Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Bloody Brilliant Meal

Anyone who has talked to me for longer than ten minutes knows that I have a minor obsession with Harry Potter.

Okay, it's major.

Fine, it's a seriously major obsession.

It all started with the first movie. I wasn't much of a reader, but when I saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I knew I had to start the series. Since then, Harry Potter has become a permanent part of my life. And most recently with the release of the last movie and the creation of Pottermore, my obsession could only flourish. And flourish it has.

The relatives that received my Christmas list this year caught another glimpse of my insanity as at least half the list consisted of Harry Potter-related materials. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that I receive the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook from my aunt.

The recipes inside are fantastic. Not that I would ever think of eating some of them (Beef Casserole, Veal Pies, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, etc), but I love to see the recipes. Then there are ones that sound ridiculous that I just have to try like the Treacle Tart (I mean, it's Harry's favorite!) which is basically a tart shell filled with corn syrup and bread crumbs. But there are also fantastic looking dishes that I've bookmarked and cannot wait to try.

My friend Melanie, who goes back to college on Monday (yick), is my frequent baking buddy and I knew that we had to try some of these recipes out before she left. Plus, she just got the last Harry Potter movie for Christmas so we had food and entertainment for the night. We chose recipes that didn't require too much time or effort, seeing as we wanted time for the movie and cooking dinner and dessert.

We decided on: Vol-au-Vents with a tomato-feta filling, Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Roast Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary, and for dessert, 1-2-3 Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bonbons for Kids. And they were all delicious! I'm including the recipe for the Vol-au-Vents because I've never made anything like them and they turned out so well.

The Vol-au-Vents filling was really salty but was offset nicely by the puff pastry surrounding it (frozen puff pastry is one of my new favorite things). I usually like my brussels sprouts crispy (these were boiled and then warmed through in a skillet) but I still really enjoyed them. And, I also have an obsession with potatoes, so that couldn't go wrong. The bonbons are basically buckeyes with a crunch and they were also delightful (and very rich).

Overall, it was a fantastic-or, as Ron would say, "a bloody brilliant"-meal. And then Melanie and I cried through the entire movie. Good day.

Recipe Courtesy of the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Vol-au-Vents with a tomato-feta filling


1 package of frozen puff pastry shells (my package had 6 shells)

8 ounces of feta in brine, sliced into small cubes
1 1/2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2-3 tsp olive oil
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp dried basil
pinch of salt (we suggest you leave this out, there is plenty of salt in the feta)
ground black pepper to taste


1. Bake the pastry shells according to the package instructions.
2. Stir all of the filling ingredients together.
3. Once the shells have cooled slightly, pull out the tops and some of the filling to make room for the tomato and feta.
4. Fill each shell with the tomato-feta filling and top each with the pastry top. Place back in the oven for about 7 minutes to warm the filling slightly.
5. Enjoy!


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