The Leaky Cauldron
So the kitchen in my house sort of reminds me of the Leaky Cauldron. Dark woods, pots hanging from the ceiling. The island in the kitchen is usually where I set up my “spread” when we have parties too, so naturally it just seemed to fit that the kitchen would be The Leaky Cauldron. I received the actual Leaky Cauldron metal sign from my husband for Christmas last year. It’s meant to hang off of a beam or post or something. I didn’t want to actually secure it to any parts of my kitchen though because that would be some serious wall damage to repair. Luckily Amanda found me those old pieces of wood from her barn and Tim helped fashion a stand for the sign. It’s really kind of big though so I’m not sure what to do with it now that this party is over with?
Oh yeah…back to the food (I keep getting distracted by decorations!). Normally I’m ALL about the food. You can tell though that decorations definitely took center stage for this party. So much so that I don’t have a whole lot of pictures of food. Sorry! You’ll just have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks about what the food was like for the things I don’t have pictures of. The during movie snack spread in the kitchen both days included a lot of my regular party snacks such as various chips, dips, veggies, deli meats, cheeses, etc. I put the dips in those little black plastic molcajetes that you would find at a Mexican restaurant. They kinda look like little cauldrons so it worked with the display. I selected chips and crackers and such that had a “fall” feel to them with flavors like sweet potatos, pumpkin, cranberries, etc. I didn’t go overboard on trying to make everything somehow related to Harry Potter. I just focused on yummy snacks appropriate for the season. I also had a pumpkin shaped cheeseball.
And some deviled dragon’s eggs!
And again…since I sort of ran out of time at the end…I sourced some snacks from Trader Joes – these “Pumpkin pasties” are really tasty!
Again, I failed to get pics of the whole snack spread. There were a lot more savory things, not just the sweets I took pictures of. Just use your imagination and picture my entire kitchen island covered with food!
Dinner – Day 1
Ok…people were at my house for like 10-11 hours at a time. You can’t just feed them snacks (well ok…I tend to go overboard when it comes to food you haven’t even begun to see what the entire snack spread looked like. Technically I think people would have been totally happy with just snacks)…but since I always go above and beyond when it comes to food, in addition to “snacks and sweets” I had dinner each night in the great hall. The dinner food had a British influence, and was all stuff that could be prepared ahead of time, and just heated up with little work because Amanda and I wanted to watch the movies too, not cook the whole time!
The Day 1 menu included:
The onion soup was made ahead of time and just heated up in the crock pot while we watched the movies. The bread and cheese toasts to accompany the soup were pre-assembled, then broiled at the last minute.
I was originally going to serve Sheppard’s pie, but decided people like mashed potatoes all by themselves, so I switched to a chicken pot pie instead. Again, so easy – it’s made ahead of time, and then just stuck in the oven to bake. You’ll notice that I also tried to use disposable pans and paper plates. Not only did I want to not be stuck in the kitchen cooking, but I didn’t want a million dishes to do either!
This was an easy dessert – chocolate cake that you can’t mess up because it’s PURPOSELY supposed to look messy. Hagrid baked it himself after all!
Dinner – Day 2
Dinner time on the second day coincided with the start of the last movie. We debated whether we should take a break and eat dinner, or continue on with the start of the last movie. According to our schedule if we started the movie right away we should finish by 10 so some of the HP party attendees could watch the first episode of the new season of The Walking Dead. The zombie people won out so we started the next movie. People ate dinner, but it was sort of rushed, because everyone wanted to get back to the basement so they could concentrate on the last movie.
So….the Toad in the hole was…Interesting. It’s traditional all right…I don’t know that it’s something I would want to eat regularly though. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s basically sausages cooked in a popover batter (like Yorkshire pudding if you’ve ever had that). I could have probably just had the sausages and cheddar biscuits and it would have been plenty of food. People were kind of in a food coma after two days of movie-festing (feasting) anyways.
These butterbeer cupcakes are SO yummy. They’re basically butterscotch-ey and carmel-ey in flavor. The texture was a little odd, but they were quite tasty nonetheless!
The Great Hall
So I decorated my dining room like the Great Hall of course. It featured house colors and signs, and floating candles. I actually bought some battery operated candlesticks on clearance after Christmas last year, but in the end I ended up using battery operated tea lights that I wrapped paper around to make them look like candles. They were lighter so I was able to just hang them with fishing line and painters tape from the ceiling. I wish I had taken a picture of everything when it was darker. The candles REALLY looked like they were just floating in mid air when it was darker! Because the movie was streaming and playing upstairs as well people actually did gather in the great hall to eat dinner each night!
After visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando I just HAD to figure out how to make butter beer. There are SO many different recipes online calling for all sorts of odd things that I don’t think actually should probably be put into a beverage (like real butter?!). I went about trying to design my own recipe, trying to get it as close to what we tried at Universal as I possibly could. It turned out pretty close to what I remember from WWOHP!
We were going to try and time our consumption of butterbeer with when they first drink it in the movies but we couldn’t quite figure out when that was. At some point on the first day we just decided it was time to have butter beer, so we prepared glasses of it and brought them downstairs for the guests to enjoy.
How I made it:
Mix cold cream soda with a splash of root beer. (I used 2 oz root beer to 10 oz cream soda). Stir in 1/8 to 1/4 tsp butterscotch extract. Pour over crushed ice. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add marshmallow fluff and rootbeer extract to taste and whip till stiff peaks form. Top cream soda mixture with whipped cream mixture and enjoy! Ok, so the foam part wasn’t exactly right. It didn’t give you a mustache like the stuff at Universal, but it tasted right, and had excellent staying power. In previous experiments with the topping it kind of did this horrible mixing thing with the cream soda and it was just bad. It was almost as if the beverage started to laugh at you (ha ha nice try!) and would start to self destruct a few minutes after being topped. This version held up well without mixing into the soda. The marshmallow fluff must have acted as a stabilizer for the whipped cream or something.
If you’re having HP related food & beverages you’ve got to have pumpkin juice of course. I made a syrup with brown sugar, water, pureed pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I mixed some of the syrup with spiced apple cider and a bottle of pumpkin sparkling soda that my husband thought I might use in some kind of pumpkin juice beverage. It was tasty and refreshing and a great fall treat. And non-alcoholic so everyone could try it!
The Pumpkin beer tasting
It wouldn’t be a party at our house without some adult beverages…beer specifically. The past few years we’ve been hosting Pumpkin Beer Tasting parties in the fall. Since this HP party literally took over our lives, and many of the guests coming to the party were the ones who typically come to the pumpkin beer tasting, we just decided to combine the two events and partake in some pumpkin-ey beers whilst watching the HP films. For you beer people – here’s what was on this year’s tasting list. I hope you can read the various details. If you have beer related questions you’ll need to talk to my husband, the beer enthusiast.
So…I imagined this GRAND candy shop spread that reminded me of the Honey Dukes at Universal and in the movies. I went about creating it, and it was pretty spectacular in the end! The background of the candy store is cardboard that I spray painted a green color similar to the inside of Honey Dukes. Most of the candy was purchased and just displayed in a whole variety of glass containers for that candy shop feel. A few of the candies were hand crafted.
Complete Honey Dukes list:
- Chocolate wands (homemade chocolate dipped pretzels)
- Licorice wands (bought licorice)
- Jelly slugs (snail gummies)
- Jelly worms (sour gummy worms)
- Pink Sixlets candy (bought at the party store to go with the honey dukes sign colors)
- Green rock candy (bought at the party store to go with the honey dukes sign colors)
- Dragons egg bubble gum (bought at a candy store)
- Droobles bubble gum (bought at a candy store)
- Sour tape candy (rolled up to look like fun shapes)
- Green sour candies (bought at the grocery store to go with the honey dukes sign colors)
- Dots candy (store bought – used it cause it looks old time-ey candy shoppe appropriate)
- Fairy floss (cotton candy – store bought, and used cause it’s just festive looking)
- Dumbledore’s lemon drops (store bought)
- Acid pops (store bought suckers, brushed with corn syrup and crusted with poprocks)
- Fizzing whizbees – melted chocolate mixed with unflavored poprocks (bought online) formed in a bee shaped candy mold (bought online)
- Chocolate frogs – melted chocolate and green candy melts formed in a frog shaped candy mold (bought online)
- Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans (I just bought a giant bag of Jelly Bellies from target, and used an online printable for the packaging)
- Pixie Sticks (store bought, and used just cause they’re fun)
- Different colorful suckers (store bought at the party store and used just cause they’re fun)
What movie party is complete without popcorn? I just bought several different types of popcorn (buttered, white cheddar, kettle corn, and caramel corn) and displayed them on a bookcase. The popcorn buckets were purchased from the dollar section at the craft store. I stuck some bottled water on the bottom shelf. I found the water bottle labels online and printed them out, and replaced the regular bottle labels with them. They were cute with names like “Elixir of Life”, “Gilly Water” and “Veritaserum”. The popcorn boxes matched the paper plates and napkins that I bought in the dollar area at Michael’s craft store. They were actually from the circus collection, but the red and yellow colors and design reminded me of Gryffindor so I figured they still worked with the theme!
About the party The Invitations Platform 9 3/4 Diagon Alley Welcome to Hogwarts! A trip to Hogsmeade Food & Drink The Bathroom Harry Potter Crafting Misc. HP Fun Next Time Questions about my party? Feel free to contact me!