Spicy Lamb Wraps – A Flight of Marewings

Spicy Wraps with grilled veggies, from A Flight of Marewings
“Korinna looked down suspiciously, but she recognized the food right away. Strips of grilled lamb meat and vegetables wrapped in a piece of flatbread. Her stomach growled, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten since early morning. She tore into it eagerly. Heat exploded in her mouth, causing her to gasp for breath.” – A Flight of Marewings

Thoughts:

This is my first dish from Kristen Walker’s new book, A Flight of Marewings. She graciously sent me a copy, and I found it to be a very fun fantasy romp with some way cool winged horses.  AND some tasty sounding food. :)
I played this recipe pretty safe, but I’d love to try another version of this recipe, with different seasonal ingredients, roasted. This version, however, is still wildly tasty, and pretty simple to put together, all things considered. The trick to the meat is to slice it as thinly as possible.
Grab a copy of A Flight of Marewings on Amazon!

Recipe for Spicy Lamb Wraps

Cook’s Note: If, like Galenos, you love spicy food, feel free to up the heat!
Ingredients for Sauce:
  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup  cucumber, peeled and diced small
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked salt
  • 1 tsp. chili pepper
  • 4 medium sized pita breads (homemade is best and freshest!)
  • crispy lettuce, bite sized
  • 1 largeish tomato, roughly chopped
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will infuse.
In a separate bowl, combine the ground beef and the spices, mixing with your hands to really squelch the flavors together. Shape this mix into several patties, pressing the meat together until it’s fairly dense. Drizzle just the slightest bit of oil into a pan and cook the patties, flipping occasionally, until they are cooked medium (no pink remaining). Allow to cool for a minute or two.
Slice the patties as thinly as possible, then combine the strips of meat and vegetables in a pita. Top with yogurt sauce, and enjoy!

Flaky Mushroom Pastries – The Gentlemen Bastards Series

Flaky Mushroom Pastries

“Tivoli settled Locke and Jean in one of the alcoves, on chairs that would have been at home in the suite of false furniture they’d given to Requin. An attendant brought a tray of flaky brown pastries in the western style, filled with cheese and minced mushrooms. They were the richest thing Lock had eaten in weeks.” -Republic of Thieves

Thoughts:

After many months, and several books ahead of it in the queue, I finally got to read Scott Lynch’s Republic of Thieves, and it did not disappoint. The snappy dialogue is again at times laugh out loud funny, and although there are fewer descriptions of food than in the first two books, what descriptions there are made my mouth water.

This is one of those. Simple, easy, and fast to make, this mushroom pastry is full of flaky savory goodness. The mushrooms are the predominant flavor, which is accentuated by the dark ale, garlic, and thyme.

Recipe for Flaky Mushroom Pastries

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • several large handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped (I prefer a mixed pack)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup dark beer
  • 1 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, for glaze
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or gruyere

Preheat the oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cook the onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until they soften and turn clear, around 5-10 minutes. Add the butter, followed by the mushrooms. Gently sautee until they are soft and covered with butter. Toss in the thyme and other seasonings, and stir for another 30 seconds. Pour over the beer (you can drink the rest for culinary inspiration!) and scrape up any of the tasty brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the liquid has mostly cooked off. Remove from heat and set aside.

Unfold the thawed puff pastry and cut into half. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Take a sharp knife and score a line around the outside edge of the pastry, about 1/2″ from the edge. This will allow the edges to puff up as they cook. Brush those edges of pastry with the beaten egg, then spread the mushroom mixture on the inside rectangle of pastry.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 400F, or until the exposed pastry is a lovely golden color. Sprinkle with shredded cheese while still hot, then allow to cool slightly before serving.

Review: The Fever Tree – Mulligatawny Stew

I received a copy of this book as part of a giveaway on Goodreads.com, and was delighted. I didn’t know what to expect, but figured it was some sort of romance. I anticipated a quick read, and if I was lucky, a few descriptions of food.

What I got was an experiential novel that is more like watching a film than reading a book.

Frances Irving, the story’s protagonist,  is a proper young woman thrown into extreme circumstances that were not uncommon for her sex during the time period. Forced to make difficult decisions that take her from comfort and security of the world she has always known, she must confront the 19th century South African diamond trade,

It paints a devastatingly harsh picture of the Kimberley Diamond Mine and the politics that surround it. In the photo below, you can see the massive hand-dug mine, the largest in the world, and the cables that brought dirt up from the bottom to dump at the top. The mine was a veritable jigsaw puzzle of different claims, which is why there were so many levels of digging. And as is so often the case, where there is potential for wealth, there is also cruelty, injustice, political schemes, and abject poverty.

Kimberley Diamond Mine, late 1800s

Kimberley Diamond Mine, late 1800s

Frances can be an irritating, impractical twit of a girl. The beginning of the story is difficult to get through because Frances struggles so much to adapt to her new life and surroundings, and we readers struggle with her.

But the really remarkable thing about the writing is that as the story progresses, as Frances grows and evolves, we begin to not only like her, but admire her. As her understanding of the world into which she has been thrust deepens, so too does our perspective of the novel. She is surrounded by complex and interesting characters, in settings as harsh or lovely as the landscape. Her loves become our loves, her victories, ours.

Honestly, I don’t have the word-skills to fully convey what an amazing book this is (if I did, I’d be a novelist, too). All I can do is heartily recommend giving it a read- it’s a story that will stay with you.

For the dish selection from this book, I toyed with several ideas: peaches in syrup, mulberry jam, coffee with ground figs, leg of lamb, and poached salmon with hollandaise sauce. In the end, though, I chose Mulligatawny Stew, a dish that comes from an amalgamation of cultures, much as South Africa is a collection of many different cultures and backgrounds.

Mulligatawny Stew, inspired by the Fever Tree, by Jennifer McVeigh. Recipe by Food Through the Pages.

“The boy knocked on the door, and William got up and took the tray from him. There was a tureen of soup and a loaf of bread. He sat on the floor, pulling her down next to him, along with a heap of sheets, so she was propped up against the bed with her hair falling about her knees. She ate hungrily. The soup was mulligatawny, thick and hot with a deep spiciness, and the butter tripped off the bread down her fingers. She was starving and ate with intent, aware of him watching her closely.”

-The Fever Tree, by Jennifer McVeigh

Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

serves 4-6

Cook’s Notes: The basis for this recipe comes from Mrs. Beeton’s giant book of recipes, circa 1860. I reduced the amount of onions from the original 6 down to 4, figuring that our modern onions might be a tad larger than those available in the 19th century, and likewise tweaked down the cumin from a full 2 tablespoons. By nature, this is a sort of hodge-podge stew, so I encourage you to include whatever ingredients you might have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of lean bacon
  • 4 onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lb. meat (chicken, rabbit, and pork all work well)
  • 1 oz. of pounded almonds
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. of curry powder
  • 2 quarts of stock
  • a little lemon-pickle or mango-juice, to taste

Fry the bacon until just crispy, and remove to a plate lined with paper towels to dry. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and fry the onions and garlic until light brown and soft. Scoop them out and add them to a medium saucepan. Crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces and add those to the stew pot. Brown your meat in the same pan and add that to the saucepan, along with the stock. Simmer until the meat is tender, skimming periodically. Grind the curry and almonds with a bit of the stock, then add to the pot. Flavor to taste with a bit of lemon juice, or if you have it, lemon-pickle.

Serve hot with bread or rice.

 

Apricot-Plum Smoothie, from City of Bones

Clary spoke up hastily. “What’s all the raw meat for?” she asked, indicating the third page of her menu.

“Werewolves,” said Jace. “Though I don’t mind a blody steak myself every once in a while.” He reached across the table and flipped Clary’s menu over. “Human food is on the back.”

She perused the perfectly ordinary menu selections with a feeling of stupefaction. It was all too much. “They have smoothies here?”

“There’s this apricot-plum smoothie with wildflower honey that’s simply divine,” said Isabelle, who had appeared with Simon at her side. “Shove over,” she said to Clary, who scooted so close to the wall that she could feel the cold bricks pressing into her arm. Simon, sliding in next to Isabelle, offered her a half-embarrassed smile that she didn’t return. “You should have one.”

-City of Bones, Book One of the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare

Apricot Plum Smoothie

Thoughts:

What a delightful summery smoothie, from the “human side” of the menu at Taki’s Diner! The skins of the fruit create a colorful confetti appearance throughout the smoothie, the chia seeds give it a little texture, while the ginger gives it a bit of zing. I used a fizzy elderflower drink, which added a minutely floral component.

If you like, make the mixture a little thick, and top with granola. Just make sure that you’re not using Faerie plums: I hear they can make one go mad! 😉

Apricot-Plum Smoothie

makes 1 large serving, or 2 small

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 apricots
  • 1 plum
  • 2 Tbs. wildflower honey, plus more to top
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (vanilla is best)
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds
  • juice, such as white grape, apple, or elderflower
  • granola to top (optional)

Combine the fruit, honey, yogurt, ginger, and chia seeds in a blender. Add a splash of juice, and blend. If needed, continue to add juice a small amount at a time until the whole mixture can be easily blended.

About Dragons

St. George, Rackham,1918

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

-G.K. Chesterton