Tolkien News

Feast Week, Day 1: Bilbo and Frodo’s Birthday

Happy Hobbit Day! Otherwise known as September 22, it’s a grand day and holds a lot of meaning for Tolkien fans around the world as both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins share their birthday today. Is is also the day Frodo set out towards Rivendell with The One Ring. What is not commonly known, is that this day also starts off another celebratory event, Feast Week.

Never heard of Feast Week? This fantastically yummy way to celebrate the life of Tolkien was begun by Anna Maria Polidori, an Italian member of the Tolkien Society. Starting on Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthday, participants “celebrate with an evening meal similar to the one the hobbits ate […] and/or engage in some activity described.” The official meal schedule includes Baggins’ Birthday, The Feast of Gildor, The Feast of Farmer Maggot, The Feast of Tom Bombadil, Prisoners of a barrow-wight, and The Prancing Pony.

As soon as the Middle-earth News staff found out about this celebration, we had to participate! Starting today, September 22, and continuing through the 29, each member of the staff will be posting the designated meal for that day and sharing their process, recipes, and photos with you. Our hope is to inspire each of you to cook your own meal and join in the tasty fun of Feast Week.

Feast Week, Day 1: Bilbo and Frodo’s Birthday

While the only requirements for today’s meal are wine and toast, I wanted to really go all out and celebrate the date Hobbit style. At the same time, I wanted to make sure the recipes I chose would be easy enough for anyone to put together on their own. So, without further ado, I present my Hobbit Day celebration meal:

Starter: Home-baked country white bread spread with creamed butter

If you find yourself unable to pull off an entire meal but still wish to partake in Feast Week, my suggestion would be to try this starter. Remember, the only requirements for today’s meal are wine and toast, so this is just a small step up. Plus, is there anything better than the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through one’s house?

Making homemade bread can take quite some time, so my recommendation is to try something like Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade No Knead Bread Mix. Simply add water, let it rise, pop it in the oven, and voila! Freshly-baked bread. (Note: I chose a chardonnay that paired well with my roasted chicken, however, if you are skipping the main meal and serving on the requirements, feel free to pair it with whatever wine your taste buds fancy.)

Main Course: Roasted herb-topped chicken, mushrooms, and potatoes paired with a crisp chardonnay

What’s more “Hobbity” than mushrooms and po-ta-toes, precious?? I chose this recipe because it uses herbs you can grow at home, something I’m sure Samwise Gamgee would approve of. While I do grow my own rosemary, I haven’t tried sage or thyme, so I “gathered” them from my local grocery store. The best part about this recipe is that the herb mixture you use to coat your chicken with is the same you coat your mushrooms and potatoes with, which means a smaller amount of preparation time is needed.

Roasted Herb-topped Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb Whole Chicken
  • 2-3 whole lemons
  • 2-3 gloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 Tbl. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1-2 Tbl. chopped rosemary, thyme, and sage
Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Pick fresh herbs from stems and chop them up very fine.
  • Toss chopped herbs into bowl and add the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix and set aside.
  • Rough chop lemons, onion, and garlic and stuff inside your chicken.
  • Rub entire outside of chicken with herb mixture.
  • Place chicken on cookie sheet (with sides) and place in 450 degree heated oven.
  • Bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let chicken cool for 15 minutes before carving and eating.
  • Transfer herb-coated potatoes and mushrooms to baking dish.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Roasted Mushrooms and Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 Tbl. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1-2 Tbl. chopped rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • 1-2 lb red potatoes (scrubbed clean)
  • 1 lb fresh white mushrooms (cleaned)
 Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Pick fresh herbs from stems and chop them up real fine.
  • Toss chopped herbs into bowl and add the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix and set aside.
  • Chop up potatoes in small wedges and pour them into mixing bowl.
  • Add cleaned mushrooms to mixing bowl. Stir.
  • Pour herb mixture over potatoes and mushrooms. Give it a good stir.

Chardonnay

For my wine selection, I chose a crisp chardonnay, which was suggested to me by the wonderful staff at my local Trader Joe’s. Thanks!

 

Dessert: Berry-delicious 4 Layer Vanilla Birthday Cake

Fondant can make cakes look ridiculously cool, as is proved by a recent post on Middle-earth News. But, in keeping with my “any Hobbit could make this at home” train of thought, I wanted to keep my birthday cake simple.

For the actual cake, you can whip up your own cake mix or simply buy a box at the store (I went for the latter to save on time). I used two 8” round pans and, once the cakes had baked and cooled, I went to work carving them. Basically, I made one round smaller than the other, as I don’t have a small professional small cake pan to bake with.

Berry-delicious 4 Layer Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of cake mix or mix up your own batter
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup of fresh rasberries
Directions:
  • Follow directions for cake baking on back of box for mixing batter.
  • Separate batter into 2 8-9″ inch round cake pans. Follow baking instructions on back of box.
  • Let cakes cool for 2 hours.
  • Make Whipped Buttercream Frosting (see recipe below) and set aside.
  • Using a small knife, take 1 cake round and trim 1- 1.5 inches of it’s sides. This will be the top of your cake.
  • Cut both cake rounds in half using a large bread knife, so you now have 2 large cake rounds and 2 small cake rounds.
  • Place bottom large cake round on a decorative cake dish. Add a dab of frosting and spread over top of cake round – not the sides, just the top.
  • Place second large cake round on top of the frosted bottom cake round. Again, add a dab of frosting and spread over top of cake round – not the sides, just the top.
  • Repeat the process with the two small cake rounds.
  • Coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting. This is your “crumb coat”, which means, it’s ok for cake crumbs to show.
  • Place frosted cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes until frosting is hard.
  • Coat entire cake with frosting again. This time, no crumbs show! (I love that bit!)
  • Using a cake decorator (or zip lock back with a bottom corner cut off), apply extra frosting around the bottom large cake round and bottom small cake round. This will ensure your berries stay put where you place them.
  • Decorate cake by placing berries around it’s tiers and edges.
  • Save one strawberry for the top of the cake – take a knife and cut small slits starting from the bottom and going towards the top. spread slits, so berry fans out.
  • Place strawberry on top. Take lots of photos. EAT THE CAKE.

The frosting recipe is by far my personal favorite. It’s not heavy like most homemade frosting recipes you come across. It’s “light” on the sugar, which is exactly what you want so it doesn’t over-power the sweet taste of the berries.

Whipped Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbl. of whipping cream (add or subtract, depending on how stiff you want your frosting)
Directions:
  • Place butter in mixer and beat on medium until butter is smooth and creamy
  • Pour powdered sugar in, one cup at a time
  • Mix in whipped cream, one Tbl. at at time
  • Beat on medium to medium high for about 2-3 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy

I went all out on berry buying: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and of course, strawberries. However, if berries aren’t in season where you live, get creative! Try rolling the sides of the cake in chocolate shavings, or decorative the tiers with flowers – whatever your little Hobbit heart desires.

And that concludes Feast Week’s Day 1 meal. Hope it inspired you to celebrate and try your hand at cooking a meal. Happy Hobbit Day, everyone!

Feast Week, Day 2: Sleeping Outdoors

Feast Week, Day 3: The Feast of Gildor

Feast Week, Day 4: Farmer Maggot’s Feast

Feast Week, Day 5: The Feast of Tom Bombadil

Feast Week, Day 6: The Feast of Tom Bombadil, Part Deux

Feast Week, Day 7: Prisoners of a Barrow-wight

Feast Week, Day 8: The Prancing Pony

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5 Comments

  1. Awesome post Arwen!

  2. Yum, it looks delicious!

    And the best part? Leaving the dirty dishes for Lobelia! (Muhahaha….)

  3. I love food events and this post is very informative and fun! Happy Hobbit Day.