Friday, April 29, 2011

May 2011: The Forgotten Garden


1. On the night of Nell's twenty-first birthday, her father Hugh tells her a secret that shatters her sense of self. How important is a strong sense of identity to a person's life? Was Hugh right to tell her about her past? How might Nell's life have turned out differently had she not discovered the truth?

2. Did Hugh and Lil make the right decision when they kept Nell?

3. How might Nell's choice of occupation have been related to her fractured identity?

4. Is it possible to escape the past, or does one's history always find a way to revisit the present?

5. Eliza, Nell and Cassandra all lose their birth mothers when they are still children. How are their lives affected differently by this loss? How might their lives have evolved had they not had this experience?

6. Nell believes that she comes from a tradition of "bad mothers." Does this belief become a self-fulfilling prophecy? How does Nell's relationship with her granddaughter, Cassandra, allow her to revisit this perception of herself as a "bad mother"?

7. Is The Forgotten Garden a love story? If so, in what way/s?

8. Tragedy has been described as "the conflict between desire and possibility." Following this definition, is The Forgotten Garden a tragedy? If so, in what way/s?

9. In what ways do Eliza's fairy tales underline and develop other themes within the novel?

10. In what ways do the settings in The Forgotten Garden represent or reflect the character's experiences?


Chilled Vegetable Soup
Beef Pasties
Cottage Pie Tart
Scones with Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam
Chocolate Bird’s Nests with a Golden Egg
Golden Apple Sangria

Chilled Vegetable Soup. This soup is made with Worcestershire sauce, just like the morgy broth (page 361) in The Forgotten Garden.

1 can tomato juice (46 ounce)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, like Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tomatoes, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Combine the tomato juice, vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, hot sauce and salt and pepper in a large container that you can seal, like Tupperware, and stir well.
Add the chopped vegetables and mix well.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. It is even better if you chill it overnight.
Serve with croutons.

Beef Pasties (page 211)

1 package frozen pastry dough, thawed
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 turnip, chopped
1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Thaw pastry dough according to directions.
Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet, breaking up all the big chunks. Add the onion and cook until beef is browned and onion is translucent. Add the parsley, salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes and turnip into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
Roll out the pastry dough and cut into circles with a 3 1/2 inch or larger round cookie cutter. Place the filling on one side of the dough. Fold over and moisten the joined ends with water and crimp with a fork to seal. Brush with the egg. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Cottage Pie Tart (page 17)

2 packages refrigerated pie crusts (14.1 ounce)
Paprika for garnish
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 onion diced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup peas
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced in equal sizes
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Meat Filling: Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet, breaking up all the big chunks. Add the onion and cook until beef is browned and onion is translucent.
Stir in the flour. Add broth, peas, ketchup, Worcestershire, thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer at low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Mashed Potatoes: Place the diced potatoes in a large pan with salt. Fill with water until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and whip with a hand mixer.
Roll out the pie pastry and cut with a round cookie cutter. Press into the muffin pan. Place a small amount of meat filling in the pie crusts. Top with the mashed potatoes and garnish with paprika.
Bake at 400 degrees until pie crusts are golden, about 10 minutes.

Scones with clotted cream and Strawberry Jam (page 418).

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons of frozen butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives until you get coarse crumbs.
Whisk the eggs, vanilla, heavy cream, sour cream and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture until just combined.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface until 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into circles using a round cookie cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Lightly sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with strawberry jam and real clotted (Devonshire) cream.

Chocolate Bird’s Nests with a Golden Egg (page 471)

12 ounce bag of crispy chow mien noodles
Big Bag (19.75 ounce) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures
1 bag of eggs (chocolate eggs or oval shaped hard candy)

Melt the Reese’s Miniatures in the microwave. Cook on high for one minute, then stir thoroughly. Repeat process until Reese’s Miniatures are completely melted, mixture should be smooth and creamy. Do not overcook.
Mix in the crispy chow mien noodles.
Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper. Spoon heaping tablespoons of mixture onto wax paper and form into a bird nest. Place “golden egg” into nests and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Golden Apple Sangria

1 bottle Prosecco (pg 171)
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup sugar
2 golden apples
Other assorted fruit
1 1/2 cups club soda
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Apple cider ice cubes

Pour apple cider into ice cube trays or silicone baking pans to get a variety of shapes.
In a large glass pitcher, combine the Prosecco, brandy and sugar. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
Add fruit, club soda and cinnamon sticks and stir.
Chill until ready to serve. This tastes better if made the night before.
Add the ice cubes to the pitcher and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think!