thirteenfridays: Hen Galan, Radios, Opera & Bernard

Friday January 13 2017

The first Friday 13th of 2017 and we decided to combine three celebrations into one to celebrate in fine thirteenfridays style.

We started the evening by setting up a radio experiment to commemorate the first public radio broadcast made on January 13th 1910 and at the same time pay homage to Jacob’s Grandad Bernard Jones, born on January 13th 1914, an inventor and pythagorean, interested in using technology to communicate with the other side. Bernard was one of the inspirations for setting up the Absent but not Forgotten project back in 2010, so we wanted to send him birthday greetings across the great divide.
Bernard was interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) so we set up a detuned radio to play white noise into a Latitude 150 walkie-talkie (446.00625-446.04375 MHz)) while a Sennheiser EW100 wireless microphone kit (830-866MHz) picked up the noise at the other end of the walkie-talkie and sent the noise to a reciever where an Ipad webcast live to youtube. Bernard would undoubtedly have enjoyed the new technologies we could bring to the experiment.
Using 2 radio frequency transmitters and receivers potentially increases the chances of paranormal communication…the experiment ran while we dined in the adjacent room, the result is below. The intermittant transmission is the result of the frighteningly poor upload speeds in rural west Wales rather than any spooky goings-on we fear!

During our thirteenfridays meal we listened to the opera Cavalleria Rusticana which is cited as the first public radio broadcast in 1910 and included this song by Enrico Caruso. Not natural consumers of opera we were feeling quite high brow,  but it must be said that not all our guests appreciated the cultural adjustment (you know who you are…).

Hen Galan is the Welsh New Year or the old new year as it was before the calendar change of 1752. Still observed in the Gwaun Valley not far away, our thirteenfridays menu took a Welsh turn in celebration.

Rarebit.jpg
Worrying Welsh Rarebit – 13 slices of local Bara Menyn 5 seed bread topped with classic Welsh rarebit made with Welsh cheddar and served with a foraged garnish of 13 pennywort leaves and 13 wild sorrel leaves.

fishpi
Pastai Bysgod Peryglus – Welsh fish pie made with 13 ingredients – Cod, Smoked Salmon, Mussels, Potatoes, Leeks, Fish Stock, Parsley, Bayleaf, Dill, Flour, Butter, Egg, Pepper.  Served with 13 New Potatoes, 13 Purple sprouting Broccoli and 13 Kalettes.

welsh-cakes
13 Twisted Welsh Cakes – 13 crushed cardamom pods and dried cranberries providing the twist on the classic.

Bernard’s birthday cake was a Lemon Drizzle with 13 drizzle holes and 13 candles. In memory of the stories by Liz Whittaker about a strange series of events on another of Bernard’s birthdays some years ago, we had a helium balloon and phone at the table throughout the meal…

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thirteenfridays – Lemuria special

The ancient Roman festival of Lemuria is thought to be a pre-christian antecedent of All Saints Day.  Taking place from May 11th to 13th, feasts and rituals took place  ‘…to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were propitiated with offerings of beans.’ (read more)
MackerelOatcakes
13 Homemade Oatcakes with Manes Mackerel Pate, served with a 13 ingredient seasonal salad – Red cos, Green Batavia, Spinach, Rocket, Little Gem lettuce, Wild Sorrel, Pennywort, Jack in the Hedge, Wild Garlic & Violets dressed with Mustard, Honey, & Olive oil.

BeanPot
Bellona’s Bean Stew, a 13 ingredient stew with Black Turtle beans, Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Stock, Onion, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Carrots, Celery, Chilli, Olive oil.

PearPudding
13 ingredient Plutonian Pear Pudding – Passum, Honey, Hazelnuts, Plain flour, Caster sugar, Butter, Baking powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Eggs, Vanilla, Dark chocolate, Cream, Milk.

So having dined on oatmeal cakes (a nod to the Vestals’ ‘Mola salsa’,) Passum poached pear pudding (passum was a sweet raisin wine with honey), garnishes of wild violet flowers and more honey we continued the evening with a short and effective ritual –

Ovid notes that at this festival it was the custom to appease or expel the evil spirits by walking barefoot and throwing black beans over the shoulder at night. It was the head of the household who was responsible for getting up at midnight and walking around the house with bare feet throwing out black beans and repeating the incantation, “I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine” (Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis.) nine times. The household would then clash bronze pots while repeating, “Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!” nine times.’

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Thirteenfridays: The Last Gallery

tabledarkTo celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.

Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.

We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.

We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.

We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.

antichristi1The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.

2015-11-13 21.10.05The main course was a thirteen dish buffet of vegetarian and fish dishes:

main

13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper

13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato

13 chilli lime prawn kebabs

13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves

13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties

13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard,         black pepper

13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado

13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter

13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper

13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa

13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley,  cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds

13 couscous stuffed peppers

13 pieces of rosemary focaccia

During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films

inside

Our evening spectacular were the 13 desserts all made by ‘Queen of Cakes’ Kirsten Hinks – a truly amazing spread introduced by the ‘Omen’ soundtrack from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Roger (one of our guests) commented:

“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”

dessertgroup

 

The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.

outside

Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.

thirteenfridays: Elaphebolion Special – A Ghoulish Greek Feast

PsarosoupaParanormal Psarosoupa – Greek style fish soup with 13 ingredients (Potato, Carrot, Leek, Celery, Red onion, Cod, River cobbler, Water, Olive oil, Parsley, Lemon, Peppercorns, Salt)

13 Meze13Meze113 Mythical Meze platter – Hummus, Tzatziki, Thyme infused mushrooms, Dolmades, Tabouleh, Pitta, Cummin roast carrots, Cauliflower & Halloumi salad, Greek beans, Kalamata olives, Feta stuffed green olives, Grilled aubergine with lemon & thyme,
Taramasalata

Baklava13 Bedazzling Baklava

CakeAs a nod to the traditional offering to the goddess Artemis during the month of Elaphebolion we also had 13 slices of Haunting Honey Cake.

thirteenfridays – Lupercalia special

A meal for Friday 13th of February.
Apparently our modern St Valentines day has its roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia and the start of Parentalia. For this thirteenfridays meal we combined modern and ancient Italian dishes, packed with aphrodisiac ingredients to stimulate and arouse the spirits!

Spooky Scallops
Spooky Scallops served on 13 Oatmeal cakes with a Roman cumin sauce for shellfish. Salt meal cakes were apparently prepared by the vestal virgins to burn as offerings on Lupercalia.

Lupercalian Lasagne
13 ingredient Lupercalian Lasagne (onion, leek, carrot, squash, pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, bay leaf, vegetable stock, white sauce & cheese), a classic modern Italian dish with an ancient roman vegetable twist.  This was served with a 13 ingredient Warm Aphrodisiac Rocket Salad (rocket, 13 baby plum tomatoes, pine nuts, capers, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onion,  garlic, brown sugar, dijon mustard, 13 chopped green olives,  salt & pepper).

Violent Violet Truffles
13 Violently Violet Truffles – Violets and flower garlands were (according to Ovid) laid as sacred offerings at family tombs during Parentalia.

Frightening Fig Cake
Frightening 13 Fig Cake (13 ingredients – Flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, milk, sugar, rosemary, orange zest, butter, olive oil, eggs, honey, fresh figs).  Figs are a staple of aphrodisiac cooking and we all know how the romans loved a fig!

Rose Petal Wine

All accompanied by a Roman favourite – Rose Petal Wine!

13 aphrodisiac ingredients – Scallops, Mint (cumin sauce), Basil, Tomatoes, Rocket, Pine Nuts, Honey, Figs, Rosemary, Vanilla, Chocolate,  Violets, Rose Petals.

thirteenfridays

thirteenfridays

What’s in a number?
There seems to be a general consensus that both 13 and friday are individually unlucky so together they become disastrous! this article might explain some of the origins of our fears!

Several stories revolve around food and meals so to celebrate the two Friday 13ths in 2013 (13 weeks apart) we are created 13 meals over 13 weeks each involving the number 13.

The work was documented here from September to December 2013.