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Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land


by doglover3662

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Chapter 6: The Plains

      After visiting the land of the faeries, the logical next stop has to be the lands of kings, knights, and castles. This week, Lilian and Werther will be visiting the storybook lands of Meridell, Darigan Citadel, and Brightvale.

     The medieval kingdom of Meridell is their first stop. The notable attractions of Meridell are Meridell Castle, a glistening white castle that is also the home of Meridell’s ruler, King Skarl I; Illusen's Glade; and Meri Acres Farm, which provides Neopia with half its food. There are plenty of attractions in Meridell to keep you occupied, just keep watch for rounds of cheese rolling down the hills at very high velocities.

     Lilian and Werther land the mechanical hot air balloon in a grassy area within Meri Acres Farm.

     As Lilian walks past the hundreds of berry bushes of many different types of berries in the Pick Your Own fields she gets a spark of inspiration for a recipe of her own.

     Lilian: These berries look so delicious. You think anyone will notice if I eat a few?

     Lilian starts picking off berries from various bushes and eating them, trying to decide which ones she likes best.

     Werther: I hope Gilbert, the Gelert who owns Pick Your Own, doesn’t see you picking his crops. I don’t think he’d be happy you started eating them before paying.

     Lilian: Don’t worry Werther; I’ll pay him for every berry I pick.

     After conferring with Gilbert, Lilian comes back.

     Lilian: He is letting me do some research. I’ll see what berry varieties I can find here, and investigate the local cheeses, to find the best flavor matches.

     Meridell: Cheese and Fruit Pairings

     

     Lilian: What could possibly be more classic and excellent than a platter of gra pes and cheese? A platter of Meridell fruit, including gra pes and berries paired with Meridell cheese. I’ve selected the five most excellent of both, to make a platter that’s truly a 10/10 success, and a delight for any tastebuds that should try it thanks to our Neopian Times publication!

      First, if you truly love a good surprise, and are gentle handling these ones, the spotted cheese and variberry will give you a delightful unique flavor combination every time.

      For a more classic pairing, there’s the soft white cheese and autumnberries, which are nuttier than normal berries. Sweet, gentle, and you can almost taste a soft breeze in your face.

      If you seek an out-of-this-world fruit and cheese pairing, I present the space cheese and brogle berry. While Queen Fyora might have to help you open the cheese (certainly don't ask Dr. Sloth), this is indeed the best tasting! It is also rumored to be easier to open when served at a party with weewoos. Who knew? The fun part comes with the brogle berries, though – these have a tendency to splash anyone present with juice! It’s no wonder their extract is used to make gormbals.

      The quintessential Meridell pairing? Search no further than the meriberry (I told you there’d be gra pes!) and Potato Cheese. You wont even have to melt the cheese on top – it’s already mixed in for you, and it is cooked potato, too. The meriberry, while extraordinarily difficult to find in the wild, has been served to King Skarl with much success, according to the report of those who later fled his castle after a bad round of double or nothing. While the meriberry is the best for this particular cheese, and is favored by Illusen, I would recommend serving the Skarl fruit to King Skarl himself instead. Bring some in with you the next time you go to entertain him!

      Called upon to bring a treat to a glitzy party? The shiny golden cheese will pair nicely with the benyeroberry, which leaves sparkling glitter all over the place! Don’t worry, its juice will also make the cheese a lot more edible, too.

      Bring along a pitcher of braku berry juice, and serve all the above on a round of heavy bark cheese, and it will be a fantastic celebration for all!

     Werther: That sounds positively scrumptious! I think that’ll be a big hit, I can see it being served at all the fancy parties in Neopia.

     After getting through the Pick Your Own Fields they trek through the acres of potato fields. Meridell is known for growing the best potatoes in all of Neopia.

     They come across Alton Moughbry, the host of Potato Counter, counting his harvest of potatoes.

     Meri Acres Farm: Deluxe Jacket Potato

     

     Lilian and Werther approach him after he finishes counting his latest batch.

     Lilian: Hello Mr. Alton Moughbry, it is so nice to meet you, would you mind if we asked you a few questions?

     Werther: Hi, I’m Werther, and this is Lilian. We’re on a quest to find the best recipes in Neopia.

     Alton: Hello to you both, now that I’ve finished counting my potatoes, I can answer a few questions. What would you like to know?

     Lilian: It is well known that Meridell grows the best potatoes. Could you please share with us how you like to prepare them?

     Alton: It is true that Meridell grows the best potatoes! As for your question, that is tricky. I like potatoes all ways. I guess if I’d have to choose, I’d say I like Deluxe Jacket Potato the best.

     Lilian: Could you please walk me through how you make your Deluxe Jacket Potato? I’d love to share it with everyone. A lot of people overlook potatoes, but I love them, and maybe this recipe will help convince others to eat them more frequently.

     Alton: It’s a simple recipe, but that makes it better in my opinion. Less prep time, more time to work. I prefer to cook my food over a fire, rather than some of the newfangled contraptions out there. You can use my fire pit out back. Here is what you’ll need to prepare a true Deluxe Jacket Potato, the Meridellian way:

      Baked Beans, Plain Sweet Potato, Pat of Butter, Plate of Bacon, Kau Kau Farm Cheddar Cheese Brick, Salty Gumball

      First, wash your Plain Sweet Potato and scrub it down good to remove any dirt. Why a sweet potato? It’s real sweet, and it’s my preference, anyway. Then, using a fork or knife, poke some holes throughout the potato. Dry the potato up with your shirt, or whatever cloth you have on you that’s clean. Wrap it up in tin foil and place the potato on a wire rack above the flames, for about 30-40 minutes, or until it gets soft. You can also cover the outside of the potato with a Stick of Butter and a rubdown from your Salty Gumball before wrapping it up in the tin foil, for it to taste even better. While the potato is cooking, warm up your Baked Beans in a pan over the other part of the fire, if there’s room. Remember to stir them every few minutes. Transfer to a plate. Then, add your Plate of Bacon to that pan, and wash that plate. Cook the Bacon until it is fully cooked through on both sides, flipping them with tongs so both sides are even. Once they’re adequately fried, take them out with tongs and rest them on a clean cloth so that the bacon slices stay nice and crisp. Once the potato is soft enough (a poke with your tongs should be good enough, but your knife cut once it’s off the fire will also let you know), take it off the fire very carefully, unwrap the tin foil, and make a cut in the center of the potato, about half the length. Don’t cut it fully in half, as this Deluxe Jacket Potato is more like a bowl in shape. While it’s still very warm, salt and butter the inside of the potato with your Pat of Butter and remaining Salty Gumball. Pitch away the gum part, since the salt coating is all you needed. Once that is done, top the potato with your beans, bacon, and a heaping pile of cheddar cheese!

     Lilian: Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us; it’s a mouth-water addition to my article.

     Alton: You’re welcome, friend. It was nice to talk about something other than counting potatoes. Good luck on your quest!

     Lilian and Werther continue on toward Meridell Castle.

      As they cross the drawbridge and enter the castle courtyard, a Draik Soldier asks them the reason for their visit. After explaining their mission to share the best recipes in Neopia, the Draik Soldier lets them through, but only after explaining the many exits, should they make King Skarl mad.

     Meridell Castle: Silver and Gold Chocolate Coins

     

     As Lilian and Werther walk in, they bumble in the Blumaroo Court Jester, looking dejected, and sporting an even stranger hat than normal.

     Blumaroo Court Jester: Why Hullo! What are you doing in here? The guards let you through?

     Werther: Yes. We’re seeking knowledge on the best recipe from the castle. Whatever are you wearing on your head? I thought your hat was supposed to be quite colorful.

     Jester: Don’t ask. Fine, Skarl didn’t like my joke. Sometimes he makes me wear this Tin Foil hat over my normal one. Say, that reminds me of something we make in our pastime here.

     Lilian: What would that be?

     Jester: Silver and Gold Chocolate Coins. Not with real silver and gold, mind you, just with the various tin foils we have here, and filled with chocolate. For this recipe you’ll need:

     Tin Foil Hat, Quadruple Fudge Cheese

     Chocolate coins never do taste that great, but the little ones enjoy them. First, you’ll need to win a coin from King Skarl in a game of Double or Nothing.

     Jester reaches into his pocket and hands them a coin, and wishes them the best of luck doubling it, since they’ll need two to properly make the chocolate coins. Lilian wants to go in, but Werther knows a thing or two about King Skarl, as well as physics. He gets him started about his favorite food, and peeks at how Skarl’s coin is landing. With an adept move he rotates the coin one more time as it falls towards the table. After refusing to play another game, Werther runs out of the room with his two coins back to Lilian and the Blumaroo Court Jester.

     Jester: Well done, my friend! For this recipe, grab some of the fudge off a Quadruple Fudge Cheese that recently came down the hill, and take my Tin Foil Hat with you. Once you have your fudge, head over to a fire pit where you can melt the chocolate down. Wrap the tin over the coin such that there’s a little bowl shape, but the texture of the coin can still be seen. Put in a bit of chocolate, fold the tin over, and place another coin on top. Make sure it’s facing the other direction, so your chocolate will have both a “heads” and a “tails” side.

     Lilian: Thank you so much for your instruction and assistance, Jester! The readers of the Neopian Times will greatly appreciate you sharing this with us!

     Jester: My pleasure. Be careful, now, getting out of here. I think I hear King Skarl stirring!

     Lilian and Werther quickly exit and fly up in their mechanical hot air balloon toward their next destination: the giant fortress that floats in the sky above Meridell. Darigan Citadel looms ahead. Unlike the sunny and fertile kingdom of Meridell, Darigan Citadel is always gloomy and barren. Because there’s almost no space to grow plants on the fortress, the Citadel imports nearly all of its food. Ruled by Lord Darigan, the entire castle and all its inhabitants float in the sky, isolated from everyone else.

     Werther: This place is already giving me the creeps, and I thought King Skarl was rough around the edges. Let’s land up here, before Lord Darigan and his guards sees us.

     Lilian: Aren’t these the dungeons?

     Werther: Yes, they are. But, we might find Master Vex, the former dungeon keeper before he got locked up, or Hadrak, the master battle planner. They might be able to help us out.

     Lilian: Sounds like a plan.

     Darigan Citadel: Decaf Darigan Coffee

     

     Lilian and Werther quietly exit their hot air balloon and start to walk around the dungeon. Out of one cell, they hear a “Pssst!”

     Hadrak: Is that you, Werther?

     Werther: Hadrak? It’s a shame to see you still in here. I was wondering if you could help us with something.

     Hadrak: Getting into Lord Darigan’s living quarters? I’m afraid I can’t help with that.

     Lilian: Hi, I’m Professor Hugo’s daughter. I’m trying to track down the best recipes from each Neopian land. I was wondering if you could help. Does anything even grow here?

     Hadrak: I know every corner of this place from my sleuthing and battle planning. There’s very little that isn’t a nasty surprise or poison. I only know of one thing growing here, and his minions prepare it for him: the Spiked Dariberry. He steals all his food from the farms down below.

     Werther: What does he make with it?

     Hadrak: Darigan Coffee. The version I’ll have you make is decaf. I would not recommend using his tea dishes or kettle, so you’d be wise to use an Altador cup mug. Here, use mine from a few years ago. This is should help. Your recipe calls for:

      Spiked Dariberry, Altador Cup Mug - Darigan Citadel

      Now, when it comes to making coffee from the berries themselves, this isn’t too difficult. While the caffeinated version is make with the spikes, the decaf version uses the inside part of the Spiked Dariberry. Once you’ve gathered a couple pounds of berries, leave them out under the sun on a mat to dry, raking them to turn them over and keep them from spoiling. Also, should it rain, make sure they are covered and stay dry as they air out. Continue to keep these drying for quite a while, until it’s similar to parchment. At this point, take it to a factory where the outer layers of the bean can be hulled (removed). You now have your “green” coffee beans! Now that the green coffee beans are back in your possession, you can take them to a roaster - they’ll be kept moving in a machine with temperature inside reaching 500+ degrees! When their internal temperature reaches around 400 degrees, the oil captured inside the beans will spread throughout, and they will turn brown. This is where it starts to become recognizable to what you might find in the store. Grind the coffee up, and enjoy a cup using your favorite coffee maker.

     Hadrak: Hurry, now, before the guards catch you. It’s a good thing your hot air balloon isn’t too colorful.

     Lilian and Werther depart after thanking Hadrak profusely for his knowledge and his service. After their brief visit to Darigan Citadel, they head off to the last stop of the week, Brightvale.

     Werther: It’s so convenient that Meridell, Darigan Citadel, and Brightvale are so close together. Instead of traveling a few days between lands we can get to our next destination in less than an hour.

     Lilian nods in agreement while landing the mechanical hot air balloon down into Brightvale.

     Brightvale is a medieval kingdom similar to Meridell, but slightly smaller. King Hagan, the brother of Meridell’s ruler King Skarl I rules the kingdom. King Hagan’s castle is the most notable attraction here, with it’s stunning architecture, stained glass windows, and numerous spires.

     Lilian: I think I see a fruit shop! Surely the owner will know a wonderful recipe, especially if we buy something from their shop.

     Werther: Wonderful idea, my friend.

     Brightvale: Mega Neopian Berry Smoothie

     

     Lilian and Werther head to the fruit shop, with high hopes for their quest.

     Brightvale Fruits Shopkeeper: Welcome in! All our fruits are 100% home grown and you cannot find them anywhere else! Why, you look like reporters. How can I help you?

     Lilian and Werther explain their business.

     Shopkeeper: Ah, I’ve heard of you, and I know just the recipe for you – a refreshing drink I make called the Mega Neopian Berry Smoothie! I export it all over Neopia, but it’s best fresh here. After a good night’s rest under the Sleeper constellation, this healthy smoothie will energize you for a beautiful day reading under the sun. In fact, presenting this delightful mix to King Hagan will likely increase his assessment of your joke-telling aptitude. … That is, as long as you didn’t skip class to drop by his palace. He won’t send you to the Bogshot, but you had still best leave the palace quickly. Back to the kitchen now, stop daydreaming about being considered wise by the king. All of these ingredients grow here, so go ahead and grab one of each of the following:

      Echtooh Melon, Dewy Apple, Cocorot, Jipple Pear, Passionberry, Tangella, Gurrandrillge, and Magenorb Juice

      I understand that magenorb juice is a liquid, not the fruit, but I’m sure you plucked the berry anyway, instead of running down to the store? Either way, just know that fresh squeezed is best! The grocery clerk might trick you – you do know that one berry grows far too sweet, one far too sour, and one just right – so the juice could be from all the bad ones. Hopefully that dilemma won’t be an issue today. Go ahead and put the juice into the blender first. Make sure its from all three berries, so that the flavor is evened out. We don’t need a disaster before we’ve even gotten started – but if it IS just sour ones, no worries, try again. Next, split the melon down the middle with a knife and scoop out the seeds. Kindly leave these and all your other fruit remains outside for the Wibreths: they’ll stop their complaining, love you for it, and fill your trees with beautiful melodies instead of their screeching. Oh, and don’t forget the weewoos! They adore these delicacies.

      Now, add the melon to the blender, and you’re set for your next ingredient! The apple will be bursting with juice, so it’s best to slice it into a bowl if you can. Cut the sides off, avoiding the middle pit area, and add the good part to the mix. Your cocorot will have the perfect flavour combination of coconut and carrot, all in one. Go ahead and chop this up into twig-sized slices, and add these into your blender as well. The passionberry will be rather gloopy, and you might mistake it for hair gel (and it can be used for that in a pinch), but the antioxidants are simply incredible. Slice one end off and spoon the insides in. Two more ingredients, and you’ll be there. Peel and slice open your tangella, remove the seeds as carefully as you can, and add that succulent fruit into the mix as well, and then do the same with the gurrandrillge. It will have a pit in the middle there, since it is half plum, half carrot. It does, however, give this smoothie its nice purple flavour, along with the magenorb juice and echtooh melon. Pulse your smoothie for about 1 minute if you want it at room temperature, or for two minutes if you want to add some ice for a more refreshing treat. Pour into your cup, and cheers!

     Werther: What a wonderful treat! Thank you for sharing!

     Lilian: That really hit the spot! Thank you!

      Werther: I think it’s time we start to increase the elevation of the places we visit. Rest up, because we’re heading to lands beneath the mountains next!

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land - Part 1
» Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land - Part 2
» Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land
» Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land
» Geographical Guide to the Best Recipes in Every Land



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