My earliest memory of friendship with Danqing is from grade school. Warm autumn light filtered through the high windows of the school library as two young girls crouched between a pair of bookshelves. I watched Danqing as she shuffled through a series of dusty paperbacks, all by a man named Brian Jacques. She held out one of the books, “Redwall”, with a look of excited anticipation, and I opened it.
Danqing and I formed a bond over our shared love for the Redwall series and its stories of warrior mice, badger lords, and courageous hares. The most lasting impression Brian Jacques’s writing made upon me was his sumptuous, lavish descriptions of feasts. There were feasts for every occasion! At Redwall, spending time in the kitchen preparing meals is a way of expressing love and happiness towards those we cherish.
At Redwall, the delicious feasts were full of hot baked pies, spicy stews, freshly brewed ciders, endless salads, homebaked bread, and herb-studded cheeses. Medieval food, in other words, made scrumptious!
You’ll read time and again on our blog that the food you eat is extremely important to your health and beauty. The ancient Indian medical philosophy of Ayurveda states that the way you prepare your food– with love, or anger, or impatience- actually imbibes intangible properties into the food itself to impact the health of those who eat it. So make your food with affection, joy, and peace in your heart!
I’ve included a selection of recipes below from The Redwall Cookbook. Prepare these treats for your friends, your family, or just yourself, celebrating the bond of food and feelings as it’s done at Redwall Abbey.
Brockhall Badger Carrot Cakes
- 1 small potato, cooked and mashed (3/4 cup)
- 3 medium carrots (6 ounces), peeled and grated
- 1 medium onion (6 ounces), peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Farenheit. Place the potato in a bowl and mix in the carrot, onion, breadcrumbs, and parsley.
- Beat in the eggs and season well with salt and pepper.
- Heat a little of the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and drop tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook until the undersides of the cakes are golden brown, turn them over and cook the other side, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Transfer the cooked cakes to a paper towel-lined plated and keep warm in the oven. Continue with the remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as needed.
Summer Strawberry Fizz
- 1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, hulled
- 1 cup strawberry ice cream
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup seltzer water
- Combine the strawberries, ice cream and sugar in a blender and process until smooth.
- Refrigerate for one hour, then stir in the seltzer and serve immediately.
- Butter, for the baking dish
- 4 medium baking apples (such as Granny Smith, McIntosh or Rome)
- 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, currants and golden raisins)
- 1/4 honey, warmed until runny
- Custard sauce or heavy cream for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Generously butter a baking dish.
- Core the apples, stopping 1/2 inch short of the base of the apple. Leave the peels on. Stand the apples in the buttered dish.
- Fill each apple with 2 tablespoons of the dried fruit.
- Pour a tablespoon of warm honey into each cavity, letting it run over a little onto the tops of the apples.
- Pour water into the pan until it comes about 1/2 inch up the sides of the apples.
- Cover the pan with the foil and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Serve warm with custard sauce or a drizzle of heavy cream.
Remember, you are what you eat, so cook happy and eat happy! Bon appetit!