Quidditch World Cup Barbeque
by McGonagirl, Hagrid, Dumbledwarf, Hermi2, Fluffy
Menu: Saxon Witch's Magical Red Powder | How to Prepare and Cook a Roast | Herby Potatoes | No-Magic Vegetable Kebabs | Helga Sauce | Deceptively Spicy BBQ'd Cobbler | Grilled Lemon Squash
The Weasleys invited Harry and Hermione to camp with them during the Quidditch World Cup match events, and it was a surreal experience for the two kids who had always lived among Muggles before. The camping area was packed with witches and wizards playing at being Muggles ... they really didn't have much of a clue what they were doing. There were so many incongruities, yet the wizard world seemed oblivious to them. It's a good thing they had spells to keep Muggles from really seeing them for what they were. Harry and Hermione found themselves biting their tongues when tempted to correct Mr. Weasley.
One of the surreal incongruities was how the wizards and witches cooked. They have a longer and larger tradition of cooking outdoors, but they wished to "blend in" and were told by the Ministry of Magic that they should try to simulate a British-style "barbeque" -- or outdoor grililng -- as it seemed closest to the open-fire cooking common in the wizarding world. But they'd only read about them, mostly ... so the results were often mixed. They knew that the grill should be pot shaped, so they used cauldrons and fitted with metal grills. It wasn't quite right, was it? And Mr. Weasley really had no idea how the thing was supposed to work, so he heated the cauldron from the outside, rather than putting the coals and wood inside, as was traditional with Muggle grills. None of the food he tried to cook turned out at all, but he was so excited to try that he refused to do otherwise. The children under his care were getting very hungry ...
A couple of witches from Saxony were parked next to the Weasley campsite. The children had admired the vintage motorcycle and sidecar on which the two women had flown in. Next to it was a dainty little puptent. Though Harry and Hermione knew that it was a sort of "pocket universe" within like their tent -- much more room inside than it appeared -- they were completely unprepared for the two massive women who emerged, squeezing past the tent flap!
The bigger of the two took one sniff at Arthur Weasley's attempts and brushed him aside with a grunt. She pulled the meat -- charred on the outside and raw in the middle -- off the grill and mumbled a spell to return it to it's raw state. She gestured to the smaller, blonde witch, who ran inside the tent and brought out a whole battery of antique cooking materials and a jar of red powder. The big witch sprinkled the powder over all the food, tended the fire so it burned cooler than Arthur had created it, tied the roast into an even shape, and placed it over the griddle rack and put another shallow cauldron over the top to act as a lid. She'd created an impromptu oven!
She then ordered the gang to scrape vegetables, boil water, chop ingredients for a sauce, fetch firewood, and assemble a dessert. She did it with the gravelly voice of a Teutonic drill sargeant, and her companion cheerfully helped and corrected all the children's efforts.
When the time came, the roast came out succulent, with the magical powder seasoning the meat beautifully. By then, a crowd had gathered, their mouths watering at the delicious smells, and many groups offered what they'd brought to the big Saxon witches. So they also roasted chicken, turkey, pork and other meats, and even vegetables with the powder and it was all really tasty! Even a very embarassed Arthur Weasley gratefully cheered the Saxon witches for saving them from starvation.
Saxon Witch's Magical Red Powder
The Saxon witches are actually quite well known in the wizarding world. They traveled a lot and had lived long lives, collecting information and crossing boundaries where necessary. They were especially well known for their knowledge concerning local customs and usages of plants and herbs. No one knew their names, as they never answered questions which didn't suit them. Those questions came up only rarely; their appearance was formidable and it was said even He Who Must Not Be Named took pains to avoid them if possible.
No one knew where they picked up the formula for this spicy red powder, but it contained more than a hint of meso-America, western-Europe, central-Europe and a bit of Asia. The recipe was no secret, but the Saxon witches only let you have it if they liked you. The big one took a liking to Hermione and she listed the ingredients to the student in a heavy accent that was barely discernible. Hermione was surprised that the ingredients were things any Muggle could get in a supermarket. The big witch made the girl promise to keep it sealed in an air-tight jar and to keep in a cool, dark place, to keep the spices from degrading. Hermione was too frightened not to agree!
When you use it, pour out a bit more than you think you need, then put the lid back on tightly. This way, you won't goop up the whole mixture by dipping dirty/greasy/contaminated fingers into the mix.
Massage this powder into meat and leave for one to 6 hours as a dry marinade. Or sprinkle as a seasoning after cooking; use on meat or vegetables or bread or potatoes or pasta ... It magically transforms food!
NOTE: You can adjust the heat by modifying the cayenne pepper or using hot instead of sweet paprika to proportions you prefer.
How to Prepare and Cook a Roast
The Saxon witches tended to murmur to each other and talk to the food they were preparing when they were handling it, and the only helpers they demanded were the girls, Hermione and Ginny. Ron, his brothers and Harry were happy to watch from a distance.
From the two fat witches, the girls learned that meat needs to be flat to grill, but shaped like a cylindar to roast. They explained how the heat hits the roast on the surface and sears it, and the heat to cook the rest of the roast migrates from the outer edges inwards. Thus if you want to avoid Mr. Weasley's result of a burnt roast on the outside that's raw in the middle, best to lower the heat to cook the roast evenly. Raising the heat only means you burn the outside before the heat gets to move into the inside. It makes sense! Follow the rules limned below to cook ANY roast.
Arthur Weasley had read about "roasting potatoes in the embers" and ended up igniting them! The smaller of the two witches quietly pulled out a bag of spuds -- they apparently carry them with them everywhere. They ARE Saxon, after all. To Arthur's surprise, the blonde witch boiled a pot of water and dumped the potatoes in, smiling when he tried to gesture to her that they should be roasted! He supposed perhaps she didn't speak English, since she basically ignored him. Still, he watched her, fascinated by the simple preparation for the delicious recipe. It smelled good, too!
No-Magic Vegetable Kebabs
Arthur had tried to balance vegetables between the griddle bits without them falling through the gaps. He didn't succeed, and most of the vegetable pieces ended up as charcoal at the bottom of the cauldron. Rolling her eyes, the big witch with the sproingy hair fished out a bunch of thin bamboo stakes from her rucksack and approached the hapless wizard. Arthur nearly dropped the vegetables Hermione and Ginny had prepared, he was so frightened of being impaled! But the witch handed the girls a fistful of stakes and showed them how to thread the vegetables onto them. Then she placed them on the grill -- voilà! An easy, obvious way to keep veggies from falling through the grates, and they didn't even need magic to do it!
Brush the vegetables with oil and place on a hot grill. Cook till softened and charmarks, then turn the vegetables and cook again, about 10 minutes total. Season with salt, pepper, and Magical Powder to taste. Serve one skewer per person.
When asked for this recipe, the big witch said, "Helga." No one could figure out if that was the name of the blonde witch, or some other witch, or if the big witch had misunderstood the question and it was her name. Or maybe it really was the name of the sauce? Maybe in some odd language, it actually meant "sauce" ... No matter, Hermione and Ginny got instructed how to put it together, and they referred to the sauce itself as "Helga," so that's what everyone calls it.
Deceptively Spicy BBQ'd Cobbler
The only time the Saxon witches used magic was to chop up the hot peppers for this unusual dessert. They had a small bag of them stashed in the wicker basket strapped to the back of their sidecar, with an export receipt stamp from the West Indies. They were orange-red in color and Ron thought they looked a lot like candy. One bite proved how mistaken he was! Even the big, fat witches wouldn't touch the pepper, knowing it's potency! They had to use magic to help Ron halt his suffering ... Ginny laughed that Ron's eyeballs actually were three-quarters of the way out of their sockets! If you're a Muggle (or just want to play at being one), use rubber gloves to handle these peppers! (This incident later gave Fred and George some ideas for fun and marginally harmless gags ...) Anyway, it was a great dessert on the grill!
Lightly grease a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Lay the peaches on the bottom, then pour the warm peach juice sauce over them. Lay the biscuits evenly over the peaches, or drop dollops over it all. Sprinkle over with sugar. Place the lid on the pan, and bury in hot embers, shoveling some of the hot coals on the lid as well. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, till the biscuits are browned and the peaches are bubbling. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
(If you prefer to cook in a conventional oven indoors, heat the oven to 400°F / 185°C. Lightly grease a cakepan or 8" / 20 cm square baking pan. Lay over the biscuits, sprinkle over with sugar, and bake till browned, uncovered.)
Grilled Lemon Squash
"Not everything needs to be done on the grill," protested Hermione, as the blonde witch placed the cut side of lemon halves on the grill. Again, the woman just smiled and kept the lemons on the heat till they started to brown and the smell of lemons perfumed the air. She pulled them off the grill and straight into a pot, where the other witch squashed them up with sugar and water till the mixture boiled (is this why in England, this type of cordial is called a "squash"?). She made Hermione hold out her cup, and mixed the syrup with water and ordered her to drink. The girl tried to silently plead for help from her friends, but neither Ron nor Harry would make eye contact with her, so she sighed and took a sip. It was smoky and a little warm, like a lemon tea, "Ohmigosh, it's so good! Harry, Ron, you've got to try it!" Taking this as ultimate approval, the witches put a measure of rum into their lemon syrup and toasted each other for a job well done.
To serve, dilute the syrup with cold water and ice to taste -- start with a one-to-one ratio mixture. For adults: you can mix the syrup with water and rum, to taste.
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