So did everybody have fun on the sshg_exchange? We certainly did!
We also had a blast playing exchange_bingo. In fact we liked playing Bingo so much we offered a Trip to the SSHG Quiz Vault as a prize. The winner was irishredlass and she has chosen today's quiz. Anyone who knows Irish knows she loves to cook and bake, so naturally she has chosen the Food Porn Quiz. You can thank her later. So grab a drink and a snack and settle back for some SSHG stories featuring fabulous food!
Just a little something to get you in the Food Porn mood!
Tasty Hotness by tinytexans
Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EST. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!
Match the quotes to the story titles without falling for the red herring titles:
Saffron by jinxie4
Grilled Mushrooms by chivalric55 (SS/HG/LM)
Shepherd's Pie for Two by melisande88
The Subtle Science and Exact Art by duniazade (SS/HG/LM)
Not On Counter-tops by apollinav (SS/HG/LM)
Christmas Pudding by satismagic
Discovery by melenka
Epicurean Delights by irishredlass
An Argument for Selfishness by bluestocking79
Slytherin Persuasion by karelia
It's Not Easy Being Cheesy by pyjamapants (SS/HG/LM)
Third Time's the Charm by ginny_weasley31
1. "Very well," he allows and affects a long-suffering sigh. "Consider it an early Christmas present."
He turns his attention back to the page, but his left hand curls warmly around her shoulder.
She sighs happily.
"Trifle." His still suppressed grin warms his voice. "Blanc-mange. Almond pudding." His stomach rumbles.
She swallows. The scents drifting up from the book intensify.
"Rout cakes. Jam pudding." His voice softens. When she glances up, she sees that his eyes are misty with memories. When he notices, he lifts his hand and gently strokes back her hair, tucking a stray curl behind her ear. "Mam made that for Christmas. We had not enough money for a proper pudding, but there was that old cherry tree in the backyard, so we got jam. It was a bit sour, always. But it was jam."
She reaches for his hand resting on her shoulder, thinking of the Christmas treats of her childhood. Swiss chocolate, Italian panettone, whisky-drenched Scottish Christmas pudding, German Stollen. As always, when she thinks of her parents, tears are threatening.
But Severus saves her and continues. "Tartlets. Vanilla cream."
The perfume of vanilla is almost palpable now. Hermione inhales hungrily.
2. She set about washing the fruit, then carefully unwrapped the cheese and set it on a board. Her stomach growled, loud enough that he must have heard it. For once, he didn’t needle her. Or perhaps he was too engrossed in the sizzling mushrooms to have noticed. She lifted the knife to nick a bit of cheese before she passed out from hunger.
He chose that moment to speak. “We will need glasses.”
She set down the knife and pulled out wine glasses. Naturally, they needed rinsing, too. By the time she’d washed out all the dust, he’d set the table. He pulled out her chair and waited until she’d been seated before taking his own. At least she’d thought to wash the napkins. He took his time pouring the wine, swirling it around, sniffing it. She thought seriously about kicking him for making her wait to eat but decided it would be bad form to assault a guest, however unwelcome. Finally, he took a sip and filled her glass. It was perhaps the finest wine she’d ever tasted.
“Eat, Hermione.” For once, his tone was soft.
She obeyed. Despite her best intentions, it was impossible to maintain any dignity. The cheese was her undoing. Rich and smooth but with a sharp edge, it elicited a groan, then another. The mushrooms brought her close to rapture. She was ravenous, but the subtle flavor, heightened by a sprinkling of herbs, made it too good to rush. Small sounds of pleasure punctuated each bite. She gave up caring about making a spectacle of herself. He could hardly think less of her, after all.
When the first rush of hunger had been sated, she became aware of his hands. Long fingers, small scars, defined tendons born of the refined touch required to brew potions.
3. Her stomach growled again, and Snape suddenly pushed his shepherd's pie in front of her.
"Please do me the honour," said Snape, with honeyed courtesy that immediately put Hermione on high alert.
"Oh, I couldn't possibly," she said, trying her best to remain polite and professional.
Rita leaned forward, eyes gleaming.
"I insist. You've had a very trying day." Snape, unbelievably, forked up a bite and poised it at Hermione's lips.
"Oh, doooooo tell, Mrs Weasley."
"She's been at the Ministry," Snape responded, the fork unwavering in front of Hermione. "As we all know, a very trying place to be at the best of times."
"And one assumes it was not the best of times?" Rita prompted.
Hermione took the bite of pie from Snape's fork, snapping like a shark.
It was heaven, that bite, better than sex—at least, better than sex with Ron. She had little other experience by which to judge, having only ever kissed Victor, Cormac and Harry besides Ron. She closed her eyes and the smallest of moans crept from her throat. She needed all her self-control not to bolt the bite, grab the pie from the table, and run off with it like a troll to a cave, there to shovel it down in a glorious, orgasmic mess.
When she opened her eyes again, swallowing and licking her lips, Snape had another forkful ready for her, his eyes fixed on her mouth. Rita was staring at the two of them with her own mouth hanging open in astonishment.
"It seems you needed that," Snape said silkily. "Stress can cause that reaction."
4. "You," Lucius said to Severus as he levitated a tray piled with food and wine in front of him, "and your disgustingly plebeian tastes cannot be trusted to deliver anything providing the remotest bit of gustatory satisfaction with the slight exception of that piece of meat between your legs."
Despite herself, Hermione laughed at this. Lucius must be severely piqued to fling about such coarse language regarding Severus's manhood. Lucius usually preferred to think such language was, well, below him. Perhaps some intervention was required before things went entirely pear-shaped. The afternoon they'd experimented with the delights of chocolate body decoration had delivered satisfaction, of all the important appetites, to everyone involved. It would be a shame if Lucius's and Severus's long-standing rivalry prevented this foray into fanciful fromagery.
Feigning more interest than she felt, Hermione braced herself to ask a question that, against all odds, she hoped would move things in the direction of the consumption of nipple-sized morsels of food. Honestly, the way Lucius could ramble on about any item of luxury made her feel a bit guilty for all the times she'd harassed Ron and Harry with details from Hogwarts, A History; she certainly understood their glazed expressions now. Gesturing to the tray hovering above her, she asked, "What have you brought us, Lucius?"
"Assorted canapés, Emmentaler, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape," Lucius said as he lowered a glass of the red liquid to her.
5. Severus was convinced he would be drunk on inferior wine before the sampling was finished. Did none of these idiots realize that berries were naturally sweet on their own and did not require copious amounts of sugar?
So far the only thing remotely palatable had been a berry-filled crepe… had the crepe not been so dry. It was a wonder he hadn’t cut his tongue.
Finally, the last dessert. He inhaled deeply as his olfactory senses confirmed the Madagascar Vanilla. He thought back to the woman who had contributed the confection.
He hoped the presentation wasn’t misleading… on both accounts.
As Hermione gagged on Polyjuice, Severus’ mouth was assaulted by a symphony of flavor and texture so divine he had to stifle a moan of pleasure.
The feather lightness of the cake belied the moistness only fresh ingredients could provide. Berries burst upon his tongue only to be tempered by the richness of Madagascar Vanilla, then soothed by silken white chocolate.
He hesitated to chew—not wanting to waste a moment of this sensuous experience—and let the cake melt in his mouth.
The woman who created this was a culinary witch. He vowed he would have her for his own.
6. Severus palmed cloves of garlic, shredded a twisted strand of rosemary, and held a small hank of thyme before throwing it into the size eight mortar. A generous dash of ground sea-salt and peppercorn followed. Hermione had an appetite for fettuccine alfredo. Of course, that meant he also needed to prepare garlic bread. The crusty bread was already set out and waiting for its accompanying butter and herb rub. The whipped butter was setting in the cooler. And his handmade noodles were waiting to be dropped into a boiling pot.
In his kitchen, everything was perfect and to his specification. It was new, modern, and entirely efficient. Much like the rest of his new metropolitan flat. He'd set out to find a place that did not resemble his childhood home in any way, shape, or form, and found it.
Hermione giggled from behind him, and Severus smiled. His head was bent over the herbs he was crushing, and nobody could be any the wiser for it.
Hermione was... a true gem.
7. Severus Snape groaned with pain when he put the last of the cheese curds into the form. In the past hours, he'd been warming and stirring the milk, had released not all, but most of the cheese whey, had finally cut the remnants to curds, and now, at least for the moment, it was enough. The cheese needed to rest for at least a day, and Merlin, he was grateful for it.
Pity cheese-making was such a strenuous job. Even more so as he couldn't use magic – the cheese tasted a lot better when he performed each step by hand, and that meant hours and hours of work.
One of those days he'd need to look up some Muggle-technology, as Hermione had suggested quite a while ago. So far, though, he hadn't had time to do so.
8. There was no need to question Severus’s knowledge by now. Lucius scooped a spoon of meat on his plate and added some rice. Then he copied Severus and broke off a piece of bread as well.
The meat melted on his tongue; the richness of the sauce took his breath away. There were spices he no doubt had never heard of, spices that tasted like a revelation of possibilities, promises of wonder, a paradise where Narcissa awaited, keen and ready for him. The heat of one spice suddenly jerked him back to reality. It exhilarated him enough to ignore the burning sensation.
“Dhal. Lentils, but nothing like the ones Europeans cook. Add lime juice; it’ll bring out the flavour.” Severus pointed to the least appealing dish, though at least the chopped green coriander looked inviting.
The taste could not have been a starker contrast to its appearance. Succulent flavours of spices combined with onion and garlic and ginger forced the taste of the lentils into the background, and coriander and lime tickled his taste buds enticingly. Now he was able to enjoy the rice properly as well; the karahi gosht was better eaten without any accompaniment except a little bread for the sauce.
9. Lucius lifted the lid off the box and tilted it towards Hermione.
It was dark yellow, with amber reflections, almost the exact hue of the wine in the glasses, and it sprawled majestically onto the thin wood. Oozing and flowing with superb equanimity, it had abandoned all façade, and surrendered to the pure joy of rotting.
“What is it?” breathed Hermione. She couldn’t take her eyes off the unctuous, stinking substance.
“An Epoisses,” answered amiably Lucius. “Severus was worried no wine could match it – all my suggestions were deemed too wholesome.” He shrugged. “A perilously perfect cheese.”
Severus leaned past her, reaching out. The Epoisses gave a little squelch when the long finger plunged into its core and a gentle sigh when it was withdrawn, only to be brought at Hermione’s lips.
She tried reflexively to step back, but Severus’ left hand was on her shoulder, holding her against his chest. She scrunched her eyes as the revolting stench invaded her nostrils, dreading the moment it would touch her lips.
It was surprisingly sweet. The smell was still speaking of corruption, but the texture was silken and the taste was soft, almost sweet. Sun-drenched hay, milky buttercups, the creamed honey echo of clover and, under the tang of the rind, something indefinable... lime blossom? She probed with the tip of her tongue, trying to ascertain the taste... and found herself licking the finger clean. With eyes wide open.
“Good,” said Lucius. “Now drink again.”
10. She started with Seared Spanish Sea Scallops with Saffron as her starter. Hard seared on one side, then flipped over to simmer in sweet onions, saffron, ham, parsley and a little sherry. At the addition of the sherry, Hermione couldn't help but picture Professor Trelawney marinating in sherry, making the witch smirk to herself and nearly miss the timing of the scallops. She had to push herself to pay attention and not let her mind wander. She only had half an hour to complete all three dishes.
Following the scallops, she chose to do Foie Gras with Yellow Peach and Yellow Peach-Saffron Buerre Blanc and Puff Pastry for the main course. The foie gras was stuffed inside pan seared duck, and served with a thinly sliced, poached peach fanned alongside it on the plate with a small puff pastry beside them, topped by a mouthful of mixed greens, all drizzled with the peach- saffron buerre blanc. It was a combination of sweet and savoury. Also, this dish wasn't specifically of any regional or historical significance. It merely contained saffron as an ingredient in the sauce over the peaches.
The mixture of textures and colours was a sight to behold.
For her pudding, she chose a Saffron Yogurt Mousse with Rose Petal Honey. The mousse was a risk, as it was a take on the traditional Indian Shrikhand. However, the addition of gelatine allowed it to be moulded instead of just sitting in a dish to be scooped out. The hot pink petals peeking out of the dessert and sitting atop it were a brilliant contrast to the white dessert, making it look both dainty and mouth wateringly exotic and romantic. The creamy taste and texture were balanced by the fragrantly sweet honey.