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The desolation of Smaug is indeed cause for celebration as the old worm lies dead amid the smoldering ruins of Esgaroth.  The burglar Bilbo Baggins proved his quality to the once doubting company of Dwarves by outwitting the Dragon and discovering his weakness — an unprotected patch under his left breast.   Fatally pierced by the Bowman’s arrow, the treasure of Erebor was restored to its rightful owners.   The Dwarves had their revenge at last!

seed cakes for gimli

While news  of the dragon’s demise spread, it was fitting for the thirteen dwarves and their burglar to celebrate.  With the city in ruins, the celebration would be sparse.  But our dear Hobbit is nothing if not resourceful, and also very fond of parties.   He rallied the younger Dwarves Kili and Fili and off they went on another mission — this time to look for provisions for the party amid the ruins of the town.   Kili and Fili wished there might be more than roasted coneys on the menu — they talked of the sweet seedcakes that were part of every Dwarf family celebration.  Because of his heroism, the townsfolk took pity upon Bilbo and offered him what little they could find left of their provisions.  He inquired whether there might be any ingredients to bake a tasety treat, as they had been on their journey for a very long time and he was yearning for some of the comforts of his home back in the Shire.    One of the dear old women of the city brought him to the rubble that had been her home and offered whatever he might find there.  As luck would have it, Bilbo managed to scrounge up a bit of this and a dab of that and unearthed a few pots while he was at it.  Kili and Fili came running — Kili was carrying a goat and Fili had a chicken in one hand and two eggs in the other!    It seemed like their wish would be granted as they watched Bilbo work his magic,  though there would not be enough to share with all the rest. After baking it on the open fire Bilbo cut it into four sections — not three.  Kili and Fili protested that if he cut the cake into three pieces they would each have more.  But Bilbo had another plan.  Taking his slice and the fourth with it, he led the young Dwarves back to the camp with Kili and Fili protesting the whole distance.  But once they arrived, they witnessed the legendary Hobbit hospitality as Bilbo offered the fourth piece to Thorin, their leader.   If anyone else should enjoy this sweet revenge, it was he.

“Seedcake for Gimli”  The recipe is a bit like a scone in a pan.  In my version I substituted Chia seeds.  I’d been wondering what to do with them and I don’t care for caraway which is in the original! I also added a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the wet ingredients before adding the dry.   I baked mine in a 10 inch cast iron skillet.   I cannot vouch for the recipe’s 45 minute cooking time because my oven is not heating properly, but at 350 degrees in my oven I only needed 20 minutes but that could be due to the cast iron.  Definitely use the middle rack as suggested so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.   I am not sure if the recipe is meant to be slightly thinner than a biscuit dough, then it would have taken longer.  The only other thing I did differently is not sift the flour.  Give it a try!  I’m going to have it for breakfast with a bit of yogurt!

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Blackberry Tarts from Bree

Blackberry Tarts from Bree

The Inn at Bree offered a full array of meats and desserts to satisfy the four hungry young Hobbits, yet Sam reckoned the true test of the establishment’s suitability was the quality of its beer!  After some initial research, he determined that the beer and the rest of the menu were on a par with anything he had enjoyed “back ‘ome at the Shire, and that’s sayin’ somethin’!”

In the summers before the forming of The Fellowship, the four often stopped along the banks near the Buckleberry Ferry to glean the last of the sweetBlackberry Tart from Bree first bite plump berries from the prickly vines.   They sat on the edge of the ferry and pulled themselves to the middle of the waters to dangle their dusty feet in the deep, tossing the juicy gems into the air and catching them in their mouths, making faces at one another as if there were nothing pressing at all in their lives.  No need to hurry.  No reason to fear. 

Merry and Pippin played their favorite game: arguing over who was taller.   Sam would warn the two of them about how Farmer Maggot and his dog would soon track them down and find the basket of pilfered mushrooms and cabbages sitting next to them.  His Old Gaffer would hold him responsible of course, he worried out loud.

Frodo told Sam he’d vouch for him if such a need arose.  Then he lay back and stared up at the tree tops into the sky and wondered what had become of his old Uncle Bilbo.  He missed his stories of adventures with trolls, dragons, dwarves and Elves.  He thought that one day he would go on an adventure himself, if the occasion presented itself.  Frodo couldn’t imagine what kind of adventure would ever draw him more than a day’s walk from his beloved Shire.   Even so, Frodo resolved to bring up the idea with Gandalf, if the old Wizard ever did return to Bag End.

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