Today I slaved away in the kitchen, much like a Hogwarts house elf. It’s been 20 years since Philosopher’s Stone was first published and almost 16 since I first fell in love with it. Halloween is such a big date in the wizarding world, it seemed appropriate to do something Potter-related. So Halloween the Hogwarts way it was. I got some inspiration from this Buzzfeed post, though the recipes I used were found elsewhere.
The Main: Roast beef
I didn’t spend too much time on this, to be honest. I just put everything on a tray and chucked it in the oven (the other stuff took up most of my time). What’s more, I picked up an already seasoned roasting joint from Lidl that had some kind of horseradish melty thing on top (the shame!). Considering I made everything else from scratch, I wasn’t feeling that fussed about the roast. It tasted good though.
Drink: Pumpkin juice
Originally I had wanted to make butterbeer, but fearing a sugar overload decided against it. Best to leave it for the cold of winter. Today I made pumpkin juice from scratch. I used this recipe as inspiration; I used an actual pumpkin rather than butternut squash since it was smaller and could be juice raw (I wanted to carve the pumpkin). I also couldn’t find apricot nectar. In the end this is what I used:
- 1 small pumpkin (yielded about 1/2 cup flesh)
- about 1 cup of water
- 2 cups apple juice
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60g light brown sugar (less than the 1/2 cup sugar in the original)
It was a pain to scrape out all the flesh from the inside of the pumpkin (not sure how I forgot about this; I went through the exact same thing a year ago making pumpkin pasties). That done, I blended the flesh with the water and popped it in a pan on the stove. From this point, I followed In Literature’s directions, simmering the juice together with all the other ingredients. It tasted really good chilled! So much so I tried to make it a cocktail, using some fancy Irish whiskey I got in Belfast. It was okay at first but it won’t become a thing. Both things definitely taste better on their own.
Dessert: Treacle tart
All these years after reading the books, I never bothered to find out what treacle was exactly. I just assumed it would be good. Behold my surprise on finding Mary Berry’s recipe and discovering it is basically…sugar. Golden syrup (sugar) mixed with lemon juice, zest, and breadcrumbs. The most complicated part was the lattice design I chose to do on the top. I spent more time on the top than on the pastry and filling altogether. But it was worth it, I am very happy with the result. As for the flavour, it’s alright, actually. Sweet like caramel almost, but citrusy, the pastry almost flaky (at least the baking course has paid off…gone are the days of bad shortcrust!). I think something rich, like lightly whipped cream would go really well with it (creme fraiche was also suggested in some recipes).
Overall a successful (though puny) Hogwarts feast. I don’t know how those Hogwarts kids can eat so much.