Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mary & The Witch's Flower Garden Sand Café Replica Sandwich Plate

          "Mary and the Witch's Flower" is a beautiful animated film that opened in Japan on July 8, 2017 from the new Japanese animation studio Studio Ponoc. "Ponoc" is a Serbo-Croatian word that means "midnight", chosen to symbolize the beginning of a new day. Because of Studio Ghibli's hiatus/decrease in operations in recent years, and because of a need/desire for animation work, many of the studio's employees have found a place at Studio Ponoc, founded by Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura. "Mary and the Witch's Flower" is Ponoc's first feature film and was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi ("The Secret World of Arrietty", "When Marnie Was There") with a screenplay by Riko Sakaguchi ("The Tale of Princess Kaguya") and music composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu ("When Marnie Was There"). The film is an adaptation of a British children' fantasy novel published in 1971 titled The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart.

♥ Hurrah! hurray! GKids has announced that they have acquired the US distribution rights to the film and have a projected release for Winter 2018!
You can actually get tickets now for a special January 18, 2018 screening! ♥

(Sandwich from the Garden Sand Café. Official photo.)
          On August 4, 2017 a special limited-time café opened in Japan themed around "Mary and the Witch's Flower" called "Garden Sand Café". It features salads, sandwiches, special drinks, and more food inspired by the film. This sandwich I've created here is a replica based on photos shared by the café online. I wish to goodness that I could go to Japan and experience this beautiful little café for myself (I want to experience ALL of the amazing short-time themed cafés in Japan!), but I know for myself, and for many of you, that's just not possible because we live all over the world! So this recreation is my celebration of the film and this wonderful little café that I can only see photos of and daydream about. :)

Note: Because I'm only going off of pictures, the dish below (sandwiches, salad, cookie, & broom) is composed of my guess at the ingredients. In a few of the photos online one of the sandwiches is shown with slightly different ingredients, such as the meat. Those differences are mentioned below.
Also, since you only need one cookie (the black cat) I simply used a segment of pre-made sugar cookie dough and added a little bit of flour, and then a couple drops of black food color gel. I talk about this below.

Mary & The Witch's Flower Garden Sand Café Sandwich Plate (Replica)

Serve the sandwiches cut, wrapped in deli or wax paper, in the center of the salad. Place the broom next to the sandwiches, & the cat cookie behind.

Black Cat Cookie
2 Tbsp. Pre-made Sugar Cookie Dough (or 2 Segments of Pull-Apart Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough)
~1/2 Tbsp. Flour
Black Gel Food Coloring

Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a tray with Silpat or parchment. Work the flour evenly into the dough, and then work in enough gel coloring to get a nice dark grey (it doesn't have to be uber black. Try 2 drops to start off).

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8" thick. Place a pre-drawn, sitting cat template on top (about 3 1/2" tall). Using a small sharp knife or clean x-acto, cut around the template & remove the excess dough.

Gently place the cutout on the tray* & bake for about 5 minutes. Remove & let sit for a minute or two to cool & stiffen before transferring to a cooling rack.

*If the dough has gotten very soft, chill the unbaked cat cutout in the freezer for about 10 minutes before putting it in the oven to bake.

Edible Broom
Several Thin Spaghetti Noodles
1/2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp. Sugar
Biscuit Stick (such as Pringles Stix or Pretz)

Melt the butter in a small pan on medium-low heat. Break the noodles into about 3" long pieces & place in the pan. Add the sugar & toss to coat. Cook until the noodles are just beginning to golden.

Remove from heat & place the noodles on a plate. Line them up into a bundle (like the brush of a broom) & let cool for a minute.

Cut a strip of wax paper about 1/2" wide & 3" long. Place the noodle bundle over the biscuit stick. Wrap the paper strip around it & secure with a circling of clear tape.

Sandwich w/ Red Cabbage & Chicken Spread or Turkey
Pumpernickel Bread Slices
Thick Tomato Slices
Shredded Red Cabbage (you can use raw, or the slaw recipe below)
Chicken Spread (store bought or homemade) OR Thick Sliced Deli Turkey (about 1/2" thick)

Red Cabbage Slaw
1 Packed Cup of Thinly Sliced Red Cabbage
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Minced Garlic

Combine the oil, salt, lemon juice, & garlic in a small jar. Close the lid & shake vigorously to combine.
Put the sliced cabbage into an airtight container & pour the liquid over it. Close the container & shake to coat. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Chicken Spread
1 Cup Cooked Chicken
2 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

Chop the chicken into fine shreds. Combine with the other ingredients & mash with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

Egg & Carrot Sandwich
Pumpernickel Bread Slices
Egg Salad (below)
Shredded Carrots

Egg Salad
3 Hardboiled Eggs
2 tsp. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. Miracle Whip
Salt & Pepper to taste

Peel & chop the eggs & then put them in a bowl with the other ingredients. Mash all together with a fork until combined but still a bit chunky.

Mixed Leafy Greens
Fresh Dill Sprigs
Cherry Tomatoes
Small Edible Flowers (such as pansies, violets, zucchini blossoms. I didn't have any at the time I made this though.)
Salad Dressing of your choice

Toss the greens & dill & lay on a platter in a ring (room in the center for the sandwiches, or stand the cut sandwiches up first). Place cherry tomatoes & blueberries, & edible flowers if you can find them, all around the salad. Serve the dressing on the side.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hell-Broth | Macbeth

          Smalls and I recently went apple picking with friends and got so many delicious apples! Instead of the usual pie, I wanted to make some savory dishes and happened upon many similar recipes for kale and apple soup (I used this one from thekitchn as a base guide). The color is such a lovely green and I thought it would make a perfect witch's brew for #Witchtober (recipe link-up here)! But what witch or witches in fiction are famous for stirring their cauldron? The witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth and their "double, double, toil and trouble", of course! There are many fun additions and garnishes that you can make for this soup inspired by their chant, and I've included a few below. Note: This soup may look disturbing, but it's really quite tasty! 😋

"For a charm of powerful trouble, 
 Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Act 4, Scene 1)

The Weird Sisters' Hell-Broth

1 Large Red Bell Pepper
Olive Oil
~10 oz. Kale Leaves, stems removed & chopped
~1/4 Cup Chopped Bacon OR 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
~4 Cups Warm Chicken OR Vegetable Broth
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, sliced
1 Large Green Apple, cored & sliced
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Chèvre Cheese (Cream Cheese is fine too)
Sriracha (OR other pourable red sauce)

Heat your oven to 500ºF. Line a baking pan with foil or parchment & coat it lightly with cooking spray or oil. Cut the red pepper in quarters, removing the core & seeds, & lay the quarters on the tray cut side down. Slide the tray into the oven on the middle rack & cook for about 20 minutes or so, until the peppers are roasted well & soft & their skin is bubbled & a little charred (you can put them under the broiler for a few mins to help this along if you want).

Remove the peppers from the oven & transfer them to a plate. Cover the plate with a large bowl to steam them for about 15 minutes, & then peel off the skin (& discard it). Rub the roasted peppers with a little olive oil & set aside until needed.

In a large pan on medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat renders (if doing vegetarian simply use olive oil). Add the onions & cook until tender. Add in the apples & cook a few minutes more until soft. Add in the kale & coat it well & cook until just wilted. Add in 3 cups of the broth & simmer for about 10 minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender (you may need to do 1/2 at a time), add in 1-2 Tbsp oil to help emulsify, & cover with a towel so heat can escape while blending. Blend until the soup is smooth & creamy (this may take several minutes). Add in salt & pepper to taste. Add more broth if needed to reach your desired consistency.

Roll several small balls from the chèvre or cream cheese & place a piece of cracked pepper or teeny tiny bit of kale leaf onto each one for a pupil. These are your "eyes of newt".

Pour the soup into serving bowls. Separate the red pepper pieces so that you have a couple that look like tongues ("tongue of dog"). Lay a "tongue" in each soup bowl, draping it over the edge. If you have extra red pepper you can cut it up & put it in the center (these pieces can be used to prop up the "tongue" if necessary). Float several of the little cheese "eyes" in the soup, pupil up. Squeeze a couple rings of Sriracha or other red sauce over the soup for "baboon blood" (I used red pepper paste mixed with a little broth. If the sauce is not in a squeeze container put a little into a plastic baggie & snip a tiny hole in the corner). If you have any special oil like hazelnut or avocado, feel free to drizzle a little of that on too.

Other garnish suggestions: Seaweed cut like bat wings or shredded seaweed or kale chip bits for "wool of bat" and little baked or fried chicken wings for "owlet's wing". Haha, if you happen to have a snake fillet or shark meat go right ahead and add that too. 😊

Sunday, October 1, 2017

#Witchtober Recipe Link-Up!

Welcome to the #Witchtober 
fandom food link-up!

          Starting October 1st and running through midnight on Halloween, fandom foodies* will be joining artists all over the world on the hashtag #Witchtober! Recipes and food creations can be inspired by witches from folklore and mythology, books and comics, TV shows and movies, and video games and tabletop games!

How to Participate:
  • Make a dish inspired by a witch or witch story from fiction or folklore! If your recipe is adapted from someone else's, make sure you give credit to the source.
  • Post the recipe on your social media (blog, tumblr, instagram, etc.). When sharing, include the hashtag #witchtober and tag @fandomfoodies (instagram) or @fandom_foodies (twitter)!
  • Add the recipe link in the link-up below! You may also add recipes you've made previously. :)
I'm so hexcited to see what you come up with!

*You're a fandom foodie if you love food from, or inspired by, fiction. :)

For previous fandom recipe link-ups, check out the Fandom Foodies website.
For the previous link-up hosted on Fiction-food Café, click here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Get Your Cauldrons Ready!

          The next Fandom Foodies theme is right around the corner! September's #HobbitMonth hosted by Bryton Taylor on her site In Literature has been fantastic, and in a few days it'll be time to pick up our skirts and brooms and fly into October for the new theme; #Witchtober!

          Whether you're a part of the official "Fandom Foodies" group on Facebook (which you are more than welcome to join!) or a Fandom Foodie simply because the intersection of food and fandom makes you happy (and you express that happiness by creating yummy dishes!) we'd love for you to join in on the fun!

          For the month of October we'll be joining artists the world over as they create wonderful, witchy art. As Fandom Foodies, our food is our art! Recipes and food creations that you've made inspired by witches from folklore and mythology to books and comics to TV shows and movies to video games and even tabletop games; all are welcome! The recipes can be from the past, or something new you've made for the occasion, and they can be "inspired by" or pulled directly from fiction.

          Starting October 1st and running through midnight on Halloween, there will be a special #witchtober link-up here on Fiction-food Café for you to share your recipes. Make sure that the recipes you share are your own, and if they are adapted from someone else's recipe, that you give proper credit in your post (or you might wake up the next morning with a bubbling curse upon your head!).

There are so many witches in fiction to draw upon, I'm excited to see what you conjure up!
What witches in fiction can you think of?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dark Chocolate & Black Walnut Brownies | The Beast is an Animal

         I had the opportunity to meet author Peternelle van Arsdale at the NOVA Teen Book Fest earlier this year, and when I asked her what her debut, young adult novel The Beast is an Animal would be if it was a food, she said dark chocolate... and also black walnuts! We brainstormed for a hot second and came up with the idea of rich, dark chocolate brownies with black walnuts mixed in. Boy-o, these things are truly dark and dangerous. :)

Note: This recipe is part of my #IfBlankWasAFood series which you can check out on Instagram! I began asking authors this question a couple of years ago and kept getting so inspired. I decided to start doing photo shoots pairing the books with their food counterparts earlier this year, and have made many of the foods myself. :) Sometimes you'll find recipes for such foods here, or on Instagram. :) ((Past recipes on the blog have been plum cake, peat cake, icey cream, and candied plums.))

Dark Chocolate & Black Walnut Brownies

3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Dark Cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 Box (3.56 oz.) Dark Chocolate Instant Pudding (I used Hershey's Special Dark again!)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Flavoring
4 Eggs, room temperature
1 Cup + 1/2 Cup Black Walnuts, chopped
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Grease an 8"x11" pan & pre-heat your oven to 350ºF. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking powder, & salt.

Dice one stick of butter & put it in a large glass measuring cup. Pour the sugar in & then dice the second stick of butter & put it on top. Put the glass in the microwave for 1 minute & then stir. Heat for another minute & stir again. Heat for an additional 30 seconds & stir. Pour the melted butter/sugar mixture into the bowl of the dry ingredients & stir well.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs well & then stir in 1/4 of the egg mixture at a time into the mixing bowl until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the walnuts plus the chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan & spread evenly. Top with the rest of the nuts. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven & let cool for a couple of minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to separate the sides of the brownies from the pan. Let cool a little bit longer & then cut & serve. Great with vanilla ice cream!

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