I am an unapologetic dork. My first trip away from my son was a few weeks ago, and where did I go? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando. That’s right. I took my first adult vacation without my child to a theme park for children. Winning.
I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was on a “vacation” to Spokane, WA with my high school boyfriend in the summer between high school and college. His dad’s house was a refurbished abandoned warehouse in the ghetto, and I wasn’t allowed to go outside by myself, even during the day, for fear I’d be stolen. Since the boyfriend was spending all of his free time fixing engines and being blue collar, my options for entertainment were as follows:
-Steal Mexican sleeping pills from his grandmother and pass out in the dank basement for 24 hours at a time. I did that once, and ended up falling asleep listening to the Braveheart soundtrack. I dreamt I was being bombed over and over and over. It wasn’t pleasant.
-Run errands with his stepmother. She only wanted to go tanning, and go to the discount bread outlet. Yes, that’s an actual store. You go and buy loaves of bread that are too old to be sold at stores. Seriously.
-Hang out alone with his 12 year old brother. His brother had all of the Harry Potter books, and was willing to lend them to me one at a time. I spent the rest of the vacation reading, and ended up being completely hooked for life.
My love affair with Harry Potter far outlasted that relationship, and carries on strong to this day. The books are fantastic, and I can’t wait to read them to my son when he’s old enough to fully comprehend the sexual tension between Ron and Hermione, and the slave symbolism of the house elves.
The park was AMAZING, but the food was incredibly disappointing. The only real food option in HP World was the Three Broomsticks, and it smelled like fried fish and prostitutes (basically the same smell). They offered some of the feast foods that were mentioned in the books, but they were done to typical theme park standards. Blargh.
The butterbeer was amazeballs, though. Tasted like cream soda with a salted butterscotch whipped cream on top. I’m working on recreating it, so stay tuned.
As for the rest of the food, well, I figured I could probably do a better job at home. So far, I’d say that my attempts are an unmitigated success. The other night, we had our Harry Potter traveling companions over for a meal, and I whipped up two of the traditional HP foods– Treacle Tart and Cornish Pasties.
The Cornish Pasties have multiple different iterations according to the internet, some having cubed chuck, some using ground lamb, so I just went with my gut and produced a savory pie that tasted for all the world like magic. Honestly, though, when has meat inside a pie crust ever been a bad idea? That’s right. It never has.
Cornish Pasties (Spiteful Style) Serves 4 gluttons
1 lb ground beef (I used a grass fed, flax finished from Snow Creek Ranch)
2 medium potatoes (russet or yukon gold), diced
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
2 t granulated garlic (or 1.5 t garlic powder)
1 T salt
1 t ground black pepper
.5 t dried thyme
3 prepared pie crusts (yeah, you can prepare your own, but I didn’t)
-Preheat the oven to 325 F
-Mix together your meat, vegetables, and seasonings in a large bowl
|Try for a dicing ratio that looks sort of like this. Bite sized potatoes, smaller other vegetables|
-Make a small “test patty” and cook it in a skillet to taste for seasoning. I can’t overemphasize how important this is any time you’re making a ground meat item, from meatballs to meat loaf to meat pie to burgers. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
-Take an 8″ cake pan and cut out an 8″ round of crust from each of the pie crusts. Then push the scraps together and roll them out to get an additional 8″ round. You’ll have 4 total.
-On each round of crust, put a good couple scoops of filling, leaving enough room to seal the crust
-Seal the edges together shoddily, like a drunk house elf.
|She ain’t pretty, but she sure does taste nice|
-Repeat with the other three crust rounds, and slit the top of each several times to allow steam to escape. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan, leaving an inch or two between each pastie, and bake until golden brown and cooked through (about 1 hour, maybe a little less).
-Serve with a pan sauce or ketchup or whatever you like. I melted down a few frozen cubes of homemade beef glace, whisked in some butter, and called it gravy.
DELICIOUS. Seriously. Each person got a single Cornish Pastie, because these were large, but I’ve seen them made into small mini-pies, which would be a great appetizer. You could also add frozen peas or cubed turnips or whatever you have that needs to be used up. If you want a shinier, fancier crust, you can always brush it with an egg wash toward the end of baking.
The Brits get a bad rap for having terrible food, but this is British food at its finest. The simple combination of meat, potatoes, and pie crust is a winner for just about everyone, and warms the cockles of your heart, to the point where you’re almost okay that you live in a world without actual magic, and that your friends are all lousy muggles.
The baby refused to eat any of this, but I’m pretty sure that was just him trying to make a point that his parents are raging assholes for leaving him alone while they went gallivanting around Florida like heathens in the mist. I’m sure he’ll get over it. I’ll take him on a special trip to make it up to him. Possibly to the used bread store.