Sunday, 3 December 2017

Getting Ready for Winter




We're now moving out of autumn and into winter. Although winter doesn't "officially" begin until Yule/the Winter Solstice around 22nd December (it's the 21st this year) the seasons do run together and it's starting to feel more wintry. It's definitely gone colder, especially at night and some parts of the UK have had snow. (None in Sussex yet!). It was 9 degrees Celsius (48F) here today and at the end of the week and next weekend it's supposed to drop to 1 and 0 degrees at night. It gets a bit confusing though because 1st December is thought of as "meteorological winter" while around 21st Dec is called "astronomical winter". You can read more here: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/news/is-december-1-the-first-day-of-winter/

Monday, 13 November 2017

Bonfire Night Parkin + Fireworks

The weekend before last was Bonfire Night (Sunday 5th November) and as I mentioned in my Hallowe'en/Samhain 2017 post I was planning to make parkin. It's a traditional Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night recipe (it's more popular in the north of England) and I'd been intending to make it for several years! lol. I used a recipe that I normally pin on my Pinterest Seasonal board at this time of year. Here's the link: http://www.chocolateandbeyond.co.uk/2012/10/yorkshire-parkin.html

It's a vegan recipe so doesn't have any eggs. (I'm not vegan but I thought this recipe was good, so used it). I only remembered the day before about making this on Bonfire Night itself and luckily I already had all the ingredients in, so didn't have to rush out and get any, lol. I used ordinary milk instead of soya, so my version is not actually vegan. Here's a pic:




Sunday, 5 November 2017

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2017

For Hallowe'en/Samhain last Tuesday (31st Oct) I celebrated by making some food and drink. I did my usual Demon's Blood drink and the potato salad I've made the past two years (the recipe is from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya but I did it with chives and spring onion instead of rosemary). I also made a Mexican milk drink called horchata, the recipe is from my Llewellyn Sabbats Almanac book.

I had a pumpkin, some pumpkin candles, the pumpkin container/lantern with a tealight in from other years and knitted ghost decorations. There were also orange and green candle and I lit a white one for my girl cat who died in January. (A Samhain tradition you can do is light a candle for any relatives, friends or pets that have passed away in the past year. :) Here's a picture of the pumpkin:

This year's pumpkin.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

More Hallowe'en/Samhain Celebration Ideas



A year ago I started a series on posts on the sabbats. I started with Samhain which was fitting because it's one of my favourites (along with Lammas) and also it's considered the Witches' New Year. Other Samhain themes are ancestors returning since this is one of one of the two times of the year when the veil between the worlds is said to be thin (the other is Beltane), honouring your ancestors and those you've lost and shadow work. It's also the 3rd and last harvest (after Lammas and Madron), so you can think about what you've harvested in the past year and/or season. Read last year's celebration post here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's Beltane so you might enjoy this post on ideas for celebrating: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/beltane-celebration-ideas.html


This year I'm posting about more Samhain celebration ideas. First of all here are a few links with information about Samhain and Hallowe'en (since they are closely linked):

https://wildwoodandsage.blog/samhain/

https://tesswhitehurst.com/10_folk_beliefs_about_samhain_halloween/

http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/the-herbs-and-astrology-of-samhain

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Chocolate Fudge + Powerballs

Here are a couple of things I've made recently. :)


2 Ingredient Chocolate Fudge

Last weekend I made some 2 ingredient chocolate fudge for my belly dance group BD4U's hafla (dance party). (Well, I made it on Friday for the hafla on Sat). I've made it before and it wasn't that nice but this was better! It's very simple, just chocolate and condensed milk mixed together and done in the microwave, then put in the fridge to set. I used this recipe: http://www.mommykatandkids.com/2013/06/easiest-ever-two-ingredient-chocolate-fudge-recipe.html

It uses chocolate chips but I realised I didn't have enough, so I also used some Tesco milk chocolate I already had in. It was nice. Here's a pic. I'd cut a piece out, so that's why there's a space! lol.



Monday, 25 September 2017

Madron 2017

Last Friday I celebrated Madron aka Mabon/the Autumn Equinox. (It was on 22nd September this year). As I mentioned in my Madron Celebration Ideas post I chose to make a ginger apple tealoaf. It's a recipe from Sam Stern's Student Cookbook. I was originally thinking of making Bara Brith but decided I'd prefer to make this. This is basically the same recipe, although it's not credited to Sam: https://www.gourmandize.co.uk/recipe-47280-ginger-apple-tealoaf.htm

It was quite nice. I've baked gingerbread cakes for Madron before but they've come out too heavy with the treacle (molasses) in. The one I made in 2015 was better once you got used to it though  Last year I made a ginger beer cake and that was nicer. The tealoaf has dates and apple in but I think I should have cut the apple slices smaller. The lemon icing is made with lemon juice, a bit of rind and icing sugar and was really nice. Here's a picture of the tealoaf before it was iced:



Monday, 18 September 2017

Madron/Autumn Equinox Celebration Ideas



It's Madron aka Mabon/the Autumn Equinox this Friday. Last October I started a post series of sabbat celebration ideas (I started with Samhain/Hallowe'en celebration ideas). So now, almost a year later I'm going to do one for Madron. :)

Note: if you're in the Southern Hemisphere then Oestara aka Ostara/the Spring Equinox is coming up. You can read some celebration ideas here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/oestaraspring-equinox-celebration-ideas.html


Madron is the second harvest festival (the first is Lammas and the third is Samhain), so along with Lammas, it's linked with grain and abundance. You can think about what you've "harvested" in the last few months or since last year. It's also a time of balance. Since Litha/the Summer Solstice the days have been getting slightly shorter and the nights longer. (Since the beginning of September I've been noticing the difference, the sun sets just after 7 now). They are equal on the equinox day and then the days continue shortening until Yule/the Winter Solstice, after which they start getting gradually longer again and the light increases. Here's a post I wrote last year with some links to Madron info and suggestions for things to do at the Equinox: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/happy-madron.html

And a couple more posts with more information:

https://newwicca.wordpress.com/tag/madron/

http://wiccaweekly.tumblr.com/post/136756109305/sabbats-mabon