Sunday, May 03, 2009

Celebrating the Celtic New Year with apples and pumpkin

Last night we celebrated the Celtic new year, Samhain, with mulled wine, good food and great friends. The 'wife' carved out a pumpkin lantern for our entry hall and we surrounded it with locally grown apples, nuts and pomegranates, all the bounty of the autumn harvest.

The 'wife' also made a delicious mulled red wine, based on Ypocras , a middle ages recipe, where red wine is simmered with fruit, honey and spices. Her version was cinnamon, Whisk and Pin dried fruit compote (made in the Blue Mountains), allspice powder, fresh ginger, fresh orange slices, brown sugar, sherry, and a little bit of rose, it was rich and aromatic, perfect to toast in the new year.

We set the table with golden colours and candles and had red and yellow candles lit throughout the sitting room.

Our feast started with nuts, pecamole made by me, cheeses brought by K & S and champagne by J1 & J2.

Our dinner was a Moroccan styled apple and pumpkin dish that I sourced on the inter web and I won't re-post. I made two versions, one with chicken and one with white beans for our vegetarian, both worked with the spices, apple and pumpkin. It was a very old world dish with no potatoes or tomatoes, but the new world was represented by paprika, and I added a fresh red chili and a large glug of Riesling. It was served with cous cous mixed with mint, green peas and pomegranate seeds and a green salad. I didn't take a photo of either sadly, but the cous cous looked bejeweled, I should have used some edible gold leaf as well.

Desert was up-side-down ginger and pear cake, I did take a belated picture after we had eaten half of it!

Now the making if this cake has a tale. Earlier in the day we went to Two Front Doors for breakfast, they make the best coffee and food in the mid-mountains. Dave Clarke, the chef and owner, has recipe books to flip through, I found this recipe and copied it out and tucked it in my pocket, but later when I went to find it, I'd lost it! I was saved, of course, by the inter-web, and found a good recipe on . The original, but lost, recipe suggests serving it with creme fraiche and this was an excellent foil to the very sweet but flavoursome, pudding like cake.

Happy New Year all, may the new year bring you joy, delight and happiness - merry met all!

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