Swans – Food or Menace?

posted Nov 12, 2014, 2:44 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush   [ updated Nov 12, 2014, 4:04 AM ]

By Toadflax Nosely 

While it still remains to be seen whether the recent increase in the number of swans frequenting the villages of the Shire is the result of fowl play, there can be no doubt: their numbers are increasing eggs-ponentially. And I'll have you know adult swans are tall enough to bite the noses of adult Hobbits, even when the latter are standing up. Clearly, something needs to be done, lest the swans become a menace to Hobbits, and fortunately swans are eminently edible! Thus, the sensible way to reduce their numbers is the time-honoured Hobbit way: By eating them!  

Now, one does not simply eat swans: They need to be cooked first. And so me and my daughters have been to The Mathom House archives (and other archives) looking for directions on how to cook this delicious bird. What follows are some of the recipes we discovered.

A Swan Pie, to be eaten cold.

Skin and bone your Swan; lard it with Bacon, and season it with Pepper, Salt, Cloves, Mace, and Nutmeg, to your Palate, and with a few Bay-leaves powder'd lay it in the Pie; stick it with Cloves; lay on butter, and close the Pie: When it is bak'd, and half cold, fill it up with clarify'd Butter.

(The library reference below for this entry has other swan pies, too!)

It is traditional to put a mock swan on top of a swan pie. You can carve a mock swan out of butter, but use a butter mock-swan on top only if it's a serve-cold pie!

A traditional recipe: Roasted swan with Chaudon

1. For to dihyte a swan. Tak & vndo hym & wasch hym, & do on a spite & enarme hym fayre & roste hym wel; & dysmembre hym on þe beste manere & mak a fayre chyne, & þe sauce þerto schal be mad in þis manere, & it is clept:

2. Chaudon. Tak þe issu of þe swan & wasch it wel, & scoure þe guttes wel with salt, & seth þe issu al togedere til it be ynow, & þan tak it vp and wasch it wel & hew it smal, & tak bred & poudere of gyngere & of galyngale & grynde togedere & tempere it with þe broth, & coloure it with þe blood. And when it is ysothe & ygrounde & streyned, salte it, & boyle it wel togydere in a postnet & sesen it with a litel vynegre.

(A contemporary translation of this recipe may be found in the library reference below)

Also I saw somewhere where they did not carve the Roast Swan before serving, but had skinned the swan with care not to tear the skin and put the fowl back in its skin after it was roasted and then served it.

Another recipe we came across is for Swan Meat Burgers but really if you mince the swan anyway it's much tastier to turn the meat into spam and make a yummy Spam Pie.

Swam - spam made of swan meat.

Last, but not least, Cream Puff Swans! These are absolutely delightful pastries even if they have no swan in them.

For the choux pastry:
40gm butter
1/2 cup water
50gm flour
2 eggs

1 yolk , beaten ,for glazing

For filling:
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornflour
50 gm sugar
2/3 cup fresh milk
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whipped cream

Icing sugar for dusting

1. Bring water and butter to boil. using a low flame, add flour and stir till non stick . Cool.
2. Add eggs and stir till smooth. put in a piping bag and pipe about 12 rounds onto a greased baking plate.
3. Brush each round with egg yolk. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 mins till golden and dry.
4. Pipe the remaining dough into an "S" shape with more thick at top of the "S" to mark the head of the swan. Using a toothpick, scratch a deep cut for the eyes.
5. Bake in the oven is the same manner.
6. Combine eggs, cornflour, sugar and milk , stir over low heat till thicken and smooth. Add butter and vanilla. Stir till smooth.
7. Slice choux pastry open resemble a lit . Cut the lit into half resemble the wings of the swan. Fill the custard into the pastry and pipe whipped cream on custard.
8. Fix back the wings and the head in position so to look like a swan in the picture.
9. Sieve icing sugar over the swans.

You can find the author, Toadflax Nosely, at 1 Brookbank Street, Oldfurlong, The Shire.

(( OOC: I claim no copyright to recipes or images. If you feel you have rights to any of these which are being violated by their presence in this article, do complain and the offending content shall be removed.

For completeness' sake, here are references to the location of these recipes in the World Wide Library:
http://www.opensourcefood.com/people/marianne49/recipes/cream-puff-swan#full ))

On the various types of flour, their properties, and their many uses

posted Apr 10, 2014, 1:17 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush

By Rosafina Diggle 

When you reach intro your pantry for the flour, you will most likely be reaching for barley flour, the most common grain grown and milled in the Shire. However, you may not be aware that as trade has increased with the various lands occupied by the Big Folk, there are now a myriad of flours available at prices reasonable for the average Hobbit's purse. 

Now, don't be alarmed--these flours may seem exotic, but in truth they are not at all difficult to work with, and you may find they differ pleasantly in flavour and texture from the baked goods to which you are accustomed.

For most bakers who are just beginning to explore the wide world of flour, I can strongly recommend whole wheat. It is nutty and a little earthy, which brings a delicious savory element to breads in particular. But I do advise you to be cautious; this flour is a bit different than barley, and when mixed too long or too strongly, it can become oddly stretchy and the dough develops a very tight structure. I have found that this can be turned to your advantage, however, if you are the sort of person who prefers very chewy, dense breads.

Buckwheat is another flour of interest; however, be advised that this does not rise as high as other flours, so it is not ideal for light breads and baked goods. It is possessed of a startling, dark, almost purple coloration, and its flavor pairs particularly well with fall fruits. This I recommend for galettes and tarts and it makes a particularly delicious pancake.

A grain with which you are most likely familiar, but which has long been neglected in flour form, is oat. Like buckwheat, this is not a flour suited for bread-baking (at least, not on its own!), but it has a lovely, soft, sweet flavor. Oats are, I may point out, excellent for the digestion, and I particularly like to add a bit of oat flour to my breakfast muffins.

Now for a particularly challenging flour: rye. Many bakers are intimidated by this dark flour, and associate it only with dense, dark breads. In reality, rye flour is quite mild with a hint of caramel, and pairs very well with rich, sweet flavors such as maple or cherries, and stone fruits in the summer.

Spelt behaves very much like a mild whole wheat flour, but absorbs a great deal more water--so be aware of this if substituting spelt for either barley or wheat. It produces a soft, tender crumb, and is quite easy to begin baking with!

Now, because I know many of you would not be satisfied unless I provided a recipe to start you off, I have presented here a BLEND of the aforementioned flours, combining the very best of each in terms of flavor, texture, and rise. You can use this blend in place of plain old barley or wheat flour in most of your common baking recipes.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 cup barley flour
1/2 cup millet flour (for sweetness and a lovely colour)
1/2 cup rye flour

I hope this inspires all you bakers to expand your horizons in the kitchen, for I promise that delicious new flavors await!


((OOC: All information and the above recipe taken from the excellent cookbook, "Good to the Grain,"
  • ISBN-10: 1584798300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584798309
which deals entirely in baking with non-traditional whole-grain flours. I take credit only for the folksy presentation.))

Pondering Potatoes

posted Dec 12, 2013, 8:28 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush

By Rosafina Diggle

Gentle readers, while I am not an expert on the subject of *growing* taters, I am here now to share some of my techniques on *cooking* taters. There are many ways to prepare potatoes: baked, roasted, fried, boiled, mashed, whipped, and so on. And I must say, the thing that saddens me most is seeing a fellow cook use the wrong tater for the wrong dish. 

First let's talk about the potato I'm sure you're all very familiar with: the big rough brown ones. Now, these are just fine for pretty much everything, from mashing  to baking, but where these really shine is in the baking. There are two basic methods for this, and you can decide which is more suited to your present tastes and circumstances: 

1. Use a fork to poke little holes all over your tater, then roll it in oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt. This goes in the oven at a moderate temperature--same as what you'd bake a cake at--for about an hour.

2. Just stick that tater in the oven on high or in the coals of a dying fire for an hour. This is for those of us who like our tater skins and like 'em crispy! The inside will be less fluffy, but more creamy.

Now, these big brown taters are also very good for mashing, because they crumbles up so nicely when they get cooked. But if you like your mashed taters chunky, I suggest you mix some big brown taters with those little red taters (you know, with the slightly waxy skin)! The little red ‘uns hold together pretty well, and they are also perfect for “home fries.”

Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Yukon Gold potato. Its name is a mystery, but its purpose surely isn't: these are what you want when making a tater gratin (which is a fancy word for "layered potato dish") or when you need to whip up the topping for a Shepherd's Pie. The big brown taters tend to get a bit gummy if you overwork ‘em, and it’s almost impossible not to overwork potatoes if you are whipping them.

And now, I will share the most important potato secret of all (aside from using the right tater for the right dish). It is almost impossible to oversalt a potato. They need lots o’ salt, so if you’re going to be generous with your seasoning, this is the food for you!

((OOC: For those who are interested, the potato’s presence in Middle Earth is a bit of an anachronism, since the potato did not make its way to Europe until around the 17th century (if I remember my food history correctly). It was brought over from Central / South America by the Spanish, and as it is a member of the Nightshade family was for quite some time considered poisonous!))

Rosafina's Pie-Crust Secrets

posted Dec 4, 2013, 8:19 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush   [ updated Dec 4, 2013, 8:30 AM ]

By Rosafina Diggle   

Now, anybody with a bit of hobbit-sense can follow a recipe, and we've all got plenty of that, or at least I should hope so. What I'm proposing to offer you here is advice on how to go about executing a recipe--specifically a recipe for pie-crust.

Now as we all know, a really good pie-crust is both flaky and tender. The moment it hits your fork it should shatter into little crispy flakes of buttery goodness that practically melt in your mouth--at least, that is how I think pie crust ought to be.

The first secret I'm going to share with you will be a bit tricky, at least for half the year. The secret to good crust is COLD--keeping it a bit stiff and cold while you roll it out, and having it be as cool as it can be when you pop it in the oven.

In winter or fall, this is fine. Once you've made your crust but before you roll it out, just set it on the open windowsill (and even better, if it's snowing a bit or there's ice in the well, just pack some of that 'round the bottom of the bowl on the outside). I don't claim to know why this helps, but my grandma said the butter shouldn't melt until you pop the whole thing in the oven, or it'll be runny and greasy.

In the summertime, I personally have a marble rolling pin handed down to me by my great-grandmother Chrysanthemum, and my secret is this: we have a deep well out in the yard, and I lower that pin all the way to the bottom of the well on a rope (tightly tied!) and leave it for a while. When I pull it up it is always nice and cool, which helps a great deal!

My next piece of pie advice: don't fool around with lard or fat or oil or anything like that. Just you stick to all butter crusts, and your family and neighbors will thank you. It is much more flavorful, after all!

My last tip, gentle readers, is that you really don't want to over-work the pie crust. If you do it becomes tough and not tender at all, so when you're working the butter into the flour with your fingertips, do it quick-like and make sure you leave some lumps of butter about the size of a pea in there (it does not have to look perfect, just crumbly). Don't worry--it will all come together when you add the (cold) water!

And that's all I can say about pie-crusts--at least, all I can say without giving
away mum's secrets!

Banana strawberry pie

posted Sep 15, 2012, 8:20 AM by Byronbrand Stepwise

This extraordinary banana-strawberry laden pie will make you want to have seconds after elevenses. A special ingredient is the "banana"... a yellow berry from a tree-like herb that grows in the more Southern regions.

  • one silver tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • one bronze tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • one iron tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional)
  • one unbaked pie crust
  • half a cup of cow butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
  • one quarter a cup brown sugar (packed)
  • one cup all-purpose Spring barley flour
  1. Preheat a superior oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees Centigrade). Press the prepared pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and nuts in a bowl and smash this mixture until it has the texture of oatmeal. Refrigerate this crumble topping until ready to use.
  3. Pour the sweet apple juice into a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat; add the sliced bananas and honey and stir until the honey melts. Mix in the chopped strawberries and white sugar. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Pour the warm fruit mixture into the prepared pie crust; evenly distribute the cold crumble topping across the top of the pie.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a lovely golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Cool the pie on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.
Source: I quite forgot...

Potato cheese pie

posted Aug 2, 2012, 2:02 PM by Byronbrand Stepwise   [ updated Aug 2, 2012, 2:03 PM ]

The potato cheese pie compensates for weight loss
3 large potatoes, peeled & quartered... or alternatively mashed

2 garlic cloves, cut up in quarters
3/4 bar of butter
Little less than 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. half & half
2 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper
1 c. Cheddar cheese (1/4 of a pound), grated
2 silver teaspoons of Parmesan cheese
2 golden teaspoons of bread crumbs
2 iron teaspoons of butter, cut in pieces
Butter a glass pie dish.
Put potatoes and garlic (cut into 4 pieces if large) in water and bring to a boil, until potatoes are tender. Drain.
Shake over heat until potatoes are dry.
Mash potatoes, garlic and 3/4 a bar of butter. Add 1/2 cup (little less) of Parmesan cheese, half & half, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mash.
Add onions. Spoon mixture in pie dish (1/2). Spread evenly. Cover with Cheddar cheese. Top with rest of potato mixture. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and dot with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in superior oven.
source: cooks.com

Excellent strawberry pie!

posted Jul 17, 2011, 9:59 AM by Byronbrand Stepwise

A delicious strawberry laden pie !
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ( preferably silver ) cornstarch
  • 1 cup of fresh water
  • 1 teaspoon ( preferably gold ) lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup strawberry gelatin powder
  • 1 1/2 quarts strawberries, sliced (and reserve a few for garnish)
  • 1 pie shell, baked, nine inch whipped cream or topping
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a small (preferably copper coated) saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until thickened and clear, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice, gelatin powder, and food coloring if used.
Chill until mixture begins to thicken. Place our strawberries in the baked pie shell and spoon slightly thickened gelatin mixture over the top.
Chill the pie at least four hours, then top with whipped cream or whipped topping and garnish with reserved strawberry halves.
Source: southernfood.com

Superior cherry pie

posted Jul 9, 2011, 10:51 AM by Byronbrand Stepwise   [ updated Jul 10, 2011, 12:32 AM ]

This pie will make you the envy of the neighbourhood!
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  • Place a bottom crust in piepan.
  • Set the top crust aside, covered.
  • Then in a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, plenty of cherries and extracts. Let this stand 15 minutes.
  • Turn the mixture out into bottom crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top.
  • Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, into a lovely golden brown color.

Source: AllRecipies.com


Perfect apple pie

posted Apr 21, 2011, 2:17 PM by Byronbrand Stepwise

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
4 tablespoons cold water
7 cups thinly sliced peeled baking apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
First. in a calabash, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening.
Gradually add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a fork until dough forms a ball.
Chill for half an hour.
On a floured surface, roll half of dough into 10-inch circle. Place into a 9-inch pie pan.
Then, in a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to apples and toss.
Pour into crust; dot with butter.
Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; cut slits in top. Place over filling; seal and flute edges. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over pastry. Bake at 425 degrees F for one quarter of an hour minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F; bake 40-45 minutes more or until crust is golden and filling is pleasantly bubbly.
Enjoy !
Source: AllRecepies.com

Catfish cakes

posted Jan 7, 2011, 3:16 AM by Yola Plumblossom

From an old Shrubland family recipe, made famous by Miss Akelay.

  • 1 pound catfish fillets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shire Seasoning TM, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely crushed buttery round crackers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. Place catfish in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Drain off water, and mash up the fish. Stir in the onion, mustard, salad dressing, Shire seasoning™, cracker crumbs and egg. Mix until evenly blended.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Form the fish mixture into patties, and fry in the hot oil. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.

1-10 of 14