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October 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from The Windesphere Witch......don't go away just because Halloween's almost over. We'll have lots of magic waiting for you all year round! Happy Halloween

Halloween Hummus!

Williamsburg pumpkins
So I was a bit hungry just now and craving something healthy instead of sugar , sugar and more sugar! I've think that I've had more than my fair share of those little candy corn pumpkins (can you ever really?) so I decided to go for the real thing!  I saw a recipe the other day for a pumpkin hummus but it seemed to really miss the mark for me in flavor.

 So here's my version ! This is perhaps the simplest thing that I've ever made and really incredibly delicious. It will be great for your Samhain party tonight and also will carry all the way through the merry month of November. It's vegan so anyone can eat it  and very pretty! Serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin bowl topped with pepita's (green pumpkin seeds) and surrounded by pita chips and apple slices!

You will need:

 1 can of Garbanzo Beans -drained

1/2 of a can of pumpkin

1 cup of lemon scented olive oil

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 tablespoon of sumac

A touch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and minced onions

1/4 teaspoon of organic liquid smoke

1 and a half tablespoons of agave nectar

salt and pepper to taste

Just throw it all into a blender and puree until smooth. Add more olive oil if necessary, more pumpkin if desired!

This recipe serves about 6  

Photograph of pumpkins from Colonial Williamsburg


And the winner is!!!

   Happy Halloween!


There were so many wonderful entries into the first ever Windesphere Witch Halloween Decorating Contest!!  But choose we had to because there can be only one! This years winner is Brendan Stewart! 

Congratulations Brendan and many thanks to all of you who participated! We can't wait to see next years entries........Why oh Why does Halloween come only once a year?
 

Hal1 Hal2Hal3Hal4






Time is Running out!!!!!!!!!!

For you to enter the first ever Windesphere WItch Halloween Decorating Contest! The entries are pouring in and they are simply wonderful!  The prize is a 50 dollar gift card good at any  Michaels Arts and Crafts, so please send pictures of your Halloween decorations to me at beth.gehring@stirringthesenses.com along with your  snail address! Entries need to be in by midnight, October the 30th! 

Now to get you in the mood...........




Perfumistas All Star Halloween Top Ten Ball!

Welcome to the first ever Perfumista's All Star Halloween Top 10 Ball, taking place at the same time in 4 bewitching cities and hosted by the four Fragrance Examiners, Liza in Washington DC. , Sali in New York City, Donna in Portland and myself in Cleveland.  My fragrant friends and I have prepared a night for you full of seductive surprises, gorgeous fragrances and more than a little neck nibbling, although beware....you really don't know who may be lurking around the next velvet curtain. Because I have always been a slave to masked balls and mischief, I couldn't think of a better time to throw a party than on an chilly October eve such as this one and because my bestial nature always forces me to throw history , fantasy and quite a bit of fiendish fun into my cocktail shaker, tonight we're at The Cleveland Museum of Art in the famed Armor Court, surrounded by implements of torture, memories of clandestine romance and murder.  You may not recognize me, but you’ll know me by my scent.....I’ve chosen Juliet, a bewitchingly beautiful soft floral/ oriental that seems just perfect for stolen kisses in the candlelight. 

 I’ve bright torches lit specially for this occasion and some of my favorite fiends are lurking happily around every corner. The walls of this massive chamber are chiseled stone, covered with feudal flags and tapestries and their dark passageways lead into several gorgeous rooms that are gently illuminated to showcase the splendid collection of medieval artwork and allegory  found here.  Its a perfect place to be bewitched and there are places to sneak off into around every corner. Just be sure to watch your pretty necks. That very handsome stranger smelling of  Absolument Absinthe may very well desire a good bit more than the delectable scent of your Bal A Versailles or a lick of the Datura Noir as he sensuously runs his teeth against your wrist, his lips against the nape of your neck. 

Trust me when I say, that the vampires are all here including the very wary yet indescribably handsome Louis de Pointe du Lac, cloaked in velvet and Royal English leather,  simply watching and waiting for his beloved Lestat. Louis is the safest one to chance a dance with, but make no mistake. He has spent centuries denying his vampire nature and yet fiend he is , a complete and total gentleman but vampire nevertheless with the most breathtakingly carnal of natures.  

There are merry clusters of Fey folk and an enticing witch around every corner. The fairies are such beautiful creatures with sparkling gossamer wings, blowing beautifully scented bubbles of mint, citrus and pear and playful tossing their glamoury all around. No one can make you forget yourself as quickly as a fairy. Just one whiff of their natural fragrance “Q”, an oak filled magical spell that they’ve gotten from their mistress Roxana is enough to distract you completely and they are having too much fun tonight. The last gentleman that we found under their spell was lying naked , defenseless  and humming to himself in front of the Water Lilies panels.  He had previously been dressed as  a young Will Shakespeare and wearing “The Unicorn Spell “ by LesNez.  Poor chap, he didn’t have a chance and someone really should have warned him about how much the fairies love violets.....

All around us are gypsy’s and fortune tellers with their Tarot cards and crystal balls. There are even minstrels dancing in every gallery, playing their lutes and violins singing tales of gallant journeys , fanciful beasts and long lost loves. Delightfully beautiful young men are they dressed in velvet with their fragrant hair  gleaming and unbound, their passionate sweat mixed with the honeyed scent of Miel de Bois, making them all but impossible to resist. Choose one of them to be  yours for the evening but  do choose carefully for there is danger luring in at least one pair of those innocent eyes. The Vampire Armand , made as a young boy in 16th century Rome by his master Marius is here, a beguiling young yet ancient monster with curly auburn hair and ebony eyes. Choose him at your peril...pay attention because on the surface like all of the others he is simply beautiful like all of the others, yet taste his lips just once and you will know him for sure. They will be tinged with the taste of your blood and the dankness of grave dirt. By then it will probably be too late and you’ll be bargaining for your life....

 Breathlessly you notice that the gypsys are everywhere, mysterious women, with smoky skin and husky voices. You can’t help notice the most provocative perfume spiraling around  them  and you recognize it as similar to Le labo’s Patchouli 24, an untamed blend of Vanilla, Patchouli and Birch, smoke filled and leathery all at the same time. It seems well suited to their nocturnal natures and you can’t help but move in closer to notice the strange compelling scent. Swirling and dancing they laugh as they spin you between them, stripping you of your senses and bring you close to the edge of fear and delight. They want you to see the familiar ghosts dancing among us all and suddenly, there they are, swept in by a witches spell of mandrake, sage and boxwood scented Mandragore. Shut your eyes and make a wish....for the witches have brought you  ever so briefly the gift of their second sight and only for a very short time are the veils between the worlds thin enough to allow you to clearly see the dead...... at least the dead who are not still walking among us clearly undead. 

For some, it’s just too much and with all of your senses on overload you fall passionately backwards into the arms of a beautiful blond man who laughs as he catches you and murmurs gently into your ears with his exquisite and ancient French accent. You barely notice that his arms and skin feel as smooth as polished marble, that his kisses are as cold as ice as he carries you towards the beautiful French beds, cloistered away privately in the next gallery .  He whispers his name.... Lestat and as he wraps you in his cloak of velvet and wolf fur you are aware that he is not quite alive, but it’s impossible to care. His manner like his scent, Carnal Flower is  so narcotic , so  intoxicating that whatever happens next is simply and completely welcomed. Like the deadly Carnal Flower there is only one Lestat de Lioncourt and you have just met him.  Beware.........



My Halloween Top 10 (with two bonuses) appears in no true order and I am in mad mad love with them all..........

  1. “Juliet”, by Juliet Stewart
  2. “Absolument Absinthe”
  3. “Bal a versaille” by Jean Deprez
  4. Serge Lutens “Datura Noir”
  5. “Royal English Leather” by Creed
  6. “Q” by Roxana Villa
  7. “The Unicorn Spell” by LesNez
  8. Serge Lutens “Miel Du Bois”
  9. Le Labos “Patchouli 24”
  10. Anick Goutal “Mandragore”
  11. Frederic Malle “Carnal Flower”
  12. Francis Kurkdjian Bubbles scented with Herbs, Pears and fresh Mint




What are your personal favorites for this windy witchy season? Please let me know and while you're still able to please continue the merriment by dancing over to the Perfumista All Stars Halloween Top 10 Balls that are being hosted by my good friends, fragrance adorerers  and fellow perfumistas: Donna Hathaway
 Portland Fragrance Examiner, Liza Wade DC Fragrance Examiner and  Sali Oguri, New York Fragrance Examiner

 
  
 
  

Beth2


Spicy Magic Pumpkin Mousse!

 I adore pumpkins ( what Autumn lover doesn't!) and am always looking for wonderful ways to serve them. Aside from being positively sunny and gorgeous as well as totally tasty, pumpkins are SO good for you, loaded as they are with beta carotene and tons of healthy fiber! 

So last night during a positively wicked  moment of craving I threw together this dessert! We were having a very spicy chili for dinner studded with chicken and butternut squash and I really was wanting a bit of sweetness at the end of the meal. I think that this came out so well that I'm going to make it for Thanksgiving Dinner! If you are sensitive to soy you can substitute bananas or avocados for the tofu. It will still be delicious, just quite a bit fruitier!

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 To make my Spicy Magic Pumpkin Mousse  you will need:

1 10 oz package Silken tofu (Soft)

1/2 cup Maple syrup, Agave Nectar or Caramel
  1 cup of Coconut milk (reserve can to add more if needed)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon -- ground
1/4 tsp Ginger

1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of All Spice
1 Pinch Ground Cloves

2 heaping tablespoons of sweetened cocoa
1 Pinch Salt
2 cups of  pumpkin pie spiced  canned pumpkin

1/2 cup of raw pecans- crushed

2 tablespoons of brandy

1/4 teaspoon of good vanilla extract

1   cup of roasted sweet potato (1 small sweet potato)
6 Cinnamon Rugalach or Ginger Cookies -Crushed 

All you will need to do is put all of these ingredients in a very good blender and blend until very smooth. Add more of the coconut milk if it's too thick.

Pour into a pretty crystal bowl , individual bowls or a pie shell and refrigerate. Top with a dollop of whipped cream or soy cream and shaved chocolate or what my friend Bethane calls "Magic Maple Crystals", as shown here. 

Magic Maple Crystals are a simply wonderful blend of excellent Vietnamese Cinnamon, white sugar and maple sugar  all powdered fine in a coffee grinder and sprinkled delightfully over anything or anyone that you love!  

This is delicious on its own , but I think that it would also make a pretty incredible trifle or an excellent vegan pumpkin pie!

Make a very good wish, serve to that about to be enchanted someone and enjoy!



 


Merry Witches Brew - My favorite love spell!

Every good witch has her own favorite brew and I think that there's no better time to serve it than the merry month of October, when the winds are getting crisper and there's always a bit of a damp chill in the air. I love this time of year when all the ingredients of my favorite brew literally jump into my cauldron fresh from the market. For me, the obvious first ingredient is fresh apple cider, so abundant at this time of year. I'm lucky enough to have several "pick your own" pumpkin and apple farms very close to me and they have their own cider presses. If you've never experienced the making of fresh cider, make this the year that you finally do. The smell of the press as it mashes the fresh sweet apples into fresh cider is absolutely intoxicating. Grab a caramel apple and a gallon of fresh cider, go home and make this brew. The left overs are easily refrigerated and will keep you very warm during theses changing autumn days!

First things first! Make several pomanders using some of the smaller apples that you've picked as the base. You'll do this by taking the apples and studding them with cloves in all manner of beautiful patterns. While you're doing this create patterns that you love  and use them as a simple spell to make a very good wish for a safe, abundant and love filled New Year. Then do the same with several small seedless oranges and set them aside. Use as many cloves as you wish, because the fragrance will be absolutely intoxicating!

Then in your favorite cauldron (I used to make this one in a cast iron pot on top of my wood burning stove when I lived in the country) add 1 gallon of freshly pressed cider, 2 cups of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of fresh powdered cinnamon, about 5 large cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract and 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh nutmeg, 3 tablespoon of dried or fresh rose petals (from your garden if you have them) and the pomanders. Bring this all to a lovely rolling boil and then turn down the heat. Add 1 bottle of very good red wine and about 2 and a half cups of dark spiced rum and then stir in one stick of salted organic butter.   Keep this hot but not boiling and serve happily and carefully as this is one potent brew!

Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Sorceress2
 

Painting by John WIlliam Waterhouse


Enchanted Pumpkin Soup!

Every autumn, this is the soup that I make when I want to begin a meal with a rich harvest flavour. It can be served many different ways, but in my mind, it looks just wonderful in a Armetale or other pewter type bowl styles reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg! I've also served this many times in a large hollowed out pumpkin that has been gilded with edible silver or gold leaf. It's a very easy trick, and you can find the edible leaf along with the directions for it's application in a good craft store where they have a baking section.


This recipe is actually very simple, and the ingredients are readily available ,  warning though, this one isn't for anyone on a low cholesterol eating plan!
Take a chunk of excellent butter and melt it in a soup pot. Add several chopped spanish onions and a shallot or two! Saute the onions until they are translucent and add 3 large cans of cooked pumpkin and several quarts of really good chicken stock. Bring the whole of it to a simmer and let the flavours brew! The magical ingredient here is chunky peanut butter!!!!!! I whisk in a cup of it or even more depending upon the taste. After it has simmered for about 20 minutes, stir in a quart of organic half and half. I always use organic milk or cream if possible because I've discovered that the texture is much finer and the taste is just that much better. 

Add salt and pepper to taste and about a tablespoon of good curry powder or pumpkin pie spice if you like it! You can also add a 1/4 of a cup of Calvado's (an apple brandy) if you'd like. I've also made this soup with butternut squash, halved and roasted with butter,olive oil,cinnamon and a bit of real maple syrup. I usually roast about 4 large acorn squash to get the amount of pulp that I need. The canned squash just doesn't seem to have the nutty flavour that the roasted does and the texture is exquisite. Making this will take some extra time, but I promise you that it's worth it. A lovely glass of wine and a bit of cheese while you're waiting should make the task really bearable, let alone the aroma of the roasting squash!


This soup will stand alone as a meal with a tossed salad with some ripe pear, pecans and warm camembert cheese or as a starter for a wonderful roasted pork tenderloin. I've also served it with grilled gruyere cheese and apple sandwiches.  A Black and Tan (that delectable combination of Guinness Stout and Bass Pale Ale) or some sparkling apple cider would be very satisfying with this soup especially if you served it in a frosty pewter mug! The entire collection of Armetale serving pieces is available online at http://www.wiltonarmetale.com

Jack-o-lanterns-l
 

Photo Courtesy of Southern Living


Announcing the Very First Windesphere Witch Halloween Decorating Contest!

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I love Halloween and in the spirit of the season I'm announcing the first ever Windesphere Witch Halloween Decorating contest. It's simple to enter....just send email pictures of your Halloween decorations as well as your mailing address  to  beth.gehring@stirringthesenses  by midnight October the 30th. The winner will be announced and pictures of the winning  decorations will be posted on this blog on Halloween eve. If chosen as the winner you will receive a 50 dollar gift certificate from Michael's Arts and Crafts, just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!