Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

These are the words with which Albus Dumbledore kicks off the welcome feast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The boy loves Harry Potter a lot. He started reading the books late last year and has just started the last one in the series. His food was even further limited recently due to some medication he needed to take and it really upset him. When you have a narrow diet to begin with, taking away all his favourite things was very traumatic, even if it was only for a few weeks. So he was talking about when he could eat properly again and how he wanted some Harry Potter food. Our little talk about a couple of meals got completely out of hand and ended up with us inviting some friends over for a Hogwarts Feast. To be honest it was like a party and you could use these ideas to create your own failsafe Harry Potter party. I threw this together in six days, so with a little bit more time something far grander could be created.

The living room was decorated along the lines of the Hogwarts Great Hall. The boy made candles by cutting a sheet of white cardboard into long rectangles and sticky taping a piece of cellophane to the top. I strung fishing line around the room and stuck the candles to it. The rest of the decorations were wizard portraits (found via google) printed and stuck to the walls, and Hogwarts and House crests printed and hung on odd bits of black fabric I had. We had a trestle table for the kids table and the teachers (grown ups) got to sit at our normal kitchen table.

A Hogwarts style feast is incredibly easy to do failsafe. It is all English style food; the first feast in the first book describes roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes and chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy and ketchup. Obviously not all of that is failsafe, but a large part of it is. My son got to choose what he wanted and that was lamb chops, sausages, baked potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans and bread. The visiting kids mostly ate sausage sandwiches and Yorkshire pudding, but he helped himself to extra vegies. All of this was washed down with bottles of "butter beer".

Serving themselves from big platters was fun.
The grown ups got bonus pumpkin and mulled wine
Dessert was going to involve more choices and be more feast-like, but I ran out of time, so there was just ice cream sundaes from "Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour". I used Kersten's rice milk ice cream recipe as the general base for five different flavours. We had vanilla, carob fudge, caramel, pear and vanilla and banana (moderate amines), with mini marshmallows and natural sprinkles on top. There were plans to make some sort of caramel sauce to go on top, but again, time dictated otherwise.

No visit to Hogwarts would be complete without a trip to "Honeydukes" sweet shop. This is where failsafe went slightly out the window. We had "Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans" (natural jelly beans), Sherbet Lemons (also natural ones from the supermarket), Sugar Quills (homemade), Acid Pops and drops and Pear pops and drops (homemade), Werewolf Fangs (milk bottles), Vanilla and Carob Fudge (Carob made to Kersten's recipe, vanilla was experimental I'll make it another time before I post a recipe for it) and Cauldron cakes (homemade carob muffins with natural green tinged icing, a natural snake and a pipe cleaner handle).

The big Honeydukes logo came from here

Dumbledore has a dish of these on his desk
Another Dumbledore favourite
The labels for the bags were printed from here
Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans-A risk with every mouthful
Cauldron Cakes
Snakes are optional extras

My son absolutely loves the Butter Beer. It is sweet and buttery, has an amazing head and looks like a cross between beer and coke.

Butter Beer
  • 60g nuttelex
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 80ml rice milk
  • dash vanilla essence
  1. Place nuttelex and sugar into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until melted and combined.
  2. Add rice milk and increase temperature. Boil for about a minute.
  3. Store in the fridge until you need it.
  4. Before serving heat gently in the microwave as the nuttelex sets.
  5. Dilute to taste with soda water. This made five serves for the kids - about half a beer bottle each.

We served it in clean, empty beer bottles that had new labels put on them. There are loads of different labels to choose from when you google it. I printed them and used double sided tape to stick them to the bottle.

 Sugar Quills

The sugar quills were made with my standard lollipop recipe  with vanilla flavour. I added a white food colouring to them, but this is not really necessary. The major difference is in the method. These need to be pulled. You will need to have the oven on at about 80˚C to keep the pieces you aren't working with soft.

  1. Once your candy is cool enough to pick up (with protective gloves) stretch and fold it over repeatedly until it is opaque and glossy.
  2. Using scissors cut a portion of soft candy (I made five large quills to a batch of candy), put the rest in the oven. 
  3. Cut another small piece from what you have and gently shape it into a longish stick. Lay it down.
  4. Shape your other piece into a flat oval and lay it lengthways onto the other piece. This will be you feather.
  5. Using scissors snip the edge of the feather in towards the spine on an angle to make it feathery.
  6. All of this needs to be done very quickly before the candy hardens.
  7. Cut a portion from what is in the oven and repeat until all candy is used.
  8. Wrap in cellophane.

There are so many ideas online for Harry Potter parties and you are really only limited by how much time and effort you want to put in.