Michaelmas Feasting from Wales

This post was submitted by my friend Carole who is now living in Wales.

Most of what I learned about St. Michael's Feast, I learned from reading Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger and Joanna Bogle's A Book of Feasts and Seasons (thank you Jenn for all the great book recommendations)! My youngest son's patron saints are St. Michael and St. Patrick. Last year I made the easy recipe Archangels on Horseback (from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Vitz).

16-20 sea scallops
8-10 pieces thin-sliced bacon; cut each piece in 2
Buttered toast

With a half slice of bacon, wrap each scallop, fastening with a toothpick. Cook under the broiler until bacon is brown and crisp, serving on hot buttered toast, cut in squares or rounds.

To make these "Angels on Horseback" replace the scallops with shucked oysters.

This year I decided to center our celebration around the various customs involving food.

This afternoon, my dd and I will be taking some blackberries (which grow wild in this area), and making Bottled Blackberries from .A Book of Feasts and Seasons. I have told my dc that since the devil spat on the blackberries when he was cast out of Heaven on Michaelmas, then they will not be good after today. Therefore, we must preserve what we have to enjoy on our toast later in the year.

First make a syrup, 1/2 pound sugar to 1 pint of water (remember it is English measure)! Make sure the syrup is boiling when you use it. You wash and clean the These aren't canned in the typical way we do in America, and I am making so little I will keep mine in the refrigerator.

It is traditional in England to have a feast of roast goose and stuffing. We read that Queen Elizabeth was eating her Michaelmas goose when she received word that the Spanish Armada had been defeated. Since my ds is studying Medieval Literature/History this year, I decided to make an historical connection with our meal. Not being very brave or adventuresome about cooking a goose, we are settling for a Roast Chicken with Sour Cream and Apple Stuffing. My ds will tell the family a little bit about St. Michael and the traditions as we celebrate our evening meal.

For the chicken, I stuff the chicken with onions, carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Then I coat the outside with thyme and Old World Seasoning (a Penzey's spice, but it is close to Rotisserie Chicken by McCormick). I place it in a 450 F oven which I then turn down to 350 F and cook for 20 minutes per pound.

We're also making a homemade bread (which we do a lot) to thank the Lord for the wheat harvest. This is part of the harvest end of the celebration.

I hate to say it, but for me, the celebration is frequently about the food! One last activity that we have planned is to plant a Michaelmas daisy. I have not fully planned our new garden, so we will probably just transfer it into a decorative pot. But the Michaelmas daisy is actually an aster with tall purple flowers ... very tiny and dainty. These plants bloom around this time of year and are frequently used to make posies for the table or to put on top of cakes given to the girls at London's Greycoat School after a special service (I learned this from Joanna Bogle's book). Pin It

1 comment:

  1. We celebrate St. Michael's day too! I haven't done the whole roast goose thing either, but i do make a Blackberry Wine Cake for dessert every year. It is a favorite around here. And we have michaelmas daisies growing WILD all over our property! They were especially nice this year, and there were even a few white ones among the purple.