The Hobbit and Lembas bread

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a bit of a nerd.  Besides being one of the most avid Trekkies I know, I’ve probably seen both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings about 100 times each.  Minimum.  As a result, I was beyond excited for the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I was lucky enough to blag tickets to see it in 3D at the O2 the night before the general release – a week later, I went to see it with my family in King of Prussia in Imax and 3D.  I’d definitely recommend seeing it in Imax (particularly for other Trekkies, as there’s a ten minute preview of Star Trek into Darkness before the main Imax presentation – it looks amazing!)

The basic plotline of the film is familiar to most people – hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is reluctantly convinced by wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) to join a party of dwarves hoping to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug.  Director Peter Jackson has spoken at length about his decision to film in 48 FPS, which I found gave it a slightly surreal look, particularly in the early scenes in The Shire.  Once the film gets going into the adventure, however, it wasn’t particularly noticeable.  Freeman excels in a role as the essentialist everyman (a role he has perfected in Sherlock) and it’s good to see a variety of old faces from the previous Lord of Rings trilogy.  The film is quite long (it clocks in at almost three hours long), but a good rule of thumb would be that if you minded the length of any of the Lord of the Rings films, you’ll probably mind it here as well.  It follows a similar formula (fleshing out the action sequences more than Tolkien’s novel – Tolkien preferred vivid descriptions of landscapes to that of swordplay) and provides a treat for those who loved Jackson’s initial vision of the world of Middle Earth.

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For the corresponding food, I decided to make my own attempt at lembas bread (the elven shortbread which taste a bit like honeycakes) – although I’m not sure it will fill a grown man’s stomach in one bite!

Lembas Bread (adapted from Spark Recipes)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter (for once, don’t let it sit to room temperature)

2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup (65g) brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

2/3 cup (160ml) milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Cream together the butter, flour and baking powder into a mixture of breadcrumb-like consistency.  Sift in the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Mix in the vanilla, honey and milk.

DSC_0290Spread the dough thinly on an greased baking sheet.

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Heat the oven to 220C (425F) and bake for about 10 minutes (until it’s lightly. Once it’s cooled, cut into squares.

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Enjoy (preferably not while fighting your way through Moria or the Misty Mountains.)

The Hobbit is in theatres now.

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