Breads are the perfect medium for working magic,' says Titania Hardie, 'as you can focus your thoughts of prosperity and harmony as you knead away. Damper bread, cooked in a flowerpot, is my own special favourite.
60g butter, plus more for greasing the pots
350g self-raising flour, plus more for the pots
1½ tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, including parsley and rosemary
100 ml milk
100 ml fl oz water
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and lightly grease the insides of 4 small new and spotlessly clean terracotta flowerpots with butter, then dust them with flour.
2. Sift together the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and then add the herbs. Punch a well in the centre of the mixture and add the milk and the water. Stir lightly, using a knife.
3. When the mixture leaves the edges of the bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured board or table. Knead it a little and, as you do, make your wishes and thoughts focus on prosperity, luck and thanks to the world around you.
4. Now divide the dough into four pieces and shape each into a ball. Put each loosely into one of the prepared flowerpots.
5. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, or until the bread just rises over the edge of the pot.
6. Serve the bread while still warm, buttered, with pumpkin soup or stew. As you break the bread with your friends, make a short wish - or toast - to prosperity for all.
Variation : Pumpkin damper is a wonderful variation specific to Halloween. Add 675g cooked and mashed pumpkin to the recipe after the butter and leave out the herbs. Reduce the milk/water mixture by half or as much as it takes to make a sticky dough; then knead and bake as above.
Prep time: 50 minutes