With special guest chef, Akmenos son of Bane
Welcome to Day 8 of your sneak peek at my special 5-Course Wild Magical Banquet menu!
With your palate cleansed and some of that sugar-fire burning in your veins, you’ll be ready at last to sample our final course, the dessert to see you off for the night.
It’s been an epic journey, from appetiser to dessert, even if not nearly as epic as the journeys I have been on and, fates be damned, am no doubt destined yet to endure. But it has been nice, for a brief moment in time, to recline here in my fantastical restaurant of the mind, a place of apertifs and aspirations, and enjoy some time imagining good food and good friends.
Thank you for sharing this time with me. And for sharing this time with everyone you know on your social town-crying medium of choice. Nudge, nudge.
Now, before I hustle you out into the crisp night air, and the promise of snow on the mountains, and dire wolves in the shadows, let’s have some pudding.
Maybe you’re not a big dinner-chef, but with this simple sweet dish you might want to consider that Omnium Gatherum, fine purveyor of 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 these 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.
Elvish Tossed Cream Trifle
It’s well known that elvish chefs pride themselves on their attention to detail, their precision and focus, and that to them, the very act of cookery is akin to the creation of an enduring work of art. I have seen balls of spun sugar with perfect puffed souffles baked within, bedecked with sauces so sweet and tart as to open the mind to stunning new vistas of experience.
Get outside the elvish dining halls, however, and you will find that the average elf is perfectly content with a simple, well-balanced pudding which is simple to create, can be prepared ahead of time, and leaves plenty to go around. For practical purposes, this is how we will end this banquet, with a generous serving of Elvish Tossed Cream Trifle.
Not even any special ingredients required for this one, you can almost certainly make it yourself (presuming you make it past the dire wolves lurking in the streets on your way home).
1 x 8″/200mm square sponge cake
Boysenberry or other slightly tart Fruit Jam (about 1/4 of a jar)
400g of tinned/stewed peaches or plums
1 Pint of custard (although I’m an egg custard purist myself, for this recipe I will allow you to use the instant powder type, since the custard will not separate during the chilling process)
300ml cream, whipped
1 x block of chocolate with nuts, for grating (and eating little bits when no-one is looking)
Spread one side of the sponge with the jam and slice into cubes. Spread through a large serving bowl. Pour the juice from your stewed fruit over the sponge and spread the fruit over the top.
Pour the custard over the top of the fruit and sponge.
Spread the whipped cream over the top of the trifle.
Grate the chocolate liberally over the cream. Stand in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. The trifle, not you, unless you have a very warm coat and nice thick mittens.
Serve with ice cream and/or jelly.
This trifle is even nicer after a night in the fridge, because all the juices and flavours soak right through the sponge.
And that’s it, the end of the final course in the Wild Magical Banquet. What an evening it has been!
If you’ve enjoyed imagining all this deliciousness as much as I’ve enjoyed imagining bringing it to you, please consider helping me acheive my dream of a cosy restaurant by the riverside by purchasing a copy of Brothers of the Knife or Sons of the Curse or, if you’ve read them already, posting a review on The Place That Sells Books With The Name of the Big River (also known as Thplathsllsbokwthnam’Bigriv, I believe. Or maybe it was Amazon, I’m not really sure about your strange world names).
Now farewell, goodnight, and don’t let the dire wolves bite!
Akmenos, son of Bane, is in his own opinion the most handsome and best-insulated of all his brothers, and the least likely to commit regicide, which is why the events portrayed in Brothers of the Knife, Book 1 of the Children of Bane series, and Book 2, Sons of the Curse, seem so unlikely. Now that he’s done sharing his banquet menu with you, he plans to get back to pottering in the kitchen, smoking his pipe (if only he could find it), and drinking tea.
Read below the line for a super-secret extract from the third book in the Children of Bane series, Sisters of Spindrift.
He dropped the spoon in the pan and grabbed a towel, whipping open the tiny oven door. In one swift move, he pulled out a tray and slid it onto a wooden board. A dozen puffs of golden-brown pastry steamed on the bench.
“They’re not here to eat. They’re here to meet you.”
Spinning like a dervish, Akmenos turned to another pot and lifted the lid, twirling a spoon which dripped with thick brown liquid. “You have the manners of a boar, you realise? Where’s your sense of hospitality?”
“They’re not really big on hospitality.”
“Would you like to help, maybe? I could do with a hand grating some cheese.”
“How about, no?”
Akmenos glared at him as he shook the mushroom pan with one hand and with the other flipped a linen cloth off a tray of small round baked balls. Shoving the pot over to the tray, he began spooning the steaming brown fluid over the crusty globes.
“What are those?” Araxtheon asked. “And why are you covering them in gravy?”
“It’s not gravy, you idiot, it’s chocolate. How could you not smell that it’s chocolate? And they’re called profiteroles. Profiteroles. Say it with me. Barbarian.”
“Where did you find chocolate on board?”
Akmenos paused in the delicate operation of drizzling chocolate to fix him with a glare. “A good dessert chef can always find chocolate.”
“You’ve been into town, haven’t you? I told you not to go into town.”
“Oh stop it,” Akmenos muttered, resuming his task. “I think after all I’ve been through, I can handle a little walk to the shops without breaking anything.”
“I wish I could believe that.”
Dropping the spoon back in the chocolate pot, Akmenos grabbed the pan and began scooping the creamy mushroom mix into the other pastry puffs. He wanted to fire back a witty response, but Araxtheon was possibly right. Most anything he touched, he broke. Port Tumult was a nice enough little speck on the map. It didn’t really deserve to suffer like some other places Akmenos had been.
He ditched the pan onto the back of the stove and found a hard block of cheese, held this over the puffs now filled with steaming mushroom mixture, drew a fine-bladed knife from his apron and began slicing long thin sections across the delicacies. The cheese rapidly softened and melted as it settled on the vol au voiles and the hot tray. Job done, Akmenos slid all the food onto separate plates and spun on his tail, facing Araxtheon with a look of triumph. His horns clattered against the pots hanging over the stove. “Ready.”
“It’ll take more than food to win them over, you know.”
“Maybe, maybe. But food is a good place to start. Food is something we all have in common. We all need it, we all enjoy it. The better the food, the happier we are. Look at you. You eat like crap and you’re always miserable.”
“Lead the way.”
Chapter 1, Sisters of Spindrift, Book 3 of the Children of Bane, by Dan Rabarts