Imagine living in a world that made you hate potatoes?
Samwise Gamgee would be horrified!
But, alas, this is the world Gabriel de Leon lives in, the protagonist of Jay Kristoff’s latest book, Empire of the Vampire.
I’m not saying this is what makes him angry and broody, but I’m sure it doesn’t help!
Okay, okay, my bad joking aside, as of writing this post, I have currently read one hundred and fifty-nine books this year and Empire of the Vampire is hands down the best book I’ve read this year and it is most definitely the best vampire novel I have ever read. And vampires are my jam!
I was a massive Anne Rice fan when I was a teenager, read most of the Vampire Chronicles, and Interview with the Vampire was my absolute favourite vampire film for years. I was totally obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still watch it annually, not gonna lie, (Spike all the way, sorry Angel) and have watched all the Underworld and Blade movies. And I can honestly say, this book, this vampire lore, is my favourite.
Truly masterful storytelling!
Empire of the Vampire had your classic vampire lore mixed with some truly inspired twists. Interview with the Vampire meets The Witcher with a hint of Dracula, and it made this book an incredible joy to read.
Joy and being an emotional sobbing wreck are the same thing, right?
My only gripe?
Gabriel’s hatred of potatoes!
Like, Gabe, my man, I just can’t with this! I love you, you’re a complete badass, the last Silversaint and all that, but I must respectfully disagree with you about the spud.
Ok, fine I get that there is this little issue with the sun dying and all that, and it makes the growing of things a tad on the complicated side. So I guess I can understand getting sick and tired of the same foods, but ugh, I love potatoes! They are such a versatile vegetable! So every time Gabriel was venting his loathing for the poor old spud all I wanted was for him to have a good-tasting potato soup.
I will give it to him on the mushrooms and cabbage though. Not a massive fan myself. Mushrooms feel weird in my mouth. I dunno what else to say. While I am not averse to the actual flavour of the mushroom, it feels spongy and weird and I do not care for it at all.
But anyway, aside from my own distaste for the mushroom, there is the potato.
So, no sun means not a hell of a lot of greenery.
But I figured that there is still some semblance of farming going on. I mean there are horses, so it stands to reason that there are other livestock around. Cows, sheep, pigs? Not so much.
There’s totally rabbit and chicken!
I can totally work with chicken and potatoes!
So, Gabe hates the good old spud huh?
How about this one?
I did a little bit of the Googling. Some of these ingredients grow in partial shade, so I figured for the purpose of this here recipe blog, I could get away with it.
I mean, I don’t live in a world where the sun has died, so…
Chicken, Paprika and Potato Soup
Six medium-sized potatoes, diced
3 tsp garlic powder
(I used powder, but you can use minced or fresh. Just be aware quantity will vary depending on which you use)
(Grows in partial shade so I’m taking some creative license on this one!)
(Again, using that creative license. Paprika comes from capsicum and peppers, which generally need sun, but when grown in shade it results in smaller plants and poor yields. But, for the purpose of this, let’s go with it.)
Honestly, when I make soup I literally never use a recipe. Unless it’s for work (yes, I’m a chef in real life, surprise!) then yeah, okay, I’ll use a recipe. But at home, I never do. So anyway, here goes.
- Put the chicken, still whole, into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for roughly 1 – 1 ½ hours.
- Skim the top and remove chicken, set aside to cool. Keep the broth.
- Peel and dice the potatoes and add them to the chicken broth. Simmer until potatoes are cooked.
- Blend the cooked potatoes either using a stick blender or food processor. Then add the garlic and paprika. Check flavouring. By all means, add more garlic or paprika as desired.
- Back to the now cooled chicken. Remove the skin (we don’t want to use that) and shred the meat. Add to the potato soup.
- Season well with salt and pepper and again check flavour. Honestly, this is a guide, so if you want to add more pepper, garlic, or salt, by all means do so.
- Finely chop parsley and once you are satisfied with the flavours, sprinkle parsley over the top.
- Then it’s time to eat!
by Jay Kristoff
From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.
It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise.
For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.
Gabriel de León, half man, half monster and last remaining silversaint – a sworn brother of the holy Silver Order dedicated to defending the realm from the creatures of the night – is all that stands between the world and its end.
Now imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:
The Holy Grail.
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