Bookish Fun: 10 Literary Recipes for Lovers of Books and Food

Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year. No contest. While the time off work, seeing relatives, receiving presents, and general feeling of cheer are great, we all know the real reason I love this time of year: the FOOD. If I’m not ready to slip into a food coma after Christmas lunch, something’s gone wrong. Recently we’ve been trying to work out the menu for Christmas day and it’s also got me thinking about bookish food – all the awesome sounding dishes that pop up in our favourite reads purely to make our tummies start rumbling and mouths salivate. In this spirit, here are ten scrumptious literary recipes courtesy of some fabulously talented food bloggers to whet your appetite.

November Cakes – Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater)

Finn finds my left hand, opens my fingers, and puts a November cake in my palm. It oozes honey & butter, rivulets of the creamy frosting joining the honey in the pit of my hand. It begs to be licked.

Unlike the other recipes listed in this post, this one was actually created by the author herself after plenty of trial and error to ensure fluffy, sweet perfection. To give you a rough idea, these “cakes” are almost cinnamon bun-ish in consistency, baked in the shape of a muffin (but with a much more dimpled top). They’re then glazed in a honey-caramel sauce and drizzled with a simple sugary-icing. I’ve tried my hand at baking these and while it’s a bit of a lengthy process (plus there’s the whole metric conversion thing), they’re warm, sweet and lovely.

Give them a try here.


Brianna’s Bridies – Outlander Kitchen (Drums of Autumn [Outlander 3#] by Diana Gabaldon)

“Bridies! Hot Bridies!”  A high pitched screech cut through the rumble and racket of the hall, and Brianna turned to see an old woman elbowing her way robustly through the crowd, a steaming tray hung around her neck and a wooden spatula in hand.

The heavenly scent of fresh hot dough and spiced meat cut through the other pungencies in the hall, noticeable as the old woman’s calling.  It had been a long time since breakfast, and Brianna dug in her pocket, feeling saliva fill her mouth.

If you haven’t heard of a bridie before, they’re a bit like a pastie except usually with flaky pastry instead of shortcrust and filled with beef and onion. In other words, a comforting and hearty pastry dish. This recipe comes from Theresa Carle-Sanders who, alongside her blog Outlander Kitchen, has published two whole cookbooks with multitudes of Outlander inspired recipes. Theresa has added a few vegetables to her bridies to make them a bit more well rounded. Nobody likes scurvy, after all.

You can give these bridies a whirl here.


Sister’s Stew – Feast of Starlight (A Dance with Dragons [A Song of Ice and Fire 5#] by George RR Martin)

Lord Godric waved his spoon toward a chair. “Sit. Before you fall, set. My hall is cold and damp and dark, but not without some courtesy. We’ll find dry clothes for you, but first you’ll eat.” He shouted, and a woman entered the hall. “We have a guest to feed. Bring beer and bread and sister’s stew.”

The beer was brown, the bread black, the stew a creamy white. She served it in a trencher hollowed out of a stale loaf. It was thick with leeks, carrots, barley, and turnips white and yellow, along with clams and chunks of cod and crabmeat, swimming in a stock of heavy cream and butter. It was the sort of stew that warmed a man right down to his bones, just the thing for a wet, cold night.

There’s nothing like a good stew or chunky soup to warm you up in winter, and creamy soups are my weakness. The A Song of Ice and Fire series is full of references to drinks and dishes (so many that there’s an official cookbook). This recipe for Sister’s Soup served at The Three Sisters to Sir Davos Seaworth in A Dance with Dragons is from Deanna at A Feast of Starlight (her blog features recipes from books, TV shows, movies and games, and there are so many I want to try!). It’s a creamy seafood and vegetable soup which is very much like a less heavy chowder and served in a bread bowl. Yum!

Check it out here.


Strawberry Tarts – Sugar & Soul (The Selection by Kiera Cass)

I mulled this over as I bit into the strawberry tart. It was so sweet and the dough so flaky, every millimeter of my mouth was engaged, taking over the rest of my senses entirely. I didn’t mean to make the little moan, but it was by far the best thing I had ever tasted. I took another bite before I even swallowed the first.

Gosh, the moment these tarts popped up in The Selection my stomach started rumbling. Worse, the MC, America, remarks that they’re the best thing she’s ever tasted and her sister would probably cry upon eating one. If that isn’t a glowing endorsement, what is? This recipe was created by Rebecca at Sugar & Soul and adds some Nutella to the mix just to give the tarts something extra. I mean, strawberries, chocolate, flaky pastry and a dusting of icing sugar, served hot from the oven? YES, PLEASE!

Find the recipe here.


Peeta’s Cheese Buns – Yammie’s Noshery (Catching Fire [The Hunger Games 2#] by Suzanne Collins)

From the bag I pull two fresh buns with a layer of cheese baked into the top. We always seem to have a supply of these since Peeta found out they were my favorite.

Two food groups I love – cheese and bread. So thank god there are recipes like this one from Yammie’s Noshery to bring me the best of both worlds. Suzanne Collins doesn’t give us much detail about Peeta’s buns in the book but I am definitely not opposed to the idea of biting into a warm center of gooey mozzarella. They also have a topping of Colby and Swiss for extra cheesiness. I can definitely see why these were Katniss’s favourite.

Dive into cheese heaven here.


Pasta Puttanesca – Rosanna Pansino (The Bad Beginning [A Series of Unfortunate Events 1#] by Lemony Snickett)

For most of the afternoon, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny cooked the puttanesca sauce according to the recipe. Violet roasted the garlic and washed and chopped the anchovies. Klaus peeled the tomatoes and pitted the olives. Sunny banged on a pot with a wooden spoon, singing a rather repetitive song she had written herself. And all three of the children felt less miserable than they had since their arrival at Count Olaf’s.

If you were anything like me when you were young, you spent a lot of time reading the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. If so, you’ll probably remember the Baudelaires being asked to cook dinner for the dastardly Count Olaf and his acting troupe and deciding on this particular pasta dish. I love pasta dishes in all their carbalicious glory. This recipe is more glamorous than the siblings would have constructed with their limited ingredients but it’s probably far tastier for it. It comes from YouTuber Rosanna Pansino as part of her Nerdy Nummies series!

Try to please Count Olaf here.


Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake – Binging with Babish (Matilda by Roald Dahl)

The cook disappeared. Almost at once she was back again staggering under the weight of an enormous round chocolate cake on a china platter. The cake was fully eighteen inches in diameter and it was covered with dark-brown chocolate icing.

…”There you are Bogtrotter,” the Trunchbull said, and once again her voice became soft, persuasive, even gentle. “It’s all for you. Every last bit of it. As you enjoyed that slice you had yesterday so very much, I ordered Cook to bake you an extra large one all for yourself.”

If you’ve read any of my bios across various websites then you know that I love cake. If I could live on it without dying or getting fat, I would. With this in mind, I doubt any of you would be surprised to know that the chapter in Matilda during which Bruce Bogtrotter is required to eat an entire multi-layer chocolate cake is pretty much my dream. You call this a punishment Trunchbull? Think AGAIN. For this 3-layer recipe of chocolately goodness we can thank Binging with Babish. You can check out his Youtube channel for other great recipes.

Eat like Bruce here.


Vegan Pumpkin Chimichangas – That Was Vegan? (Geekerella – Ashley Poston)

“And may the force be with those chimichangas.”

In this cute Cinderella retelling, the MC Elle spends her days working in a pumpkin food truck, called The Magic Pumpkin, selling vegan snacks to the masses. One of the hot menu items is the chimichangas. I love pumpkin so the idea of using it in this way was super appealing to me. This recipe for baked chimichangas with a chipotle cream sauce comes from Barb at That Was Vegan? If you’re not as keen on pumpkin, you can substitute with sweet potato as well. Some heat, some crunch, a bit of sweetness, Mmmhmmm…

Live the fairytale food truck life here.


Butterbeer – Ashlee Marie (Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling)

Why don’t we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it’s a bit cold, isn’t it?

I’m pretty sure it’s generally accepted at this point that if you’ve read Harry Potter you’ve wished you could try butterbeer at some point. While Universal studios serves hot, cold and frozen versions at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the recipes are kept top secret. However, because it tastes so darn good, people everywhere have worked hard on creating their own. Food blogger Ashlee Marie has recipes for all three types. They involve butterscotch syrup made from scratch and a butterscotch marshmallow cream to go on top. A drink for every season!

Try it for yourself here, here & here!

Lembas Bread – Jet Set Fork & Celebration Generation (The Lord of the Rings Series by J RR Tolkien)


In the morning, as they were beginning to pack their slender goods, Elves that could speak their tongue came to them and brought them many gifts of food and clothing for the journey. The food was mostly in the form of very thin cakes, made of meal that was baked a light brown on the outside, and inside was the colour of cream.

There are two main bread-type foods frequently mentioned in the Tolkien verse – cram and lembas. Made by the elves, Lembas is pocket-sized, sweet, stays fresh for long periods (good for adventuring), nutritious and highly filling. Unlike cram, lembas seems to be more like shortbread or an energy bar in texture. There are a heap of different recipes online for this fictional food so I’ve decided to give you guys two – Jet Set Fork & Celebration Generation (gluten free recipe).

Try version 1 here & version 2 here.


Now, you’ll have to excuse me because that is the sound of my stomach rumbling and I need to go and stuff my face. Pronto!

What are some of your favourite foods to show up in books, both real and fictional? Bonus points if you have a good recipe for them!

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School

So, first up, sorry for the lack of posts last week. Turns out that getting home at 8 PM multiple days in a row is not conducive to publishing blog posts but I promise that this week I will back in full force – tags, memes, reviews and discussions. Let’s get the ball rolling with TTT.

This week’s topic is Back to School and the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish  have given us quite a bit of freedom as to how we interpret this. I’ve decided to go fairly literal and discuss books that involve schools or academies of some kind. It’s a bit of an odd collection of books but eh, my blog, my list. In no particular order…

1. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

My current, amazing read. This novel features a “school” of sorts except that in this instance it’s focused on shaping its students into proficient assassins. With the teachers not above theft, poisoning, dismemberment, and torture, the trick is surviving the training process. Yikes!

2. Vampire Academy Series – Richelle Mead

I was the biggest fangirl of this series in my mid and later high school years. You’d think it’d be the most trope-y, lame thing ever, but it’s not (well, in my opinion). This series was when I first fell in love with one of my favourite authors – Richelle Mead.  A school that teaches it’s students to use elemental magic and kill bad vampires, yep, sign me up.

3. This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

To be honest I actually wasn’t expecting a school setting for the first half of this book.  I don’t know what I was expecting, really. Regardless, the two main characters meet at school while one is doing reconnaissance and it all ends up a mess from there (for the characters that is, not the plot because this book was great!).

4. Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult

Quite a socially relevant book for the United States when it came out, a time in which school shootings were regularly in the news. It’s an interesting look at the students, teachers and families linked to a high school in the lead up to and aftermath of a shooting by one of the students. Both emotional and a little scary.

5. Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling

I’ll probably use Harry Potter on almost every list I ever create from here until the end of time but I think you can see why it’s justified here. Hogwarts: the most awesome magic school in literature. Enough said.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

The events that make up this novel are triggered by the main character, Charlie, starting high school. It’s here that he meets the interesting cast of characters that we follow throughout that year. We get the usual high school story plot points – the big dance, relationship dramas, bullying, house parties – and yet they never seem to feel cliché here.

7. The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

The focus of these books isn’t the school setting, especially considering the characters always seem to be busy dealing with other things like disappearing forests, mixed up timelines, searching for dead kings, and so on. However, Aglionby Academy does play a role in shaping the characters’ identities – Ronan’s disregard for his studies, Adam’s dedication to them, Gansey’s outward appearance as the almost stereotypical Aglionby student, etc. Plus, it’s the whole reason the boys are referred to as ‘The Raven Boys’.

8. The Austere Academy – Lemony Snickett

Across the thirteen books that make up A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Baudelaires find themselves in every possible setting you can imagine – a circus, a reptile house, ski slopes, a submarine, a mill, and of course, a prestigious preparatory academy. As with every book in the series, it’s weird and yet very enjoyable.

9. The Mediator Series – Meg Cabot

Going back to my tween years with this one. I used to love this series. Suze is a catholic school student with the ability to see ghosts. She often has to work with her school principal, Father Dominic, to work out what’s going on with restless spirits in order to get them to move on. The first book involves her trying to rid her school of a very angry former student turned poltergeist.

10. IT – Stephen King

I’m probably stretching things with this one but whatever. In one of the two concurrent story lines, the characters are all kids aged about 12 or 13 and attend the same school which is how they meet one another. It also means they all happen to attract the attention of the same awful, older bully.

Top 10 Tuesday: Villains, Criminals & Other Nasties

As usual, TTT is a weekly meme by the The Broke and the Bookish and it’s currently on hiatus so that means picking whatever takes my fancy from the list of previous topics. This week I’m doing villains. In no particular order here are some of what I consider to be the best:

Voldemort (Harry Potter Series –  J. K. Rowling)

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Snake-like face, soul split into multiple pieces in order to cheat death, set on murdering teenagers year after year… yep, as if I wasn’t going to put him on this list.

Ramsey Bolton (A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin)

I’d wager that when you think about the crappiest of the Song of Ice and Fire villains your mind either jumps to a) Joffrey Baratheon or b) this little shit:

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When your favourite past times include flaying, raping, dismemberment, and feeding people to your dogs, you definitely deserve a spot on a top 10 villains list.

It or Pennywise (It – Stephen King)

Books don’t usually manage to scare me, but I’ll admit that for most of this novel I was a little bit nervous. If you aren’t afraid of clowns, this’ll help you understand why someone could be. A creepy, clown shaped, ancient entity that can make your worst fears a reality and spends his time eating children…

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Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m out.

Amy Dunn (Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn)

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I wish I could find a better way to describe Amy than this, but here it is: This bitch be crazy. Like verging on sociopath material. In a book full of shades of grey characters, it’s saying something that Amy’s able to stand out. I won’t say much about the why and how because SPOILERS but trust me, she belongs here for a reason.

The Darkling (Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo)

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This is probably one of the few likeable villains on my list. And by likeable I mean I actually sat around thinking: if this guy basically succeeded in killing everyone else in the book right now, I’d probably be cool with that. That is some solid charisma right there. I can’t even explain it, he’s evil. Really, really evil. But do I like him more than the love interest? Yep, 100%.

Count Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket)

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Count Olaf isn’t what you’d call a successful villain but you do have to give him points for determination. No matter how many times he’s defeated by three intelligent orphans, he’s back at it in the next book with another not so brilliant plan, a terrible disguise, and and high levels of self-confidence.

 

Annie (Misery – Stephen King)

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The second of the two King villains on this list. Anyone who will smash your legs with a sledgehammer to get you to write a novel, uses individual hairs as a security system, and can survive being hit in the head with a typewriter is someone to be very, very afraid of. Annie is, to put it bluntly, freakin’ crazy.

Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal – Thomas Harris)

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I love intelligent villains. Sure, crazy ones are fun on occasion but having a villain that actually poses a challenge for the hero in more than just a physical sense is fantastic. Hannibal is a great example of this. He’s articulate, calculating, suave, and well, happens to be a cannibal. While he’s not actually the central villain of either of these novels, there’s never a moment when you’re not wondering exactly what’s going on inside his head and suspecting that it’s something sinister.

The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis)

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Anyone who can manage to turn sweets into something dodgy is bad news in my books. Sure, there’s the turning people into ice sculptures, killing Aslan, stopping the change of seasons and well, kind of removing all joy from the world, but honestly, for me, her biggest act of villainy is probably stopping Christmas from ever happening. How dare she! I LOVE Christmas.

The Witch King of Angmar (The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien)

So originally I was going to put Sauron in this spot but then I realised that he kind of does stuff all and just sits around on his fiery butt while everyone else does all the work for him. And then we have this guy…

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Head of the Nazgul, rides a massive dragon-like creature, almost kills Frodo with a poisoned blade, wields a mace like a nutjob, and is just generally creepy as all hell. No man can kill this guy. Lucky we had Eowyn.