Alex and I were up with the alarm before dawn to have our date with the kitchen to prepare food for our 9th Annual Boxing Day gathering of family and friends.
On the menu:
two quiches, shitake mushroom and broccoli
Turkey-ham and cheese tart
lots and lots of cookies
Solstice Cake recipe (we make this for both Summer Solstice (Litha) and Winter Soltice (Yule).
3 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped cashews
1 cup dried dates, minced
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
For the syrup:
1 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp grated lemon
Making the nut cake:
The way to make the cake is to mix it on a board, using your hands, but you can also mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Either way, you first combine the dry ingredients. Make a mound with a well in the centre. Pour the oil and water slowly into the well, then mix again. Knead the dough for about a minute; don't knead too long or the texture of the cakes will be gluey. Grease a 9" pan with oil. Press the dough gently into the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove, and allow to cool.
Making the honey syrup:
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Allow the liquid to reduce by 1/4.Next, place the cooled nut cake onto a shallow plate or serving tray. With a fork, make small holes over the top of the cake. Slowly pour the warm syrup over the cake, and allow to sit for one hour.
The Grampies arrived late morning, just as a bit of snow began to fall. We had a yummy brunch of quiche, fruit and Yule bread, thanks to Alex. After we exchanged gifts and as usual, the Grampies were both much, much too generous, and always thoughtful.
My Dad also brought along some of the hilarious and outrageous Christmas newsletters he had receieved and read those aloud. Here's one:
I'm thinking of submitting it here.
Anywho, soon food was ready and we set the table and before we knew it, guests were arriving. It was great seeing our friends. The kids had a blast taking web-cam photos, making movies and running around outside.
We also had fun eating. We all pretended we couldn't eat another bite, but of course there was always room for one more cookie.
By 9pm, friends were leaving and we were feeling the long day, but we were blissfully happy, filled with good company and food as we were, and we spent some time cleaning up before heading to bed. The best part about ending Boxing Day for us is putting on some Chillout music and going to bed knowing that the next day, the last day of Yule, would be spent in total relaxation.