Samhain And Food

Samhain, or Halloween, has its own set of recipes you may want to dip into for the season.

Food plays a large part in Samhain. It is the end of October and start of November so the the harvest is in and food is plentiful. However when Samhain became All Hallows or All Saints Day, meat was not allowed so the food eaten was just about anything vegetarian.

Try some of these recipes, and you will find the Dulahans, pucas, and the bean sidhes will all leave you alone, but your family and friends will love you.

Halloween Soul Cakes

Soul cakes are a special treat, mainly baked for and handed out at Halloween.
People would make small, round soul cakes for All Saints Day. Children would go door to door as they do now, but instead of collecting piles of candy , they would sing songs and say prayers for the dead and would receive a soul cake for their efforts. For each cake eaten, a soul would be freed from Purgatory. This tradition continued even into the last century in some areas.

Halloween Soul Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g fine white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound plain white flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spices
  • 40 g raisins or sultanas
  • milk

Melt the butter in a microwave, then stir in sugar until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Stir in the egg yolk, again aiming for smoothness.

Add flour and spices, stir and mix well, then add raisins. Add enough milk (slowly!) until you have a soft but still formable dough.

Form this dough into round, flat cookies with around 4 inches diameter and slightly less than an inch of thickness, arranging those on a greased baking tray. Then "carve" decorations into the cookies with a blunt knife - try Celtic spiral designs for that extra effect.

Bake the cookies at 180 degrees Celsius (360 Fahrenheit) for ten to fifteen minutes until golden brown.

Soul cakes make an ideal trick-or-treat gift.

Samhain Barmbrack or Barn Brack

Halloween Irish Brack

Brack is one of Ireland's most famous bakery products. The name comes from breac which means speckled, referring to the fruit in the loaf.

Brack is traditionally eaten at Halloween but is too delicious to save for just once a year. Eat it at tea time, or as part of your Irish Fest or St Patrick's Day celebrations.
Prep Time: 2 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 ½ cup/300ml lukewarm water
  • 2 oz/ 50g + 1 extra tsp sugar for yeast
  • 1 lb / 450g all purpose/plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 oz/50g butter
  • 6 oz/ 175g raisins
  • 2 oz/ 50g mixed candied peel
  • 2 oz/ 50g sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Makes 2 loaves
Heat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6 after the second kneading of the dough
  • Place the yeast in the lukewarm water, add the tsp of sugar, stir and leave to one side.
  • Put the flour into a large roomy, baking bowl, add the butter and salt and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour to form sand-like crumbs. Work quickly to prevent the butter becoming too warm.
  • Add the peel, raisins and 2 oz of sugar to the flour mixture and stir.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Work the mixture together to form a soft dough.
  • Knead the dough on a floured work top for 10 minutes until smooth and pliable. Place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  • Return the dough to the worktop, divide in 2, knead each half for another few minutes then form into a round approx 7"/20cm. Place on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise for another hour.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Samhain Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Halloween Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 large head of cabbage

  • 1 Tbsp. margarine
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 4 Tbsp. grated onions
  • 3 Tbsp. uncooked rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup seedless raisins
  • 3 Tbsp. honey (or brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • Trim off thick parts of 18 cabbage leaves.
    Blanch in boiling water.
    Melt margarine in deep, heavy saucepan. Add sliced onions, and lightly brown.
    Mix together beef, grated onions, uncooked rice, 3 Tbsp. water, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Place some meat on each cabbage leaf, tuck in sides and roll cabbage.
    Add tomato sauce, 1 cup water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to sliced onions.
    Place cabbage rolls in saucepan, cover and cook
    slowly for 1 1/2 hours. Add raisins, honey or brown sugar and lemon juice. Cook uncovered 30 minutes. Serve in soup bowls.

  • Halloween Potato and Apple Fadge

    This is a traditional Irish recipe for a classic potato and apple dough bound with flour that's rolled into a round, cut into quarters and fried in butter.

    Halloween Fadge

    A fadge is basically a classic potato farl (a word that derives from the Gaelic fardel which literally means 'four part' and this refers to the way that these griddle breads are typically cut into and served in quarters) that is filled with sliced apples and is typically served at Halloween.


    • 850g potatoes, peeled and halved (or you can use leftover mash)
    • 1 apple, cored and sliced
    • 1 bsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tbsp melted butter

    Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender (about 25 minutes) then drain and mash until smooth. Allow to cool until just warm then place in a bowl along with the flour, salt and melted butter. Mix to combine, until the mixture comes together as a dough.

    Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead lightly (it will be sticky, don't worry!) then cut in half. Dust the tops of the halves with flour then roll into a circles about 22cm in diameter and 3mm thick. Place the apples on top of one circle and scatter the sugar on top. Set the second pastry circle on top and press down the edges to seal. Cut into quarters with a floured knife then seal the edges once more and dust with flour.

    Place the quarters in the base of a frying pan and fry in a little oil for about 3 minutes per side, or until evenly browned. Season with salt and black pepper and serve immediately.


    Samhain Scones

    One thing to have with your Halloween night, or your Samhain morning, tea are the always welcome scones.

    The classic scone has been mixed, baked and eaten on the Irish islands for centuries and are as popular today as they ever were.

    Halloween Scones



    1. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and currants in a large bowl.
    2. Mix well.
    3. Make a well in center.
    4. Beat egg until frothy, and mix in melted butter or margarine and milk.
    5. Pour into well.
    6. Stir to make soft dough.
    7. Pat dough into two 6- to 7-inch circles.
    8. Transfer to greased baking sheet.
    9. Score each top into 8 pie-shaped wedges.
    10. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes, until risen and browned.
    11. Serve warm with butter and jam.

    Samhain Oat Soup

    Just the thing to scare away the Halloween spirits. A simple but warming soup, the oats add bulk and a distinctive flavor of their own And if you wish to have it on Samhain, as well, it is even better when served the next day.
    If you see the mix is become too viscous, you can add a little extra water when I felt the soup was becoming too thick. Add milk for taste or for reduced viscosity. Also, you can add the salt and pepper for taste. Use medium-ground oatmeal, about two rounded tablespoons. You can use rolled oats, but instant oats,are often packed with salt, sugar and other flavorings.

    Halloween Oat Soup



    • Add vegetables to olive oil and 'sweat' them over a very gentle heat, with the lid on, for five minutes, until just coated and softened.
    • Stir in the oatmeal and cook for another minute or so, stirring to prevent sticking.
    • Pour in the stock and stir well.
    • bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
    • Add seasoning (if using) and parsley.
    • Finally, add milk (if using), reheat gently, and serve hot.

    More Samhain - Go to:

    Page 1 - Samhain - The Celtic New Year - And Halloween

    Page 2 - The Dullahan - the Irish Headless Horseman
    Page 3 - Samhain Celebrations and Games
    Page 5 - More Samhain Recipes
    Page 6 - A Reason to Be Viligant - It Is Samhain.




















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