Monday, January 16, 2012

Freezing Weather, Warm Hearts

I hope that all of our readers had a wonderful holiday and are having a great 2012 so far! The last few weeks have been a blend of merriment, exploration and a little hard work.

Being Winter in Northern Ontario, it is safe to say that it has been very cold with plenty of the white stuff on the ground. So lots of shoveling, with the reward of some hot cider after battling with the piles of snow. ;)

We have been settling nicely into our new place, but one of the few drawbacks here is some of the windows are old and do not keep the heat in. This is something our landlord promised to remedy next Spring. One of the nice surprises is the visits from Old Jack Frost...his kisses look like a woodland scene to me. <3

Besides getting to know the quirks of our house, I have been braving the cold to explore our new area a little more. Which reminds me, if you live in a similar climate, nothing keeps tootsies warm like alpaca socks {!!!}. Every year we get a few pairs, and they are purchased from the wonderful folks at Back to the Garden Alpacas as well as Misty Haven Alpacas.

The lake has been completely transformed from this to what I can only describe as a ghostly tundra.

But our lane way definitely looks more welcoming.

A little while back, Ms Graveyard Dirt put a call out encouraging Pagans, Witches and other lovely magical folks to have a "Holy Supper" in honour of the Ancestors. {This is something that my household does around Yuletide anyways, especially since the passing of my Grandparents. Even though this isn't one of the cross-quarter days that I technically celebrate, Christmas has always been a tradition in my family, and a holiday that I know was important to my "immediate" Ancestors.} Anyhoo, I thought that this was a wonderful idea and signed up to participate.

While we did set food aside as offerings during our family Christmas dinner, I do like to have another one where our Ancestors are the guests of honour. Plus, that means more feasting and merriment for us. ;)

So I went at it in the kitchen,

{some of the last of our carrots from last year's garden}

and brought out our best and favourite dishes,

{a house warming gift from a friend. ain't it purrty? :D}

and ended up having colcannon, roast veggies, stuffing, oatmeal biscuts, mincemeat tarts, shortbread, along with plenty of mead, cider & whiskey.

Queen of baking I am not, so when something I bake turns out well I get a little giddy. This was the case for the shortbread I made, so I thought that I would share the recipe.

There are a few Irish cream shortbread recipes online, and this is my spin on it. I started with a part of a shortbread recipe found in Irish Food and Cooking by Biddy White Lennon & Georgina Campbell.

Irish Cream Shortbread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
6 tbsp sugar*
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

In a bowl cream sugar and butter. Whip up until it's light and fluffy. Then stir in vanilla and almond extracts along with the Irish cream. Add in flour and cocoa butter and work the mix {I find this is a job for bare hands} until it's smooth. Place dough in an oiled 9 inch pie plate and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.

*the recipe in Irish Food and Cooking called for caster sugar, but Cocoa Camino's cane sugar worked fine for me.

Well, that is all for now. Stay warm folks!




Bek said...

Glad to hear you're all good and settled in - and not too cold! The housewarming-gift-dish is very naice indeed. I really want to make colcannon now ;)

nefaeria said...

Hi Beks! I hope that you had a great holiday season! :)