“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
–Jon Snow to Arya Stark before parting ways
Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. All the spoilers. Show. Book. Inner-most thoughts of GRRM. Maybe not that part. But run away now if you don’t want to know things.
If you’re a fan, the fact has not escaped you that Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres this Sunday. Last season, the show caught up to the books in most ways. Timeline-wise, we are in sync. But I think there are several important book plots that have been left out (and that have a chance of coming into play in the upcoming seasons). I’m gonna talk about three of
them here and give you a recipe to go with each one. (Much like last week, where I discussed three show plots that did not happen in the book and featured accompanying recipes. See them here!)
One of my favorite storylines (and one that is not featured at all on the show) is that of Arianne Martell. THIS storyline will likely not be featured as they’ve already killed off Myrcella. BUT. In the books, Arianne takes Myrcella under her Queen Making wing and, albeit for some selfish motives, tries to turn her into the Queen of Westeros since she is older than her brother, and king, Tommen. So, to back up… Arianne is the daughter of Prince Doran and heir to Sunspear. In Dorne, the value women on a much more level playing field and allow them to have ruling seats. Arianne wants to cement her place as ruler (and also piss off some of Westeros) by pushing Myrcella onto the Iron Throne. What happens with this storyline hasn’t been completely resolved… in the books. For this lovely feminist escape from Westeros, I have put together the Patriarch Upside Down Cake. Pears, pomegranate, nuts and cardamom… it has some wonderful Dornish flavors that any gender can throw together.
The last two are storylines that I hope are included in the next season. First, did you know there was another Targaryen? Yup. Aegon. Son of Rhaegar and Elia. Heir to the throne. More than Dany. Supposedly had his head bashed in by the Mountain. (Remember that? Oberyn and his “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” Aegon was one of those two kids.) But when Aegon’s little baby corpse was presented, it was a mess of blood wrapped in a red Lannister cloak. That child (not actually Aegon) had his head smashed up against a wall and was quite unrecognizable. If you haven’t read the books and this storyline excites you, then I’ll stop here and let you read the rest for yourself. Grab some paper or your Kindle and start reading… right after you make some of these Scrambled Aegs. Smashed up against a pan and tossed together with some fiery Targaryen peppers and some delicious Dornish sausage, these eggs rule!
I can’t decide if this last one is the most epic or not. I think it’s a fan favorite. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I just couldn’t believe it hadn’t shown up in the show yet. Do you remember a little thing called the Red Wedding? Where Catelyn Stark watched her son get murdered and then had her throat slit after a chilling moment of acting from Michelle Fairley? Well. In the book. She didn’t die. Well, she did. But Arya warged into Nymeria, pulled her out of the river and the Brotherhood Without Banners found her body. If you remember, the Brotherhood is a band of outlaws working for Robert
Baratheon, may he rest in peace. Two of the members are Thoros of Myr and Lord Beric Dondarrion. The special thing about these two crazy kids is… Thoros is a red priest and through his prayer to the Lord of Light, has brought Dondarrion back to life… quite a few times. Welp, they did it for Lady Catelyn too. And now she’s a badass. She goe’s by Lady Stoneheart, her face is clawed to shit from her own nails when she griefstrickenly tore at her own face and she can’t talk because the Freys cut her throat. She wears a cloak and goes around with the Brotherhood enforcing some justice on the Riverlands. It is… the best. Oh look, I just decided, it’s the best. It must be the most epic. To honor Lady Catelyn, her journey, her torment and all she is currently doing, I present to you: Lady Fall Off the Bone-Heart. Much like her face, the meat is just falling right of the bones of these crock pot ribs. Slow cooked in the flavors of the Riverlands, these earthy, woodsy morsels are bursting with the flavor of apples, cinnamon, sage, cloves and thyme.
If you want to go back in time, I have lots of other Game of Thrones recipes on the blog… including some Red Wedding Soup, where Lady Stoneheart got her start, some Oberyn’s Smashed Potatoes, where Arianne’s story began and A Feast of Fire, which tells some of Aegon’s story.
Hunger turns men into beasts. Instead, be the prince who was promised… to cook well.
Patriarch Upside Down Cake
recipe adapted from BonAppetit.com
A dense and nutty cake that challenges the norm, this upside down cake has pears, pomegranate and cardamom
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 ½ cups flour, plus more for pan
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ cup pomegranate simple syrup, plus more for serving
1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
2-3 medium ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
1 cup unsalted, roasted walnuts
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cardamom
4 large eggs
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10”-diameter spring form pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Flour the sides of the pan.
Cook the lime juice, ⅕ cup of pomegranate simple syrup, ¼ cup sugar and 2 tbsp of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add pears, cut side up, and cook (undisturbed) until they begin to release their juices, about 3 minutes. Turn the pears over and cook another 3 minutes. Let cook a bit, then arrange the pears, cut side-down, in the prepared cake pan.
Return the skillet to medium heat and reduce the remaining syrup, about 5 minutes, until thickened and syrupy. Pour over the pears and pop in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. (Don’t let it freeze, just help it set up.)
Pulse the walnuts and 1 ½ cups of flour in a food processor until it is finely ground and well combined. Toss in baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom and give it another pulse to combine.
Using an electric mixer, on medium, beat eggs, lime zest and remaining 1 ½ cups of sugar in a medium bowl until they are pale yellow and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Fold in half of the dry ingredients. Once combined, fold in the other half. Gradually mix in oil. Pour the batter over the pears and smooth out the top.
Set the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet in case it overflows. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a couple of minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan, then pop open. Flip upside down, remove the pan and parchment and let cool on a wire rack.
Drizzle with additional pomegranate syrup just before serving.
*I really wanted to include ½ cup pomegranate seeds into the bottom layer of the cake before pouring the syrup, but they are currently out of season. I encourage you to try it when you can. I know I will!
Scrambled eggs with melty brie, spicy sausage, smoky sea salt and the fiery heat of peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, diced
3 hot peppers (I used 1 yellow, 1 orange and 1 red), diced
½ lb sausage of choice (I used andouille)
¼ cup milk
2 oz brie, cut into chunks
1 cup fresh baby spinach
smoked sea salt
fresh bread and butter
a rasher of bacon
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Crumble in sausage (casings removed) and stir to incorporate. Continue to stir periodically until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and milk. Once sausage is cooked, stir the egg mixture into the skillet. Continue moving the eggs around to… ahem… scramble them.
Once the eggs are cooked, stir in brie and baby spinach. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt. Serve with a rasher of bacon and some bread and butter.
You could really hit the high seas on a meal like this.
Lady Fall Off the Bone-Heart
Ribs simmered in cider, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, raisins with rustic spice rub: fresh thyme, fennel seeds, sage
3 lbs pork ribs
¾ tbsp fennel
¾ tbsp cloves
½ tbsp dried sage
¼ tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
4-6 cups apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp corn starch
Using a spice grinder, grind fennel and cloves. Mix in sage, cinnamon and thyme.
Clean and trim the ribs. Salt and pepper liberally. Rub with spice mixture.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Cook each side of the ribs (in batches–add additional oil as needed) for about a minute until a golden crust forms. Place them in the crock pot as they finish. Pour as much apple cider as it takes to cover the ribs. Add in cinnamon sticks, raisins, orange juice and orange zest. Place lid on top and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
When ribs are done cooking, strain 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Simmer on low. In a small cup, whisk together corn starch and ¼ cup cold water. Slowly whisk into the simmering cooking liquid. Continue to simmer (about five minutes) until thickened. Stir often.
Carefully pull ribs out of the crock pot and spoon sauce over top. Garnish with additional thyme if desired.
Hang anyone that tries to steal your food.