Keeping it Magical

My weekend has been super productive so far and I still have half a day to go!  On Saturday my folks had everyone over for our family’s Thanksgiving, a tradition my Aunt started because she didn’t want to compromise with her children and their respective families on  the actual day.  My mom was handed the tradition as my Aunt and Uncle also have Christmas Eve.  My mom makes the best corn pudding, it outshines the turkey and my brother and I will throw down over leftovers.  In years past I have taken pride in my ability to turn out a decent cheesecake when asked to bring a dish to pass, owing to a spring pan bought at a second hand store and this recipe.  This year I wanted to try something different. My Harry Potter obsession manifests the most in my culinary projects and so I’ve been cooking and baking my way through the books for most of the year.  Saturday morning I attempted Treacle Pudding which was ballsy (if I say so myself) because if it didn’t turn out I didn’t have any time to make something else.

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Treacle is one of those things that is still relatively new to me but I think it is delicious and well worth the hunt (luckily one of my grocery stores has an international section).  When I first read the Harry Potter series I immediately tried to make Treacle Fudge, didn’t have actual treacle but my mum said it was similar to molasses which we did have…the result was not pretty.  On account of never having made fudge either it came out very soupy so I put it in the freezer to harden it and it was like sweet chilled molasses icebergs or something.  I ditched the experiment and didn’t try my hand at fudge again until a few years ago at Christmas when I didn’t have a working oven for the cheesecake.  I successfully made Bailey’s Irish Cream Fudge but haven’t made any since.  Lucky for me my first attempt at Treacle Pudding was a success…perhaps not in looks as I don’t own a pudding bowl and I had to re drop it because the first serving dish I had out wasn’t going to cut it.  But, despite the anxiety that came with the steaming process, when I heated up the golden treacle, topped it off and served it with my homemade vanilla custard everyone loved it and my parents kept whatever was left…which is saying something, usually they send it home with me with the direction to make it gone before they come up because they are watching what they eat.

I also recently attempted to make my own chocolate from scratch so I could make chocolate frogs.  This will need some work:

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It came out like a cross between pudding and frosting…I think I made ganache (huzzah! another happy accident!).

My best dishes tend to be my dinner dishes, chicken and ham pie, “Dumbledore’s” pork chops, “Ron’s”  chicken and potatoes and Shepard’s pie are kind of weekly staples.  My Chicken and Ham Pie tends to change with the ingredients I have on hand but Shepard’s Pie I have down to a science.  Pretty sure I got it from a food network website but I don’t remember whose.

Start by pre heating the oven to 350, peel and chop up 3-4 (possibly 5 depending on size) red potatoes.  I swear by red potatoes, their texture after they are cooked is like smooth buttery velvet (not sure if that description is as gastronomically pleasing as I want it to be).  Then start boiling them while you start on the rest of the pie.

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Next chop up one good sized onion and maybe three to four cloves of garlic (I actually use pre minced garlic to save time and I eye ball it with a regular spoon. Sauté that in your choice of butter or vegetable oil until translucent.

20161110_172105Add the ground beef and brown it until there is no more red then add 2 tablespoons of flour to coat. (depending on the beef your working with you might want to drain a bit of the cooked fat off…just saying).

20161110_172644Next add 1 cup of water, a beef bouillon cube, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, pepper, thyme and Worchester Sauce (Who’s your sister? sauce) and be generous with the sauce.  While that is mulling together defrost a 1/2 cup of frozen peas and carrots and 1/2 a cup of frozen corn and add those to the meat.20161110_173646

Now, back to those potatoes!  Make sure they are soft and drain them.  Add about a table spoon of butter, a splash of milk, 1 egg yolk, salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic powder and puree.  When that is done transfer the meat to a casserole dish and spoon the potatoes on top and spread like a frosting on a cake.

20161110_174509Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes (?)  Apparently I cook like my grandmother “just cook it until it is done”  uh, how long is that? “I don’t know, just until it looks done”.  I was watching The Chamber of Secrets when I made this one, started cooking at the start of the movie, I put this in the oven when Ron got his Howler and took it out when the Quidditch match started. Take it out when it looks like this:

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Let it cool and serve it with a glass of Pumpkin Juice (I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for this, tried making it with fresh ingredients but it comes out watery..like pumpkin flavored water, having a crack at a recipe this upcoming weekend that calls for canned.  We’ll see how it goes.) or sherry (Trelawney’s drink of choice when she was upset).

20161110_182727This Friday November 18 kicks off a Harry Potter weekend on Freeform so grab a bag of gourmet jelly beans, bake a batch of pumpkin pasties (Baby Bat: pumpkin tasties!) and cozy up with a Butterbeer and some friends!

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