Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook Review

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Titan Books has published a new book, and this time it is something we have never seen before; a cook book. Themed after the hit NBC TV show Hannibal; the book Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook is something we had the pleasure to review this past week.

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To review this cookbook, we decided to spotlight a recipe from each section, showing off what the cookbook has the potential to serve for any fan of Hannibal.

Hannibal Cooks: Tools and Rules

Before the recipes start happening, the book describes what types of tools you’ll need throughout the book to make your Hannibal cookbook dreams come true. They include: [su_spoiler title=”Tools and Rules” style=”fancy”]

  • Citrus reamer
  • Saucepan
  • Fish poacher
  • Pastry cutter
  • Garlic press
  • Silicone basting brush
  • Silicone spatula
  • Turning spatula
  • Mandoline
  • Food processor
  • Madeline pan
  • Bain-marie
  • Electric beater
  • Slotted spoon
  • Santoku knife
  • Casserole dish
  • French whip
  • Paring knife
  • Mixing spoon
  • Tongs
  • Chef’s knife
  • Saute pan
  • Zesting plane
  • Slicing knife

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Breakfast

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The very first food scene we ever shot with Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) with Hugh Dancy (Will), appropriately, was breakfast, After all, on memorable mornings, the best meal of the day is the first one – even if you’re a jaded cannibal killer. Especially if you are making a new friend, feeding an old enemy… or feeding an old enemy to a new friend.

For the breakfast section, we decided to spotlight a pretty basic breakfast meal from the book called Protein Scramble. While we have taken a picture from the book for viewers, we will also be quoting the ingredients and instructions below so you can try it out at home as well.

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Protein Scramble Recipe

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Protein Scramble

The secret to tender creamy eggs is to cook them slowly; high heat will make them rubbery. For juicy sausages, poach them before you brown them. This keeps them plump and boils away excess fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 honey garlic farm-style breakfast sausages
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • butter, oil for sauteing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to boil over high heat. Add sausages and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until cooked through, about 4-8 minutes depending on size. Remove and drain. Allow to cool and cut into 1/2 inch lengths. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a tsp of cooking oil and saute the sausages pieces, tossing them so they brown on all sides. When nicely browned, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat together eggs and cream with salt and pepper to taste, according to the saltiness of the sausages.
  3. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in the sate pan over medium heat and pour in the eggs. Reduce heat to medium-low. Shake pan gently back and forth to allow cooked eggs to gather up in clumps. Sprinkle in cooked sausage and, using a large fork, gently lift the cooked eggs up so the raw eggs can run under to the bottom of the pan. Work in light, fluffing movements over medium-low heat. When eggs are almost all cooked – you should still see the glossiness of some uncooked eggs – fluff them one more time and turn them out onto two plates. The eggs will continue to cook in their own heat so the rawness will disappear but they will still be moist. Serve with lightly toasted baguettes with peach-almond jam or nestled in halved croissants and garnished with fruit.

Yields 2 generous servings.

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Appetizers

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Broken heart or squab toes, anyone? Anyone? Even when you’re gripped with fear, Hannibal has a way of whetting your appetite. Whether he’s giving a grand dinner in Sorbet (season 1, episode 7), a cocktail party in Futamono (season 2, episode 6) or simply seducing someone special, he’s got a recipe for everyone and everyone in a recipe.

For an appetizer, you can never go wrong with a sauce. Even the most simplest of foods can be brought to an elegant feast when they’re dressed to the nines, and with this Sage Plum Berry Sauce, Hannibal has a way of doing so.

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Sage Plum Berry Sauce Recipe

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Sage Plum Berry Sauce

This is a fruity sauce that goes well with foie gras, but it is also excellent with poultry, pork, or ham. You can also drizzle it on toast slathered with triple creme cheese or you can feed it to vegetarian vampires, as I did for a scene in Hemlock Grove.

Produced by Gaumont at the same time as Hannibal, Hemlock Grove was shooting just down the street. It was a series about a young vampire price who would be seized by sudden urgings to consume raw bloody meat. So they called on me whenever their scripts called for blood-spurting hearts or kidneys or raw sausages that drooled with blood when the actor but into them. I would create hearts made out of jelly and hollow sausages made of beets and breadcrumbs and fill them with thinned Plum Berry Sauce for the goriest, goopiest, gobby-est, tastiest blood-spurt ever. Hoorifyingly delicious!

Ingredients:

  • one 10-oz can cranberry (whole berry) sauce
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 prune plums pitted and cut in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 red plums pitted and cut in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh sage

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cranberry sauce, vinegar, plum chunks and sage. Reduce heat to low and simmer until plums are softened but not mushy. Remove sage sprigs. Can be stored in refrigerator for a week or frozen for several months.

Yields 2 cups.

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Mains – Meat

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For a main dish to make primarily of meat, we chose to spotlight the Hong Kong Ribs. This dish has a type of Asian feel to it, using Chinese sauces, and of course baby back ribs.

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Hong Kong Ribs Recipe

[su_spoiler title=”Hong Kong Ribs Recipe” style=”fancy”]

Hong Kong Ribs

For Verger’s dinner, Cordell methodically bastes a roasted rack of ribs as he explains how he will cock the various parts of Dr. Lecter. To shoot the scene, I used baby back ribs because they can be twisted to resemble a human ribcage. This recipe uses three prepared Chinese sauces that are soled by the jar in Asian grocery stores but you can get them at most supermarkets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 strip pork baby back ribs, about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce*
  • 2 Tbsp hoi sin sauce**
  • 2 Tbsp chili bean sauce***
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 onion,quartered
  • 3 carrots, cut in 3 inch lengths
  • 2 potatoes, quartered

*Oyster sauce is a thick brown sauce flavored with oysters. Substitute 1 part soy sauce, and 1 part fish sauce or crushed anchovy, 1/2 part sugar.
**Hoy sin sauce is Chinese barbecue sauce. Substitute 1 part honey and 1 par miso paste.
***Chili bean sauce is a prepared mixture of hot chili peppers, oil and bean paste. Substitute 2 parts sriracha sauce and 1 part miso sauce.

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine hoi sin, chili bean sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, honey, and lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture and reserve, refrigerated. Cut rib strip in two or three pieces so it will fit in your roasting pan in one layer, and add it to the bowl, brushing mixture over all. Transfer ribs and marinade into an extra-large plastic zippered freezer bag, zip almost closed and press out as much air as possible. Zip completely closed and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2 days, turning bag occasionally to make sure the ribs are marinated on all sides.
  2. In the bottom of the roasting pan, spread onions, potatoes and carrots and pour in 1 cup of water. Remove ribs from plastic bag and place on top of vegetables in roasting pan. The ribs should sit above the water line. Cover snugly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hour in oven preheat to 300F. Add water if necessary to keep vegetables partially submerged. Remove ribs from roasting pan and set vegetables aside.
  3. Brush reserved marinade on ribs and brown on preheated barbecue grill or under broiler for 2 minutes on each side, just enough to brown the glaze. As an accomplishment, vegetables from the roasting pan can be drained and brushed with butter. Remove to platter and serve.

Yields 2 main course servings.

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Fish

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One of the coolest fish recipes by far in the Hannibal cookbook has to be the Deconstructed Sushi Bowl from the season 2 opening, and we just had to show you the recipe here and the back story. Included in this recipe is also the popular topping of Spicy Mayo that is also included in the Hannibal cookbook.

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Deconstructed Sushi Bowl

In the opening scenes of Season 2, Hannibal is preparing an elegant Japanese dinner for Jack. Kaiseki is the most elevated of Japanese cuisine. Our showrunner, Bryan Fuller, gave the names of its courses to the episodes of Season 3.

Kaiseki is an exquisitely complex dinner of many small courses made in studied harmony with the season. There are very strict traditions upheld in its presentation, so I called in Hashimoto, famed Kaiseki master, to attend the shoot to observe and advise me. Luckily for me, he was mortified by the lethal way I swung the knives around and completely took over the preparation of the food.

It was wonderful watching his knives fly masterfully and gracefully while I munched on Fritos from safety of the craft table.

Sashimi is an important component of Kaiseki and Hannibal presents his “flounder” on a deep-fried fishbone. Bryan wanted to be sure that a man’s flesh could be disguised as fish. I showed him some research that described how the chicken industry once used peroxide to lighten the unpopular dark meat to appear white. People-meat would never look like flounder but it could be bleached to look like tuna, which has a meaty texture.

Before every food scene, I clear the ingredients with the actors to check for preferences and dietary restrictions. Both Mads and Laurence immediately declared their love for Hamachi when I suggested yellowtail tuna. So I ordered 20 lb of it going with the premise that Hannibal never meant that the ‘flounder’ was a fish and he could easily have bleached the unfortunate fellow’s flesh to resemble a meaty fish like tuna.

Here is sashimi presented on a bowl of vegetable-studded rice – a sort of deconstructed sushi that is easy to make and fun to eat. If you don’t like raw fish, substitute poached shrimp, Japanese barbecued eel or fried tofu strips marinated in sweet soy.

Ingredients:
For rice:

  • 2 cups short grain Japanese rice (sushi rice)
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 4 tsp rice wine vinegar (mirin)
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For sushi:

  • 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded red bell pepper
  • 8 oz sushi-grade salmon or tuna sliced in pieces 1 x 2 x 1/2 inches
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi thinned with water to pouring consistency
  • 1 sheet or nori (sushi seaweed) scissored into small slivers
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 2 Tbsp Spicy Mayo

Directions:

  1. Cook rice with water in a rice cooker, following instructions, or on a stovetop; in a heavy pot on high, allow rice and water to boil until water level is just below surface of the rice. Stir well, reduce heat to very low, secure lid tightly on top and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is soft. Remove from heat.
  2. Prepare sushi rice seasoning by combining mirin, sugar, and salt in a small pan over low heat until sugar melts. Pour over cooked rice and toss to combine. Add carrots, peas, and peppers.

Spicy Mayo

An indispensible topping for spicy sushi and California rolls, this easy-to-make mayo is also great on French Fries and as a salad or sandwich dressing. You can make your own mayonnaise for this or use a store-bought mayo. Kewpie is Japanese mayonnaise and is extra sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp chilis sauce such as sriracha
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tsp lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix chili sauce, mayonnaise and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Vegetarian

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No matter how many times Hannibal and Will have dinner together, it ends with unresolved feelings. Here amid the platters of honeycombs and walnuts, pomegranates and figs, Will sits, catatonic. Hannibal, bruised, but unbended, doggedly brings out his skull saw and goes for his main course. Will’s brain has turned to food.
When we were shooting this, the saw blade fell off a few times – but Mads performed retakes with aplomb, never compromising the tension of the scene. Even with Laurence at the other end of the table, alternately screaming and laughing for his takes.
Here are a couple of vegetarian presentations to consider while Hannibal revs up the exquisite little oscillating saw that he keeps in a box beside the gravy ladle.

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Ratatouille and Honey Mustard Cream Recipes

To those vegetarians out there, the Hannibal cookbook can be just as useful to you as any other average-Joe. Two selected recipes to complement any meal have been chosen including Rataouille and a Honey Mustard Cream.

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Ratatouille

This easy vegetable stew is light but full of flavor and color and great served over Faux Foie Torchon. It is also very versatile: you can add olives, summer squash or green peppers. If you don’t have an Italian mix on your spice shelf, use equal parts dried rubbed oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 1 small eggplant, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch dice
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut in 1 inch chunks
  • 5 tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a casserole or heavy skillet with lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to turn translucent, add eggplant and saute, stirring constantly until they begin to brown. Add zucchini, garlic, bell peppers, and cook until zucchini begins to turn translucent. Add tomatoes and herbs and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes).

Yields 3 main servings.

Honey Mustard Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp honey mustard*
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

*substitute for honey mustard: 3 parts mustard, 1 part sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, beat whipping cream with electric beater or French whip until firm peaks form. Set aside.

  2. In a second bowl, mix mayonnaise, and mustard together until completely blended. Add whipped cream and with a large rubber spatula, fold together gently just until well-blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Soups, Salads and Side Dishes

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Within the Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook they also have a wonderful section for covering Soups, Salds and Side Dishes, where we wanted to spotlight the Chilled Tomato Plasma Consomme, Sorta Caesar Dressing, and Candied Ginger.

[su_spoiler title=”Chilled Tomato Plasma Consomme, Sorta Caesar Dressing, and Candied Ginger Recipes” style=”fancy”]

Chilled Tomato Plasma Consomme

Preparing dinner for his opera-going frenemies, Hannibal cheerfully centrifuges blood to capture the clear plasma that he will make into soup. “They will love the sweet flavour,” he tells Will who has dropped by to say he can’t drop by.

Just as sweet and just as clear, but not requiring people-blood, here is a wonderful tomato consomme as colourless and cold as Hannibal’s own plasma.

Ingredients:
For the clear plasma:

  • 6 medium-sized ripe field tomatoes
  • 1 rip of celery, chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 5-6 cleaves fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or sugar
  • salt, pepper to taste

For Garnish:

  • 2 cherry tomatoes, cut into flower or rose
  • 2 sprigs of fresh basil
  • balsamic vinegar and olive oil to drizzle

Directions:

  1. Remove and discard stems and sepals of field tomatoes and rough cut into large chunks. In a food processor, combine tomato chunks, celery, shallots and pulse off/on 5 or 6 times until chopped and frothy.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat tomato mixture over high heat until it comes to a boil. Add basil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Gently pour tomato mixture to large strainer fitted over a bowl. When the flow of liquid through the strainer slows, transfer the strainer and its contents to a clean bowl to continue dripping. Strain the liquid from the first bowl through another large strainer that is lined with a larger paper coffee filter or a square of paper towel. Allow both strainers to drip until no more liquid is exuded – about 15 minutes. If the liquid in either bowl has any red traces, strain through paper filter again. Discard tomato pulp and filters, Combine clear liquid and adjust seasonings. Transfer into a lidded container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Prepare soup bowls by dividing cherry tomato and basil sprigs equally between the bowls and then filling the tomato liquid. Garnish with a few drops each of vinegar and olive oil. Serve with anchovies and olives on toast.

Yields 2 servings.

Sorta Caesar Dressing

For those who are ambivalent about garlic breath and anchovies, this dressing replaces the hot tang of garlic with horseradish and the umami of anchovies with honey.

Ingredients:

  • 2Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp liquid honey
  • 1 tsp horseradish

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Drizzle a spoonful on each salad and serve the rest on the side for those who like more dressing.

Candied Ginger

Use in salads, or for cookies and muffins, or dip in chocolate to make fantastic candies. When you are making this candied ginger, save the cooking liquid to make ginger tea.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large pieces ginger root, about 1/2 pound
  • 1 cup sugar for syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar for coating

Directions:

  1. Peel and slice ginger into coins about 1/8 inch thick. Bring 2 cups water to boil in heavy-bottomed sauce pan over high heat. Add sliced ginger and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes until ginger has softened but is still a bit crispy. Pour off water, reserving it. Add sugar and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Return to heat stir together boil very gently. When foam builds up, lower heat. Continue simmering on low until liquid is syrupy and ginger has darkened and become translucent., about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. Using tongs, remove the ginger pieces from the syrup and place in a single layer on a wire cookie rack to drain. Allow to drip dry for 3-4 hours. Place sugar in a plastic food bag and add the ginger. Close top of the bag and shake until all ginger is coated. Remove ginger slices from bag, shaking off excess sugar. Allow to air-dry for 1-2 days then store in a dry, airtight container.

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Desserts and Drinks

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To cover our final real recipe section, we chose for our dessert spotlight, to show off the Summer Pudding, and for the drink, the Punch Romaine. Both are very intriguing recipes in the Hannibal cookbook.

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Summer Pudding

Hannibal served a Norton grape jelly mould to Dr. Chilton – made from the boiled bones and cartilage of some unfortunate soul but the recipe I’m giving you is for blood-red Summer Pudding. It is also a moulded fruit dessert but much more delicious and utterly fool proof – no people-bones required. This was the dessert I was planning for this scene until a last-minute script revision sent me scrambling on a 48-hr search scouring the globe for the Dreaded Norton Grape.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pt raspberries, washed
  • 1/2 pt blueberries, washed
  • 1 pt strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cointreau, optional
  • 9-12 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine berries and sugar and allow to heat slowly, just until sigar melts completely. Remove form heat. Stir in Cointreau.
  2. Line four 1-cup moulds or bowls with plastic wrap. Line the bottom and sides of the moulds with slices of bread, keeping 2-3 slices for the tops.
  3. Spoon an equal amount of berries into each mould. Pour berry liquid over, also divided equally. Cover berries with reserved bread slices and pull plastic wrap up and over the tops, sealing as well as possible. Place in refrigerator with a small wright, such as a can of soup, on each pudding and allow to macerate overnight.
  4. Unmould onto serving plates, remove plastic wrap and pour juice over spots of bread that have not been soaked through. Serve with whipped cream and decoated with sugared rose petals and buds.

Yields 4 desserts.

Punch Romaine

This is the cocktail served during the knock-out round for Sogliato where Hannibal proves to Bedelia that a couple can choose friends independently, but it’s better if you pick your enemy together. Orange peel garnish can be easily made by pulling strips of peel from the orange using a potato peeler, or use a canele cutter – a special tool that pulls think strips of peel.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2 oz white wine
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 4 oz Champagne or sparkling white wine
  • orange peel twists

Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 cup ice with egg white, rum, simple syrup, lemon, and orange juice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold. Mound crushed ice in two chilled coupe-style glasses and strain half of the contents of the shaker into each coupe. Top each with Champagne. Garnish with orange peels and serve.

Yields 2 drinks.

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The Food Stylists and How to Hannibalize Your Table

When it comes to truly embracing the Hannibal look, it’s not just about the recipes on hand. You have to also dress up your table and get the look. There’s a few tips in the book including using modeling clay that you can actually eat, along with a recipe for Candy Glass Shards with Arterial Spray.

[su_spoiler title=”Modeling Clay and Candy Glass Shard Recipe” style=”fancy”]

Modeling Clay (Edible)

The edible clay used on Hannibal called Baker’s Clay can be molded into different types of bones or other shapes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 parts flour
  • 1 parts salt
  • 1.5 parts water

Directions:

  1. Stir in water to the flour and salt combination and knead until smooth. Sculpt to desire shape and bake at 300F until completely dry.

Candy Glass Shards and Arterial Spray

Easy and gorgeous, these special decorative touches add a dramatic touch to your food presentation. Just be careful with the molten sugar – it is very, very hot. Wear rubber gloves if you have to handle it while it is liquid and sticky.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 5-6 drops red food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare a pan by greasing lightly with butter or use a silicone baking sheet.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Boil over medium-high heat until 295F (almost hard crack). Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and gently stir in food coloring if desired. Red for arterial spray, of course.

  3. Using a ladle with an insulated handle, pour syrup onto baking sheet in desired shape. Use rubber gloves or oven gloves for this operation. If syrup starts to harden while you are still working with it, return it to medium-low heat to liquefy. Once the poured pieces cool enough to handle, they can be pulled, twisted or draped over a rolling pin into the shape you want. If you want to extend working time, warm the poured pieces in an oven preheated to 250F. Allow to harden and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

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Final Thoughts

It has been a true pleasure being able to review my first cookbook, especially one inspired by the NBC series, Hannibal. It’s amazing how much thought has to go into preparing these scene inspired foods, and that they’re actually edible and not just fake for show. I’d recommend this book for not just fans of the show, but for anyone who would love to spice up their Halloween party, or likes to freak out their guests.

If you’re looking to purchase your own copy of Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook by Janice Poon you can find it on Titan Book’s website.

Good

  • Fantastic Creepy Recipes
  • Hannibal Theme is Thorough
  • Tidbits of the NBC Show are Told Throughout Book
  • A Recipe for Everyone and Anyone

Bad

  • Some Recipes Are 'Too Fancy' or 'Too Gory'
  • Recipes May Require Additional Work Compared to Simple Recipes
9

Amazing

Length of Book - 9
Quality of Recipes - 9
Difficulty of Recipes - 8
Connection to Hannibal Show - 10
An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.

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