Monday, October 1, 2012

Persephone's Pumpkin Bread

      Over the years, many recipes for pumpkin bread have been baked in my kitchen. This one creates
      a perfect, pumpkin-spice loaf with the ease of the "quick bread" mix method. Serve it with mugs
      of fresh-pressed apple cider to evoke the quintessential flavours of Autumn.

       Ingredients :    1 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda,
       1 teaspoon baking powder, one teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg,
       1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 3/4 cups vegetable oil, 3/4 cups organic sugar, 1/4 cup pomegranate
       molasses*, 2 large eggs (lightly beaten), and one cup organic pumpkin puree (canned or homemade).

       Preparation :   Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl,
       sift together the first seven dry ingredients : set aside. In another bowl, combine oil, sugar, and
       pomegranate molasses : mix thoroughly. Blend in flour mixture til just moistened, then add eggs &
       pumpkin puree and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour or until tester comes
       out clean. Cool completely before slicing : is scrumptious when toasted and spread with light
       cream cheese.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Radiant Hair Rinse

Impart shine,softness, and fresh herbal scent to your hair by using this natural and enchanted rinse recipe :

1 large handful of nettle leaves
1 large handful rosemary sprigs
1 large handful of soapwort leaves
4 cups Moon water*
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 drops lemon essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops neroli essential oil
1 handful of soapwort flowers

To make the Moon water*,pour 4 cups of spring water into a glass jar.
Hold the jar up before Lady Moon and ask for her blessing upon it.
Place it on a porch or windowsill so that it can absorb the Full Moon light until the next day dawns.Bring the jar in and set aside.Chop the nettle, rosemary, & soapwort leaves and place in a non-reactive pan.Pour the Moon water over the herbs,bring to a boil,cover,and simmer gently for 30 minutes.Remove from heat,cool,and strain through cheesecloth into another sterilized glass jar.Stir in the lemon juice,essential oils,and soapwort flowers.Infuse the brew for 30 minutes.Use as a final rinse after washing your hair : remainder keeps for 24 hours if refrigerated.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oatmeal Brunch Bake

"In accordance with the kindly Badger's injunctions, the two tired animals came down to breakfast very late next morning, and found a bright fire burning in the kitchen, and two young hedgehogs sitting on a bench at the table, eating oatmeal porridge out of wooden bowls." -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows.

Scots know that eating a hearty, oatmeal breakfast is a healthy way to begin the day. Few foods equal oats for dietary benefit : even fewer sit so comfortably in the stomach or are as inexpensive. Oatmeal brings good fortune and encourages the power and magick of the faeries. Oats correspond to the Moon. They can also used in prosperity spells and to cast a magick circle. The following recipe is assembled the night before baking and refrigerated to blend the flavours in a sustaining brunch :

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup brown sugar,packed
1/2 cup maple,agave,or Lyle's Golden syrup
3/4 cup dried fruits(currants,apricots,dates,etc)
1/2 cup walnuts,chopped
1 large tart apple,unpeeled,cored & grated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 eggs,lightly beaten
2 tablespoon butter,melted

Butter an eight cup baking dish.Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well until thoroughly mixed.Transfer to the prepared baking dish.Cover tightly,and refrigerate overnight.In the morning, let the dish sit at room temperature,while preheating the oven,for about fifteen minutes.Bake for one hour or until the center is set,when you gently press it with the back of a spoon.Serve hot with milk,cream,or yogurt.Microwave leftovers,as it keeps for several days.Recipe yields ten generous servings.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

~ Winter Walnut Bread ~

The walnut is a tree of intuition. Witches meet and dance beneath them. During the Golden Age of olde, mortals lived on acorns, while the gods sustained with walnuts. Three good, although somewhat mythical, reasons to
bake this savoury bread often during the cold weather season. It's the perfect accompaniment to hot soup or a warming beverage. Serve with tempered butter or cream cheese.

Preheat oven to 450*F.
Ingredients: 3 + ¼ cups organic, all purpose white bread flour
¾ cup dark rye flour
1 + ½ teaspoons dried yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 + ½ cups tepid water
2 cups English walnut pieces
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 cup dried cranberries

Combine the flours together; add the yeast and salt. Add a little of the room temperature water; mix the ingredients. Gradually add more water until the mixture becomes a dough.
Add the walnuts, rosemary, & cranberries to the dough: press and stretch the dough away from you, as the action of kneading warms and pulls the gluten in flour. Lift the dough edges into the middle, give it a quarter turn, & repeat; knead until pliable (five or so minutes). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, and leave to rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. Turn it out onto a floured surface and divide in half: knead each half into a tight dough ball. Shape each one into a ring with a hole the size of your fist. Place on a flour-dusted baking sheet and cover with a damp dishcloth until rings have again doubled in size. Lightly mist the inside of the oven with a fine water spray just before baking to help the breads cook well. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes: the bread is cooked if it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Keeps for several days in a bread box and freezes well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis The Season Tisane

A tisane is an infusion of herbs that is brewed for medicinal effect. The following hot herbal tea is the perfect elixir to drink as a remedy during Winter's cold and flu season. If you are not partial to mint, try making it with lemon balm instead. Use mint if you are seeking to soothe stomach discomfort due to rotovirus or holiday fare over-indulgence.

Ingredients : 4 cups water
1/2 cinnamon stick
5 ounces fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon lemon zest strips
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
1 handful of fresh mint or lemon balm

While bringing the water to a boil, peel & chop ginger root.
Add to the boiling water along with the cinnamon stick,lemon
zest and juice. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add honey,stir & continue simmering for 20 more minutes. Pour
over fresh mint, strain and serve or cool and refrigerate.
Yields about one quart : brew to relieve colds and flu symptoms.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ireland's Charming Halloween Bread

As Halloween is associated with fortune telling and divination, Barmbrack is traditionally made at this time of year, for it has various charms literally baked into the dough.  Each one’s significance is as follows: a ring ~ to foretell marriage, a silver coin ~ to herald wealth, a pea or thimble ~ indicates spinsterhood, a small piece of cloth ~ portends poverty, a button ~ means bachelorhood, and a piece of matchstick foreshadows an abusive spouse. “Barm” is from the olde English word “beorma”, meaning yeasty fermented liquor.  Brack comes from an Irish word meaning “speckled”, which this bread is with dried fruit. 

1 lb flour
6 oz sugar
1 lb mixed dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp ground allspice
Pot of hot black tea

Wrap each charm carefully in parchment paper.
The trick to making a Barm Brack is the soaking of fruit overnight in the
tea. While this makes the dried fruit softer and more appealing in general,
one must be careful when mixing the dough not to over-knead or the
rehydrated fruit will break too much. Add the sugar and egg to the fruit mix the next day. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix gently. Stir in the wrapped charms and try to distribute them evenly. Use a round
baking pan at 350°F for about 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

The Breac (bread) can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an air-tight
container. It is traditional that only he/she who has baked it should
cut and serve the slices on October 31st! It is also good toasted and served with hot cider or tea.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge

                    Enjoy making and eating this seasonal fudge recipe, as it's the perfect confection to serve at
                Halloween parties or to give as gifts for a homemade treat to those who like pumpkin sweets!

                 Ingredients : 3 cups organic sugar
                                    12 tablespoons butter
                                    1 five ounce can evaporated milk
                                    1/2 cup pumpkin puree
                                    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                                    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
                                    1 + 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
                                    7 ounces marshmallow Fluff
                                    1 cup walnuts (toasted & chopped)

                  Method :  Combine the first six ingredients in a heavy saucepan.Bring to a boil,while stirring constantly.Lower heat and cook to the soft-ball stage reading on a candy thermometer (234*F).Remove pan from stove and stir in the butterscotch chips ; then add the Fluff & nuts.Mix thoroughly and spread evenly into a buttered 13"x9" and cut into squares : keep wrapped and refrigerated til serving or gifting.