Sunday, November 18, 2012

Festival Menus- Yule

Samhain has passed...

Now it is time to think about Yule (Winter Solstice) and what can be cooked to add a touch to our festivities.

Here are recipes to get you inspire for your Yule Menu!

Mulled Wine

1 bottle of red wine (Burgundy or Cabernet)
1 cup of orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup apple brandy
1/2 cup of sugar
1 red apple, washed
1 orange, washed, sliced into rounds
4 cinnamon sticks

1- Gently combine the wine, orange juice, brandy and sugar in a large sauce pan and heat over low-medium.
2- Stud the washed apple with cloves and float it in the mulled wine mixture, along with orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
3-Serve from a warm slow cooker or crock, if you have one, or heatproof serving bowl.
4- Let the merrymaking being!

Chocolate Decadence Yule Log


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda confectioners' sugar for dusting

4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur

How to prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan and line with parchment paper. Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high for several minutes until they are very pale and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar, beating 1 to 2 minutes more or until very thick. Gently, but thoroughly, fold in the flour mixture.

3. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of water with the 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the baking soda, then gradually stir into the melted chocolate until smooth. Quickly, but thoroughly, fold chocolate mixture into batter.

4. Pour batter into prepared 10x15 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Lightly sift an even layer of confectioners sugar over a cloth napkin or tea towel (do not use Terry-cloth). Flip the cake out of its pan onto the prepared cloth as soon as it comes from the oven. Carefully peel away parchment paper. Lightly dust top of cake with confectioners sugar, then trim away crisp edges. Starting with one of the short sides of the cake, immediately roll the cake up in the cloth, jellyroll style, and cool thoroughly on a rack.

5. For the Filling and Frosting: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the confectioners sugar until smooth, then blend in the vanilla extract and coffee liqueur. Blend in the melted chocolate. Unroll the cake and spread about 1/3 of the filling evenly over the surface. Roll the cake back up.

Egyptian Leg of Lamb

3-5 lb. boneless leg of lamb

For marinade:
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander pinch fennel seed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

For coating:
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


1. In a mortar and pestle, combine 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, and a pinch of fennel seed. Grind coarsely. Pour the combined spices into a gallon ziplock bag.

2. Add 1/2 cup red wine vinegar to the bag. Shake to distribute spices.

3. Rinse the leg of lamb, then shake off excess water. Place the lamb inside the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal. Turn and squeeze the bag to distribute the marinade and spices evenly around the meat. Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator for 2-5 hours. Rotate it several times so that all parts of the lamb are evenly exposed to the marinade. 

4. Preheat oven to “rotisserie” setting (about 450ºF) for 10 minutes. Remove lamb from bag. Rinse briefly; don't worry about getting all the spices off. Set the lamb on a plate or cutting board.

5. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Stir spices together. Sprinkle spice blend evenly over all surfaces of the lamb.

6. Insert rotisserie rod through center of lamb. Fasten the rotisserie forks into the ends of the meat. Insert the rod into the oven. Place an oven rack in the lowest position with a shallow pan to catch the drippings. Set the oven to the “rotisserie” function and turn it on. Set the timer to allow 20-30 minutes per pound of meat. So for a 3 lb. leg of lamb, 60-90 minutes; for a 5-lb. leg, 100-150 minutes. (20 minutes per pound leaves the meat quite rare, 25 should leave it medium, and 30 leaves most of it well done with just a few pink spots.) Lamb should register at least 145ºF when done.

7. Remove from oven. Remove rotisserie forks and rod. Set the lamb on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil. Allow lamb to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.

Notes: Lamb is a tender and delicate meat with a rich flavor. It benefits from rotisserie cooking, as this allows the fat to melt nicely into the meat and develop a tasty crust with the herbs. This recipe uses many traditional Egyptian spices, and lamb is a classic feast food in Egyptian culture. The flavor is quite different from the more common Greek recipes using leafy herbs. Ideally, the marinade should be made with all whole spices, freshly ground in a mortar and pestle. I used ground coriander because I couldn't find whole coriander seed. If you don't have sea salt, ordinary table salt will do. The vinegar needs to be robust in order to complement the flavor of the meat; if you can't find red wine vinegar, a dark apple cider vinegar will work. Don't use plain white vinegar.

Yule Baked Ham 

1, 8 lb. ham
3 quarts sweet cider or mulled wine
2 cups maple sugar(or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups raisins (optional)

How to prepare:

Simmer ham in cider or wine for 2 hours and then drain. Cover with paste made from mustard, sugar, cloves and water. Place in baking dish. Pour cider or wine over ham. If you're using raisins add them to pan bottom. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 325, meanwhile basting frequently.


1 Orange
1 4lb.Roasting Chicken
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 pound Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 cup Whole berry Cranberry Sauce
2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grate rind from orange (don't include the bitter white part). Rinse chicken & pat dry. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & 1/2 the grated orange rind.

2. Place,breast side up,on a rack in large roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes.

3.Meanwhile pare & cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices, then toss with Olive oil. Place in single layer in the bottom of roasting pan. Continue roasting 1 hour & 45 minutes,turning potatoes occasionally & basting chicken & potatoes frequently,until the chicken juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with fork & leg moves freely.

4. During the last 1/2 hour of roasting ,combine Chicken broth, cranberry sauce & vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling over med.heat; boil 20 min. or until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Peel white pith from orange,seed flesh & chop.

5.Stir remaining rind & chopped orange into saucepan; simmer 5 min. Let Chicken rest for 20 minutes before carving. Cut chicken in half lengthwise down the middle. Spoon Cranberry Sauce mixture over chicken & serve with Sweet Potatoes.

More recipes to come!

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