Fiction-Food Café

September 22, 2015

Vegetarian Meal; Soup, Bread, Salad | "David the Gnome"

          On one of my recent through-the-woods, after school walks with Smalls I saw a beautiful red fox on the path ahead of us–like the kind you picture when you imagine a fox–long legged with vibrant colors and a perfectly bushy tail. It was so fast it was gone in an instant, as if it had never been there. As we continued walking a childhood cartoon came to mind, "David the Gnome", and the loyal fox from the show named Swift. When I got home I tweeted about seeing the fox and how it made me think of the show and Catherine over at "The Gluttonous Geek" responded, as well as my "Fiction Kitchen" co-host Carrie, and before you knew it we had decided on a "David the Gnome" food collaboration. Make sure you check out The Gluttonous Geek's cheese pie with dandelion greens and wild mushrooms and Carrie's mushroom potato scotch eggs on her blog "Witchy Kitchen".

          In 1978 my not-yet-mom–who I have to thank for a good portion of my love of fantasy and the magical, (usually) unseen world–was gifted a very special book by one of her brothers for her birthday. It was a top NYTimes bestseller written by Dutch author Will Huygen, with illustrations by Dutch painter Rien Poortviet, and it was simply titled Gnomes (first in a series and the basis for the cartoon). Many years later, after I came into the world and tackled the nearby fantastical books including Mom's Gnomes, pouring again and again over the images of the tiny underground houses and the tiny underground furniture and the tiny nature-loving occupants and their exploits in the large world, my mom handed the book down to me, to go alongside my copy of The Flight of Dragons, The Goblin Companion, Giants, and similar books. When Catherine, Carrie, and I decided to do this collaboration, I pulled Gnomes from its place on the shelf and turned the pages with my own daughter, pointing to the beautiful, detailed images and explaining the scientific-observation-like text. From one generation to another, to another.

Screen shot from the "David the Gnome" cartoon.
          The book includes a description of typical gnomish fare which includes many nuts and seeds and mushrooms, songbird eggs and ant eggs (blek!), various teas, jams and jellies, spice cake made with honey or sugar from sugar beets, peas, beans, grass seed biscuits, small potatoes and other tubers, applesauce and other fruits plus berries. You get the idea. And never any meat. They eat two meals a day as well as the occasional snack of milk and porridge. So there you go! If you've ever a mind to host a "David the Gnome" party, you've got plenty to choose from. Another thought, going off of the spice cake (but being something humans would eat and not gnomes–that we know of) you could make spice cake cupcakes, pipe on cream cheese buttercream frosting, place a little red-candy-melt-dipped Bugle on top of each, and then place each cupcake into a dark blue cupcake wrapper. Oo! The possibilities!

Mushroom Soup

2 Tbsp. Butter
~3 Cups Chopped Assorted Mushrooms (keep a couple whole to use as garnish)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Flour
1 Peeled Clove Fresh Garlic, chopped
Bundle of Fresh Thyme + more for garnish
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Water (+ a little more if you want a thinner soup)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream + more for garnish
Ground Black Pepper + Salt, to taste
Ground Nutmeg, to taste
Ground Sage, to taste (optional)

1. In a large pot over medium heat melt the butter & then add the mushrooms & pinch of salt. Cook until you can see the juice from the mushrooms & then turn the head to medium-low & cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices evaporate & the mushrooms turn golden, about 20-30 minutes. Set aside the whole mushrooms to use later.
2. Stir in the diced onion & cook until tender, about 5 mins, & then stir in the flour to coat the mushroom & onion mixture well. Cook for another 2 minutes or so & then add the garlic & bundle of fresh thyme. Next, pour in the broth & water, stir, cover, & simmer on low for about an hour.
3. Remove the bundle of thyme & then pour the soup in batches into a standing blender to puree until smooth (pour what you can into the blender & then pour what's left into a big measuring cup or bowl to free up the pot). Pour the pureed soup back into the pot & then stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and optional sage. Garnish with cream (if you shake a little bit in a bottle it'll get thicken), the reserved mushrooms, & a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.

Nut & Seed Bread

1 1/4 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Cup Hazelnut Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
1 Heaping Tbsp. Sunflower Seeds
1 Heaping Tbsp. Pumpkin Seeds
1 Heaping Tbsp. Pine Nuts
2 Eggs, beaten very well
1 Tbsp Honey (preferably flower honey)
1/2 Cup Granny Smith, Unsweetened Applesauce
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Preheat your oven to 300ºF & line a 6"x9" (or similar size) pan with parchment paper & then spray it with non-stick spray. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, including the nuts & seeds. In a separate bowl vigorously beat the eggs & then whisk in the other wet ingredients.
2. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until fully moist & combined & then spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Slide the pan into the oven & bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown & springs back under your touch. Remove & let cool. Great toasted.

Simple Berry & Nut Salad

1/2 Cup Fresh Raspberries
1/3 Cup Fresh Blackberries, cut in 1/2, or 1/4 if very large
1/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries
Sprinkling of Chia Seeds
Sprinkling of Pine Nuts
Handful of Baby Greens
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. White or Rice Vinegar
Pinch of Salt

1. Place the greens in a bowl & plop the berries & nuts on top. In a separate bowl whisk together the honey & vinegar with a pinch of salt. Just before serving, drizzle the honey/vinegar mixture over the salad or save it for individual servings.
Note: This recipe is pretty open. You can toss in more amounts of the ingredients if you'd like to make a larger salad. You can throw in cut strawberries if you want & use different nuts & seeds. Just go to town on it! Feel free to add some feta or other crumbly cheese too!

          In the summers as a kid I'd travel through the woods at the Farm and park myself in the large meadow beyond to read or draw. What I was really doing was waiting. Waiting for fairy-folk. And I swear to you, one day over the green grass I saw a pointed red hat dart toward an old tree stump just a little ways in front of me. After several seconds of caught breath and fear to break the moment, I quiet as I could got to my feet and picked my way over to the stump. Of course I found no gnome, no door, nor any trace at all. But that was to  be expected–gnomes are too smart for that!


  1. I remember reading this book when I was younger and I loved it. This is sooo cute and perfect! And the last photo with the tiny meal and teapot is just stunning. I often took wandering walks in the woods at home as a child, doing what you did I think- I wanted to find magical folks and creatures. :)

  2. I am in love with your blog! <3

  3. Yum! Everything turned out so pretty! The nut and seed bread looks so yummy, I've never tried hazelnut flour - although I did try hazelnut milk when I made your Rapunzel soup! Great job! :)

  4. I loved the cartoon but I never knew there was a book! Now I must go find it. Your picture of the miniature version of the meal at the end is so perfect!!

    1. Thanks! ;) I hope you can find a copy of the book, or of one of the sequels! They're really interesting!

  5. I must say that I just love your blog, it's so inspiring and freakin' amazeballs.
    And quite funny actually because I have a similar blog in (althoug in Danish) where I combine my passion for cooking with my love for the fantastical world of fiction... I honestlydidn't think there were other bloggers out there with the same passion as me, so I am really happy that I found you blog

    Much love is sent your way from you nerdy Danish fan :)


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