Gastric Gravitas

November 2011 Ariella McManus

In honor of my Mum, who expended an innumerable amount of hours teaching me to cook, I have decided to impart some of that knowledge to you. Each issue I will present to you some of my (and Mum's, of course) favorite recipes, guaranteed to make your mouth water and your taste buds do the tango on your way to the kitchen. If you decide to try them out for yourself, I would love to hear from you. My owl is getting fat and spoiled from living a life of leisure; time to put him to work, so owl at will!

This month marks the Muggle feast of Thanksgiving, as well as the upcoming wizarding feast of Yule (Yule is technically next month, but as we won't have an issue until after the fact, I have decided to include it as well). Some of my fondest memories of these holidays are my family sitting around the table, laughing and swapping stories. The kitchen is truly the heart of our home, and Mum's personal domain, which she so graciously allowed me to share as soon as I was old enough to grasp a spoon and stir. Below you will find three of our holiday favorites, along with some (hopefully) amusing personal stories.

Dad's Favorite Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving holiday would be complete without cranberry sauce, and ever since my Mum discovered this recipe years ago, it is a 'must have' at our Thanksgiving dinner (which we celebrate in honor of Mum, who is a muggle). You should hear him fuss every time she teases that she is going to try a new recipe. The man is addicted to it, and with good reason!


  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 24 ounces fresh whole cranberries, washed and stemmed (6 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, each 3 inches long
1. In a large, heavy stainless steel saucepan, bring the water and sugars to boil over high heat; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cranberries, orange rind, cinnamon, lemon rind, nutmeg, and cloves.

2. Simmer for 3 minutes or until the berries begin to pop. Stir in the juices, cornstarch, and cinnamon sticks; bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container; let cool. Discard the cinnamon sticks, then cover,, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Makes 6 cups.

Alexander's Eggnog

My brother, Alexander, swears that Yule would not be complete without eggnog. He loves the stuff! Around our house, you know that you have truly 'graduated' into adulthood (or darned near close) when you are able to pass the rite of passage known as 'The First Eggnog'. An endearing tradition in which the lucky recipient is given his or her own special goblet, and the pouring of the eggnog is accompanied by much cheering and well wishes. Please note that one should not get too full of themselves upon being deemed old enough to partake of the Yule eggnog, or dire consequences await. I could tell you some stories, but Alexander would kill me!


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

2. Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve. Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

Ari's Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

This is one of my very favorite holiday meals; although if it were up to me, we would have it with much more frequency. Mum swears that one day I will turn into a Yorkshire pudding, but since that hasn't happened as of yet, I will conclude that I am safe. Besides, I could always use Finite Incantatum to negate whatever magic causes one to turn into a pudding from eating too many of them!


  • 3 lbs joint of sirloin of beef
  • 2oz beef dripping
  • 10oz of plain flour (sifted)
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 ounces milk
  • 5 ounces water
  • beef drippings or cooking fat
1. Heat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / gas mark 4.

2. Put the joint of beef into a shallow baking tray or tin.

3. Season the meat to taste with a little salt or a sprinkle of rosemary or a little black pepper

4. Melt half of the beef dripping and pour over the meat and seasoning.

5. Place in the middle of the oven for 70 minutes.

6. After 70 minutes, keep the meet in the oven, but turn up the heat to 220ºC / 425ºF / gas mark 7.

7. Pour the remainder of the beef dripping into a cake baking tray (The type of baking tray used to make small cakes / muffins). Put the tray, with a little bit of dripping in each of the depressions in the tray, into the oven for 3 minutes or until you see the dripping smoke.

8. Remove from the oven and pour 2 tablespoons of the Yorkshire Pudding batter (see below for batter recipe) into each cake depression and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the same oven as the beef.

9. 10 minutes after you have taken out the cooked Yorkshire puddings you can take out the beef. Leave to stand another 10 minutes to allow to cool a little before carving.

Yorkshire Pudding Mix (Batter)

This will make about 6 or so puddings).

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl

2. Break the egg into the centre of the heap of flour.

3. Mix the water and the milk together in a jug. Pour the mixture slowly onto the flour and egg. As you start to pour the water/milk slowly beat the mixture together with a whisk. Add the salt and continue to beat. The puddings will be lighter if the batter includes a little air.

4. Once all the ingredients have been beaten together leave to stand, covered by a cloth, for 40 minutes or so.

5. Now you are at 'step 8' in the main cooking method. Your oven should be very hot and your tray for the puddings very hot.

That is all for now; good eats and best wishes until we meet again!