“Anyway – Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here – I mighta sat on it at some point but it’ll taste all right.”
From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.
Harry looked up at the giant. He meant to say thank you, but the words got lost on the way to his mouth, and what he said instead was, “who are you?”
The giant chuckled.
“True, I haven’t introduced myself. Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.”
He held out an enormous hand and shook Harry’s whole arm.
“What about that tea then, eh?” he said, rubbing his hands together. “I’d not say no ter summat stronger if yeh’ve got it, mind.”
His eyes fell on the empty grate with the shriveled crisp bags in it and he snorted. He bent down over the fireplace; they couldn’t see what he was doing but when he drew back a second later, there was a roaring fire there. It filled the whole damp hut with flickering light and Harry felt the warmth wash over him as though he’d sunk into a hot bath.
The giant sat back down on the sofa, which sagged under his weight, and began taking all sorts of things out of the pockets of his coat: a copper kettle. a squashy package of sausages, a poker, a teapot, several chipped mugs, and a bottle of some amber liquid that he took a swig from before starting to make tea. Soon the hut was full of the sound and smell of sizzling sausage. Nobody said a thing while the giant was working, but as he slid the first of the six fat, juicy, slightly burnt sausages from the poker, Dudley fidgeted a little. Uncle Vernon said sharply, “Don’t touch anything he gives you, Dudley.”
The giant chuckled darkly.
“Yer great puddin’ of a son don’ need fattenin’ anymore, Dursley, don’ worry.”
He passed the sausages to Harry, who was so hungry he had never tasted anything so wonderful, but he still couldn’t take his eyes off the giant….
Whether you are reading this at midnight right after I post it or sometime during the day of July 31st or even a few months from now I hope that (albeit very long into) gives you a warm fuzzy feeling and you remember what it was like to sit and read those words for the first time. For me Harry Potter will always be somewhat synonymous with the summer holiday, toast with butter and marmalade and a cup of steaming English Afternoon tea.
I had some grand ideas of going to our local theme park on the this day to emulate Harry’s trip to Diagon Alley. However, it was a marathon weekend (which I still might have arranged the outing) and I wanted to do some potty training boot camp. We’re getting to that stage and I wanted to take the weekend to just do it…however I’ve been asking around and doing some research and I wasn’t so sure that we were going to do that. All bets were off Thursday night when Baby Bat came home with goopy eyes. We missed the bullet last time but this time no such luck. I was still saying “it could be allergies” until we saw the doctor. In my mind two things would be the worst to get in school: pink eye and lice. As it turns out pink eye hasn’t been as bad as I had anticipated. Not that I want to have this every weekend but we have definitely made the best of it. As it so happens there are two different kinds of pink eye: Bacterial and Viral. Baby Bat had the Viral which was apparently the good kind to get as it usually clears up by itself (and has) and only really calls for some warm compresses on the eyes. Baby Bat woke up with one eye crusted shut Friday morning, and then the other eye on Saturday. Today her eyes are mostly clear and should be all set to go back to school tomorrow. The rest of us haven’t really caught it, we did feel lightly itchy in the eyes but that could have been psychosomatic.
Well, instead of going to work we stayed home. I made French Toast, washed everything that could be washed and watched Paw Patrol with Baby Bat. I thought we’d make it back from the Doctor’s just in time to make the “Hogwarts Express” (Freeform Marathon at 3:30pm) but we were late but made it back just in time to get to Hogwarts for the first time.
I hade great ambitions of making dinner but lacked the enthusiasm and energy so we munched our Pumkin Pasties, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Beans, Cauldron Crisps and Dragon Bites and washed it down with iced Flying Cauldron Butter Beer (Funny story: its soda and the clerk at the store tried to card me for it, haha). At some point we turned on some Wizard Rock and had a dance party in the kitchen , pulling down the pink and purple streamers from her My Little Pony Birthday Party last week and used them as ribbon dancers while prancing around yelling out spells and various lyrics.
We ended the night with some color changing sparklers and went to bed right after The Chamber of Secrets ended.
The next morning. I woke up at 7am, turned on The Philosopher’s Stone, made some tea and set to work cutting up our fabric for our wizard robes. Baby Bat woke up after awhile and settled in with her hot chocolate and wanted to help. I let her give me the pins and place them.
I went with the traditional yellow and black for Hufflepuff and Baby Bat picked out her own colors, Pink and purple. I’ll admit I wasn’t wild about those colors at first, kind of wanted to take the reigns and make her a perfect little Hogwarts robe for my Future Hogwarts Alumni but I was good and let her do her thing. Now I’m so excited about that mesh up “My Little Pony Wizard!”
While I made breakfast I started on my other big weekend project: English Banger Sausages.
Bangers apparently date back to World War II when resources were tight and they were trying to conserve, so filler (breadcrumbs) were added. There are several regional varieties of bangers but the only real recipe I’ve found thus far is the Oxford variety so I decided to start with that and try my hand at others after I mastered a basic. I got sausage casings from the store and had most of the spices in my spice cupboard. Many sites say to soak the casing over night or for a few hours, I soaked mine for at least an hour and added a tablespoon of vinegar. There is also some dispute over cold and warm water, I did both. I also don’t own a sausage stuffer but found a very helpful video on how to stuff a sausage using a Chinese Soup Spoon.
Honestly, my stomach knew new feats of strength during this adventure. Between stuffing raw meat and working with natural animal casings it was a roller coaster in my stomach. Natural casing look really fragile but sometimes it seemed like they could take a lot of strain and other times all of a sudden the casing would pop apart and I’d have to do damage control. In the end I made several nice fat sausages and put them in the fridge for later. After making chicken & ham pie and treacle pudding I settled down with a “goblet” of Felix Felicis to enjoy the remainder of my Saturday night marathon (Goblet of Fire and Half Blood Prince).
This morning I test ran the sausages and they were good…I mean they were kind of soft (due to the bread crumbs?) maybe that is the way English sausage is? I have no comparison. I did deviate from the recipe a tad (per usual) it calls for 6 oz of pork fat (I didn’t do that) and where it calls for slices of bread I did some digging and found that 1/4 cup of bread crumbs is equivalent to one slice of bread (I hit the easy button). I could totally see how this would go over well with mashed potatoes and gravy.
This afternoon I also made Harry Potter’s 11th Birthday Cake
I Sirius-ly love this girl’s recipes. I had a bit of trouble with it this time possibly because I
broke it up into 1 short pan and several mini cup cakes to take into work, but they should be alright just the same. “Baked it myself words and all” I used a Buttercream Frosting and an easy Gel Piping Icing.
After all that I’m ready for bed and to go back to life as usual tomorrow, hitting up a Barnes and Noble Harry Potter event after work. Have a good night and stay Magical!