Sunday, November 24, 2019

Stir Up Sunday! Time To Start The Christmas Pudding!

Happy Stir Up Sunday!

Traditionally the day when good housewives...or their cooks... stirred up the dish that would become Christmas Pudding on that festive day coming soon!

The tradition dates... as best as can be seen... from the 14th century. There are traditionally supposed to be 13 ingredients... 1 each for Jesus and the 12 disciples.

Stir Up Sunday refers to the traditional day to start it... the first Sunday before Advent, or the coming of Christ's birth begins.

The  collect for the Sunday before Advent in the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer begins with the words 
"Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works...". 
This led to the custom of preparing Christmas puddings on that day which became known as Stir Up Sunday.

 The tradition is that for good look in the coming year to fall on the family, every member had to take their turn stirring, and make a wish...

There also developed in the early Victorian era the mixing in of small silver fortune telling tokens in the wealthier families, or a sixpence or two in the more simple puddings. 

The sixpence or threepence for luck or wealth
a wishbone for a granted wish
a boot for travel
a thimble either for thrift or for spinsterhood if recipient was an unmarried lady
an anchor for a safe voyage or safe harbor
a bell for married in the year
horseshoe for luck
and several others that vary by region.
Whatever, you always have to be careful eating, so no teeth are broken.
Sets are handed down in the family. As my husband was a 4th child and a boy to boot, the oldest sister got them, and they are now with their oldest daughter.
My family also passed them to an oldest daughter,  but they were lost about 30 years ago. Sigh...

There is a bit of a debate between calling this steamed pudding or plum pudding...some say the same, just varied by ingredients, some staunch if favor of one or the other...
But all agreed it is dense, full of fruit and steamed.
Also debated, is whether it should be topped with brandy sauce, hard sauce or brandy butter... and whether to be flaming or no...
how nice to have choices! 
I was brought up brandy butter sauce...

Here are several great websites and recipes 

From Downton Abbey Cooks:

From The National Trust:

From BBC Food:

 Greeting card featuring a Christmas pudding with a face... from 1880. British Library

Final Days! Ends Wednesday night Nov. 27th! Time Was Antiques

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Queen Elizabeth And Prince Philip Celebrate Another Anniversary

Princess Elizabeth... now Queen Elizabeth II... was engaged to Prince Philip of Greece and England on July 9, royal weddings go...a small and cost conscious post war ceremony.  

The couple are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary today, November 20, 2019.

The couple in May 2019, at a Windsor Castle Order Of Merit presentation. Prince Philip, who is 98, has retired from public life, but the Queen at 93, so continues her amazing life of public duties. 

This lovely portrait was taken in 2017 for the couple's Platinum anniversary of 70 years of marriage.
 Time Was Antiques has a set of Wedgwood, England blue jasperware dishes made to commemorate the Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1972, in original boxes.

Very nice profiles, indeed... or hand applied white jasperware.
For more information, click on the photos.

Best wishes to the couple!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nov. 14 Prince Charles' Birthday, 1940 Anniversary of Bombing of Coventry, THANKFUL Sale

 Happy Birthday to Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall!
Born November 14, 1948

And also on November 14th...

 The nave at Coventry Cathedral, before and after November 14, 1940...

The 70th anniversary of the Nazi blitz on the town of Coventry, England was marked today. A horrible day during World War II for the family of my husband, living in Birmingham, England 20 miles away. Along with his younger sister, he was not evacuated to Wales for safety with his 2 older sisters. His oldest brother was serving in the Coldstream Guards.

The bombing was remembered as horrific and John often wonders how his parents coped with the terrors of war  and just trying to feed the family between times spent in the bomb shelter at the end of the garden.  Coventry was a strategic site for the bombers because of it's heavy industrial plants and rail interchanges. Over 1200 people were killed and most of the city was destroyed. John's father and brother who was on a short leave had walked to the bridge over the railroad bridge close to their home and watched the planes dropping their payloads and the subsequent explosions and fireballs.

As they stood there watching, John's father Sam thought he hear Annie his wife calling him so they left the railroad bridge and started quickly home. A few minutes later the railroad bridge went up in an explosion as it, too was bombed. Annie hadn't called, but if they had stayed they would have gone up in the explosion. 
story at the BBC of the anniversary of the Coventry bombing Nov. 14, 1940

Thousands were killed, much of the city was destroyed....
I can't imagine what living through it was like... but the BBC has an interesting webpage with recordings and accounts of what it was like...

From World War II era, this is a handmade silk... parachute silk, probably, embroidered RAF tea cozy from Time Was Antiques .
For more info, click on the photo.
And... our THANKFUL 15% Off coupon code sale


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Remembrance Day, Lest We Forget

Remembrance day, Poppy Day or Veteran's Day depending on how you were raised... Brit or Yank.  The name Poppy Day came from this poem written during the Great War or World War I:

Remembrance Day, with the Remembrance service at Westminster Abbey, laying the wreath at the Cenotaph and annual Festival Of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall

 is supported everywhere, even on sports pitches, with moments of silence and red poppies... 

Remembrance Day... 11-11-11... eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.... from the day in 1918 when the documents were signed for the end of World War I...
which was thought to be the war to end all wars...
I wish it had been so...

On a blog post from 2014,I shared the Tower Of London installation commemorating Britain's entry into World War I. You can read about it HERE. It was finally finished...with 888,246 red ceramic poppies...the number of British casualties in the war...

The Times Online posted this photo of the Tower with the completed exhibit from the air, and a friend of mine is in London at the moment, visited the Tower and sent me this photo....

 Look at the way they poured from a window...the scope of it is truly amazing. Thank you, too, to all the veterans who have given so much for our freedom. Thank you. The poppies, which were made in Staffordshire potteries, were in place until Nov. 11 when they were be sold for 25 pounds each to raise funds for military charities, raising in excess of 12 million pounds.

The queen toured the exhibit at the Tower as will as hundreds of thousands. Versions have appeared at times throughtout the nation...

We Remember...

Remembrance Day photo 2018, by Marcia Gain photography

Monday, November 4, 2019

Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night

Remember, remember... the 5th of November...

And tomorrow, Nov. 5th, is Guy Fawkes Day, commemorating the day in 1607 when a plot, led by Guy Fawkes, was foiled as he attempted to blow up Parliament. The day has always been celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and the effigy of Guy Fawkes, lovingly called The Guy, tossed on the flames to much mirth and partying.  The kids get into the spirit of the thing by collecting money for weeks before with the cry "Penney for the Guy" which they use to buy fireworks.  Here are a few historic photos of kids and guys I found....

This first photo with a group of kids looks exactly like one my husband's family have of the neighborhood children and their guy beside the bonfire pile in the late 1940s where he grew up in Lady Wood just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.

This photo of 2 boys collecting "for the guy" is from the website and dates to the early 1950s

This photo is from the 1930s from

This is an illustration by the great Cruikshank from 1827 of the Guy being carried to the bonfire.

The traditional poem is:

Guy Fawkes Day Poem

Traditional British

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;

I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,

'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.

Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip Hoorah !

Hip hip Hoorah !

The tradition that both my family and my Honey's liked best, was the passing around of the potatoes cooked in the coals of the bonfire. I think the older folks liked the cider or beer that was usually circulating, and we all loved the fireworks. The USA's 4th of July is the closest we come, but with a different flavor!

For a great website with some 1940s Guy Fawkes old movies, I found:
Burning Down The House: Dangerous Guy Fawkes Videos  which is quite fun!  PLEASE DO NOT TRY THESE THINGS AT HOME!!!

On a more elegant note, Downton Abbey Cooks... aka Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey... did a great post with great info on their local Guy Fawkes, and some great recipes.
The Yorkshire Parkin, is a favourite of my husband's family, as his father came from Yorkshire. Making it tonight. I even have my tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup at the ready...

Here is the recipe...

ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
Servings: servings
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix together flour and spices.  Stir in the rolled oats.  Gently melt treacle, golden syrup and applesauce over low heat. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in melted ingredients.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in warmed milk and add to mixture, And then add the egg.   Mix to a soft batter and pour into a greased square 9 x 9 pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Your parkin should be an even brown color and have shrunk away slightly from the sides of the pan when properly baked.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Although you can eat the cake right away, it gets stickier and more flavourful if you wrap and store it for several days. Stored in an airtight container and it will keep for weeks.
  7. Serve on its own as squares, or as a cake with your favorite whipped topping.  You know me, I love non fat greek yoghurt sweetened with honey.
Recipe Notes
Try using parkin to create an autumnal version of English trifle.
Here is a link to the newsletter:

Have a great time and stay safe celebrating bonfire night!

For antiques and collectibles with an English accent, come and visit me at
Time Was Antiques

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...