Cooking is already fun (at least if you're a foodie!) but when coupled with herbal magic and folklore, it can become an obsession! Planning and preparation are necessary elements for cooking and the Craft, but it's not a daunting task if you're passionate about food, herbs and the Pagan path.
A Deity at my Table
Most of us have had the joy of preparing a feast for different people and reasons. We research and plan the event, which usually includes good food and beverages, as well as the décor and other elements. In Pagan and other religious/spiritual celebrations, we usually have offerings for the deities, along with deciding on the related colors and themes for the event.
Many religious people around the world say grace at the table before starting their meals, and in several festivals, countless deities are thanked and honored with the offering of a sumptuous feast. In my way of thinking, a simple and personal ritual involving cooking is a mini version of a festival, so if a deity is chosen to evoke certain energies, why not honor them with offerings aligned with their powers?
I put together the following menus for a variety of different deities for you to choose from. Of course, you can change or mix things up to suit yourself or create your own menus. This is basically for the ideas and you can google for recipes - but I will share a few of my own and other recipes along the way.
When setting up your room, kitchen or area, think about the theme, in relation to the deity you chose to honor. Whether you’re hosting a large party or planning a quiet dinner with you and your deity, it’s nice to set the tone with their attributes and décor that corresponds to their energies.
While cooking, I like to have at least a statue or a picture close by so I can continue the flow of communing with the deity and preparing a delicious meal to honor them. I think it infuses the mood and the food with this kind of devotion. Each deity has a small section where their powers and attributes are shared, as well as ideas for the themes you might incorporate in your event, ritual, etc.
Anubis is the jackal or dog headed God of the Underworld and Afterlife; death, mummification, embalming, cemeteries, tombs, and Astral travel. This could be an event like a wake, or a ritual for ancestor worship or communicating with the dead. The decor of your settings might have these energies reflected, such as black velvet or satin, sombre or neutral tones. Meditate on Anubis and follow your instincts.
Recipe: Blackberry Thumb Cookies
Ingredients: 1/2 Cup of butter 3/4 Cup of sugar 2 Eggs 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour 2 teaspoons Baking powder Blackberry jam
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) Prepare the cookie sheets/baking trays
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and beat well. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix well. Roll little balls of dough (no bigger than a tablespoon) and push a fingertip into each ball to make a hole in the center then fill the holes with jam.
Place the sheets/trays into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Aphrodite is the ancient Greek Goddess of love, lust, pleasure and beauty. She is also associated with passion and procreation. The theme could include some of her attributes or symbols, such as roses, doves or swans.
Recipe: Apricot Chicken with Zucchinis
Ingredients: 2 pounds of chicken thighs, diced or left whole 1 can apricot nectar (approx. 440 g) 1 can apricots *Note: If you can't find either nectar or apricots, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of Apricot jam 2 packets of Onion soup mix (dried) - or 4 tablespoons of: Make your own! 1/2 Cup dried onion flakes 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon celery salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 large or two small zucchinis, sliced
Blend and store in a jar in a dark cupboard. Use as needed.
Directions: Saute the chicken in olive oil or butter, then add the 4 tablespoons of the onion soup mix (yours or store bought) and cook for a few more minutes, stirring and coating. Then add the apricot nectar and fruit (unless you're substituting with jam) and bring to boil. Add the zucchinis and turn the heat down to simmer, for about 10 more minutes, or until the chicken and zucchini are cooked. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice!
Arianrhod is the Celtic Goddess of fertility, rebirth, time and fate. Her name is a derivation of "Silver Wheel" which represents the ever-turning wheel of the year. Her themes include the silver wheel, the eternity symbol, the stars and space. Her totems are owls and spiders, with their relations to weaving, spinning, wisdom and nocturnal time. She also governs the astral realm.
Recipe: Mediterranean Lemon Soup
Ingredients: 10 cups water 1 whole onion, peeled and chopped 4 garlic cloves, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 1 whole carrot, diced 1 tablespoon salt 4 chicken thighs 1 whole lemon juice and zest freshly chopped parsley
Directions: Sautee the onions for a few minutes, then add the other veggies and cook for at least 5 minutes or until it comes to a boil, then add the chicken and skim anything that comes to the top. Reduce the heat to simmer and let it cook for a further 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, take out the chicken and shred the meat. Set it aside and add the zest and lemon juice into the soup. You can now put the chicken back in the soup with a handful of fresh parsley. Serve hot with cloud bread.
Artemis is the Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, nature, the Moon, and chastity. She was said to have roamed the forests of Greece, accompanied by nymphs and occasionally - deities, mortals and hunters. Diana is her Roman name and her themes include the outdoors, hunting, female mysteries. the full moon, guinea fowl (her favorite animals), deer, spears, bows and arrows.
Recipe: Sea Perch Soup
*Note: A lady with Schizophrenia taught me this soup - and the seemingly mismatched ingredients with various textures might be thought of as unsavory, but I assure you - it's bliss!
Ingredients: 2 pounds Sea perch (or ocean perch, orange roughy etc.) 1 onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced I large head broccoli, chopped semi-fine (under 1 inch) 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed 2 large tomatoes, chopped (not canned) Salt and Pepper Pinch nutmeg 1 Bay leaf Milk 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions: Saute the onions for 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic and Bay leaf, and cook a further minute or so. Add the potatoes and saute for at least 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and seasonings. Cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes and pour in enough milk to cover the surface of the veggies. Once the milk is bubbling, add the fish and tomatoes. then turn the heat down to simmer. Check the tenderness of the fish and veggies and make sure they're cooked through. Before serving, swirl the cream into the soup and serve with a crisp salad.
Bastet (or Bast) is an ancient Egyptian Goddess who was worshipped in Bubastis, depicted as having the head of a cat. She is a Goddess of protection (especially of cats) and her symbols include cats, an ointment jar and a ceremonial sistrum. She was sometimes called the "Eye of the Moon" and she also governed pregnancy and childbirth, possibly due to the fertility of the cat. The theme could be red and black, along with elements of pleasure and comfort.
Recipe: Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cinnamon Breadcrumbs
Ingredients: Sauce 1 tablespoon of butter 2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour 2 cups milk 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (sharp is nice!) Pinch of Cayenne Pepper or Nutmeg
Other Ingredients: 1 medium sized onion, finely diced 1 tablespoon butter or oil 1 stalk celery, sliced 1/2 red bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup corn kernels 1 medium sized carrot, diced 1 can tuna in water (approx. 340g) 250g small shell noodles, cooked and drained
Topping: 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (ground)
Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) For the sauce: In a medium pot, melt the butter and stir the flour in until smooth and cook for one minute. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil while stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and cayenne. Set aside.
Saute the onion in butter (or oil) for 2-3 minutes, then add the celery, peppers, corn kernels and carrots. Cook until veggies are almost tender, then add the flaked tuna and shell noodles, before pouring in the cheese sauce. Stir it until mixed well and pour into a greased casserole dish, scattering the breadcrumb mixture all over the top. Bake for approx. 45 minutes.
Also called Gautama Buddha, Buddha was a religious leader and teacher in ancient India. He was the founder of Buddhism and he rediscovered the ancient path to freedom from ignorance, craving and the cycle of rebirth and suffering. His powers include meditation, self-control, compassion and wisdom. A meal with Buddha might seem unusual, since he is famous for subsisting for a long time on one sesame seed a day while he meditated for enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, but why not honor him? The theme could be simple or austere, maybe with bamboo shades or decor that exemplifies peace and tranquility.
Sauce: 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 1/4 cup water 2 teaspoons honey 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek, (or 1 teaspoon if you don't like it too spicy) 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Directions: Take the Tofu out of the package and drain, before placing the whole block between paper towels (2 layers - top and bottom) on a plate, then put something heavy (like a skillet) on top. It needs to drain for 30 minutes, switching out the paper towels halfway. This helps the Tofu crisp up when cooked.
Then slice the Tofu into one inch cubes and toss in the cornstarch. Put a dash of Sesame oil (if you have it) in the skillet, along with a little vegetable oil and once heated, place a few cubes in the skillet and leave for approx. 2-3 minutes on a medium heat, before turning - making sure that all sides have browned.
In between, mix together the sauce ingredients and add it to the skillet once the Tofu is browned. Stir until the sauce is thickened and the Tofu is covered, then sprinkle with Sesame seeds and serve with steamed Basmati rice and green vegetables - like Bok-choy.
Cernunnos was originally a Celtic deity and is worshipped as the Horned God of the Forest and animals by Pagans today. He usually is depicted as wearing antlers and sitting cross-legged. He's associated with stags, dogs, bulls, and rats. He is often seen wearing or holding a torc as well as a bag of coins (or grain) and a cornucopia. The theme could include forest decor and animals.
Recipe: Roast Lamb and Veggies with Fiddlehead Greens
*Note: Lamb is expensive, so it's perfectly fine if you want to substitute with pork, chicken or beef. I also like to make Corn Casserole to go with it but you don't have to.
Ingredients: 1 medium sized leg of lamb 10 cloves of garlic, sliced in half (lengthways) 3 long sprigs of Rosemary (or dried rosemary leaves) Salt and Pepper (or Seasoned salt of your choice) 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into approx. 12 pieces 2 bunches broccolini 1 pound Fiddlehead greens
Directions: Take the lamb and with a small, sharp knife, cut little slits all over (top and bottom) of the lamb, so that you can push the slivers of garlic into each hole. Once that's done, place the lamb into a roasting pan (no need to grease) and pour a little olive oil over it, before sprinkling with salt and pepper and placing the rosemary sprigs on top of it. Cover with foil and place in a hot oven (approx. 400 degrees F) and roast for about 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 380 degrees F.
Continue roasting for at least 2 hours or until the meat is cooked through. At the halfway mark, parboil the potatoes and carrots and then arrange them around the roast, making sure to cover them with the juices. 30 minutes before the meat is ready, take the carrots and potatoes out and place them on a separate tray and brush with olive oil and put them at the top of the oven - above the roast.
While the carrots and potatoes roast, start preparing the Fiddleheads. These are available in the Spring and they are the unfurled leaves of a certain fern. You need to wash them thoroughly and then boil them for 6 - 8 minutes, starting with cold water. Strain them and then saute them in butter. Steam the broccolini until tender and serve with the rest of the meal. Gravy is nice - preferably from the juices of the pan, but you can buy store bought.
Cerridwen is an "enchantress' in Welsh medieval legend. She possesses the cauldron of poetic inspiration (Awen) and she's regarded by many Pagans as the Celtic Goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration. Cerridwen is a powerful Underworld Goddess, since she also rules the realms of death, fertility, regeneration and magic. She is a shape shifting Goddess, taking on various forms. Also associated with herbology and astrology, the theme could include the above elements, along with a cauldron.
*Note: Traditional Wassail had alcohol (like Brandy) in it as well as tempered eggs to make a creamier drink. In England, it was customary in the Winter months to conduct the ritual of drinking to each other’s health, which evolved into taking the ritual outdoors to drink to the prosperity and health of the animals and crops. It became common to perform the ritual in the apple orchards to ensure a good harvest and the practice of pouring a libation of the Wassail onto the roots developed.
Ingredients: 2 apples 8 cups apple cider 2 cups orange juice 1/3 cup lemon juice 4 cinnamon sticks 14 whole cloves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground) 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Directions: Press the whole cloves into the apples all around, then put them with all the ingredients in a large pot over medium low heat. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove the apples and ladle into mugs.
In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal was the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Kur, which was the land of the dead in Sumerian mythology. She guarded the fountain of life and could rid people of evil spirits. Ereshkigal issued death sentences to those who deserved it, and she's a great Deity to invoke when performing banishing rituals, Shadow work, Vision quests or invoking the energies of sexuality, since she represents the dark feminine aspect. The theme could be ancient Mesopotamian, with the colors beige, red and black, along with owl and lion statues.
Recipe: Rose Harissa
*Note: Harissa is a North African chili paste that’s wonderful when stirred into soups and stews or spooned over roasted vegetables and meats. This recipe is from one of my favorite chefs: Yotam Ottolenghi
Ingredients: 40 grams dried Kashmiri red chilies or guajillo chilies 25 grams dried ancho chilies 4 garlic cloves, peeled 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 1 ½ teaspoons caraway seeds 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 tablespoon dried rose petals 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar 1 ½ teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder, or paprika 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon rosewater, divided 4 tablespoons cider vinegar ½ cup olive oil, divided 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Directions: Place a large frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add the chilies and garlic. Toast until fragrant and charred, about 2 minutes. Pick out the garlic and set aside. Transfer the chilies to a heat-proof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over the chilies to cover them, and then weigh them down with a small plate. Soak for 30 minutes to soften and rehydrate, then strain. Roughly chop the chilies and add them to the bowl of a food processor.
Meanwhile, add the cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds to the same pan, and toast over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and roughly crush them before adding them to the food processor along with the chopped chilies, garlic, tomato paste, rose petals, sugar, and chili powder or paprika. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped and combined.
Add the lemon juice, half of the rosewater, the cider vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt to the food processor. Blitz until you have a coarse paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and gently stir in the remaining rosewater and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the harissa to a sterilized airtight jar and keep refrigerated if not using right away. Harissa keeps, covered with a layer of oil, in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Freyja is a Norse Goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr - which is magic for seeing and influencing the future. Freyja is a patroness of witches and owner of the necklace "Brísingamen" She rides a chariot pulled by two cats and has a cloak of falcon feathers. Freyja rules over a heavenly realm where she receives half of those who die in battle. The other half go to Valhalla - Odin's hall. The theme could include colorful gemstones, feathers and cats!
Recipe: Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter
Ingredients: 8 (4 ounce) salmon fillets 4 tablespoons salted butter 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice salt and ground black pepper to taste Capers and dill for garnish
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place salmon fillets in the dish. Place butter in microwave on high for 30 seconds - 60 seconds, until melted. Mix lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the butter and pour over the salmon. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork. (Approx. 15 minutes.)
Ganesha is one of the most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. He is known as the remover of obstacles and he's thought to bring good luck, especially for merchants and writers. Also the patron of arts and sciences, he also governs intellect and wisdom. The God of beginnings, Ganesha is invoked as a patron of learning, letters and writing. The theme could include elephant figurines, Indian decor and the plush colors of red, gold and cobalt blue.
Recipe: Kaju Ki Barfi
*Note: This Indian sweet treat is a great offering for Ganesha!
Ingredients: 250 grams cashew nuts 250 grams sugar 1 cup of milk A greased plate to place the barfi in
Directions: Blend the cashews and milk in a blender to a fine paste, then stir in the sugar and cook over low heat stirring until the sugar dissolves, then bring it to a boil. Continue stirring over medium heat, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and becomes a dough like paste. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, roll it on to a greased surface, with a greased rolling pin (roll before it cools). Roll to 1/4cm thickness and leave to cool, then cut into diamond shaped pieces. You can decorate it with gold or silver leaf, or even a fine dusting of powdered sugar. P.S. If you have a nut allergy, you could substitute the cashews with Tahini paste.
Hathor is a major Goddess in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. She had a variety of roles, and as a sky deity, she was the mother (or consort) of Horus and the sun God Ra. She acted as the Eye of Ra, as the feminine side, which included a vengeful aspect. Her softer side involved a love for music, dance, joy, love, sexuality, and maternal care. Hathor has a link between worlds, and she helps deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife. Since Hathor has maternal energies, the theme could be homey and shabby chic, or Egyptian decor using cow, ankh, sun disc and mirrors.
Recipe: Lemon Cheesecake
*Note: this is a chilled "icebox" version - creamy and lemony goodness!
Ingredients: Crust: 2 cups crushed plain cookies (I use Gamesa Marias Cookies) 1/2 cup butter Filling: 1 cup (250g) cream cheese 1 can condensed milk (395g) 1/2 cup lemon juice (real and fresh)
Directions: Melt the butter and mix with the crushed cookies, until you can form it with your hands. Press into a flan or pie dish, then beat the cream cheese while slowly adding the condensed milk, then the lemon juice. Once combined, pour into the pie crust shell and chill for at least two hours.
Hecate is the ancient Thracian Triple Goddess of the Crossroads, Patroness of Witches who presides over magic, witchcraft, the night, ghosts and the moon. She also governs doorways and entranceways, and if you hear the howling of dogs, she isn't far away! Watching over the dead and the Underworld, Hecate can grant wishes to her followers, but she can also withhold those gifts if she's not pleased with her offerings. Themes can include magic, witchcraft and dogs - especially Cerberus, the 3-headed dog who guards the Underworld. Her symbols include torches, keys, herbs, snakes and daggers!
Recipe: Quick Lemon Paste
*Note: This is another favorite recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. Double or triple the recipe to suit yourself.
Ingredients: 1 large lemon, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/4-inch-thin rounds, seeds removed 4 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer until salt is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the lemon rinds start to look translucent, about 12 minutes.
Set aside to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and blitz until smooth and thick. Add a tablespoon of water if you need to thin out the mixture; the result should be spreadable paste. Transfer the preserved lemon paste to an airtight container and, if not using immediately, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top. Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Another Goddess of the Underworld! Hel is the Norse deity who presides over the underworld called "Helheim", located beneath one of the three roots of Yggdrasil (the world tree), where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is a daughter of Loki. appointed by Odin to be the ruler of Helheim. Her appearance is described as half blue (or black) and half flesh-colored, usually naked, with a gloomy, downcast appearance. Hel is. a giantess and she is the sister of Fenrir (the Norse wolf), and Jormungandr, (the Midgard Serpent.) The theme might be involved with ancestor worship, a wake, honoring the departed or grieving.
Recipe: Elderberry Honey
*Note: This infused honey is great as a sweetener in tea and has the added benefit of building immunity. You can adjust the volume to suit yourself and make sure you have a sterilized jar to pour the infusion into once ready.
Ingredients: 1 cup dried Elderberries - ground with a mortar and pestle or blender 1 cup organic local honey
Directions: Place the ground Elderberries and honey in a pan that is sitting inside another pan with water in it (double-boiler) and keep it on a low heat for 6 - 8 hours, checking periodically to stir and make sure the water level isn't too low in the bottom pan, topping up when needed. This is a process that requires you to be close by, so make sure you do this when you plan to be home that day.
The temperature shouldn't rise above 110-115 degrees F. After 6 or 8 hours, strain the warm honey (after it's cooled for a bit) through a muslin or cheesecloth (or an old, clean t-shirt, etc.) into the sterilized jar and put the lid on. Use as needed.
Kali is a Hindu Goddess, worshipped as the master of death, time and change. She destroys evil in order to protect the innocent. Kali is also honored as the Divine Mother of the Universe, bestowing liberation on those who seek her intervention. Also called the Goddess of Destruction, she is known for her tendency to go into overdrive and overkill, which is why her husband had to lay down at her feet to stop her destroying the world. She is depicted in different forms and colors, like black or blue as well as having four or more arms, with her red tongue poking out. The theme can include her symbols/attributes, which includes peacocks, skulls. the signs of both sun and moon, and fire - representing the driving forces of nature.
Recipe: Dark Berry Crumble
Ingredients: 5 cups washed berries – strawberries (halved), blueberries and blackberries 2/3 Cup Coconut Sugar 1/2 Cup Water
For the topping: 2/3 Cup Coconut Sugar 1 Cup All Purpose Flour 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut (dried) 1/2 Cup Old fashioned Oats 2 teaspoons Cinnamon 1/2 Cup Melted Butter
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
Cook the fruit with the sugar and water until soft. Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish and pour the cooked fruit in. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the fruit. (Roughly is fine – it will spread and form a crust during baking.) Bake for 30 minutes.
Lilith appears in Mesopotamian and Judaic mythology, and she is known as the first wife of Adam. Some call her the primordial she-demon, since she was banished from the Garden of Eden for not obeying Adam. Lilith believed that since she and Adam were created in the same way they were equal, which was why she refused to submit to him. Called the Goddess of the night, her powers include sexuality and women's issues. She is associated with the Screech Owl and her colors are black and red. The theme could include mirrors, offering bowls, plants, snakes and dragons.
Recipe: Tahini and Halva Brownies
*Note: Another Yotam Ottolenghi favorite!
Ingredients: 240g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm dice 240g dark chocolate (70-75% cocoa solids), broken into 3-4cm pieces 4 eggs 330g caster sugar 120g plain flour, sifted 30g cocoa powder, sifted 130g walnuts, lightly roasted and roughly chopped Salt 150g Tahini 130g halva, broken into 2-3cm pieces
Directions: Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Quarter-fill a small saucepan with water and place on a high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and sit a heatproof bowl on top of the pan, making sure its base does not come into contact with the water. Put the butter and chocolate in the bowl, leave for about two minutes, to melt, then remove the bowl from the heat and stir until you have a thick, shiny sauce. Set aside to come down to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy, and the whisk leaves a trail behind it – about three minutes with an electric whisk, longer by hand. Gently fold the chocolate mix into the eggs – don’t overwork the mix – then fold in the flour, cocoa, walnuts and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Pour into a 21cm x 31cm baking tray lined with parchment paper and spread out into an even layer.
Use a spoon to insert Tahini into the brownie mix in about 12 places, then use the back of a clean spoon to swirl it a little through the mix – not too much: you want it uneven. Dot the halva on the surface, pushing it down a little so that it is well submerged but still visible.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is crisp and the middle still has a slight wobble and is gooey inside: check after 18 minutes. The brownies may seem a bit undercooked at first, but they will firm up as they cool down. Cut the baked brownie into 20 pieces and serve warm-ish (and gooey!) or at room temperature (and not quite so gooey).
The Greek God Ares was the model for Mars, although Ares was considered more destructive, while the Roman Mars is more associated with war as a means to strive for peace. Known as the God of war, Mars is also an agricultural guardian and the wild animals most sacred to him are the woodpecker, wolf, and bear. Mars is often depicted wearing a helmet and carrying a spear and shield, which are included in the symbol for the planet Mars and male gender. The theme could be lots of red decor, spears, and his sacred animals.
Recipe: Beef Goulash with Tomatoes and Red Peppers
Ingredients: 1 large onion, diced 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced 4 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 lb. beef chuck (stew meat) 2 tbsp. Hungarian sweet smoked paprika 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes 2 bay leaves Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Heat a little oil or butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and saute the onions and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the meat, stir together and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on a medium heat for several minutes. When the meat is browned, add paprika, caraway seeds, cayenne and the bay leaves, stir together, cover and let cook on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stir and cover and return to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until meat is tender. While the goulash is cooking, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. The meat should be tender in about one hour. When ready, remove bay leaves and serve.
In Greek mythology, Medusa is a guardian and protectress, also called Gorgo, since she is one of the three Gorgons. Those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stone and she was beheaded by the Greek hero Perseus, who then used her head as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. Athena was the one who transformed Medusa from a beautiful maiden into a "monster" after she was raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple. After Perseus beheaded her, the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor sprang from her body. Medusa embodies transformation, female empowerment and protecting the abused. The theme could include ocean/beach decor, snakes and mirrors.
Recipe: Blackberry Fool
Ingredients: 2 cups blackberries plus more for garnish 1/4 cup sugar 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 2 cups heavy whipping cream 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 3 shortbread cookies
Directions: In a food processor or blender, combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing with a spoon or spatula. Whisk the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until peaks form, then add ¾ of the blackberry puree to the whipped cream and fold gently to combine, making sure you don't overmix, to leave streaks of the blackberry mix throughout the fool.
Crumble the cookies and divide the fool into ramekins, glasses or bowls. Then top with some of the remaining blackberry mix, a few blackberries and sprinkle with the cookie crumbs.
The Roman version of the Greek God Hermes, Mercury is the God of commerce, finances, eloquence, communication, divination, messages, travelers, boundaries, luck, thieves and trickery. Mercury is also the guide for the souls to the underworld and he's often depicted holding the caduceus (the staff with intertwined snakes), wearing winged shoes and a winged hat. His symbols are the rooster (signifying the herald of a new day), a ram or goat, and a tortoise - regarding the invention of the lyre from a tortoise shell. The theme could include symbols of the caduceus, wings, roosters - or for a tarot reading night, literary night, book club, etc.
Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse
Ingredients: 2 cups chilled heavy cream 3/4 cup Nutella 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional) 1 pinch salt whipped cream, for topping
Directions: Microwave the chocolate hazelnut spread for 30 seconds to loosen and let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Whip the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks begin to form, 3-5 minutes. Add the Nutella, vanilla, espresso powder (if using), and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the mousse among four to six small bowls, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
The Greek God of Dreams, Morpheus has been well-known throughout history as the bringer of dreams. His father is Hypnos, the Greek God of Sleep and Morpheus appears in dreams in human guise. He is a messenger of the gods, bringing divine dreams to sleeping mortals. Morpheus’ home in Erebus is in the Underworld and the gates are guarded by monsters that reveal the worst fears of the uninvited guests. The theme could include red poppies, drapery to evoke rest and relaxation, dream symbols and dreamy plants, like Valerian and Skullcap.
Recipe: Lavender Cookies
Ingredients: 1 cup butter softened 3/4 cup confectionary sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoon almond extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon dried organic lavender flowers 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 325° F degrees (or 165 degrees C)
Cream together the butter, sugar, and extracts, then whip until light and fluffy. Add the sifted flour and salt, then the dried lavender flowers and mix until completely combined. The dough should be soft and easy to handle. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them and wrap in plastic wrap, then chill in the fridge for about one hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness and then cut cookies out using the cookie cutter of your choice. Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-13 minutes or until cookies are gently browned around the edges. Allow to cool on a rack.
The Morrighan (or Morrigan) is the Celtic Goddess of Death, War and Fate. She is also known as the Queen of the Triple Goddesses, with powers that include shapeshifting, magic and prophecy. On the battlefield, she would transform into a crow and circle the battle, letting out the battle-cries and omens of death. It's believed that the meaning of the name "Morrighan" translates as Phantom Queen. She is also associated with ravens, vultures and owls, but she was sometimes depicted as a strange washer-woman, scrubbing the blood-stained clothes of the dead. The theme could include her birds, with Celtic symbols and decor related to divination and shapeshifting.
Recipe: Cherry Liqueur
Ingredients: (for a gallon container with a wide neck, not a bottle. The recipe makes slightly less than a gallon.)
2.5 pounds of Cherries (pits removed) 2.5 cups of Vodka (or brandy) 1 1/4 cups of Sugar
Directions: Wash the cherries and place them into the container in layers: 1 - 2 inches per layer, then sprinkle with sugar—3-5 tablespoons. (You’ll need up to 20 tablespoons of sugar.) The end result will be a moderately sweet drink. Fill the container up with the layers, making sure that the sugar is on top.
Pour in the alcohol to the brim, ensuring it covers the cherries by at least half an inch. Seal the container and set it in a dark place at room temperature. Shake it once every 2-3 days to promote sugar dissolving. After 60 days, remove the cherries from the container by filtering the infusion through a few layers of cheesecloth/muslin. Taste it and add more sugar if needed. Pour into sterilized bottles and seal them. The shelf-life in a cool dark place is up to 3 years.
The most revered God in Norse mythology, Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, knowledge, war, sorcery, poetry and the runic alphabet. He is husband to the Goddess Frigg and he is often depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, wielding a spear. He sometimes appears in disguise wearing a cloak and a broad hat. Odin's animal familiars are the wolves 'Geri and Freki' and the ravens 'Huginn and Muninn', who bring back information from all over Midgard. He rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. The theme could include his animal totems, Norse decor and charms.
Recipe: Apple Cakes
Ingredients: (Makes 12-15.) Filling: 2 cups stewed apples (can used canned, but freshly made is better) Large pinch of cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar (or less if desired.) *Blend them together and refrigerate.
Pastry: 3 cups All-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter 2 eggs 1/4 cup milk
Icing: 2 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar in Australia!) Water (to blend to a thick paste)
Directions: Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 deg. C) Sift the flour, add the sugar and rub in the butter. Beat the eggs well and add the milk, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix to make the pastry. Roll out the pastry to approx. 1/4 inch thick, then use a cutter or a glass to make rounds (half for the bottom and half for the top.) Arrange on cookie sheet or baking tray, lined with parchment paper.
Take the apple mix out of the fridge and put a teaspoon or two in the center of each pastry round. Once done, moisten the edges of the bottom round and then place the top on, to form a slight dome, then press the edges together with your finger or a fork. Prick the tops a couple of times for ventilation (with the fork) and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden.
Once cooled, spread a little of the icing on top of each cake and store in the fridge until needed.
Poseidon is the ancient Greek God of the Sea (and of water in general), earthquakes and horses. He is a brother of Zeus and of Hades, (the God of the Underworld.) Poseidon's weapon and main symbol is the trident. Poseidon fathered many horses; the best known is the winged horse 'Pegasus.' His symbols include the trident, the dolphin, and the tuna. His powers include storms, navigation, fertility and he rides a chariot pulled by horses (or hippocampi - half horse, half fish.) The theme could include seaside decor, like shells, as well as gemstones, seahorses, dolphins and maybe a trident for good measure!
1 x 750 ml bottle of Vodka 8-10 medium size lemons (preferably organic) 2 1/2 cups of water 1 3/4 cups of sugar
Directions: You will need a large glass container and bottles to store the finished product, which all need to be sterilized before using. Wash the lemons well (especially if not organic - due to the wax and pesticides). Peel the lemons without taking the white pith, since it tends to make the Limoncello bitter. Place the zests into your container and pour the vodka over the top, then place a seal or lid on top, before storing in a dark cupboard for 45 days. The zesty peels will eventually lose their color and get hard/crispy.
When ready, make a simple syrup: Mix the sugar and water in a pan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let is cool completely. While it's cooling, strain the Limoncello base and discard the zests. Pour the resulting liquid back into the container, using a coffee filter to strain, if needed. Add the cooled syrup to the liquid and stir, then bottle and cap the Limoncello and age for another 45 days before using. (Some people don't wait that long, but it makes for a smoother finish.)
Quan Yin is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion. She is the Goddess of Mercy, with miraculous powers to assist all those who pray to her, relieving suffering and restoring peace. She is a mother Goddess and patron of mothers, children and fishermen. Quan Yin also governs maternity and birth. She wears a flowing white robe and in her left hand is a jar containing pure water, and the right holds a willow branch. She is accompanied by a white cockatoo (a faithful disciple) and is often depicted flanked by two children and/or two warriors. Themes could include the colors white and gold, Lotus blooms, fishing baskets, turtles and dragons.
Recipe: Rice Pudding with Angelica
Ingredients: 4½ cups whole milk 1½ cups water ¾ cup sugar 1 cinnamon stick 3 or 4 inches long 1 cup Arborio rice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 sticks crystalized angelica, thinly sliced
Directions: In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the milk, water, sugar, cinnamon stick and rice. Bring almost to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often until the rice is tender (about 35 - 45 minutes.) Remove from the heat, (some liquid will remain) - the mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in the vanilla extract and Angelica, then spoon the rice pudding into individual ramekins or bowls. Garnish with Angelica or a little shake of Cinnamon.
The Norse God of Thunder, Thor wields a hammer called Mjölnir and he is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred groves/trees, protection, strength and fertility. He is depicted as "fierce eyed, with red hair and red beard." Thor rides in a chariot pulled by two goats and wears a belt and iron gloves. His tales include battling the huge Midgard serpent and the swastika symbol represents the hammer or lightning of Thor. The theme could include fire, Norse statuary, runes and the color red.
Recipe: Creamed Honey
Ingredients: 1 cup crystalized raw honey 1 cup liquid raw honey
Directions: Put 1 cup crystalized honey into a stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Then add up to 1 cup of liquid honey and mix for 20 minutes. The honey will start to turn a very light creamy white color. Turn the mixer off and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let the honey rest for a couple of hours and then mix again for 20 minutes.
Repeat one or two more times before jarring the honey. Put the creamed honey in a sterilized, dry jar for storage. Store in the refrigerator for two weeks. After two weeks it can be stored at room temperature, but it might separate.
Thoth is the Egyptian Moon God who also governs learning, writing and interpretation, to name a few. He created languages and was considered to be the inventor of writing, as well as being an advisor to the Gods. Depicted as a Scribe, usually as a human male with an Ibis head or as a Baboon, Thoth protected Isis during her pregnancy and later on, healed the eye of Horus (her son). His sacred animals are the ibis and the baboon. The theme could be for a book launch, book club or anything to do with literature, also symbols of wisdom, hieroglyphs and the moon.
Recipe: Lemon Fluff
*Note: This is a Keto recipe, so if you prefer to use sugar, I'd suggest a little less than 1/4 cup, but it's up to you.
Ingredients: 1 cup cream cheese ½ cup heavy whipping cream 3 tbsp lemon juice ¼ tsp salt 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/3 cup (1½ oz.) powdered erythritol Garnish ½ cup fresh blackberries (optional) 1 tsp lemons zest (optional)
Directions: Whip the cream cheese and heavy cream until smooth and fluffy, then add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. (If you prefer a sweeter taste, add some erythritol or a teaspoon of Stevia glycerite.) Continue whipping until well mixed and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
I consider Yirbaik-baik a Goddess; however, she’s not a well-known figure outside of Australian Aboriginal mythology. She was a cannibal a long time ago and hunted with a large pack of dingoes, which she’d raised herself. She would trick hunters into thinking that she could lead them to good hunting grounds, but she ambushed them with her dogs and took them back to her camp. She was eventually killed for her crimes, as well as her dingoes, who transformed into tiger snakes and slid into the bush.
Yirbaik-baik was changed into a small, brown bird and since then, she brings forth the thunder and rain when you hear her calls, to benefit all. Her lessons include Karma, forgiveness and penance. The theme could include Australian Aboriginal symbols and artwork, dingo statues or images, little brown birds, water, etc.
*Note: it might seem odd to be offering such an elaborate dessert to an entity such as Yirbaik-baik; however, I feel that since she brings the rain, which grows our food, I don't see why we can't offer the best on a night where we want to honor her.
Ingredients: 4 extra-large egg whites (at room temperature) Pinch salt 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 1 cup fresh blueberries I cup fresh raspberries 1 cup of blackberries 1 cup cold heavy cream Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows Whip the cream. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat! Yield: 1 cup
Directions: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Trace around a 9 inch plate with a pencil on the paper, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the other side. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in gently with a spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Then turn the oven off and keep the door closed, allowing the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss them. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, glaze with some apricot jam that's been slightly heated (if you like) and serve.