Monday, November 05, 2007

Fun Monday # 40 Holiday Traditions

Fun Monday this week falls on 5th November which is Bonfire Night here in the UK.
Bonfire Night is also known as Fireworks Night or Guy Fawkes Night and, it is a British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 which aimed to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I.

'Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot'.

Anyone brought up in the U.K will know this little rhyme. I hope if you are having a bonfire and fireworks you have fun. However, I also hope you stay safe and don't take any risks :)


This week Deborah The Humble Housewife, is looking for some holiday traditions that she can dish up over thanksgiving. Personally I look to her in the kitchen and I can't think of any recipe I do that would be half as good as Deborah's.

As most of you will know we do not have have a thanksgiving holiday so Christmas is our big celebration. When my girls were young (back in the 70/80's) we started a couple of Christmas Traditions that I will share. However, there is nothing unusual or exciting about them. Embee used to have an allotment that was about a five minute walk from our house. He always grew some Brussels sprouts and he would go and pick them early on Christmas morning. They were so fresh and tasted nothing like the strong shop bought ones.
The girls, and in particular Sam, hated them (and I was mean enough to say they HAD to eat a couple~ thought I would get that in before I got the awful mother comment~ I will probably still get it anyway!! What I didn't know was that some people are actually intolerant to sprouts and Sam thinks that she is one of those people, so I do feel bad about making her eat them. Sadly we no longer have the allotment or a proper kitchen garden so this tradition has been dropped.

Part of the tradition included cooking sufficient sprouts to have leftovers to make 'Bubble and Squeak' to go with the cold turkey, ham, salad and pickles on Boxing day. This is something Embee really loves so is something I do try to continue each year. I never use a recipe and you can vary what goes into the dish, as in, substitute sprouts for cabbage. It's easy when you are clearing up on Christmas day to mash any left over potatoes and sprouts in readiness (also tastes good with chopped bacon). On boxing day this mixture can then be heated (a few fried onions mixed in gives extra flavour~optional). Use some oil or butter and heat on medium heat add ingredients and press into a patty and brown, flipping and browning both sides. I don't have any photos of this dish. However I did find a proper recipe (which is a variation on what I do) here. This is probably not the healthiest of meals but once a year is OK!!

In readiness for this meal the other family tradition we used to follow was to play tennis on Boxing Day morning, that way I at least felt we were getting some exercise. We have been known to sweep frost from the court to play~ mad family that we were back then!
For the past 10 years or so we have substituted the tennis for a walk and we always go to the same place on Boxing Day Blaise Castle Estate. I have posted about it before and some of you will remember it as being where I walk my niece's dog. We call it the 'Dingley Dell' and there are some interesting legends connected with this area of Bristol, such as, The Giant Goram I know this bears no relation to the topic but as usual I'm getting carried away.

I found this Christmas photo from a few years ago....... and we are playing a traditional game. What do you think we were doing!?!?!

I think I've wittered on about nothing for long enough so head over to Deborah and see everyone else's family traditions.
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November 5th 2006: Animal farm

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45 Comments:

At 5/11/07 08:43, Blogger Steffi said...

Very nice picture and nice traditions.I like traditions too especially on the christmas time and on the christmas Eve.It´s nice to have such traditions since my own childhood.I hope Anne & Nathalie will do the same when they are adults with their own families.

Have a nice Monday!

 
At 5/11/07 09:56, Blogger Hootin'Anni said...

The recipe actually sounds delicious!!!

And your Christmas photo is so pretty!!! With the sun 'starshine'!!!

 
At 5/11/07 10:29, Anonymous Hannah said...

Thinking of Blaise Castle made me smile as we walked around the estate when we went to stay with my brother in law in July. It's lovely.

 
At 5/11/07 10:36, Blogger Beccy said...

I wish you wouldn't categorise me with my fussy eating sister. I loved the homegrown sprouts and always ate loads and I love bubble and squeak!

I always thought I was a pretty unfussy eater...unless it was broad beans or had pepper in it!

 
At 5/11/07 11:24, Anonymous EmBee said...

What Chrisb did not say about my Christmas morning foray to the allotment for sprouts is that I had my own tradition of taking along a small bottle of Champagne which same I drank whilst I picked said sprouts. Now we just all have some for breakfast. Maybe one day!!!

 
At 5/11/07 12:37, Blogger Debs said...

Great pic.:) Sounds like a great tradition.

I like sprouts. :D

 
At 5/11/07 12:43, Blogger frannie said...

what lovely traditions-- even if you are crazy enough to sweep frost from a court to play tennis!

 
At 5/11/07 13:00, Blogger mjd said...

Maybe the problem that I have had with Brussel sprouts is not having fresh ones. Ewww...I won't be adding the sprouts to our traditional fare. (I occasionally do make Bubble and Squeak with cabbage not Brussel sprouts.)

The visit to the castle is a wonderful tradition. From the scenic bridge, you are throwing stones into the stream to see who makes the biggest splash.

 
At 5/11/07 13:21, Blogger ChrisB said...

steffi I expect your daughter will carry on with some of your traditions.

hootin'anni we all look a bit different to how we looked back in that photo!!

hannah we always enjoy walking around Blaise castle there are so many different paths you can follow which makes it fun.

Beccy sorry I seem to spend my time boobing, you were not a fussy eater like your sister but I really did think neither of you liked sprouts!

embee I think that was your secret!!

frannie I bet you have gathered were crazy about tennis. My daughter Sam has just started playing again after a long break. It's a great way to keep fit.

mjd you are on the right track as were were competing!!

debs it's surprising how many people don't like sprouts and to be fair the shop bought ones can be a bit strong tasting so I can understand it.

 
At 5/11/07 13:25, Blogger Alix said...

Oh sprouts I LOVE them! I also love Christmas walks when you feel like you need someone to roll you home.

Are you playing Pooh sticks? (for non AA Milne readers that's a game Winnie the Pooh played not something else!)

 
At 5/11/07 13:38, Blogger ChrisB said...

Alix spot on we always play Pooh sticks at this bridge :)

 
At 5/11/07 15:03, Blogger AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

Are you playing Pooh Sticks!! (I wrote that before I read Alix's comment, in my defense!) I love Winnie the Pooh!! My son's entire room is Classic (Shepherd as opposed to Disney) Pooh.

The castle is beautiful. Oh, to have actually been born British!

And, happy Guy Fawkes. Cracks me up that he tried to blow up the Stuarts for being Protestant when James II was overthrown for being Catholic!? Irony.

 
At 5/11/07 15:16, Blogger Deborah said...

Hi Chris. Great post! Thank you for the lovely comments, you are very falttering, but I have seen many wonderful recipes over here too! ;-)

I ADORE Brussel Sprouts. I have this recipe to make them with pink lady apples, nutmeg and butter that even people who swore they hated them loved this recipe! Will have to post it soon.

I haven't had Bubble and Squeak in YEARS! Such a great dish and like you said, so variable.

Loving Embee's comment. Sounds like a good idea to me!!! I often like to crack open the wine when I'm cooking, but sometimes the effects can be disastrous to the meal! ;-)

Thanks for sharing Chris!

 
At 5/11/07 15:22, Blogger Tiggerlane said...

Sorry, but I despise brussel sprouts! I can't for the life of me figure out what's going on in that photo - did they throw you in?

 
At 5/11/07 15:34, Blogger Sandy said...

What a lovely post. Since I have brussels sprouts in the freezer and was planning on mashed potatoes with dinner, I think I foresee Bubble and Squeak in my future. Thanks for the idea.

 
At 5/11/07 15:52, Blogger lisa's chaos said...

I hope you're not playing red rover or someone will end up wet. Maybe throwing pennies in the water and making wishes?

 
At 5/11/07 15:53, Blogger Junebug said...

I thought they must be playing Three Billy Goats Gruff where they had to pay the troll to cross the bridge. And they are looking for the troll.

 
At 5/11/07 15:54, Blogger john.g. said...

Pooh sticks?

I lurve bubble and squeak!

 
At 5/11/07 15:56, Blogger headless chicken said...

It must be pooh-sticks! We play it with the kids whenever we walk over a bridge.
Kev LOVES bubble and squeak and we all like brussell sprouts apart from Eliza who eats very little of anything!
Great photo.

 
At 5/11/07 16:05, Blogger Asha said...

Your Bonfire and our Deepavali fireworks are around the same time! Diwali is on this Friday. Hope you enjoyed your Bonfire too.
Are you throwing the coins to the river? I like the photo!:))
Happy Monday Chris.

 
At 5/11/07 16:38, Blogger Sam said...

oh how the tides have turned. I will eat anything* these days including sprouts which have been cooked al dente, preferably with bacon. (The chemical which people, including me, have an aversion to, is only released when the sprouts are over boiled.) I know I was a fussy eater as a kid, but these days I am less fussy than the rest of my family put together.

[*raisins excluded]

 
At 5/11/07 16:39, Blogger Sam said...

mum - are you looking forward to your first real American Thanksgiving? It's moved to Oakland now and there is going to be a lot of family, a new baby, hopefully, and traditional American thanksgiving food.

 
At 5/11/07 16:46, Blogger thefoodsnob said...

Chris- Pooh Sticks?! How fun! I love your traditions, sound like fun.
Bonfire Night (5/11) is Patrick's real birthday, so he's all set if he ever moves to the U.K!
I really hope you enjoy your first Thanksgiving. The most important part is remembering to be thankful for the company you're in (which I'm sure you will.)

Lisa

 
At 5/11/07 16:50, Blogger Beckie said...

As usual - the commentary in the comments is great!

You have had some great traditions! I still feel like my family has no traditions.

 
At 5/11/07 16:50, Blogger her indoors said...

playing pooh sticks

 
At 5/11/07 16:55, Anonymous susan said...

Great photo! I'm sure it's not, but I can just hear a gruff voice grumbling "who's that trip-trapping over MY bridge?"

 
At 5/11/07 18:13, Anonymous Christine said...

Are you having fun playing 'Pooh Sticks'? The kids love playing this at the park near our library!
Lovely family Christmas photo.

I've never heard of 'Bubble and Squeak', I do love trying all your wonderfully delicious recipes.

Our family actually loves Brussle Sprouts, of course with lots of butter, but I'm sure they are very good with a glass of champagne! :)

Happy Fun Monday, chrisb!

 
At 5/11/07 19:09, Blogger -Ann said...

It looks to me like you're petting a dinosaur. That's the sort of holiday tradition I could enjoy!

 
At 5/11/07 19:10, Blogger my4kids said...

Sounds like great traditions! I love brussel sprouts but I know I am in the minority with that!

Thanks for the comment about the "green" issue with the trees on mine. The tree farms there grew them with the purpose of cutting them for christmas.

 
At 5/11/07 19:45, Anonymous Karmyn R said...

This has been interesting to read - because I didn't know that Guy Fawkes day was actually celebrated AND - "bubbles and squeak"? Never heard of it.

 
At 5/11/07 20:43, Blogger Amy W said...

Interesting traditions!

 
At 5/11/07 21:34, Anonymous Robinella said...

Looks like fun.

 
At 6/11/07 00:48, Blogger Robocop said...

I once thought that sprouts were tiny little cabbages. So I find it fitting that you substituted.

 
At 6/11/07 00:52, Blogger Blue Momma said...

I've never had sprouts! I haven't a clue what they might taste like, though they are green and I tend to have an aversion to all green foods.

Maybe I'll just stick with Embee and her champagne!

 
At 6/11/07 02:26, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Pooh Sticks? Je ne sais pas.
I thought you were massaging a T-Rex, but I see from Ann's comment above, I'm not the first to think of it.

 
At 6/11/07 02:33, Blogger kitten said...

I love brussel sprouts~
Beautiful family.

 
At 6/11/07 03:26, Blogger The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Happy Guy Fawkes! You are so right about fresh brussel sprouts t= they are so much better than those bitter things in the groceries. When I grew my own, I was amazed.

 
At 6/11/07 04:05, Blogger BS said...

I happen to like sprouts but have never had the pleasure of trying fresh ones. Bubble and Squeak sounds interesting - just might have to try it.

 
At 6/11/07 04:09, Blogger Kaytabug said...

I thought that bridge was some kind of dino sculpture! Sounds like great traditions!!

 
At 6/11/07 04:54, Blogger alisonwonderland said...

i've heard of Bubble and Squeak, but i've never thought that it sounded too appetizing ...

i knew you were playing Pooh Sticks too! (our family likes to play as well.)

 
At 6/11/07 15:59, Blogger ChrisB said...

That bridge really does look like a dinosaur, I didn't spot that until several of you mentioned it!

 
At 6/11/07 17:38, Anonymous Robin (the PENSIEVE one) said...

Forcing Brussel sprouts? You WERE cruel!! :) Perhaps I've just never tasted fresh ones...

Exercise is a great idea given how much we eat at holidays. It's much easier said than done, though...

(nice to see Embee's comment so we know the "rest of the story").

 
At 7/11/07 04:46, Blogger theotherbear said...

I love love love bubble and squeak. I make it by frying up chopped leftover veggies from the roast dinner (all sorts - potato, pumpkin, cauli, broc - you name it!) with some chopped up leftover roast meat, in lashings of butter. I even throw in leftover gravy and cheese sauce for added flavour. YUM!

 
At 7/11/07 21:17, Blogger Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh Bubble and Squeak, we have that too. Yum.
And you're playing Pooh Sticks right?
It's so pretty where you live. :D

 
At 18/11/07 03:06, Blogger elena jane said...

great traditions, love the bubble and squeak and pooh sticks too :-)

 

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