Witches’ Brew


A concoction of strange, powerful or terrifying ingredients from toads and newts to bats and snakes, this brew consists of anything you fancy. Needless to say, quantities are variable, depending on what you can catch. Given the ingredients, witches were apparently excellent cooks unless they cheated and cast a spell over the cauldron at the end to make it taste good.

The following recipe I can guarantee as tasty and measurement free. It’s one of those perfect recipes where you toss in whatever you have in the fridge, while muttering incantations of course. Take a big cauldron, put on fire, and in it heat a generous amount of dark green extra-virgin olive oil. Drop a chopped onion into the oil (garlic too, if you like) and stir with a large wooden spoon, trying to keep your long grey hair out of the pot. Add the meat of your choice, stirring till brown. Use one pound of finely sliced beef, pork or veal if you don’t want to go to the nearest swamp and catch critters. Mild Italian sausages, sliced once they are partially cooked, make a tasty stew.

Spells and magic help with the rest of the ingredients, together with your imagination. Don’t forget to add a glass of red wine if you are partial to it. Add a can of tomatoes, a couple of carrots, peeled and sliced, cubed potatoes or pasta, green beans, zucchini or whatever vegetables you have on hand. A spoonful of tomato puree will increase the tomato flavour but is optional. Add water to thin or olive oil to thicken and enrich the mixture. Simmer to reduce the juices.

Sprinkle in salt and pepper, a teaspoonful of oregano or Italian herbs, and chopped fresh parsley. All good witches have a herb garden. As a good witch, you will naturally charge the herbs before you put them in the pot. Hold them in your hands and visualize their energy mingling with yours. Pinch them to release their scent and to perceive their vibrational energy. Remember that parsley stands for purification and protection and will ensure a stress-free environment at dinner. Pepper drives out negative energy as well as protects. If pepper makes you sneeze it means it’s driving out demons, a very useful quality. Sage is for wisdom and, like thyme, aids psychic awareness and promotes long life. Thyme and basil are vital in love spells. Oregano is connected to Venus and promotes happiness and tranquillity, gives good luck, health and protection. You will realize at this point that the herbs you choose to add to the dish are of crucial importance in creating the right atmosphere for your evening, if not the rest of the week.

Serve in a bowl with fresh French bread for dipping, and a glass of hearty red wine. When the children come knocking at the door, you will be well fortified, never mind tranquil, happy, and protected from demons. Don’t forget to give a dish to your familiar – the black cat – or the evening could still go awry.