Happy Halloween from Italy
by Ippolita Douglas Scotti
“What we can’t explain with Science, we call magic.”—Marsilio Ficino
As a little girl, I was absolutely sure I had ‘the gift.’ A descendant of an ancient Scottish clan chock full of mysterious women—some even rumored to know the ways of magic—I just had to be a witch, right?!
When I was young girl, I used my true Capricorn determination and more than a little Italian stubbornness to practice my magical ‘moves.’ Solemnly, slowly, I would wave my hand across the supermarket’s automatic doors and pretend to open them with only the power of my mind. (I confess! I still do this! Old habits die hard!) Certain of my skills, I decided to put my magic to work. You can imagine my surprise when the broom in my garden had no intention of flying upon my command. My attempts to petrify some of my fellow schoolmates thankfully met with similar failure. At the time, I think I put the blame on my magic wand—a chopstick from one of the first Chinese restaurants in Florence!
During my teenage years, I swept away a lot of my dreams and expectations about magic. I decided to lead a normal life—whatever that is! However, as time passed, it became impossible to ignore the unusual, sometimes amazing events that studded my life like the bright stars above my beloved hometown of Florence, Italy.
Over the years, I've researched herbs and plants, become a naturalist, writer, actress, professional dog sitter, and a pretty damned good palm reader. More importantly, I have learned that the most important and powerful outlet for my magic manifests itself in the kitchen. There, over my kitchen caldron, I can mix ingredients with wild herbs, a sprinkle of my secret, spicy magic powders, and my sheer enjoyment of cooking. I guess you could say that I am true kitchen witch.
For the Halloween celebration, I'm sharing four fun recipes to get you in the mood to create something magical for All Hallows' Eve! I hope you enjoy my recipes and use them for all your special witchy occasions.
Just remember, you need a dash of this and a pinch of that to concoct the rich, mysterious, complex experience of a life well lived, but love will always remain the most powerful, essential magical ingredient.
The Winter Witch Cauldron
A glass of full-bodied red wine 1 tsp. sugar Cinnamon, black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, orange rinds 1 bay leaf
Heat wine in a cauldron with all the ingredients, but do not bring to a boil—the alcohol doesn’t have to evaporate. If you are feeling over-the-top and have access to magic stores, serve this heady brew in decorative skulls!
Mediterranean Witch Pumpkin
1/2 medium-sized pumpkin
6 Tbs. flour 1 can tomatoes Olive oil
Preheat oven to 200°C (400 °F).
Scoop out the pumpkin pulp with a spoon.
Peel the pumpkin and cut it into thick slices.
Lightly dredge each slice in the flour.
Place the slices in a large casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, caper berries, Parmesan, and a little magic pinch of oregano. Bake for 20 minutes.
Note: The oregano plant is sacred to Venus. The leaves bring you love and happiness.
Sausages with Fennel Seeds and Potatoes
This is the perfect dish for outdoors. As you well know, witches like to forage in the forest for magic herbs and roots. When they are weary of walking, they create a little fire and put the potatoes under the ash.
As Merlin the Wizard (who really loved sausages!) always said, “It is the first magic spell you learn and the last you forget.”
Sausages (use your favorite kind—pork, beef, or chicken)
A pinch of fennel seeds
Whole, yellow potatoes
Pierce the sausages with fennel seeds, skewer them on a stick, and cook them in the fire.
Simple and so delicious!
Walnuts are a very witchy food. In the old times, the Sabbath was celebrated under a walnut tree. The human brain is shaped like this seed and has the power to read the mind of other human beings. Magical!
A handful of walnuts,
3 eggs, chopped 1 cup flour 1 cup milk
1 Tbs. baking powder 6 Tbs. sugar A handful of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F).
Beat eggs with sugar.
Combine flour and baking powder.
Add to egg mixture. Pour in the milk and mix well.
Add walnuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 30 minutes.