Outlander Kitchen: Food From Fiction
I have always been a reader, but I lost that part of myself for a few years, while pursuing a corporate, middle-management much better suited to someone else. After plucking up the courage to throw that job away in 2001, I walked into a bookstore on my first job-free day in search of a new beginning, and, somewhere in General Fiction, my eyes lit upon a bold red and black cover with a gold clock; the book was Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.
Over the following years, I read, and reread, Clair Randall Fraser’s story while making big changes to my own life. In 2003, my husband and I uprooted from the big-city and relocated to a semi-rural island two hours off the southern coast of British Columbia. After the sudden death of my father in 2008, I followed my life’s dream and enrolled in culinary school, where I graduated at the top of my class.
The idea for food from fiction popped into my head while I was on my morning walk in the woods with the dog in the autumn of 2009. One moment my mind was blank, and the next it was obsessed with a dish of rolls stuffed with pigeon and truffles from Voyager, the third book in the series. After obtaining Diana’s permission, and experimenting with the rolls, as well as a number of other Outlander recipes, I launched my blog, Outlander Kitchen, in 2010.
In 2014, I celebrated with Outlander fans all over the world when Sony and Starz announced the small-screen adaptation of the story. Our passionate base grew with the addition of millions of TV fans, and in May, 2015, I signed a cookbook contract with Penguin/Random House to produce OutlanderKitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook.
From Claire’s first lonely, bewildering bowl of Mrs. Fitzgibbon’s Overnight Porridge in Castle Leoch, through a Roast Beef for a Wedding Feast after her hasty marriage to Highlander James Fraser, to a comforting batch of Mrs. Bug’s Buttermilk Drop Biscuits at their home on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina over 25 years and two trips through the stones later, Outlander Kitchen gives fans of the books and television series a bird’s eye view of food through the centuries, while updating recipes for today’s modern kitchens, cramped schedules, and progressive palates.
Here’s just one delicious recipe…happy cooking!
Roger was sweating from the exertion, his heart beating fast from the adrenaline of performance, and the air away from the fire and the crowd was cold on his flushed face. The baby’s swaddled weight felt good against him, warm and solid in the crook of his arm. He’d done well, and knew it. Let’s hope it was what Fraser wanted.
By the time Bree reappeared with a drink and a pewter plate heaped with sliced pork, apple fritters, and roast potatoes, Jamie had come into the circle of firelight, taking Roger’s place before the standing cross.
He stood tall and broad-shouldered in his best gray gentleman’s coat, kilted below in soft blue tartan, his hair loose and blazing on his shoulders, with a small warrior’s plait down one side, adorned with a single feather. Firelight glinted from the knurled gold hilt of his dirk and the brooch that held his looped plaid. He looked pleasant enough, but his manner overall was serious, intent. He made a good show — and knew it.
The Fiery Cross (Chapter 24 – Playing with Fire)
Originally served as an accompaniment to savory meat dishes, especially pork, these whisky-marinated balls of fruit and dough pair well with Ragoo’d Pork either right beside it on the main plate, or after, as a sweet finish with your favourite digestif, such as a good single malt.
Makes 20 to 24
- ¼ cup whisky or orange juice
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated
- ¼ cup sugar, plus additional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pound (2 or 3 medium)sweet, firm apples such as Granny Smith, Gala or Pink Lady
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Vegetable oil, for frying
In a medium bowl, mix together the whisky, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, vanilla and ground ginger.
Peel and core the apples. Chop into ½-inch pieces and toss in the whisky mixture. Marinate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the apples, reserving the marinade. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and ½ cup of the marinade to make a pancake-like batter. Stir the apples into the batter, mixing well to ensure good distribution.
In a large saucepan over medium high, heat 2 or 3-inches of vegetable oil to 350°F.
Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Do not crowd the pan. Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle more sugar on top and serve warm.
- Do not use an expensive single malt whisky in the marinade – it’s a waste your money and the distiller’s skill and labour – all of the subtle aroma and flavour is lost in the deep-frying. Instead, choose a blended whisky or whiskey, which you can then use in Laoghaire’s Whisky Sour, Jamie’s Rusty Nail, or any number of other cocktails.
OutlanderKitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook is on sale now, and is available online, and in book-and-mortar bookstores everywhere. Learn more and order your copy here.
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