I did a post on Hobbit Day and how it came about in my house as a teenager a year or so ago but I thought I would expand on the idea. So if your family is like ours then you have phones and game systems and DS systems, and Hulu, and Netflix and laptops, and all of those are going at once sometimes! Wouldn’t it be nice to shut them all down for one whole day and just connect to each other and eat some great food? That is the whole idea behind Hobbit Day. If you are not a Tolkien fan then center it around another favorite book or just the beginning of fall. We are having ours the Sunday before Fall Equinox because the Equinox falls on a Monday but you can plan it at any time. I will be making an exception on technology for the use of the stove to reheat food and the television so we can watch the movies but that is it. I will give you our plans for activities and menu with recipes so be prepared for a long post! Be sure to prepare for the day with plenty of candles to light the house but if you have really little kids then make an allowance and just use the lights turned low. I tried to make the menu full of things you could do mostly ahead of time so you can have fun rather than cooking all day. I used Lost Country Life and The Hobbit for my ideas for the menu. For more food ideas you can revisit my previous Hobbit Day post.
Breakfast: Apple Scones and bacon (if your family likes it use Canadian bacon which would be closer to what they had)
Activity: Read our favorite parts of The Hobbit. I am reading the chapter where the eagles come to rescue them because there is nothing better than giant eagles that talk! Okay maybe giant trees that walk and talk but we aren’t doing that book. Maybe next year.
Make butter and bread. I will give you a bread recipe later but the butter is easy! Get yourself some mason jars or a plastic container with a tight lid. Fill it with whipping cream leaving at least 2 inches of space at the top. Now make the kids shake it and shake it until you have butter. Really easy and it never fails to entertain them. I thought about doing cheese making too but that should probably be done beforehand because it takes a few days to drain.
Lunch: Cold roast turkey or roast beef, farls, and endive, radish, lettuce salad with mustard vinaigrette
Activity: Watch the movies!
Dinner: Cornish game hens with bacon, sage, and onions, roasted turnips and parsnips with butter, sun bread with salted tops, roasted mushrooms with thyme, and apple jam tart
Activity: Play Dungeon. I found this game on amazon.com and it looks easy enough to guide the five-year-old through. My mom used to make Dungeons and Dragons quests for us to do but I don’t want to get that extreme. This looks like an easy alternative but if you are into D & D then by all means pull out your old set and play. You could make up a scavenger hunt or something if you like.
If you really want to go all out do costumes. I may see what I can find at the thrift shops and then I will Halloween costumes done too.
1 medium apple
2 cups of flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of butter or shortening
¼ cup of apple juice
Peel and core the apple then dice it up. Preheat the oven to 400°. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, two forks, or be reckless and just dice it really small and toss it with the dry mix. Add the apple juice and mix until combined. You can roll into a ½ inch round or just place directly onto an ungreased baking sheet and pat into about the size. Cut into triangles. Bake for about 10 minutes or until light brown.
Farls are like potato scones and if you find gluten free oats these are gluten free!
2 cups of dry oats
3 cups of warm water
3 cups of mashed potatoes (just mashed potatoes with no milk etc.)
2 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon of cornstarch
½ teaspoon of baking powder
Salt and pepper
Pinch of fresh, minced thyme
Oil for frying
In a pan, soak the oats in the warm water for 15-20 minutes, until soft and swollen. Drain off any excess water. Place these in a large mixing bowl and add the potatoes, butter, cornstarch, baking powder, spices. Knead until the mixture forms a thick dough. Form into eight round patties.
Fry in about ½ inch of oil until lightly browned. Serve immediately.
This is for the morning activity and you can shape it into any shape you like. Let the kids, or you, have fun!
½ cup sunflower kernels
6 cups of all-purpose or bread flour
1 package of rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil
2 cups of warm water
1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water for glazing
Grind the sunflower kernels in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder. Mix with the flour. Combine yeast, flour mixture, sugar, salt, and oil in a large bowl. Add in the water and stir until well mixed. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 10-15 minutes then return to the bowl. Cover with a cloth and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Cover a sheet pan with corn meal and preheat the oven to 350°. Turn the dough onto a floured board and shape into anything you like. You can try to make Gandalf’s staff if you want! Bake for 15 minutes and then glaze. Return to the oven for another 12-15 minutes or until the bread has a hollow sound. Just keep checking because different shapes may take longer or shorter.
I chose mustard because in the book Lost Country Life it says mustard was really popular in the Middle Ages.
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard or brown mustard (whatever you prefer)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of paprika
Black pepper to taste
Pour everything into a small jar or container and shake vigorously until combined. If you do this ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator be sure to let it come to room temperature because the olive oil will harden.
For the roast beef or turkey you can use some from the deli or save some from a previous meal. You can do the Cornish hens ahead of time and serve cold or reheat. Just rub them down with salt and pepper, stuff with the sage and some onion. Lay the bacon on top and place in a roasting pan with oil on the bottom. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350° and cook another 30 minutes. Should have an internal temperature of 180°. If you need to you can cover with foil if bacon is looking too done during this cooking time.
If you don’t have any vegetarians coming to your Hobbit Day you can just throw the turnips and parsnips in with the hens for the last 30 minutes of cook time. Don’t do this if you are doing them ahead of time though. Otherwise turnips and parsnips should just be washed and peeled, cubed then tossed with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and pepper then roasted at 350° for 25 minutes or until tender.
The mushrooms just toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of minced thyme and roast for 15 minutes or until done.
Jam and Apple Tart
Dough for a 1 shell pie
Blackberry Jam (or whatever jam you like but I suggest seedless and whole fruit not jelly)
3 large apples (any variety you prefer I had Golden Delicious on hand)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon and sugar mixed together
That’s it folks really short list of ingredients isn’t it. Now turn your oven to 400 degrees and roll your dough out. I rolled mine into a rough square because I do not own a round sheet pan but you can make it whatever shape you want. Crimp the sides a little like a pie so that all of your jam does not drip off. Some of it will anyhow so you will want to make the dough slightly smaller than the pan to give room for this. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and sugar. Peel and slice the apples fairly thin and mix them in the lemon juice just to keep them from browning up on you. Lay them out in whatever pattern you like it does not matter. Scoop your jam into a microwavable container, I used a glass measuring cup, and warm it until it can be poured. Pour it over your apples and use a utensil to even the jam out over the apples. Place it in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is browned and the apples are tender. This is great warm but you can serve it cold too.
For drinking you can serve mulled cider, hard cider, beer, ginger ale, root beer. Just have fun with family and friends.
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