This year, in honor of the last Harry Potter Movie having been released and all that, my best friend and I decided we´d greet the new year with a marathon of Potter-Movies (indended: all eight in a row, achieved: movies 1-7 with minor interruptions), and of course, that called for the right kind of food to go along with it.
There is probably millions of Potter-related recipes out there, but most of them have two flaws (for us): They tend to use animal products, and, for the most part, they are sweet. Now, I love sweets just as much as the average person, but with Christmas just a few days behind us, I felt I wanted my part of the catering to be something else than cookies and pumpkin pies. Weeks before we´d decided that we´d have Polyjuice Potion (vegetable soup/stew) as a main course and had toyed around with ideas for a recipe of Felix Felicis (what could be better to toast the new year?), but I wanted to prepare something at home and bring it along to my friend´s house, and I wondered what that could be. Until, finally, inspiration found me and I decided I´d make “Whomping Willow”-Bread and different dips or spreads to put on it, color-coded to signify the different houses of Hogwarts!
And then, of course, when I arrived, I decided I DID want something sweet, after all, and we bought some chocolate to make “Cockroach Clusters” for dessert. ;-)
So, here´s a compilation of all the Potter-related food we ate that weekend:
Whomping Willow Bread
Ordinary wholegrain yeast bread, though I made the mistake to use rye flour with only a little bit of spelt. Let me just say, it was a mess, and my mother confirmed from her somewhat broader bread-making experience (I´ve only worked with wheat and spelt before) that a dough made with rye would always be extremely sticky. Originally, I intended to make long, slim loafs, twisted and made to look like branches of a tree, but the stickiness of the dough wouldn´t allow that, so I had to just try and make it as branch-like as possible while having extreme difficulties to even get it off my hands. If I ever decide to make it again, I´ll probably use spelt with only a little bit of rye or something else. What worked out well, though, was to add some sunflower and pumpkin seeds and brush the loafs with vegetable oil before I put it in the oven.
½ cup red lentils, soaked and cooked
½ cup fresh tomato, tomato sauce or canned tomato
some concentrated tomato paste
1 small onion
salt, pepper and spices to taste
Dice and lightly braise the onion, then combine all the ingredients and simply puree or mix together.
¾ cup chickpeas, soaked and cooked
juice of ½ lemon
some vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ordinary mustard
2 teaspoons horseradish-flavored mustard (or a little horseradish and more of the ordinary mustard)
Puree chickpeas, oil and lemon juice, then stir in the rest.
180 g Tofu
1 small bushel of parsley
a somewhat smaller amount of basil
I don´t remember whether I added any liquid, if the consistency calls for it, just use some water or vegetable oil. Otherwise, cut tofu and herbs into bits small enough to be pureed, then mix in that way, add spices.
1 cube of fresh yeast (I guess the dry kind would work as well, but I´m not sure how much to use for the same effect I got with my 20g-cube)
1 large onion
1-2 teaspoons vegetable fat or margarine
1-2 pea-sized pieces of tomato paste
spices to taste (I used salt, ginger, allspice, some cinnamon, some rosemary, thyme and pepper)
blue food coloring
I admit that this one was hard to come up with. How do you create a blue spread? Since I didn´t have any good ideas for naturally blue, vegan foods, I decided to make this relatively neutral yeast-spread and add some food coloring.
First, dice the onion and braise it. Then, dissolve the yeast in warm broth, (maybe ½ cup, you can always add more if needed), stirring in tomato paste, flour and fat in the process. Add onion and spices to taste, then put the mixture on the oven to heat. This is important, since if you don´t “kill” the yeast, it will grow and produce a sour, somewhat alcoholic taste that´s not really what you´re going for with this spread. Food coloring can either be added before or after heating, though I suspect it would be easier before, since the flour makes the heated paste turn a little gummy.
1/2 skin of a boomslang, sliced (leek)
at least 6 large or 9 average bicorn horns, sliced (carrots)
4 to 5 roots of venomous tentacula, diced (potatoes)
1 average bouncing bulb, diced (fennel)
1 cup of ashwinder´s eggs, soaked, cooked and crushed (chickpeas)
200g leeches, cut in half (beans)
2 large teaspoons magic sublimation paste (tahine)
dragon blood to taste (soy sauce)
small teaspoon of lacewing flies (rosemary)
powdered rock crystal and dragon scales (salt and pepper)
pulverized blades of knotgrass (allspice)
fluxweed, preferably picked in the light of the full moon (oregano)
cumin, nutmeg, basil
Heat oil in a LARGE kettle, then lightly braise boomslang skin and bicorn horns. Add tentacula roots, bouncing bulb, leeches and ashwinder´s eggs, together with enough boiling water to cover. Leave on the fire until everything is well cooked, then transfer about half of the potion into a second, somewhat smaller, kettle. Let it cool off a little, then puree and add back to the original potion. Sprinkle lacewing flies, knotgrass and fluxweed on the surface and stir in counterclockwise, using your wand (optionally, a wooden spoon will do as well). Season with remaining ingredients.
For the purpose of turning into another person, add any part of that person´s body to a slightly cooled portion of potion. For simple nourishment, this step may be skipped.
Made according to this recipe on Instructables.com: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cockroach-Clusters/
Sparkling wine, with some apple-ginger-syrup added for color and extra taste.