DIY: The Prancing Pony’s vegetable pie recipe

« What do you want for dinner tonight? » – Standard question we probably all hear on an almost daily basis. A question to which we don’t necessarily have an original answer, other than « I don’t know”, “maybe pasta”, “there’s nothing left in the fridge, takeout Chinese or pizza?”.

But when you’re a geek, you’re hungry for something new and you get inspired by one of your favorite fandoms, your kitchen might become a place of wonders. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the vegetable pie made famous at the most respectable inn throughout Middle Earth; the Prancing Pony!

Elegant Elves, Dwarf masters, honorable Men lords and my dearest jolly Halflings, pull up your sleeves and gather around the kitchen table so that we can make some delicious pies that could even be made in the Evendim region, as there is no boar meat involved. Grab your parchment and off you go to the market for the following ingredients:

4 potatoes
1 leek
4 carrots
¼ of a small pumpkin
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
300 ml of heavy cream
flaky pastry – 2 discs if you’re buying them ready to use
salt, pepper

We start by heating the oven to 180° C (th.6).

First, get the pumpkin going; de-seed if needed, then cut it in 1 cm thick pieces. Add the olive oil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the saucepan by recovering it with oil from time to time. Strain the pumpkin in a sieve once you’re done.

Then, we move on to other vegetables. You might want to blanch them separately in order to avoid mixing savors. Simmer peeled potatoes, carrots and leek (for the latter keep only the white part, cut in 2-3 cm pieces) in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes each. If you put them for an instant into freezing water afterwards, your vegetables will have beautiful, vivid colors. Once they’ve cooled a bit, cut them in rather thin slices.

Next, whip 3 eggs and add the cream. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

Now, let’s prepare the flaky pastry. If you’re as lazy witted as I was, you went for the easier option of simply buying two of those. In which case, you already have sulphurized paper – yay! Put it into your pie pan, then place your first disc of the flaky pastry. In order to maintain its flat form during its journey in the oven, make a series of little holes by poking gently on the surface with a fork.

Let’s layer up this baby! Proceed as follows; a layer of pumpkin, leek, potatoes and carrots end up covered by the eggs and cream mixture. Use the second disc of the flaky pastry to cover everything and make ends of both discs meet. Brush the top pastry with some egg yolk as a finishing touch and place your masterpiece in the oven for 30 minutes.

Seriously, I didn’t think I would enjoy a pile of vegetables wrapped in pastry that much. Not only it was fun making it together with my boyfriend, but also imagining this kind of pie really being served at the Prancing Pony in Bree made it even better!

Love is in the game

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day everyone; may you find the droid you are looking for! ^^

Today, instead of making some cheesy content as there are already tons of out there, it seems like an excellent opportunity to talk about love in the world of MMORPGs. Through several years of gaming, I noticed a bunch of different types of the love’s appearance and, of course, different points of view, and I would like to share them with you!

Role n°1: Cupid’s little helper

The big old classic in MMORPGs is simply to play the love messenger with some easy quests, such as A is secretly in love with B but has no guts to say it. That’s generally our cue to bring some flowers, a love letter, kill some savage creatures threatening B’s family/village/spaceship and let finally the two lost souls have a lifetime of hapiness together.

One of my favorite examples can be found playing the Lord of the Rings Online.

The first one is a series of quests during the spring festival at Bree, where we try to help by delivering some splendid tokens of affection (very classic flowers, chocolate box and so on), but we even end up by leaving them at the wrong adress and there’s a lot of fun involved.

And of course, let’s not forget the beautiful albeit sad love story of Elessar and Undomiel of which we learn more details by asking several Elves in the Lothlorien region, all while listening to heartwarming elvish music and being surrounded by the natural paradise of  the Golden Wood…

Sad and beautiful... like anything else that is elvish, their love stories can surely be qualified as such.
Sad and beautiful… like anything else that is elvish, their love stories can surely be qualified as such.
Role n°2: being involved with another character

Less common than the first one, a series of quests or the role playing pattern makes our character involved with an NPC (non-playing character) or a companion. I am a huge fan of this type of love episodes in the game; it’s like having a mini romantic movie inside something completely different.

In order to illustrate this, I cannot think of a better example than Star Wars the Old Republic and its companions system. Either you choose the Republic or the Empire, using the Force or blasters, you always have several companions at your side, and some of them may engage a romantic relationship depending on what you do. Your actions in the game, as well as gifts you might offer them or answering in a special manner during conversations with them should bring you closer.

My favorite love stories from SWTOR are definitely with Malavai Quinn (Sith Warrior), and most of all with Corso Riggs (Smuggler). The moment the latter and my smuggler kissed and decied to get married was so cute! Even after you’ve finished your companion’s quests, he still sends you love letters and gifts through ingame mail. Now how sweet is that?

Corso, you heart-breaker…
Role n°3: real soul mate!

The name « MMORPG » kinda has « massively multiplayer » written in it, no surprise that you can actually bond with humans thanks to this type of gaming. For some, this could be a real opportunity to meet someone, even fall in love and bring this great new relationship beyond the virtual world. For others, playing MMORPGs will simply mean meeting new people through guilds, raid rosters and whatnot, and why not making new friends.

Some MMORPGs have in-game relationship systems. The most common is to marry another character, giving special bonus like an extra teleportation or combat enhacements.

Runes of Magic had (don’t know if it’s still the case, I played RoM a long while ago) a rather extended version of relationships that you mave have with other players. There was of course the marriage system, but you could also become a family member or a friend. Each of those relationships could be leveled-up by playing together, and you could gain different bonuses such as more HP, mana, attack of defence. All the more reasons to play with lots of people, I liked it a lot.

Love was really in the air at the ceremony... Although we could have worn something more suitable to the occasion!
Love was really in the air at the ceremony… Although we could have worn something more suitable to the occasion!

However, my favorite in-game marriage ever remains the one I did with my boyfriend when we were both playing Final Fantasy XIV. Not only you have to accomplish together a series of special quests preparing you for the ceremony, but also you can plan the whole wedding to the smallest details, such as decoration or music. The wedding ceremony is just lovely; there are adorable cinematics, the rings exchange, the final kiss… And to be honest, the wedding gown is just gorgeous.

... and they lived happily ever after!
… and they lived happily ever after!

What about your favorite love episodes in the MMORPG world? Do you like to enjoy some player relationships or you rather leave all that stuff aside from the « real » gaming? Or maybe you’ve witnessed another role a player could have in romantic scenarios in this type of games? Tell us all about it!