Sunday, 23 December 2018

Yule 2018

It was Yule aka the Winter Solstice on Friday (21st December) and as I mentioned in my Celebrating Yule/Christmas post, I celebrated with a chocolate Yule log. This year's was a Belgian chocolate one from Tesco (think it's new) and was quite nice. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 16 December 2018

Celebrating Yule/Christmas



Yule, also known as Midwinter and the Winter Solstice, is nearly here. It's on 21st December (Friday) this year. (The date varies but is always around the 21st). The Winter Solstice is when the North Pole is furthest away from the sun, and the actual time it will happen this year will be around 10.23pm UK time (GMT). To find the time in your country visit this link: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/winter-solstice.html


It's the final sabbat of the calendar year, but the 1st/2nd in the Wheel of the Year seasonal cycle. I say 1st and 2nd because while Samhain is the end of the old year, it's also thought to be the start of the new. Some people start with Samhain as the beginning of the Wheel, others start with Yule. I tend to think of Samhain as both really (the last harvest festival of the year but also the start of a new cycle) and list it first. You can read more about it here: http://paganism-wicca.yoexpert.com/sabbats-and-holidays-13108/is-it-true-that-samhain-marks-the-witches-new-year-36057.html

And here is an interesting article about how the celebration of New Year varies: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/11/happy-pagan-new-year/
 

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it will soon be Litha aka Midsummer/the Summer solstice. Here are my Litha celebration ideas posts:

(Also a post about no-yeast dinner rolls): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/06/baking-no-yeast-dinner-rolls-and.html

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/celebrating-litha-summer.html


Last year I did a post about Yule celebration ideas which you can read here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html


This year I thought I'd write about celebrating both Yule and Christmas, similar to the Celebrating Beltane/May Day and Samhain/Hallowe'en posts, since I enjoy celebrating both. :)


Monday, 3 December 2018

Winter Round-up + Inspiration



A year ago I wrote a post about getting ready for winter, which you can read here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/getting-ready-for-winter.html

Now winter is coming again, and this year I'm going to do a round-up of previous winter posts and share some links with inspiration for the season. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere you might like this post about celebrating Litha/the Summer Solstice and summer: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/celebrating-litha-summer.html

 While I find it easy to be inspired by summer (since it's my favourite season and I like hot weather), I find winter a lot harder! I don't like cold weather and winter can be quite dreary. I like autumn because it's a beautiful time of year, but it seems quite brief really. By the end of November most of the trees in my area had lost their leaves and the lovely colours had faded. While we're still technically in autumn if you follow the astronomical definition of winter which is around 21st December (the meteorological one is 1st Dec), it's starting to feel more like winter now. Some parts of the country have had snow. There hasn't been any in my town yet but in my area they had some. The temperature is 12 degrees Celsius (54 F) today though, so warmer. It's supposed to go down to 7 tonight. Next week the coldest during the day will be about 7, so we're not in proper winter weather yet! This past winter seemed quite long with more snow than usual in the UK and I was ready when spring arrived! It will be nice if we get snow again this year/early next year though.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Bonfire Night Fireworks Photos

Here are a few photos from  Bonfire Night firework displays I went to recently. Although Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) is on 5th November, people have displays around that date, and I went to one on Hallowe'en (as I mentioned in my Hallowe'en/Samhain 2018 post) and then another one on Friday 2nd November. I didn't get many good pics at the Lancing Beach Green one, so they're mostly from the display in Preston Park in Brighton. They were more varied in colour but I had trouble getting good pictures, and these were the best ones!


Fireworks at Lancing Beach Green

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2018

Last Wednesday it was Hallowe'en/Samhain. As I mentioned in my post Celebrating Samhain/Halloween , I had a pumpkin and made some food and drink. I made my usual Demon's Blood (a Kate West recipe of ginger beer mixed with apple and orange juice, and dyed green), and potato salad which I've done for the past few years. It's based on recipe from The Kitchen Witch by Soraya, but I did it with spring onion and chives. I made some fire roasted potatoes as well, which is a recipe from last year's Co-Op magazine. (I think it's a Bonfire Night recipe but we're in that season as well, and I did go to a firework display on Hallowee'n itself, since it happened to be that Wednesday! I'll probably share firework pics in another post. :)


Here's a picture of the pumpkin and pumpkin lantern (both have tealights inside):

Came out a bit blurry but nice effect!


Monday, 29 October 2018

Celebrating Samhain/Hallowe'en


It's time for Samhain! This year it's on a Wednesday (31st October). Samhain is my favourite sabbat (apart from Lammas). I also celebrate Hallowe'en, the modern version of Samhain. I celebrated Hallowe'en as a child, so I have combined celebrations these days.

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's Beltane! Check out my Beltane Celebration posts here:

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/beltane-celebration-ideas.html

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/04/celebrating-beltanemay-day.html


In the past two years I've done posts about celebrating Hallowe'en and Samhain. You can read them here:

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2016/10/halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html 

https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/10/more-halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

These year I'm sharing more ideas for celebrating both Samhain and Hallowe'en, so hopefully there's something to suit you if you celebrate both (like I do) or prefer one or the other. :)


Hallowe'en info


Hallowe'en (more commonly spelt Halloween, but you can also spell as "Hallowe'en because it's a shortened version of All Hallows' Even) is thought to have originated from Samhain. In later years 1st November was made All Saint's Day by the Christian church, and the night before was known as All Hallows Evening (shortened to All Hallows' Ev'en or Eve). It's the time of year when the veil between the worlds (this world and the next, or the world beyond the one we know) thins and your loved ones may come back to visit. Also spirits are more likely to be around in general and the practice of lighting a pumpkin is thought to have originated from the pagan ritual of lighting a candle to honour and welcome your ancestors, and keep unwanted spirits away. (See below for more).  For more about the history of Hallowe'en you can read this article: https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween


Monday, 15 October 2018

Autumn Photos + Inspiration

Autumn is properly here! (Although we have had some warmer weather recently, and I did wear my flip flops a few days ago because I thought it might be the last time I'd get to wear them this year, lol). I'm always sad to see summer go but autumn is a beautiful time of year.

I thought I'd share some recent photos I took and also some links with ideas for celebrating autumn. (Doesn't seem that long since I shared spring pictures, but it's 6 months ago now and 3 since I posted some summer photos!).


Trees in Sompting


Monday, 24 September 2018

Madron 2018

Yesterday was Madron, also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox. Or Saturday depending on your time zone, as I mentioned in my Celebrating Madron and Autumn post, the actual equinox time and date in the UK was  2.54am on Sunday 23rd Sept, but in the US it was 9.54pm EST on Saturday the 22nd.

My main celebration was  baking a ginger spice cake. It was based on this spiced wacky cake recipe: https://www.thecountrycook.net/spiced-wacky-cake/

I'd had the recipe saved on Pinterest for a while so this was a good opportunity to use it! I didn't know what a wacky cake was, but on the site Brandie explains that they're also called Depression-era cakes because they were good to make if you didn't have many ingredients in such as eggs, butter and milk. This recipe uses white vinegar and vegetable oil.

The original recipe uses pumpkin spice. I'm not sure if that's widely available in the UK, but there might  be some places that do it.. I decided to use ginger and mixed spices instead though, so I put a tablespoon of ginger and mixed spice in (rather than 1TBSP pumpkin spice). The frosting for the spiced wacky cake is a vanilla buttercream one from the Food Network website, but the site itself isn't available in the UK (not sure why!) so I couldn't see the recipe. Rather than make another vanilla frosting I decided to use the cream cheese icing one from the frosted white chocolate Easter cake I've made a few times (most recently this Easter). You can see that recipe here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake.html

I'd previously used the same icing for the ginger beer cake I baked for Madron 2016, so thought it would work. It did go well and the cake itself tastes quite nice. Nice flavour and the ginger and mixed spices aren't too overpowering. The sponge is a bit chewier than some cakes though, maybe because of the oil. Here are a couple of  pics:

The mark is just a hole in the icing!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Celebrating Madron + Autumn


Madron, also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox, is coming up next weekend. This year it's Sunday 23rd September. Note: This may be different depending on your time zone, the actual equinox time and date in the UK is  2.54 am on Sunday 23rd Sept, but in the US it's 9.54 pm EST on Saturday the 22nd. So celebrate at the appropriate time for you. The energy of the sabbats is thought to be active for a couple of days either side anyway. :)

Last year I did a post on ways to celebrate. You can read it here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html

So for 2018 I thought I'd do one about celebrating both Madron and autumn in general, like my previous ones about Oestara and spring, and Litha and summer.

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemipshere it's time for Oestra/Ostara and spring. You might like this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html


Update 20/9/18: Added a couple of extra links. :)


Madron Ideas

Madron (more commonly known as Mabon but I was first introduced to it as "Madron" in Kate West's books) and the Autumn Equinox is the time when day and night is equal. It's the opposite of the Spring Equinox. Since Litha/the Summer Solstice which was the longest day of the year, the days have been getting gradually shorter. I've only really noticed it in recent weeks, sunset is now around 7.15pm. After Madron days will continue to get shorter and nights longer, until Yule aka the Winter Solstice, just before Christmas. So Madron is a time of balance.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Getting Ready for Autumn


Last December I started a series of post about preparing for the coming seasons, the first post was Getting Ready for Winter. I followed that up with Getting Ready for Spring and Getting Ready for Summer, so now here is a post on getting ready for autumn, to complete the seasonal circle. :)

Note: If  spring is coming up where you are check out the spring post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/getting-ready-for-spring.html


After what has felt like an especially long, hot summer, the weather has cooled down and autumn is coming. We seem to have had some weird weather in the UK this year, with snow storms in March and more snow than usual here in Sussex. Then in April we had hotter weather than usual for spring, and then a hot summer. I did enjoy the hotter weather, although I struggled a bit to adjust to the heat. In the past couple of weeks or so it's cooled down and now it's feeling more like autumn. The light shifts towards the end of August, mellows, and also now the shorter days (since Litha/the Summer Solstice they shorten by about a minute every 3 days and about 3 mins a day by Madron aka the Autumn Equinox) are becoming a bit more noticeable with sunset before 8pm instead of after 9 earlier in the summer.

It has actually warmed up these past couple of days and I'm planning to go to the beach tomorrow to make the most of the weather, before summer is officially over! But I'm also concentrating on moving into autumn.

As with the other seasons, there are two "official" starts to autumn- meteorological autumn which is 1st September, and astronomical autumn which is around 22nd September when the Autumn Equinox (Madron/Mabon) is. This year Madron is 23rd Sept. For more information read this post: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/seasons/autumn/when-does-autumn-start

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Late Summer

Last month I shared some summer photos. You can see the post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/summer-photos.html

Now we're coming to the end of summer. Almost a year ago I did an End of Summer post and it seems strange that we're already in mid-late August again. Doesn't seem that long since spring! Back in April we had some unusually hot weather, then it returned to more normal temperatures for the time of year. In July and earlier this month we had a heatwave and it was said to be the hottest summer for several years. It's cooled down now but but may heat up again at the end of the month.

Here are a few more pictures I've taken this summer:

Hove Park- July '18.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Lammas 2018

For Lammas last Wednesday I celebrated by making Cornish pasties and gingerbread. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Lammas post, I usually bake for this sabbat. I normally make gingerbread but I don't think I'd made a Cornish pasty (or rather Cornish style pasty since I'm not from Cornwall!) for it since 2014. The recipe is from Kate West's The Real Witches' Kitchen. I couldn't post the full recipe online for legal reasons, but linked to similar recipes in this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2014/08/lammas.html

 I had my pasty for lunch with some Bulmers cider. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 29 July 2018

Celebrating Lammas

 

Lammas, one of my favourite sabbats (along with Samhain) is coming up. It's this Wednesday 1st August (although some may celebrate it on 31st July, or start their celebrations from sunset on the 31st). Last year I did a post about Lammas celebration ideas which you can read here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/07/lammas-celebration-ideas.html

This year I'll write some more about preparing for and celebrating Lammas. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, Imbolg/Imbolc is coming up and you might like this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/imbolg-celebration-ideas.html


Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh) is harvest time, the first of the 3 harvest festivals (the others are Madron/Mabon and Samhain). The God will be sacrificed for the land and then later reborn. The Goddess has now become the Mother and is pregnant with the new God, who she will give birth to at Yule aka the Winter Solstice. You can read more here: https://whisperingworlds.com/wiccan/lammas.php

Here are a couple more links about Lammas:

http://www.theseasonalsoul.com/lammas-meaning/

https://wiccanspells.info/wiccan-pagan-articles/how-to-celebrate-lughnasadh-lammas/

Monday, 16 July 2018

Summer Photos

Summer is my favourite season and here in the UK we've been having one of the hottest summers for years. Temperatures have been around 29 to 34 Celsius (I think that's about 84 to 93F) in some places which is hot for the UK. I know that in some places it goes up to 40C but I suppose you're used to it if it's your regular weather! I used to live in Fiji as a child and I suppose I was just used to it.) I've been enjoying the weather, although I do have to adjust to the heat!

Back in April I shared some spring photos (we had some unusually hot weather for a bit then, which made it seem more like early summer), so thought it would be good to share some summer ones today. :)

First of all here are a few pics from Worthing Beach:


Worthing Beach

Monday, 25 June 2018

Litha 2018

It was Litha aka the Summer Solstice/Midsummer last Thursday and I celebrated by making lemonade and salad. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Litha + Summer post, I made some tomato and onion salad, a recipe from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya. It has to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, but I made it the night before because I had a busy day. I had some of the salad with avocado on toast and bacon. Here's a picture:


I made more than this, just had a bit with lunch.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Celebrating Litha + Summer




It's Litha, also known as Midsummer/the Summer Solstice this upcoming week (Thursday 21st June) and so I'm doing a new post on celebration ideas.  I first did one last year which you can read here (also a baking post): http://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/06/baking-no-yeast-dinner-rolls-and.html

Like I did with my Celebrating Oestara + Spring post back in March. I'm combining ideas for Litha and celebrating summer in general. :)

Note: For those in the Southern Hemisphere winter is starting and Yule aka Midwinter/the Winter Solstice is coming up. You might enjoy this post: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post on getting ready for summer which you can see here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/getting-ready-for-summer_3.html

As I mentioned there, the Summer Solstice is the official start of summer (around 20th June) but the meteorological start is 1st June. It definitely feels like summer has already started, since we've had some nice, hotter weather. (Although not so much today!).

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Getting Ready for Summer




Following on from my previous posts on getting ready for winter and spring, here's one on preparing for summer. :) 

Note: If winter is starting for you check out the winter themed post: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/getting-ready-for-winter.html

As with the other seasons, there are two official starts to summer- meteorological and astronomical. The beginning of meteorological summer is 1st June and the start of astronomical summer is the Summer Solstice (also known as Midsummer and Litha) around 21st June. The date varies year by year and is sometimes the 20th, but this year it's the 21st. For more info read this post: https://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/968023/summer-2018-when-is-1st-day-meteorological-astronomical-weather-longest-day

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Baking- Cheese Scones + Brownies

I've been doing some baking recently, so it's time for another baking post. :)


Cheese Scones

First of all I made cheese scones a couple of weekends ago. They were for my mum's birthday because she likes them. :) I personally prefer sweet scones but cheese are nice too.

The recipe is from Sam Stern's Cheese Scone Tea in his Student Cookbook.

Cheese Scone tea

Ingredients

225g/8oz plain white flour
4 level tsps baking powder
Good pinch salt
Pinch dry mustard and/or cayenne pepper
50g/20z finely grated Cheddar (I used half Red Leicester, half Canadian cheddar)
50g/2oz butter
1 large egg, beaten
4 tbsps cold water

Note: I've only copied the ingredients out because I believe that's all I'm allowed to do legally. The recipe isn't on Sam's website but you can find a similar one from All Recipes here: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/36349/rich-cheese-scones.aspx

 There is one online for Sam's sweet scones in a Yorkshire Cream Tea: http://www.samstern.co.uk/recipe/yorkshire-cream-tea/


And here's another one from BBC Food: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/cheesescones_1287

The BBC Food one uses self raising flour rather than plain white flour and baking powder, which are in the Sam recipe.

Paul Hollywood also has a recipe for wholemeal cheese scones that uses plain flour and baking powder: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/wholemeal_cheese_scones_12017


The recipe I made has Cheddar cheese in but I used half Red Leicester and half Canadian Cheddar. They came out quite nice. Here's a picture:

Foil got a bit burnt but never mind!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Beltane 2018

Last Tuesday was Beltane and since I like to celebrate the sabbats by making food and drink, I made guacamole and had it with toasted ciabatta bread and chicken salad for lunch. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Beltane/May Day post, the recipe is from Soraya's The Kitchen Witch book and I've made it for the past 3 years.

There's a ciabatta bread recipe in The Kitchen Witch but I bought some from Tesco instead, lol. The salad is a ready made one from Tesco as well. It all went nicely together. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 29 April 2018

Celebrating Beltane/May Day


It's almost time for Beltane again! This year it's on a Tuesday (1st May), although some celebrate it on 30th April, so in that case it's tomorrow. :)  I believe that some people consider sabbats to last from sundown to sundown. So Beltane would start at sunset on 30th April and finish at sunset on 1st May. It's also called May Eve.

Note: If you're in the Northern Hemipshere it's time for Samhain! Check out my Samhain Celebration posts here:

http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html

http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/more-halloweensamhain-celebration-ideas.html



Last year I did a post on Beltane celebration ideas which you can read here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/beltane-celebration-ideas.html

This year here are more ideas for celebrating and I thought I'd also include some ideas for May Day, the modern counterpart which is still celebrated in  many places, including the UK. The first Monday in May in the spring Bank Holiday here; this year it's 7th May.


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Spring Photos

Spring is finally here! Actually with the hot weather it feels more like early summer, lol. Winter seemed long this year, so I was pleased when we started getting better weather. Today I'm sharing some recent pictures I took in the park and at the beach. :)


Apple blossom (I think) trees in Hove Park

Monday, 9 April 2018

Easter 2018

This year for Easter I baked the frosted white chocolate Easter cake that I made last year, and a few years before that as well. It has white chocolate in the sponge and cream cheese icing. For more on the cake and the recipe visit this post: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake.html

Here is a picture of this year's cake:


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Oestara 2018

Last Tuesday was Oestara aka Ostara and the Spring Equinox. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Oestara and Spring post I baked a white chocolate Malteser cake. Here's the recipe: https://goodfood.uktv.co.uk/recipe/white-chocolate-malteser-cake/

I couldn't find white Maltesers so I just used ordinary ones for the top of the cake. I put Cadbury Mini Eggs on top as well. The recipe requires Malteser drinking chocolate, so I put in two 50g sachets and I used Tesco white chocolate for the icing. It came out quite nice. Here's a picture:


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Celebrating Oestara + Spring



At the beginning of the month I wrote a post on getting ready for spring. You can read that here:
http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/getting-ready-for-spring.html

Now it's almost officially here, Tuesday 20th March is the Spring Equinox, the first day of spring. It's also Oestara (or Ostara), so I thought I'd do a post on celebrating both Oestara and spring in general. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hempishere, Madron (or Mabon) and autumn are coming up for you. In that case you may like this post: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html


Ironically we're having wintry weather again, like when I wrote my post about getting ready for spring! We're having what they're calling the "Mini beast from the East" in the UK. It's around 0 degrees Celsius (32F) here in Sussex and is snowing as I write this. But hopefully spring isn't too far away!


Oestara Ideas

Last year I wrote a post on Oestara and Spring Equinox celebration ideas. Check it out here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/oestaraspring-equinox-celebration-ideas.html


Monday, 5 March 2018

Getting Ready for Spring



Back in December I did a post on getting ready for winter. You can read that here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/getting-ready-for-winter.html

Now that spring is coming (in the Northern Hemisphere, those in the Southern might like the winter post), it's time to do one on preparing for spring. Well, you could say spring is already here because like with winter (see linked post), there are two days considered to be the official start of spring- "meteorological spring" which is 1st March and "astronomical spring" which is on 20th March. The 2nd one is also the date of Oestara aka the Spring Equinox, which is always around this date. You can read more about it here: https://www.kentlive.news/whats-on/whats-on-news/first-day-spring-2018-1239047

My birthday is on actually 1st March and I like to think that it's in spring, but it's only really the very beginning of spring and technically the end of winter. I was born in Swaziland in Southern Africa though, and their seasons are different, so I was born towards the end of summer there!

Right now I'm ready for winter to be over, lol. I'm more of a summer/warm weather person and don't like the cold. However, since we don't get snow very often it is nice to get it for a change and we've just had a lot of snow in the UK. When I started this it was the coldest week in February in 5 years and it seemed ironic to be writing about spring! Some days it was around -2C (around 28F) and colder at night. Now it's warming up a bit with daytime temperatures around 7C. So it's starting to feel more like spring!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Red Velvet Brownies + Pancakes

I recently baked some red velvet brownies and also last week was Pancake Day and I made some pancakes, so I thought write about both in a post. :)


Red Velvet Brownies

I made these the weekend before last. The recipe is from the current issue of Co-op magazine. Here's the link to the online version: https://main-coopfoodmagazine-rivergroup.content.pugpig.com/2018/01/11/food-news-8/pugpig_index.html

They came out quite nice. I've baked red velvet cake a couple of times but it hasn't come out that well for some reason! (I plan to try again in future). These were nice though. The only thing is they weren't red, even though I actually put more food colouring than it said by accident! I think they're supposed to have a red tinge. Never mind, lol. Here's a pic:


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Imbolg 2018

It was Imbolg (aka Imbolc) on Friday (2nd February) and as I mentioned in my Imbolg Celebration Ideas post I made pancakes (English pancakes, also known as crepes). This year I used a recipe from BBC Good Food and they came out really nice. I was happier with them than last years! lol. Here's the recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2907669/easy-pancakes

The only different thing to what I normally use was vegetable oil in the batter. (You can use sunflower or vegetable oil). They had a nice taste and texture, I ate them with lemon and sugar and had Ben Shaw's cloudy lemonade to drink. I'd like to make them again for Pancake Day on 13th Feb. Here's a picture:




Sunday, 28 January 2018

Imbolg Celebration Ideas



For Samhain 2016 I started a series of sabbat celebration posts. I haven't done one for Imbolg yet though, so here it is. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere then Lammas is coming up for you. :) You might like this post on Lammas celebration ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/lammas-celebration-ideas.html


Imbolg or Imbolc, also known as Candlemas is on Friday 2nd February this year. (Some people celebrate it on 1st Feb because it begins at sundown on the 1st and lasts until the end of the 2nd). Candlemas is now a Christian festival but I believe it has pagan roots. Imbolg is a fire festival, first spring festival and also the feast of Bride or Brigid (pronounced something like "Breed") the Irish Fire Goddess, who became Christianised as Saint Brigid. The Irish Gaelic word "Imbolc" or "Imbolg" is thought to translate as "in the belly" meaning the ewes who are pregnant at this time of year. There is another word "Oimelc" which is said to mean "ewe's milk".

Imbolg is the time when the land is waking and the first signs of spring start to appear. It's one of the "transitional" sabbats because while we're still in winter, spring is coming. Although it won't officially be spring until Oestara/the Spring Equinox around 21st March (I like to think that it's spring when it's my birthday at the beginning of March, but technically it's the tail end of winter!) things are shifting.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Winter Drinks

I've done a couple of posts on summer drinks in the past, so I thought it would be good to do one on winter drinks. :)

Summer is my favourite season and I love iced coffee (and drink it year round!) but hot drinks are good too. Winter will last for a couple of months or so yet and then the nights still tend to be chilly during spring, so these drinks will also be nice for early spring. (I do still like them in summer if it's not too hot).

As I mentioned in my post on getting ready for winter, I'm not a big fan of this time of year, but I do always hope that we'll get some snow because we don't get it very often here in South East England. All we've had in my area so far was some light snow one morning that had melted by the afternoon. It has been warmer lately but colder weather and Arctic winds are on their way! Weirdly I saw some daisies in the park last week and thought I saw some daffodils today! I don't think they will last though because it's  getting cold. Daffodils normally come out around my birthday at the beginning of March, so it's really quite early for them. Anyway, here are the drinks. :)


Cocoa

My favourite type of cocoa currently is Cadbury's Bournville cocoa (I'm also really into the bars as well!). It's dark chocolate, so more bitter than milk choc, but with milk and sugar it can still taste quite sweet. I get mixed up between cocoa and drinking chocolate sometimes, but I think the difference is that cocoa is a powder whereas hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate that's blended with milk etc. You can read more about the difference here: https://www.thespruce.com/hot-cocoa-vs-drinking-chocolate-3971361

It does get confusing though because Cadbury's drinking chocolate which I also like, is a powder as well. Maybe it varies depending on the country? Anyway, I'll do separate entries for them here. :)

If you fancy making your own cocoa, here's a recipe: http://afiremanswife.com/2016/11/23/homemade-hot-cocoa/

It's saved on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board and I haven't got round to making it yet, but it looks good. It's made with Nesquik.




Hot chocolate

As I mention above, Cadbury's is my fave hot chocolate. I also really like Hans Sloane drinking chocolate which I discovered the other year. That is different to cocoa because it's chocolate beads that melt when you mix them with hot milk.

Starbucks do hot chocolates. I haven't tried one but it's going on my list of things to try! Here's their menu: https://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/drinks/hot-chocolates-and-other-drinks

And so does McDonalds. I had one before Christmas as and although it wasn't as nice as others I've had, I did like it.You can find it on their McCafe menu: https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/menu/mccafe.html

If you'd prefer to make your own hot chocolate, here are a few recipes:

Sam Stern's recipe for hot chocolate I made in 2014: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/chocolate-drinks.html

Ellie from Nashville Wife's crockpot hot chocolate that I made a year ago (if you don't have a crockpot slow cooker like me, you can put the chocolate mix in a Pyrex dish on top of a saucepan or something similar): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/hot-chocolate.html

French hot chocolate (haven't made this but it looks good, it's dark chocolate): https://www.wellplated.com/french-hot-chocolate/




White hot chocolate
 

I first made this nearly 4 years ago but it didn't come out that well for me. It was probably because I don't have a slow cooker, so just made it it the pan. If I did it again I'd probably use the method I did for the crockpot hot chocolate (see above). Here's a link to my post about it: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/white-hot-chocolate.html


At the weekend I made some more white hot chocolate and it came out a lot better. It was simpler for me because you don't need a slow cooker and there's no whippng cream, so it's less ingredients (just milk, white chocolate chips and vanilla essence). Find the recipe here: https://lusciousmeals.blogspot.com/2017/01/homemade-white-hot-chocolate.html*


And here's a pic:


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

White Chocolate Christmas Cake + New Year Biscuits

I normally post on Sundays or Mondays but since this year those days were New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I'm posting today instead. :)

For Christmas I made a white chocolate Wonderland cake. The recipe is from British blogger and YouTuber Tanya Burr's book Tanya's Christmas. The recipe was featured in OK! magazine. I can't actually find the recipe online but here are a couple of other white chocolate cake ones:

http://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/easiest-ever-white-chocolate-fudge-cake/
 http://www.bakewithstork.com/recipes/white-chocolate-cake-with-strawberries

The Wonderland cake has white chocolate in the sponge but not in the icing itself, that's just buttercream. I think the second recipe is a bit more similar to it than the first one. The recipe has white chocolate stars on top but I just grated some on top and added hundreds and thousands. It was quite nice, although I think it got better a couple of days later. I baked it on Christmas Eve and did the icing on Christmas Day. Here's a picture: