A mince pie is a sweet pie of English origin, filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called “mincemeat”, that is traditionally served during the Christmas season in much of the English-speaking world.
Rossella and Nonna Romana are making some delicious Pumpkin Gnocchi, perfect for the Fall Holidays!
How to make traditional English teacakes, easy step by step instructions from start to finish.
During the Middle Ages, thin slabs of coarse bread called “trenches” (late 15th century English) or, in its French derivative, “trenchers“, were used as plates. At the end of the meal, the food-soaked trencher was eaten by the diner (from which we get the expression “trencherman”), or perhaps fed to a dog or saved for beggars. Trenchers were as much the harbingers of open-face sandwiches as they were of disposable crockery.
A direct precursor to the English sandwich may be found in the Netherlands of the 17th century, where the naturalist John Ray observed that in the taverns beef hung from the rafters “which they cut into thin slices and eat with bread and butter laying the slices upon the butter”. These explanatory specifications reveal the Dutch belegd broodje, open-faced sandwich, was as yet unfamiliar in England.
In the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Australia, and New Zealand and most of the former British Empire, they are often called ginger nuts. Ginger nuts are not to be confused with pepper nuts, which are a variety of gingerbread, somewhat smaller in diameter, but thicker. McVitie’s ginger nuts was listed as the tenth most popular biscuit in the UK to “dunk” into tea.
Ginger nuts are the most popular biscuit in New Zealand, normally attributed to its tough texture which can withstand dunking into liquid. Leading biscuit manufacturer Griffin’s estimates 60 million of them are produced each year. This has become the title of a book, 60 Million Gingernuts, a chronicle of New Zealand records.
Scandinavian ginger nuts, also called ginger bread or “brunkage” in Danish (literally meaning “brown biscuits”), pepparkakor in Swedish, piparkakut in Finnish, piparkūkas in Latvian, piparkoogid in Estonian and pepperkaker in Norwegian (literally, pepper cookies), are rolled quite thin (often under 3 mm (1/8-inch) thick), and cut into shapes; they are smooth and are usually much thinner and hence crisper (and in some cases, more strongly flavoured) than most global varieties. Cloves, cinnamon and cardamom are important ingredients of these, and the actual ginger taste is not prominent. Allspice was used formerly to season ginger biscuits, but cloves replaced it later.
In the United States, the usual term is ginger snaps, and they are generally round drop cookies, usually between 3 mm (1/8-inch) and 6 mm (1/4-inch) thick, with prominent cracks in the top surface. One recipe for these cookies contains maple syrup.
It is quite common for British people to wear King’s paper crown on Christmas Day and at Christmas dinner parties. Apparently, this tradition dates back to Roman times when participant to the Roman Saturnalia celebrations – held around 25th December – used to wear hats.
The idea of wearing paper crown probably derives from the Twelfth Night celebrations, where a King or Queen used to be appointed to supervise the proceedings.
Contributed by Michelle Karam
Luscious grains. Vibrant fruits and vegetables. Smooth velvety cheeses. Deep rich Olive Oils. Sensory overload? No, just the abundant cuisine of the Mediterranean. Not only is this cuisine a feast for your eyes and seriously delicious, but it turns out after all it’s provides those that follow it with some of the highest life expectancies around the world. This is a lifestyle and a diet that provides all of the pleasures but none of the guilt!
So what exactly are the regions that this cuisine hails from? Traditionally it’s from Greece, but as it’s popularity has emerged you’ll find recipes from parts of Italy, Spain, Portugal, southern France and even Turkey, Morocco and the Middle East.
The warm sun, the fragrant sea, the azure sky… a taste of the Mediterranean. These recipes are a little bit of all of that. Now that’s a lifestyle that I wanna live.
½ cup pignoli (or pine nuts)
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch arugula
1/3 cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fusilli
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a skillet pan toast the pignoli nuts. The nutty aroma from oils will begin to be released. Toast to a warm golden brown.
Then add pignoli nuts & garlic to the blender to form a paste. Add the arugula and olive oil and pulse into the pignoli mixture. The perfect texture you’re going to be looking for will be gritty and grainy, keeping the integrity of the pine nuts.
Add the fusilli to the water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and add Arugula Pignoli mixture and give it a stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The simplicity of this dish is perfectly Mediterranean all the while keeping that balance of healthy, astonishingly easy and fresh.
There are over 300 indigenous grapes grown in Greece with the major ones rocking names like Agiorghitiko, Roditis, and Limnio. Fret not, you really don’t need to pronounce these grapes to enjoy them. Greek wine spans the spectrum from light and crisp to heavy and sweet white wines and light, delicate to heavy and bold reds. This is a part of the wine world really worth exploring.
I recently got exposed to the culinary stylings of Chef Michael Psilakis at the Buick Discovery Tour near the Los Angeles area. Chef Psilakis has a number of restaurants in New York featuring Greek Cuisine. Additionally, he competed against fellow Greek and Iron Chef Michael Symon. Here is his recipe for Bodino Stifado. (Beef Stew with leeks)
Serves 4 to 6 family-style with potatoes, rice, or orzo
Braises like this are perfect for meat with tough muscle tissue and tendons (which come from the part of the animal that works hard), a great example of poverty cooking. This less expensive cut of meat develops its own natural and luscious sauce as it cooks. You want a little marbling in the meat, because it melts down as you cook and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder – all fairly tough meats – but save the filet mignon for the grill or a pan. It takes a little time to cook and become tender, but it’s a relatively easy setup, and once you get it onto the stove you don’t have to worry about it for about an hour. So you can do your laundry, or walk the dog, or make a salad.
A couple of days later, if you have any leftovers, you can shred the meat, then return the meat to the sauce and add your favorite pasta. The resulting dish is a Greek version of beef stroganoff.
The herbs are very important to the flavor development here, since I’m using water instead of stock, so use fresh herbs if possible.
- 3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½ – inch chunks
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- ½ large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 large leek, cut into thick rounds, washed well in cold water, drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 to 5 cups water
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried leaves
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig sage
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley