Guess what, friends? It’s time for another post for Fandom Foodies!
If you’re new to the blog or haven’t seen the million other posts I’ve done with this group, Fandom Foodies is a collective of bloggers in fandom-themed food who host monthly recipe link-ups with chosen themes. Last month Alison of Alison’s Wonderland Recipes whisked us through the wardrobe to the magical land of Narnia for #AslansFeast. This month Katharina of Pretty Cake Machine is welcoming the mew year and celebrating the gods of the internet through our love of cats in fiction with #Nyanuary.
So this month I’m going to do something I’ve not done since I’ve hosted #PokeNOM. I’m going to have all of my recipes this month be inspired by this theme. Why? Because I’m a crazy cat parent at heart, and I do adore my three nip-addicted fuzzy toddlers without opposable thumbs.
Speaking of crazy cat people, my first recipe is not just inspired by a fictional cat from the Dragon Age RPG series, but also his spell-slinging feline-obsessed human guardian. At one point in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, you will be joined by a Mage named Anders. At some other point, you may end up gifting him an adorable ginger kitten, whom Anders names “Ser Pounce a Lot“.
While you might not see the cat again through the rest of the game, you’ll hear him, or rather him meowing back to Anders as he simpers out the most sickeningly sweet fuzzy-baby-talk known to grace a Bioware game. I’ve played through the game a few times and I still don’t grow tired it. Besides, it’s generated some of the most glorious fan art I’ve ever seen.
So that said, since Anders is always traveling with the Hero of Fereldan, it stands to reason he would pack rations that he can share with Ser Pounce a Lot. It also stands to reason that he would pick out the best, healthy ingredients like the responsible cat-daddy he is. That’s why I’ve made these tasty, fishy hand pies, perfect for snacking and sharing between blasting away dozens of mean, nasty Templars and Darkspawn.
To start us out, I whipped up a hot-water crust with dried dill and mint. Both herbs are cat-safe and healthy for them, though if you really want to be adventurous (and if you want your cat to adore you), try using organic catnip instead of the mint. Catnip is human-safe, though not recommended for those who are pregnant or nursing. One thing I can say about this crust recipe, though, is that I’m in love. I thought I sucked with pastry crust because my hands were too warm to work it without it tearing or misshaping. This stuff shapes like modeling clay or play-doh, and the warmer the better!
Since Anders loves Ser Pounce-a-Lot as if he were his child, I figured he may even get creative and make the pies look like fishies. I may have even made a mini-pie for my cats.
Because Anders feeds Ser Pounce-a-Lot dried mackerel strips in the game, for the filling I decided to use mackerel as my base. You can find canned mackerel, though be wary of the spine and bone segments and try to remove the larger ones as much as you can before flaking the fillets. The smallest bones will crumble at the slightest touch, though, so ingesting them shouldn’t be problematic. To this, I added beta carotene-rich cantaloupe, frozen sweet peas, apple cider vinegar, and shredded swiss cheese.
Baked up, it was delicious. Another great thing about this crust was how the herbs really stand out when baked, releasing wonderful aromas as well as flavors. The combination of dill, cantaloupe, and mackerel was also surprisingly good as their sweetness cuts and tones down any excessive fishiness.
So then there was the ultimate test: “Will kitty eat it?” I don’t know how your fur babies will react. Mine, however? Schrodinger, my youngest boy, sniffed it and walked away. Moosie, my other boy, ate the filling but left the crust. And my little girl, Ginger, scarfed down her and Schrodinger’s portion, crust and all, like a Templar on lyrium withdrawal. Behold, the face of this ravenous beast!
So here it is, something to share with your feline friends (in moderation) to show them you love them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we and Ginger did, and be sure to check out the other #Nyanuary entries over at Pretty Cake Machine!
Sir Pounce a Lot's Mackerel Hand Pies
Makes 6 pies
Equipment: Heat-resistant mixing bowl, kettle, saucepan, stovetop, spatula, rolling pin, baking sheets, parchment paper, pastry brush, oven.
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup lard, shredded
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint or organic catnip
- 15 oz can mackerel filets in water, bones removed and meat flaked
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup diced cantaloupe
- 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint or organic catnip
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- Whisk flour and salt together in a large, heat-resistant bowl. Pour the milk, lard, water, and herbs in a small saucepan and simmer.
- Set a separate kettle with extra water to boil. Stir the contents of the saucepan. When the mixture just comes to a boil, immediately pour it into the flour mix and blend with a spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms. Add extra hot water from the kettle if the dough is too dry, extra flour if too wet, until it’s workable enough to roll.
- Separate the dough into six portions and roll them into balls.Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a 6-inch diameter circle.
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a separate bowl and scoop an equal portion onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Cut a corner of the border and roll the edge. Form fins and eyes with the leftover dough and place the pies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cut gills on each pie to vent.
- Brush the beaten egg on each pie and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving, and at least 10 minutes before serving it to your cat.