A Feast for Crows.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Game of Thrones Season 3 premiered last night! As a huge (and obsessive) fan, I decided we would have a feast suitable for all the lords and ladies (the dead and the live) of Westeros. It was recently revealed to me that I am somewhat of a geek, and when I protested this comment, the person referred to my obsession with Harry Potter (it was my 21st theme) and Lord of the Rings (so much paraphernalia... I have the one ring to rule them all!). Anyway, I decided to embrace it (no costumes though), so here is our Feast for Crows.


We tried to find our most Game of Thrones-ish dinnerware so I dug out these metal platters we had. I think it looks pretty authentic! 

I've been rereading the books (and re-watching the first two seasons) in anticipation for today, and handily highlighted the food I wanted on iBooks. Don't worry, I would never deface my books (: I'm including all the recipes here, because if I don't, I'll never put them up. 

Game of Thrones feasts always feature a significant amount of meat. All the book references are with the recipes. So today we had bacon, leek, and potato soup, and braided buns to start. Guest rights form a very important rule of custom in Westoros. When a guest enters your House, castle, inn, etc, he is served bread and salt - effectively, sharing a meal with his host. Once he has done this, he is protected under guest right from any harm whilst under your roof. Pretty cool, but evidently some customary traditions are not abided by in certain places, as you'll see in the next few seasons. 

Bacon, Leek and Potato Soup
The wedding feast began with a thin leek soup... - A Storm of Swords, page 74

This soup isn't thin, at all... But it was super delicious. 

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 leeks, chopped finely
  • 4 rashers bacon, chopped finely
  • 1 potato, roughly chopped
  • 1 swede, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano for garnish
  1. Fry the bacon in oil until crisp.
  2. Add the leek and stir until softened. 
  3. Add in the stock, potato, swede, and ginger, and bring to the boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, give it a quick stir to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom, then simmer for an hour.
  5. Blend with a stick mixer or in your blender.
  6. Garnish with oregano, and warm, fresh bread.

Braided Buns of Winterfell
The Great Hall of Winterfell was hazy with smoke and heavy with the smell of roasted meat and fresh-baked bread.  - A Game of Thrones, page 44

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 7 cups wholemeal flour
  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds for the tops

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the yeast and salt with 1/4 cup of water and let it rest until it becomes foamy.
  2. Add the rest of the water, eggs, honey and oil and leave to rest for a few more minutes.
  3. Mix in the flour using the dough hook attachment, until the flour is fully incorporated.
  4. Rest at room temperature for 2 hours until the dough rises and then punch it down. (best part ever!) You can either use it straightaway or store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  5. Line a tray with baking paper.
  6. Dust a clean surface (and your hands) with flour. Knead the dough in the bowl a few times before turning it out. Roll it into a ball. Add more flour if needed.
  7. Cut the ball in half, and put that half back. Cut your half into half, then half again. (Basically into eighths) You'll have a manageable piece to work with now. Dust with more flour (the dough is super sticky), and then roll into a ball.
  8. Shape into a log, then cut into three strips.
  9. Braid loosely, and then form into a circle by tucking the ends under each other. If it isn't holding its shape you can tuck one end into the braid.

  10. Let the bread rise on the baking tray for 1 hour, then brush with egg wash (1 egg and 1 tbsp water), sprinkle the poppy or sesame seeds on top.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. I left mine in for a bit longer because I thought Winterfell bread would be darker, not golden like in King's Landing or Lannisport. 

The mains were chicken stuffed with walnuts and carrots and prunes, and garlic and herb crusted ribs with parsnip puree. Both these dishes are inspired by The Wall, because Jon Snow is my second favorite character. Arya Stark is my favorite. The ribs are part of the feast prepared by Three-Finger Hobb as a special meal to mark Jon and seven of his black brothers becoming Men of the Night's Watch.

Chicken stuffed with Walnuts* and Carrots
Well, there was one time when Hobb chopped [prunes] up with chestnuts and carrots and hid them in a hen. Never trust a cook, my lord. They'll prune you when you least expect it. - A Dance with Dragons: Part I, page 245.

  • 1 large chicken
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 200g prunes, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp + 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Boil the carrots until tender, then mash roughly with the butter.
  3. Combined the mashed carrot with the walnuts, prunes, onions, breadcrumbs, and 2 tsp of salt and pepper.
  4. Rub chicken all over with oil and 2 tbsp salt (for crispy skin).
  5. Insert slivers of butter in between the skin and the chicken (extra crispiness).
  6. Stuff with the stuffing, if there is any leftover you can either keep it for another chicken, or bake it on the side. Ours was a big chicken (2.5kg!) so I used all the stuffing up.
  7. Roast for 1.5 hours (well, depends on how big your chicken is, really!), or until the juices run clear.

Garlic and Herb Crusted Ribs
[They] feasted on lamb baked in a crust of garlic and herbs, garnished with sprigs of mint. - A Game of Thrones, page 360.

  • 1 rack of ribs (we used lamb, but you can use beef or pork as well)
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced finely
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1/2 tbsp sage, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1/2 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1/2 tbsp dill, finely chopped, or dried*
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    *Alternatively, you can use 3 tbsp of mixed herbs
  1. Rub ribs all over with oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Mix the garlic, onion, herbs, breadcrumbs and flour together to form a crust. It should stick together from the garlic juices, if not just add a teaspoon of oil to bind it together.
  3. Pat the crust onto the ribs, and let it sit for about 30 minutes for the flavours to marry.
  4. Bake at 180C for 1-1.5 hours, until the meat is easily pierced.

There was a salad of summer greens tossed with pecans, grape, fennel and crumbly cheese - part of a meal Tyrion and Janos Slynt enjoyed in Dorne - and skewers of onions, capsicum and mushrooms (Lady Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrick were served this at the Inn, pretending to be father and daughter). 

Salad with Pecans, Grape and Fennel
... They had supped on ... summer greens tossed with pecans, grapes, red fennel,* and crumbled cheese... - A Clash of Kings, page 189.
*I have no idea what red fennel is, or where to find it, so I used normal fennel instead.

  • 150g baby rocket 
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup red, seedles grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fennel, shaved very thinly
  • 1/4 cup crumbled pecorino, parmesan or fetta 
  • 1 tsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp + 1 tbsp brown sugar
  1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil and fry the garlic lightly. On low heat, add in the pecans and toss to combine, then 1 tbsp of brown sugar so it lightly caramelizes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining oil, sugar, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar to make a dressing.
  3. Toss the rocket, spinach, grapes, fennel, and half the cheese and pecans together with the dressing.
  4. Garnish with the remaining cheese and pecans. 

Onion, Capsicum and Mushroom Skewers
Another skewer held tiny onions,* fire peppers, and fat mushrooms. - A Game of Thrones, page 235.
*Tiny onions I assumed to be the baby pickled ones, except I could only find pink or green ones here, so I just used normal onions. If you can find them not pink or green, or don't mind them pink or green, by all means, use pickled onions (:

  • 2 brown onions, chopped into quarters
  • 2 shallots, chopped into quarters
  • 2 capsicums (green, yellow, or red) - I used the ones that I have in my garden.
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Soak your skewers in water for about 20 minutes so they don't burn.
  2. Thread the onions, capsicums, tomatoes and mushrooms onto the skewers alternately.
  3. Mix the oil, herbs and garlic together then brush onto the vegetables.
  4. Grill until the onions are slightly charred.

And two desserts - maple cinnamon baked apples, and Sansa's favorite lemon cakes. Later came sweetbreads and pigeon pie and baked apples fragrant with cinnamon and lemon cakes frosted in sugar... - A Game of Thrones, page 251.

Cinnamon and Maple Baked Apples
Not really sure that these deserve a recipe really! I basically just cored some green apples, sliced them really thin, and arranged them into these little dishes.
Makes 5

  •  5 apples, cored and sliced thinly
  • 5 tbsp butter, separated
  • 5 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • icing sugar, to dust
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Warm five pie dishes, or whatever you are using, in the oven.
  2. Put a tablespoon each of butter, cinnamon and maple syrup in each dish. The butter should melt from the heat.
  3. Arrange the apple slices however you like. I don't know how to describe this, kind of layered?
  4. Sprinkle with some more cinnamon, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the butter is bubbling and the apple is crisp.

Lemon Cakes frosted in Sugar
The term "frosting" is used lightly here. After the Easter weekend, I thought it best not to play with a piping bag and opted for a simple, lemon glaze instead. 
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon rind, grated finely
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a muffin or friand tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and pale. 
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the milk, vanilla and lemon rind.
  4. Fold in the flour until fully incorporated.
  5. Fill the muffin holes 3/4 of way, and then bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Make a glaze with the lemon juice and sugar.
  7. While the cakes are still hot, brush the glaze over the top of the muffin. It will soak into the cake and give it a lemonny goodness like no other. No wonder they're Sansa's favorite treat (:

I stupidly never even thought of looking any of these recipes up on the Internet. They are just ones that had popped up in the books that I particularly liked, and thought that everyone in my family would enjoy. (Galvy is fussy with greens and my mom said she would prefer not eating rabbit or pigeon) But as I type this post, I decided to have a quick google - and found some amazing sources out there: Westeros.org, which holds a complete list of Game of Thrones food, plus citations (the law student in me loves this), The Inn at the Crossroads is run by two wonderful women who have taken it upon them to recreate the food in the books. And best of all? They wrote a cookbook... A Feast of Ice and Fire - the official companion cookbook to the series. Amazing. And there is also an unofficial cookbook, The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. They are both on my birthday wishlist, thank you very much!

Anyway, here are more photos of the Feast!


Hope you enjoyed this post, and if you are a fan, please do leave me a comment - I would love to have a chat about our mutual love for the series. And if you are not, I hope you were inspired by this food regardless, and come and say hello anyway! (:

xx gee 


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