YouTube has been all over the Game of Thrones lately, with the show’s season premier tonight. So, I guess I’ll jump on that bandwagon. I bought A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook ages ago, and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while now anyhow.
I’ll give bit of a mini review of the cookbook itself, before I get down to the cooking. Firstly, as someone who’s used medieval and ancient recipes before, I think it’s really great that they have both a “historical” version and a modern version for most of the recipes in the book. While I love experimenting with historical recipes, sometimes the flavours involved can be a little odd and/or strong for the modern palate. Like other historical recipe books that I have read (The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy is the main one I’ve used, and I recommend it for some fun experiments) they provide a transcription of the original, historical text, and then translate it into the modern measurements and instructions of a standard recipe. In this book, though, they sometimes make minor alterations to the historical recipes without really explaining why. It’s not a big issue at all, just something that bugs me a bit. As an example, in one recipe the medieval text tells you to cut up an onion, but the “translated” version tells you to use whole pearl onions. It’s a really small alteration, but I still wonder what the reasoning was for it and wish they had included that.
The photography in the book is pretty nice, and the recipes are clear and simple to follow. I haven’t tried many recipes from it yet, but so far I’ve had success with all the ones I have tried. I decided to make 2 recipes from the book for dinner last night, but I got the timing a little off. They both turned out pretty well separately though.
I used the modern version of the Stewed Rabbit recipe in the book, with only one substitution, that being chicken thighs instead of rabbit. It’s not that I have any particular objection to eating rabbit, just that it’s expensive and hard to find around here, and I already had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed using up. I’m not a huge fan of olives, but I was interested in the idea of a stewed dish that had olives in it.
The only complaint I have about this dish is that I probably could’ve left out one of the 3 cups of stock. It made a lot of thin broth, but the flavor of the whole dish was really good. I wish I’d had the black bread done on time to eat with it, but I still have some left over…
The Black Bread took a full 3 hours to rise, plus a half hour baking time, and I wasn’t thinking about that when I got started, so I ended up having some warm bread and butter for a late night snack rather than for dinner. The recipe in the book calls for porter or stout, and it gives several options for flour, so I went all in on the “Black” part and used dark rye flour and a lonely Guinness that had been sitting at the back of the fridge for ages. The result was 2 small, rustic looking loaves that were very dark, very dense and very crusty.
The bread had a kind of sweet molasses smell, despite not having any molasses in it. The crust is hard but the inside is lovely and chewy. It was great with just butter, even though the crust was a bit of a jaw work out. I imagine it would be even better after soaking up a little soup, or the broth from the chicken… I mean… rabbit stew.
I’ll probably be trying a few more recipes from this book in the next few days, and maybe starting on some experiments in making foods from the Gentleman Bastards series as well.