On this page, you’ll find everything from recipes and menus created by fans of the series to delight the Mad Duke Tremontaine and his Riverside friends, to ones created by friends of the author to keep her at her desk.
For the The Fall of the Kings audiobook launch, we ran a contest inviting readers to create their own recipes and menus for the denizens of Riverside and the Hill. Here are some of the winners.
In my Swordspoint Acknowledgments, I thank Mimi Panitch “for unplugging the telephone and inventing Writer’s Stew.” My college friend Mimi was one of the people who inhabited the sprawling old apartment on West 110th Street while I was trying to write my first novel. She really did unplug our phone and refuse to let me speak to anyone while I was desperately pounding out the final draft—and she made a truly gigantic pot of stew to keep me going.
Here is her original recipe, the one that got me to finish Swordspoint. We call it “Writer Stew” – though Mim is quick to point out that it contains no actual Writer.
This is really a formula rather than a recipe. The original is “Mole de Olla” from Diana Kennedy’s The Cuisines of Mexico. I’ll try to point out the variations I use as I go:
3 pounds chicken or turkey or beef (The original calls for pork, but in fact just about any stewable meat or poultry will work. Although I wouldn’t try it with lamb.)
4 chiles anchos
4 chiles pasilla
1 cup tomatillos, drained
2 cloves garlic
a pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 pound zucchini
1/4 pound green beans
1 ear of corn
salt as necessary
Take whatever meat or poultry you’ve selected, put it in a soup pot, cover it with water, and simmer until tender. How long this will take depends, of course, on what’s in that pot.
While it’s simmering, heat a heavy frying pan and toast the chiles on it. They will soften up a little and begin to smell good. Keep turning them, and don’t let them burn. Take them off the skillet, and when they’re cool enough to handle, remove the seeds and veins and put them in the blender along with the onion, garlic, cumin seeds, and tomatillos. Blend the whole thing until it’s smooth.
Put a little oil into the skillet and fry this sauce for a few minutes. Then, when the meat/poultry is tender, add the finished sauce to the pot.
Let all this cook together for a few minutes while you prepare your assorted vegetables. Then toss them all in and let them cook in the soup/stew until they’re edible. (Potatoes first, because they take the longest, right?)
by Lynn A. Aderholt
Make pastry dough for top and bottom first (see instructions below, or buy 1-2 packages frozen puff pastry for top and bottom).
2-3 lbs stew beef or sirloin, cut in chunks
1 12 oz bottle dark beer for recipe, 2-4 bottles for inspiration and friends (Guinness or Murphy’s in honor of Dottie)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp flour
½ to 1 onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp or so each of parsley, thyme (or whatever herbs you like)
1 tsp or so of rosemary
1/8 tsp or so of nutmeg
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ beef bouillon cube or 1 tsp beef bouillon paste
2 tsp or so gravy powder (optional)
Open a bottle for self and friends.
Heat olive oil in large frying or sauce pan with a lid. Cook chopped onions until they start to brown. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and brown (pan should be very hot so beef sears). Sprinkle with herbs while cooking. Salt lightly but do not pepper (the beef should be hard at this point, like tough little nuggets).
Have a bit of libation.
When the beef is browned, add it all back into pan and sprinkle with flour. Stir well. Add Worcestershire and bouillon, stirring well. Next add pepper and beer, stirring well and scraping at bottom of pan until it comes back to a low boil and the foam from the beer is mostly gone. Let it boil a couple of minutes, then cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours or so, until tender, stirring very occasionally and checking liquid level.
Have a toast.
When done, meat should be very tender. Taste and adjust seasonings if need be. If liquid amount too soupy drain off some and save in case you need to add back in.
Make a Beurre blanc with some of the cooking liquid and some flour, then stir back into thicken it (or just add a little flour at a time into pan liquid and stir in well). Set aside to cool once it has reached the thickness of a thin gravy (it will thicken a bit as it bakes, too).
Make another toast!
While the filling cools, roll out the pastry and shape it for the pan. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until puffy and starting to brown. Add filling and cover with second pastry sheet, crimp edges and cut a vent in the top so steam can escape.
Bake a further 30-40 minutes until top crust is puffy and brown. Serve with gravy and whatever side dishes you like.
A final toast and you’re ready for the meal!
* Crust: Lynn’s Plain Pastry
(For a two-crust pie with a 9-inch pie pan)
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening (or purified lard)
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons ice water
Sift together the flour and salt.
Add the vegetable shortening and butter.
Work the shortening and butter into the flour lightly, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter.
When mealy in consistency, moisten with 6 tablespoons ice water.
Form into 2 flat balls, wrap in waxed paper and chill until ready to use.
Kate’s Country Chicken Noodle Soup
by June Weiss
I would like to think that Katherine made it for Richard while out in the country in The Privilege of the Sword.
Two chicken breasts, skin removed
1 celery stalk
1 Tbsp. dill weed
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. liquid from soup pot
Salt and pepper the chicken, put into a large pot and cover with water about an inch deeper than the chicken breasts, then boil until nearly falling off the bone (about 30 minutes, give or take). Reserve the liquid, but remove chicken. Remove bones, dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the pot. Dice carrots, celery and onion and add to pot, return to a boil then reduce to medium heat while making the noodles.
Combine noodle ingredients, kneading by hand toward the end. Turn out on a floured board and roll thin with a rolling pin. Turn up one edge, then roll the dough like a cinnamon roll. Cut thin strips and drop unrolled noodles into the boiling soup stock. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Before serving, uncover and add chopped dill weed and scallions. Stir in and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Beef and Beer Stew
by Ann Walker
Whether it’s at Rosalie’s, The Blackbird’s Nest, or The Green Man, whenever I read the word “stew” in any of the Riverside books, this is the stew I imagine.
Most commonly known as Guinness Beef Stew, I’ve made this with Guinness, coffee stout, Irish Red Ale, Belgian Brown Ale, you name it (which probably says a lot about the contents of my refrigerator). This is a slow cooker version, but I’m sure it could just as easily be done in a heavy casserole in the oven on low for about 3 hours.
2 1/2 lb stew meat
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 C carrots
1 C celery
1 C onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 to 5 C baby red potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 C beef broth
1 bottle or can (15 oz) Guinness, stout, porter, or any dark beer
Prepare the vegetables by slicing the carrots, celery and onion, and scrubbing and cubing the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Mince the garlic. Place all the vegetables in the slow cooker, and sprinkle the vegetables with the spices.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Meanwhile, cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces.
When the skillet is hot, add half the meat and brown on each side. (If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll dredge the meat in seasoned flour before browning, but Rosalie probably wouldn’t bother.) Add to the slow cooker, and repeat with remaining meat and olive oil.
Pour the beef broth and Guinness over the meat. Cover and cook for 5 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
Submitted by Anonymous
In An Alphabet for Gourmets, M.F.K. Fisher cites this recipe taken from “The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight.” Alec the student is cooking this dish in Chapter 1 of Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners.
Put great store of sliced onions, with Currants and Raisins of the Sun both above and under the Herrings, and store of Butter, and so bake them.
Much like an impoverished street urchin, my cooking skills are paltry and my access to ingredients is limited. So in honor of the release, I have cobbled together a rendition of a Czech recipe that even I managed to cook up with minimum disaster befalling me.
What you’re gonna need:
Half a head of cabbage (Just climb over the wall, steal to from old lady Magda’s garden. She’s got gout and doesn’t see too well anymore. Like she can catch you.)
-an onion (I think someone threw one at me earlier. I’ve got it here in a pocket somewhere.)
A cup of wheat flour (Visit the baker. Don’t buy anything.)
1/2 cup of water (I wouldn’t get it from the river)
1/2 a cup of butter (you remember that baker, right)
If you’re feeling really rich, you can add a bit of salt to taste.
Hack up that cabbage and onion. Throw them in a pan and fry them with the butter until the cabbage is sort of clear and mushy.
Mix the flour and water. Boil a pot or water and then blob spoonfuls of the dough into the water. These are your dumplings. They may not look like dumplings, but they’ll taste like dumplings.
Now, when these are done, fish them out of the pot mix them in with the cabbage and onions. Now you’re done. Eat up, kiddo. You’re going to need that energy to avoid the watchman, you little thief.
Spiced Chocolate with Strawberry Jam on Oat Toast and Fresh Fruit
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1-2 dashes red cayenne pepper
1 C. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 small handful semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 slice oat bread
1 small handful fresh blueberries
Combine the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cayenne pepper in a mortar and pestle. Grind it all together until it is well-mixed and a uniform, powdery consistency. This might seem like a pain-in-the-patoot extra step, but it will help the spices suspend in the chocolate later, so you don’t get a bunch of gritty stuff swirling around in the bottom of your cup.
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the vanilla.
When the milk has heated up a bit, stir in the chocolate chips. Stir regularly to prevent the milk from burning and to combine the melting chips with the milk.
Are you still stirring? We don’t want burnt milk! When it comes to a low simmer, add the cocoa powder and the brown sugar. Get out Susan’s favorite kitchen utensil, the small whisk, and whisk the mixture until the liquid is a uniform, blended consistency. (At this point, photography mysteriously ceased.)
Now, take a 1/2 tsp of the Proprietary Spice Blend® you so lovingly created with your mortar and pestle, and whisk it into the chocolate. (There will be some left over, which you can store and use for future chocolate-making.) Whisk vigorously for a minute or so to aerate the beverage and suspend the spices throughout.
As for the treats, it’s really quite simple. If you’re good at multitasking and can prepare the snacks while making the chocolate and not accidentally end up with scalded milk, then by all means do so! First, toast your oat bread.
When it’s a nice golden brown, cut the crusts off and give them to a cute dog you know. Cut the bread on the diagonal, and spread the strawberry jam (homemade freezer jam in our case) on both pieces.
Peel the orange and separate into wedges, taking off as much of the icky white stuff as you deem necessary. Rinse the blueberries, too.
Arrange the toast and fruit artfully on a plate, transfer the chocolate to your best china teacup or other favorite drinking vessel, and enjoy! (We approve of dunking your orange slices in the chocolate for extra tastiness.)
This recipe serves one chocoholic individual, or can be divided out into 2 servings for those inclined to share or desirous of a lighter snack.
Take some stale leftover cake (or a packet of trifle sponges) and a cup of stolen cherries (or a can of cherry pie filling if you prefer) and mix them together in a big stoneware dish. Include some cherry brandy or brandy if you have any lying around that Alec hasn’t finished. That’s your base.
Then break three eggs and separate out the yolks and the whites. Keep the whites in a clean bowl while you do the next bit.
Break the yolks and mix them with a little sugar (about two ounces) and a little vanilla essence or the scrapings of a vanilla pod, if you have them. Then warm about a pint of milk in a pan and slowly mix it into the eggs, (adding a little cornflour if the mixture curdles). When the warm milk and eggs are mixed together, heat them gently in the pan till you have a smooth custard. Pour it over the base.
Finally you’ll need a pair of strong wrists and a big fork (or an electric mixer) to beat the egg whites – remember them? – till they stand up in stiff peaks. When they’re stiff and twice the volume they were, gently spoon in a final ounce of sugar if you still have some, and then spread the meringue mixture on top of the custard.
Bake in the oven on a low heat till the meringue is crisp. It isn’t going to be dry and white and boring but brown and chewy; the custard will be hot and sweet and the brandied cherries will warm your bones.
What makes this dish particularly Alec’s is that, despite his current status, his days in Riverside have left him with some funny little frugalities – so he would thoroughly approve of a Tremontaine dish that uses stale leftover cake. And the author is uncommonly fond of meringue (brown & chewy), custard (hot) and cherries (with brandy).
Inverted Hot Chocolate
Whip until stiff:
1 cup heavy cream
3 TB Cocoa
2-4 TB white sugar
Dash of Vanilla
Put a dollop of the whipped mixture into a cup and cover with warm milk. The range for the sugar is to accommodate individual sweetness levels. It is even better with a dusting of chocolate shavings (semisweet, bitter, dark, your favorite).
Aztec Hot Chocolate
1 2/3 cup milk
1/2 whole vanilla bean
1 whole red chili pepper
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Prepare the chili pepper by splitting it and removing the seeds. Split the vanilla bean to unlock the oils. Simmer milk in a saucepan and add vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and chili pepper. Heat for about a minute. Add chocolate, stirring briskly until melted. Remove from heat. As drink cools, it will continue to absorb flavors from the spices. Strain into mugs to serve.
Riverside Sipping Chocolate
You will need:
Small Pyrex Bowl
Small Saucepan, Water
2 Irish Coffee Mugs, Or 3-4 Espresso Mugs
3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, 72% cacao preferred
1.5 tsp Granulated Sugar
6 oz Half & Half or Cream
2 oz Frangelico
2 oz Brandy
1/8 tsp Cinnamon, plus a pinch to sprinkle on top
Whipped Cream (canned is ok)
Get all of your ingredients together and close at hand. With your saucepan, water, and pyrex bowl, create a bain-marie. Place on medium-high heat until the bowl begins to warm, then break up your chocolate bar and place in the bowl. As the chocolate melts, lower the temperature to medium and begin to whisk gently and constantly. Be very careful not to let your chocolate burn.
Once melted, add your granulated sugar and whisk. Add your 6 oz half & half/Cream 2 oz at a time and continue whisking until smooth. Then add the frangelico, followed by the brandy, constantly whisking to keep its consistency. Add 1/8 tsp cinnamon and whisk thoroughly. Continue to heat the mixture (you can raise the heat a little at this point, just keep whisking) until hot throughout, then transfer to your serving mug(s). Top with whipped cream, and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Add cocktail straws and serve.
Enjoy! It’s almost as delicious as the Duchess Tremontaine’s schemes.
Riverside Menu, Toasted Cheese Recipe, Drinking Challenge
My own entry, which includes a Riverside menu, a recipe for toasted cheese and a drinking challenge, is here …
A typical Riverside menu:
Vegetable soup with squash, leeks and chard
Pan fried fish served with sweet green peas
Baked apples with cream, drizzled with Highcombe honey
Selection of fresh country cheeses
Chocolate with cinnamon-dusted gingerbread
A Recipe for Toasted Cheese
Take a loaf of bread (borrowed from a neighbor if necessary). Using a sharp dagger, cut thin, fine slices from the loaf.
Cut slices of cheese and lay in a precise pattern until the bread is covered. Toast carefully before the fire until melted but not brown.
Riverside Fool (Drinking Contest)
A drinking contest for the unwary. No one has yet completed it, and you’d be a fool to try!
The following drinks must be taken in order. The drinker must stay upright, and no breaks to visit the privy are permitted.
A pint of Rogues’ Rotgut (rough cider with real rat!)
Ginnie’s Gin Sling (gin, cherry brandy and a dash of lemon juice)
Venn’s Vodka surprise (equal parts of brandy, gin and whisky. No vodka – that’s the surprise!)
Rosalie’s Runner (rum mixed with ginger beer)
Firework Frenzy (an orange liqueur topped with flaming brandy)
Swordsman’s Slash (vodka with blood-red cherry brandy poured through it)
Halliday’s Holiday (two pints of water from the well)
Pickpocket Punch (red wine, orange juice, brandy and sugar)
Nightcrawler (ale, vodka and gin mixed with lemonade)
And finally, for those still standing …
A Yard of Ale
New Year’s Picnic at Highcombe: A menu
by Chef Guerre
Cheese: (Queso de Cabrales: A Spanish artisanal, semi-hard blue cheese made from blended sheep and goat’s milk. This cheese has a bold, piquant flavor, and pairs excellently with both fish and fowl. It definitely has something “odd” in it!)
Bread: (Wild Yeast Pumpernickel: A heavy rye loaf that evokes the cozy warmth of winter holidays with each bite. Richly flavored with spices, honey, and molasses. *We imagine, though there was no mention of it in the book, that the Duke wouldn’t be so coarse as to forget to bring bread for the meal.)
Fish (Arkenveldtian Salt-Cured Salmon Fillets: Wild-caught by intrepid Arkenveldtian fishermen, of course. This delicacy has a creamy texture and mild flavor. Exotically spiced with cardamom and mace, and garnished with a bough of sweet thyme from Kyros.)
Smoked Goose (Aged Smoked Wild Goose: A whole bird, carefully aged and cold-smoked over oak, juniper boughs, and just enough Northern peat moss to be dangerous. Rich and buttery with an unusually generous amount of intramuscular marbling. Flavored with black peppercorns and brandy.)
Anise Wafers (Anise and Saffron Pizzelles: Pizzelles are thin, Italian wafers, pressed with a decorative iron into lovely, slightly crispy medallions. These pizzelles are flavored with stone ground anise and saffron.)
Candied Fruit (Candied Mixed Fruit & Succade: A colorful mélange of preserved sweet cherries, figs, quinces, plums, and red and black currants. Tangy curls of ginger, orange, and citron succade add a delightful kick.)
Cakes: (Honey Spice Cakes: dark, wintry, and delicious, these miniature cakes are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and a bright pop of lemon zest. They are cut into enchanting shapes and decorated with marzipan and spun sugar.)
Table Wine (Pinot Noir: This ancient, difficult to cultivate light red is silky and complex, yet delicate at heart – just like the Duke. It has floral, herbal, and fruity notes, and is marvelous with rich fish and fowl.)
Dessert Wine #1 (Moscato Ice Wine: This sweet, delicate white with the bright, summery, floral notes of muscat grapes has a vintage legacy dating back to Roman times. It might have been selected by the Duke to accompany his candied fruit and wafers.)
Dessert Wine #2 (Aged Tawny Port: A late-harvest, fortified red with a nutty, caramel-like aroma, accented by ripe, deep notes of winter fruit. A perfect accompaniment for Honey Spice Cakes.)
Do you know of more great Riverside recipes not shown here? Send scans to me!