With special guest chef, Akmenos son of Bane
Welcome to Day 6 of your sneak peek at my special 5-Course Wild Magical Banquet menu!
So what, you ask as you survey my restaurant in your mind’s eye, are all these other things hung around the dining hall walls, cluttered amid the green lampshades and the evocative tapestries, and why, you ask, did I not involve some interior designer so that the whole thing is not so utterly overwhelming in its mismatched grandeur? Why indeed, say I.
The weapons slung upon the walls are relics of battles gone by, most of which I will admit I had very little to do with, and which I might have picked up along the way in the hopes of outfitting my dastardly mercenary army who would flock to my banner if, indeed, I ever had a banner. I think the closest I ever came to having a banner was that time I slung my apron off a fallen halberd to wave surrender at the hordes of kobolds who thought I’d stolen their sauces basket, but that’s another story for another day.
The point is, it’s all very well going on wondrous, perilous adventures into foreign places, but why bother if you can’t bring some trophies home and lord them over the common folk, right? Plus, they make for good conversation starters. Let’s carry on with the main course, then.
If today’s offering happens to whet your appetite, remember that Omnium Gatherum, fine purveyor and literature dark and twisted, is offering you, dear reader, a free copy of a certain tome, recounting my latest adventures, entitled Sons of the Curse, for the mere act of recreating my recipes yourself, and somehow painting them in invisible fragments of light on this infernal window. To learn more, click your clicking thing on this scrawl of letters.
Main Course: Meat Dish the Second
Seasonal Slow-cooked Gryphon
To everything there is a season, they say. Plant the crops, sow the crops. Love your brother, frame your brother for murder. You know how it goes.
Now, when most people think of Gryphons, all they see are the wings and that tremendous curved beak, all the pomp and theatrics and drama of the monster in its supremacy over land and sky alike. Maybe they hear the high shrieking of the beast as it sweeps down from above to snatch up its prey, and the shredding of flesh and bone as it rips its meal apart, devouring it whole as it returns to the skies. Maybe that meal was something, or someone, that person loved, and so they will always remember the beast with blood in their eyes, which seems a bit unfair when it’s just an animal doing what animals do.
No-one sees the tenderness of the lion at rest, the beauty of those lean, well-toned muscles that cook up so nicely in a big ceramic pot over a low heat.
The rarity of the beast is another problem here, because there are so few, and someone writing laws somewhere decided it ought to be against that law to hunt them, at least all year round. Accordingly, there’s only a small window of opportunity, in the late summer when the fledglings are leaving the nest, for beast-hunters to bring a Gryphon down, delivering them to the butchery where we can all appreciate their true value: As a well-anticipated crock-pot dinner.
Seasonal Slow-cooked Gryphon
1 x Rolled Forequarter Gryphon Roast (If you didn’t get to the butcher before your neighbours bought up all the Gryphon to come in this season, you can always use Hogget in the form of Colonial Goose instead. But I will be sad.)
1 x Onion, finely chopped
1 x Onion, cut into 6ths
1 x Cup breadcrumbs
Grated Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper
Semolina or Plain White Flour
Stuff your Gryphon forequarter with the finely chopped onions, lemon zest and breadcrumbs.
Toss the roast in freshly ground salt and pepper, olive oil, worcester sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Roll in flour. The meat, not yourself. Unless that’s what you’re into, and who am I to judge?
Rest in your icebox in the crockpot dish on a raised tray for about 5 hours. (Did I mention you need to start this one early in the morning?)
Cut an onion into 6ths and place around the meat. Place the dish with the meat and onions in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.
Remove the meat and rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, use an infernal electrified spinning blade wand and blitz the onion and the juices in the crockpot dish to make the gravy. Season to taste.
Slice the meat and the stuffing against the grain.
Serve with boiled potatoes and fresh veges, and lots of that lovely gravy.
Akmenos, son of Bane, knows you aren’t really reading these unique and witty bios which he had to go to all the effort of writing in the third person, and really hopes you’ll follow his adventures in Brothers of the Knife, Book 1 of the Children of Bane series, and Book 2, Sons of the Curse. He’s looking forward to the end of the Akmenos-hunting season, after which he plans to get back to pottering in the kitchen, smoking his pipe (if only he could find it), and drinking tea.
Dan Rabarts vehemently denies that this recipe may have been originally posted on his cooking blog, Freshly Ground, several years ago, and that Akmenos has plagiarised his work for his own gain.
If you’d like to know why Akmenos feels he’s always being hunted, read an excerpt from Sons of the Curse below the line….
Akmenos sighed. Why was it always the way with those in power, that all they concerned themselves with was their power? If he was the emperor…
But he would never be emperor. He wasn’t actually royal, nor was he made for leadership. He disliked meetings, for starters. Becoming emperor would involve manufacturing some non-existent claim to the throne, deposing Emperor Rathrax, his own father Bane, and all Akmenos’ brothers, to take on a mantle that came incumbent with decades of enmity from vassal nations. Just imagine all the meetings that would require! Better to tear down the empire and all its insipid corruption and build something new from the ruins, than to lay claim to a world beset with such woes. How could one hornung hope to do so, when his most marketable skill was the speed at which he could peel and dice an onion?
Akmenos must step carefully. All this talk of power and empires didn’t sit well in the part of him that knew the sharpening of blades and the perfect heat for melting butter and pouring griddle cakes. But deeper down, part of him understood this new, forbidden hunger. Akmenos ignored that part and all the hard work it implied. Back to basics. Follow Hrodok, find the Eternal Stair. Then what? Determine what they stand for? Decide which side to betray? Expose the secret war and let them fight it out?
Bring about the war to end all wars?
Perhaps. He had to get there first.
Surspine nodded. “You are ready. You have the reliquary?”
Akmenos frowned, leaning back from the dangerous precipice of his thoughts. “The which?”
Surspine’s reptilian brow crinkled. “The scroll case. The key to the transport network?”
Akmenos patted the long pocket in his new leather jerkin that hung over his knees. There, the scroll case and Cordax’s warm heart pressed against his thigh, an ominous and comforting duo.
“Come then.” The wyrmken shuffled down the echoing corridor towards a distant door. Akmenos huffed to keep up, burdened by the accoutrements of war. This was why he’d never wanted to be a soldier. He was sweating by the time they reached the door. Hopefully, there was soap in his pack. Soap and chocolate.
Sons of the Curse, Chapter 6, Book 2 of the Children of Bane, by Dan Rabarts (Omnium Gatherum, 2019)