Saturday, February 28, 2009

Potions Class - The Ingredients

Making potion ingredients was one of the funner parts of planning this party. I collected cool bottles and jars from the Goodwill for $.69-$2.99 ea. I knew I would reuse them for Halloween so I felt I could justify the time and expense (it adds up) because I knew we'd get use out of them in the future. We made a list of ingredients we needed to make particular potions. We made a potions book as a party favor and many of the kids referenced specific potions from the spellbook during "potions class". I loved trying to create authentic looking ingredients in the kitchen. Maybe I missed my calling as a chemist. A lot of the spices were purchased in the bulk foods department for very little money.

Acid - Jarritos Lime Soda
Mandrake Juice - unsweetened cranberry juice with black food coloring
Swamp Water- water, asafoetida (a super stinky spice), brown & green food coloring

Boomslang Skin - Hyley's loose whole leaf tea soaked in water

Dragon's Blood- Rasberry cocktail mixer
Spider Legs - Black sprinkles from the cake decorating store
Fluxweed - Dill
Knotgrass - Catnip
Lacewing Fly - Plastic flies from the party store
Sal Amoniac - salt
Crocodile Heart - candy hearts
Asphodel Powder - ground mustard seed
Gingerroot - powdered ginger
Salpeter Filings & Rasplings - coarse shaved garlic (Safeway bulk foods)
Daisy Root - Wondra flour

Pufferfish Eyes - boiled large pearl tapioca with a touch of pink and water

The kids LOVED the pufferfish eyes even though many were afraid to touch them.

Flue Powder - Grey colored sugar from the cake decorating store

Beetle Eyes - black sprinkles from the cake decorating store

Armadillo Bile - corn chowder (from a box) with green food coloring

Toad Slime - corn syrup, molasses & food coloring simmered together on the stovetop with a whisk to prevent scorching

 The bottled toad slime.

Ashwinder Eggs - dried soybeans

Test Tubes - water, almond extract & food colorings
Water - the most basic of potion ingredients but a necessary one


  1. so cool. I needed the recipe for armadillo bile. Is that ok?

  2. Hi! I'm in the process of planning a HP birthday party for my 11 year old- this site is invaluable! What great ideas! Thanks for documenting it!

    If you're interested in selling me the rest of your Bertie Botts bags, please let me know!

  3. I love your website - what a wonderful party. I have been working with the large tapioca pearls to make the pufferfish eyes..I tried boiling them..they didn't expand and I tried putting them in cold water. I would love to know how you got them to expand and did you use pink food coloring in the water.

  4. Laura, you have to use the large pearl tapioca, not small pearl, which may be more difficult to find. It is quite a bit larger than standard tapioca. I used Bascom's, see the photo in my post. Cook according to package directions. Then afterward add just a little red food coloring to the water to make it pink. Good luck. I hope that helps.

  5. Thank you so much for answering me so quickly. I have the Boscom Pearls (took me forever to find at grocer) you recommended. I'm just confused because the package directions say to soak in 2 cups of water overnight in frig., drain water..but then this is what I was confused says to add milk, sugar, and beaten eggs, mix well. Cook on medium heat until thickened.. etc..but it sounds like i'm making the actual pudding..not those large pufferfish eyes you have in the picture..I figured I'm missing something..sorry for writing so much..I've been did you actually make the gourmet tapioca pudding as described in the directions or did you leave out the milk, salt, sugar, eggs etc....a Pufferfish chef I'm not!

  6. Make sure that it's large pearl not the more common small pearl. My package says bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes and then another 3 after adding the other ingredients. Since you aren't making pudding just use water. Think of it like cooking pasta. It may be that after cooking they expanded more in the water.

  7. Thank you so much for your patience. I definitely have the same box as you. I cooked them like pasta....(i didn't soak them in water the night before) I brought water to boil with pearls in water, then lowered heat and cooked for 8 minutes (checking them every 3 minutes)..same result..they didn't expand..i even added salt..very strange..maybe it won't work for a muggle. Ha ha I was thinking perhaps they changed the structure or something in the pearls themselves..and they no longer expand...
    I'm sure the kids will have so much to keep them busy and none of them will miss these pufferfish eyes..I just became obsessed with it..have a great Halloween!! thanks

  8. If you didn't soak them first then that is likely the problem. Like beans, if you don't presoak they take MUCH longer to cook. Don't give up. Just cook them longer and you will see they will start to turn magic.

  9. I won't give up..this is a real challenge for me. I will soak them overnight in refrigerator, then cook them like I would spaghetti tomorrow..I hope it works! I will keep you posted.
    To date my final result looks like yours - they are the same translucent color only much smaller.

  10. Thanks for writing this blog, inspiring! Did the kids mix ingredients as they wished, or did they follow recipes, as I was unable to find them. Thanks so much!

  11. Regarding pufferfish I soaked them overnight. Then I cooked them like spaghetti..I didn't have the same success ratio as you..I think maybe one in twenty expanded..almost to the size in your picture. But most of them are disintegrating..It would appear perhaps I'm cooking too long but I check them every three minutes..I bring it to boil..then lower heat and continue to cook for five to ten minutes..they are the same translucent color as yours...I will try again..however they turn out I'm determined to have them at the party..they have a nice slimy consistency..and I figure some of them will expand..What is strange is that they are not changing in a uniform manner..Oh well..thanks again for the inspiration!

  12. Looking forward to doing a bit of a scavenger hunt to find all of this stuff to make an awesome Christmas gift for my son (age 4), who very recently decided that he wants to be a scientist who makes potions when he grows up. :)