“You know what they say about the holidays.”
“Oh? I’ve heard many expressions. Mostly those dealing with Christmas, mind.”
“Not that, angel. The Jewish holidays never come early nor late, only precisely when they need to.”
“Crowley, my dear boy, that’s Tolkien, not rabbinical wisdom.”
Crowley smirked. “So it is.”
“Wait. Crowley. Something is… off.”
“Off how? Lots of things are off. The lights, for one. Ugh. You should invest in some better curtains; you’re practically aglow and nothing’s on overhead. And pass me whatever that is. Smells like plum.”
Aziraphale huffed, but poured all the same. “Not that. Just… oh. Oh no.”
Crowley grinned teeth that were just a hair too pointed to be human, snatching up the offered alcohol while Aziraphale rummaged in cupboards for more bowls and a packet of yeast. His thick canvas apron with the leather tie-back and actual metal clasps was both utilitarian and fashionable, for about a century ago, much like the rest of his wardrobe.
“Food blogs were yours, weren’t they? Not ‘your side’ or any of that nonsense. Yours . And we are in one. I haven’t felt this antsy since accidentally being stuck in that Christian doomsday radio show this past summer. Nasty business, that.”
Crowley almost spat out the sake, recalling the experience of Aziraphale hunting for a vessel to use to stop the apocalypse. “Watching you attempt to use a computer to find recipes has been… shall I say… hilarious.”
“That’s because you have to wade through a mountain of text just to find the bloody- the- ugh!- the ingredient list! No. I won’t stand for it. Here’s the first New Year’s recipe.”
CHALLAH (via https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/6760/challah-i/ )
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
“It’s probably easier to see the blessed thing if you’re not craning your neck down,” Crowley sighed, quickly realizing that if Aziraphale was stuck in this special sort of Hell so was he. He flicked a finger, floating the recipe to eye level so Aziraphale could focus on measuring. It wasn’t like he planned to actually get his hands dirty. The only bread he liked was liquid. In a cup. Fermented.
Beer. He liked beer, though wine was usually the preferred method of inebriation.
“Ah, appreciated,” Aziraphale said offhanded. “Let’s begin.”
“I helped. I did my... ahem... I did my deed.”
“Salt, Crowley, or we aren’t getting out of this.”
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
“You know challah needs to be proofed twice. Lots of time to sit around doing nothing, isn’t it?” Crowley knew how to bake bread; he’d been around the block and then some, and, in some cases, invented said block entirely by accident.
“Crowley, occasionally I find your antics quite charming, in a way. This is most assuredly not one of those times.” Aziraphale sipped his drink and stared at his hands. They had ninety minutes of nothing if they were stuck in this damnable food blog until the story was over, and he didn’t have the patience to talk about childhood experiences involving said bread- he had none anyway- or about how they’d once baked it together on the shores of Devon or somesuch nonsense. Couldn’t the recipe writer put the blasted thing up first, in its completion, and then wax poetic about their grandmother slaving away at a stewpot afterwards?
Crowley, as usual, brought him out of his annoyed internal monologue. “Not if I offer a preen while we wait? A good book? Some cocoa?”
“You’re scheming , Crowley.”
“See? Wasn’t so hard. Me first.”
“What... I... well I never!” Aziraphale huffed, though it held no bite. “Very well, just away from the food. I don’t want feathers in a good challah loaf.” He slung his apron back on its hook and straightened himself out, pulling a chair out in the middle of the room for Crowley to sit.
“You know, Crowley, you don’t have to dance around. You can ask. Rosh Hashanah is about new beginnings after all.” Aziraphale bit his tongue, attempting to suppress a long winded monologue he knew was coming on. And this time, it was most assuredly the curse’s fault, and not his normal dithering.
“Yes, well, molting sucks either way.” Crowley looked to the shelf and grabbed the thinnest, most art heavy book he could find, pocketing his glasses and leaning into the chair back. “‘Ziraphale? You have comics now? Something Adam left?”
“Most of them yes, but not that one.”
“Didn’t know you kept trash books.”
“Oh no, that was a gift from a friend in California. I was actually considering -shudder- selling it until I discovered how rare it was.”
“This little thing?”
“That artist now directs at Pixar.”
It wasn’t long before Crowley was drooling against the chair back. Aziraphale was almost a bit jealous how easily the deomon could just slip into slumber, letting the annoyances slip by while he rested. That was, until a feather came out loose at the bottom of the row of flight feathers.
“Crowley! Crowley, wake up!”
Aziraphale held out a feather that was Crowley’s usual beetle-shell iridescent black at the point, the part visible... but white at its base and shaft. “New beginnings.”
Crowley just sat in shock for a moment, until the timer dinged to continue their work, snapping him out of it to cover his eyes and pull his wings in with a snapping whoosh of air.
“Now we braid,” Aziraphale reminded him.
“Back on task? You’re insufferable, angel.”
Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
“Crowley, don’t just stand there gawking; assist me.”
“Assist,” Aziraphale repeated sternly. “At the very least, it will prove I can make a better one than you ever could.”
That got the desired effect. Crowley never liked being one-upped, especially in the style department. It didn’t hurt that the demon could imagine the dough in his fists as Ligur’s maggoty face.
“If you pinch and pull, you can make three even dough balls for braiding.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
Crowley looked down, realizing the adjective only applied in the singular.
“Doesn’t it need another proof?” he deflected.
“Ah, yes, thank you, my boy.”
“You show off worse than a demon,” Crowley whined, as Aziraphale sat in a prim side saddle, pulling a book out from behind him. “And read something fun for once.”
“You’re down here a few millennia and some of the traditions start getting mixed up,” Aziraphale insisted.
“And you could do with taking better care of these. You aren’t even in molt, angel.”
“Yes, yes, quite,” Aziraphale tutted, as he went back to his book, allowing himself to be doted on for a short while during the next rise. Hopefully, they’d soon be at the end of the damnable recipe and the spell would be broken. At least the kitchenette began smelling like bread and honey, and he’d have the most luxurious French toast for a week.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.
“Just bread then?” Crowley asked. He was actually getting a little anxious and wanted back out in his flat to go lounge and yell at his plants in peace. But the unsettling feeling remained.
“Heavens no, French toast. And no, Crowley you are not going to lecture me on the history of it. I know it’s not from France and that it’s essentially called “reclaimed bread” there. No. We are staying on track with these recipes.”
Aziraphale clasped his hands over his mouth. Really? More? How much food would they have to make to finish the blog entry and be freed of this comforting smelling prison?
FRENCH TOAST WITH APPLE COMPOTE (this one’s one of mine)
- 1 finished challah, store bought or homemade, left to stale overnight (or via one time-manipulating demon)
- 1/2 cup coffee creamer or heavy cream
- 1-2 cups milk
- 2-3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 apples (I prefer Fuji- any baking apple will do), peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 cup orange juice
- Splash of lemon juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Pinch cinnamon
- Pinch salt
Whisk together coffee creamer, eggs, and vanilla, and soak each side of the challah until heavy. Do not over soak, or the bread will become too soggy.
Cook on medium on a large skillet (or griddle), making sure bread doesn’t touch, until custard sets, flipping halfway through.
While French toast cooks, combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. A splash of Applejack would not go remiss, though it’s not required.
Serve with maple syrup, whipped cream, or, best yet, clotted cream. A nice man with a wonderful no-nonsense cooking show has instructions for that here.
“Apples too? You trying to tempt me? You can’t out-tempt me.”
“They’re symbols of the new year.”
“So are fish heads. You’re not going to fling an entire fish head in my face are you?”
“Thought you would be at home with something slimy from the depths.”
“Not to worry, I’m just going to make some of Mom’s dishes.”
“You don’t mean…” Crowley’s jaw was now on the floor, as Aziraphale began working on autopilot. This was now getting entirely out of hand.
NOODLE KUGEL (Mother’s)
- 1/2 pound wide kosher-for-Passover egg noodles
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Boil the noodles in salted water for about 4 minutes. Strain noodles from water. In a large mixing bowl, combine noodles with remaining ingredients and pour into a greased, approximately 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Bake until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
“Aziraphale... you can really stop now. I hope.”
The angel merely puttered around the kitchen, grabbing more ingredients. Crowley sighed. At this rate, they’d have enough food for an actual, proper Rosh Hashanah dinner, or, slightly more accurately, a brunch. Was that what needed to be done? An actual meal? Crowley frowned. It was the first New Year’s post Armageddon’t... so.
A reset clock. Crowley angled up to look heavens-ward, wondering if this was Her fault, refilled his sake glass, and inhaled another celestial scent.
Maybe he’d actually eat something today.
SQUASH SOUFFLÉ (also Hers)
- 2 packages frozen butternut squash (thawed, and mashed)
- 1 small (16 ounce) light cream
- 1 1⁄2 sticks butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 6 eggs
- Pinch of cinnamon
Beat all ingredients together and pour in greased tin (lasagna size). Sprinkle top with cinnamon and bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until set.
“Oh that’s downright unfair. You snuck two in right together. It’s supposed to be a pain in the backside to find recipes in a recipe blog!”
“I get to be a pain in your backside about it though.”
“Insufferable, you are.”
“Want to see me more insufferable?”
“Yes. Very much so.”
“Well, while this next recipe is extremely easy, I’ve replaced an ingredient just for you.”
DEVIL’S FOOD TRIFLE (trifle recipe via here- https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/angel-food-cake-and-berry-trifle-recipe-2102426, cake component via… other means, if you don’t buy a boxed mix or pre-prepared cake like mine)
5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, plus a few whole, for garnish
One 6-ounce container blueberries
One 6-ounce container raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice 1/2 orange
4 cups low-fat 2-percent Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
One 17-ounce store-bought angel food cake one homemade devil’s food cake, whose recipie I will refrain from sharing
Add the berries to a bowl along with the sugar and orange juice. Let sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, until juicy.
Meanwhile, add the yogurt and honey to a bowl. Stir with a spoon to mix in the honey and smooth out so the mixture will be more spreadable.
Cut the cake into large chunks using a serrated knife, and add about one-third of the cake to the bottom of a medium trifle dish.
Add a layer of the syrupy berries and then a layer of yogurt, reserving a few spoonfuls of yogurt for the end. Repeat the layers until you have no more remaining ingredients. Finish the top with the few spoonfuls of yogurt in the center and the fresh, whole strawberries.
Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
“Healthy, too. Mostly . It’s fruit and yogurt!”
“Bless it, ‘Ziraphale, on what planet is chocolate cake healthy?”
“A nice Mennonite family gave me the recipe for that part. Figured I’d bring a bit of you to the table. And no, I’m not sharing that, its apparently a family secret.”
“If you wanted to bring me to the table you’d bring booze. Fine. Whatever. I’ve got the next- and hopefully final- one.”
TAMAGOYAKI… fried in bacon fat (one of MINE, in more than one sense of the word, and I have the common decency to use Metric like any modern person should)
45 mL dashi (or water with dashi powder added)
30 mL mirin
15 mL caster sugar
6 large eggs
one package of thick cut rashers, bacon
Crowley grinned. “This meal was getting disturbingly close to actually being kosher.”
“Crowley. Rome . About two millennia ago.”
“What of it, angel?”
“ Oysters .”
“I figured it was a when in Rome situation, and quite literally in that case.”
“Akagai is my favorite sushi as well. I don’t exactly keep with the food restrictions. And I see you mixing fabrics.”
“ Demon .”
“Yes, well, how do you think I fry my latkes? Canola oil?”
“You little blasphemer. Well, at least I picked up proper thick cut rashers.”
“And they smell heavenly.”
Beat eggs, and add to mixture of all other ingredients (sans bacon)
Cook bacon stovetop, reserve fat for eggs
Pour 1/4th egg mixture in pan, frying quickly in fat, and rolling to one edge of pan when cooked. Continue to do this- rolling and pushing- until all egg is used, leaving you with one large omelette rolled up many times.
Turn out onto a sushi mat or paper towels and press, removing excess liquid and firming the shape. Cut log into slices after a few minutes of being pressed down.
“I didn’t even realize you knew any recipes of your own, Crowley,” Aziraphale admitted, some of his own fervor died down as the two considered the spread of food against the counter and in the refrigerator. “Let alone sushi items.”
Crowley didn’t want to admit he remembered Aziraphale always finished a sushi dinner with tamagoyaki, poking around on his own until he could make a facsimile of it himself.
“A third platter- and matzah?”
“For Elijah, silly.”
“‘Ziraphale, that’s Passover.”
“Oh I know, but it’s the principle of the thing. Someone always ends up showing up, any- oh, the doorbell!”
“I am not having a third wheel at my brunch… oh, hello Book-girl. I guess I’ll live. Your name for the rest of the day is Elijah; don’t ask.”
“Can I ask about the orange then?”
“Ooooh, yesssss, another sidetrack!”
“No, no, no, no more sidetracks. I’ll merely attach the link here (on page 41). We cannot escape this infernal recipe blog until we’ve finished the meal.”
“To a good New Year?”
“May it be better than the last.”
“Sure as Hell hope so, Angel. Only so many times I can avert the apocalypse.”
Aziraphale, photo editing, writing, sewing, props: self (divisionten)
Crowley, makeup: Jordi Love (𝓢carlet 𝓢olstice)
Photographer: Melissa Maldonado: (That Photography Chick) note: contains some NSFW work
real talk: I’m Jewish, have loved good Omens for years [cosplayed Aziraphale based on book descriptions a decade ago to Otakon], love building things, and love cooking.
So when we decided to shoot these (mainly because I built actual moving wings- video below- I decided to go a bit nuts with it. Why not combine all this stuff, including family recipes, or in the case of challah, not my family’s but one we’ve been using for years- and do something extrodinarily silly yet still really close to home?
Thus, this monstrosity of a fake food blog. The food and recipes are all the real deal though, and I hope you can bring a few into your own kitchen for the holidays or just because.
Nothing is quite like living in a house that smells of love and fresh baked bread.