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Monthy Recipe

The Witches Almanac

Candlemas (Imbolc) 2017

Imbolc - little by little the days grow longer. The Lord, a newborn at Yule, grows stronger every day, nurtured by his mother, our Lady. We celebrate this time on the wheel of the year with milk to honor the first food we consume at birth, honey for the sweetness of life, comforting spices to honor the Sun and the warmth and light of the flame; be it a candle, a hearth fire or bonfires of protection. Gather round, love one another and celebrate!

Candlemas/Imbolc Menu

Baked Brie topped with cranberry and walnut relish
Creamy Broccoli soup
Irish soda bread with honey cinnamon butter
Chicken in white wine with apples and carrots
Brown rice or pearled barley
Ginger Bread (sour milk method) topped with fresh whipped cream

Creamy Broccoli soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 cups chopped broccoli - use florets and as much of the tender stem as possible
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1 cup cooked/canned white beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp dry mustard (more to taste)
salt to taste

Sauté onion until tender. Add broccoli, broth and beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook stirring often, for about 15 minutes. Let soup sit until cool enough to transfer to a blender. In small batches puree soup until smooth. Return to pan and place over medium heat. When soup is bubbly around the edges reduce heat and stir in milk, half of the cheese, mustard and salt. Warm thoroughly but do not boil. Ladle into 4-6 bowls and top with remaining cheese.

Chicken with carrots and apples
8 pieces of chicken (either whole chicken cut into pieces of 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks with skin left on)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 large onion, rough chopped
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 carrots cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup golden raisins (can use dark raisins or dried cranberry if desired)
1 or 2 cups dry white wine
2 apples (tart, crisp apples such as Granny Smith are best)
peeled if desired and cut into eights
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1 or 2 tsp dry thyme

Pat chicken dry and lightly season with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup oil on high and brown chicken on both sides. Transfer chicken pieces to platter. Lower heat to medium and brown onion and carrots. Add bay leaf, raisins and wine and bring to boil. Return chicken to the pan and simmer for 25- 30 minutes until cooked through, adding more wine if necessary. In seperate skillet heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Add apples, garlic and thyme stirring constantly to slightly brown apples. Add vinegar and sugar. Continue to stir until apples are coated and liquid is slightly thickened. Serve chicken over rice or barley with apple mixture spooned on top.

Gingerbread (sour milk method)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2/3 cup sour milk
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, blending well. Add molasses and blend thoroughly. Stir in chopped ginger if using. Combine flour, soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture. Pour into greased and floured 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Can be served warm with fresh whipped cream or topped with ginger cream made by combining vanilla yogurt and chopped, candied ginger to taste. Vanilla ice cream is great too.

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