Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is the traditional way to welcome the New Year in Spain. The grapes are considered lucky las doce uvas de la suerte (“the 12 lucky grapes”). They are eaten one at a time with each of the twelve chimes of midnight. Clock face on Big Ben Spaniards listen to the bells on the clock tower of the 18th-century Real Casa de Correos in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol. UK New Years Eve celebrations centre around the bells of Big Ben above the Houses of Parliament in London. Buying Red Underwear for New Years Eve Each grape represents one of the twelve months to follow and the superstitious Spanish believe that you need to wear a piece of red underwear given to you by someone else while eating them to guarantee good luck. Along with the underwear you need to have swallowed all twelve grapes by the final toll of the bell. Various strategies are suggested to make the grape swallowing easier and quicker: Get small green seedless grapesTry not to laugh (not easy)Concentrate on the bongs, you have about 2 seconds for each grapeGet hold of some authentic Spanish tinned seedless peeled grapes.Line up the grapes and pop them in, in tune with the bongsHalve the grapes beforehand (good for children) By the way, stuffing them all in your mouth at once or starting before the first bong is cheating and you may suffer the consequences. Tins 0f 12 Seedless Peeled Grapes If you can down the grapes while under the influence of alcohol, without descending into fits of giggles, and without gagging while all the time wearing the requisite red undergarment then you deserve the good luck they will bring.
Apple and rhubarb crumble is both sweet and tart and very satisfying. There is nothing better than a homemade crumble served with lashings of hot custard to finish off Sunday dinner. Crumble History Replacing pastry, crumbles were first made during world war II because of rationing. Conversely, rhubarb was unpopular because sugar was rationed. To Ginger or Not? Anyway, the history lesson over, the pairing in apple and rhubarb crumble works really well. For a touch of the exotic, add a spoonful of ginger preserve to the cooked fruit for a zingy lift. You will see ginger in both the fruit and the topping, but leave it out if you are not a fan. I most definitely am a fan, but my wife, aka Nanny, is not. This results in an interesting dilemma which I usually lose. All the supermarkets sell their own brand ginger preserve, but I like the one made by Wilkin and Sons. Choice of Apples Additionally, I know they are not cooking apples, but I really like using Pink Lady apples in my cooking. They have a slight zing and fizz on the tongue, and something of this transfers when cooked. The recipe uses Bramley or Granny Smith apples, classic cookers but try the Pink Lady’s and see what you think? Also, apples and rhubarb make a fantastic sauce for pork, instead of just plain apple. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised. Recipe – Apple and Rhubarb Crumble Apple and Rhubarb Crumble Use up any glut of rhubarb with an easy to make crumble. 450 g rhubarb (cut into 3cm slices)350 g apples (Bramley or Granny Smith work well, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks)1 vanilla pod (split open or 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract)120 g golden caster sugar1 tbsp ginger preserve (optional)For the topping:200 g plain flour1 tsp ground ginger (optional)100 g cold salted butter (chopped)70 g light soft brown sugarTo serve:ice cream or custard (to serve) Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.Toss the rhubarb, apples, vanilla and sugar together in an ovenproof dish and roast for 10 mins. Gently stir in the ginger preserve if using.Mix the flour and ginger, if using, together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips to create a chunky breadcrumb textured mixture. Stir through the sugar. Sprinkle the crumble topping onto the fruit and cook for a further 30-35 mins or until the topping is lightly golden brown. Serve with ice cream, custard or creme fraiche. DessertBritish goodto.com
An easy apple sauce needing just four ingredients which goes great with pork or duck. Bramley apples are best for cooking and are widely available. Apple Sauce An easy apple sauce needing just four ingredients! 3 Bramley apples (peeled, cored and sliced)50 g Caster sugar50 g Butter¼ tsp Ground sweet cinnamon Put all the ingredients into a pan, cover, and cook gently over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples break down.Stir to remove any lumps and serve. It’s fine to use any apples but cooking apples like Bramley work best. I sometimes use a potato masher to pulp the cooked apples into a puree. Side DishBritish
scomber scombrus Atlantic mackerel is easily recognized by its blue/green tiger-like back stripes. It has an average length of about 30 – 40 cm, although it can grow up to 70 cm. Mackerel is a fast swimmer and needs to be in constant motion in order not to sink, as it doesn’t have a swim bladder. Atlantic mackerel is a predatory fish that feeds on krill, crustaceans, small fish and is even prone to cannibalism. It is a migratory fish. It spawns just east of the Irish coast during spring then migrates north-west towards Iceland in the early summer. In late summer to early fall it moves eastward towards Norway. From fall to winter the it travels south along the Norwegian coast to the North Sea. During the winter it heads back west to the Irish coast for spawning. Consequently, Atlantic mackerel is always close to the Faroe Islands during its annual migration. A female mackerel can spawn up to 450.000 eggs in a single spawning season. The hatching time depends on sea temperature. Most Atlantic mackerel spawn in temperate waters at about 9 – 12 °C. At this temperature hatching usually takes about a week. The newly hatched larvae are incapable of swimming, instead, they drift with the pelagic current for a month. Then enters the post-larval stage. At night the young mackerel go to the surface to feed, during the day they descend deeper into the ocean to avoid natural predators. After approx. 40 days the Atlantic mackerel has grown to about 5 cm in length. At this stage, the young mackerel as taken on the distinct mackerel shape and colors, and they join other mackerel in the annual migration. Atlantic mackerel reaches sexual maturity at 2 years of age and can live up to 17 years. Credits: Marine Stewardship Council – Mackerel 2019Wikipedia – MackerelVardin SeafoodsDownsizer
Bacon and onion roly-poly pudding is a classic British family favourite from the 1960s. I have very fond memories of my grandmothers cooking. She was a very traditional cook and my childhood dinners were good old British standards like shepherds or cottage pies and suet puddings like this one or steak and kidney. I think that her choices were influenced by wartime rationing which only stopped in the UK in 1955. The need to provide filling, substantial meals with limited ingredients means using what is available. Children who cleared their plate would get dessert (aka pudding), confusing I know! Granny’s apple crumbles with lashings of hot custard were legendary. Anyhow, let’s get back to the roly-poly pudding! The bacon pudding is made with suet pastry, bacon and onions and then rolled up like a Swiss roll (think suet dumpling with a bacon and onion filling) and steamed for about 2 and a half hours. Laid out pudding before rolling up ©recipesfromacornishkitchen Really easy to make and only simply seasoned, give it a try. I seem to remember my Granny making it using leftover boiled bacon. The meat was definitely in chunks rather than thin strips. The next time we have boiled bacon, mash and cabbage (my wife’s Irish so it’s only a matter of time), I will try it and let you know. Irish bacon mash and cabbage This is a real tummy filler. Serve it up sliced with new potatoes, peas and gravy for a nostalgic treat! Liver Bacon & OnionsGrandads Onion GravyIrish Black and White PuddingMorcilla: The Spanish Black PuddingBangers and Mash Bacon and Onion Roly Poly The classic 1960's suet and bacon pudding like Granny used to make. 220 g Self-raising flour120 g Suet (Atora)180 ml WaterSalt (a couple of pinches)6 rashers Back bacon (smoked, trimmed of fat)1 Onion (medium)White pepper Slice the onion thinly and cut the bacon into bite size pieces.Put the flour, suet and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the water and stir to mix well.On a floured worktop, roll the pastry into an oblong to about 1 cm thickness.Put the bacon and onion over the pastry and sprinkle with a little white pepper and roll up like a Swiss roll.Now flour a clean muslin cloth and put the pudding on the cloth and roll it up like a Swiss roll.Tie both ends with string and place it into a steamer basket.Cover and steam for 2 and a half hours taking care that the water doesn’t boil dry.Slice the pudding and serve with potatoes, peas and gravy. Main CourseBritish recipesfromacornishkitchenaglugofoil.com