Tuesday, November 24, 2009

St. Catherine's Day

One of the days of Orthodox Advent is St Catherine's Day. (You can read about her here.)
Though her feast day is not one of the Great Feasts it is of major importance and she is celebrated around the world. She is of special importance to women, who sometimes have parties where they pledge to study rhetoric and elocution during the coming year. Athanasia says as soon as we are both through with school and we have a larger house (ha ha ha) she is going to have such a party. Lamb's Wool is the traditional beverage.

Next crown the bowl full
With gentle lamb's wool
Add sugar, nutmeg and ginger,
With store of ale too;
And thus ye must do
To make a wassail a swinger
-Robert Herrick

I have an authentic medieval English recipe for lambswool butit contains cream and is, therefore, not suitable for Orthodox to drink during Advent. But here is a modern recipe by a somewhat famous bartender by the name of Nick Strangeway which is fast friendly.

1 bottle of Hix IPA or light ale or bitter

For the sugar syrup

200g granulated sugar
200ml water
4 allspice berries
The peelings from the grated root ginger, below
8 cloves
2cm of a cinnamon stick

For the apple purée

500g bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
A good pinch of grated nutmeg
tbsp finely grated root ginger
120g Demerara sugar

First, make the sugar syrup. Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes; remove from the heat and cool. Then place all the ingredients for the apple purée in a thick-bottomed saucepan and cook on a low heat with a lid on for 6-7 minutes, stirring every so often until the apples have disintegrated. Remove from the heat; blend in a food processor until smooth.

To serve, strain the syrup through a fine-meshed sieve, gently heat the beer and whisk in the syrup and apple purée to taste; serve in a pewter or silver tankard.

Serve 4 small cups

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