Saturday night hubby and I had our October date night. When I picked the movies last December, I hadn’t done so thinking that Fantastic Beasts will be out in just another couple of weeks. I was just thinking Halloween= Harry Potter. So my plan was to decorate the house to look like Hogwarts, serve British food mentioned in the books, and watch Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. (Being American, my books say sorcerer’s stone, but I actually knew what the philosopher’s stone was. And I am from Arkansas. So neyh neyh Scholastic.)
Hubby picked the meal and I went completely overboard on decor. I’ll write a little bit about my decorating process next week, and provide links to places that inspired me. This week, I’m going to show off the recipies that I made.
To start with, Harry Potter thinks about food a lot. Like a starving kid a lot. He talks about how his friend Ron eats all the time, but Ron is the 6th boy in a poor family, so he grabs the food while it’s still on the table. Harry notices food and mentions it in his internal monologue like a kid who is skinny because his abusive guardians withhold food as punishment.
So we know from the text what he is eating. Everything from the cake that Hagrid makes him for his eleventh birthday, to the Burger King he eats at when Hagrid takes him to London, to everything he eats on the trolley to everything he eats at Hogwarts. And as Fluer Delacour says in book four, the food is very heavy. Roasts and steak and kidney pie and savory pudding and hand pies and bangers and mash and lots and lots of odd wizard candy.
The menu as I presented it was a choice between quiddich players pie (which is basically a shepherd’s pie), or corned beef sandwiches. Instead we chose a roast, potatoes, carrots and gravy. This gave me more time to decorate. (I needed it!).
But I was looking for something to elevate the meal from Sunday-at-Grandma’s-in-Arkansas to eating-at-a-British-boarding-school. So I decided on Yorkshire Pudding.
Now where I’m from, pudding is a creamy desert, not a savory bread-like thing. But this was good. Very light and airy, with pockets for holding gravy. The dish is made of eggs and flour. It was originally baked under a spit, where it could soak up beef drippings as it cooked. These days, one puts beef drippings in the pan ahead of the batter. The batter puffs up and becomes crispy and brown in the oven.
The recipe I used was this one from Serious Eats. They’re the website I went to for my Pullman bread recipe, so I generally trust them.
For desert, we chose cauldron cakes. The cauldron cakes in Harry Potter aren’t described very well. The ones at the theme park are kind of like filled cupcakes, and I’ve seen some recipes that are similar to molten lava cakes. But the recipe that hubby and I chose was the one from Food In Literature, which is more like a shortbread cookie with a spiced date center. Hubby couldn’t stop eating them!
And since I can’t do anything without overdoing it, I made my own Pumpkin Pasties out of leftover pie dough and pumpkin pie filling, licorice wands out of leftover chocolate twizzlers and chocolate chips, and cockroach clusters out of peanuts and chocolate chips.
There are two big, iconic drinks in Harry Potter that everyone remembers, pumpkin juice, and Butterbeer. (I suspect that Starbucks is secretly owned by a house elf conglomerate.) We tried them both last year at the theme park, and I have to say that I liked pumpkin juice better. I think it’s because I grew up drinking Butterscotch milkshakes at the Dairy Dream in Mountainburg and butterbeer tastes like a pale imitation of that.
But if you like that kind of thing, (and most of you do), the Rowling-approved recipe was on Fox News.com. We made it, and I felt like I had a huge coating of butter in my mouth.
There is a spot-on recreation of pumpkin juice from Wizarding World on Food and Literature as well. That’s the one I used. The result was this smooth, pumpkin spiced drink. It was like drinking pumpkin pie. It was a little thicker than the one served in the park, but I simmered it longer. The next night, I added a little water to the drink and drank it in my marauder’s map mug. It was perfect!
That was the food for date night. Next week I’ll talk about the decorations. Because sweet baby Merlin on a spotted hippo, I went overboard with decorations.