Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob
The Chinaman nodded, satisfied, and sat back. The moon was full up by now, three-quarters full, and bright enough to show the little Mandarin’s face as he talked.
“Yes,” he said, through Jamie, “I thought much of women; their grace and beauty, blooming like lotus flowers, floating like milkweed on the wind. And the myriad sounds of them, sometimes like the chatter of ricebirds, or the song of nightingales; sometimes the cawing of crows,” he added with a smile that creased his eyes to slits and brought his hearers to laughter, “but even then I loved them.
“I wrote all my poems to Woman — sometimes they were addressed to one lady or another, but most often to Woman alone. To the taste of breasts like apricots, the warm scent of a woman’s navel when she wakens in the winter, the warmth or a mound that fills your hand like a peach, split with ripeness.”
Fergus, scandalized, put his hands over Marsali’s ears, but the rest of his hearers were most receptive.
“No wonder the wee fellow was an esteemed poet,” Raeburn said with approval. “It’s verra heathen, but I like it!”
“Worth a red knob on your hat, anyday,” Maitland agreed.
“Almost worth learning a bit of Chinee for,” the master’s mate chimed in, eyeing Mr. Willoughby with fresh interest. “Does he have a lot of those poems?”
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 46)
“Mr. Willoughby? Is that safe? I mean — ” I stole a look at the little Chinese, sitting patiently cross-legged on a stool, gleaming in clean blue silk, and lowered by voice. “I mean, they’ll have wine, won’t they?”
Jamie nodded. “And whisky, and cambric, and claret cup, and port, and champagne punch – and a wee cask of the finest French brandy — contributed by the courtesy of Monsieur Etienne Marcel de Provac Alexandre.” He put a hand on his chest and bowed again, in an exaggerated pantomime that made me laugh. “Nay worry,” he said, straightening up. “He’ll behave, or I’ll have his coral globe back – will I no, ye wee heathen?” he added with a grin to Mr. Willoughby.
The Chinese scholar nodded with considerable dignity. The embroidered black silk of his round cap was decorated with a small carved knob of red coral — the badge of his calling, restored to him by the chance encounter with a coral trader on the docks at Montego, and Jamie’s good nature.
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 58)
Mr. Willoughby. Yi Tien Cho.
Mandarin. Poet. Scholar. Artist. Complete. Runaway. Exile.
Drunk. Foot Fetishist. Healer. Friend. Traitor. Saviour.
A complicated and, when we last left him, very desperate man who I have reduced down to nothing more than his little red globe.
But the way I look at it, if he’s going to call out my peach, then I’m gonna make a cheese ball out of his coral knob.
These little cheese balls make a fantastic appetizer for your next party or potluck. See? You can work Outlander into your everyday life! And if you come up with another name for these…something innocuous like “My Family’s Favourite Cheese Ball,” then your friends needn’t know that they’re actually
enabling sharing your obsession passion.
I added a roasted red pepper to MY favourite cheese ball to give it a bit of a coral tinge, then rolled them in smoked paprika, black sesame seeds and a mixture of cilantro and ground pistachios.
What would you roll yours in?
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
A perennial party favourite — the cheese ball! You’ll find smoked paprika in specialty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Markets.
Makes about 20 small balls.
- Roasted Red Pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped – 1 medium
- Yogurt or Sour Cream- 2 Tble
- Cream Cheese – 8 oz pkg.
- Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded – 1½ C (4 oz)
- Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded – ⅓ Cup (1 oz)
- Onion, grated – 3 Tble
- Garlic, grated – 1 clove
- Dry Mustard – ½ tsp
- Black Pepper – ¼ tsp
- Cayenne Pepper – pinch
- Smoked Paprika – 2 Tble
- Black Sesame or Poppy Seeds – 3 Tble
- Cilantro, finely chopped – 2 Tble AND Pistachios, ground – 2 Tble
Puree the roasted red pepper and yogurt/sour cream with a handheld or countertop blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl with all of the remaining ingredients and beat with a hand mixer on low speed until well combined.
Use a spoon or scraper to shape into a rough ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up.
Spread each of the garnishes on separate plates.
Roll small spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into balls between your palms. Once the balls are complete, roll them in the garnishes to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the finished cheese balls for at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
Serve with crackers.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- Bottled roasted red peppers are a good substitute. Rinse the peppers well in cold water to remove the brine and dry well before using.
- You can also make one large cheese ball and roll it in your choice of garnish.