Monday, 29 September 2014

Madron

It was Madron last Tuesday (23rd September) and I celebrated by making a gingerbread cake. Madron (also known as Mabon) is the Autumn Equinox and of the Wiccan/pagan sabbats.

The date of Madron varies but it's celebrated around 21st September. Like Oestara/the Spring Equinox, at this time of year day and night are of equal length. Since Litha (Midsummer/the Summer Solstice) the days have been getting gradually shorter and the nights longer (although not as noticeably as in autumn and winter). At this point they are equal and from now on the days continue to get shorter and the nights longer until Yule (Midwinter/the Winter Solstice) in December. (In the southern hemisphere this is all reversed, so they have their Spring Equinox around this time). From this point on the difference will be more noticeable. My favourite time of year is summer and I also like autumn but I don't enjoy it when it  gets dark at 4pm in the winter! lol.

Like Lammas, Madron is a harvest festival. It's a time of balance, healing and letting go, a time to look back on what has gone before, forgive yourself for any mistakes you might have made and think about your future plans. Other themes are justice and releasing prisoners.

The past couple of years I've celebrated by making gingerbread (like I do for Lammas) but this year I wanted to do something slightly different, so I made a gingerbread cake. I found the recipe on Pinterest. The original recipe has a Creamy Gingerbread Frosting but since I wasn't sure if we had some of the ingredients for it in the UK (like vanilla instant pudding mix and frozen whipped topping) I decided to use Betty Crocker cream cheese icing instead.



Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chocolate Drinks

Last month I made a couple of chocolate drinks using recipes from Sam Stern's Student Cookbook. I made a chocolate milkshake and hot chocolate. I thought now was a good time to post about them both, since the weather has still been warm but it's getting colder at night, so you might feel like both kinds of drinks. :)

I made the chocolate milkshake first but I was disappointed with it, so I decided to make the hot chocolate a few days later, lol. I'll still include both on here though.


First here is the chocolate milkshake:





Chocolate Milk Shake (Power Drink for 1)


Ingredients

A few chunks good dark chocolate
250ml/9fl oz cold milk
2 scoops best chocolate ice cream or 1 choc and 1 vanilla


I don't have the recipe to link to but here's a similar recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-chocolate-milkshake/

And another one with melted chocolate in: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/09/askinosie-chocolate-malt-milkshake.html

The problem with this was that because you're just putting hot melted chocolate straight into milk it goes hard straight away. So I ended up with hard bits of chocolate instead of it blending in properly! (That's a bit of chocolate on the top in the picture). I don't know if I was doing it wrong or what, lol. (My mum didn't know how to stop it doing that either). Maybe it works better if you have an actual blender but I don't, so I just mixed it in a bowl. Maybe it was because I didn't mix it in quick enough by hand? Never mind! You also can do this with drinking chocolate and I expect that works much better.

I used Tesco Plain Chocolate and I think both chocolate and vanilla ice cream.



And here's the hot chocolate:





Hot Chocolate Treat for 2


Ingredients

110g/4oz 70% cocoa solids chocolate
425ml/15fl oz any milk


This recipe isn't online here but here's a link to a similar one that involves melting chocolate: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/308/Hot-Chocolate


The hot chocolate came out a lot better because it was melted chocolate going into hot milk. I used some chocolate I had left.


Hope you enjoy them if you make them and that if you make the milkshake it comes out better for you! :)