Hello, my name is Alex, and I am not a wizard. I did once do a poo that didn’t require any wiping, but as magical as that felt, apparently it doesn’t count. My friends Ellie, Rachael, and Laura are all similarly Muggle-like. Between us we have about the same level of magical ability as Vernon Dursley – the only difference is that we all love Harry Potter.
We also all really love food, and since the Harry Potter novels are filled with references to delicious-sounding wizarding treats that we thought we might never get to taste, we decided the only thing for it was to try to make them ourselves. Without magic.
We wanted to create an assortment of the drinks and snacks that Harry, Ron, and Hermione wolfed down from the trolley on the Hogwarts Express, or during trips to Honeydukes and The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. We settled on pumpkin pasties, Butterbeer, acid pops, pumpkin juice, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
We've ranked each of our creations by difficulty to make, taste, and "magic score", which basically means how much each treat made us feel like we'd been apparated into the world of Harry Potter by tasting it.
These were definitely the tastiest thing we made, especially when eaten warm, straight out of the oven. The books don't actually say whether the pasties Harry and co. guzzle down on the Hogwarts Express are sweet or savoury, but we decided to go for a savoury recipe, since everything else we were making was sweet. This was definitely a good decision (mostly because it meant we got to put a load of cheese in).
Method-wise the pasties were pretty simple, and they get even easier if you use ready-made pastry. You can find the recipe we used, plus a recipe for a sweet version, here. Once we had puréed our roasted pumpkin, and mixed in a load of mature cheddar, garlic, sage, and a few other seasonings, it was just a case of trying to give our pastry cases that house-elf level neatness.
Magic score: 7/10
The best thing about our Butterbeer is that it looked pretty much exactly like we'd always imagined it, and Ellie said it tasted way better than the one you can buy at the Warner Bros Harry Potter tour. Even the non-alcoholic recipe felt really soul-warming, just like in the books.
The homemade butterscotch sauce is what makes this taste so indulgent, and the ginger beer gives it a fizz that is kind of strange for a hot drink, but weirdly works really well. The only other ingredients are apple juice and whipped cream, though if you want to get properly drunk off your Butterbeer, you can add whisky too. Once you've made the butterscotch sauce, you basically just mix it all together in a big pan/cauldron, so it's pretty simple.
It's so sweet that one glass is definitely enough, which is probably a good thing, since this Butterbeer is more likely to kill you from a heart attack than making you pass out Hagrid-style by the fireplace. The recipe we used (along with some other Potter-inspired potions) is here.
Magic score: 9/10
Ron's take on acid pops is this: "Fred gave me one when I was seven, it burnt a hole right through my tongue. I can remember Mum walloping him with her broomstick."
Thankfully, without magic it is pretty difficult to make a lollipop which actually burns a hole through someone's skin, which would be even more difficult to repair.
All you have to do for these is roll a lolly around in honey and stick popping candy to it. They work best with sour lollies, and if you can get some sour sherbet to stick to the honey too, then you might get somewhere close to the tongue-burning levels poor 7-year-old Ron experienced.
Magic level: 3/10
You can make pumpkin juice purely from puréeing a pumpkin (or butternut squash) and mixing it with water, but that seemed very boring and not at all magical, so we decided to use a recipe that also added apple juice, apricot nectar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla essence.
While Ellie did her best Harry impression with a glass of Butterbeer, the rest of us mixed all the ingredients together in a big pot that made us feel a bit like we were in potions class (thankfully minus Snape breathing down our necks or telling us to turn to page 394).
You can drink the juice hot or cold, but it definitely worked best as a cold refresher. It's the sort of drink you would take on a picnic by the Hogwarts lake (and hope the giant squid didn't pop up and steal any).
Magic score: 7/10
Because jelly bean moulds are almost impossible to get hold of, and none of us know how to transfigure, we were forced to make something more accurately described as Every Flavour Ice Cube Moulds than Every Flavour Beans.
Despite being pretty fiddly, these were the most fun thing to make, because we got to experiment with the flavours and then subject our very wary colleagues to them the next day.
The recipe we used told us to boil sugar and gelatine in water to create the goo that would make up the beans, and then mix in whatever flavouring and colourings we fancied in separate bowls, before leaving them in the moulds overnight to harden.
Because of the lack of proper moulds, the beans admittedly looked more like they'd been made by Neville than Hermione, and the food colourings didn't come out as bright as we'd hoped, but the flavours really came across well! Here's how our colleagues reacted to them:
Gena: Paprika flavour
Gena got about halfway through her "bean" before making that face ^ and spitting it into her hand. Rating: 2/10.
Ben: Vanilla flavour
Ben couldn't work out if he was enjoying his bean or not at first, so he made lots of funny faces before eventually deciding that he really hated it. It turns out that this wasn't because the bean itself was bad, but because he doesn't like vanilla. Still, better than earwax. Rating: 5/10.
Tabatha: Coffee flavour
This went down so well that everyone else tried a coffee one too, and we all agreed it was easily the best one. The coffee we made to put in the beans was really strong, so the flavour came across very clearly. A surprising winner. Rating: 8/10.
Flo: Pumpkin spice latte flavour
Pretty similar to the coffee flavour, but with a cinnamon kick. Flo acted like a right Hufflepuff (I'm a Hufflepuff so I'm allowed to say that) and only took a little nibble. Rating: 7/10.
Remee: Black pepper flavour
Well, the last picture says it all really, doesn't it. We were sneaky and made these blue, so they looked like they were bubblegum or blueberry flavour *does high-pitched, evil Voldemort laugh*. Rating: 1/10.
Taste: Between 1/10 and 8/10
Magic score: 8/10
Overall, this food is definitely worth making, even if you don't know how to use magic. Things like the pasties and the Butterbeer really don't take long, and can just be made as a one-off treat, but making a bunch of recipes and creating a spread like we did would definitely impress people if you fancied throwing a Harry Potter party, perhaps in aid of his birthday on 31 July.
If you want to go all out, you can find even more Potter-inspired recipes here. The last question we have is this: How did so many wizards remain so thin? They must have some seriously magical metabolisms.