The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

My sister visited me last week and we spent most of our time eating popcorn at the movie theater because we went three times (twice to the same movie but who’s counting) so I didn’t cook much. We ate a lot of pizza too. So I do not have a new recipe for you this week, but I had another idea! I’m going to occasionally do cookbook reviews, starting with some older ones that I love and use often. Of course, because I’m a nerd, one of my favorite cookbooks is The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.


This cookbook is eight years old already but it’s also probably my most used of the myriad that I own. This has everything to do with it being Harry Potter related, obviously. There is no recipe for Butterbeer in here, but there are so many other delicious recipes, along with random fun facts and even instructions on how to brew a proper British cuppa. My go-to recipe in here is the Creamy Onion Soup, which is a Weasley house recipe. It’s simple and honestly amazing on a cold day with some crusty bread. But this book also has go-to worthy recipes for roast chicken, pork chops, and even an apple pie recipe.

It is listed as juvenile nonfiction, but don’t let that stop you. Some of these recipes are complicated and a fun challenge. There’s even a recipe for haggis, but it’s not exactly recommended that you make it!

I’ve loved every single recipe that I have made from this book, and I have only covered about half of what’s in it. It’s a wonderful addition to my collection, and if you are a Harry Potter fan and a cooking enthusiast, it would be a wonderful addition to yours, as well. Typically I don’t care about star ratings, but this one definitely gets five.

Pork Ribs and an Abundance of Chives

Because I’m just one of those people who can’t follow tradition most of the time, I refuse to use barbecue sauce on my pork ribs. Actually, I love tradition in most areas of my life, but I also just don’t love barbecue sauce. There, I said it. The stuff just isn’t me. I’ll eat it, but I generally refuse to cook with it. (And well, I prefer to make my own.) Anyway. One of these days I’ll probably make a fantastic recipe with barbecue and then I’ll prove myself wrong. But I digress.

Plus, it’s spring and therefore I felt like using some fresh spring greens. Of course, chives aren’t only a spring green, but mine are growing SO FAST so they need to be used. I mean, the original plant looks like Cthulhu and there’s some baby tentacles popping up elsewhere. It’s getting out of hand. So I figured I would grab a handful from Cthulhu and mix up a marinade for the country style pork ribs I had pulled out of the freezer. What I did end up with was magical.

Dijon and Chive Marinade (for about 2 pounds of meat)


-1/2 cup olive oil

-juice of a whole lemon

country ribs 3

-1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard

-1/4 cup chopped chives

Whisk dijon mustard into olive oil until smooth. Add fresh lemon juice and whisk well. Stir in chives. Place meat into a plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Seal bag, letting out all the air. Shake bag to fully cover all pieces of meat. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, but up to 4 hours is ideal.

You can cook the meat any number of ways; it’s really up to you. I chose to brown the pork ribs in a dutch oven and then bake for 40 minutes at 375. (Your timing will definitely vary; I am pretty sure my oven doesn’t heat accurately, but

country ribs 1

haven’t tested it yet. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to test for doneness!) This recipe would be great on the grill or pan fried as well.


Along with the ribs, I made a mix of sauteed dandelion greens, spinach, onions, and garlic. It was delicious, and I had intended to share that recipe as well, but it needs a fair bit of tweaking, so I will wait! We also had brown rice.

country ribs 2

A Match Made in Foodie Heaven

Though I have tried a lot of ingredients and whole dishes that are not familiar to the standard American palate, there are many that I have enjoyed the taste of and not yet cooked with. Miso paste is one of those things. I love a good miso soup, but for some reason the idea of buying and actually working with the fermented soybean paste from Japan kind of intimidated me. Well, no longer! I ordered some white miso and red miso from Amazon last week and researched some recipes. Last night I concocted this incredible glaze and used it to coat chickpeas and toast them, as well as coat chicken breasts and bake them. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever. I was slightly obsessing over this, hence the post title. It really IS that good.

Miso-Butter Glaze 

2 tablespoons butter

1 heaping tablespoon white miso paste

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Add miso and butter to small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter begins to melt. Use a wire whisk to combine, adding in the rice vinegar as the miso is mostly incorporated. Whisk till creamy. Pour over beans, chicken, sauteed greens, etc.


Last night’s dinner ended up being a really amazing summer salad with the miso-butter chickpeas lending crunch in the midst of greens and strawberries, and miso-butter glazed chicken baked in the oven with small potatoes in my beloved cast iron skillet. The salad needs some tweaking texture-wise, so I am not sharing it here just yet, but hopefully it will be featured in the future!

Tech Mishaps and Fried Rice

I have to be honest here — this isn’t what I originally wrote. And it’s not even Tuesday, which is when my original post was supposed to, well, post. But apparently I never hit Publish, so here we are. Most of my (very little) blogging experience is through the Blogger platform, not WordPress, so I forsee more kinks to work out in the future.

Anyway, thanks for joining me here at With a Side of Rice, and for that I am sharing with you a little recipe I whipped up this afternoon, instead of what I had initially written. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach isn’t ever a good idea, but sometimes what comes of it in the kitchen afterwards definitely is… Mind you, this isn’t your traditional fried rice. I’m not even sure I’ve made traditional fried rice. 😉


Simple and Healthful Fried Rice (Serves 4, or 2 if you’re really hungry)


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 cups leftover rice

1 loose cup spinach

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 eggs, scrambled

Chopped green onions for topping (optional)

Pink Himalayan salt (optional)



Heat olive oil in high sided skillet or dutch oven* over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add spinach, stir to coat in oil, and cook for a minute or two till just starting to wilt. Bring heat down to medium. Stir in rice and then the tomatoes. Once everything is well combined, pour the scrambled eggs over the mix. Let sit for a a minute or two, then mix well. Continue mixing until the egg looks cooked. I usually will let it sit over medium heat for a bit in between mixing so that it gets that nice fried crunch.

Spoon into bowls, top with chopped green onions and pink Himalayan salt, and serve. This would also be excellent served in a whole wheat tortilla.


*Obviously as you can see from the photo, I did not use my cast iron or a dutch oven, and the pan was a little on the full side. I lost a lot of grains of rice.

Easiest Lentil Curry Ever (Vegan)

If there’s one thing that cooks well in a large batch and is also relatively cheap, it’s lentils. With Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, this got even easier for me, because the 365 Everyday Value line of foods and products is now available through Prime Pantry. (I’ve never personally set foot in a Whole Foods store in my life, but I’ve liked this brand from when I’ve encountered it in others’ homes. But I digress.) Last time I did a major Pantry order, I stocked up on beans and grains (of course there was rice!), and I’ve been summarily impressed.

Anyway, the other day I got a huge hankering for a curry, and with all these lentils I have in my pantry, I figured why not try a lentil curry? I found a recipe from Simple Vegan Blog and decided to give it a go. It was easily one of the simplest curries ever that also turned out to be really insanely delicious. Plus it made so much that I have lunch for the next three days! Here’s my adaptation, of course, with a side of rice.


Easiest Lentil Curry Ever (Vegan)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils (220 g)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice (200 g)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce (450 g)
  • 1 can (16 oz) full-fat coconut milk (150 g)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder


  1. Cook lentils and rice according to their respective directions. Drain and set aside. (This is the part that takes the longest, since lentils do take a decent amount of time to soften.)
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the garlic and the onion, and cook them over medium-high heat until golden brown.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, coconut milk and spices and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mix in cooked lentils and cook further for at least 15 or 20 minutes.
  5. Serve the lentils over the basmati rice.
  6. Will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

It truly is the easiest curry ever! And completely vegan, which makes it more accessible to all diets.