Carrie and Diana talk about cold, stark islands, sticky fictional cakes, and man-eating horses, and meatballs hidden in mashed potatoes and vegetarian-gone-man-eating girls.
Diana and Carrie discuss the JA White middle grade novel and the HBO miniseries. Spooky modern Sheherazade and midwest gothic folktale with pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies, kousa mahshi, pineapple upside down cake, ham after ham, all washed down with vodka and amaretto sours.
“Soup’s on!” Aunt Josephine called from the kitchen. “Please come to dinner!”
“Oh good,” Violet said. “There’s nothing like hot soup on a chilly evening.”
“Actually, it’s not hot soup,” Aunt Josephine said. “I never cook anything hot because I’m afraid of turning the stove on. It might burst into flames. I’ve made chilled cucumber soup for dinner.”
– A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
In a medium bowl, toss the matchstick-cut cucumber with the soy sauce & let sit for 10 minutes. Toss in the rest of the ingredients excluding the sesame seeds & ice cubes, & chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of sesame seeds (optional). You can also plop a few ice cubes into each dish, but it’s not necessary. Note: If you’d like a little color & spice, thinly slice (& discard the seeds of) a red chili & toss it in with the other ingredients before chilling for 15 minutes.
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 54: A Series of Unfortunate Events
“Did you hear them say Peter Pan’s from home?” Smee whispered, fidgeting with Johnny Corkscrew.
Hook nodded. He stood for a long time lost in thought, and at last a curdling smile lit up his swarthy face. Smee had been waiting for it. “Unrip your plan, captain,” he cried eagerly.
“To return to the ship,” Hook replied slowly through his teeth, “and cook a large rich cake of a jolly thickness with green sugar on it. There can be but one room below, for there is but one chimney. The silly moles had not the sense to see that they did not need a door apiece. That shows they have no mother. We will leave the cake on the shore of the Mermaids’ Lagoon. These boys are always swimming about there, playing with the mermaids. They will find the cake and they will gobble it up, because, having no mother, they don’t know how dangerous ’tis to eat rich damp cake.” He burst into laughter, not hollow laughter now, but honest laughter. “Aha, they will die.”
Smee had listened with growing admiration.
“It’s the wickedest, prettiest policy ever I heard of!” he cried, and in their exultation they danced and sang…
– Chapter 4, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
* You can find the recipe for the cake shown in these photos here.
It’s large, rich, and very damp–and jolly thick! *
Peel the kiwi fruit, & then cut the sides away from the center where the little black seeds are; you don’t want any black seeds. Put the kiwi pieces with 1 cup sugar in a food processor & pulse until combined. Spread the kiwi sugar out on a large tray & let dry for a few days.
Just before you’re ready to put the sugar on the cake, break the sugar up into chunks (it will have solidified together) & put them into the food processor. Add the lime zest & pulse until the sugar is broken up & fine.
After sprinkling the top of the cake with coconut flakes, generously put on green sugar (you may or may not use all of it). Serve anonymously to your enemies, & hope that they don’t have mothers to tell them not to eat random cakes!
* Here’s the recipe for the cake shown in the photos for this post.
* If you make the coconut cake shown, for the coconut whipped cream frosting, use rum flavoring instead of vanilla or coconut to give it that pirate flare.
* Add kiwi slices between the layers of the cake, and on the top for decoration.
“…We could tell of that cake the pirates cooked so that the boys might eat it and perish; and how they placed it in one cunning spot after another; but always Wendy snatched it from the hands of her children, so that in time it lost its succulence, and became as hard as a stone, and was used as a missile, and Hook fell over it in the dark.”
– Chapter 7, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 45: Peter Pan
“Hello hello hello!” a loud voice boomed out, and from behind the door stepped a short, chubby man with a round red face. “I am your Uncle Monty, and this is really perfect timing! I just finished making a coconut cake!”
The cake was a magnificent thing, rich and creamy with just the right amount of coconut.
—A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
This recipe is adapted from a white cake recipe on “Add a Pinch”.
Coconut Whipped Cream Frosting
Cream together the butter & shortening. Slowly add the sugar & mix for about 4 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, until combined.
In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, & salt. Whisk together the whole milk, buttermilk, & coconut flavoring in a cup. Beginning & ending with the flour mixture, alternately mix the flour & milk mixture into the butter/sugar mixture until combined.
Distribute the batter evenly into the 3 pans, & bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans at 15mins. Remove from the oven & let the cakes cool in the pans for a few minutes.
Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk & coconut milk. Poke many holes in the tops of the cakes (still in the pans), & then spoon on the coconut milk mixture (about 1/4-1/3 cup each). Let cool until room temperature, & then cover with plastic wrap & put in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.
Chill a mixing bowl in the freezer while the cakes are chilling in the fridge. Combine the heavy cream, reserved coconut cream from the can of coconut milk, & flavoring, & mix for a few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Sift in the powdered sugar & mix until thick like frosting, but not too much so it gets clumpy!
Remove the cakes from the fridge & float the bottom of each cake pan in a dish of very hot water. Run a butter knife around the inside of each pan to make sure the cakes are loosened. Invert one of the cakes onto a large plate or cake platter.
Spread the top of the cake with 1/3 of the cream frosting. Carefully place the second cake on top & spread with half of the remaining cream. Put the last cake on top & spread with the remaining cream. Sprinkle the top generously with coconut flakes.
Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 54: A Series of Unfortunate Events
Water streamed from her hair down her clothes into her shoes, and ran out at the heels. Yet she claimed to be a real Princess.
“We’ll soon find that out,” the old Queen thought to herself. Without saying a word about it she went to the bedchamber, stripped back the bedclothes, and put just one pea in the bottom of the bed. Then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on the pea. Then she took twenty eiderdown feather beds and piled them on the mattresses. Up on top of all these the Princess was to spend the night.
–”The Princess on the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen
“Princess pea-butter” sandwiches are specifically mentioned in the “Ever After High” stories. Turns out, they’re the most popular lunch food from the Castleteria! Check out our “Ever After High” episode here!
In a chilled mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat the cream on high for about 10 mins (put a large sheet of plastic wrap over the bowl & mixer so the liquid won’t splatter everywhere!). The butter solids & milk will separate. Beat until the solids form together. Strain the butter & milk through a cheese cloth (the butter milk can be used in other recipes) & return the butter to the mixing bowl.
Put the frozen peas into a food processor & pulse until the peas are broken into a sort of fine powder. Put this into the mixing bowl with the butter & add the honey, lemon juice, & salt. Beat on medium high for several minutes to combine thoroughly. Squeeze & strain again through the cheese cloth & put into a serving dish or container.
Lay a slice of cheese out flat & use a small sharp knife to cut a crown shape. Spread some of the pea-butter over a slice of bread, & then place the cheese crown in the center. Cut a whole pea in half, put a tiny bit of pea-butter on the cut side of it, & then fix it to the center of the crown. Store pea-butter in fridge with plastic wrap or lid. Before using, let it soften a little on the counter before spreading.
He shoves a casserole dish into my arms, then grabs some forks. “Milk?” he asks. “Coke?”
“Milk,” I say. I’m grinning, I can’t stop grinning. He puts the carton on top of the casserole, grabs some cloth napkins from the drawer, then heads back up to his room. It’s a struggle to keep up.
. . . .
I sit down next to him, and he takes the casserole dish from me and casts a quick, “You’re getting warmer!”—then opens the lid. It’s shepherd’s pie.
“Do you need to eat?” I ask. “Or do you just like it?”
“I need it,” he says, scooping up a bite, avoiding my eyes, “just not as much as other people do.”
“How do you know that you’re not immortal?”
He hands me a fork. “No more questions.”
We finish the shepherd’s pie, eating out of the bowl on Baz’s lap. He chews with his hand over his mouth. I try to remember whether I’ve ever seen him eat before.… I finish the milk. He doesn’t want any.
When we’re done, he sets the dishes outside his door, then starts a fire in the fireplace with his wand.
—Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Put the potato cubes on a large pot with the salt & enough cold water to cover the potatoes, & then cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, & then uncover & reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes & then put them back in the pot.
In a small pot on medium low combine the half & half with the butter & heat until the butter melts. Add this mixture to the potatoes, adding pepper to taste & more salt if desired, & mash until smooth. Stir in the egg until fully combined.
Grease a deep pie dish or casserole dish & then press half of the potato mixture into the bottom & up the sides. Set aside for the meat mixture.
In a large pan on medium high, heat the oil, & then add in the garlic, onions, & carrots & sauté until just tender. Stir in the meat & cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle on the flour & toss to coat. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, & herbs, & cook for a couple minutes, & then add in the broth. Bring to a boil & then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes so the juices can thicken.
Heat your oven to 400ºF. Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the dish with the potatoes. Layer the rest of the potato mixture on top of the meat, starting at the edges & working your way into the center. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top has gotten a little golden brown. Remove, cool a bit, & serve with 2 forks & a jug of milk!
Diana and Carrie discuss one of the most classic of Christmas tales of all, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol! Some of the best food descriptions of all time, pulls no punches, and if you don’t like it, Bah humbug!
Intro music clip: A Christmas Carol main theme composed by Alan Silvestri from “A Christmas Carol” (2009). Available for purchase here.
Outro music clip: “God Bless Us Everyone” sung by Andrea Bocelli from “A Christmas Carol” (2009). Available for purchase here.