Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stir-Up Sunday: Jamaican Fruit Cake

Happy New Year!

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and we begin a new Church Year, another Year of Grace, or Year of Our Lord. This time of Advent we focus on two comings: we remember the longing, the anticipation, the hope, the long patient wait for the Messiah. We also are remembering that Christ will come again at the end of time, and we prepare for that Final Judgment. Our time here is precious! The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this much more eloquently:
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (CCC, 524)
And so, we need to stir up our hearts, renew ourselves to prepare for His coming. In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the translation of the Collect (or Opening Prayer) of the Mass for the First Sunday of Advent invited that stirring:
O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A traditional English custom on this day was to make a Plum pudding, with every family member giving a good stir representing their hearts being stirred on that day. Plum pudding and fruit cake have taken a hard rap over the years. There are those who hate them and those who love them, and few fall in between. I know this is a bit late for actually stirring up on Sunday, but all week is a good time to do this. I'm offering this recipe as an alternative to standard fruitcake -- because it contains rum AND no candied fruit. Perhaps this will suit someone's fancy?

Jamaican Fruit Cake

Cut with scissors into small pieces:
1 lb. each of currants, seedless raisins, prunes, and dates.

Mix and stir in, soaking for 3 days:
1 pt. light rum
1 pt. white tablewine

After soaking fruits, sift together:
6 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cinnamon

1 lb. butter
2 cups sugar

8 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix well, then add flour mixture gradually. Lastly, fold in fruit and liquor, and 1 cup English walnuts, if desired (chopped to desired size).

Grease and line with wax paper 4 bread pans or 2 tube pans. Place cakes on rack in middle of oven. Place shallow pan of water (hot) on bottom or slower oven (300 F.) Bake 3 hours, removing water last 30 minutes of baking.

When cakes are cold, wrap in aluminum foil. Store in air-tight container in a cool place. Allow at least 2 weeks, preferably longer for aging.

(If this is baked in a tube pan, it can be used as the Christ Child's birthday cake, with as many candles on it as there are children in the family.)

Recipe adapted from Family Liturgical Customs, No. 1: Advent by Ethel Marbach, 1964, Abbey Press. Pin It

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Recipes for December ~ Month Dedicated to the Divine Infancy

The Month of December is dedicated to the Divine Infancy. "Mary wraps up a small bundle of clothes for the use of her little Son, and then, going to the crib, she says with tears in her eyes to her sleeping Child, 'O my Son, and my God! Thou hast come from heaven to save men; but hardly art Thou born when they seek to take Thy life.'" ~ 2010 Catholic Calendar
December 3rd, St. Francis Xavier (New, Trad.):

December 6th, St. Nicholas of Myra (New, Trad.):
December 7th, St. Ambrose (New, Trad.):

December 8, The Immaculate Conception (New, Trad.): December 9th, St. Juan Diego (New):

December 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe (New, Trad.):

December 27th, St. John the Apostle (New, Trad.):
December 28th, The Holy Innocents (New, Trad.): December 31st, New Year's Eve : MORE RECIPES FOR ADVENT:
Throughout Advent :

First Sunday of Advent ~ Stir-Up Sunday : Second Sunday of Advent : Third Sunday of Advent :
St. Andrew's Christmas Novena
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen.
Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day (30 November),
ending on Christmas Eve
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Saint Nicholas Cocoa Mix

One of our favorite traditions, for the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th, is making St. Nicholas Hot Cocoa for our own celebration, as well as to give away to friends and family either on St. Nicholas Day or for Christmas. It is such fun for the children to make, plus it is so delicious!



8 cups (20 ounces) powdered milk
1 (16-ounce) package instant cocoa
1½ cups powdered sugar
10 ounces (2½ cups) powdered non-dairy creamer
4 cups (8 ounces) miniature marshmallows
6-8 ounces finely crushed peppermint candy
Candy canes, optional


Combine powdered milk, cocoa, powdered sugar, creamer, marshmallows and peppermint candy; mix well. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe makes enough mix to fill 5 wide-mouth quart sized jars. We always close the jars with white wide-mouth jar lids, red ribbon and a tag with the recipe.


For each serving, put ½ cup of mix in a regular-size mug, fill with boiling water; mix well with candy cane. Enjoy!!

(I've uploaded pdf files of my tags for St. Nicholas Day and Christmas, which you are welcome to use.)


The St. Nicholas Hot Cocoa is also a great addition to gift baskets as well! Just package up a jar of the mix, possibly a couple mugs, and a bunch of candy canes, and then...

...For a Christmas Gift Basket add a copy of The Legend of the Candy Cane or maybe the DVD instead, and then throw in some Candy Cane Kisses.

...Or, for a Saint Nicholas Day Gift Basket include one of the great picture books about St. Nicholas, or maybe the movie Nicholas, The Boy who became Santa, and then finish it off with a bunch of chocolate gold coins!

Prayer to St. Nicholas

O good holy Nicholas, you who brought joy to children, put in my heart the spirit of childhood about which the Gospel speaks. Teach me how to sow happiness around me. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Scottish Feast to Celebrate St. Margaret and St. Andrew

This post was written by Robina, at Motherly Loving, and submitted for publication here at Catholic Cuisine. Thank you Robina!

In honor of the feasts of St. Margaret on November 16th and St. Andrew on November 30th who are both patron saints of Scotland, we will be having a dinner feast celebrating our family's Scottish heritage on Sunday, November 29th. This is the second year of this annual family tradition, but we will be missing our relatives from Scotland who were able to celebrate with us last year.

St. Margaret of Scotland was an exemplary Catholic wife, mother and queen. With her husband Malcolm, St. Margaret transformed Scotland "from a remote and barbaric outpost to a beacon of Christian culture. Her charity to the poor, particularly to children and the elderly, was unparalleled. (Not only did she feed and clothe the many beggars who presented themselves, but she and Malcolm personally washed the feet of these impoverished visitors.)" from Women for Faith and Family


O Heavenly Patron of Scotland, and my patron saint in whose name whom I glory, pray ever to God for me; strengthen me in my faith; establish me in virtue; guard me in the conflict; at my end be steadfast at my side and plead for me with Christ, my Judge and Savior, that I may vanquish the foe malign and attain to glory everlasting to behold one day thy beautiful countenance. Amen.

Saint Andrew - El Greco1606 - Oil on Canvas

St. Andrew was the first of the apostles of Jesus. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist, he recognized Jesus as the Messiah. He brought his brother, Simon (Peter), to Jesus.

"As he was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, 'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him"- Matthew 4:18-20

Like Jesus, St. Andrew was crucified, but on a cross the shape of an "X" at Patras in southern Greece on November 30th. This type of cross has long been known as "St. Andrew's cross." The flag of Scotland features an X-shaped cross in commemoration of the shape of St. Andrew's cross.


O Glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend St. John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother St. Peter to Christ, and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him, and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus.

Like last years Scottish feast on the Feast of St. Andrew, we will use traditional Scottish recipes given to me by my great aunt Mary who lives in Scotland and is usually here with my great uncle Jimmy this time of year with us, but can not be this year. We will have a dinner of steak pie, mashed potatoes, and peas and then shortbread for dessert. We also made scones and tea for breakfast. The recipes and other activities for celebrating the day are below. These are all family recipes.

Scottish Steak Pie

(Sorry for the poor pictures, these are from last year and I forgot to take pictures until after people started serving themselves)

1 lb. cubed beef stew meat, cut into smaller chunks if prefer
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 onion, chopped
4 to 5 carrots, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Pie crust, enough for 1 (9-inch) crust
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Heat oil in skillet and brown stew meat in skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in chopped in onions and cook until soft. Add 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup water and beef bouillon cube and stir until gravy thickened. Add more flour if necessary. Add carrots. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour meat and gravy mixture into pie dish. Lay pie crust on top of meat and press edges onto the rim of the dish to seal. Cut vent slits into crust. Make egg wash with egg and 1 tbsp water and brush top of of pie crust. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until pie crust golden brown.

Scottish Shortbread

2 to 2.5 cups flour (depends on preference)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 lb. unsalted soft butter
1/8 tsp. salt or a pinch
1/8 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat in egg. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture gradually until well combined finishing by hand or using bread kneader attachment. Place in buttered cake pan. Pierce the dough with fork halfway down in rows. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until light with barely golden edges. Remove from oven and cut right away into rectangles. Cool in pan.

Scottish Scones

4 cups flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups currants, raisins or blueberries (use amount you desire)
10 oz milk (sometimes may need 11 ounces & better with whole milk)

Mix flour, margarine, sugar, cram of tartar, backing soda with pastry blender. Add raisins, currants or blueberries. Add the milk with a spoon until blended. Put in rectangular cake pan. Sprinkle with sugar and butter glaze if desired. Bake at 35 for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Don't over bake or they will be dry.

Scottish Feast Activities

- As St. Andrew was a fisherman before being a "fisher of me" as an apostle of Jesus, he is also the patron saint of fisherman. His feast day is an appropriate time to teach children how the "fish is a symbol of the Christian faith because the letters of the Greek word for fish, "ichthys" form an acronym for the Greek phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". Early Christians, during the time of persecutions when it was not safe to be a known as a Christian, drew a fish in the ground in order to secretly identify themselves to other believers. Even today one sees this fish symbol, often containing the Greek letters spelling "fish", on religious articles and even on bumper stickers." from Women for Faith and Family

- Find Scotland on a world map and color a map of Scotland or the Scottish flag.

- As the feast of St. Andrew on November 30th also marks the beginning of the season of Advent so put up Christmas decorations, start Advent wreath prayer and Jesse Tree readings.

- Another way to celebrate Saint Andrew's feast day and Advent is to say the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, as it is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

You can make chaplets out of 15 beads and a St. Andrew medal to help you count your prayers each day.

- Listen to traditional Scottish Bagpipe Music.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

St. Elizabeth's Crown

On November 17, our church celebrates the memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. St. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary, and she obediently fulfilled her duties as daughter and wife during her short life. After her husband died, however, St. Elizabeth traded her worldly goods for a life of service to the poor and sick, thus trading her crown of riches for the crown of one of God's chosen. St. Elizabeth shows us how to carry out the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, and to put other's needs before our own.

St. Elizabeth is also the patron of bakers, and so it is appropriate to spend some time creating a treat by which to remember her. We enjoy this crown cake to celebrate her feast. The cake itself is a Hungarian family recipe from my husband's family and I dress it up with a thick, white icing and bright gumdrops. I found some extra large gumdrops at my grocer, but small gumdrops are just as pretty. The Hungarian flag is red, white and green -- if you can get a bag of candy with those colors in it.

Hungarian Coffee Cake

1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a Bundt or ring pan.

Combine cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts. Reserve.

Cream butter and granulated sugar.
Add eggs and beat well.
Add vanilla and sour cream and mix.
Add flour and baking powder and beat for a minute or so until well combined.
Spread half of batter into prepared pan.
Sprinkle half of nut mixture over batter (try to avoid getting sugar against the pan).
Spread remaining batter over nut mixture.
Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the top.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Do not overbake.
Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack or plate.
Cool completely.
Frost with white glaze and top with colorful gumdrops.

2 T. butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
2 - 4 T. milk
1 t. vanilla extract

To prepare the glaze,
mix in a bowl all ingredients until a thick drizzling consistency,
adding a few more drops of milk if necessary.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Cloak of St Martin Cake

St Martin of Tours is a well known European saint whose feast day is known simply as Martinmas Day. Wikipedia has this to say:

"St. Martin's Day (or Martinstag or Martinmas) is November 11th the feast day of St Martin of Tours who started out as a Roman soldier. He was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. Martin heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clothed me."

The cake I made above was inspired by this little image below from Heraldry of the World.

I used a simple recipe for a plain loaf cake:


2/3 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. flavoring extract

2 eggs, beaten

1 2/3 c. plain flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. milk

Cream butter, sugar, and flavoring together until light; beat the eggs and add to mixture. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together; add alternately with the milk. Beat 1/2 minute or about 30 strokes. Bake in an oiled and floured loaf-cake pan 40 minutes at 350-375 degrees.

I added a few drops of red colouring to the cake as well.

Here it is, straight out of the oven.

Notice how I have cut the cake, each piece is thinner at one end, wider at the other.

I then proceeded to ice the cake with icing, made from icing sugar, a little butter and boiling water, I added a few drops of red colouring. I iced both pieces, top and sides.

Here is the cake iced. I've used licorice straps, ($2 a bag) cut thinner with scissors, I just copied the pattern in the image further above, very simple. I used wider straps for the cloaks cords on either side, once again, just being guided by the image.

A close up of the licorice straps.

The sword I made from cookie dough, using the recipe below. Eitherwise, to save time, just find a toy sword amongst the children's toys and use that instead, or even just a nice, big kitchen knife.


1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
Pinch salt
65g butter (2.29oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 small egg ~ milk (if too dry)

Method: 1.Mix butter and sugar till light and fluffy 2.Add egg, flour and salt, mix well. If mixture is too dry then add some milk. 3.Knead lightly and roll out on a floured board as thinly as possible. 4. Cut out into the shape of a sword, use a ruler for the sides. 5. Bake in a moderate oven 350°f (180°c) for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

I just used some of the left over icing for the sword and used a few lollies and some licorice for suitable decoration.

Editing to add Leslie's (The Vine and the Branches) beautiful Cloak of St Martin cake, a beautiful creation!

Wishing everyone a blessed Martinmas!
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Monday, November 2, 2009

St. Martin and the Mice Cupcakes

On November 3rd, the feast of St. Martin de Porres, two of our favorite picture books will be pulled off our shelves: Saint Martin de Porres and the Miceand The Pied Piper of Peru. After reading the stories about St. Martin and the Mice with my children, we'll be making mice cupcakes, inspired by a recipe in Let's Eat! Recipes for Every Meal... All you add is fun!

If you'd like to make them too, here's what you'll need:
  • 1 package Chocolate Cake Mix (plus ingredients to make cupcakes)
  • Vanilla Frosting
  • Vanilla Wafer Cookies
  • Candy-Coated Chocolate Pieces (ie: M&M's)
  • Chocolate Kisses
  • Shoestring Licorice


Bake cupcakes according to directions on box.

Spread the tops of the cupcakes with frosting.

To make each mouse, put 2 vanilla wafer cookies for the "ears," 2 candy-coated chocolate pieces for the "eyes," 1 chocolate kiss for the the "nose," and pieces of shoestring licorice for the "whiskers."


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recipes for November ~ Month Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

"Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. As a reminder of our duty to pray for the suffering faithful in Purgatory, the Church has dedicated the month of November to the Holy Souls. The Holy Souls are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. They are certain of entering Heaven, but first they must suffer in Purgatory. The Holy Souls cannot help themselves because for them the night has come, when no man can work (John 9:4). It is our great privilege of brotherhood that we can shorten their time of separation from God by our prayers, good works, and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."

In addition to praying for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, here are a few ideas for celebrating the feast days in November, from the archives:

November 1, All Saints Day (New, Trad.):
November 2, All Souls Day (New, Trad.):
November 3, St. Martin de Porres (New, Trad.):

November 10, St. Leo the Great (New):

November 11, St. Martin of Tours ~ Martinmas (New, Trad.):

    November 13, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (New):
    • Heart Cake (Since the "heart" is one of the symbols for St. Francis Xavier Cabrini)

    November 16, St. Margaret of Scotland (New):

    November 16, St. Gertrude (New, Trad.):
    • Lily Sandwiches (The lily is one of the symbols of St. Gertrude. Other symbols include: Crown and Heart)

    November 17, St. Elizabeth of Hungary (New):

    November 18, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (New):

    November 19, St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Trad):
    (See November 17th)

    November 21, The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (New, Trad.):

    November 25, St. Catherine of Alexandria (New, Trad.):

    Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of Christ the King (New):

    We pray for the dead every time we eat if we pray the After Meal Blessing:

    We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, Who livest and reignest forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

    O Mother Most Merciful, Pray for the Souls in Purgatory!

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    Pan de Muertos

    Bread of the Dead — Pan de Muerto Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, Mexico's festive annual celebration of life —and death — takes place on November 2. The modern celebration, now an official Catholic holiday, owes its roots to the Aztecs, who devoted two full months of the year to honor the dead and assist departed souls to their final destination. During and after the Spanish conquest, the culture of the Aztecs became infused with the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Consequently, the Day of the Dead coincides with All Souls' Day, the day after All Saints' Day. Catholic Culture


    1/4 cup margarine
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons anise seed
    1/4 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 teaspoons orange zest
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon orange zest
    2 tablespoons white sugar


    1.Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm
    water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
    2.In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then
    add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is
    3.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
    4.Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will
    take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a
    baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
    5.Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then
    brush with glaze.
    6.To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat
    and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar. Pin It