Feast of Simovane Foods

Feast of Simovane Foods

Traditional Recipes – Parkin and Soul Cakes
Arch Madria Georgia


Excerpt taken from: A TASTE OF YORKSHIRE:
Pudding, Parkin and Pomfret Cakes by Dawn Copeman

The Vikings are said to have invented our next Yorkshire food.

Parkin is a type of ginger tea-bread, known as a ‘cut and come again cake’, because it is an economical cake that lasts for a long time. Many versions of Parkin were made around the country, but the Yorkshire one, made with just a little fat is the one which is still made today.

Parkin was often traditionally eaten on Bonfire night, the 5th November, when we remember the attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament. In parts of West Yorkshire the 5th November is known as Parkin Day. One place where Parkin is reputedly not eaten on Bonfire Night is St Peter’s School in York, where a certain Guy Fawkes was educated.

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup black treacle
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 seven inch square tin greased & lined with greaseproof paper.
1.Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2.In a pan, warm milk, treacle and butter, then remove from heat add all the dry ingredients and the egg and beat well.
3.Pour mixture into tin and bake for 50 – 55 minutes in the middle of the oven at 160°C, 325°F or Gas Mark 3.

From: Time Travel – Britain.com,8b1d017d&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=JaJ1KeiPMULsMRl6MA1t7Q–


Soul Cakes: A British Halloween Treat

Soul cakes are large spiced cake-like cookies that were traditionally handed out in Britain instead of candy during the time of All Hallows Eve.

Each cookie represented a soul that had died in the past year and as the cookie was eaten, it was believed that if the soul had gone to Purgatory, it was then released. Originally, soul cakes were used as a sacrificial food in the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The cookies are typically spiced with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, or other pumpkin pie-like spices, and include raisins or currants. The top of each cookie is marked on the top with a cross.

Eventually, it became tradition to put these little cakes out with glasses of wine on All Hallows Eve for the souls of the dead. Then, on All Saints Day (November 1st), children would go “souling,” traveling from house to house calling out the following verse:

“Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a plum, a peach, or a cherry,
Anything good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.”

Soul Cakes Recipe
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup superfine sugar
4 cups flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons currants or raisins
a little milk

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour and fluffy in texture. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.

2. Mix together the flour and spices. Fold into the creamed butter mix.

3. Gently stir in the currants/raisins. Add enough milk to make a soft dough.

4. Form into flat cakes and cut each top with a knife to make a cross.

5. Bake on a well-greased baking sheet at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.,e221d6e9&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=PuFytNui_GmCuEJpgksMUg–


Sophia Ruth:

Another great tradition is that of Soul Cake recipes and songs. Scroll down for the vegan and gluten free versions. Please read through the recipes because some of them explain the origins of some of our Halloween traditions, especially the third recipe of Biscuit/Cookie.

Soul Cake Recipes and Songs:

First Shropshire Recipe – Buns

“Soul cakes were of different kinds. Formerly, some cakes were flat and oval. Others were plump and bun-like. There was a spiced-sweetened variety, and the sort that resembled a small fruit cake. All were rich with milk and eggs.

The following recipe is an adaptation of an old Shropshire formula. The light fluffy buns, delicious for any occasion, are especially appropriate for Halloween. Serve them hot, with plenty of butter and strawberry or raspberry jam. Accompany them with mugs of cider; or with hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows, for the young; or with coffee or tea for those who are older.


Cream shortening and sugar. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water to which a teaspoon of sugar has been added. Set aside. Scald milk and add to the creamed mixture. When cooled add yeast mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Sift together flour, salt, and spices, and add gradually to other ingredients, kneading into a soft dough. Set sponge to rise in warm place in greased covered bowl. When doubled in bulk, shape into small round or oval buns. Brush tops with slightly beaten egg white. Bake in moderately hot oven (400° F.) for 15 minutes. Drop temperature to 350 ° F. and bake until delicately browned and thoroughly done.”

Recipe Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960


Second Shropshire Recipe – Scone like

” Mrs Mary Ward is the author of several Shropshire recipe books. She is known to be the last person to keep up the tradition of giving out Soul Cakes at her home in Pulverbatch. She died in 1853 at the ripe old age of 101. Rather amazingly, to celebrate her 100th birthday she wore her wedding dress of yellow satin and received Holy Communion with her friends and neighbours.”

Here are some recipes and songs The recipes are in the Metric system. Conversion tables may be found on the internet. This first recipe is said to be highly symbolic, if a bit dull in taste.
750g plain flour
100g butter
1 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
350ml milk
100g caster sugar
1½ tsp allspice


Preheat the oven to 220°c, gas mark 7. (425 degrees/US).

Place the flour and yeast into a large bowl. Melt the butter and warm the milk. Beat the egg in a mug or small bowl. Add the butter, milk and egg to the flour. Mix together well until smooth. Make into a ball. Cover with a large plastic bag or oiled clingfilm. Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for half an hour. Add the sugar and allspice to the dough and knead until well combined. Place onto a lightly floured board and roll rather flat! About 2 cm and these are a bit too biscuity. About 4 cm and these work well as a scone. I also tried the last one like a bread roll and that worked well too.

Place in the hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes until golden. They taste good warm with butter and strawberry jam.

Both of these can be scored with a silver star, like this



Third – Biscuit / Cookie

Ireland is known for its spiced biscuit soul cakes. The following is the Cheshire version:

“This Soul Cake recipe is from the Cheshire region, on the border with North Wales. A Soul Cake (or Souling Cake) is a small round cake, like a biscuit, which is traditionally made for All Souls’ Day (the 2nd November, the day after All Saint’s Day) to celebrate the dead. These plain cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to the soulers, children and the poor, (beggars) who would go from door to door during this period saying prayers and singing psalms and songs for the dead.

Traditionally each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern day Trick or Treating, which now falls on Halloween (two days before All Souls’ Day). The tradition of ‘souling’ and giving out Soul Cakes on All Soul’s Day originated in Britain and Ireland hundreds of years ago, from giving out bread on All Souls’ Day during the devout Middle Ages (see John Mirk below).”

Soul Cake Recipe

Makes 14 large ‘cakes’
Recipe Ingredients:

340g plain flour (sifted)
170g sugar
170g butter (softened & diced)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp of white wine vinegar

Recipe Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C (400 degrees US) and grease 2 flat baking trays.

Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl – sifted flour, spices, and sugar. Rub in the diced butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the beaten egg and white wine vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon until a firm dough is made. Then cover it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Flour a working surface and roll out the dough to medium thick and using a large round pastry cutter cut into rounds, (optional: use a straight edge to press into, and then draw a [solar] cross shape, in the top of the dough). Place these rounds on the greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 200C (400 degrees) until slightly coloured. Serve warm or cold.”



Fourth – The Vegan Soul Cake (biscuit) version

400g Flour
55g Sugar
110g Butter
½ pint sack (use sherry well diluted in water)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of powdered cloves
Pinch of mace
25g Yeast
½ teaspoon saffron filaments


Pre-heat oven to 400°F., 200°C., gas mark 5. Put the saffron to steep in a little of the warmed sack, while you prepare the dough.

Modern fresh or dried yeast prefers its liquid warmed, so melt the butter in the rest of the sack and, as soon as it has cooled to blood heat, dissolve the yeast in some of it.

Mix together the flour, sugar and spices, work in both the saffron and yeast mixtures, and add as much more sack as you need to make a light firm, elastic dough. Leave it to rise, shape it into buns, range them on baking sheets and leave them to prove again in a warm place.

Bake for 20 minutes.”



Fourth – The Gluten free Vegan Soul Cake (biscuit) version

“The basic coconut flour shortbread is adapted from Eat the Cookie’s version.

Grain Free Gluten Free Soul Cakes
Makes 12-18 cakes, depending on thickness

Ingredients (shortbread):
1 3/4 cups sifted coconut flour (If you don’t have a sifter you can gently spoon/shake the flour into the measuring cup)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup room temperature butter (for dairy-free you could sub coconut oil here, making a total of 3/4 c. coconut oil)
1/4 cup soft coconut oil
1/2 cup palm sugar (or other natural sweetener of choice; add more if you’d like your cakes sweeter)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Note: You can adapt this with whatever trail mixy-items of dried fruit and nuts that you happen to have around.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a spray olive oil (or softened butter or coconut oil), lightly grease silicone baking cups. (In the U.S. a cupcake or muffin pan with or without muffin/cupcake foils).

Combine the flour, the salt, and the baking soda thoroughly in one small bowl – if necessary, use your fingertips to crush any clumps of coconut flour. In a separate larger bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and palm sugar together – and then mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the apple cider vinegar and the vanilla extract. Add the dry flour mix to the wet mix and combine thoroughly.

Press the dough into the greased silicone cups at desired thickness. Press a few slivers of almond and cacao nibs into the dough. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Once you pull the cups out of the oven, warm:

1 tbsp. butter (you could sub coconut oil)
1 tbps. heavy cream (you could sub coconut cream concentrate)
1 standard size bag bittersweet chocolate chips (go for quality)

…for 2 minutes and half power in the microwave. (You can also melt everything in a double boiler, though that may take a while longer.) Mix the ingredients with a spoon until the chocolate melts into a smooth ganache, and spread the chocolate over the shortbread in the silicone cups. Press some dried cranberries into the ganache.

Allow the shortbread and chocolate to cool.”
Soul cake songs:



“15. Soul-Cake Song
The words and music for the Soul-Cake song (which begins “A soul, a soul, a soul-cake!”) are available as Soul-Cake Song on Digital Tradition. This is the short version which is just sung repetitively. Another version with additional verses sung to the same tune is the Souling Song also at Digital Tradition. There are very pretty performances such as The Souling Song recorded by John Langstaff, on the Jackfish CD; and by the children’s chorus on A Child’s Christmas Revels CD. These two can be listened to on MySpace. Another good version is the Souling Song by the Watersons on the Frost and Fire CD which has the subtitle “A Calendar of Ritual and Magical Songs.” This has the sharp change in tempo which isn’t marked on the notated music.

There is another version of this song with better, more traditional words, published by Jon Raven (p. 23):

Soul! Soul! for an apple or two;
If you’ve got no apple, pears will do,
Soul! Soul! for your soul’s sake,
Pray good mistress, a Soul Cake!

An apple, or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Or any good thing to make us all merry.
St. Peter was a good old man,
And so for his sake, give us one.

None of your worst, but one of your best,
So God may send your souls to rest.
Up with your kettles, and down with your pans,
Give us a Soul Cake and we’ll be gone!

16. Antrobus Soulcakers Song
There is a second Soul Cake Song which begins “We are one, two, three hearty good lads….” This song was sung by the Antrobus Soulcakers and they were recorded by Alan Lomax or Peter Kennedy on the English Customs and Traditions CD, Vol. 9, Songs of Christmas. The lyrics to this Soul Cake Song are at the Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music website put together by Reinhard Zierke. This website gives lyrics to many traditional folk songs, and it’s well written. The notated music is available as the first song for the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play which follows next on this list. A version of the song has also been recorded recently by the Watersons on the Voices of Harmony: English Traditional Songs CD. The Antrobus Soulcaker’s Song is sung at the beginning of the Greenman Mummers Souling Play.

17. Souling Plays
There are entire plays for celebrating this festival written out. Back in the 1800’s the Soulers or Soul-Cakers were adults and they would go from house to house and perform Souling Plays, and these were written down by early collectors. People still perform them, some by tradition and some as a revival. Of course the grownups would ask for beer and money, not cookies; some don’t ask for anything. The practice of Souling is thought to bring good luck to all the houses that are visited. Souling Plays are usually distinguished from other folk plays by having a “Horse” which is actually a horse’s skull on a broom handle, manipulated by someone referred to as the “Driver” played by an actual human being. Usually the Driver speaks for the Horse, with a speech that introduces the Horse, here called “Dick”:

In comes Dick and all his men,
He’s come to see you once again.
Was once alive and now he’s dead,
And nothing but a poor old horse’s head!

Although this play is in English, the use of a horse in this context may show Celtic influence. Aside from the Horse and a Souling Song, Souling Plays include the same elements as most English folkplays: a fight between two famous warriors in which one is killed, and then revived by a Quack Doctor, with much silly slapstick humor and jokes. Souling Plays include the Guilden Sutton Play and the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play, named for the geographic areas of England where they were first collected by folklorists in the 1800 and 1900’s. There are many folk plays which for some reason the English refer to as Mummer’s plays. Many English folk plays, some with music, are given on the website:www.folkplay.info. This website gives the entire script for the Rudheath (Cheshire) Souling Play, including the words and music for the introductory Souling Song.

There are at least five Souling Plays performed on YouTube. My favorite is the Comberbach Souling Play with a really creepy horse. This has good clear words and it’s only about 10 minutes long.

18. Hop Tu Naa
Note that Naa is pronounced “nay”, rhymes with “pay” in English. This song is known from the Isle of Man and is sung in Manx Gaelic and in many versions in English. It is their customary song at this time of the year, sung as part of house to house visits by children. A very brief version of the song was recorded by Winifred Woods in 1965, with the words:

Hop Tu Naa, Hop Tu Naa!
Ginny the Witch went over the house
To get the sticks to lather them out!
Hop Tu Naa, Hop Tu Naa!

She gives more information with links to several videos on her Hop-Tu-Naa page, and the videos can be used to learn the songs. Another website gives many variations of Hop Tu Naa with the words in both Manx and English. The music for one version of the song is published in Bronwen Forbes’ book Make Merry in Dance and Song.”


Buttermilk Bread

“Buttermilk Bread Charm for Samhain.

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour

500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)

I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda

Samhain ribbon in black or purple.

A handful of rye flour

A scattering of oats

twig of rosemary for remembrance

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Our picture shows the bread scored five times to make a pentacle.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place the rosemary on top and tie it with Samhain ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying

“From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Samhain Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of completion and beginning. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.

The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, in this case rye flour. oats and rosemary, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..”


A list of seasonal recipes http://yeoldewitchesbrewmagazine.presspublisher.us/issue/samhain-2009/article/soul-cakes-and-other-traditional-samhain-recipes


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds (approx.)
2 TSP melted butter or oil (approx.)
Salt to taste
Optional: garlic powder; cayenne pepper; seasoned salt; Worcestershire Sauce; Cajun seasoning; or Hot Spice Mix (1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. chili powder)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and any optional ingredients of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Store airtight.

Option: If you roast them without any of the above optional flavorings, you can now flavor them Spicy-Sweet by doing this:

Heat a TBSP of peanut oil in a skillet, add 2 TBSP sugar, and the seeds. Cook the pumpkin seeds over medium high heat for about 1 minute or until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Place pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and sprinkle with this mixture: 3 TBSP sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.

From the English Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of “trick-or-treating.” Children would go about begging their neighbors for a “Soul Cake,” for which they would say a prayer for those neighbors’ dead. Instead of knocking on a door and saying “Trick-or-treat” (or the ugly “Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat”), children would say either:

A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake,
have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!


Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven’t an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.

While Soul Cakes were originally a type of shortbread, it is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cakes before frying them, thereby inventing donuts! Fresh plain cake donuts would be a nice food to eat on this day.

Cake Doughnuts (makes 20)

2 quarts canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 packet active dry yeast or 0.6 ounces cake yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
1 extra-large whole egg
2 extra-large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups nonmelting or confectioners’ sugar

1. Heat oil in a low-sided six-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 375°. Lightly dust a baking pan with all-purpose flour, and line a second one with paper towels; set both aside.

2. Meanwhile, place sour cream in a heat-proof bowl or top of a double boiler; set over a pan of simmering water. Heat until warm to the touch. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Make a large well; place yeast in center. Pour warm sour cream over yeast, and let sit 1 minute.

4. Place buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. Pour egg mixture over sour cream. Using a wooden spoon, gradually draw flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring until smooth before drawing in more flour. Continue until all flour mixture has been incorporated; dough will be very sticky.

5. Sift a heavy coat of flour onto a clean work surface. Turn out dough. Sift another heavy layer of flour over dough. Using your hands, pat dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts as close together as possible, dipping the cutter in flour before each cut. Transfer doughnuts to floured pan, and let rest 10 minutes, but not more.

6. Carefully transfer four doughnuts to hot oil. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over; continue cooking until evenly browned on both sides, about 2 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to lined pan. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

7. Gather remaining dough scraps into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes; pat into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Cut, let rest 10 minutes, and cook.

8. When cool enough to handle, sift non-melting sugar over tops; serve immediately. (Recipe from Martha Stewart).


Colcannon Recipes:



2 thoughts on “Feast of Simovane Foods

  1. I made the Irish version of the Soul Cakes…in fact, I am eating some of the leftovers as I write this, with a cup of hot caramel apple tea! 😊 Thanks for the many wonderful recipes and seasonal lore. Kathi+


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