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Robin Hood – Little John Stew, Blackberry Pie, Currant Pie, Gruel

Quick links: Little John Beef Stew | Blackberry Pie | Currant Pie | Prison Gruel | Verdict

Robin Hood and Little John chilling in the kitchen, breakin’ eggs, stewin’ beef and eatin’ the day away. This is one of my wife’s favorite Disney movies. Mostly because she thinks Robin is a “fox”.
It is a really good, classic Disney movie with some good food to boot!

Little John Burnt Beef Stew

When Robin and Little John are chilling in the forest, they have a giant cauldron over a fire. It starts burning and bubbling over.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

Incidentally, when I was making the stew, I forgot to turn down the heat and my stew started to burn. So I guess it’s super authentic to the movie.

Friar Tuck then makes an appearance and tastes it.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

He finds it to be fairly spicy. So I searched for a suitable medieval stew I could make. I think I found one that’d be pretty close to what Robin and John were making

Little John Burnt Beef Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hr 30 min
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium
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Ingredients:
3 lbs Stewing Steak
3 tbs flour
oil for frying
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground mace (or chili powder)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 black peppercorns (crushed)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
6 large sprigs of parsley (finely chopped)
4 cups beef stock
2-3 pieces stale whole wheat bread
3 tbs cider vinegar
1 pinch saffron (or 1/4 tsp turmeric as a sub.)
  1. Toss the beef with the flour to coat.
  2. Cover the base of a large frying pan with a thin layer of oil and place over a medium high heat.
  3. Add the beef and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  4. Add the spices, onion and parsley with a splash of the stock and fry, stirring frequently and scrapping up the crusty layer from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes until the onions have started to soften.
  5. Dump contents into large pot with its juices.
  6. Add the rest of the stock with a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1hr 40 mins, until the beef is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the vinegar with the saffron .
  8. After the beef is tender, stir into the stew and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the bread has broken down and the stew is thick.
  9. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Serve with buscuits

source: http://ginandcrumpets.com/medieval-spiced-beef-stew/

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Trigger’s Blackberry Pie

After the archery tournament, Robin gets chased around by Prince John’s guard. Trigger, the vulture takes cover in a pie stand selling blackberry pies.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

Trigger's Blackberry Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients:
3/4 cups cream
1/4 cup red wine
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp ginger
1 pinch saffron (or leave out if not available) 
1/8 tsp ground mace (or chili pepper)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 pre-baked pie shells
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, wine, saffron and other spices, and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. In a separate container, beat egg yolks and honey together.
  4. While beating, add a bit of the hot milk mixture. Pour this back into the pot with the hot liquid while whisking furiously.
  5. Place the cut blackberries and dates in baked pie shells and spoon the cream mixture over fruit and into the shells.
  6. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes, or until the filling has set.

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Source: http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/2011/06/17/medieval-fruit-tarts-blueberry-strawberry-apricot-cherry/

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Maid Marian’s Currant Pie

In the same scene, Maid Marian starts throwing pies to help Robin escape.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

We wanted to find real currants, for the pie, but we couldn’t. However, Google told me that Blueberries are a close second. So we made a blueberry pie.

Maid Marian's Currant Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 min
  • Difficulty: Easy-medium
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Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 1/4 cups red currants (blueberries)
1 ready to bake pie crust
1 pie crust mix
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 egg yolk
  1. Prepare the pie crust mix as directed, but add 1 egg yolk and the lemon zest
  2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  3. Gradually stir in sugar and cornstarch; beat for 5 minutes.
  4. Fold currants (blueberries) into mixture and pour into pie crust.
  5. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

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Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/red-currant-pie/

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Not-in-Nottingham Prison Gruel

Toward the end, the rooster narrator is in jail with the rest of the town. He sings Not In Nottingham. We then see the mama rabbit feeding her baby rabbits something from a bowl.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

In general, gruel is a common food for prisons. I’ve always wanted to taste it. So I made it. It tastes like watery oatmeal.

They also showed biscuits. We cheated and made some from a Pillsbury roll. They were great with the stew.

Not-in-Nottingham Prison Gruel

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 12 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
3 tbs oatmeal
2 cups water
salt to taste
  1. Mix the oatmeal with a little cold water to make a paste
  2. Put the rest of the water in a pan
  3. Add the mixture and boil for 10 minutes
  4. Add the salt

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Will it Steal from the Rich and Give to the Poor?

Aside from the gruel, not a bad run. The blackberry pie was super sweet. The beef stew was good, and I think if it weren’t burnt, it would have been even better. And the currant (blueberry) pie was delicious

Verdict:

Stew – 7/10

Blackberry pie – 7.5/10

Currant (blueberry) pie – 9/10

Gruel – 4/10

2

Bambi – Red Currant, Acorns, Grapes, Red Clover, Bark, Grass, Thumper Salad

Quick links: Red Currant | Acorns | Grapes | Red Clover | Bark | Grass | Thumper Salad | Verdict

This week, we’re featuring venison! Say goodbye to Bambi’s mom! Ok,not really. The food featured in Bambi isn’t the tastiest, probably because it’s not really meant for human consumption. However, most of the animal food featured in Bambi is edible to humans. So consider this a survivalist article. So get ready to eat nasty food and feel bad about humans existing.

Momma Bird Red Currant

Within the first few minutes of the movie, we see a mommy bird bringing pink berries for her babies.

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While it was tempting just to go to Pinkberry and get some frozen yogurt, I decided to stay true to the movie and get some actual berries. I searched pink berries and found a certain berry called a Snowberry. That is probably the type of berry the mother is feeding her babies. However, I also found that snowberries cause stomach aches, so I opted for Red Currants instead, which can be pinkish as well.

Red currants are actually in the gooseberry family (see my Snow White article). They are VERY tart but they mix well with other foods. I was able to find them at my local grocery store. Although, in the theme of making this a survivalist article, here’s a link to some common wild berries so you know what you can or cannot eat.

Squirrley Acorns

We next see a squirrel and a little chipmunk sleeping under its bushy tail. I love how the chipmunk and squirrel are friends. They nibble on some acorns.

(credit: Disney)

Acorns are actually edible. However, you need to soak them in warm water until they aren’t bitter anymore. The soaking takes out the toxins in the acorns so you don’t die. Sadly, I was not able to get my hands on any acorns. Online I only found fake acorns for arts and crafts and since it’s winter here and I didn’t stock-pile up the acorns beforehand, I had trouble finding them on the ground. Maybe I need to make a couple more squirrel friends.

Grapes for the birds

This one was easy. When Bambi and the bunnies are prancing around, Bambi stumbles across some birs eating, what looks like, grapes (they might be some other kind of berry, but they really look like grapes).

(credit: Disney)

Thumper comes along and tries to teach him the correct way to say bir-Ds. Well, you don’t need to be a bird to enjoy grapes. I’m just not sure if you’ll be able to find grapes in the wild.

Big Feet Red Clover

Who wouldn’t love a food that cute widdle Thumper loves? Bambi seems to like it too.

(credit: Disney)

(credit: Disney)

Red clovers are actually really useful for humans too. They are used for cancer prevention, indigestion, high cholesterol, whooping cough, cough, asthma, bronchitis, menopause symptoms, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), skin cancer, skin sores, burns, chronic skin diseases and even flavoring. (source: WebMD). Thats not even to mention that the greens make long ears and great big feet according to Thumper!

However, I found that it isn’t the greens that are awful to eat, it is the blossom that he loves so much.

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I tried some clover sprouts and they were actually pretty tasty, but then when I tried some clover blossom….bleh! So bitter and disgusting. I even tried to steam it….but that made it worse. It smelled bad too. It’s supposed to be good for you though!

Starving Bambi Bark

When in the harsh winter, Bambi and his mom resort to stripping bark off of the tree. It’s the only thing they got. It would have been a pretty bad death if we had to see Bambi’s mom slowly die of starvation.

(credit: Disney)

(credit: Disney)

For humans, you can actually eat pine bark with very little preparation. Some of the main ways of eating it are boiling it and frying it. I tried it fried.

You’re supposed to get the inner-most bark. That is apparently the most palatable. I don’t think the bark I got was deep enough. I had to act quickly when I was stripping off the bark because I was stealing it from a neighbor’s tree in the middle of the night. I didn’t want anyone to come out of the building and question why I was digging into their pine. The chips I got were kinda red and not the inner-tree white.

It tasted fine, It kinda crumbled in my mouth. I was thinking it was going to be crispier. It turned into a powder when I chewed. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat it, but if I were starving in the wilderness, I wouldn’t mind snacking on pine bark. It would keep me from getting scurvy.

Fried Bambi Bark

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
A couple strips Pine Bark
Some Oil and salt
  1. Peel off the outermost bark of a pine tree.
  2. Peel strips of the white inner bark.
  3. Rinse the peeled bark.
  4. Heat up a little oil in a frying pan.
  5. Fry the bark.
  6. Add salt if you wish.

    Cooked Bark

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Blades of Grass!

After the harsh winter, and right before the sad part of Bambi’s mother dying, Bambi finds a patch of grass and starts chowing down.

bambigrass

(credit: Disney)

Well I tried eating grass. It’s wheatgrass. You might recognize it from your local Jamba Juice.

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It tastes like…well, grass. Nothing special. I’m not going to use at as a midnight snack though. I only wish I could be as excited as Bambi to eat it.

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Thumper Salad

So we wanted to make something using lots of the food shown in Bambi as ingredients, so we made a salad! I actually found that the gross red clover can make a fairly tasty salad dressing too.

So without further ado, here is Thumper Salad.

Thumper Salad

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

Thumper Salad

1 cup Baby kale
1 cup Spinach
1 cup Chard
1/2 cup Clover sprouts
1/4 cup Wheat grass
3/4 cup Grape halved
1/3 cup Dried red currants
1/4 cup Acorns (must be pre-soaked)
Pine bark, fried sprinkle over salad to taste

Flower Salad Dressing

1/2 cup Water
1-2 tablespoon Dried red clover blossom
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons Honey
1/4 teaspoon Salt (kosher)
1/8 teaspoon *A dash black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice *optional

Thumper Salad

  1. Mix kale, spinach, chard, sprouts, and grass.
  2. Throw with grapes, currants, and acorns.
  3. Sprinkle fried bark on top to taste.
  4. Dress with Flower Salad Dressing

Flower Salad Dressing

  1. Boil water and red clover blossoms together for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Strain out and discard blossoms.
  3. Reserve the water.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the water, mix well.
  5. Pour over salad and enjoy!

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Will it save your mother from Man in the forest?

Well, like I said earlier, none of the food was really super tasty…but it wasn’t supposed to be. You could learn to live with it, if it were your only food source. The Red Currant was extremely tart, the grapes were good, the red clover made my stomach turn, the bark, and the grass tasted like grass.

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The salad was pretty good. It wasn’t anything special. I think I might have used too much Red Clover dressing.

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Verdict:

Red Currant – 5/10

Acorns – ?/10

Grapes – 7/10

Red Clover Blossom – 2/10

Red Clover Sprout – 4/10

Bark – 3/10

Grass – 3/10

Thumper Salad – 5/10

Bambi’s Mom Venison – ?/10 (they better have used Bambi’s mom to feed a starving family)