recipe:

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 4 ½ tea spoon of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2/3 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 cups of finely minced apples
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

Sugar bouillon recipe, simmered for 5 minutes

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of brown sugar

Brown Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • a dash of vanilla

Begin by mixing up the dough: add together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then rub in the butter. Gradually work in the milk until you have a dough that has completely come together. Knead for a few minutes, then roll out on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Spread the minced apples over the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and carefully roll the whole thing up, making sure to keep the apple bits as evenly distributed as possible throughout the roll. 

Preheat the oven to 425F. Heavily butter a baking pan, probably around 9″x13″ or thereabouts. Make up the sugar bouillon by gently warming the water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cut the rolled dough into slices roughly 1″ thick and lay in the pan, cut sides up. Continue until all the dough is used up (although ever since I can remember, I’ve eaten those little knobbly end bits that are obviously too ugly to be included… ). Pour the cooled sugar bouillon evenly over the rolls, and bake for around 25 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are a nice golden color. 

While the rolls are baking, make up the Brown Sugar Glaze. In a pot over medium-low heat, mix together the brown sugar and flour until the sugar is melted. Then add in the milk, butter, and vanilla. Bring up to a simmer for several minutes to thicken, then remove from heat. 

Serve the rolls with a good drizzle of this glaze over top. It would also be great with a dollop of ice cream, and while I personally don’t care for nuts in baked goods, I can recognize that they would be a fantastic addition to this recipe!

Theoretical Foods: Feasts of the Seven

Sept at King's Landing

 

Now that we’ve seen a bit of the High Sparrow in season 5, it got me thinking about the Faith of the Seven, especially in King’s Landing. In our own Middle Ages, the calendar was rife with feast days, saint’s days, and all manner of other religious holidays. The more I think about it, the more I bet something similar could be said of Westeros.

First off, the seven facets of the one are:

  • Maiden – innocence and chastity
  • Mother – fertility, compassion, mercy
  • Warrior – strength, victory, courage
  • Father – justice, protection
  • Smith – fortitude, help with tasks
  • Crone – wisdom, guidance
  • Stranger – outcasts, death

From that, I could easily extrapolate a few things, such as the Mother’s festival day would likely be in the fall, to coincide with the harvest. Maiden’s Day, as we see in Feast for Crows, is a day when only maidens may enter the septs, to sing songs and drape flower garlands at the feet of the Maiden’s statue- I can see some similarities to May Day, there.

While the Stranger isn’t formally worshiped or sung to, I sense that the observances around him would be more a preventative measure, such as our lighting pumpkin lanterns to scare away ghouls on Halloween. Perhaps a few specially baked cakes, left out on the doorstep, to appease wandering spirits? Sugar skulls akin to those used for the Day of the Dead celebrations?

So how about it? Can you think of any festival foods that you’ve enjoyed that could dovetail in with the deities in Westeros? One thing that I love about the fanbase for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire is that it’s so international. The stories resonate with people from all over the world, who bring to it their own interpretations and traditions. As such, I’d love to hear what regional specialties you enjoy on festival days; If we collect enough ideas, I will be able to devote several posts to making recipes for those special feast days!

Roast Capon

Roast Capon, from Game of Thrones

Thoughts:

So, a few of you might have seen my Twitter post back in the winter, when I finally found a capon for sale at the local grocery store, of all places. I think I actually frightened a store clerk when I gave a little shriek-gasp of delight and disbelief before hurrying around to clutch the bird protectively; there were approximately 23 other capons for sale in the same case, but having searched high and low for one, no way was I letting anyone take MY capon.

And it’s been in the freezer ever since. Let me make something clear: I don’t have one of those amazing huge modern fridges. Mine came with the house, and while it’s perfectly adequate, it’s not exactly spacious. So a giant capon taking up valuable tater-tot room in the freezer was something that finally had to change.

For those who don’t know, a capon is essentially a gelded rooster. A eunuch, as it were, which accounts for both its size and tasty plumpness. They were all the rage in historical cooking, but have mostly fallen out of fashion nowadays, with the exception of Christmas dinners in some families. We will now be taking up that tradition, as well!

This was my first time actually cooking a capon, but given everything else that has passed through my kitchen, I wasn’t too worried. Once again, the historical recipe did not disappoint. The meat was lightly flavored from the stuffing (possibly too lightly, so take that into account if you try your hand at this recipe!), rich with juices and steaming. With the exception of the delicious dark meat, I didn’t find that the capon tasted too terribly different from a well-roasted chicken, but the overall tenderness of the meat made every bite just a little special. The bird was considerably larger than your average roasting chicken, which made it ideal for feeding about 6 people that night at The Inn. Plus, it made a delicious broth the next day, which will turn up in another post soon!

Now, just to deal with those frozen camel patties…

Recipe for Roast Capon

To rost capon or gose tak and drawe his leuer and his guttes at the vent and his grece at the gorge and tak the leef of grece parsly ysope rosmarye and ij lengs of saige and put to the grece and hew it smale and hew yolks of eggs cromed raissins of corans good poudurs saffron and salt melled to gedure and fers the capon there withe and broche hym and let hym be stanche at the vent and at the gorge that the stuffur go not out and rost hym long with a soking fyere and kep the grece that fallithe to baist hym and kepe hym moist till ye serue hym and sauce hym with wyne and guingere as capons be. -A Noble Boke off Cookry, 15th c. 

Cook’s note: I served this, as suggested, with a ginger-wine sauce. That recipe, along with the Stewed Capon, are forthcoming. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-10 lb. capon, giblets removed
  • 3-4 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. each rosemary, hyssop, parsley, and sage
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of saffron (expensive, and optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash and pat dry the capon, then combine all remaining ingredients except the oil, and stuff the bird with them. spread the oil over the bird, and sprinkle with salt.

Periodically basting as you go, roast for 1.5-2 hours, depending on the size of your bird, until the juices run clear. Remove to a serving dish and let sit for several minutes. If you would like to make a gravy at this point, you can move the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and gradually whisk in a little flour until you have a delicious thick sauce.

Double Drogon Giveaway!

Now that the fifth season of Game of Thrones is in full swing, it’s time for a couple of giveaways! This week, I’m giving away TWO of the Funko POP! Drogon Figures. And following in the spirit of HBO’s #CatchDrogon movement, all you have to do is comment below, and say what recipe you would use to lure the little (alright, not so little anymore…) dragon in to land. The drawing will be random, so it can be any food, not just a Westerosi dish -playing to the judge won’t help! ;)

The names will be chosen on the morning of Saturday, May 2nd, at 10am EST. Good luck!

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