Samhain Baking

Sloe gin, vodka and brandy are all great favourite foe me at this season. And so is cooking and baking. I find the following recipes very good.

Soul Cakes were part of the Samhain feast. Traditionally these were flat round cakes flavoured with saffron, mixed spices and currants. The ancestral spirits return to us on this night, offering their wisdom. We light candles to show we await them and offer food and drink (including soul cakes) in exchange for the wisdom.

Ingredients

150g butter
150g caster sugar
560g plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
generous pinch of saffron
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
3 tbsp currants
2 tsp milk

Method:
Crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar, add the milk and grind to combine. Sift together the flour and remaining spices into a bowl.

In the meantime, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour and spice mix and stir in the currants. Add the milk and saffron mixture and enough additional milk to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and shape into flat cakes about 5 or 6cm in diameter. Transfer to a well-buttered baking tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Barmbrack also known as Barabridd
The Traditional Bread of Halloween and Samhain – and one I use a lot, it being a Welsh thing

Barmbrack is a traditional Celtic bread served during Samhain with tea, and is the center of a divinatory ritual for the coming year. To make a traditional Barmbrack, trinkets and charms are always added into the mixture. Naturally, your own charms and meanings can and should be utilized as a part of your Samhain traditions. Each charm should be wrapped carefully in parchment or wax paper and placed equally through the bread before its final rise. Remember, when choosing to add charms to your Barmbrack, be certain to warn your guests before consuming!

•1cup of Orange Spice tea, prepared
•4 cups white flour
•3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
•1/4 tsp Allspice
•Pinch of salt
•1/2 stick butter
•1 package of yeast
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 tsp white sugar
•1 1/4 cups luke-warm milk
•1 egg, beaten
•1 cup raisins
•1 cup dried fruit
The evening before, soak the raisins and dried fruit in the brown sugar and tea. Drain before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Sift flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter.

2. Add the yeast to the teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of the warm milk.

3. Pour the rest of the warm milk and the egg into the yeast mixture and combine with the dry ingredients and the sugar. Beat well and knead until the batter is stiff but elastic.

4. Fold in the prepared fruit. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled. Knead again for another 2 or 3 minutes and divide between two greased 1 1b loaf pans.

5. Wrap the charms in greaseproof paper and then hide them in the dough. Be sure they are well distributed. Cover again and let rise until the dough comes up to the top of the pan (30 minutes to an hour).

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the top is nicely browned and the bread sounds hollow when thumped.

Keeps about one week in a sealed container, but do note: Stale Barmbrack is still delicious when toasted and buttered!

Colcannon

I really like this one – shall be doing it this year

Potatoes, harvested from August to October, were a part of the feast in Ireland where they were made into a Samhain dish known as colcannon. Colcannon is a mashed potato, cabbage, and onion dish still served in Ireland on All Saint’s Day. It was an old Irish tradition to hide in it a ring for a bride, a button for a bachelor, an thimble for a spinster, and a coin for wealth, or any other item which local custom decreed in keeping with idea of the New Year as a time for divination.)

4 cups mashed potatoes
2 1/2 cups cabbage, cooked and chopped fine
1/2 cup butter (avoid corn oil margarines as they will not add the needed body and flavour)
1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream
3/4 cup onion, chopped very find and sautéed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Sauté onions (traditionalists sauté in lard or grease, but butter is acceptable.). Boil the potatoes and mash them (do not use artificial potato flakes). In a large pan place all of the ingredients except the cabbage and cook over low heat while blending them together. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped cabbage. The mixture will take on a pale green cast. Keep stirring occasionally until the mixture is warm enough to eat. Lastly drop in a thimble, button, ring, and coin. Stir well and serve.

Bread of the Dead

I like this one too …

Serve with milk or hot chocolate, and offer some to your departed ancestors, so they may breathe in its essence and be nourished, before you gobble it up yourself!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
10 drops anise extract
Mix all of the above until smooth. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. With clean hands, mold the dough into a round shape with a knob on the top (which will be a skull) or into smaller round shapes, animals, faces or angels. Place dough on cookie sheet.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T. flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. melted butter
Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle topping on dough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When cool, decorate the skull shaped knobs, animals or faces with icing sugar to make eyes, nose and mouth.

Howling Jack: Honey Pumpkin Mead

Have to do this for next year now …

This mead is the color of a ripe peach and smells like autumn leaves – perfect for a Harvest party or Sabbat.

1 sound, hard-rind pumpkin (approx. 2 quart capacity)
Paraffin wax
1 1/2 quarts of water
4 lbs. honey
2 each oranges and lemons
1 pkt. wine yeast
1 tea bag (black tea)

Prepare yeast starter.
Sterilize honey and water by boiling for 10 minutes, skimming the froth as it rises.
Remove from heat; stir in sliced citrus fruits, including skins.
Cool to room temperature; pitch yeast.
Allow to sit over night.
Prepare pumpkin by cutting off the top with a sharp knife. The top must “mate” with the bottom so cut carefully. Clean out the seeds, strings, and membranes of the pumpkin. Rinse out with water.
Pour the must into the pumpking, leaving an inch of air space between the liquid and the rim of the opening. Replace the top.
Prepare the paraffin/water bath: Fill a plastic bucket with hot water, melt the paraffin wax and float it on the water.
Dip the pumpkin, bottom first, into the warm paraffin until it is coated up to its lid. Once the paraffin begins to harden on the pumpkin skin, seal the lid by carefully pouring paraffin over the top, making sure to coat the seam.
Set the pumpkin in the middle of a shallow dishpaaan full of water to keep and thirsty pickle worms at bay and place it in a dark, quiet spot.
Allow to sit for two months, then siphon off and bottle.
Note: It is probably a good idea to rack the mead into a glass fermenter, fitted with an air lock, for evaluation prior to bottling. If the fermentation is not complete and you bottle prematurely, the corks and glass may blow.

Ichabod Crane’s Baked Pumpkin Mousse

Never tried this … may well do this year

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
4 eggs, seperated
5 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 6-cup ovenproof bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cups sugar. Beat in the yolks, one at a time. Stir in the cornmeal, pumpkin, and spices, then the cream.
Beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a teaspoon at a time, and continue beating until the whies are stiff and glossy but not dry. Fold the whites into the pumpkin mixture and pour the mixture into the buttered bowl.
Set the bowl in a larger pan filled with 1 inch of hot water and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the bowl, or let it settle on a cooling rack for 30 minutes and then invert the mousse onto a plate. Make a jack-o’-lantern face with currants and serve with unsweetened whipped cream. Serves 8.

Soothsayer’s Sliced Apples

Fantastic !!! If very bad for the diet LOL

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, finely ground
6 large, firm apples
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat until it is almost melted. Remove from heat, stir, and let cool. Spread the nuts in a small bowl.

Dip the apples into the chocolate and shake off excess. Then dip the apples into the nuts to coat the bottom. Set them 3 inches apart on a lightly buttered tray and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
In a small pot, stir together the sugar, cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 240, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and add vanilla. Pour the hot caramel over the apples, a little at a time, letting it drip down the sides. Cool the apples but don’t refrigerate them.
When ready to serve, slice the apples in half and remove the cores. Cut each half into 4 slices. Makes 48 slices.

Remembrance Cookies

These cookies can be made on Hallow’s Eve. They can be shaped like people and the herb rosemary is added to the dough as a symbol of remembrance. Some of the cookies are eaten while telling stories or attributes of special ancestors, reminding us that we still have access to their strengths–or perhaps a predisposition to their weaknesses. The rest of the cookies are left outside by a bonfire as an offering. This can be a solemn ritual, but it need not be.

Ingredients for the cookies:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter or margarine (softened)
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 T. chopped rosemary

Heat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Beat until dough forms and refrigerate for three hours. Divide dough into halves. Roll out one portion to 3/16 of an inch on a floured surface. Cut out with gingerbread women or men cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with second portion. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

By Jennifer Toppel

As Creator of Ye Olde Witches Magazine along with The Black Hat Society Network, Jennifer is a very busy mother of 2 children. Recently Handfasted/Married to her High School Sweetheart, Jennifer works as an aspiring dog groomer and is working to gain her Certification as a Professional Dog Groomer.

Jennifer is an Eclectic Kitchen Witch with various interests in a wide variety of Spiritual Beliefs. Nature is her Church and the Kitchen and Garden are her playgrounds in which she does her best work.

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

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Marie’s St. Augustine Ghost Encounter

St AugustineSt. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest continuously occupied European-settled city in the United States.  And some spirits have been occupying it considerably longer than others.  So if there was any place I was likely to experience an encounter with a ghost, this was it.  Better yet, I was going to be there for three whole days on a conference set up by the Tampa Bay Ghost Watchers.  So even if I didn’t find a ghost, I was going to learn a lot about them. Because, I’ve been on ghost hunts before, and I just don’t find ghosts.  And since Dad worked in electronics, I know a little too much about what can really set off that EMF detector.  But that’s a different story.  This one is about the ghost.

Because in St. Augustine, I didn’t make it past the first night without bumping into a ghost. We were out in small groups being given tours of various haunted locations in town by local experts, and since these weren’t the standard guided tours, we had more time to stop and explore various locations.  I took some pictures and nothing much happened. Until Huguenot Cemetery.  Huguenot Cementery.  Now every ghost tour in town will take you to the cemetery and tell you about the various hauntings.  What they may not tell you is that the grassy area outside the cemetery remains undeveloped because it is believed to have been used as an unmarked burial ground during one of the cities yellow fever plagues.

Now, I wasn’t sure why we were all poking our cameras through the closed gates of the cemetery (it was late at night) when we were apparently walking around on top of other graves.  So I wandered away to stand quietly in a spot between a palm tree and an oak tree.  As I stood there, I felt something just brush my arm. Now is Florida, this is more likely to be a bug than a ghost, but it didn’t feel bug-like.  Then I noticed the cold spot. From about waist height down, the air around me was chillier than it should have been for a muggy Florida night.  As I stood there, moving my arm up and down and deciding that, yep, there seemed to be something unusual going on, my friend Elizabeth join me. She was able to feel the same distinct cold spot.

In this case, the haunting didn’t feel spooky or scary.  Instead I picked up more a sense of loneliness. People, adults and children, died and were buried in haste, then forgotten.  We left our ghostly friend where we found him.  But if you ever visit St. Augustine, stop outside Huguenot cemetery and take a moment to remember the people the guides don’t tell the ghost stories about because time forgot them.

 

Rose Hip update …

I’ve just got the mush into the muslin, draining overnight into the bucket, tomorrow I’ll make the juice into the jelly.

It’s now Apple, Rose Hip & Hawthorn jelly. I went out for a walk this afternoon, onto Honeymoor Common, and was greeted by more rose hips and lots and lots of haws – the hawthorn berries. The trees on the common are loaded with berries, dark tree-limbs jewelled with bright garnets that glow in the autumn sun. I couldn’t get all the way I wanted to, along the footpath across the common to come into the village behind the church, the stiles were too high, I would need to pull myself up onto them and having only one working arm doesn’t make this a good idea to try! So, I turned back and walked around the common past the smaller pool, then back to the big pool and to the lane home. It was a good walk.

Coming near to the big pool there was this exquisite hawthorn tree. She had lost all her leaves and stood at the edge of the water glowing with her garnets. She called to me. I asked again when I got to her – never take anything for granted. A robin – again, like yesterday – sang to me. I said that I would only take a few, what my big coat pocket could hold, and leave the rest for the critters and birds. Both tree and bird seemed satisfied and the slight pressure I’d felt, a sort of wariness, wanting me to have some of the fruit but hoping I wasn’t going to be greedy, slipped away. I took some fruit from all the branches I could reach, it quickly half-filled the pocket, weighing the coat down on the shoulder that side. Not my operated shoulder. When I’d finished I thanked the tree, and the land and the beasties and moorhens I could hear in the long grass and reeds, and went on homewards.

In the lane,m before I got our drive, the sun caught the fruit on a lovely apple tree. bright greens and reds, and the tree herself had a lovely shape. I stopped to admire. No-one had picked the fruit although it was well ripe and the tree stood right by the gate – but outside – of one of the houses in the lane. It called too. I looked at the fruit but I couldn’t take it, not without asking the people, but there were a lots of windfalls, many of them good, lying in the grass. I felt I could take those. Again, I asked the tree. “Please! Please!” she said. “I want my fruit eaten.” So I did, filling both the big pockets in my coat with the gorgeous apples. The scent was delicious.

So I got home with all the makings for the jelly, and all wild-harvested. The rose hips from yesterday are in my wild hedge although they get the biodynamic treatment. I love this, asking Mother Nature for food and being given it. It’s always worth watching the things that happen to you, the apparent “accidents” like me not being able to do the walk I had intended. If I had done I may well not have gone anywhere near the hawthorn tree, nor would the sun have necessarily been in the right place to show me the apple tree, and nor might I have been in the right frame of mind to see any of it either. I don’t subscribe to accidents and coincidences as many do. I try to always listen and hear and see the little gifts the Mother showers on me every day, and to return gifts of my own whenever I can. the little everyday magics are amazing :-).

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

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Apple & Rose Hip Jelly

Rosehip and Apple Jelly Recipe

* Comments(91)

My thanks to The cottage Smallholder for this recipe Smile

Rosehips in our gardenRosehips are ripening and perfect for picking now. Some people wait until after the first frost, when the rosehips will be soft. We start picking from the first week in September. They need to cook for longer but we know that they’re really fresh. They’re high in vitamin C and a great asset for the self sufficient smallholder. As a child, I remember my Mother giving us rosehip syrup (a dessert spoon daily). It was rather good. Nowadays, we make apple and rosehip jelly.

The rosehip flavour combines well with the apple. This is a delicate jelly with a fuller taste than plain apple jelly; good with toast for breakfast and excellent served with chicken, pork or a mild cheese.

Incidentally, I recently heard that rosehip concoctions are good for sore throats. Perhaps we should all toy with a spoonful when we’re next in bed with a bug.

Rosehip and Apple Jelly recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb/900g rosehips
  • 4 lb/1800g of sweet eating apples. We use windfalls as they won’t keep
  • Zest of half a lemon (add to the apples)
  • Juice of half a lemon (strained). Half a medium lemon equates to one tablespoon of juice.
  • Sugar – 1pt/600ml of strained juice to 1lb/454g of white granulated sugar
  • This recipe makes 14 half pound jars. So adjust accordingly.

Method:
As the rosehips can take longer than the apple to soften I always cook them separately. In this way both are cooked for their individual optimum time. I cook the rosehips on one evening, straining it overnight, and then cook the apples on the next evening. The juice will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, in covered containers. Split over three evenings, the jelly is not a palaver and can be easily fitted into a busy routine.

  1. Remove stalks from the rosehips and place in a large pan. Don’t use an iron or aluminium pan as this will strip away the vitamin C. A large glass or enamelled saucepan is ideal. I use a large non stick or stainless steel stock pot. Barely cover the hips with water and bring to the boil and simmer gently until the hips are soft. This can take quite a while if the hips are still firm (when I was making this jelly, the hips took a good hour and a half to soften). Keep an eye on them, stirring from time to time. Top up with water if necessary. (I mashed them gently with a plastic potato masher to hurry them along). If you are using my three evening method, strain the rosehips through sterilised muslin (see points 3 and 4 below)
  2. Wash the apples, cut out bad bits and chop roughly. There is no need to peel or core the apples. Add water to coverc of the fruit. Add the lemon zest. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer very gently until all the fruit is soft and squishy. (This can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how ripe the fruit is.)
  3. Pour the cooked fruit through sterilised muslin into a large clean bucket or bowl (how do I sterilise muslin/the jelly bag? See tips and tricks below). The muslin is often referred to as a “jelly bag”. We use tall buckets to catch the drips from the jelly bags. Rather than hang the bags (conventional method-between the legs of an upturned stool) I find it easier to line a large plastic sieve with the muslin. This clips neatly onto the top of a clean bucket. The sieve is covered with a clean tea cloth to protect against flies.
  4. Leave the jelly bag to drip overnight (or about 12 hours).
  5. Measure the juice the next day.
  6. Pour the juice into a deep heavy bottomed saucepan and add 1lb/454g of white granulated sugar for each 1pt/570ml of juice.
  7. Add the lemon juice.
  8. Heat the juice and sugar gently stirring from time to time, so as to make sure that that all the sugar has dissolved before bringing the liquid slowly to the boil.
  9. As there are apples (high in pectin) in this recipe only continue to boil for about 10 minutes before testing for a set. This is called a rolling boil. Test every 3 to 5 minutes until setting point is reached. (What is testing for a set? See tips and tricks below).
  10. Tossing in a nugget of butter towards the end will reduce the frothing that can occur.
  11. When jelly has reached setting point pour into warm sterilised jars using a funnel and ladle. (How do I sterilise jars? See tips and tricks below).
  12. Cover immediately with plastic lined screw top lids or waxed disks and cellophane tops secured with a rubber band.
  13. If you don’t think that the jelly has set properly, you can reboil jelly the next day. The boiling reduces the water in the jelly. I have done this in the past. Ideally you should try for the right set the first time.
  14. Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place. Away from damp.

Tips and tricks:

  • What is a jelly bag?
    A jelly bag is traditionally a piece of muslin but it can be cheesecloth, an old thin tea cloth or even a pillowcase. The piece needs to be about 18 inches square. When your fruit is cooked and ready to be put in the jelly bag, lay your cloth over a large bowl. Pour the fruit into the centre of the cloth and tie the four corners together so that they can be slung on a stick to drip over the bowl. Traditionally a stool is turned upside down, the stick is rested on the wood between the legs and the jelly bag hangs over the bowl. We experimented and now line a sieve with muslin, place it over a bucket and cover the lot with clean tea cloths (against the flies).
  • How do I sterilise muslin/the jelly bag?
    Iron the clean jelly bag with a hot iron. This method will also sterilise tea cloths.
  • Jelly “set” or “setting point”?
    Getting the right set can be tricky. I have tried using a jam thermometer but find it easier to use the following method.
    Before you start to make the jelly, put a couple of plates in the fridge so that the warm jam can be drizzled onto a cold plate (when we make jam we often forget to return the plate to the fridge between tests, using two plates means that you have a spare cold plate). Return the plate to the fridge to cool for approx two minutes. It has set when you run your finger through it and leave a crinkly track mark. If after two minutes the cooled jam is too liquid, continue to boil the jelly, testing it every few minutes until you have the right set. The jelly is far more delicious if it is slightly runny. It does get firmer after a few months.
  • How do I sterilise the jars and lids?
    We collect jars all year round for our jelly, chutney and jam making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the jam, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan-assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.

Read more: The Cottage Smallholder » Rosehip and Apple Jelly Recipe http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/rosehip-and-apple-jelly-recipe-60#ixzz13GPwVd6v

Elen Sentier

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