I was so excited when one of my favorite blogs, Inn at the Crossroads, announced that they were releasing a cookbook called A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook for the Song of Ice and Fire book series, by George R. R. Martin (on which the popular HBO show Game of Thrones is based). It just so happened that their book was released right in time for Epic Fantasy Weekend 2012, so today during our Game of Thrones season 2 marathon, I tried out a few of the recipes. What better way to review a cookbook than by making its recipes, right?
In short: I can’t speak highly enough about this book. I’m not much of a chef–I generally stick to simple dishes with veggies and a bit of meat, and I rarely follow recipes. I’m also a terrible baker. But this book inspires me to research the food I enjoy, to think of it in the context of my favorite stories, and to get a bit creative with it on a regular basis. I sat down and read the book in its entirety over the weekend–it’s more than just a cookbook, it’s a book about history and literature. Well-written, funny, and sincere, this book is a great guide to Medieval cooking, and adapting it for the modern era. Plus, it’s beautifully designed, with great photographs.
While looking for recipes to make, I wanted something I could make with ingredients I already had around the house so I didn’t have to go shopping. This means that I had to adapt a few things here and there, but for the most part, I stayed true to the foods. I also made only Medieval recipes, not the modern ones (although I plan to try some of those soon too).
- Honey biscuits
- Iced Milk with Honey
- Onions in Gravy
Also on menu but not with recipes from the book:
- Beef breakfast steaks
- Hard-boiled eggs
I like these because they required no eggs or any baking–just mix it all together and fry it on a pan.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tspn salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Cold water
- Olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
I used wheat flour instead of bleached, and also opted for powdered cinnamon instead of ground, but I think ground would have been better.
I’m not much of a fan of wheat flour, but I rarely bake, so I keep it around the house just in case I need something for gravy or sauce. As a result, the biscuits were a bit on the blander side, but I think the original recipe would have been much better. Overall though, I enjoyed these as a simple and not overly sweet treat, and I’d like to make them again but add new ingredients like fruit or other spices.
Iced Milk with Honey
- Milk of your choosing (the recipe recommends whole or part-skim, but I used almond)
I thought this would pair well with the biscuits, and it did. I used original almond milk and powered cinnamon, and this drink kind of reminds me of chai, one of my favorite drinks ever. I found it refreshing and the honey paired well with the biscuits.
You’ll notice how the honey sunk to the bottom, and I did not chill the drink enough so it separated quickly. My boyfriend recommended blending it, too, for a fun twist.
We were still hungry after our snack, so I decided to just make breakfast. Based on the ingredients I had at home, I had a go at the onions in gravy, which is in “The North” part of the book. I always identified with Winterfell and the Night’s Watch, and the food of the North matches my taste more than any other region. To make this into a proper breakfast, I also cooked some potatoes, steak and hard-boiled eggs. I’m calling this the “Woman of the Wall Breakfast,” since I would totally join the Night’s Watch.
This recipe was delicious. I love onions, and I love gravy, and I thought it made for a hearty breakfast food. The onions remain crunchy but the flavor is highlighted by the presence of apple cider and butter. Beef broth was the only thing I didn’t have, so I used a bit of salt water to compromise. Beef broth would help make this a great side dish for cold nights, but even in the summer, it was very good.
Even though these are some of the more simpler recipes in the book, cooking them while watching the show made me feel a part of the world in a completely new way. This cookbook is a must for any fantasy lover, even if you’re not familiar with A Song of Ice and Fire. In the meantime, also check out the website and browse the many other wonderful recipes. And let them know what you think!