Friday, 23 December 2016

Yule 2016 + Origins of Father Christmas

I normally post on Sundays or Mondays, but since it's Christmas Day on Sunday this year I decided to do a post today and then maybe write one about Christmas on Boxing Day (Monday).

It was Yule on Wednesday (21st December). I usually buy a chocolate Yule log although two years ago I made one. This year I bought one again, this time from Asda. I've had Sainsbury's most often but more recently it hasn't been as nice. Last year I had a Tesco one. Asda's was quite nice, it was Belgian chocolate. Here's a picture:





Sunday, 4 December 2016

Quick Dinner Bread (+ Soup)

Last week I made 1 hour dinner bread. I've made bread a couple of times before in 2010, the first time it was a Bread Spell from the book Spells for the Witch in You by Marina Baker and the second time I used a recipe from a flour packet, lol. (I think we also made rolls at first school!). The first time it didn't rise but when I did it again the next day it worked. It was 31st July and I'm not sure if I had properly started celebrating Lammas then (2010 was the first time I celebrated Madron) but it was that time of year, so baking bread fit the season!

Bread making can be quite a difficult process to get the hang of but I  expect once you've done it a few times it's much easier. What I liked about the dinner bread was that it only takes about an hour to make. It's quicker because it doesn't have any yeast in it, one of the main ingredients is Greek yoghurt. I'd had the recipe on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board for 2 years, so I'm glad I finally got round to making it! lol. The recipe is from a trEAT's affair (formely Roxanna's Home Baking). Here's the link: http://atreatsaffair.com/1-hour-dinner-bread-recipe/

It's a good site; I also made her Christmas Vanilla roll cake for Christmas 2013.

I was pleased with the bread. I didn't have quite enough Greek yoghurt (I realised later that I'd got a smaller tub than the recipe said) so I wasn't sure how it would come out but it was nice. I used Clover instead of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! because that's the spread we have in my house. And I used white bread flour instead of wholewheat/wholemeal because that's the one I had in. So it came out slightly different to Roxana's. I also dind't use sesame seeds because I wasn't bothered about having them in it. It took me longer for the prepratation part because I don't have an electric mixer, so I did it by hand and I'm a slow mixer! lol. But the baking time was 50 mintues or just under.

Here's a picture:



Sunday, 6 November 2016

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2016

For Hallowe'en/Samhain last Monday I made my usual Demon's Blood drink. I also made some potato salad like I did last year (the recipe is from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya) and had it with some buffet type food such as hummus, breadsticks and chicken bites.

As I wrote in my Celebration Ideas post, I wanted to bake gingerbread but wasn't sure which type. In the end I went with the recipe for gingerbread skeletons from last year and put some icing on them but I also added some chocolate like I did with the bats I made in 2013.

I had a pumpkin and also put tealights in the pumpkin jar like last year. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hallowe'en/Samhain Celebration Ideas



It's Hallowe'en/Samhain tomorrow, so I thought I'd do a quick post on ideas for celebrating it. I used to like Hallowe'en when I was younger and when I started celebrating the sabbats in 2010, Samhain became my favourite. :)

I did a post yesterday on my other blog Star Sparkle Blog about Hallowe'en, which includes some of my fave Hallowe'en/and or horror themed books, films and TV shows (plus a couple of songs). You can check it out here: http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/halloween-faves-round-up.html

Michaela at Penniless Pagan has some good tips for celebrating Samhain without spending anything: http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2016/10/5-ways-to-celebrate-samhain-without.html

I also like her post on honouring loves ones who have passed away (Samhain is a good festival to do this since it's a time when the veils between the worlds are thinner and the dead are thought to come back to visit their family/people who were important to them in life): http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2016/10/honor-your-transcended-loved-ones.html

I found it was nice to think about my grandparents, what they taught me and things I used to do with them. :)

Also Althea at Modern Witch's Guide to Life has some history on Hallowe'en and ideas for celebrating:  http://modern-witch.es/enchanted-living/13-witchy-ideas-to-celebrate-halloween

And finally here's a Samhain post on Tess Whitehurst's site:  http://tesswhitehurst.com/10-ways-to-celebrate-the-ancient-holiday-of-samhain-aka-halloween/



Hope you enjoy the links and have a great Hallowe'en and/or Samhain (depending on how you celebrate. :) I just did my pumpkin a bit earlier and tomorrow I'm going to make the Demon's Blood drink I usually make and have some food. I'll probably make some gingerbread skeletons or bats as well. I made gingerbread bats with chocolate on in 2013 and skeletons with icing last year, so I might combine the recipes this year and put chocolate on the skeletons, lol. I'll do a post about it soon.

Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain! :) How do you celebrate?


Photo: Tesco Holmbush's Hallowe'en display. Copyright Moonsparkle 2016.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cornflake Choc Chip Cookies

Yesterday I made some cornflake choc chip cookies. It's a recipe from vlogger/blogger Tanya Burr's cookbook Tanya Bakes, which was featured in New magazine.You can find the recipe here: http://www.instyle.co.uk/fitness-wellbeing/tanya-burr-recipes

I've made crispy and cornflakes cakes (with chocolate and Rice Krispies or cornflakes) before but I've never put cornflakes in cookies, so I thought it would be good to try the recipe. I used two baking trays because I couldn't fit them all on the same one and good job I did because I burnt the first lot! lol. I kept watching the second lot but they still got a bit burnt.  :( (I'm not completely used to the new oven/cooker yet). I had enough dough left to make two smaller cookies so I had one more go. I kept watching them and kept the oven lower and this time they came out golden, lol.

They did taste quite nice in the end. I didn't have sea salt so used a pinch of table salt and I didn't have golden caster sugar either, so mixed ordinary caster sugar and light brown sugar. I also didn't have a lot of chocolate chips left (I bought them recently to use for No-bake energy balls) so I just used what I had. Not all of the cookies got chocolate chips in but they taste fine without, lol. Sometimes you feel like making something but can't afford to buy all the extra ingredients right now, so it was good that I had most of the ingredients on hand and that this recipe is adaptable.

Here is a picture of the last two cookies which came out the best:



 I'd like to bake some more cookies in the future (I don't make them that often). I might have a go at Tanya's chocolate cookies sometime.


 Hope you enjoy these ones if you make them. :)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Madron 2016

For Madron last Thursday I made a ginger beer cake. It was from a recipe that I'd had saved on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board for ages, lol. (Saved it a couple of years ago). Here's the link: http://thecakedcrusader.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/ginger-beer-cake-and-movember.html

The cake is plain but I wanted a topping so I used the cream cheese icing recipe from a James Martin cake that I made for Easter in 2013.  (Just made the icing this time). You can find that recipe here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10209/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake

It came out quite nice but I burnt it a bit, lol. Also it was a bit dry so I ate it with Carnation evaporated milk. The recipe uses alcoholic ginger beer but I don't drink the alcoholic type, so I just used my favourite Old Jamaica Ginger. The cream cheese icing went nicely with the ginger flavour. It was better than the gingerbread cakes I made last year and the year before. I think it was because it doesn't have treacle (molasses) in it; the treacle just makes it too heavy for me.

 Here are a couple of pics:


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Happy Madron!



I don't normally post on a Thursday but since today is Madron (also known as Mabon) aka the Autumn Equinox, I thought I'd do an extra post to share a couple of related links. :)

Here's an article with some good info about Madron/Mabon: http://www.goddesslifestyleplan.com/mabon-autumnal-equinox/

And here's another one with some suggestions for things to do at Equinox time. (There's also the Spring Equniox so if you're in the southerrn Hemishere this applies to you too): http://www.stellaseaspirit.co.za/things-to-do-at-equinox/

Today is the first official day of autumn and from now on the days will get noticably shorter. It's getting dark before 8pm now. It's really been feeling like autumn the past week or so but we're supposed to be getting a heatwave next week, lol. The picture above is I one I took at Hove Park at the beginning of the month. The leaves weren't turning yet but the atmosphere and light is different than during the summer.

Happy Madron and autumn! (Or Oestara and spring if you're celebrating those). :) I've decided to bake a ginger beer type cake, so I'm going to make that later. I'll share how it turned out and some pics soon. :)



Photo: Hove Park. Copyright Moonsparkle 2016.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Beach Pics

I recently went to Worthing Beach and took some pictures, so I thought I'd share a few here. :) Now we're in September and transitioning into autumn but we've been having some nice, hotter weather lately. Signs of autumn coming are the light becoming mellower and the days getting shorter (I think it's getting darker around 8pm now) but at the same time the weather is still good. I didn't have a chance to get to the beach all summer and I wanted to go before it got colder.

Here are the pics:


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Lammas 2016

Last Monday (1st August) I made gingerbread for Lammas. This year I made gingerbread again, using my favourite recipe from the brown sugar packet. I've finally got the new cooker installed now; I wanted it done in time for Lammas because I knew I wanted to make gingerbread!

I see that last year I put sprinkles on top. I didn't this time but I iced them as usual (I just make up some icing with icing sugar and water). The dough was a bit dry again but I added more milk. I made gingerbread men and a couple of round biscuits with the leftover dough. It was a bit trial and error getting used to the new oven but the gingerbread came out quite nice in the end. It wasn't so gingery as other times but I'd rather have less ginger than not enough! lol. I added a bit of mixed spice too.

Here's a pic:



Sunday, 24 July 2016

Chocolate Fudge

A couple of weeks ago I made some chocolate fudge. I wanted to get some condensed milk when I was at the supermarket and then I saw a recipe for the fudge on the back of the Carnation tin, so I thought I'd have  go at making some.

"Fudge" to me always seems like the traditional type with sugar, butter and milk but you can also make it with condensed milk, chocolate, butter and icing sugar which was the type I made. I did previously make some white chocolate fudge for Christmas (see below).

You can also add different ingredients to the traditional recipe. When I was a child I used to go the Roundstone Garden Centre (this was long before its makeover when it became Haskins Roundstone) and they did lovely fudge. They had flavours like strawberry and cream and mint. Their machine broke so they couldn't make any more, which was such a shame!

The fudge I made was Easy Chocolate Fudge and you can find the recipe on the Carnation website: https://www.carnation.co.uk/Recipes/64/Easy-Chocolate-Fudge

I wasn't bothered about the nuts, so I left them out. If you're from America, I think icing sugar is what you call powdered sugar. :) This is simple to make. It doesn't require any actual baking; you just put it in the fridge once you've made it. (I've categorised it under "baking" though because it's a sweet, baking type item).

It came out quite nice. Here's a pic:


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Litha 2016

I meant to post this earlier but had computer problems. I've got my computer back now and thought I would do this post today rather than on my usual days (Sunday or Monday) because that's another week away. :)

On Monday 20th June I celebrated Litha/Midsummer by making some lemonade. In the past I've made what I call "Hello Kitty lemonade" but this year I used a recipe from The Real Witches' Kitchen book by Kate West. I didn't like it as much because it was bitterer. It's made by boiling the lemon rind with water and sugar first, then adding the lemon juice  rather than just mixing lemon juice with cold water and sugar which I normally do. Never mind, it was good to try a different one. :)  I had the lemonade with some vanilla ice cream with crushed double chocolate digestives on top.

I also made a tomato and onion salad from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya and had it with my lunch.

Here's a picture of the salad:

                                        

Monday, 30 May 2016

More No-Bake Recipes

I'm feeling into "No-bake" recipes at the moment. A couple of weeks ago I made some Peanut Butter Energy Bites and added some Nutella. You can see them here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/peanut-butter-and-nutella-energy-bites.html

This reminded me that I'd had an actual recipe for Nutella Energy Bites saved on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board (for about a year! lol), so I had a go at making them. I used this recipe: http://www.thegunnysack.com/no-bake-energy-bites-recipe/

They came out really nice, tasted kind of like Ferrero Rocher. Probably because of the cereal which made them crunchy. (I used Rice Krispies). I think they were the nicest ones I've made so far. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 15 May 2016

Peanut Butter and Nutella Energy Bites

Last weekend I wanted to bake something but since I'm having still oven problems as I mentioned in my Easter post, I can't do any proper baking at the moment. So I decided to make energy bites. I used the recipe for these Energy Bites from the site i should be mopping the floor but I added Nutella. (Just put it in along with the peanut butter).

They came out quite nice. Some were more Nutellary than others, lol. Energy bites are a healthier snack to have too, although the Nutella probably made them a bit less healthy! Here's a pic:



I've made the Energy Bites a few times and like them but I got a bit bored of them in the past, lol. Once I dipped them in Nutella, so I thought this time I'd put the Nutella in! I've come across Nutella energy bites recipes on Pinterest and saved them on my Recipes To Make board and I plan to have a go at different ones in the future.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Beltane 2016

For Beltane yesterday I made some guacamole like I did last year (recipe is from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya) and had it with some salad, chicken, ham, egg, pitta bread, shop bought dips (hummus and onion and garlic), sea salt and cider vinegar crisps and beetroot, parsnip and carrot vegetable crisps. (It was the first time I'd tried the vegetable crisps and I found them a bit strange to be honest! lol). I had it with Bottlegreen elderflower sparkling presse.

Here's a picture of the food:



Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Chocolate Fridge Cake/Squares

As I mentioned in my Oestara post I was planning to make something for Easter but since my oven is broken at the moment, it had to be something "No-bake". I ended up making chocolate fridge cake (or squares, since you cut it into squares) for Easter Sunday yesterday. It's actually similar to the Birdies Perch Malteser slice I made for Oestara (click the link above to see it). They tend to be known as "fridge cakes", at least in the UK.

Here's the recipe for the chocolate fridge squares: http://www.ultimatefoodies.com/recipe/default.aspx?artefactID=51

It's quite an easy recipe, made with chocolate, butter and condensed milk then you add the crushed digestive biscuits (the Birdies Perch Malteser slice has golden syrup and no condensed milk). I put Cadbury's Mini Eggs on the top, since I couldn't get any in time for Oestara. Here's a pic:



Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Oestara 2016

On Sunday (20th March) it was Oestara/the Spring Equinox. I like to celebrate the sabbats by making some food and/or drinks and in previous years I baked fairy cakes (click on the Oestara link to see them) and sugar cookie bars. My oven is broken at the moment though, so I had a look for a No-bake recipe). In the end I decided to go for Birdies Perch Malteser slice which is a favourite of mine. You can read more about Birdies Perch here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/birdies-perch-malteser-slice.html

I wanted to make the Malteser slice a bit different so I used some new McVities Digestive Nibbles as well as Maltesers. It came out quite nice. Here's a pic:


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Imbolg 2016

Imbolg was last Tuesday (2nd February) and like other years I celebrated by making pancakes (an idea in The Real Witches' Kitchen book). This year I made English pancakes. They came out really nice this year, other times I'm disappointed with them! lol.

I put sugar and lemon on the pancakes and had them with Tesco Cloudy Lemonade. Here's a picture:





Sunday, 3 January 2016

White Chocolate Fudge

As I mentioned in my Yule 2015 post, this year I made white chocolate for Christmas. In 2014 I made both a chocolate Yule log for Yule and a Red Velvet Buche de Noel (another type of Yule log) for Christmas but this year (or last year now, lol) I wanted to make something different, so decided on the fudge.

I'd had the recipe on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board for ages, so it was good to have an excuse to make it! lol. The recipe is from this site: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/white-chocolate-fudge

I made it without the pecans because I wasn't that keen on having them in it. It was quite nice, bit of a different texture to the average fudge but nice once you get used to it. The only downside was that it didn't seem to last that long. I made it on Christmas Eve and it tasted good on Christmas Day but when I had some more on Boxing Day (day after Christmas) it seemed to have gone off slightly. I kept it in the fridge because it's got cream cheese in it and that can go off quite quickly. It was covered in foil but maybe it wasn't covered enough. Anyway, it's worth making for a change. :)

Here's a picture.