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Posts Tagged ‘harry potter’

So as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve haven’t really written anything in over a month now. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to; Writing has always given me a good way to de-stress and get my ideas out on the page when my brain works faster than I’d like it to. Work has just gotten super busy lately, and pretty much all of my free time has been taking up just trying to recuperate. On the plus side, being busy at work is something I really enjoy, and not something I’ve had since moving from the Burlington area last fall, so it’s nice to have that rush of adrenaline back into my daily routine. But I’ve been kicking myself for not keeping up with getting things written. I’ve still been plugging away at Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge and if you’ve been following along on Instagram or Facebook, I’ve had some fun working up some recipes with Berries, Garlic, and Vanilla, as well as some Dim Sum and Charcuterie.

This week was an especially fun theme for the challenge: Inspired by Magic. This year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone in the UK, and on Monday the Boy Who Lived celebrated his 37th birthday. Growing up, I was immediately enthralled by the series. Vast, fantastic landscapes and settings, deep character development, and the exploration of ideas and lessons that still resonate to this day. I want to get a big, non-food-related piece written for the US 20th anniversary next year, but that’s still quite a way away.

The wizarding world is full of amazing foods; Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Treacle Tarts, chocolates, candies, you name it. I’ve never had a super strong arsenal of dessert recipes, but in the past year or two I’ve definitely made some leaps and bounds. While desserts would have been a fairly easy route to go, I dug deep for a cool recipe that would kind of push my boundaries in a different direction.

The morning of Halloween, 1492, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington was set to be executed, having attempted to cast a tooth-straightening spell on an assistant of King Henvry VII the previous evening. After 47 hacks into his neck with a blunt axe, Sir Nicholas’ head was left dangling from his body by no more than an inch of flesh. Returning as a ghost, “Nearly-Headless” Nick took up residence as the ghost of Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

To commemorate his 500th Deathday, Sir Nicholas held a party and feast in “one of the roomier dungeons” at Hogwarts, inviting the main trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as well as a host of notable deceased: the Bloody Baron, the Fat Friar, the Grey Lady, the Wailing Widow, Peeves and Moaning Myrtle. It would go without saying that ghosts can’t eat or taste food, so the menu consisted of food smelling so foul they could almost taste it: Moldy bread, stinking salmon, fungus-covered peanuts, and the pièce de résistance, Maggoty Haggis.

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Haggis is one of those dishes that, whether or not you’ve eaten it, you’d probably assume is super disgusting. It kind of has that reputation of being a bunch of gross things (organ meats) stuffed into an even grosser thing (stomach) and cooked for a thousand years. I was lucky enough to get a bunch of offal from Howvale Farm, so I figured it was time to finally try this out for myself.

When it comes down to it, haggis is largely similar to black pudding: a loosely bound meat sausage with oats. I took lamb heart, liver and tongue and simmered them in a bit of beef stock until tender, then ground it together with some onion and spices. Oats and the cooking liquid bring it together into a workable dough (I don’t know if that’s the word I mean). Not having a stomach to stuff the mixture into, I baked it off like a meatloaf until browned and crispy.

Admittedly, I was certain that this was going to be as gross as it’s always made out to be. But one bite in and I was singing a different tune. Super savory, fatty, and delicious; Imagine if your favorite meatloaf had a baby with leftover Thanksgiving stuffing. As far as the “maggoty” aspect goes, I had a package of barbecue-seasoned larva that I got for Christmas, which provided a nice salty crunch. Now that I know how great this dish itself is, I think I’m going to start looking for a stomach to try it again.

Haggis
makes 1 loaf

  • Liver*, 8 ounces
  • Heart*, 8 ounces
  • Tongue*, 8 ounces
  • Beef Stock, 2 quarts
  • Vidalia Onion, 4 each
  • Pork Lard or Beef Suet, 8 ounces, diced
  • Rolled Oats (not instant), 8 ounces
  • Sage, dried, 1 tablespoon
  • Allspice, ground, 2 tablespoons
  • Coriander, ground, 2 teaspoons
  • Kosher Salt & ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Maggots, to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium-sized pot, combine heart, liver, tongue, 1 chopped onion and beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove meat from stock. Roughly chop heat and liver. Remove membrane from tongue and roughly chop. Process meat, 3 chopped onions and fat through medium die of a meat grinder**. Add oats and spices to meat mixture, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough cooking liquid to the mixture to form a workable dough. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease. Transfer meat mixture to baking sheet and form into a tight loaf. Bake at 425F 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

*Organ meats from any animal can be used, but you want about 1.5lb total
**If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can also coarsly grind using a food processor

 

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I make no secret of the fact that I am a HUGE fan of the Harry Potter book series. Like most of the world, I read the books as soon as they came out and was immediately enthralled. The characters, the stories, everything was there to keep 7-year-old me entertained for hours on end. In the 10 year run of the series, author JK Rowling created an expansive universe to rival that of Tolkien and Lucas. One aspect that was thoroughly expanded upon, one that many authors may not give much thought to, was the foods. From Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, to the lavish feasts served in the Great Hall, no stone was left un-turned.  The entire village of Hogsmead was there almost exclusively for the students and faculty of Hogwarts to go out for fine food and drinks.

One of the signature drinks of the wizarding world, served at The Three Broomsticks as well as The Hog’s Head Inn, is Butterbeer. Described as tasting a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch, Butterbeer is served both cold in bottles and hot in tankards. It isn’t clear whether the drink has any alcoholic content, but it is said that house-elves are known to suffer from a drunken state after drinking too much. A version of the drink is served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios, where it is served as a soda or as a slush drink.

As long as I’ve been a fan, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a nice warm glass of Butterbeer. I had tried a few different recipes in the past with moderate success, but none really gave the right feeling that I imagined when I read the books. Tonight was different though. After seeing a recent post on Reddit about an ice cream shop serving Butterbeer ice cream, I was inspired to try my hand once more at crafting the drink.

butterbeer

This. This was it, the perfect butterbeer. Rich, foamy, warm, and all around delicious. I combined elements from the books, the films, and the WWHP drink in order to make what I think is the best approximation of what the drink would have really been like. Vanilla ice cream provides a good base for the foam, some homemade butterscotch syrup provides the nice warming sweetness and hot apple cider brings the whole thing together. Topped off with a little seltzer water for a little extra foam and texture. For those of you looking to follow in steps of the house-elves, a shot or two of butterscotch schnapps would go really nicely in this.

Butterbeer

  • Dark Rum, about 1 oz
  • Butter, 6 tablespoons
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Brown sugar, lightly packed, 1 cup
  • Vanilla, 1 tablespoon
  • Cinnamon stick, about 2 inches
  • Raisins, 1/4cup
  • Vanilla Ice Cream, softened
  • Apple Cider
  • Soda Water or Seltzer

Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add rum and let cook about 5 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add water and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Strain syrup through a mesh strainer into an airtight container. Refrigerate until butter is solidified. Remove from fridge and strain again to remove butter solids.

In a sauce pot, bring apple cider to a simmer. In a mug, add 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream and about 1 oz of syrup. Fill the glass 3/4 with hot cider and top with seltzer water. Stir gently to combine and drink warm.

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