Printable version here.
This “Book Makes Me Cook” is a monthly read and cook event where this month’s book (chosen by Simran) was any book from the Harry Potter series. A small group of bloggers get together every month to read a chosen book and then cook something that was inspired by that book. I joined them this month to see what I could come up with.
Ever since J K Rowling announced that she was putting a stop to the Harry Potter saga with the 7th book, Potter Mania seems to have eased off worldwide.
My daughter used to be quite “potty” about Potter, as I used to tease her. She got me to read all the seven books (plus the two about some mystical beasts and another one I now forget) and my husband and I have sat with her through all the Potter movies, except the last one!
While all this didn’t make me a Harry Potter fan, I could see why children and so many adults found the books so fascinating.
The books are full of passages featuring food. Students at Hogwart’s Academy are always served dinner at tables that are laden with food. And Ron’s fascination for the weird sweet stuff sold on Hogwat’s express. The dinners served by Harry’s aunt (usually as punishment decreed by his uncle) are a contrast to the meals that Ron’s mother, Molly Weasley, juggles up out of the thin air. Now this is one feat I wish I could manage on those “what to cook?” days that I often have!
I couldn’t quite figure out what to cook as Chocolate Frogs, Cockroach Clusters, Broomstick Salad, Tooth Flossing String Mints, Jelly Slugs and the like weren’t exactly my sort of thing. Of course there was nicer and real food like butter beer, treacle fudge, chocolate gateaux but I wanted to cook something savoury. Now most of the real food mentioned in the books are typically English and many are non-vegetarian.
So I finally settled on a Shepherd’s Pie (in a vegetarian version) which I believe was on the menu at Hogwart’s. I understand that a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is sometimes called a Shepherdess’s Pie!!
I adapted Delia’s Vegetarian Shepherd Pie to suit us here is my version.
2 ½ cups well mashed potaoes
¼ cup grated cheese
25 g butter, softened
salt and freshly crushed pepper to taste
½ cup cooked black eyed beans
¼ cup cooked (not very mushy) split yellow lentils (tuvar dal)
¼ cup cooked whole moong beans
1 ½ cup chopped vegetables (carrots, peas, cabbage, green beans)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), finely chopped
½ tsp garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp herbs (I used thyme, parsley and basil)
salt to taste
1 ½ tsp oil
Lightly mash the cooked beans and lentils. Keep aside.
Heat the oil and add the garlic paste and chopped onions. Sauté till the onions are soft and light brown. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the chilli and cumin powders and cook for a minute. Now add the bell pepper/ capsicum and the steamed vegetables and cook for another minute. Add the mashed beans and lentils, salt, the grated nutmeg and the herbs. Mix well and cook for a minute or two. Take off the heat.
Now pour this mixture into an oven safe dish (about 8”by 8”) and smoothen it out.
In another bowl, put the mashed potatoes, grated cheese, butter, salt and pepper and mix everything well. Spread this mashed potato mixture on top of the bean-vegetable mixture making sure it is an even layer. You may smoothen the top, or use a fork to score the mashed potato layer decoratively. Alternatively, pipe the mashed potato in an attractive pattern.
Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes till the top is brown.
Serve warm. This recipe serves 4.
You can see that my Shepherd’s Pie is looking a bit anaemic! I baked the pie for about 35 minutes and didn’t see too much browning happening. Never having baked this before, I didn’t want to over bake the pie and end up with a “tough as leather” potato layer. But after eating it (it was good), I think the pie can be safely baked for another 15 minutes till it browned well.
I take consolation in the fact that though my pie didn’t look so nice, it tasted very good. At least it’s not in the same class as Hagrid’s Rock Cakes!!
And while we are on the subject of Harry Potter, you might want to read J K Rowling’s speech “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”. She delivered this commencement address at Harvard University on the occasion of being presented with an honorary doctorate of letters degree.
This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is also going across to Ivy’s Savoury Pie Event.