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:
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:
2 pints and 1/4 cup brown ale (winter ale and scottish ale will also suffice)
3–4 cinnamon sticks
Zest from 1/2 lemon
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.
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.