One of my very favourite things to do is to cook themed food with my besties to go with books we’re reading, TV shows we’re binging or films we’re watching. We had a big cooking session earlier this year for “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe“, but one of our favourite TV shows to cook themed food for is “Game of Thrones”, the TV adaptation of the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R R Martin. Although he says he’s not much of a cook, Martin peppers his books with vivid descriptions of food. A little while ago, in response to my declarations of love for cooking themed food, I received this cookbook via Redditgifts. After struggling to avoid spoilers during my five weeks of American literature, we decided to go all out with our food and I decided to cook one of my favourite “Game of Thrones” recipes.
“A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook” is a cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, with an introduction by George R R Martin himself, based on food described in his fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The cookbook is mostly divided by regions of Westeros, the land in which the novels are set, each of which have their own particular climates and cuisines. The cookbook also has some preliminary chapters on how to stock a medieval kitchen and some basic medieval recipes which give the chef some grounding upon which to tackle some of the recipes.
Many of the recipes have a traditional version and a modern version. So, if you want to try and cook aurochs or spice your food with grains for paradise, you can! Otherwise, you can use more modern ingredients for a more contemporary flavour. This time I went for a recipe I had tried before: Sister’s Stew. I really l like food where the plate or bowl is also food, and this one never disappoints. It’s a deliciously creamy seafood stew served in a bread loaf bowl.
This is a beautifully structured, immersive cookbook with a dash of medieval history. A good bit of fun to spice up a TV night, though it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2019 to try more recipes!
Something a little different today. I am a person of many obsessions, and one of my obsessions is the Australian TV series River Cottage Australia. A cooking show about sustainability and growing your own food, hosted by the effervescent Paul West and set in one of my favourite places in the world, the south coast of New South Wales, River Cottage Australia is fantastic television. I love this show so much that my best friend bought me “The River Cottage Australia Cookbook” for my birthday.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Paul West would be hosting the opening dinner for the inaugural Canberra Writers Festival. I watched the website for weeks and the second I saw the tickets go on sale, I pounced. When the night arrived, I was so excited that within about ten minutes of my arrival, I ambushed Paul West who was sitting unsuspecting at his table. He obligingly signed my cookbook for me, and we had a grand old chat, and it was an all-round amazing night.
“The River Cottage Australia Cookbook” by Paul West is not the first book I’ve reviewed on this blog where I have tried to cook one of its recipes. However, it does have the honour of being the first cookbook. I really enjoy cooking, especially when it comes to trying new things. I’m not too bad at the basics, but I’m always looking for a new thing to try and new skills to develop and “The River Cottage Australia Cookbook” is perfect for that. The enthusiasm that Paul radiates on screen is palpable on the pages of this cookbook and he patiently but thoroughly steps the reader through vegetables & salads, fish, meat, bread, dairy and sweet things. Cookbooks aren’t like novels: one doesn’t simply read the entire thing cover to cover. Rather, you tend to flip through the book and see what takes your fancy.
The first recipe to take my fancy was a pumpkin risotto served inside the shell of a roasted pumpkin. I’m not sure why, but I love the idea of food being used as a bowl for other food. Not being too shabby at risotto, I thought this one would be a good one to start off with. The people at the farmers markets I go to were very interested to know what I was doing with a whole pumpkin (golden nuggets not being available, I decided to take a pumpkin-as-tureen approach). The large pumpkin took a bit longer to cook, and I decided to green it up a bit with some baby spinach as well, but it turned out great and impressed my partner’s parents.
This is a gorgeous cookbook that brings to life the recipes and lifestyle that Paul West is such a proponent of on River Cottage Australia. The photography is stunning with gorgeous illustrated overlays and the recipes are simple enough that anyone could have a go, but unique and interesting enough that they’re not run of the mill. This book has its own distinct flavour, and I’m looking forward to giving some more of these dishes a crack.