Shortly before we split up, Jeff and I observed Samhain, which is the festival from which Halloween was created. Samhain marks the halfway point between the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) and the Winter Solstice (Yule. Ah, I see you making the historical connections to another popular festival celebrated around the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere...). Samhain is the final festival of the Pagan calendar and represents death and dying in the circle of life, before the spark of life is reignited at Yule when the days begin to lengthen once more and the sun begins to return. It seems fitting then that this would be the last festival that Jeff and I would spend together. This is also a very fitting time for me to be grieving for this loss and spending my time healing, consolidating, and refocusing for a new beginning in the coming months, because that's what this time of year symbolizes.
However, Samhain, with its background of death, is not a time of sorrow. It is a time of acceptance, of love, and of appreciation for what you have, and what you will have. I like to make something for dinner on that night that reflects that feeling you get around this time of year, that you just want to curl up in the warmth with a hearty meal and those you love, and hibernate through the Winter. This year I made something I've been wanting to make for years, Woolton Pie.
Woolton Pie has its roots in WWII England when rations meant that there wasn't a whole lot to eat besides a few vegetables and a bit of flour. I found my recipe many years ago and cut it out of a magazine, the name of which I have long since forgotten, and have been saving it for a festival such as Samhain. It was a bit more effort than I like to take when making dinner, so I think it'll stay as a 'special occassions' meal only, though I must say the pasty was very yummy!
For the filling
450g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
900g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Pinch of nutmeg
Vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pastry
22g plain wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Fry the potatoes and carrot separately in Nuttelex until soft. Set aside.
3. Fry the spring onions, celery, and leek in Nuttelex until soft.
4. Mix all the cooked vegetables together with the dried thyme, and salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chopped parsley to taste. Fill a pie dish with this mixture, bury the bay leaf in the middle, and moisten with a little vegetable stock or water. Set aside to cool.
5. To make the pastry crust, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Rub in the Nuttelex, then add enough water to make a rolling consistency, although one that is slightly softer than when making pastry with white flour. Roll out and use to cover the pie.
6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Happy eating! :)