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