Breaking news in Middle Earth: A dwarf is hungry

Thorin’s Hearty Lamb Shank Stew


4 Lamb or Mutton Shanks
1 cup Red Wine
3 large Onions or 6 small ones
Salt and Pepper
1 Garlic clove
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Beef Stock
Potatoes (as many as you like-approx 4-6)
2 or 3 Stalks of Celery
4 Carrots sliced
3 Bay Leaves
1 large tablespoon of Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Preparation method
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 2 hours

1. Put the shanks into a large enough casserole dish, pour over wine, add onions, salt and crushed garlic. Cover and bake at 180º for one hour, turning shanks over once.

2. Remove shanks and set aside. Strain off fat and make plenty of brown gravy by bringing to boil the juices in the bottom of the pan, adding flour, and gradually stirring in beef stock and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Now add sufficient potatoes for the meal – cut into quarters if large and left whole if small, 2 or 3 stalks of celery cut into pieces, 4 sliced carrots, and a medium sized parsnip sliced 3 bay leaves.

4. Put the shanks back in mix everything up and cook for another hour or until the vegetables are tender. Keep lid on casserole while cooking, but after 30 minutes, give it all a good stir and mix it all up again and add fresh herbs.

Serve with large chunks of crusty bread, lashings of butter and copious amounts of Ale!!

This recipe was submitted by Meri @merilyn066 who’s favorite Richard Armitage character will always be Guy of Gisborne. In her words: How could I go past Sir Guy of Gisborne? I love all the angst, sexual tension, leather, and of course his hair! Only Richard could play Guy and I miss him everyday.

Hearty hugs,




MOCHA: the cake not the car

This recipe is inspired by Richard and I’m being totally tongue-in-cheek with it. We as fans frequently refer to his voice as being like chocolate, so the base of this recipe is a devil’s food cake mix. I’ve added coffee to the chocolate and gooey top because coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, letting it’s depth of flavor show through, just like Richard let’s his depth of character show through in his interviews. There are also layers to this cake, which is fitting because Richard seems like a layered individual. And really, isn’t it better to be considered layered like a delicious dessert than an onion? 😉


Richard dressed in mocha chocolate layers

Mocha Gooey Butter Cake:

• 1 18 1/4-ounce package devil’s food cake mix
• 1 egg
• 8 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon hot water
• ¼ teaspoon instant coffee granules
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons hot water
• 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 8 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon instant coffee granules in 1 tablespoon water. Combine the cake mix, egg, butter and coffee and mix well with an electric mixer.
3. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
4. In a large bowl dissolve 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules in 2 tablespoons water, beat the cream cheese and coffee until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
5. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

JasRangoon Mocha Gooey Butter Cake

This recipe was submitted by @JasRangoon. She was drawn to Richard Armitage through John Thornton, but it was when she saw his interviews on the North and South disc, did she become really hooked. And here she is three and half years later, and we’re all thankful for that!

Is it time to sign up for Chocoholics Anonymous yet?



Richard LIkes It Spicy


Photograph courtesy of

Easy peasy and a bit of a cheat because it uses a shop-bought curry paste but if you buy a good quality one it tastes amazing. Make sure your herbs, garlic and shallots are chopped up really fine and you’ll have a beautiful silky smooth sauce. I tend to use reduced fat coconut milk and it still works.

IMPORTANT: Add the paste to cold oil – DO NOT add it to hot oil unless you want it splattered all over your kitchen – I speak from experience!

Thai Chicken Curry (Antony Worrall Thompson recipe)

50 g/2 oz bunch fresh coriander
5 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
2 x 400g / 14 oz cans coconut milk
250 ml / 8 fl oz fresh chicken stock (from a carton is fine)
12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or light soy sauce
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp caster sugar
good handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thai fragrant rice (approx. 50 g / 2 oz per person) and lime wedges, to serve

1) Remove a good handful of the coriander leaves from the stalks – about a quarter – and reserve. Roughly chop the remainder, including the stalks, and place in a mini-blender with the shallots and garlic. Whizz to a paste.

2) Heat a wok or heavy-based frying pan. Add the oil and stir-fry the curry paste for 1 minute over a high heat. Add 150 ml / 1/4 pint of the coconut milk and the coriander paste, stirring well to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chicken stock and boil for 8-10 minutes until the natural oils start to appear on the surface, stirring occasionally. Season generously.

3) Stir in the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is completely tender and the sauce has reduced considerably with the oils clearly visible on the surface.

4) Add the remaining coconut milk, the fish sauce or soy sauce, lime rind and juice and sugar, bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the reserved coriander leaves and the basil and cook for another minute or two. Serve hot with bowls of the rice and lime wedges.

This recipe was submitted by @kathrynruthd/ kathrynruthd whose favorite Richard Armitage character would be Lucas. Something tells me he’d be able to cook this for her too, or least be able to chop the herbs.





Harry’s Stripes


Harry’s Striped Lasagne (To Coordinate with His Striped Jumper)

1 lb loose sausage
(or 1 lb lean ground beef seasoned to taste with sage, Italian seasoning, and pressed or powdered garlic)
2 T olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 jars marinara sauce
1 box lasagne noodles
2 cups fresh baby spinach, optional
1/2 c red wine, optional

Boil lasagne noodles according to package directions. When they are al dente, drain and rinse with cool water (helps them to not stick together) and lay them out on an oiled baking sheet.
Meanwhile, saute diced onion in olive oil until it softens and begins to become translucent. Add the sausage or seasoned ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Deglaze the pan with the red wine if you care to use it. Add 1 and 1/3 jar of marinara sauce to the pan and heat through.
Oil (you may use cooking spray) a 9×13″ baking pan. (I use a glass pan because I prefer not to cook tomato based foods in metal cookware.) Pour 1/3 jar of the reserved plain sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Begin to layer the ingredients. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but aim for at least three layers of noodles. In my lasagne I layered in this order:
1. Plain sauce – 1/3 jar
2. 5 noodles
3. 1/2 of the meat sauce
4. Spinach
5. Cheeses – 1 c mozzarella and 1/4 c parmesan
6. Repeat 2 – 5
7. 5 more noodles
8. The final 1/3 of the remaining plain sauce


check out those stripes!
Cover with foil and bake at 375 ℉ for 20 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with 1 c shredded mozzarella, cover and bake another 10 min.
Remove from oven and let rest 10 min before slicing.


This recipe and pictures were submitted by @StacieMakeDo – stayseemakedo

And despite not having a beard, Harry Kennedy is her favorite 🙂


May your striped jumpers always be wooly,



Sir Guy’s Olde Tipsy Rum Cake

           It’s moist, delicious, and like Richard Armitage, gets

           better with age! It’s a great way for an angsty knight

           with a serious sweet tooth to drown his sorrows—so

           to speak.



Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pan


1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1 (18 ounces) packaged yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix

4 large eggs

½ cup cold water

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup light or dark rum


½ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup light or dark rum

Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare one 9 or 10 inch fluted tube pan; generously grease the pan with shortening and dust with flour.


Sprinkle the nuts over the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, water, vegetable oil, and rum; beat until thoroughly mixed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Spoon the batter over the nuts and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon.


Bake 1 hour or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 or 15 minutes then remove cake from the pan and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.


In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in water and sugar; bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly so mixture does not burn. Remove from heat. Stir in the rum.

Use a long toothpick or skewer to poke several small holes in the top of the cake. Spoon the still warm glaze over the top of the cake and allow to soak in. Repeat until the glaze is used up.

bicardi rum cake

If you’d like to add a tropical twist to Guy’s rum cake (and Guy did once play a pirate in a fanfic I co-authored), then substitute a Key lime cake mix for the regular cake mix and add a box of coconut cream pudding. Use macadamia nuts or almonds instead of pecans or walnuts.
Can’t find a Key lime cake mix? Then use a lemon cake mix, add some Key lime juice and green food coloring!  Since this rum cake is green, it also makes a great St. Patrick’s Day cake!
(You can also make a chocolate rum cake by using a chocolate fudge cake mix and chocolate pudding, a strawberry rum cake using a strawberry cake mix and pudding and so on . . . have fun.)

This recipe and photographs were submitted by Angie K. Long/Fedoralady:

Guy was my gateway to discovery of RA as actor. Six feet two inches of gorgeous black leather-clad alpha male who also possessed vulnerability and sweetness beneath smoulder & swagger. How could I resist? & one thing led to another. Love that RA!

With a swagger, a smoulder and a smirk,



Comfort, Art and a Cute Mustache

The proposal to do recipes inspired by Richard Armitage’s characters (or himself) for FanstRAvaganza week was a great idea, so I eagerly agreed to contribute. I figured there would be a run on recipes that were either chocolate or Guy of Gisborne (medieval), both my favourite areas, so I thought instead I would cook somewhat outside my comfort zone. What I came up with is deceptively simple: soup! I say deceptively because I consider the ability to make good soup to be one of the defining factors in being a good cook. I chose a French style potato soup because 1) my Gran had a recipe that I think was inspired by Julia Child and 2) Claude Monet, who Richard played in The Impressionists, was as well known for being a gastronome as he was an artist. Also, in the winter, what is better than a cheap, rib-sticking, comforting homemade soup? I hope you enjoy! Note: I substituted half & half for cream to cut some fat content for us.


French Potato & Leek Soup

3 large potatoes, peeled & cubed

2 leeks, white light parts only, well cleaned, thinly sliced

3 T. butter for sauteing

4 cups chicken stock

—-For cream mixture:

1/4 cup flour

3 T. butter

1 cup cream OR half & half

Dash of garlic salt

1/4 tsp. each: dried basil, thyme

1 tsp. parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional garnishes: crisp crumbled bacon, grated cheese, dollop of sour cream

1) In large pot, saute leeks in butter, medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till leeks are tender.

2) Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3) Prepare cream mixture near end of potato cook time: Melt butter in saucepan, smoothly whisk in flour, cook a minute or two but keep it tan (this is roux), then whisk in half & half and spices. Heat to just below boil, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. It will thicken.

4) When potatoes are done, add cream mixture to pot, stir to combine, return to boil then reduce and simmer low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Puree half or all the soup (your preference, we like a rustic texture), return to pot, stir to combine, season again if needed with salt & pepper.

6) Serve, garnish as desired. My family likes hot stuff, additional garnishes for their portions were paprika and a splash of hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Donna's French Potato & Leek Soup

For my final French touch, soup is plated on Gran’s Haviland Limoges china, whose clay painting techniques attracted Monet’s attention. Many Haviland patterns were influenced by The Impressionist movement.

Wine pairing: Best served with sauvignon blanc or white sancerre. If made without leeks, it would go well with pinot noir (one of Richard’s preferred wines).

This soup freezes well. When served cold in the USA, it is called vichyssoise. Even better 2nd day! For variation, before reheating toss in cubed cooked chicken or ham, or after reheat, top with chili!

This recipe and photographs were submitted by Donna

Bon Appetit,



Nigella ain’t got nothin’ on this one, baby.

You know the scene.
Lucas North walks onto the Grid with a box in his hands.
He’s brought doughnuts. Except he ate the chocolate one.
And licks his thumb as proof.


[Some time later …]
Now that you have recovered, here is a recipe in honor of that brilliant piece of work.
You want chocolate, Lucas? Well, this has three sources of it. There is even a proper kiss included.
And while it is as tasty as a doughnut, it is not deep fried, so you can have as many as you want, Secret Agent Man.
Enjoy your plate of Chocolate Doughnut Muffins. And don’t forget your coffee.


Chocolate Doughnut Muffins

Makes 12 regular cupcake-sized muffins

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
12 unwrapped Hershey dark chocolate Kisses


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream sugar and shortening. Add beaten egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and extract.
Place cupcake papers in a 12-cup pan. Drop a dollop of batter in the bottom of each. Place a Kiss in the middle of each dollop. Distribute the rest of the batter amongst the 12, making sure to cover the Kiss completely.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes, checking with a cake tester after 20 minutes for doneness. Try to test to the side of the Kiss.
Bake just until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool slightly, enough to handle.

Find two bowls large enough to dip a muffin. In one bowl, put 1/4 cup sugar; in the second, 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine.
Very rapidly dip the muffin in the melted butter. Let any excess drip off (still upside down) and then dip in the sugar.
Place on a plate. When finished with the 12, sprinkle some of the remaining sugar on top of the muffins (the first dip of sugar will likely have melded with the butter so this gives them a fresher look).


Serve with coffee, of course.

This recipe and photographs was submitted by Janine Pineo @j_pineo :

It was John Thornton who introduced me to Richard. After recovering from the kiss to end all kisses in the history of the universe, I watched his interview in the DVD extras for that role, and it was the man, not the role, who swept me into this unexpected journey.
That all started mid-March of 2012, which means this is my first anniversary in my admiration of Richard Armitage. What timing!
I have a marked fondness for Guy of Gisborne, with his incredible leather wardrobe and what I love to call his Smirkitage. Let’s just leave it at that. And I adore Lucas North, another misunderstood and under-utilized character. I have yet to watch either of these characters die because I am just not there yet.
I have not watched John Porter in action — PORTAH! — although I have been repeatedly and duly warned that I may not recover from the experience. Yay!
Then there is the adorable Harry, the stroppy Ricky, the sneering Philip Durrant and so forth. Nothing, however, is as sweet as the man himself reading bedtime stories.
As far as the dwarf prince goes, I can say without hesitation that the only man to play this role is Richard Armitage. His talent is unmatched and his ability to make even the slightest nuance sing is breathtaking to watch.
The recipe is a little something to go with all that coffee that Lucas kept drinking. He needed desperately to be fed once he got out of that Russian prison. And you might as well say it with chocolate.

Chocolate kisses,