Happy Solstice, and Wassail!

A Path in the Snow on the Winters Solstice

A Path in the Snow on the Win­ter’s Sol­stice

The snow is still com­ing down as I write this, at past mid­night. It has been snow­ing since mid-day and shows no sign of let­ting up. Pam and I decid­ed we would cel­e­brate both this unusu­al (for Van­cou­ver, any­way) weath­er, as well as the Win­ter Sol­stice (which I blogged about back on the 9th of this month) by going out into the weath­er, embrac­ing the white­ness that is envelop­ing our city.
We took a route that had been cit­ed in the Secret Lantern Soci­ety’s Win­ter Sol­stice Lantern Fes­ti­val web site, from the Lau­rel Street over­pass (that lets you go from 7th Avenue all the way down to the False Creek sea­wall). The scene was one of those mag­i­cal win­ter nights, when every­thing is trans­formed by the falling snow and Christ­mas lights:
David in the False Creek Snow

David in the False Creek Snow

Marina at False Creek With Seasonal Lighting

Mari­na at False Creek With Sea­son­al Light­ing

At the end of our walk, we end­ed up join­ing some of the oth­er Sol­stice Cel­e­brants on Granville Island. Here’s a video that I took of some of our trip. The Flip cam­era did a fair job with the dim light. I export­ed the video, con­vert­ed it to DV for­mat and edit­ed it in iMovie:

We returned home to a feast of roast chick­en (I had roast­ed it just before we left), mashed yams and cab­bage cooked with dou­ble-smoked sausage. We were hun­gry, and tired, but the food and a lit­tle red wine hit the spot.
The only thing we did­n’t have was actu­al Was­sail, but I did find a recipe online at The Acci­den­tal Hedo­nist:

Was­sail
2 pints and 1/4 cup brown ale (win­ter ale and scot­tish ale will also suf­fice)
3–4 cin­na­mon sticks
4 cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon
4 apples
1 1/2 cups brown sug­ar
1 cup port
1/2 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon
1/4 tea­spoon ground all spice
1/4 tea­spoon ground car­da­mon
1/2 tea­spoon ground gin­ger

Pre­heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large sauce pan, pour in 2 pints of ale. Add the cin­na­mon sticks, lemon zest and cloves and bring to a sim­mer over low heat.

Take an apple, and score it with a knife around the cir­cum­fer­ence of the apple. Place in a bak­ing dish. Repeat this step for all of the apples. Cov­er with one cup of brown sug­ar, 1/4 cup of ale, and all of the port. Cov­er bak­ing dish and place in oven, cook­ing for 30 min­utes.

While apples are bak­ing, place remain­ing sug­ar and spices into the sauce pan, ensur­ing it’s well mixed.

When apples are done bak­ing, place entire con­tents of bak­ing dish into sauce pan. Allow to cook over a low heat for anoth­er 30–40 min­utes.

Serve hot, one-two ladles into your favorite mug.

Serves 6–8

Here’s to the begin­ning of Win­ter, but at the same time, the start of the Earth­’s jour­ney back to longer days ahead of us.

3 Replies to “Happy Solstice, and Wassail!”

  1. Very good, David!

    JoJo and I opt­ed to stay inside last evening, as it was quite a “down­pour” of snow, eh?

    Very beau­ti­ful when the sun came up this morn­ing, how­ev­er .…

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