So, you may know I’m a big Harry Potter fan from my previous post about Harry’s Hogwarts Acceptance Letter.  So, of course, I find the two Wizarding World Of Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando some of the coolest theme park attractions around.  Everything in the areas adds up to make an amazing, immersive experience and that includes the food offerings.

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Last year, we were able to visit Universal Studios soon after the new Diagon Alley area had opened.  Sure, the butterbeer and pumpkin juice from the older Hogsmeade area (at Islands Of Adventure) were here in abundance.  Where Hogsmeade had the “Three Broomsticks” restaurant, Diagon Alley, to nobody’s surprise, has the “Leaky Cauldron“.  The Leaky Cauldron offers a variety of British pub food, and I’ve found a new addition to my favorite theme park eats – the Ploughman’s Platter along with a Dragon Scale beer.  I was in the mood for one the other day, and since there is no Leaky Cauldron in St. Louis, I decided to make my own, and get some images for my stock photo portfolio as well.  BTW, you can find the images from this shoot at: http://www.stocksy.com/sjlocke/shoot/29128

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First off, here’s me in the Leaky Cauldron lifting a “pint” of Dragon Scale.

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leakyCauldron

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Love the interior details in this place.  Now, let’s take a look at the actual platter itself.

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Images for blog post, copyright seanlockephotography.

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So, what have we got here, on our platter for two peoplefor $19.99?  Let’s take inventory:

  • Scotch eggs
  • three kinds of cheese
  • green salad
  • apple and beet salad
  • cornichon
  • some kind of chutney
  • farmer’s bread
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First step, finding recipes for the two more complex things, the Scotch eggs and the apple and beet salad.  For the Scotch eggs, I used this recipe from allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/scotch-eggs-4 .  I added some panko bread crumbs to the regular seasoned bread crumbs I used to give some extra crunch.  This recipe actually turned out very well.  I’d make a patty of sausage with a depression in the middle for the egg.  Then I’d wrap the sausage around as much as I could, and used a “throwing down” motion to try and seat the egg into the meat a little more.  I saw that on Cutthroat Kitchen on FoodNetwork the other day.  Seemed to make it easier to wrap the sausage all the way around the egg then.  By the way, I used regular Italian sausage, not breakfast sausage.  After the flour roll, egg dip and bread crumbs, into the Fry Daddy it went for about five – seven minutes.  Worked perfectly.

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Images for blog post, copyright seanlockephotography.

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Next up was the apple and beet salad.  I was looking for a very simple recipe, so this one from epicurious seemed perfect: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beet-and-apple-salad-233504 . I ended up using about a cup of the canned beets to the one apple.  Next time, I’d halve the amounts for the dressing.  It made a lot.  Overall, the salad was good with everything else, but I didn’t need to keep the leftovers.

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Now, for the cheeses.  Some research on the Ploughman’s Platter yielded some specific suggestions, like Gloucester, which I could find in my local market.  Otherwise, I just picked through the “English” style cheeses in the display, going with the “Blarney Castle” seen in the image below, and a Wensleydale that had cranberries in it.  I know the research told me that there shouldn’t be any frou-frou stuff in the cheeses, but that was all they had, and it was actually pretty good.  The other thing you can see below is the Kerrygold herbed butter.  It was fine, but I should have bought the plain butter they had.  It just didn’t come in an individual stick, and I didn’t want half a pound for $8.  FYI, all these cheeses ran around $6-9.00 for the block.

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Images for blog post, copyright seanlockephotography.

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Another thing research told me was that these platters normally come with “Branston Pickle”, which turns out is a sort of a chutney with a variety of vegetables.  Luckily, our local historic district has an English shop which actually carries this item.  Otherwise I’d have to head across town to our “world grocer” or even order from Amazon.  I remember the Leaky Cauldron version being sweeter, but this was fun to try.  Next time I might try a homemade cranberry sauce.

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Images for blog post, copyright seanlockephotography.

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The green salad was easy.  I grated a little Parmesan onto some baby lettuces, added olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and mixed.  The official menu for the pub says the mustard sauce is a “mustard-horseradish” combination, but I just went with straight stone ground mustard.  It was fine for the eggs, although a little thick to dip into.  Maybe some horseradish mayo mixed in would be good.  The cornichon were just sweet gherkins from the back of the refrigerator.

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For the farmer’s bread, I used local baker Companion Bread’s Miller’s Five Grain bread.  It’s rough, it’s hearty, and it adds fiber to your diet.

I don’t remember if they offered hard cider in the Leaky Cauldron, but I got some anyways to give some variety to the photos.  The other thing was the Dragon Scale beer.  It’s an amber beer, so I went with Fat Tire Amber Ale as an acceptable substitute.  You could also go with Wizard’s Brew, which would equate to a heavy Guinness type drink.  I don’t think it’s as “thick” as Guinness tastes to me, and it’s a little sweeter, but it’s as close as you’re probably going to get.  These Universal beers are made by the Florida Beer Company (hey, can I get a case of Duff sent to my house?)

So, now you too can bring the Leaky Cauldron home.  It will probably run you around $70 for what you can get in the parks for $30, but you’ll be eating scotch eggs and cheese for a week, so it probably evens out.  Enjoy!

Pub food - the traditional Ploughman's Plate with Scotch Eggs, cheeses, farmer's bread, Branston Pickle, etc.

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