Recipes for Beltane

It is almost time for us to celebrate passion, light, and renewal of life, yes, it is almost Beltane.

Whether you are painting an egg talisman or making a wish box charm, one thing we all be doing is eating.  Below are some traditional and fun Beltane recipes to help in your celebration of life, love, and new times.

To begin:

Fried Honeycakes

These cakes were left in the garden to please Faery visitors. If you plan to leave an offering to the Fae, double the recipe to keep some for your family, or you may discover the ones in the garden are missing! 

1/2 cup sweet white wine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup honey
2/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon salt

Beat the wine & egg in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt & sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes. Combine the honey & nutmeg in a small bowl.

Heat 1/2-inch of the oil in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop the batter into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time; fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip into the honey.

Farls

3 cups real mashed potatoes
2 cups dry oats
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch rosemary

Soak oats in warm water for 15 minutes until soft and swollen. Mix them with all other ingredients in a large bowl. Knead until mixture is like thick dough. Make patties, fry in hot oil until brown. Serve immediately. 

Main and sides:

Chicken Barley Stew with Herbs
 
2-3 LB chicken breasts on the bone
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 LB leeks (3-4 large ones, 4-5 little ones) thickly cut. May substitute onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
6 oz barley
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 3/4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried sage

Comment: This is originally an Anglo-Saxon recipe. The original calls for rabbit, but chicken is just as good.
In a large Dutch Oven, melt the butter, then fry the leeks and garlic in the butter. Add the chicken and brown. Add remaining ingredients, reserving the sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Remove meat from bones and add back to the pot. Add sage. Stir well and serve. Serves 8


Peppered Green Beans

Beltane is all about fire and heat, so it’s a good time to cook up something peppery. This green bean recipe is adapted from traditional Southern-style cooking. For a lower-fat alternative, substitute turkey bacon for the pork bacon.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper (or more, if you like some zing!)

Directions

Cook the bacon until it’s crispy, and then crumble it into small pieces. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the butter until they begin to brown. Add the green beans and the water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Drain the water from the beans, add salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Early Spring Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leafy greens, such as baby spinach or arugula
  • 2 cups dandelion leaves, washed and drained
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber (remove seeds)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • A few leaves of basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, strawberries or dried cranberries
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced (skip the eggs for a vegan-friendly option)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup strawberry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey (if you’re vegan, try agave nectar instead)
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together, and serve over salad.

Tip: If you’d like to make these in your slow cooker, use 2 Cups of water instead, and let the beans simmer for about three hours in the cooker.

May Day Maple Hearth Bread

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup warm water (105ºF-115ºF)
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening. Add the syrup to the yeast mix and let the syrup dissolve too. Now add yeast mix to the flour mix; stir. Add flour until dough is easy to handle. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Form into round, place on cookie sheet. Let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Slice pleasing image into bread top. Bake for 30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Loaf can be brushed with syrup or butter during last 5 minutes of baking. Dip in stew! 

Desserts:

Honey & Lavender Cookies

? cup melted Butter
1 cup white Sugar
¼ cup Honey
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking soda (Bicarbonate)
½ tsp Salt
Coarse-grained sugar, for rolling
2 Tbsp lavender buds, fresh or dried

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C (165°C for convection ovens)2. Beat the melted butter, honey, and sugar until smooth.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well incorporated then fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. The dough will be very soft so refrigerate for at least thirty minutes and until it has firmed up.

5. Take 1.-2 Tbsp sized pieces of dough and shape it into balls. Flatten them with the palm of your hand and then roll in the coarse-grained sugar, coating the whole cookie. Sprinkle the tops with lavender buds and gently press them into the cookie.

6. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until the edges are crispy and light brown in color. They’ll still be soft when you take them out so let them cool to room temperature before eating. Enjoy ~Beltane Cake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 nut nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 ounce damiana extract
1 1/2 cups butter
1 lb dark brown sugar
6 eggs
1 5/8 cup amaretto liqueur
cocoa powder

1 Have all ingredients at room temperature. 2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 3 Grease a large bundt pan. 4 Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave then set aside to cool. 5 In a small bowl mix milk, brandy, vanilla extract, ginger and damiana extract. 6 In a large bowl, cream the butter. 7 Add the brown sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy. 8 Beat the eggs, one at a time, into the butter mixture. 9 When the chocolate has cooled to body temperature, mix it into the butter mixture. 10 Alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter mixture in small amounts at a time. 11 Bake for 2 hours, or until done (knife test). 12 Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then remove from pan. 13 Allow the cake to cool fully, then invert it into a bowl that is just large enough to hold it, but no larger. 14 Pierce the cake bottom (now on top) in several (8-10) places with a skewer, being careful not to go all the way through. 15 Pour about 1/5th of the amaretto over the cake. When it has all been absorbed, add another 1/5th of the amaretto. Continue until all of the amaretto has been absorbed by the cake. This will take at least several hours. Keep the bowl covered during this time. 16 When all of the amaretto has been absorbed, gently invert the cake onto a plate. The cake is soaked with amaretto, thus every bump or brush will leave a scar, so treat it delicately. 17 Dust the cake with cocoa powder until there is a layer of dry powder (the first applications will soak up moisture). 18 Keep the cake covered until serving. It will get better if you wait 8-24 hours, but can be eaten immediately. 19 This cake is very rich and intensely flavorful, so serve small slices. Also, you might want to let guests know that it contains a fair amount of alcohol.

Photo by HISANARI KUNIMOTO on Unsplash

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