Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oatmeal Brunch Bake

"In accordance with the kindly Badger's injunctions, the two tired animals came down to breakfast very late next morning, and found a bright fire burning in the kitchen, and two young hedgehogs sitting on a bench at the table, eating oatmeal porridge out of wooden bowls." -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows.

Scots know that eating a hearty, oatmeal breakfast is a healthy way to begin the day. Few foods equal oats for dietary benefit : even fewer sit so comfortably in the stomach or are as inexpensive. Oatmeal brings good fortune and encourages the power and magick of the faeries. Oats correspond to the Moon. They can also used in prosperity spells and to cast a magick circle. The following recipe is assembled the night before baking and refrigerated to blend the flavours in a sustaining brunch :

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup brown sugar,packed
1/2 cup maple,agave,or Lyle's Golden syrup
3/4 cup dried fruits(currants,apricots,dates,etc)
1/2 cup walnuts,chopped
1 large tart apple,unpeeled,cored & grated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 eggs,lightly beaten
2 tablespoon butter,melted

Butter an eight cup baking dish.Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well until thoroughly mixed.Transfer to the prepared baking dish.Cover tightly,and refrigerate overnight.In the morning, let the dish sit at room temperature,while preheating the oven,for about fifteen minutes.Bake for one hour or until the center is set,when you gently press it with the back of a spoon.Serve hot with milk,cream,or yogurt.Microwave leftovers,as it keeps for several days.Recipe yields ten generous servings.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

~ Winter Walnut Bread ~

The walnut is a tree of intuition. Witches meet and dance beneath them. During the Golden Age of olde, mortals lived on acorns, while the gods sustained with walnuts. Three good, although somewhat mythical, reasons to
bake this savoury bread often during the cold weather season. It's the perfect accompaniment to hot soup or a warming beverage. Serve with tempered butter or cream cheese.

Preheat oven to 450*F.
Ingredients: 3 + ¼ cups organic, all purpose white bread flour
¾ cup dark rye flour
1 + ½ teaspoons dried yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 + ½ cups tepid water
2 cups English walnut pieces
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 cup dried cranberries

Combine the flours together; add the yeast and salt. Add a little of the room temperature water; mix the ingredients. Gradually add more water until the mixture becomes a dough.
Add the walnuts, rosemary, & cranberries to the dough: press and stretch the dough away from you, as the action of kneading warms and pulls the gluten in flour. Lift the dough edges into the middle, give it a quarter turn, & repeat; knead until pliable (five or so minutes). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, and leave to rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. Turn it out onto a floured surface and divide in half: knead each half into a tight dough ball. Shape each one into a ring with a hole the size of your fist. Place on a flour-dusted baking sheet and cover with a damp dishcloth until rings have again doubled in size. Lightly mist the inside of the oven with a fine water spray just before baking to help the breads cook well. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes: the bread is cooked if it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Keeps for several days in a bread box and freezes well.