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November 11


Saint of the day:
Saint Martin of Tours

Patron Saint of the poor, soldiers, cavalry, conscientious objectors, tailors, winemakers,  against alcoholism, reformed alcoholics, equestrians, innkeepers, and the Pontifical Swiss Guard

 Quadragesima Sancti Martini “40 Days of St. Martin,” (Saint Martin's Lent): beginning of the pre-Christmas season.
This was a time when the Church practices fasting and abstinence from November 11 to the Feast of the Nativity.

Saint Martin of Tours’ Story

A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.

Born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary, and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army. Martin became a Christian catechumen and was baptized when he was 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander: “I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.” After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers.

He was ordained an exorcist and worked with great zeal against the Arians. Martin became a monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island. When Hilary was restored to his see following his exile, Martin returned to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers. He lived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside.

The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop. Martin was drawn to that city by a ruse—the need of a sick person—and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.

Along with Saint Ambrose, Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius’s principle of putting heretics to death—as well as the intrusion of the emperor into such matters. He prevailed upon the emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian. For his efforts, Martin was accused of the same heresy, and Priscillian was executed after all. Martin then pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of Priscillian’s followers in Spain. He still felt he could cooperate with Ithacius in other areas, but afterwards his conscience troubled him about this decision.

As death approached, Martin’s followers begged him not to leave them. He prayed, “Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done.”,_Tours




Perfect little book to read this

Veteran's Day Weekend




St Martin of Tours

(d. 397, Candes-Saint-Martin, France) (Relics: Tours, France)


Basilique Saint Martin

(Basilica of St Martin)

7 Rue Baleschoux

37000 Tours, France

*This church was recently rebuilt in 1924 to replace the ancient church that was destroyed during the French Revolution.

In the crypt of this church is a restored tomb of Saint Martin of Tours.




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Many countries celebrate Saint Martin's Day


St. Martin was known as friend of the children and patron of the poor. This holiday originated in France, then spread to the Low Countries, the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. It celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the end of the harvest. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours, who died in 490, ordered fasting three days a week from the day after Saint Martin's Day (11 November). In the 6th century, councils required fasting on all days except Saturdays and Sundays from Saint Martin's Day to Epiphany (the Feast of the Three Wise Men and the star, c.f. Matthew 2: 1-12) on January 6, a period of 56 days, but of 40 days fasting, like the fast of Lent. It was therefore called Quadragesima Sancti Martini (Saint Martin's Lent). 

This period of fasting was later shortened and called "Advent" by the Church.


The goose became a symbol of St. Martin of Tours because of a legend that when trying to avoid being ordained bishop he had hidden in a goose pen, where he was betrayed by the cackling of the geese. St. Martin's feast day falls in November, when geese are ready for killing. St. Martin’s Day was an important medieval autumn feast, and the custom of eating goose spread to Sweden from France. It was primarily observed by the craftsmen and noblemen of the towns. In the peasant community, not everyone could afford to eat goose, so many ate duck or hen instead.


Though no mention of Saint Martin's connection with viticulture is made by Gregory of Tours or other early hagiographers, he is nonetheless credited with a prominent role in spreading wine-making throughout the Touraine region and facilitating the planting of many vines. The Greek myth that Aristaeus first discovered the concept of pruning the vines after watching a goat eat some of the foliage has been appropriated to Martin. Martin is also credited with introducing the Chenin blanc grape varietal, from which most of the white wine of western Touraine and Anjou is made.

As with the word “Christmas”, the term Martinmas literally means "Mass of Martin", or the day when he is honored in the Mass. Martinmas, as a date on the calendar, has two meanings: in the agricultural calendar it marks the beginning of the natural winter, but in the economic calendar it is seen as the end of autumn.


The feast coincides not only with the end of the Octave of All Saints, but with harvest-time, the time when newly produced wine is ready for drinking, and the end of winter preparations, including the butchering of animals. (An old English saying is "His Martinmas will come as it does to every hog," meaning "he will get his comeuppance" or "everyone must die".) Because of this, St. Martin's Feast is much like the American Thanksgiving - a celebration of the earth's bounty. Because it also comes before the penitential season of Advent, it is seen as a mini "carnivale", with all the feasting and bonfires.


As at Michaelmas on 29 September, goose is eaten in most places. Following these holidays, women traditionally moved their work indoors for the winter, while men would proceed to work in the forests.

In some countries, Martinmas celebrations begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month (that is, at 11:11 am on November 11). In others, the festivities commence on St. Martin's Eve (that is, on November 10). Bonfires are built and children carry lanterns in the streets after dark, singing songs for which they are rewarded with candy.

Austria: is celebrated the same way as in Germany
Belgium: Bonfires, songs, lanterns and pancakes!
Croatia, Slovenia: they christen their wine
Slovakia: They throw a birthday party for Saint Martin....If Saint Martin rides in on either a white or dark horse on this day of celebration will determine if there will be snow on Christmas! A white horse will bring snow on Christmas.

Czech Republic:  "Martin is coming on a white horse" which signifies the start of the snow season.
Denmark: They eat Duck for dinner!
Estonia: On this day children disguise themselves as men and go from door to door, singing songs and telling jokes to receive sweets. Old Halloween!
France: Started this celebration! In France horse shows are fun to go to on this day.

Great Britain: They eat beef and believe, "St. Martin's Summer," there was a brief warm spell around the time of St. Martin's Day (like an Indian Summer)
Ireland: They sacrifice a cock by bleeding it. The blood was collected and sprinkled on the four corners of the house. Also in Ireland, no wheel of any kind was to turn on St. Martin's Day, because Martin was thrown into a mill stream and killed by the wheel and so it was not right to turn any kind of wheel on that day.

Italy: Potato gnocchi with is wine season so enjoy the tasting of the new wines!

Sicily: Sicilians eat anise biscuits washed down with wine like Moscato, Malvasia or Passito. 
Latvia: celebrated on November 10, marking the end of the preparations for winter: salting meat and fish, storing the harvest & making preserves. 
Malta: Children are given a "St. Martin's bag" which is filled with fruit and nuts.
Netherlandspoor people visit farms on the 11th to get food for the winter. This day is also celebrated much like Halloween.
Poland: they eat St. Martin Croissants (Rogale) a horseshoe-shaped cookie filled with almond paste with white poppy seeds

Portugal: They drink "foot water" which is fresh wine and roast chestnuts on the Saint Martin's fire.
Spain: is the traditional day for slaughtering fattened pigs for the winter. "Every pig gets its St Martin."
Saint Maarten / Saint Martin: it is a public holiday
Sweden: It is goose season so they eat a proper goose dinner and an apple charlotte for dessert.
Switzerland: They eat pig and plum liquor called Damassine

In Germany!!!
Martinsfeuer: or the German for Martin's fire.... bonfires are everything! Symbolizing the light that holiness brings to the darkness, just as St. Martin brought hope to the poor through his good deeds. 


Processions that accompany the fires have been spread over almost a fortnight before Martinmas. At one time, the Rhine River valley would be lined with fires on the eve of Martinmas. In the Rhineland region, Martin's day is celebrated traditionally with a get-together during which a roasted suckling pig is shared with the neighbors.

In Rhineland or Bergisches Land a separate procession the children also go from house to house with their lanterns, sing songs and get candy in return.

Children make paper lanterns to celebrate this day!

The nights before and on the night of Nov. 11, children walk in processions carrying lanterns, which they made in school, and sing Martin songs. Usually, the walk starts at a church and goes to a public square. A man on horseback dressed like St. Martin accompanies the children. When they reach the square, Martin’s bonfire is lit and Martin’s pretzels are distributed.

The tradition of the St. Martin’s goose or "Martinsgans", which is typically served on the evening of St. Martin’s feast day following the procession of lanterns, most likely evolved from the well-known legend of St. Martin and the geese. "Martinsgans" is usually served in restaurants, roasted, with red cabbage and dumplings.

In some regions of Germany, the traditional sweet of Martinmas is "Martinshörnchen", a pastry shaped in the form of a croissant, which recalls both the hooves of St. Martin's horse and, by being the half of a pretzel, the parting of his mantle. In parts of western Germany these pastries are instead shaped like men (Stutenkerl or Weckmänner).

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Most people in the U.S. will not have goose or duck on this day but chicken would be an easy replacement

French-Style Beer Chicken & Potatoes


  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp of dried thyme

  • 1/2 tsp of salt

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 chicken thigh cutlets (with skin)

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 brown onion, sliced

  • 2 shallots

  • 1 cup dry white wine or beer 

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • 3 carrots, cut into thick batons

  • 1 pund baby red delight potatoes, halved

  • 1/2 pound of Paris mushrooms (optional)

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (see note)

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to serve

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 tsp parsley or chervil


  1. Make condensed chicken soup: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Stir to create a paste or a blonde roux. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk until mixture forms a smooth and thick paste. Gradually whisk in stock, and dried spices until mixture is smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool 10 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350F fan-forced.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy-based flameproof ovenproof dish over high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down. Cook for 3 minutes or until skin is light golden. Turn. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  4. Carefully drain any excess fat from dish. Return to heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine. Simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add Condensed Chicken Soup, ½ cup of water, stock, mustard and sugar. Stir to dissolve mustard. Add carrot, potato, rosemary, bay leaves and thyme. Stir to combine.

  5. Return chicken to pan. Cover. Transfer to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until chicken is dark brown and cooked through. Stand 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with extra thyme.


Tours Nougat Cake
(nougat de Tours, Central Loire Valley region)
This speciality from the town of Tours is not actually nougat,

but a cake filled with fruit and a type of almond meringue

called macaronade (macaron mixture).


  • 375g sweet short crust pastry 

  • 60 g apricot jam

  • 150 g glacé fruits, sliced

  • 80 g (⅔ cup) almond meal

  • 75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

  • powder sugar, to dust


  1. You will need a 20 cm fluted tart pan with removable base for this dish.

  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 2 mm thick, then use to line a 20 cm fluted tart pan with removable base, trimming excess. Spread base with apricot jam and cover with glacé fruits.

  3. Sift almond meal and caster sugar into a bowl, mixing to combine. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks, then gently fold into almond and sugar mixture. Spread mixture over glacé fruits, finishing just short of pastry edges and smoothing surface.

  4. Generously dust over icing sugar, then bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is just set. Cool in pan before removing. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Old-Fashioned Sweet Shortcrust Pastry


  • 500 g organic plain flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 100 g powder sugar, sifted

  • 250 g good-quality butter, cut into small cubes

  • 1 zest of a lemon

  • 2 large, beaten

  • 1 splash milk


  1. This pastry is perfect for making apple and other sweet pies. Even if you’ve never made pastry before, as long as you stick to the correct measurements for the ingredients and you follow the method exactly, you’ll be laughing. The one place where you can experiment is with flavoring. If you don’t fancy using lemon zest, try another dry ingredient like orange zest instead. Or a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder. Vanilla seeds are great too. Just remember to be subtle and don’t go overboard with any of these flavors!

  2. Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter. A good tip is to hold your hands under cold running water beforehand to make them as cold as possible. That way you’ll end up with a delicate, flaky pastry every time.

  3. Sieve the flour from a height on to a clean work surface and sieve the icing sugar over the top. Using your hands, work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar by rubbing your thumbs against your fingers until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. This is the point where you can spike the mixture with interesting flavors, so mix in your lemon zest.

  4. Add the eggs and milk to the mixture and gently work it together till you have a ball of dough. Flour it lightly. Don’t work the pastry too much at this stage or it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short. Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Pat it into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap it in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

St. Martin croissants: Rogale świętomarcińskie
(This recipe was translated from polish)

recipe for about 12 right size croissant 

St. Martin Croissants: Legend has it this centuries-old tradition commemorates a Polish baker's dream. His nighttime reveries had St. Martin entering the city on a white horse that lost its golden horseshoe. The very next morning, the baker whipped up horseshoe-shaped croissants filled with almonds, white poppy seeds and nuts, and gave them to the poor. In recent years, competition amongst local bakeries has become fierce for producing the best "Rogale," and very often bakeries proudly display a certificate of compliance with authentic, traditional recipes. Poznanians celebrate with a feast, specially organised by the city. There are different concerts, a St. Martin's parade and a fireworks show.

Dough - 

  • 500 g flour, 

  • 10 g fresh yeast, 

  • 60 g sugar, 

  • 3 tablespoons butter, 

  • 1 glass of milk, 

  • 1 whole egg, 

  • 1 egg yolk, 

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 

  • 200 g cold butter in addition - to rolling 

Filling - 

  • 500 g white poppy, 

  • 100 g sugar, 

  • 125 g real honey, 

  • 40 g butter, 

  • 50 g sultana raisins, 

  • 50 g almonds, 

  • 3 longitudinal, crushed biscuits, 

  • 1 tablespoon of candied orange peel, 

  • 1 egg, 

  • 1 tablespoon of thick cream 

  • several drops of almond oil 


Icing - 

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar,

  • 2-3 tablespoons hot water, 

  • chopped almonds for sprinkling in 

Addition - 

  • 1 egg, 

2 tablespoons of milk



  1. The day before we prepare the dough (preferably in the late afternoon or evening) - mix the yeast with a tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons of heated milk. Leave to rise for about 15 minutes. 

  2. Mix the egg and yolk with sugar into fluffy cream. Add the yeast solution. Sift the flour and mix with salt. 3 tablespoons of butter melt in warm milk.

  3. Add the flour to the egg-yeast mixture and knead the dough, gradually adding milk and butter. Make a smooth, flexible dough, but do not knead too long, so that the dough does not heat up too much. Form a flat rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and cool the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

  4. Roll out the dough, keeping the shape of the rectangle. Cut the remaining cold butter into thin slices and cover the entire surface of the dough. Cut the short side of the rectangle inside in 1/3 of the surface and cover it with the opposite side, like a 3-sheet paper. Fold the dough so once again into a large rectangle and fold it again in the same way. Wrap in plastic and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. Rolling, folding and cooling the dough repeated three times. After the last rolling, fold the dough, wrap it tightly in foil and leave in the fridge (preferably in the coldest part of it (but not in the freezer!), So that it grows as slowly as possible for the whole night.

  5. In the intervals between rolling, prepare the filling - blanch white poppy seeds/flour, pour boiling water on it and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Soak and squeeze the excess water thoroughly (preferably by a cotton cloth). Mix the poppy three times. 

  6. Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan until sugar dissolves completely. Add ground poppy flour and fry everything, stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the scalded raisins, very finely chopped almonds (they can also be ground) and the orange peel, mix everything and cool. 

  7. Mix the cold mass of poppy seed with a boiled egg, cream and biscuits. Finally, add almond oil. Put the finished mass into a bowl, cover and store in a refrigerator.

  8. The next day, remove the chilled dough from the fridge about 20 minutes before the intended formation of the croissants. On the slightly sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm. Cut into 12 triangles. For each to impose a filling - there must be a lot of it, so that all the prepared poppy seed mass is used. Cut each base of the triangle lightly in the middle and roll up the croissants. Formed croissants put on a baking tray, lined with baking paper, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for about an hour (they must almost double their volume - if the dough is growing quickly, you need to shorten the time of growing). Spread the topped croissants with a broken egg with milk. 

  9. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake the croissants for about 20-25 minutes until they come out nicely brown.

  10. Sift the powdered sugar with hot water (add it gradually and check the consistency) to the frosting and make the hot croissants still iced, each sprinkling on top with chopped almonds.




All Souls - Martinmas - Advent - Christmas!

 Marks the end of the period of All Souls Feast
Martinmas: Starts the period of the "40 days of Saint Martin" or Martinmas Lent
Martinmas Lent: Lasts until Christmas the birth of the Lord which leads into the Epiphany

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