Okay, so I must admit that sometimes the term kitchen witchery can come across as a bit bit fluffy, but the truth is it needn’t be. For me a large part of my witchcraft practise involves working with the natural cycles of where I live. Learning how to cook from scratch is almost a magical thing, especially when today it is all too convenient to open a jar or microwave a ready meal.
Learning to cook from scratch is a skill that we are slowly forgetting, and indeed that knowledge adds to our arsenal as witches, especially for those of us with a particular interest in folk magic and animism. Cooking is a way of connecting with the land via the harvest, and also reminds us that we too are a part of the cycle of life.
When it comes to cooking, I like to use seasonal veg for two reasons, mostly because it’s usually cheaper, after all, it’s plentiful and is more readily available, but also because in today’s modern world it is a way of reconnecting us back to the cycles and rhythms of nature. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the conveniences of the modern world, but by learning the skills of the past, we ensure that knowledge is not forgotten.
- Chop 2 leeks, 3 sticks of celery, 3 carrots 2 large onions 3 cloves of garlic and generally any veg that is perhaps just going past it’s best (there’s nothing wrong with using veg that is still fresh but perhaps not quite as crisp as it once was in sauces, stocks and stews).
- Pop into a large pan and cover with water along with thyme, rosemary, sage and two bay leaves. Bring to a boil on the hob and then turn to a medium heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by half.
- Strain the liquid and once cool keep refrigerated until needed. It should keep for around three days in the fridge, else you can freeze it.
I am a vegetarian, but my family do eat meat. Sometimes when they’ve had chicken, I’ll make stock or broth from the carcass. To make stock:
- place the carcass into a large pan along with two onions, two carrots, and two cloves of garlic.
- Add thyme and rosemary and then fill the pan with water.
- Bring to the boil on the hob and then turn to a medium heat and simmer until the liquid halves in volume.
- Strain the liquid and allow to cool. This will allow the fat to solidify and then you can just scoop it off.
- Use to make soups, stews, gravies and more besides.
- You can basically make bone stock the same way.
Easy Squash Soup
This is one of my favourite soups to make and it is perfect for this dark and damp autumnal days. I particularly like this one because it is minimum fuss and bursting with goodness.
- Take half of a squash and place on a baking tray along with a onion, halved, a red sweet pepper, ten cherry tomatoes or 5 larger ones, two cloves of garlic, two carrots, chopped and then drizzle with oil ( you won’t need too much).
- Place in a preheated oven and roast until soft.
- Take from the oven, and whilst the vegetables cool enough so that you can handle them, prepare the vegetable stock so that you have around 500 ml of hot liquid. Scoop out the squash flesh and pop into a large pan, along with the other roasted vegetables.
- Add the stock and then blend with a hand held blender ( they can be picked up dirt cheap – I got mine for less than a fiver!). Enjoy with crusty bread.
I absolutely adore pastry products and home made pastry is delicious. If you like, you can make it vegan friendly by replacing the butter with coconut oil or a vegan spread. For ease of understanding, I’ll just say butter in the recipe, but feel free to use whatever suits you best. This was the first short crust recipe my mum ever taught me, and it’s still my go to recipe at home because of it’s simplicity.
- Use two parts plain flour to one part butter. If you want to make sweet pastry then add one part sugar.
- Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the butter, using your finger tips to work into a bread crumb. You can use milk or a dairy free alternative, adding 2 or 3 tablespoons or enough until the mixture forms a firm dough.
- Place in the fridge for twenty minutes or so, roll as required and voila. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on use.
- I use this recipe when making quiche, savoury and sweet biscuits, mince pies etc.
Bread is so easy to make and tastes so good. It’s real simple to make, and I’ll tell you a secret – it’s okay to use plain flour instead of strong bread flour (I discovered this myself one time, when we were truly skint and I couldn’t tell the difference).
- Sieve 500 grams of flour into a bowl and add a sachet of yeast and a teaspoon of salt and one of sugar and mix these together.
- Rub 15 grams of butter and then add 300 ml of warm water. bring together until you have a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for around ten minutes.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise (this usually takes around half an hour or so).
- Shape the dough and then place in a lightly greased tin. Place in a preheated oven at around 200 – 230 degrees depending on your own oven. Bake for around twenty minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
So there you have it, some of my own recipes. I’ve started with these ones because they can form the basis of so many meals. Please do share your own recipes in the comments, it’s all about learning from each other! Happy cooking!