In the run up to Christmas Day I am going to share some of my memories of this time of year, some favourite food and drinks, plus some music you might enjoy. I have taken snippets from 2016 and 2018 to share with you.
On the Christmas before we left for Cape Town, I was aged nine and in a bit of a quandary. I had searched the house top to bottom looking for my Christmas presents including the in the basement which was officially out of bounds, unless I was with my sister listening to her record player which had been banished from my father’s earshot.
I had found my five year old brother’s present, which I have to say being a tomboy, I was more than envious of. It was a red cowboy hat, waistcoat and holster with a silver six shooter… I knew who the weakest link in the family was and I applied pressure daily to find out what my gift was… Eventually the week before the big day he partially cracked and announced heatedly that it had ‘four wheels and you pushed it’.
You will probably gather that a dolly pram was not exactly what I had in mind. But I was a properly brought up child, and whilst I was more excited by the books that I received, I showed appropriate gratitude for said pram, which held a blonde haired replica of what my mother considered to be the perfect child……
It took me 24 hours, but I was was wearing the holster, gun and cowboy hat which I borrowed from the end of my brother’s bed while he slept. Sadly…. when we left a few months later for South Africa the pram had to be left behind and of course by the time we got back two years later I was a teenager and it was gifted to another.
Time for a little music and here is Bing Crosby with the classic I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
The Third Day of Christmas
We are now on Day three and in the traditional 12 days this would be 27th December and celebrates the life of St John the Apostle. John and his brother James were disciples of Jesus and John is probably the only one of the apostles who did not suffer a martyr’s death. He lived a relatively long life and is attributed as the author of several books in the New Testament.
The origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas will probably never really be clarified as several people lay claim to it. France is the likely suspect but it has been sung in various formats since about 1780 in England. I suspect that modern day pop stars would be delighted to have their songs still being chanted 240 years later.
As far as the song is concerned according to folklore the Three French Hens probably refer to a variety of chicken from France. There are a number breeds of chicken associated with France particular around the time of the origins of the song. These were the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. I also suspect that the elite of the day thought that using the term French Hen sounded more upmarket than chicken!
Cranberries have long been associated with Christmas and as well as Cranberry sauce, they can be used to create wonderful starters. As always Carol Taylor has some amazing recipes to share for this fruit and these Camembert puffs are delicious.
Delicious recipes including one for Camembert Puffs Cranberry Recipes by Carol Taylor
Time for a carol and one of the favourites of mine as a child sung by another great artist – Nat King Cole
You cannot leave the party without enjoying a festive drink… or two
Mulled wine is not the invention of early Christmas revellers as the Romans were heating red wine a long time before and no doubt other pagan cultures too. After all it is a delightful drink. They even spiced it up and it was the invading Roman soldiers who took it through Europe and into Britain and like their long straight roads that still exist today, they left behind their recipes for us to enjoy.
It has various levels of sobriety from non-alcoholic through to lethal. Concoctions abound with port and spirits being added liberally. Apart from Christmas, it is also drunk extensively in ski resorts and there is usually a mobile aid station at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day. I do not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour, but would of course force myself to await my husband after his black runs for an hour or so, fortified with a couple of mugs of warmed wine.
In the Scandinavian countries and the Alps it is usually referred to as Glögg, or Gløgg the accent differing from place to place and dependent on inebriation.
Here is a lovely recipe that should be delightful on cold nights leading up to Christmas: Hot Mulled Wine
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the post, as always I would love to hear from you.. thanks Sally.