I love Kiki’s Delivery Service so much! Granted, I can’t exactly relate to the part about being a witch, but I can definitely relate to being a young working girl out on her own for the first time. I remember my heart going out to Kiki as I watched her struggle to find a job and carve out a niche for herself in her new city home. It was great to see her grow and overcome bouts of self-doubt and failure to become a very happy little witch.
I think one of the best thing’s about Kiki’s Delivery Service is the emphasis it puts on developing relationships. At first, Kiki tries to do everything alone and struggles to make due, but as she makes new friends, their goodwill and helpfulness play a huge role in helping her on the way to success. A great example is the baker lady Osono, who is impressed by Kiki’s helpfulness to a stranger and offers her a place to stay and a job. And at the end of the movie, Kiki’s friend Madame bakes her a cake as a show of appreciation—and that’s the cake we’re making today!
This rich double chocolate cake is an exact replica of the one in the movie, and I had so much fun making it! The recipe was originally developed by Katerina at Diethood (and it was aptly named “Black Magic Cake”). The food in every Hayao Miyazaki movie looks delicious, and this cake is one of the Miyazaki dishes I’ve been dreaming about eating for years! Now I just need to find a plucky young witch to share it with! 🙂
Howl’s Moving Castle was actually the first Studio Ghibli movie I ever saw, and it’s main comic relief (the fire demon Calcifer) is still one of my all-time favorite Miyazaki characters. Though he can be a bit salty and sassy, Cal’s got a good heart underneath it all, so I wanted to pay tribute to him with a dish in our Ghibli menu.
When forced into making breakfast with the new cleaning lady, Calicifer famously curses her by saying, “May all your bacon burn!” So in honor of Cal (and the delicious, non-burned bacon he made with Sophie that day), I decided to make some sweet and spicy bacon!
This recipe features crisp center cut bacon rubbed with cinnamon and cayenne for spice and coated with honey and brown sugar for sweetness. The perfect snack to share with your favorite fire demon!
Our entree today comes from Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I love Ponyo’s preoccupation with food in the film, especially ham! Her reaction when Sosuke’s mom serves pork ramen soup is adorable!
This ramen soup recipe is a recreation of the one in the movie, featuring classic ramen noodles, hard boiled eggs, green onions, and of course ham! It’s a savory, salty, satisfying dish—sure to make you feel nice and cozy on a stormy night. 🙂
I’m proud to announce the start of a menu I’ve been looking forward to for ages: A STUDIO GHIBLI MENU! For those who are unfamiliar, Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki worked with Studio Ghibli to make films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo. I’ve been a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan for years, so I thought it would be fun to make a menu for his movies! Since it would be impossible to choose just one film, I decided to base each dish after a different movie. Today’s recipe is from Spirited Away!
We’re wrapping up our Little Princess menu with the very first food Sara ever shares with her close friend Becky: sweet, delicate, delicious cake!
I love the friendship that develops between Becky and Sara. And I think it’s no coincidence that it all develops around food! 🙂 At first, Becky the maid is shy and uncertain around the well-to-do Sara, and Sara is lonely in an unfamiliar country.
But when Sara sees how hungry Becky is, she shares all kinds of foods with her, starting with this cake (which I modeled after the rosy dress Becky says she once saw on a real princess). Becky is touched by the generosity and soon gets over her shyness, opening the door for a friendship that both girls desperately need.
I always knew cake had the power to change lives! 🙂
In A Little Princess, Sara and Becky wake up in their attic room to find that a succulent feast has mysteriously appeared. The delicious dishes appear for many days, and a “spicy Indian soup” is said to be among them. Though the soup is not described, I like to imagine it was mulligatawny soup—filling and savory, with a perfect fusion of English cooking and Indian roots, heralding back to Sara’s background.
This particular recipe (developed by Emily from Favorite Family Recipes) is super complex and delicious. I love how the salty flavors play off the sweet and the creamy flavors play off the savory, creating a truly balanced dish!
Becky is one of my favorite characters in A Little Princess because she’s so genuine. As a young maid in a school full of little girls with large fortunes and influential families, it would be easy for her to get bogged down in resentment or jealousy. Instead, she’s open to friendship with even the most affluent student—little Sara—and proves to be a great friend in Sara’s time of need.
When Sara starts sharing food with Becky, these meat pies were Becky’s favorite, and I can see why. They’re hearty and heart-warming, with substance and simple goodness—much like Becky herself! 🙂
Our new Book of the Month is A Little Princess, and we’re starting it out with one of my favorite foods in the entire book: Sara’s bakery buns! When the previously affluent Sara Crewe is suddenly thrown into poverty, she struggles with hunger every day. One day she finds a coin in the street, but instead of spending it right away, she tries to find who it belongs to. When she can’t, she uses it to buy six warm, fresh bakery buns…then the baker woman sees her give five of them away to a starving child on the street! The baker woman is so touched by Sara’s generosity, she takes in the child Sara helped and teaches her to work in the bakery. Who knew a little girl with a simple bun could do so much?
In the movie version of the story, the bun in Sara’s hands looks like a giant, delicious cinnamon bun, but I decided to take it a step further and make something special: blackberry buns! Today we’ve spiraled traditional sweet roll dough around rich blackberry preserves and drizzled it with sweet lemon icing.
A dish fit for a princess!
Today we’re wrapping up our Star Trek menu with a true trekky classic: Romulan Ale. Easily identified by its distinctive bright blue color, Romulan Ale is said to be highly intoxicating, which is part of why the Federation dubs it illegal through most of the series. This particular recipe was a collaborative effort between myself, the Mister, and our good friend David, who’s a bit of a brewing/distilling enthusiast. We toned it down a little bit from the ale described in the show, so you won’t suffer the same awful hangover as you would after drinking the original. 😉
I knew I wanted to use a blue curacao base to get that iconic blue color, and David gave me suggestions for beers that would pair well with it without diluting the color too much. The Mister was my primary taste tester, and after a couple rounds of testing we had the proportions down just right. The resulting beverage tastes a bit like orange cream soda, with just a little beer flavor thrown in. Three cheers for teamwork! 🙂
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deanna Troi’s love affair with chocolate is the stuff of legend. She eats it almost every day, and even has a specific technique for eating ice cream sundaes (Hint: it involves a lot of slow bites and savoring). I always thought her signature sundae looked super delicious, so I decided to make it here on the blog! This decadent ice cream dessert features homemade chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge, and chocolate chips…plus double chocolate Pirouette cookies, whipped cream, and a cherry for good measure!
P.S. I used the chocolate ice cream recipe that came with my ice cream maker, but feel free to substitute store-bought ice cream if you’re strapped for time. 🙂