dragon age recipes

Dalish Food Preservation: Jerky, Pemmican, and Hot-Pot

For most cultures throughout Thedas, preserved foods are a necessity. For the peoples of the Anderfels, and the Elves of the Dalish Clans, this is especially true. The Anders have to deal with the volatile climate of the Anderfels, and the Dalish must deal with their nomadic lifestyle which leaves little room for fresh food storage of any meaningful value.

One thing many cultures have in common throughout Thedas, and even our own real world, is that each cultures has some variation of dried meats. In Thedas, two kinds of dried meats are very ubiquitous throughout most cultures that still make liberal use of preservation: Jerky, and Pemmican.


Jerky is meat that has been sliced or pounded very thin, and then dried with the aid of liberal amounts of salt and seasonings. In the modern era, we usually use nitrates of some kind to aid in the curing of meats like Jerky. In Thedas, and our own middle ages, however, they would have used only salt.

The Dalish typically make their jerky using salt, ironbark syrup (which is similar in flavor to mollasses), fermented rashvine sap and various herbs and spices that are native to the area in which they are staying. For example, Dalish clans in Ferelden and the Free Marches typically use a lot of borage, bay leaf, mint, juniper berries and parsley in their jerky.


Pemmican is essentially a loaf of dried/cured meat, mixed with fat and sometimes other ingredients. Some cultures add fruits and grains, whereas others use only meat, fat and seasoning.

In our own world, it is unknown who truly invented pemmican, but the word comes from the language of the Cree, one of the many indigenous peoples of North America.

Likewise, in Thedas, it is unknown who invented Pemmican. But almost every culture has, or used to have, a variant of it. The Dalish variation is known as ghial’bradh and incorporates a lot of dried berries and wild grains.


Hot-pot, hochepot, or hodgepodge is a stew made of a mixture of various ingredients, usually whatever the cook has on hand at the time. In many cultures throughout thedas, hot-pot is made with pemmican or some other cured or preserved food as its base.

Most cultures througout thedas have a variant of Hot-Pot. In Fereldan and the Free Marches, it is known as either hodgepodge, or rubaboo. In Orlais it is known as hochepot. In Antiva it is known as either mezcolanza or misto. In Nevarra it is known as miktí, and in Tevinter it is known as farrago

Among the Dalish, it is known as grid’iathe. It is typically made with Dalish ghial’bradh along with whatever fresh vegetables, grains and herbs that Dalish clan is able to forage.


Dalish jerky is usually made from wild ram, bear, sheep or boar meat. However, some clans will trade with human settlements for mutton, pork and beef.

yield: about 1.5 lbs of jerky

  • ¾ cup hickory salt (about 6 oz by weight) (pickling salt will work fine)
  • ¼ c ironbark syrup (Maple syrup, molasses, or honey will work fine)
  • 1 large amrita vein bulb or 4 arbor blessing bulbs, crushed (4 spring onions or 4 cloves of garlic will work fine)
  • 2 large spoonfuls purified and fermented rashvine sap (2 tbs Worcestershire sauce plus 2 tbs black pepper will work fine)
  • 5 pounds fresh meat
  • spices of choice (vary by clan, so just use your favorites, or none at all)


  1. Rub the meat with the salt, making sure to cover every inch of meat in a thin layer of slay. If you need to use more than ¾ cup, do so. However, do not use less than ½ cup. 
  2. Lay the meat on a rack in a large container and allow to rest in a cold place for at least 12 hours (the Dalish usually use tightly packed snow or ice, but i’m pretty sure a fridge will work fine). Do not allow the meat to rest for more than 48 hours.
  3. Check the meat every day to check to see if any liquid needs to drained from the container. Make sure that any liquid that is drawn from the meat does not touch the meat. While there is enough salt on the meat to prevent bacterial formations, the same cannot be said for any liquid that is leeched out by the salt. Make sure to remove liquid when necessary. 
  4. After 12 hours, remove the meat and wash thoroughly, making sure to remove all salt. Then vigorously pat dry until the surface of the meat is completely dry.
  5. Once dry, slice meat into long, thin strips no larger than ¼ inch thick. Make sure to slice the meat with the grain, otherwise your jerky will fall apart once dried.
  6. Combine syrup, crushed bulbs, rashvine sap and any other spices of choice in a bowl until you form a smooth paste.
  7. Dip each piece of meat into your seasoning paste, making sure that each piece is thoroughly coated in a very thin layer of seasoning.
  8. Dry your meat using a wire rack over a low burning fire for at least 24 hours, or until fully dried.
  9. In the real world: use a food dehydrator, making sure the temperature stays between 130 and 140 degrees at all times. Dry your jerky until it is firm and stiff but not ready to fall apart.
  10. Alternatively, you can dry your jerky in the oven, making sure to use your oven’s lowest setting and leaving the oven door slightly open.


Similar to Dalish jerky, Pemmican or ghial’bradh is typically made with ram, bear, sheep or boar meat. Unlike jerky, however, it is not as salty, and usually incorporates dried fruit and grains. What results is a thick, dry meat ‘bread’ that is usually stored and then sliced to be heated and eaten later. 

Many Dalish clans will store ghial’bradh is bags made of animal hide. These bags can be made to be air-tight and oftentimes clans will bury bags of excess ghial’bradh and leave specific markers so that other Dalish clans can make use of their good fortune later.


yield: about 3 lbs of pemmican

  • 5 lbs of fresh meat
  • 1.5 lbs of suet (animal kidney fat, specifically of beef, venison and pork)
  • 2 oz (by weight) dried fruit
  • 1 oz (by weight) cup cooked, drained and dried wild rice, or wild wheat berries


  1. Slice meat very thin against the grain.
  2. Dry meat on a wire rack over a very low smokey fire for about 24 hours until completely dry. (alternatively, dry on your oven’s lowest setting with the door slightly open for about 10-12 hours. If you use a dehydrator, bake your meat strips in the oven for 30 minutes at 200, and then use your dehydrator normally). Meat should be completely dry and brittle once done.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, ground your dried meat into a coarse powder (alternatively, you can use a food processor in the modern world).
  4. Make sure the amount of dried meat is equal (in weight) to the amount of rendered fat you have. Adjust if needed.
  5. Melt your rendered fat completely, but do not allow it to become too hot.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cooked grain, dried fruit and meat powder.
  7. Add your rendered fat and stir until combined into a smooth paste.
  8. Pour your paste into molds of your choice (the dalish use clay bread pans) and pat down to get rid of any air bubbles. Store in a cool place until set and firm.
  9. Remove pemmican from your mold and wrap in cloth (or use plastic wrap if you live in the real world). 

Your pemmican will keep for longer if you choose to omit the fruit and grain. Many Dalish clans would choose to leave out the fruit and grain until it was time to eat, and then they would mix the pemmican with the fruit and grain in a large bowl before eating.

Do remember that pemmican is very high in calories. 1 pound of pemmican typically contains 3000 calories, so it is very much not a food that you want to snack on. This is, however, the perfect food to take when you go backpacking or camping (or if you’re a constantly travelling nomadic Dalish clan).

Additionally, I recommend buying pre-rendered suet if you can get it, but if you’re interested in being a bit more traditional, check out this instructional video on how to render your own suet.

DALISH HOT-POT (Grid’iathe)


yield: about 8 portions

  • 1 pound Dalish pemmican (ghial’bradh)
  • 1 large bowl rashvine nettles, boiled, drained and washed (feel free to using stinging nettles or fiddleheads instead. Learn how to prepare stinging nettles here, and how to prepare fiddleheads here. Warning: Never EVER eat fiddleheads or nettles raw.)
  • 1 large bowl fresh elfroot, washed and drained (you can use spinach or kale instead)
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 large Amrita Vein bulbs, roughly chopped (or 2 large onions)
  • Any other fresh vegetables and herbs you can forage (or buy at ye olde grocery store)
  • ½ pound fresh wild rice or wild wheat berries (you can use farro or rye berries if you like)
  • 1 spoonful of lard or butter (you can use vegetable oil as well)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Roughly chop your pemmican
  2. Heat the butter or lard in a large pot. Once the butter has started to brown, add your onions. Cook until translucent, and then add all of your other vegetables.
  3. Put in another water to cover all of the vegetables by at least 2 inches.
  4. Add in your chopped pemmican and wild rice. Cook until stew has reduced to a thick consistency and pemmican and rice are fully cooked.
  5. Add your rashvine nettles, elfroot, and any other fresh greens and herbs that you wish. Cook just long enough for them to wilt and release their flavor.
  6. Season to taste and serve immediately with a large mug of fresh Dalish ale.

Your stew should have the consistency of thin chowder. If you wish for a thicker soup, simply use more grains.

Bon Appétit, or as they say among the Dalish: Son’ava!

Blackwall’s Eye of the Round Roast

We don’t go in for fancy foods in Markham, Inquisitor. Well, some do, at the the Grand Tourney, but they don’t eat like that every day. So, this is something for the rest of the year, when the crowds have gone home and it’s just trying to get something tasty on the table for rest days or what have you.

I’ve got to warn you. Eye of the round is a tricky cut of meat. It’s the same part of the cow that bottom round comes from - the well-exercised back end - but it doesn’t have any marbling to make it moist or bones nearby to give it flavor. It’s a tough, stringy piece of meat that doesn’t taste like much of anything. How’s that for a recommendation? But never fear, if anybody can salvage this mess, it’s you.

You’re going to need to plan it ahead of time. Two days is good, but one will do, if that’s all you’ve got. Make a paste of garlic, shallots, fresh parsley, dried sage, salt, and black pepper and let it sit on ice for a bit until the flavors blend. A day will do it, but you can make it a week or more ahead of time, if your life ever slows down enough to let you think that far in advance. Figure on two cloves of garlic, a chopped shallot, a generous pinch of rubbed sage, a fistful of parsley, a scant palmful of salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper, and adjust for availability and personal taste. You don’t really need the sage, but I like it. Mash up the rub in a mortar and pestle until it’s paste. That can take a while. Dagna’s got some contraption rigged up to do it in mere heartbeats - a food processor, she calls it - but I’m not going near that thing.

I said it’s a rub? Well, it is. Take your roast out of the ice box about 3 hours before you want to eat and smear that salty, onion-y slop all over it. Cover it with a kitchen wrap of some kind and keep it on a high shelf away from the dogs for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven about as high as it will go. Dagna says to write 500 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can leave your hand in there for more than two heartbeats without pain, it isn’t hot enough.

Put the roast beef in the oven and close the door. Here’s the tricky part.

If you’ve got a gas oven, it will cool down a little faster, so allow 7 minutes a pound. If your oven runs on sorcery, Ee-leck-triss-city, figure 6 minutes a pound. So, for an average 3-pound roast in a sorcerous oven, 20 minutes.

Turn the oven off or pull out the coals, whatever takes the source of heat away. Don’t open the oven door. At all.

Let it stand for two hours, then take the roast out and eat it with mashed potatoes, peas, and your aunt’s weird fluffy dessert she always insists on bringing because everyone always loves it.



‘What’s a banana?’ I hear some of you say. I am now in a position to tell you, dear reader, as I, not twenty-four hours ago, was forced to eat once. While the recipe does call for Par Vollen bananas, I find Rivaini ones an acceptable substitute, despite what the recipe’s creator claims. Most of us aren’t made enough to raid Qunari lands solely for the purposes of baking. – Lady Savarin Ledoure, ‘The Whole Nug: Culinary Treasures of Thedas’


Curious chef that I am, I decided to try out one of the recipes from The World of Thedas Vol.2 and unabashed elf lover that I am, I went for Dalish Hearth Cakes. Which are essentially Dalish pancakes.

They are actually really good and smell absolutely delicious, the cinnamon and ginger give it a nice bite without being too much. They are really good with honey or maple syrup, as well as fresh fruit that lightens the warm flavor of them a lot.

I did use wheat flour, which made them dark then what they’d normally be. Butter worked out better than butter substitutes, just because to does add to both the flavor and the texture (which substitutes usually do one or the other). Also the smaller your dried fruits the better, just because you do get more in a bite and the cakes themselves are relatively tiny in the end so larger dried fruits “warp” and take up too much space within the cakes/dough.

So yeah…my attempt at Hearth Cakes.

Introducing: The Thedas Cuisine Project

Thedas, like any continent, is filled with many different cultures, ethnicities, and - of course - diets. Diet and eating habits can tell you a lot about a culture, what climate they live in and how they value food and meals during their daily lives.

The Thedas Cuisine Project will endeavor to explore the cuisine of Thedas, creating period-appropriate recipes that explore the cultures, climates and eating habits of the various cultures and societies within Thedas.

How Will This Be Different From other Fantasy Cooking Projects?

Firstly, I’ve yet to see a fantasy cooking project actually put effort into making their recipes fit the setting. Most of them focus on recipes inspired by the setting. However, they don’t explore the ingredients that would be available (or not be available) to the cultures they are exploring. Most also don’t explore the various cooking techniques and methods that would be available, depending on the culture and time period in which they live.

I will endeavor to bring all of this to the Thedas Cuisine Project. I will explore the various ingredients available to the culture, and I will make sure that all of the recipes not only fit the culture that they are supposed to come from - but also reflect the type of food that would be served in that culture, climate, and time period.

So What Will This Project Include?

The Thedas Cuisine Project will include recipes, real-world ingredient replacements, and cooking techniques that are appropriate to the cultures, peoples, diets and time-period of Thedas. I will include ingredient replacements for everything listed that is either unreasonable, or simply doesn’t exist outside of Thedas. Additionally, I will include descriptions and essays on the various cooking techniques available to and used by the various cultures and peoples of Thedas.

Essentially, I want to make this project seem as if I was somehow able to travel to the fantasy universe of Dragon Age, and came back with a cookbook printed by one of the chefs there. I don’t want to simply create food inspired by the setting.

What types of Food and Cultures Will This Project Include?

I will try and make sure that every single major culture from Thedas is included. Food will include any kind you would find in any cookbook: drinks, breads, desserts, meats, vegetables, grains, cheeses, etc.

Food will be represented with period-appropriate ingredients and methods from all major cultures of Thedas. This will include, but not be limited to, The Qunari, Elvhenan, The Dalish Elves (both historic Dalish and Nomadic Dalish), Tevinter, Orlais, Ferelden, Rivain, The Free Marches, Antiva, The Anderfels, Par Vollen and Seheron. Recipes will also be included for various seasons and climates for all of these kingdoms and cultures.

Why are you qualified to do a project like this?

I have a passion for the culinary arts, and I make my living as a professional cook. I know cooking well - I know cooking really well. Additionally, culinary history is a part-time hobby of mine. This project is a great way to steer both of those passions towards Dragon Age, which is another passion of mine. Because of my work with the Thedas Language Project, I’ve had to really make myself familiar with what information we’ve gotten from the cultures and kingdoms of Thedas. 

Will You Ever Make a Cookbook of the Project?

Possibly. It would depend on how large the project came to be, and whether a cookbook would be worthwhile.

Recipes in the Thedas Cuisine Project as of this Post:

Lady Landra’s Lavender-Lemon Tea Bread

Teyrna Eleanor is a gracious and generous hostess, but Lady Landra still likes to help with the entertaining. The idea that such dear old friends would stand on ceremony is unthinkable. Old Nan may have grumbled a bit about preparing a recipe from someone else’s hearth, but even she had to admit that the delicately-scented tea bread had merit. Be sure that your lavender is intended for culinary use. The kind sold for potpourri can contain alchemical colors or perfumes.

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender blossoms
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • ½ cup sugar (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Cream the butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the lavender blossoms, lemon zest, lemon extract, and eggs to ensure even distribution throughout the loaf.

Combine the flour with the salt and baking powder. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture and mix to combine, but do not overbeat. Tea bread is supposed to be dense, not full of holes you can stick your pinky through. Stir in the dried currants and turn out into the prepared pan.

Bake until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (it may have a few crumbs clinging to it, but it shouldn’t look damp), about 60 minutes. Timing is tricky, since ovens tend to have personalities of their own. Let experience guide you, and trust in time-honored doneness tests.

If you wish, you can make a glaze out of the ½ cup sugar and the lemon juice. Just mix them together and pour them on after the bread has cooled in the pan for 10-15 minutes. The glaze will be gritty, but the tiny crunch of undissolved sugar adds to the melange of flavors and textures. If your sensibilities rebel at the thought, leave it out. You’re bound to find a use for that lemon somewhere.

Cool completely before slicing and serving… but for added luxury and some unabashed lily gilding, omit the glaze, toast the slices in the oven and serve spread with softened salted butter.

Goes well with darjeeling tea, mint tea, or chai.


Blue Lyrium Hard Candy 

 - MJ approves +20

As I’m sure anyone who has ever played any of the Dragon Age games is well aware, the point of it isn’t really to save the world or be the hero or defeat the ultimate evil that comes in the shape of demons, dragons, and darkspawn. 

No, it’s to romance each and every one of your companions on a different playthrough and listen to every conversational line in the game by swapping between your active companions. Their witty banter (especially Varric’s) gives me life. With your mind occupied by these extremely important matters, little room is left to the game’s consumables. These are essentially limited to poultices, potions, and healing spells. 

And then there’s lyrium. One touch of it in its raw form can hurt you physically and mentally, and if you’re a mage you can kiss living goodbye. In its processed form it is dangerously addictive and the side effects can be devastating. On the bright side, it can be made into lovely tattoos! 

The demons are going to get me for that one…

-MJ & K

Keep reading

Alarith’s Potato Cakes

The alienage store is more than a place to purchase necessities. It’s a place to gather and exchange gossip when the weather is poor. The proprietor knows that many of his customers struggle to keep themselves fed, so most days, he fries up a pan of these to pass around and keep the conversation flowing. They’re also a great way to use up any vegetables that won’t be fit to sell the next day. Toss in some sliced carrots or diced turnip with the potatoes (keeping the pieces small so they are soft at the same time as the potatoes), or toss in some shelled peas or chopped onions halfway through. All herbs are good in this. You may need to add a little more flour or butter if you add extras, but it will add flavor.

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

Peel and quarter the potatoes, place in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return the potatoes to the pan to dry off in the residual heat. Mash with the butter and salt. Stir in the flour and knead to combine.

Roll out on a lightly-floured board into a 9-inch circle and cut into wedge-shaped quarters.

Sprinkle some flour in the bottom of a heavy nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet and cook these over a medium-low heat until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip carefully and cook the other side.

Serve with salt, black tea, and gossip.

Keeper Marethari’s Chestnuts and Apples

The migratory lifestyle of the Dalish prevents the cultivation of crops, so they rely on fruits and nuts for energy. Chestnuts provide the necessary starch and apples, a touch of sweetness.

“Cooking” apples work best for this. Macintosh or Rome apples are a taste of paradise. Golden delicious, not so much.

1 pound raw chestnuts

8 ounces raw apples

2 Tbsp butter, melted (optional)

sprinkling ground sage


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut an X on the flat side of each chestnut and roast at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Pop each chestnut out of its skin and place in a baking dish with peeled, cored, and cubed apples. Brush with butter (if desired) and sprinkle with sage and salt. Roast at 425 degrees for another 15 minutes. Check for doneness and return to the oven if either of the primary ingredients are still hard. As with Carver’s potato recipe, doneness is largely a matter of taste. Neither food will make you sick if undercooked, but thorough roasting adds a complexity of taste that must be experienced to be believed.

Amalia’s Strawberry Cupcakes

If you have no means of drying strawberries yourself, this will be an expensive dessert to prepare, but the flavor is intense, innocent, and decadent, all at the same time. They’re perfect for spring, and perfect for sharing with someone who appreciates subtlety. You can use freeze-dried, air-dried or oven-dried strawberries in the batter, but you cannot use fresh. They’re just too dilute. Some high-end markets carry freeze-dried strawberries, but expect them to be pricey. The frosting works just as well with either fresh or frozen strawberries, but if you use the latter, defrost them first. A food processor or blender is required.

  • 1 ½ ounces dried strawberries
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract (or vanilla)
  • ¾ cup milk

  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract (or vanilla)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your cupcake pans with paper liners. The recipe makes 48 mini cupcakes or 24 standard.

Grind the dried strawberries to powder in a blender or food processor and transfer to a medium bowl. Combine with the cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir to mix. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar and beat in the eggs and extract until fluffy.

Alternate between mixing in the flour and the milk, then beat vigorously until the batter is smooth and forms ribbons when you lift the spoon or beaters. The batter will be thick.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way and half-fill any unused cups with water. This prevents the empty cups from getting too hot and burning the cupcakes next to them and it prevents the pan from warping. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15- 20 minutes for minis, 20-25 minutes for standard. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool on wire racks to avoid sogginess.

Make a puree of the fresh or (thawed) frozen strawberries in a blender or food processor and beat with the butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until light. Blend in the extract (and food color, if you feel that you must), then add up to 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.

The easiest way to frost cupcakes is to fill a piping bag or resealable bag with the corner cut off and pipe the frosting on, but I’m told dunking the tops of the cupcakes directly into the frosting bowl works, too. Sliced strawberries, jelly beans or tiny candies make an attractive garnish.

An Evening in Kinloch Hold

Old, familiar adversaries are sometimes akin to old friends. They respect each other, share common interests, and know which subjects to avoid for placid, comfortable conversation. First Enchanter Irving and Knight-Commander Greagoir enjoy just such an arrangement. They will always have responsibilities that divide them when those loyalties are in conflict, but for the most part, they are two fair-minded old men who understand each other. They find that a quiet game of chess beside the fire is a pleasant way to spend a long winter evening at Ferelden’s Circle of Magi.

First Enchanter Irving’s Tisane

Tea is made from tea leaves, the first enchanter will tell you, and this beverage contains none. They are available in Ferelden, imported from Seheron along with many other spices, but they keep him awake if he takes them in the evening, so he prefers to leave them out. You may add them, of course, at one part tea to one part spice mix, but the flavor is cleaner without them. Sweeten with honey or sugar as preferred. Irving takes his tisane with a little warmed milk, but Greagoir likes his without.

  • 1 Tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 5 short cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, coarsely grated
  • 1 Tbsp candied ginger, minced

Peel the green pod away from the cardamom seeds and discard it, keeping only the seeds. You should have about 1 tsp seeds, but if you do not, peel more cardamom. Break the cinnamon sticks into manageable chunks. Place the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns in the bowl of a mortar and crush with the pestle until you have smallish flakes the size of crushed pepper. Unless you have a giant mortar, it may be necessary to do this in batches. Place the crushed spices together with the nutmeg and minced ginger on a square of muslin and tie with thread to make a tea ball. Put the spice pouch in a teapot and add 1 quart boiling water. Steep for at least 5 minutes, but there is really no need to take the spices out. The tea gets spicier as it sits, but that’s just an excuse to add more honey.

You can scale this recipe to make it in bulk, but if you do, leave out the ginger until the last moment. Moisture from the candied ginger may cause the spices to mold.

Knight-Commander Greagoir’s Fereldan Rarebit

There are few things as homey as sitting in front of the fire on a chilly evening and toasting bread on forks over the flames. Keep a crock of this mild, cheesy spread on hand to use as a dip, but be sure to take the bread off the fork before putting it in your mouth. It is very embarrassing to have to explain the tine-shaped burns to the healer. Those preparing this in their kitchens instead of their libraries may opt to make toast the usual way and pour the rarebit over it once it is ready. This makes about a cup of rarebit, enough for 2 people. Use a small saucepan to reduce the risk of scorching.

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup beer
  • pinch cayenne
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the flour. Once it is incorporated, whisk in the milk, beer, and seasonings and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Do not allow this to boil, as the milk will curdle. Stir in the cheese, a little at a time, until it is hot, thick, and blended. Serve at once over toast or keep warm in a fondue pot or a warmed stoneware crock close to the fire. This also makes a splendid dip for apple spears or celery, or try it as a topping for sliced ham or boiled eggs.

Sketch’s Apple Crisp

Some people are drawn to a life of adventure. They crave excitement, chase thrills, and live perpetually in search of fame and glory. Sketch is not one of those people. All he wants is to be good at what he does, and to live free… with a gigantic book collection. His unconventional approach to life extends into the kitchen. He does not make a habit of cooking, except as it coincides with his habit of eating, but there are times when both are necessary. And when something is necessary, it may as well be interesting.

Everyone knows what apple crisp is. We’ve eaten it - and every grim frozen-dinner mockery of it - since we were small. This version is a little different. It relies on a mixture of oats and nuts for its crunch. It will probably not look like your typical crisp. The topping may get a little soggy in places, and it may brown quickly, so keep an eye on it as it bakes, but it will taste good. As an aside, it contains no wheat or other gluten-containing grains and may therefore be safe for a gluten-free diet, but be aware that some oat products are made on equipment that also processes wheat. If you are baking for someone who cannot eat wheat for whatever reason, be sure to read the labels carefully. Gluten-free products will usually advertise that fact.

  • 2 pounds all-purpose apples (Macintosh is nice)
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • special equipment: 8-inch cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in the skillet, reserving the rest for the topping. Toss the apples with the maple syrup and saute until the apples soften.

Combine the oats, chopped walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon and cut in the butter until it is crumbly. Spread evenly over the apples and bake until the top is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Loghain’s Fereldan Pot Roast

The Hero of the River Dane will have none of that Orlesian frippery around here, thank you very much.Those over-dressed courtiers can keep their pot-au-feu and paper-frilled chops. Our good Fereldan beef needs no fancy garniture to improve it.

  • 3 pounds stewing beef (brisket or chuck roast)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced and meticulously washed
  • 1 pound baby carrots, left whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, wiped clean and stems trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour

Brown the meat in the oil in the bottom of a pot just large enough to hold the meat. Add the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, broth, wine, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the meat is half-cooked, about 2 hours. Add the leeks and the carrots, cover, and simmer another 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes.

Remove the beef from the pot and cover with foil to keep warm. Spoon out the vegetables into a separate bowl and cover with foil. Pass the pot liquids through a strainer and collect the broth in a large glass measuring cup. You should have about 2 cups of liquid. If not, add a little broth or water to make up the difference. If you have more, that just means more gravy. Spoon off as much of the fat from the pan juices as possible.

Heat the butter in a clean skillet and whisk in the flour. Once the flour is fully incorporated, whisk in the reserved broth and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Once the gravy has thickened, take it off the heat and pour into a gravy boat. Slice the meat and serve with the pan vegetables, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

I would not advise telling Loghain that this is more or less a pot-au-feu with less meat. He would not be amused.

Marian Hawke’s Broccoli Spread

This recipe is no less flexible than the mushroom spread, although tinkering with it requires a little more finesse lest the flavors become unbalanced. Try it hot or cold, as is or with finely chopped roasted red peppers, marjoram, blanched chopped spinach, a few capers, a sieved hard-boiled egg, or for some added zip, a pinch (or more) of crushed red pepper.

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Steam the broccoli until tender. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Chop the broccoli as finely as possible or pulse in a food processor and mix with the remaining ingredients. Serve as a topping for pita wedges or crackers, or as a filling for halved tomatoes or stuffed mushrooms.

Aveline's "Healthy" No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Aveline likes to take care of her guards so when a festive mood strikes she makes these and consoles herself that most of the ingredients are healthy.

For the cookie:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir)
  • 1 box natural cereal (lowfat granola-type.  3-4 cups)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 12-oz. pkg chocolate chips (milk chocolate is especially good)

In a large saucepan over low heat, heat together and combine thoroughly the butter, honey and 1 c. peanut butter.  Remove from heat and stir in cereal.  When ingredients are uniformly combined, transfer to buttered 11" x 7" baking dish.  Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate chips and the 1 c. peanut butter, stirring continuously.  When all chocolate is melted and combined with the peanut butter, spread this mixture over the still-warm cookie.  Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.  Refrigerate in hot weather.

Recipe and screenshot submitted by magdalenatan.

Fenris’s Stew

The broody elf is known for his smouldering… or his simmering, in this case. He is not known for his love of domestic chores, nor is he renowned as a lover of fine cuisine (nor described as the reverse), so I approached him for a recipe with no expectations (and some trepidation). Food has never been a preoccupation of his. He needs to eat, as everyone does, and I believe he takes pleasure in a good meal, but culinary extravagance was never high on his list of priorities. I cannot fault him for that. A life on the run is not conducive to kitchen creativity. About one thing he was adamant, however: no fish. In that, he achieved only partial success.

  • 2 pounds stewing beef (chuck or the like), cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large onions (or 1 gigantic food-service sized), chopped
  • 1 750mL bottle red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Sear the beef cubes in the olive oil and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add 1 cup of the wine, the broth, the bay leaves, and the Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer. Drink the rest of the wine. Once the meat is tender, one and a half to two hours later, mash the butter with the flour to make a buerre manie. Add the buerre manie to the simmering stew in pea-sized chunks until an agreeable consistency is achieved. Season to taste. Serve with crusty bread, more wine, and brined cucumbers or boiled carrots.

I would not advise telling Fenris that Worcestershire sauce contains fish.

Tamlen’s Jerky

Hunters hold a vital position in the Dalish community. They are responsible for much of their food supply, and are consequently well-provisioned for their expeditions.

Tamlen would have used venison for this, but beef is substituted here as many of us do not have ready access to safe, affordable game. If you have a smoker, use it, by all means, but it is not strictly necessary. It is possible to make jerky in a conventional oven at a very low temperature, 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The liquid smoke in the marinade simulates woodsmoke (it’s made from hickory, so it isn’t as far off as one might think), so if you’re using a smoker, omit it.

Lean, boneless cuts such as flank steak, sirloin, and top round make the best jerky. No matter what you use, trim all visible fat. It cannot be dried and will go rancid, spoiling the meat. Dryness is essential, so slice the meat as thin as possible. Freezing the meat for 4-5 hours prior to slicing will make it easier to get thin, even slices. Thin slices also take less time to dry.

  • 2 pounds lean beef, sliced 1/8 inch or thinner
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp rosemary, crushed
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup honey
  • salt

Slice the meat as thinly as possible, 1/8 inch or less (partial freezing helps). Mix the red wine with the liquid smoke, rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, garlic, and honey and marinate the meat overnight.

Blot the meat dry and arrange in a single layer on racks over a baking tray, making sure that air can circulate freely on all sides of the meat. Wire cake cooling racks are perfect for this. Sprinkle generously with salt. Do not do what I always do and forget, as you cannot salt it after drying, and unsalted jerky tastes unpleasantly sweet.

Place in a 165 degree Fahrenheit oven and allow to dry for at least 4 hours. It will probably take longer. The meat is sufficiently dried when it is leathery and feels like jerky. It is possible to over-dry the meat, but nothing bad will happen if you do. It will just become crunchy rather than chewy. You can still eat it like that, but it is also possible to reconstitute it with canned broth for an impromptu soup whose ingredients require no refrigeration. Useful for campers, no?

Author’s Note: Coming up with Dalish recipes has been a challenge for me, as their traditional cuisine does not rely on agriculture, but my repertoire does. I’m operating under the following guidelines:

  • No cultivated crop foods (cereal grains or hybrid vegetables)
  • No recipes containing foods with seasons that do not overlap (wild birds lay eggs in spring)
  • Dried fruits and herbs, nuts, honey, and fermented beverages keep indefinitely
  • Dairy products would come from halla (goat milk equivalent), who give birth in the spring
  • No imported spices
  • Wild grapes grow in the Brecilian Forest (Why not? The woods near my house are full of them, with the vines trailing up tree trunks and the fruit clusters in the canopies.)