Sláinte! Feile Na Marbh - the origins of Halloween
Sláinte! columnist Edythe Preet explores how Fiele Na Marbh or "Feast of the Dead" became Halloween - with recipes
1 3⁄4 cups oatmeal
1⁄4 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tbsp melted butter
8 tsp hot water
Preheat oven to 350F. Pulverize 1 cup oatmeal in a blender. In a small bowl, combine ground oats, baking powder and salt. Stir in butter. Gradually add water to make a thick paste. Gather into a ball, place on a board lightly sprinkled with 1/4 cup oatmeal and roll around until completely covered with flakes. Spread another 1/4 cup of oatmeal on the board and flatten the ball into an 8-inch circle 1/4 inch thick. Cut in wedges and transfer to a pan covered with another 1/4 cup oatmeal. Bake 15 minutes. When wedges are light brown, turn off heat, open oven door and let sit in the oven for about 5 minutes until firm and crisp. Makes 8 Soul Cakes. (Personal recipe)
Hot Spiced Cider
2 quarts apple cider
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tsp whole cloves
thin half-round orange slices
Warm cider, orange juice and cloves in a stainless steel pot. Serve with orange slices and cinnamon stick stirrers. Makes 2 1/2 quarts. (Personal recipe)
4 large potatoes, boiled, drained and mashed with milk
1 small head of cabbage, minced and sauteed until tender
1 stick butter, melted
Mix mashed potatoes with minced cooked cabbage. Mound in a serving bowl and make a deep depression in the center. Pour melted butter in the depression. Serve immediately. Serves 4. (Personal recipe)
Traditional Barm Brack
13⁄4 cups raisins
13⁄4 cups golden raisins
33⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cold tea
4 ounces candied citrus peel, minced
Grated rind of 1 orange
8 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
5 fortune tokens, each wrapped in parchment paper (silver coin,
non-plastic button, wooden
matchstick, metal thimble, gold ring)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan; line with waxed paper. In a saucepan, heat raisins and sugar with tea, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cool. Sift dry ingredients together; set aside. Add candied peel and grated rind to the raisin tea mixture. Stir in butter and eggs. Gradually add dry ingredients. Combine well.
Pour into prepared pan and hide the parchment wrapped fortune tokens deep in the batter. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a cake tester can be withdrawn dry. Makes 1 cake. (Classic Irish Recipes, Georgina Campbell)
Variation: Use up to 1/2 cup whiskey to replace some of the tea.
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