Critical Mass: Gillian on fantasy Food, Oct 26th

Two recipes – they go very well together, are easy to make, and are fine for a whole bunch of food restrictions. They’re from the Conflux Medieval feast, way back when, which means they’re part of fannish history, which is not a bad thing.




450 g cooking apples (no modern variety of apple is correct: Granny Smiths are closest I have found of the main Australian varieties)

70-140 g ground almonds
(to make 2 cups almond milk)

Slivered almonds (optional). 

up to 1/2 cup sugar
(amount of sugar depends on
how sweet the apples are)

1/4 cup rice flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ginger

1 pinch each of ground cloves, salt



Make an almond milk with ground almonds and milk. Mix sugar, rice flour and almond milk in saucepan. Stir in apples and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until quite thick. Take a spoonful of mixture and combine with all spices except nutmeg and with the slivered almonds if you’re using them, then reintroduce to the rest of the pudding. Pour into serving dish. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and chill.

Hypocras (spiced wine)


1 litre dry white wine 

150 g icing sugar (not icing mixture)

½ tsp cinnamon

1 ½ tsp ginger

½ tsp dried galingale or a small piece fresh galingale (dried galingale is authentic, but fresh is often easier to obtain)


Grind spices together. Add sugar and spices to wine. Mix well and let sit for two hours. Filter wine very thoroughly (preferably twice, using a double thickness of filter paper or fine material) until it is quite clear. Keep somewhere cool for at least a day or two before drinking.

Our guest speaker this month is Gillian Polack, who will join us via zoom.

Talking about food in fantasy novels. 
Gillian will talk about some of the different roles food can play in fantasy novels, focusing on recent (ish) Australian fantasy novels. This will include how food can help build narrative and reinforce character, how writers world build using food, plus the role genre and the writer’s personal background play in how food and foodways are incorporated. Stew will not be forgotten.

Join Zoom Meeting 6:30pm Wednesday, October 26th Adelaide
7pm Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney
9am London /11am Helsinki

In Person: Kappys, 22 Compton St, open from 6:15 for a 6:30 start

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass