Happy October, folks! It is officially an acceptable time to decorate for Halloween, so you can bet my apartment is decked out in its finest spooky raiments. Of course, this means it’s time to say goodbye to September and our Redwall menu, but don’t worry. As always, we’re concluding our current menu with an awesome new Adagio tea blend: Abbot’s Chocolate Hazelnut Tea!

Want a hint to our October Book of the Month? I got you covered:

IMG_4649     Most Redwall recipes are simple, hearty affairs, and dessert is no exception. In fact, sugar barely even makes an appearance in this recipe. Instead, apple pie spice walnuts are the star of this dish, lightly sweetened and accompanied by a generous helping of Redwall’s famous meadowcream. This dessert’s cozy flavors and simplistic feel make it the perfect way to end our Redwall menu. Enjoy!

P.S. I got the nut recipe from The Café, and the meadowcream recipe is my own invention.

Candied Nuts with Meadowcream

“Gnoff indicated a spot on the butter-colored meadowcream, between a candied chestnut and a honey-preserved rose petal. ‘Cut the cackle an’ slice the cake, matey!’
“A loud cheer went up as the keen blade slid into the massive confection.
“…Columbine took over the slicing and Cogs served drinks, whilst Martin sat in a corner with some of his friends, eating and sipping happily.”

— The Legend of Luke
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INGREDIENTS:

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  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey (for the nuts)
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp honey (for the meadowcream)
  • Makes approximately 4 servings

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil and spray the tinfoil with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium size pan, cook the butter, olive oil, brown sugar, 2 tbsp honey, apple pie spice, and salt over medium heat. You’ll want to cook and stir until the mix is well combined and very bubbly.
  3. Pour in the walnuts and cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring continuously. When they’re finished, the nuts should be completely coated and adhering to each other a little bit.
  4. Pour half the nuts onto one baking sheet and the remaining half onto the second baking sheet. Spread the nuts around with a spatula (not your fingers—they’ll be hot!). The key here is to spread the nuts apart as much as possible, so you don’t wind up with giant walnut clusters, which won’t baking evenly.
  5. Put your baking sheets in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so, pull out the sheets and stir the nuts with your spatula, making sure to spread them back out again to avoid clusters.
  6. NOTE: Keep an eye on the baking sheets for the last few minutes, as the bottom sheet may finish a little sooner.
  7. They’re all done when the nuts are a lovely toasted brown color, like this:

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    And they will smell like the essence of happiness itself.

  8. Remove the pans and set them on a wire rack to cool (do NOT remove the nuts yet). While you wait, pour your whipping cream into a standing mixer and whip on medium-high speed for a few minutes, until it begins to have a solid texture but doesn’t yet form peaks.
  9. Stop the mixer while you add your 3 tbsp of honey. Stir the mix a few times with your spatula, to keep the honey from settling to the bottom.IMG_4585
  10. Whip for a few more minutes or until soft peaks form. If you like, you can whip it a little longer, until you get stiff peaks. It will have a little more texture and a stronger form, but might not look as smooth and pretty.

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    PEAKS EXPLAINED: To determine how strong your peaks are, stop the mixer and pull the whipping attachment straight out of the whipped cream. If pulling it out does not cause a little pointed peak to form, you’re at the “no peaks” stage. If a peak is formed but bends (or the tip curls), you’re at the “soft peaks” stage. If a peak is formed and points straight up like a tiny little mountain, you’re at the “stiff peaks” stage.

  11. When the nuts are cool and the candy coating has hardened, break up any remaining clusters into small, bite-size pieces.
  12. To store, transfer the apple pie candied walnuts to an airtight container and store at room temperature (they will keep for about two days before beginning to go soft). Transfer the meadowcream to another airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  13. To serve, fill a small bowl with 2/3 meadowcream and 1/3 apple pie candied walnuts.IMG_4646
  14. Enjoy with all your favorite Redwall heroes! :) IMG_4655

IMG_4494 This side dish comes to you straight from The Redwall Cookbook! I love it because it’s simple and wholesome, just as a Redwall Abbey recipe should be. Plus, the cayenne pepper ties in with our appetizer, and the nuts will tie in beautifully with our dessert! I wasn’t able to snag a copy of the cookbook itself, so I accessed the recipe through The Half Cut Cook.

NOTE: There’s no rule that says you can’t repurpose Beorn’s Nut Bread from our Hobbit menu as your Redwall side. I just think the hearty, ever-so-subtly spicy nature of this particular bread recipe is a perfect companion to our Hotroot Soup and Deeper ‘n Ever Pie. :)

Loamhedge Legacy Nutbread

“Always gallant, Matthias patted his friend’s paw. ‘Well, now, if you like my nutbread–Loamhedge Legacy, I call it–I’ll trade recipes with you!’
Rosey agreed willingly, ‘Ooh, I love any sort of nutbread. Which one is yours?’
Matthias pointed. ‘Over there, by that big marvelous pudding. It’s nothing so grand, I fear. Just a homely thing, but it’s very tasty and made to a real ancient recipe…’ “

— The Redwall Cookbook
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Makes 1 loaf (serves approximately 6 people)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First off, set your oven to 425°. Add your flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Now, slice your butter into individual tablespoon portions, add half to the mix, and process on low for about 2 minutes. Stop the processor and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add your remaining butter and repeat the process. After scraping the bowl the second time, run the processor for another minute or until the mix has a course texture, like this:

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    It will still be really dry and crumbly, but don’t worry. That’s just what we want.

  3. Transfer the mix to a medium mixing bowl and stir in 2/3 cup of your nuts.
  4. Add your milk a few tablespoons at a time, stirring well with a wire whisk after each addition. Keep stirring in milk until the texture of the dough is damp, but not wet (if you need to use extra milk to reach this texture, that’s ok).
  5. NOTE: There will also be some dry, unincorporated bits of dough in the bottom of the bowl. This is totally normal. A little milk goes a long way here, so when you knead it all up, even the dry bits should incorporate easily.
  6. Gently knead the dough into a ball.

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    With all the nuts, it looks kinda like a big ball of chocolate chip cookie dough!

  7. On an ungreased baking sheet, flatten out the dough and shape it into an 8″ square.
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  8. Press the remaining nuts firmly into the top of the dough. With a sharp knife, cut a pattern of 12-16 squares across the top of the loaf, being careful to only cut halfway through the dough.

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    The idea behind slicing the top is that you’ll be able to easily break off squares of bread for serving, rather than having to cut it up.

  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is firm and lightly browned.
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  10. Let cool and serve with Deeper ‘n Ever Pie at your next Redwall feast!
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IMG_4415Today, we continue our menu with a Redwall Abbey staple. Mossflower Woods has loads of great entrees to choose from, but this wouldn’t be a Redwall menu without the abbey’s famous Deeper ‘n Ever Turnip ‘n Tater ‘n Beetroot Pie! The ultimate in root veg goodness, this savory pie boasts buttery herb crust and hearty diced vegetable filling, with a flavor reminiscent of Thanksgiving stuffing. And like all recipes eaten by the mice and moles of Redwall, it’s naturally vegetarian…but I won’t fault you if you add some diced chicken to the mix! ;)

P.S. The recipe I use here is adapted from a recipe developed by Mary Jane Robbins of King Arthur Flour.

Deeper ‘n Ever Pie

“But you’d love the vittles, an’ there ain’t no better cook in all of Mossflower than Friar Wopple. She makes pies an’ soups, an’ pasties…an’ deeper ‘n ever turnip ‘n tater ‘n beetroot pie for the moles. Best food you ever tasted…”
— The Rogue Crew: A Tale of Redwall
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INGREDIENTS:

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Savory crust

Filling vegetables

  • 2 cups pearl onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup white turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup leeks with leaves cut off, diced (be sure to wash and drain them thoroughly before you chop them up–leeks are known to harbor lots of dirt between the layers)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (you can add up to 2 cups, but if you don’t like lots of celery in your stuffing, I’d go with 1 cup)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 2 to 3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Potato filling binder

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried chives
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 medium baking potatoes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start by chopping up all your vegetables (except the potatoes—we’re going to bake those separately). I recommend starting with the white or green vegetables, then moving on to the colored ones. Save the beets for last and be careful to keep the juices on the cutting board. Beet juice loves to stain!
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  2. Set your vegetables aside in a large bowl and preheat your oven to 400° (we’ll come back to them soon. I promise!).
  3. Now it’s time for the pie crust! In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp dried herbs. Using a pastry blender or the end of your whisk, mash the butter and cream cheese into the flour mix. It won’t blend exactly, but it will evenly incorporate throughout the mix. You’re done when the mix has a “texture like granola” (a very fitting description from the original recipe).

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    For me, there’s something incredibly soothing about making pie crust. You can’t rush it, so it forces you to slow down. You just gotta stand at your counter, rhythmically pressing your tool down into the butter, gradually incorporating it through the whole mixture. I do some of my best thinking while making pie crust!

  4. Add your milk one tablespoon at a time and continue “blending” the dough with your whisk or pastry blender. You want to add just enough milk to make the dough dense and adhere easily to itself, not enough to make it wet or drippy.

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    See how it’s beginning to stick to itself in clumps? That’s the texture you’re looking for.

  5. Gather all the dough together into a smoothish ball and flatten it out a little bit. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
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  6. Now it’s time to roast the vegetables. Grab your big bowl of vegetables and pour in your olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper). Toss to coat.
  7. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil and pour half your vegetables into each pan, spreading them out until each pan is evenly covered. Slide the sheets in the oven.
  8. Remember those potatoes that we left all by their lonesome during our veg chopping session? Firmly poke each one six times with a fork and place them on the oven racks right next to your baking sheets.
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  9. Let the vegetables bake for about 45 minutes (stirring them thoroughly every 15 minutes) or until you can slice straight through one of the denser vegetables with a fork. When they’re all done, take them out and set them on the stove, but also take your dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to warm a little bit.
  10. Carefully peel the potatoes and mash them in a very large bowl. Add the eggs, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp chives, 1 tsp thyme, and ½ tsp salt. Stir it all up until completely blended.
  11. Now add your other vegetables to the bowl 2 cups at a time, folding them into the potato mixture. Now your pie filling is all set!
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  12. Lightly spray a 9” or 10” pie plate. When your dough is slightly softened and malleable, roll it out on a floured surface until it is 12-14” in diameter. Lay it gently into the pie plate. Pat the edges flat and trim around the outside so the dough doesn’t extend beyond the lip of the plate.

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    Don’t press the dough into the bottom edges of the plate. This can make the dough thin out, causing uneven baking and shrinkage. Instead, gently lift the dough by the ends and let it drape into the bottom edges of the pie plate. Now your dough will be an even thickness throughout!

  13. Pour your filling into the pie plate and decorate the edge of your crust.

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    I like to use a fork to decorate rustic pies with a simple design, but there are loads of ways to put a decorative edge on a pie crust.

  14. Place the pie in the oven (still at 400°) for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350° and bake for another 25-30 minutes. NOTE: Keep a keen eye on the edge of your crust for the last 10 minutes of baking. If the crust begins to over brown before the rest of the pie is finished, cover the crust with a layer of tinfoil for the remainder of the cook time.
  15. It’s all finished when the crust is golden brown and the top of the filling has started to crisp up.
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  16. Serve it up warm to your favorite mole friends from Redwall! :)
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That’s right. Those are lightsaber candlesticks and a framed hobbit map…because I’m cool like that. ;)

Bea’s Book Nook recently published a post in which Bea lists 20 authors with the most books on her bookshelf. It got me curious about which authors had the biggest real estate claim on my bookcase, so I decided to check it out! My findings surprised me a bit…

#3: SHARON CHREECH (8 books)
I don’t read her stuff much these days, but Sharon Creech was my favorite author growing up. I love her lyrical style and quirky characters. In fact, her book The Wanderer made “Rosalie” my favorite name! I’m still determined to name my daughter this someday.

#2: C.S. LEWIS (10 books)
Of course, I love the Chronicles of Narnia, but Lewis is also my favorite Christian apologist. While some authors can make theology needlessly abstruse and dry, Lewis’ approach is accessible and interesting.

And the author with the most books on my bookshelf is * drumroll please *…

#1: AGATHA CHRISTIE (17 books, not counting short stories)
To anyone who knows me, this was the obvious winner. Agatha Christie is my hero. She dives right to the core of what makes human beings tick, and I always feel free to work my hardest to guess the killer (because I know I won’t be right). The Mister even took me to see a Christie play in Wheaton for my birthday last year!

Which authors have the most books on your bookshelf? Do any of them surprise you?

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