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


Monday, 4 September 2017

End of Summer + Full Moon (Esbat) Biscuits

We've now come to the end of summer and are moving into autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere). Summer is my favourite season so I've tried to enjoy it this year. (I have anxiety and that often gets in the way of things). I enjoyed some summer drinks this year, including iced coffee and Costa Coffee's new Mint Choc Chip Frostino.

We had some lovely weather at the beginning of the summer here in the UK, then quite a lot of rain. But it got hotter again recently. These last few days it's been feeling more like autumn though! We've had Lammas and the next sabbat will be Madron, which I'm thinking of baking Bara brith for.

Last year I had car problems so didn't get to the beach much, but this year I've been several times. I thought I'd share some pictures I took at Shoreham and Worthing beaches recently. :)


Sunset on Shoreham Beach.


Monday, 14 August 2017

More Summer Drinks + Summer Tag!

Back in 2013 I did a post on summer drinks. That was 4 years ago now, so I thought it was time for a follow-up post!

Now we're in August we're getting near the end of summer but there are still a few weeks to go! Summer is my favourite season so I want to enjoy it for as long as possible. After a dull, rainy couple of weeks here in South East England, it's been hotter and sunny these past couple of days and feels more like summer again, lol. So here are some drinks to enjoy during the rest of August (and into September)!



Iced coffee

I love iced coffee. I didn't used to drink it as much because I would get it from Starbucks and they're more expensive but then a few years ago McDonald's started doing iced coffees and they're over £1 cheaper, so now I have them more frequently. (A regular Starbucks frappuccino costs £3.40 in the UK, whereas a regular mocha frappe from McDonald's costs £2.19). Starbucks do mini frappuccinos for a cheaper price  but thy really are mini!

My favourite Starbucks frappuccino flavour is mocha and I also like mocha frappes from McDonald's. I also occasionally have a McD's caramel frappe. Check out the Starbucks and McDonald's ranges below:

https://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/drinks/frappuccino


https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/latest/mccafe.html





Homemade Starbucks frappuccino

One of my favourite homemade coffee recipes is this DIY Starbucks frappuccino from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes: http://www.fantasticalsharing.com/2013/07/drinks-week-diy-starbucks-frappuccino.html

I discovered the recipe a few years ago. It uses creamer and the first time I made it I used Sainsbury's coffee whitener, but you can also use milk or evaporated milk (I use Carnation). I find it's not quite like Starbucks (at least the way I make it) but it's the closest I can do at home! lol.



Vietnamese style iced coffee

Speaking of Carnation, back in June I made a Vietnamese style iced coffee  using a recipe from the Co-Op magazine. It's made with condensed milk (I use Carnation). I can't seem to find the recipe online but here are a couple of  similar ones:

http://heavytable.com/adventures-in-condensed-milk-how-to-make-vietnamese-coffee-and-vietnamese-yogurt/

http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/vietnamese-iced-coffe-recipe/

It's basically made by just pouring hot coffee over condensed milk and ice, at least you can do that at home. In coffee shops they will make it with coffee machines and I expect it tastes different. Probably nicer than homemade. It would be good to try one in a Vietnamese cafe one day!

Anyway, it is nice. The condensed milk makes it quite rich and thick, so I don't think I could drink too much of it, but it's definitely good for a treat. :) I'm planning to make some again this week. Here's a picture from when I made it in June:


Monday, 7 August 2017

Lammas 2017

Last Tuesday was Lammas (1st August) and I celebrated by baking bread and gingerbread. As I mentioned in my Lammas Celebration Ideas post, I think I last baked bread 7 years ago! (Around Lammas time). I've made quick dinner bread since then and no-yeast dinner rolls. I've also made Cornish pasties some years. But this year I decided to have a go at bread again. I made it on Monday, the day before Lammas because it can take a while to rise and also I was planning to make gingerbread on Lammas itself.

It came out quite well. I used a recipe from Tesco magazine that I'd had saved for ages (I think maybe since last year). I'm pretty sure this is the recipe: https://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/fresh-white-loaf.html

It uses dried yeast which I think might make it easier than active yeast. It didn't take that long to rise compared to some recipes, you leave it for about an hour to rise and then for another half an hour to prove.

The bread tasted nice. I had some after I  made it and then more the next day with my lunch. I don't like white bread in general, especially shop bought white I prefer brown aka wholemeal/wholewheat) but I find homemade bread a lot nicer. I remember having some at the Black Rabbit pub in Arundel once and I liked it.

I split my bread up into two because it wasn't big enough for the loaf tin. I put the second one into a round tin as well. Here's a picture of the first loaf:




Sunday, 30 July 2017

Lammas Celebration Ideas

Lammas is coming up this week (it's on Tuesday 1st August) so I thought I'd do a celebration ideas post to accompany my past ones on Hallowe'en/Samhain, Oestara and Beltane. and Litha. (Read them as well if you'd like some ideas for future celebrations, the closest is Samhain in October!). It's my favourite sabbat apart from Samhain aka Hallowe'en! :)


The main themes are harvest and the Sun God Lugh (pronounced "Loo"). At Lammas he's slain and will be resurrected at Yule  in the form of the new God (much like the Christian Jesus). Some people make a Corn King to represent Lugh.


Here are a few links with more info about Lammas aka Lughnasadh (also click on Lammas at the start of the post to read more about it):

http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/lammas.asp

https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-lammas-or-lughnasadh-in-august-2562156

https://thepaganandthepen.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/lammas-corn-king/

https://www.sagegoddess.com/musings/simple-ritual-ideas-lammas-first-harvest/