A Celtic Feast

Roast Pork Loin with Vegetables
Samit (curds with garlic)
Honey and Butter, Cheese, Apples
Hazelnut Shortbread

This feast could easily serve 20.

Quick Mead

(pronounced 'meed')
When monks sat down to dinner they "shall get clean dishes, herbs or roots washed in water, likewise apples and mead from the hive to the depth of a thumb".
      ...Rule of St. Ailbe, a contemporary of St. Patrick

Mix two pounds of honey with 2 cups of water in an enamel or stainless steel pan. Bring to a boil and skim off the scum that rises. Continue to skim until no more scum appears. This can take up to an hour or longer depending on how refined your honey is --the more refined. the less the scum.

Add three quarts of water, 2 cinnamon sticks, I tablespoon of cloves and I tablespoon of cubeb berries (or peppercorns) and bring to a boil again. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour into a sterilized gallon container and add 2 slices of candied ginger and 2 teaspoons of yeast. I now use brewer's yeast, but the original batch was made with good old Fleishman's. Apply a fermentation lock, or lacking that, wash out a large balloon and stretch the opening over the mouth of the bottle. Either will allow the gases to expand without exploding the bottle. Allow to stand 5 days for a sweet mead or 7 days for a drier mead.

After the alloted time, carefully pour the clear mead into sterilized bottles leaving the sediment behind. Make sure you use bottles intended for carbonated beverages. I used 2 liter plastic coke bottles. However, plastic bottles cannot be sterilized with boiling water because they melt.

You can semi-sterilize them by washing them out with soapy vater and then rinsing several times. Add a total of 1 cup of boiled honey to the mead, dividing it evenly among the bottles.

We drank this after one week. It is highly carbonated and spicey. It is however a little short on alcohol. According to the base receipe I used you should drink this before it has aged three weeks. Experience has shown this to be true.

Roast Pork with Vegetables

(pronounced 'muckole')
For 12 pounds of pork loin, mix 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and herbs of your choice. I use thyme, bay and rosemary ground together to make about 2 teaspoons total. Rub the mixture over the roast and place the meat in a plastic bag or closed container for at least 24 hours, turning it several times.

To roast --remove the meat from the container and wipe dry with paper towels. Place in a deep roasting pan and balke at 350 degrees, 20 minutes per pound.

When you have 1 1/2 hours to go, peel 2 lbs of onions and 2 pounds of carrots or parsnips. By the way, here is a good place to stretch the feast --by adding more vegetables. Place the vegetables around the roast and ladle fat and drippings from the roast over the vegetables to keep then from drying out. Pour one to two cups of beer over the roast and continue to cook, turning the vegetables occasionally.

When the roast is done, remove it from the pan. Remove the vegetables and set them aside to keep warm. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and remove the grease. Reserve the juices to pour over the pottage. Olar was a rich gravy and inmak was the drippings from a roast. (TO WHOM?)


(pronounced 'craw'ahan')
Boil 6 cups of water with 8 tablespoons of beef bullion powder and one teaspoon of garlic. Slowly add 3 cups of oatmeal and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Cook 3 cups of finely chopped cabbage in as little water as possible until tender. The easiest way to do this is to use a steamer or microwave. Drain. Thaw a package of chopped spinach and squeeze dry. Add the vegetables to the oatmeal and stir until well mixed. Pour the juices reserved from the roast over the pottage and mix together. Place a large pat of butter on top and serve. This stuff gets better when reheated.

Place 4 cups of oatmeal in a bowl and add 1 quart of buttermilk. Stir until the buttermilk is absorbed and then let the mixture stand for several hours.

Pour 2 cups of lukewarm water into another bowl and add 4 tablespoons of honey and stir until well mixed. Sprinkle two packages of dried yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes. (To be perfectly authentic, omit the yeast. You will end up with rock hard oatcakes that will have to be soaked in broth or water to be edible. The yeast is a concession to modern teeth.)

Add oatmeal mixture to yeast and add enough flour (half whole wheat and half unbleached) to make a sticky dough. Let rest 20 minutes.

Lightly grease baking sheets and place the dough on sheets by heaping spoonfuls. Bake until done at 350 degrees (approximately 25 minutes with yeast--the others take longer) . Serve with butter, honey and/or curds. The yeast variety are really good toasted over a fire and served with plenty of butter.

Curds with garlic
Line a large strainer with cheesecloth and place 1 pound of cottage cheese in it to drain. After two hours, place the cottage cheese in a bowl with 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup of sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of garlic and herbs. Fresh herbs are best, but you can use dried. Try a combination of thyme, rosemary, savory, lemon balm or whatever strikes your fancy. Mix together and allow to stand about two hours. Use the curds as a spread for the oatcakes.

This recipe is spreadable. To make a thicker samit, place the mixture in cheesecloth, pull the ends of the cheesecloth together and suspend it above a bowl. Place it in the refrigerater until the whey drains off. The resulting mass will be like a lumpy, flavored cream cheese.

Hazelnut Shortbread
Cream 3 sticks of butter and add 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of ground hazelnuts. Mix well with your hands to for. a crumbly dough. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and pat into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

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