Thursday, April 10, 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Part 3

As I mentioned in part 2 of my season 4 premiere posts, this day was almost all about food...and even though I was a bit lazy in regards to some of the offerings, one thing I took my time with was...


“She still remembered the innkeep, a fat woman named Masha Heddle who chewed sourleaf night and day and seemed to have an endless supply of smiles and sweet cakes for the children. The sweet cakes had been soaked with honey, rich and heavy on the tongue…” - A Game of Thrones

The recipe that I chose from Inn at the Crossroads is technically an Elizabethan Honeycake recipe. To be honest...the recipe itself wasn't one of their better-written one, and these are really more like biscuits or buns than cakes - they aren't overly sweet and the honey only does so much. Not terrible by any means - a good breakfast item perhaps - but I'm not sure if I'd make them again. Still, the recipe is worth a try, especially if you're one to play with recipes and try to make them better ;)

3 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbs. ground almonds
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp minimum)
One 12 oz bottle beer (I used RJ Rocker's Son of a Peach - a wheat beer - and it gave the buns a bit of peach flavor, which was awesome)
pinch of salt
Honey for soaking, probably at least 1/2 cup

~ Dissolve the yeast in the warmed ale, and leave to froth up.  Grind the almonds and sugar in a food processor, then combine with the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a small well in the mixture, and pour in the yeasty ale. Adding the flour a bit at a time, work everything all together until it is a nice smooth, pliable consistency  leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

~ After it has risen, knock it down and knead it for a few minutes before shaping it into around 10 small buns. *Note that you will likely need to flour a cutting board or whatever you use to knead it - my dough was EXTREMELY sticky and it took a lot of flour to keep it 'intact'.*
~ Allow the buns to rise again for at least 15 minutes, then bake in a preheated oven for 15-18 minutes at 375 degrees F. The buns should be just slightly golden.

~ Using a small paring knife, cut a small hole (about 1/2″) in the tops of the buns, poking well down into the cake, but taking care to not poke all the way through. Take a small spoon and carefully fill each hole with honey. You will need to do this several times as the honey soaks into the cake. Put at least one tablespoon of honey in each cake (I'm fairly certain I put in more than that).

Because of the time it took to get the dough right, the honeycakes ended up being dessert rather than a 'tea time' option like I'd planned...but they worked well with our main dinner course, which was...

Lamb with Lemon, Honey, & Fiery Peppers

 “The kid had been roasted with lemon and honey.  With it were grape leaves stuffed with a melange of raisins, onions, mushrooms, and fiery dragon peppers.  ’I am not hungry,’ Arianne said…After a while, hunger weakened her resolve, so she sat and ate.” - A Dance with Dragons

As you can probably see from the picture, we just stuck with the lamb (no pilav or stuffed grape leaves) because we'd eaten so. much. food. already that day ;) But I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how good the marinade was and how well the lamb turned out, period :)

Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 Tbs. honey, plus extra to drizzle
1/2-3/4 lb. lamb, cut into 1″ chunks

~ Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl, making sure to mix thoroughly. Add the lamb, and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 400F, and place the lamb on skewers, leaving just the slightest bit of space between each piece. Cook for around 8 minutes, flipping once halfway through to ensure the meat cooks evenly.

~ When done, remove from heat and drizzle with honey, then stick the skewers under the broiler for 2 minutes to slightly caramelize the honey. Be careful not to overcook the lamb! These are best served on a bed of pilav.

Dinner was a late affair, and not long after it was done I finished up my last 'Red Wedding' and cracked open one of Ommegang's new Game of Thrones beers - rightfully dubbed 'Fire and Blood'.

Honestly I wasn't overly fond of this one - it's a bit too Belgian for my taste. I still think that the first Ommegang GoT beer (Iron Throne) has been the best, though I liked the Take the Black stout as well :) Regardless, Fire and Blood isn't a *bad* beer by any means, and if you like Belgians, you'll probably love it. And hey, it was - at the very least - the perfect thing to be drinking during episode one of season four!

I actually wrote a full review of this episode - which was called Two Swords - for The Geekiary, so check it out! I was actually extremely happy with it - in fact, I think it's probably one of the best season premieres of this show, ever. If not the best.

And yeah, I'm already thinking about my season finale marathon/party, which as always will be complete with themed food and drink ;)
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