Snow is falling, chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, the scent of pine and cinnamon fills the air. This the time of the Winter Solstice, or better known as Yule. There are actually many winter holidays that occur before, around or shortly after the Winter Solstice. The most famous Pagan one, is the neopagan holiday of Yule.
Yule celebrates the longest night and the shortest day. At the same time, even though this is celebrated, it also marks the coming change of the days growing longer and the nights growing shorter. Yule traditions include decorating a tree, exchanging gifts, lighting of candles or lights, singing, dancing, family gatherings, reunions with friends and of course, delicious food.
Yule foods, herbs and drinks can include chestnuts, nuts, pomegranates grapes, potatoes, sprouts, parsnips, swede, beetroot, cinnamon, nutmeg, caraway, cloves, allspice, sage, mulled wine, ginger wine, brandy, sherry, beers, wassail and spicy teas. Let’s go ahead and take a look at some recipes.
Clean your chicken inside and outside and then lay your delicious bird in a roasting pan. You can drizzle oil over the delicious bird. You can add variations on your roast chicken with thyme, honey, garlic and or any other seasoning may speak to your heart. Once you have prepared your chicken, you will want to place it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. Remove your bird once it is golden brown and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
12 oz of sausage-meat
8 oz of peeled, cooked, chopped chestnuts
2 rashers of diced bacon
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 beaten egg
A sprinkle of ground nutmeg
1 tbsps of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tbsps dried breadcrumbs
- Melt your butter in a frying pan and fry your bacon, onion and garlic until gently cooked.
- Allow your mix to cool. Add to the sausage-meat, stir thoroughly to make sure the ingredients are well blended and then add the breadcrumbs and the egg. Stir until everything has been properly combined.
- Add your seasoning, chopped chestnuts and continue to mix thoroughly before placing into your bird to cook.
Star Anise Carrots
6 large carrots
6 star anise
2 oz butter
1 tbsp honey
- Top and tail the carrots and scrub/peel them. Cut the carrots diagonally into chunks or slice them.
- Place them in a pot of cold water along with the star anise and bring them to a boil. Then simmer them for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the carrots have cooked to your preference, strain off the water and add the butter and honey and place them on low heat for a few minutes until the carrots have been glazed.
Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
1 large Onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed (5 cups)
1 small Acorn Squash, seeded and cubed
13 3/4 ounces Chicken Broth
4 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds; toasted
- Sauté onion in oil in large saucepan over medium heat until onion is golden, about 8 minutes.
- Add potatoes, squash and broth. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 25 min. Cool slightly.
- Working in small batches, place the vegetables with the liquid in a blender or food processor. Whirl until pureed.
- Return the puree to the saucepan. Stir in the milk to desired consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper. Heat over low heat. Remove to heated bowls. Top each serving with dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of almonds and nutmeg.
Baked Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
1 stick of butter
2 to 4 cloves of garlic, to taste
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. of basil
1 tsp. of oregano
Pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Don’t worry if there are still some stringy bits of pulp in there.
- Cut the stick of butter in half lengthwise, and place one half in each half of the squash. Lay the two squash halves in a baking dish.
- Sprinkle the tops with Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bake for an hour, and then check to see if squash has softened yet.
- If it still seems firm, give it another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the spaghetti-like strands and enjoy.
Baked Yule Log
Your favorite chocolate cake recipe, prepared
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 stick butter
16 oz. semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
Spearmint leaf jelly candies
Cinnamon red hots
Mini marshmallows and chocolate kisses (optional)
- Prepare the cake according to the instructions on your cake recipe, and, yes, you can use a mix. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, pour the batter out onto the paper and spread until it reaches the edges.
- Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until cake is firm and springy. Just be sure not to overbake it!
- Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a cloth towel dusted with powdered sugar.
- Peel off the parchment paper. Roll the cake up inside the cloth towel, starting with one of the short sides. Let the rolled-up cake cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cake cools, mix up the filling. This particular blend is a coffee-flavored variety adapted from a tiramisu recipe, but you can replace the coffee with cocoa if you prefer more chocolate. Blend the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and coffee granules together to form the filling. Chill until thick and firm.
- After the cake has completely cooled, gently unroll the cake from the towel. Remove the towel, and spread the filling over one side of the cake, stopping about a half inch from the edge. Roll the cake back up; this should be easy since it cooled in a rolled-up form. Place the cake on a serving platter and allow to chill for a couple of hours.
- To make the frosting, melt the butter in a double boiler and then add the chocolate. Once the chocolate has all melted, stir in the heavy cream. Let the icing sit at room temperature until it’s a little thick.
- Spread on the cake, covering the entire roll, and then drag a fork through the icing to create a bark-like appearance on your log.
- Add a couple of spearmint leaves and red hots to form clusters of holly on the log. If you’d like to add “mushrooms” to your log, stick a toothpick through a miniature marshmallow, and then poke it into the flat side of a chocolate kiss. Snip off the pointy part of the kiss, and you’ll have a small mushroom. Use the toothpick to stick these on top of your log.
Bread and Butter Pudding
1oz butter, plus extra for greasing
8 thin slices bread
2 tsp cinnamon powder
12fl oz whole milk
2fl oz heavy cream
1oz granulated sugar
nutmeg, grated, to taste
- Grease a 2 pint pie dish with butter.
- Cut the crusts off the bread. Spread each slice with on one side with butter, then cut into triangles.
- Arrange a layer of bread, buttered-side up, in the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of raisins. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon, then repeat the layers of bread and raisens, sprinkling with cinnamon, until you have used up all of the bread. Finish with a layer of bread, then set aside.
- Gently warm the milk in a pan over a low heat to scalding point. Don’t let it boil.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl, add three quarters of the sugar and lightly whisk until pale.
- Add the warm milk and cream mixture and stir well, then strain the custard into a bowl.
- Pour the custard over the prepared bread layers and sprinkle with nutmeg and the remaining sugar and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 355F.
- Place the dish into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown.
1 gallon apple cider
2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 apple, peeled and diced
3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon)
1/2 to 1 cup brandy (optional)
- Set your crockpot to its lower setting, and pour in apple cider, cranberry juice, honey, and sugar, mixing carefully. As it heats up, stir so that the honey and sugar dissolve.
- Stud the oranges with the cloves, and place in the pot (they’ll float).
Add the diced apple and allspice, ginger, and nutmeg to taste, usually, a couple of tablespoons each is plenty.
- Snap the cinnamon sticks in half and add those as well.
- Cover your pot and allow to simmer up to four hours on low heat.
- About a half-hour prior to serving, add the brandy if you choose to use it.
4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
- In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil.
- Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
- Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
(I apologize that there were no articles last week. I was SUPER sick. I got the flu and it sucked royally. Wednesday on Facebook we will be doing a live-stream on Facebook page to discuss Runes at 3 P.M. PST. Friday we will be back here to cover Yule. We will not be back until the 1st, where we will be announcing our January giveaway on our Facebook page. On the 3rd, we will resume our regular schedule when it comes to our articles.)