The Cottage Nov-Dec./Yule 2001

Sacred Plants of Winter Solstice
The Yule Log
Join The Crones
Monthly Moon Info
From The Cottage
Yule Carols
Contact Us!
Past Issues Of The Cottage
Yuletide Brunch With The Crones


Gathering by the hearth:

Oooh I smell sweets baking and savory herbs roasting. Everyone will enjoy this feast. Whether you are making a quiet delightful dinner for few or a huge gathering of your friends and loved ones, the hearth is always the place to be. The place where family secrets are whispered and plans are made. Where spells and rituals are discussed as well as recipes exchanged. Where divination is practiced and future gatherings discussed. And most of all traditions shared and new ones created. Ah yes the hearth! To all you witches, maiden, mothers and crones who are gathering by the fire, please remember to thank the Goddess for all her blessings! Enjoy your feast and bon apetite.


I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I personally enjoy the kitchen and cooking for my friends and loved ones. Whether it be a small or huge celebration, holiday or just a brunch, I love fussing near the hearth and creating a special brew or two. For Yule I will be very busy, not just with the meal itself, but with decor and tradition. Before we begin our Kitchen fun, I thought it would be great to see how people around the world celebrate Yule/Christmas with their loved ones. Let's take a look:

Africa- A ceremonial table is set up, which has been set up with a ear of corn symbolizing each of the children, a carved and decorated unity cup, which is used for the toasts made each evening.

Alaska-maple-frosted doughnuts, cookies, candy, piruk/, or fisdh pie, adn sometimes smaked salmon.

Argentina- The dinner food is pork, turkey, and a great variety of meals. Then the table is covered with sweet things, cider, beer, juice for consuming while waiting for the time of the toast. After the toast all the family chat, others play. Mothers make different kinds of meals such as roasted turkey, roasted pork, stuffed tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas's bread and puddings. The toast: drink prepared with different kinds of fruit which is cut into pieces, then it is mixed with juice and cider.

Australia- A traditional meal includes a turkey dinner, with ham, and pork. A flaming Christmas plum pudding is added for dessert. In the Australian gold rushes, Christmas puddings often contained a gold nugget. Today a small favor is baked inside. Whoever finds this knows s/he will enjoy good luck. Another treat is Mince Pies.

Belgium-Special cakes are baked and served during the holiday season and are a treat for children and adults.

Bulgaria-A special diner, consisting of at least twelve dishes is prepared. All of them are without meat and each of them represents a separate month of the year; in this way if the dishes are more that twelve the people from the house have what to eat during the whole year. The dishes consist of beans, different kinds of nuts, dried plums, cakes, and the traditional for our country Banitza. On this day the whole family gathers, eat on straw and get off the table in the same time. They were bringing long sticks to put kravai (round breads with hole it). They were called RkoledariS. In the houses the families gathered sitting on the ground or on dry grass and eating meatless food. There were 7 or 12 meals: wine, rakia ,sarmy and so on. There always was a huge round bread where all the cattle, the house and things like that were carved.

Labrador Canada- In Labrador, turnips are saved from the summer harvest and are given to children, with a lighted candle pushed into a hollowed out hole.

China- The non-christian chinese call this season the Spring Festival and celebrate with many festivities that include delicious meals and pay respects to their ancestors. The children are the main focus of these celebrations, they receive new clothes and toys, eat delectable food and watch firecrackers displays.

Denmark-Adults drink a warming mixture of red wine, spices and raisins, and children drink a sweet fruit juice, like strawberry. Everybody eats small cakes of batter which have been cooked over the fire in a special pan, and dusted with icing sugar.

Egypt- Christmas meal knwon as fata, which consists of bread, rice,garlic and boiled meat. They take with them kaik which is a type of shortbread, which they take with them to give to the people they visit and eaten with a drink known as shortbat.

Ethiopia-Food served at Christmas usually includes injera, a sourdough pancake like bread. Injera serves as both plate and fork. Doro wat, a spicy chicken stew might be the main meal. A piece of the injera is used to scoop up the wat. Baskets decorated beautifully are used to serve the wat.

Finland-Everybody's house is given a very good clean in readiness for Christmas. Hours are spend in the kitchen cooking and baking special treats for the festive season. A sheaf of grain is often ties to a pole, together with nuts and seeds and placed in the garden for the birds. Many of the peasants will not eat their Christmas dinner until the birds have had their dinner.

France-In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toysa have been hung on the tree.

Germany-Christmas preparations often begin on the eve of December 6th. People often set aside special evenings for baking spiced cakes and cookies, and making gifts and decorations. Little dolls of fruit are traditional Christmas toys. Germans make beautiful gingerbread houses and cookies. The German Christmas tree pastry, Christbaumgeback, is a white dough that can be moulded into shapes and baked for tree decorations.

Greece-They go from house to house and are given dried figs, almonds, walnuts and lots of sweets or sometimes small gifts. On Christmas Eve, groups of people gather around the holiday table. Figs, dried on rooftops are served with the spicy golden Chrisopsomo bread. The table filled with food may include such dishes as kourambiethes, a Greek nut cookie.

Greenland-In Greenland there is a lot of visiting of families, drinking coffee and eating cakes, as well as giving of brightly wrapped presents which might consist of a model sledge, a pair of tusks, or even a sealskin mitt.After the coffe, cakes and carols everyone is given Mattak which is whaleskin with a strip of blubber inside is given to everyone. The taste of it is much like coconut, but is tough to chew and is usually just swallowed. Another food that is eaten is Kiviak which consists of raw flesh of ab auk which has been buried whole in sealskin for several months until they have reached an advanced stage of decomposition.

Honey Glazed Ham



5 pounds ready-to-eat ham
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 cups honey
2/3 cup butter


1-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2-Score ham, and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan.
3-In the top half of a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey and butter. Keep glaze warm while baking ham.
4-Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Baste ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey glaze. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving.



1/4 cup melted butter
2 (15 ounce) cans sliced potatoes, drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup corn flakes cereal, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika


1-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour butter into a 9x13 inch pan.
2-Arrange potato slices in a single layer over the butter. Combine the cheese, cornflakes and paprika in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the potatoes.
3-Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes or until heated through


Serves 8
This dish can be made a day ahead of time and then reheated.

1 1/2 pounds cipollini onionsor pearl onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms

1. Heat oven to 350. Place onions in a large bowl, cover them with boiling water, and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain onions in a colander. When cool enough to handle, peel onions, and transfer them to another bowl.
2. Add butter, fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons rosemary, and dried thyme to onions, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer onions to a large, shallow roasting pan, and arrange in a single layer. Roast onions, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and turn brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven.
4. Meanwhile, soak mushrooms in 2 1/2 cups very hot water for 30 minutes. Lift mushrooms out of soaking liquid with a slotted spoon, and strain mushroom liquid through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth (to remove grit from liquid). Chop strained mushrooms coarsely. Add strained liquid and chopped mushrooms to roasting pan with onions, and stir to combine.
5. Return pan to oven, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by three-quarters and onions are soft and brown, about 1 hour. Adjust seasoning; just before serving, sprinkle with remaining teaspoon rosemary.



6-7 heads Belgian endive
6-1/2 ounces marinated artichokes, drained & chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup chopped salami
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1-2 tablespoons green goddess salad dressing or Italian dressing

Wash, separate, and dry endive leaves.
Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
Combine remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, spoon mixture into endive leave


3/4 cup medium grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 whole almond, shelled and blanched
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 to 2 cups half-and-half

Preheat oven to 325F.
Butter a 2 quart casserole dish and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine rice, salt, and boiling water.
Cover and simmer over low heat 10 minutes.
Stir in whipping cream, milk, cinnamon stick, eggs, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, cardamom and almond.
Spoon rice mixture into prepared casserole dish.
Bake 2 hours or until rice swells and has a creamy texture. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
Serve pudding hot or cold with half-and-half and cinnamon-sugar mixture.


Also known as Plum Duff in the Victorian era. It is a fascinating dessert that does not have any plums in it nor is it a pudding. So why plums? It is thought that it was initially "plumbs" which is colonial terminology for raisins, one of the key ingredients. And why pudding? Although it's not technically a pudding this dessert has a pudding like texture created by steaming.

Makes 2 large puddings, serving 8 to 10 each, and 1 small pudding that serves 6 to 8.


12 ounces pitted prunes, chopped
10 ounces dried currants
8 ounces raisins
4 ounces candied fruit-peel
zest from 1 orange
1/3 cup orange juice
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon apricot puree
1 tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup Guinness stout
1/2 cup or more Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup tawny port
1/4 cup or more Frangelico liqueur
1/2 teaspoon (rounded) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (rounded) ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (scant) ground cloves
1 cup + 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
8 cup fresh white breadcrumbs from homemade-style sliced White bread
6 oz butter, melted, + additional-as needed
glace cherries for garnish
Whip cream, sweetened with sugar and vanilla


Combine the prunes, currants, raisins, candied citrus peel, citrus rinds and juice, apricot puree and molasses in a large nonreactive bowl.
Add the stout, 1/2 cup Cognac, the port and 1/4 cup Frangelico. Mix well.
Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and cloves.
Add the sugar and mix very well.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
The following day, let mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Fold in the breadcrumbs with a rubber spatula, in batches if necessary, until crumbs are thoroughly combined and no white specks are visible.
Mixture will be stiff. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Thoroughly fold in the melted butter.
There should be about 9 cups of batter.
Lightly butter two 4-cup and one 2-1/2-cup steamed pudding molds, heat-proof ceramic bowls or stainless-steel bowls.
Lightly pack 3 1/2 cups of batter into the 4 cup molds and 2 cups of batter into the 2 1/2-cup mold.
Smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
Press a lightly buttered round of baking parchment directly onto the surface of each pudding.
Cover each mold with its lid or each bowl with aluminum foil.
Place molds in pots with boiling water that comes 3/4 of the way up the sides of the molds; cover pots.
Steam puddings for 4 hours over low or medium-low heat, so water boils gently.
Replenish boiling water as necessary to maintain level.
Transfer puddings to wire racks; cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate puddings, covered with baking parchment and plastic wrap, for up to 6 days.
Brush them lightly once or twice with Cognac or Frangelico, if desired.
To serve, let pudding stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Steam, covered with parchment paper and aluminum foil, for 2-1/2 hours.
Let cool on a rack for 1-1/2 hours. Pudding should still be warm.
Run a knife around the edge of the pudding.
Invert pudding onto cake stand or platter.
Decorate with glace cherries.
To flambe pudding: Pour about 2 tablespoons hot Cognac over the top. Carefully and immediately ignite it with a match. Blue flames will subside when alcohol has burned off. Slice the pudding and serve with whipped cream.


Heavy Apple Cider (Not Juice)
Orange Juice with Pulp
Cinnamon to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Optional - mix in some dark rum if the occasion allows.On the stove - heat and combine equal parts. A very versatile recipe. Wassail can be made with other liquids than those listed above - red or white wine, tea, pineapple juice, sherry, lemonade, cranberry juice, apricot nectar, even ale. Spices can also include - cloves, ginger, allspice, cardamom, as well as the traditional cinnamon and nutmeg. Often it is served with lemon or orange slices floating or roasted apples in the drink. It is best to adjust this recipe to your preference. Serve warm with a Cinnamon Stick


1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup rum
1 jigger of brandy

Blend all the ingredient except the nutmeg in a blender.
Chill until serving time.
Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.


Makes approximately 2 dozen buns.

7 tablespoons melted butter
1-1/4 cup milk
saffron threads, about 0.5 grams
3, 6 ounce cakes fresh yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
plus additional flour for kneading
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk

Melt butter in a pan and add milk and saffron.
Warm the mixture to 37 oC (100 oF).
Crumble the yeast and pour the warm milk mixture over the top.
Add sugar, salt, egg and flour.
Mix until dough is smooth.
Cover dough and let it rise 30 minutes.
Knead dough and divide into 25-30 pieces.
Form each piece into a round bun. Let the buns rest for a few minutes-covered.
Roll each bun into a rope and shape them as desired - an "S" or a double "S".
The ends of the dough should meet.
Press some raisins into the dough.
Cover the "Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let rise 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475 oF.
Mix egg and milk together and brush the tops of the buns.
Bake 5-10 minutes or until golden brownish yellow.

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