Category Archives: Food and drinks

Queenie’s Apple Strudel

If you don’t know already, this year all the Geek Gear Wizardry boxes has included two or three recipes somehow related to the Harry Potter universe. And let me tell you something about me, I love to try new recipes and cook in the kitchen. I don’t do it all the times, but some days I can spend hours making a dish. Usually I do it while visiting my mum and dad, because I need someone to eat it. Didn’t mean for this to turn into a long story… I don’t even have a point to this anymore. What I was supposed to say – I tried one of these recipes, and now I’ll tell the tale of how it went.

The honour of being the first recipe tried went to Queenie’s Apple Strudel. The thing about many of the recipes from GeekGear is that they have ingredients which aren’t sold around here. I am sure they are easily available in the UK, but not here. Take this recipe; it ask for Filo Pastry. You might get it in a huge supermarket in the capital or something, but you might not. I actually crossed the border to go buy this. Yes, I went to another country to buy ingredients for this. While there I tried to find other ingredients for some of the other recipes here as well, but no luck. Anyway, the other ingredients were available at my local supermarket.

I changed up the order of things a little. First I made a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel and put it aside for later. Then chopped up the walnuts and put it aside as well. The reason why, I wanted to watch the World Championship (soccer), and figured I could peel and chop apples while watching first half. And then at half time I could make the strudel and put it in the oven before second half. It didn’t go quite like that in real life, but alas.

Filo pastry is so thin. I want to say paper-thin, but I think it was even thinner. And it rips so easily. I just pretended there was no rips whatsoever. You take one sheet, butter it up, put on a new layer, butter it up, a new layer, butter and final layer and finish it up with butter. So much butter. So even if I ripped it, there was other layers so there was no place where it was ripped the whole way through. On top of all this I put walnuts.

The recipe then called for the chopped apples, which I were to speas over the lower third. Here I wonder if I made a ‘mistake’? I had the dough like above, and put them on the lower third closest to me. But I may have been supposed to rotate the dough 90°. In the picture on the recipe the strudel is wider than mine turned out. Not sure if it made a huge difference, but it might have made the strudel taller. The apples weren’t as spread out and made a bigger heap. I don’t know. My strudel was a lot darker on top then the one in the picture, but that could be just bacause of the oven and not because the top was closer to the heating element.

Same mistake with the braids. I didn’t cut the strips lengthwise, and here it even say to do so in recipe, so definitly a mistake by me. Don’t really think it made much of a difference, but I could have tucked the ends underneath the strudel. Did I mention that this pastry rips easily? I had so many broken braids by the end of this. The ones I ended up with aren’t good, but they are almost whole at least.

While the strudel was baking I made the apple roses to decorate with. It was surprisingly easy to make, and I will probably use the technique later!

I removed two of the braids, which were charred. Well, all three of them were burnt, but this one were redeemable with a little icing sugar. And here you can see that mine isn’t as wide as the one in the recipe. There you can see six apple roses on top, with braids next to them and still some pastry next to that again. Where am I supposed to have my two other braids (if they were edible)? But that is not the important thing, the important thing is look at that!?

I made an apple strudel! I’ll admit that I did remove the top layer of the pastry before eating, because that tasted like ash. But the rest of it, delicious! I ate the whole thing. Mind you, not in one go. I would actually go as far as saying it actually tasted better the day after. Reheated slices in the microwave and it was heavenly.


Trying candy from Honeydukes (WB Studio Tour)

While at the Warner Bros Studio Tour (Harry Potter) I bought a lot of things, which you might remember from this post here, including Harry Potter themed candy. Fast forward a couple of months and finally I got around to actually taste them. I approached it like a research task, made a worksheet and all.

 As you can see I not only had a column for taste, but also for looks, which included design, accessibility (easy access to the candy is important) and size. But now; results!

// First test object was the Chocolate Frog. Possibly the most famous Harry Potter themed candy? It cost £8.95 for one box, which includes one frog and one card. The design of the box reminds me of the movies, and does have that magical feel in its design. It is an unusual shaped box, and has ornamental design. It is also bigger than expected.

It taste like milk chocolate. It is nothing special about it, which makes it an option for a lot of people I guess. The frog it self is massive, and I would recommend to cut it into pieces to make it easier to eat. Overall I would recommend this one. It has the Harry Potter feel to it, through the way it looks and you do get a magical card. And most people like milk chocolate, right?

//Next up was Sherbet Lemon, which is known as one of Dumbledores favourites. The box has a more traditional look. Nothing ‘magical’ by it, but it does have the Honeydukes logo and Honeydukes colours. They have a range of sweets with this kind of design, which I think it’s meant to be muggle candy. Correct me if I am wrong! Dumbledore offeres Sherbet Lemon to McGonagall and she doesn’t know what it is, and Dumbledore tells her it’s some sort of muggle sweets. And the other sweets with this kind of design also seems to be ‘muggle sweets’. I do like that this is a tin can, and easily can be reused by owner.

In way of taste, it is like a traditional hard boiled candy with lemony flavour. It has some citric acid which give it some sourness, but it is not overwhelming in any way. If you don’t bite it/chew it up one will last you about 15 minutes. One whole box of Sherbet Lemon cost £10.

As you might have noticed I switch between calling it candy and sweets. I guess one is american and one is british, but since I am neither it just won’t stick. 

// Fizzing Whizzbees. £ 8.00. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. Chose it from the shelf based on looks and a vague memory of it being mentioned in a book or two. The packaging is a little quirky, which fits the theme of Honeydukes and Harry Potter I guess.

It turned out to be milk chocolate with some crunch in there. There was a hint of some other flavour (fruity?), but hard to place since it was barely there. It was good, but didn’t feel like it matched the description on the box, “Made with Chocolatey Fizzy Fruit”. I guess the ‘fizzy fruit’ is the crunchy bits.

// Exploding bonbons. Again, a quirky packaging. This might be the one with the ‘hardest’ access to the candy, but still fairly simple. I kind of liked that the chocolate was individually wrapped, not enviromentally, but aesthetically. I am kind of picky when it comes to candy (and food), so I was a little sceptical to this one since it had white chocolate and pineapple in it (Yeah, I am one of those people), but it turned out to be the best tasting ones. It was smooth, almost creamy, and rich in flavour. The taste lingered for a long time. Felt like expensive chocolate to me, not that I have much experience with that though. I would recommend to eat it at room temperature, and not straight from the fridge! Expensive tasting or not, it cost me £8.00.

// Sugar quill. Do not remember what this cost, and can’t find my receipt… I liked the look of this one. It is a fun way to have lollipops. Not what I imagined it would be from the books, but you can see these in the movie. They are quite big. Hard to compare them to a regular lollipop when they are in this shape, so I can’t really tell.

Unfortunatly it tasted weird. Not sure what the flavour was supposed to be. I thought beforehand that it would have the taste of some red berry or fruit, but it was like licorice mixed with something else that I couldn’t place. I threw it away to be honest, it was not to my taste. But again, I am picky, so someone else might would have liked it. Just not expect strawberry or something. I was slighty disappointed, ’cause I thought this would be a safe buy, but alas.

Overall I am satisfied with the sweets I bought. Might not buy them again since they were quite regular in taste, but fun to try and will exhibit the boxes on my shelf, so I am glad I bought them. Have any of you tried any of these sweets or other Harry Potter sweets? What is your favourite?

Butterscotch Beer from Flying Cauldron

As you might remember from my last post I got a bottle of Butterscotch Beer in the GeekGear box. If you don’t remember you can check out the video here or here. I decided to test it out, and wanted to share the experience with you, so I made another video where I taste the Butterscotch Beer and make the Giggle Potion.