October 2020

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Can you believe we are finally going into fall or autumn as we say back home. I have never wished a summer to be over as much as this one. I know we are all praying that our scientist who is working tirelessly and under tremendous pressure will get closer to a vaccine. Let’s talk about Halloween my favorite time of the year. Our neighbors have a lot of fears about this upcoming Halloween which is very understandable under these present covid19 times. A lot of children really want to get out there Trick a Treating. They feel they have been following the rules and stuck indoors with online schooling. Big shout out to our parents and Teachers. Some families think it’s dangerous walking the streets ringing on doorbells others say but you take your kids into stores shopping for groceries and clothes and drive through mc Donald’s. Personally we are making up Goodie bags, drinks, masks. They will be placed on banquet tables on our driveway so no one has to touch doorbells. Safety for everyone right! Weather permitting we may light the fire pit on the other side of the driveway wave to the kids.
Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Growing up we would always dunk in basins of water for apples or father would tie strings on them and hang them from the ceiling. He really had fun with us kids he was like a big kid himself at times. We didn’t have pumpkins in Ireland at least I never saw any. We had turnips that took hours of bleeding blistered fingers to gouge out those tough fibrous stubborn innards out. Painful but It was worth it to see its huge misshapen crooked smiley face light up our kitchen window. Mother would make sure we had lots of treats. We always had lots of fruits and huge assortment of nuts that we cracked open with hammers or any tools we could find in fathers shed. We never forgot the famous Barmbrack. Halloween was not Halloween without it.
Barmbrack or sometimes known as Bairin Breac.This may be from the Irish word bairin a loaf and breac. It literally means a speckled loaf filled with sultanas and raisins not as sweet but more akin to sandwich bread
Barmbrack is the center of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween brack traditionally had various objects baked into the bread. And was used as a sort of fortune telling game. You could find a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth a small coin a ring. Each item, when received in the slice (while your mother hovered close by watching to make sure her children didn’t choke.) Supposedly carried a meaning to the lucky person who was fortunate or unfortunate depending upon the item they choked on in their slice of barmbrack. The pea meant that person would not marry that year. The stick meant you would have an unhappy marriage or continue to be in disputes. The cloth meant you would have bad luck or be poor. The coin meant you would enjoy good fortune or be very rich. The ring you would be wed within the year. Other articles may include a medal with a saint or our Blessed Virgin Mary on it .Guess what that one might mean? Did you guess? Yes your right one may become a priest or a nun. I was going to give you the recipe for it but like me you can buy a raisin loaf and stick whatever you want in the middle. We never ate the Barmbrack we pretended to bite into it hoping to get the sixpence. Sausage rolls was another must around Halloween actually any parties called for sausage rolls. You may want to try this recipe. Tweak it with any meats you want.
IngredientS Olive oil.one onion finely chopped. Pinch of sage. Half a cup of breadcrumbs.(you can use stuffing mix it’s got all the nice sage and herbs in there) One egg. Milk for binding. Pinch of nutmeg optional. Six pork sausages take out of casing. Readymade puff pastry.
Dipping sauce. Chef or Hp sauce. You can find these in your local Irish import store.
Method Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook onions in olive oil. Add sage then put on plate to cool.
Take sausages out of casing. (I use Irish sausages but you can use Italian. Polish whatever you want.) Put into large bowl. Add onions, sage. Mix in breadcrumbs scrunch together with your hands. On a floured work space roll out puff pastry into big rectangle as thick as two quarters on top of each other. Cut it length ways into two long even rectangles. Roll your sausage mixture into sausage shapes and lay along the center of each rectangle.
Mix the egg and milk together brush edges of pastry then fold one side over wrapping the filling inside. Press down with your fingers to seal the join.
Cut the long rolls into the size you want. Space them out in a baking tray. Brush with the rest of the egg wash mixture and bake in the pre heated oven for twenty five minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown and cooked through.
I hope you may try this recipe or you can buy them ready cooked in our Irish import stores.Dont forget your Irish sauce. Wishing you all a safe and healthy Halloween.