A Twist in the Pie

The first day of February in the Southern Hemisphere is Lammas, an ancient harvest festival that marks the mid-point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Even though hotter days are still to come, Lammas marks the beginning of Autumn. Traditionally, breads baked from new crops were made as offerings to the gods. Back when I celebrated Lammas in a coven, I would always offer to make the bread for our ritual. I loved coming up with ideas and shapes for the loaves. As the ritual came to a close and we made our offerings of bread and wine, I felt blessed that I could provide for my coven and the Pagan deities I once believed in. I miss these simple rituals, and the Pagan deities I am slowing coming to believe in again.

To celebrate the first of the solar Pagan sabbats for 2016, I thought I would return to my roots and make a Lammas bread. I decided to try my hand at a French Sun Pie called a Tarte Soleil. A Tarte Soleil is a filled pastry that is twisted to represent the rays of the sun. They look complicated but they are actually easy to make – especially if you use store-bought puff pastry 🙂 All you need is patience, a steady hand and great ingredients. In fact, deciding what to fill my pie with was my biggest struggle.

As I was feeling nostalgic about past friends and covenors, I filled my first Tarte Soleil with peanut butter and strawberry jam – a tribute to all the wonderful American friends I’ve made. It was quite delicious and a lovely blend of sweet and salty. Emboldened by my success, I decided make another one. I really wanted to use sun-dried tomatoes to represent the sun but I can’t eat tomatoes so I didn’t want to make a lovely tart I couldn’t eat. That’s when I came up with an idea, I would make a feta and black olive filling and put sun-dried tomatoes in the inner circle only. That way I could at least eat the sun rays. Happily it was a tasty success and something I would be proud to bring to a Lammas gathering.


Tarte Soleil

2 sheets frozen ready rolled puff pastry
1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup Danish feta cheese
1/3 cup whole Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
sea salt flakes for sprinkling

Take pastry sheets out of the freezer to thaw according to the packet.
Preheat oven to 200C / 400F.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cut pastry into two 23cm (9inch) rounds.
Place one round on the baking tray.
Lightly mark a 7 – 8cm (3inch) sized circle in the centre, being careful not to cut right through the pastry.
Place sun-dried tomatoes in the small circle.
Crumble a small amount of feta cheese over the sun-dried tomatoes.
Crumble remaining feta over the rest of the round, leaving a small margin around the outer edge.
Top the feta with olives.
Top with the second pastry round.
Press the edges together to seal.
Place a 7 – 8cm (3inch) sized glass face down in the centre of the circle, being careful not to cut right through the pastry.
With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into four sections, starting at the edge of the glass and working outward. Cut each section into half and then cut into half again. You will now have sixteen sections which will form the rays of the sun.
Remove the glass.
Gently twist each section, starting at the centre and working outward. You can twist one-to-two times, but be careful not to break them.
Brush pastry with beaten egg.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until brown.
Allow to cool slightly before gently sliding it off the baking paper and onto a serving plate. If the tart sticks, gently prise loose with a spatula.
Can be eaten warm or cold.

If you want to try the peanut butter and strawberry jam version simply follow the instructions above but replace the filling with a 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter and 1/4 cup strawberry jam.

A Very Pious Meal

I’d love to say that I came up with the idea for my recipe Scripture Bread with Selected Verses all on my own, but I didn’t!

A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Tapioca Surprise. I had a few comments and a few likes. I try to visit the people who have kindly visited my blog and as part of that process I came across the frugal feeding blog. When I saw the post about Scripture Cake I got so excited! I couldn’t wait to do more research 🙂

What I discovered were variations of a fruitcake that used biblical references for the ingredients. One recipe even used a bible quote for the instructions saying follow Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 23:14 for making good boys, which is “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Okay, so I assume I have to beat all the ingredients together. Very clever 🙂

No-one is sure of the origins of Scripture Cake but it does appear to have been a clever way of showing knowledge of the bible in the form of a fun trivia game! You would be given the recipe and then try and guess what the ingredients were. A King James version of the bible was the standard text. To make sure accidents didn’t happen, a standard version of the recipe was also given, but only after the guessing game ended 🙂

I loved this idea, but didn’t want to do a fruitcake. So I thought instead I would make up a platter of tasty treats that would complement each other and utilise the many foods mentioned in the bible. Not knowing the bible that well, I found an online King James bible and started searching for ingredients. I knew I wanted to make a flatbread, so I typed in “flour” and chose the best verse. I soon discovered that some verses mentioned a few foods in the one verse. Being slightly obsessive, I didn’t want to use those verses, so I had to find an entertaining verse that mentioned only the ingredient I wanted. This limited my choice, but I loved the challenge. I spent quite a few fun hours crafting recipes and searching the bible.

So here is my contribution to the world of scripture recipes:

Scripture Bread with Selected Verses


Biblical flatbreads served with marinated feta, olive tapenade and fig compote. You’ll need a King James version of the Bible to work out the ingredients – or you can just go to the list of ingredients at the end!

Special Equipment
3 cup size jar with lid

Biblical Ingredients
for the marinated feta
200g cubed feta 1 Samuel 17:18
1-2 sprigs of fresh Deuteronomy 11:10
1/2 teaspoon ground Numbers 11:7
1 teaspoon Matthew 13:31
3 tablespoons white wine Matthew 27:48
1 + 1/2 cup Exodus 27:20

for the olive tapenade
200g pitted kalamata 1 Kings 6:23
4 fillets John 21:10
2 tablespoons Exodus 27:20

for the fig compote
200g dried Nahum 3:12
1 peeled, cored and diced cooking Proverbs 25:11
1 teaspoon of mixed 2 Chronicles 9:9
1 tablespoon flaked or slivered Numbers 17:8
1 tablespoon Psalms 119:103
1 + 1/4 cup white John 2:10

For the scripture bread
2 cups sifted Leviticus 24:5
1 teaspoon sea 2 Kings 2:20
1/4 cup Exodus 27:20
1/3 cup Genesis 24:17

To make the marinated feta:
Place all the ingredients in a glass jar, making sure everything is completely covered in liquid. Secure the lid tightly and refrigerate for 2 days, occasionally giving the jar a good shake.

To make the tapenade:
Process or blend the tapenade ingredients together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To make the compote:
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before refrigerating until needed.

To make the bread:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. The dough should be slightly sticky.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 4 balls. Roll each ball into the flattest circle you can.

Heat an ungreased frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Fry each circle for 1 minute each side or until light brown.

Culinary notes:
If the oil in the marinated feta solidifies, remove from the refrigerator at least 1/2 an hour before serving to allow the oil to return to a liquid state.

When making the dough for the flatbreads, you may need to add more water or more flour to form a slightly sticky dough.

And for those of you without a bible here is the list of non-biblical ingredients 🙂

for the marinated feta
200g cubed feta cheese
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 + 1/2 cup olive oil

for the olive tapenade
200g pitted kalamata olives
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the fig compote
200g dried figs
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 tablespoon flaked or slivered almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1 + 1/4 cup white wine

For the scripture bread
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water

A Taste of Death, Chocolate & Olives

The first Wiccan ritual I ever attended was Southern Hemisphere Halloween 25 years ago.

I can still remember walking towards the circle. The night was cold and I was happy that I was wearing a cloak. A drum beat an eerie rhythm as we walked towards our destiny. I saw the drummer and realised he was naked. My first thought was one of horror “NO, don’t tell me I have to get naked!”. My second thought was “isn’t he freezing?” Thankfully we didn’t have to remove our clothes. The night passed in a cacophony of drums, chanting, invocations and prophesies by campfire. We ended, as most rituals do, with cakes and wine.

So for Halloween tonight I would like to share with you one of my latest creations – my version of Death By Chocolate. These rich and decadent dark chocolate and black olive brownies are the only way to die.

death by chocolate brownie

death by chocolate brownie

olive oil for greasing
170g unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup finely chopped black olives

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
Line a 25cm x 25cm square baking pan with baking paper. Allow paper to drape over the sides. Lightly oil the paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan then add sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Vigorously whisk in the eggs one at a time and stir until the mixture looks shiny and well blended.
Add sifted flour and baking powder. Mix vigorously until well combined. Add the olives and mix until just combined.
Pour evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure the centre is still slightly moist.
Allow to cool before lifting out.
Cut into squares and serve.

I’m always looking for new recipes and food ideas. Let me know your favourite Halloween recipes or Autumn/Winter foods.