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Friday, December 6, 2013

"Games of Thrones" Themed Dinner

Both my husband and I are big fans of all of the "Game of Thrones" books, and the HBO series as well. It was fairly obvious early on as I read the novels, there is quite an emphasis on the descriptions of food and feasting throughout all five books. Since we love food, and cooking, I really wanted to see if there was a way to incorporate some of these ideas into a party or dinner. As I was researching, I found there had already been a cookbook created for just such an event !

We set about creating a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner for some friends designed around several of the recipes in the book. Most of the dishes have the option of a "traditional" and a "modern" preparation, and in each case we could, I opted for the traditional, we wanted the experience to be as authentic as possible.

Here is the problem...apparently the recipes weren't very well researched in terms of proportions and process. I am an experienced cook, and I could tell by just by looking at some of these were not going to work. The mistake I made was assuming the authors had done their research, tested these out and that the photographs actually represented the finished product. Silly, silly me. I ended up doing a lot of tweaking to their recipes, and had one that was a total fail, completely unsaveable.

Here is the menu I designed for the event:
We have the added benefit of having all our own meads and ales, so that was fun, but every other dish was made from or inspired by the cookbook A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook.

The one dish we most wanted to include in our feast was lemon cakes, because they are Sansa's favorites, and were mentioned several times throughout the books. They were a complete disaster, the original recipes proportions were off so much, the dough came out like sand. I tried adding extra lemon juice to form it into something of a cake or cookie, but they were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. And, I knew it wasn't going to work when I looked at the recipe, but I somehow trusted that a published recipe had to have been tested, right ?

The other really big fail for us was the pease porridge. There simply wasn't enough liquid to make it porridge-like at all. I would probably re-make it, because the flavor was nice, but again, proportions were way off.

The one big score of the day was the Blueberries in Bastard Crèam. I think we would have been happy just drinking the cream, it was delicious. My husband thinks that recipe was worth the price of the cookbook ! And, I recalled my love of mulled wine, which we indulged in all throughout the day, and well into the evening. I will share that recipe, and possibly repost some of the others after I have refined them.

All in all, not the most successful dinner party I have ever hosted, but I learned I should always trust my instincts when attempting a new recipe. Just because someone has published a cookbook that has beautiful photos does not mean they have all the answers !


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