Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Samhain


Its time to get in mood with all these carved pumpkins, dancing skeletons, smiling ghosts & witches riding on brooms.
Samhain is the most important holiday of the Celtic calendar. It is the start of the Celtic New Year. This is a good time to make new year resolutions (I make them twice in a year now, just in case I fail, I'll still have 1.January for a second chance :)). In addition to celebrating the year’s end, it is also a celebration of the beginning of Winter.
The doors are opened between the worlds & the paths are travelled by the spirits going back & forth on this night. This world & the Otherworld become equivalent to each other & no barriers exist between the dead & the living, that is, the “Veil” is at its thinnest.
Light a candle for a loved one who has passed on.
Don't forget to leave out food for the fairies on Halloween night at home or at the nearest hawthorn or white-thorn bush to appease the spirits.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

Whilst carving your Jack O’Lantern,save the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious & are rich in nutritious minerals such as zinc.
Preheat the oven to 120C.
Wash the pumpkin seeds to remove all the pulp & place in a bowl. Melt a bit of butter in a pan & then pour in the seeds slowly, tossing while you go. Do not use too much butter, but just enough to lightly coat the seeds. Add salt, spread the seeds out over a baking pan & bake, turning occasionally, until crisp & lightly golden browned. Overcooking causes the nuts to toughen and lose flavor.

Irish Champ:

Classic Irish recipe of mashed potato & scallions or spring onions (you can use leeks instead).
750 g-1 kg potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 cup scallions/spring onions
55-75 g butter
75-100 ml milk
Salt and pepper
Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked.
Finely chop the white part of the scallion/spring onion & roughly chop the green part. Keep to one side.
Drain the potatoes & add the butter & milk & mash until smooth & creamy.
Add the finely chopped white part of the onion and mix well.
Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with the green part of the onion sprinkled on the top.

Colcannon
also has a special meaning at Samhain. On Samhain, colcannon has divination properties, it contains charms -- a ring to symbolize a marriage, a coin to symbolize wealth, a pea to symbolize poverty, a thimble to symbolize spinsterhood & a stick to symbolize "one who will travel far."

1 kg (2 lbs) potatoes, freshly cooked & mashed
250 g ( ½ lb) kale or white cabbage, just cooked, drained & finely chopped
Milk, butter, salt & black pepper
Mix potatoes & kale or cabbage together. Heat some milk with a generous knob of butter. Beat it into the potato mixture until smooth & creamy. Season well.

Did You Ever Eat Colcannon?*
(Traditional)

Did you ever eat Colcannon
When 'twas made with thick'n'd cream
& the greens & scallions blended
Like a picture in a dream?
Did you ever scoop a hole on top
To hold the melting cake
Of clover-flavoured butter
That your mother used to make?
Did you ever eat & eat, afrain
You'd let the ring go past,
& some old married sprissman
Would get it at the last?
Gods be with the happy times
When trouble we had not
& our mother made Colcannon
In the little, three-legged pot.

Scary Shortbread Cookies:
SCARY SHORTBREAD COOKIES


Another Halloween treat is a Barmbrack, a rich Irish fruit bread. Again, the “charms” baked into each loaf would foretell the future of the recipient. Placed in the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth & a ring. Whoever received in their slice the pea, would be unmarried; the stick, would be a fighter; the cloth or rag, would be poor;& the ring, would get married within the year.

Barmbrack is usually baked in a round (20 cm or 8″) cake tin with a loose base.
2 tea bags, or 3 tsp. loose tea (a strong black blend works best)
350 g mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins/sultanas, currants, candied peel)
240 ml milk
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried active yeast or 25 g fresh yeast
450 g strong bread flour
1 tsp. salt
25 g brown sugar
75 g butter
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. mixed spice
Make 2 cups of strong black tea.
Soak the dried fruit in the tea for few hours or up to overnight.
Warm the milk until it is hand-hot. Stir in the teaspoon of sugar & the yeast & leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
Mix the flour, salt & brown sugar in a large bowl.
Rub in the butter or margarine.
Add the yeast, the beaten egg & the spice.
Drain any remaining liquid from the fruit, then add the fruit to the mixture.
Mix well to make a smooth dough (add extra flour if the mixture is too wet).
Turn the dough onto a floured board & knead it thoroughly.
Place it in a buttered tin, cover with a clean towel or cling film & leave in a warm place to rise for 45 – 60 minutes; the dough should have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the tin in the oven & bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the tin, turn it upside down & put it back in the tin or directly on the oven shelf.
Bake for another 20 minutes or so. The loaf will be ready when it sounds hollow when you tap on each of the sides.
Cool the loaf on a wire rack before serving.

Delicious Carrot Cake


3 eggs
250 ml sugar
400 ml flour
0,5 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
200 g butter,melted
400 ml grated carrots
100 ml pineapple in juice,drain,crush with back of the fork (you can use pears instead)
Glaze:
350 g soft cheese (Philadelphia)
200 ml dusting sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar or drop of vanilla essence
Handful of pecan nuts

Slightly whisk the eggs with sugar.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients.
Add to the flour mixture the crushed pineapple & grated carrots.
Mix a little.
Now mix in the butter & eggs. Don't over mix just to combine everything.
Pour the mixture to the prepared baking tray (ca 25X35cm).
Bake at 200 C for 20 min.
Check with toothpick if comes out clean, its ready.
Cool on the wire rack.
For a filling mix soft cheese, sugar & vanilla. Cover the cake.
Decorate with pecans.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cauliflower Soup


1 small cauliflower
1 carrot, cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
100 g corn, frozen
2 tbsp flour
200 ml milk
2 tbsp butter
salt, pepper
Saute onion & carrot in a saucepan with butter & 4 tbsp water.
At the same time add the cauliflower florets into the 1 l boiling water & cook until half way cooked, ca 2-3 minutes.
Add the carrots to the soup.
Mix the flour with cold milk until completely dissolved, stir gently into the soup.
Add corn, season.
Bring back to boil & cook for 5-10 min or until soup is ready.
Serve with chives & parsley.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Baked Boozy Apple Bombs

4 big apples

Filling:
70 g butter, soft
50 g roasted hazelnuts
50 raisins
3 tbsp sugar
brandy for taste

For serving:
vanilla ice cream
chocolate sauce
2 passion fuits or passion fruit syrup

Crush the nuts slightly.
Mix the filling together.
Cut off the top ca 1 cm of the apples, core & scoop out some flesh.
Divide the stuffing among the apples.
Cover with foil & bake at 200C for 15 min, take foil off & bake until ready.
Serve with ice cream, chocolate sauce & passion fruits on the side.



Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Sour Cream Sauce


1 large head of cabbage
500 g pork mince (or chicken, turkey or beef)
1 cup cooked rice
1 medium onion, chopped finely
salt & pepper

For a sauce:
1 cup of water
2 tbsp flour
2-3 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
salt, pepper

Core the center of the cabbage.
Carefully place the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water.
Remove the outer leaves as they become tender being careful not tear them.
In a large bowl mix together the meat, rice, eggs, onion, salt & pepper.
Place about 1 tbsp mixture at stem end of each leaf & roll the leaf around the filling, tucking in the sides.
Secure the rolls with toothpicks or thread.
In large pot brown the rolls on all sides.
Add hot water as needed to keep rolls just covered with liquid, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover & simmer ca 40 min.You can also cook it in the oven.
If you used the thread to secure your cabbage rolls, then try to remove them now before making the Sauce:
Mix together all the sauce ingredients, season & pour over the cabbage rolls. Heat until sauce thickens.

Best if served with boiled potatoes or mash.

There are  many variations & recipes for stuffed cabbage, I just described my recipe that I love the most.
The most important part of stuffed cabbage is the meat. Everyone has their own opinion about the type of meat to use & usually go with ground beef. I use pork which adds a bit more flavor & is really tender after cooking.
Though this is a very easy recipe, it takes some time to prepare & cook, but in the end, make them once & you'll be asked to make them again & again.

I also found very helpful video to show how to prepare the cabbage rolls:

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