The core of Kali’s frustration with Bone Matron. Every Mystery demands a price, and in the case of Bone Matron, the more you know about the future, the less you can interact with the present. This starts with blindness, at first temporary, but worsening over time. Eventually, other senses follow. Combine that with the hatred the Raviki tribe has for Mysteries, and to say Kali has been suspicious of Bone Matron’s motives is an understatement. That is still true, and likely wise, but Kali’s gained some nuance on exactly what Bone Matron’s agenda might be. Not to mention, how Dream Eater’s motives might be different than what she first thought too.
The comments on the last page about what food LeyLines would be were all, to be perfectly frank, absolutely drool-worthy. I have not stopped being hungry since! So this weekend I decided to tackle my own fiction-to-food quest and make the fish pie from Kiki’s Delivery Service. It always looked so delicious, and I had to know for myself if it really was. Especially since pumpkin + fish does not exactly sound like a winning combination.
As a place to start, I utilized this video breakdown of how to create this dish:
A solid beginning point, but I felt that the recipe as it stood was a little thin on spices and flavors beyond salt, pepper, and parsley. So I made my own additions and substitutions. Here’s the recipe as it ended up, complete with Robin’s classic CRACKED MAD SCIENTIST INSTRUCTIONS:
KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE PIE
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 6-8)
-1 package frozen puff pastry
-2 package frozen crinkle-cut Carrots
-1-2tbsp Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper to Taste
-Nutmeg to Taste
-Paprika to Taste
-Turmeric to Taste
-2 bay leaves
-235ml Heavy Whipping Cream
-2 Garlic Cloves
-Handful of fresh Parsley
-2 large Cod Fillets
Set out the puff pastry to thaw. You’ll need enough to cover the top of the casserole dish PLUS the fancy fish design. Blub blub!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Chop up your onions and saute them in a pot. It needs to be large enough to accommodate your squash and carrots, so get out something big!
Cut off the hard, seemingly impenetrable skin of the squash. DO NOT LEAVE THIS ON. Trust me, I did that once, DISASTER. It does not soften. No amount of cooking will soften it. It is hard and cruel and hates the world and your tummy. YOU MUST STRIKE IT DOWN.
Once you have conquered your squash skin and scooped out the squash seed guts like the vicious squash maimer you are, chop up the remaining orange flesh into cubes. Add to the pot with the onions, along with the carrots. You could also use fresh carrots, but I think that’s enough gory veggie dissection for today. Yes, we’ll take the veggies that have had the unpleasant and unsightly slicing done for us, out of sight and out of mind. Whatever helps you sleep at night, kid.
Add chicken broth to cover. Add in two bay leaves and about half the head of parsley, chopped up. It will look like too much, but hey, you only live once. May as well go nuts with the fresh herbs, right? Plus, fresh herbs have not leveled up to the more potent life-stage of dried herbs. You can use more of them. They are still weak. WEAK. INTO THE POT THEY GO! BWAHAHAHA!
Set to high boil.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll plan to drain the result after about 20 minutes of boiling. And you’ll think to yourself, “Gee, I’ll need a sieve to do that. Where’s my sieve? Oh! In this mass of dirty dishes I’ve been glibly ignoring. Hmm. And I guess I’ll need a clean sink to drain everything into. Hmm, where’s that clean sink? AUGH. AGAIN with these DISHES! All right, all RIGHT, FINE, I WILL DO THE DISHES. DANG. PUSHY JERKS.” And then by the time you have finished doing all the dishes and making a clean sink you will look over at your pot and realize that pretty much alllllllll the liquid has boiled out of it, rendering your entire effort pointless.
But at least your sink will be clean, and you will no longer have to pointedly ignore all those dishes. Which will make your kitchen a significantly less awkward place to visit.
But I digress.
So once your liquids have boiled down into almost nothing, that once stubborn squash will be practically falling apart. A metaphor, for the hard shells we create to interact with the outside world, when all we really want is a hug. Or to be boiled for twenty minutes. No, no, the metaphor is falling apart now. Just like this squash. It’s just a mess, the poor dear. And yet, its suffering is not yet at an end. For we, like the universe, are cruel.
Add in paprika, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and a dash of white wine. Sample and tweak the spices as needed, until it is sufficiently delicious. I’d tell you quantities, but I never measure them when I’m cooking, so I can’t. FOLLOW YOUR HEART. The parsley should bring out the sweetness of the carrots. The lemon and white wine should give some acid notes. Once it is seasoned to your tastes, go hunting for those bay leaves you put in. You will want to get these out. Bay leaves are not edible! They are horrible villains that will cut up your insides. You must hunt them down and remove them before they get the chance! DO NOT EAT BAY LEAVES. They will have allies and sympathizers among the parsley. The bits of green will pretend to be bay leaves. “Oh, look at me, I have a stem! Perhaps I am the herb you’re looking for?” NO! Do not be fooled! HUNT THE BAY LEAVES DOWN.
Once you’ve removed the traitor herbs, mash the remaining food. Crush what little spirit that pour squash has left. PUT IT OUT OF ITS MISERY. You did this to it. YOUR CHOICES BROUGHT IT HERE. Now you must see your terrible purpose through to its fruition. Was it worth it? WAS IT WORTH IT??? Yes, this meal is delicious, you will forget all about the squash’s pain as its flavorful remains kiss your taste buds on their final step to the veggie afterlife.
What does vegetable heaven look like? That is a mystery that is not ours to know.
Pour the resulting colorful orange and green mash out into the casserole dish you have selected for this awesome responsibility. Level out the result. Take a brief moment to appreciate how innocent it all looks. Bury the truth deep in your mind. Appearances, darling, must be maintained.
Next, we start in on the fish. Make sure the bones and skin are removed. Dust the fish with garlic salt (or salt, if you are more of a BORING OL’ SALT person. No additives for YOU. Salt is a symbol of PURITY. That’s why they chuck it around at sumo ceremonies. Now you know. One less mystery in the world. See, that’s why you should have gone with garlic salt. For the mystery. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?). Briefly fry the fillets in butter (mmmmmmm butter) and add a dash of lemon juice. Remove and lay on top of the mash in the casserole dish.
Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the empty pan (thus filling the void the fish left when it went out of that pan’s life) and the heavy cream. Squish (if you’re in a crushing mood) or dice (if you’re in a slicing mood) 2 cloves of garlic and add to the butter and cream. Stir! Then chop up the remaining fresh parsley and add it to the sauce. Stir more! Sprinkle in the teaspoon of flour and pour in the milk. STIR SOME MORE! THIS IS THE THEME. THIS IS YOUR LIFE NOW. STIRRRRRR! Add in salt and pepper. Taste. Decide that it would be improved by some white wine. Chuck in a good ol’ glug of that. Then, you guessed it, stir. The stirring will continue until the sauce is thick enough, but not TOO think, just thick enough. How thick is that? I don’t know, use some judgement here, it’s not MY sauce it’s YOUR sauce. EMBRACE YOUR DESTINY.
Once you’ve found the perfect sauce thickness, in your esteemed estimation, pour it over the fish and the mash. Try to get it as evenly coated as possible. This will be tricky, because if you try to tip the casserole dish, that entire mash will just want to schlorp on out onto the counter. So you kinda gotta get it right in the pouring stage. Hey, I don’t make the rules. It’s a cruel universe, remember? No? Well the squash does.
The squash remembers.
Roll out your pastry, which should hopefully be thawed by now. Lay out a sheet of the pastry on top of the mash/fish/sauce so that it is covered entirely. If desired, reserve some of the pastry for decoration. Delicately carve out the shapes of your choice. I was trying to replicate the movie’s look, so I went with a fish. You could go with anything. You could do a hippo! Or a giraffe! And then when you present it, people would be like, “Ah, is that hippo pie?” and if you roll a successful bluff check, you could be all, “Why yes! It is! I poached it myself!” and they’d be like, “I am your best friend and would help you hide the evidence, but only if you share this delicious looking pie,” and you’d be all, “Of course best friend I would like nothing better” and then you’d eat it and they’d be like, “Wow, hippo tastes just like cod,” and you’d be like, “Yes, it’s the one animal in the world that doesn’t taste like chicken,” and they’d be all like, “Whoa best friend, mind blown. Mind. BLOWN.”
Or you could just make a pastry fish. It’s your call, really.
Once your masterpiece (of deception) is crafted out of puff pastry on top of your pie filling, crack an egg into a small bowl and lightly beat it with a fork. Unless you’re feeling especially angry that day, in which case productively channel that anger into furiously beating the egg into submission. Either way: Mission accomplished.
If you are a sophisticated human being, use a fancy baster brush thingy to lightly spread this whipped egg onto the top of the pastry. If you are savage monstrosity of a human-esque creature with no respect for decency like me, just use your fingers. (Some day I will get one of them fancy brush thingies, and become a higher level of sapient being.)
Stick that in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry becomes a drool-worthy brown.
Here’s how mine turned out: