Christmas desserts – English Trifle

Hello everybody!

This week, we are going to indulge our sweet tooth and browse 5 Christmas desserts around Europe. You still have time to shop around for the ingredients if our ideas sound to good!

English Trifle

Ingredients

    • 750g frozen summer fruit (raspberries, blackberries, red and blackcurrants)

 

    • 250g caster sugar

 

 

    • 75g custard powder

 

 

    • 1½-2 madeira cakes

 

    • 4 tbsp sherry or cassis

 

    • 300-450ml double cream

 

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

    • 2 tbsp icing sugar

 

  • 2 crushed amaretti biscuits, to serve

Preparation

    1. Put 750g frozen summer fruit in a pan with 200g caster sugar and 1 litre water and bring to a gentle simmer.

 

    1. Cook for 2 mins, then scoop out 6 tbsp fruit and 150ml juice. Now carry on cooking the fruit in the pan for 5 mins.

 

    1. Meanwhile, soak 9 sheets leaf gelatine in cold water to soften it. If you have a hand blender, blitz the cooked fruit or mash with a potato masher, then strain through a sieve into a large bowl and push through the pulp so just the skins and seeds are left.

 

    1. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine, add to the hot fruit syrup and stir to dissolve. Cool, then chill until on the point of almost setting.

 

    1. Make the custard according to pack instructions with 75g custard powder, 1.2l milk and 50g caster sugar to create a really thick custard. Cover the surface with baking paper while it cools a little.

 

    1. Pile 1½ – 2 cubed madeira cakes into a trifle bowl, spoon over the reserved juice and berries, then 4 tbsp sherry or cassis.

 

    1. Pour over a thick layer of custard, pushing it against the side of the dish to seal in the cake below. Leave to cool and set with a skin – this makes a barrier for the jelly.

 

    1. When the custard is cold and set, and the jelly is on the point of setting, spoon the jelly over the custard and chill until ready to complete.

 

  1. Whip 300 – 450ml double cream with 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp icing sugar until just holding its shape, then spoon round the bowl over the set jelly. Scatter with 2 crushed amaretti biscuits and chill until ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy of   https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/155633/ruby-fruit-jelly-trifle

Christmas Traditions

Hello everybody!

The beginning of December marks, along with the last month of the year, my favourite holiday – Christmas! This month, I will enjoy writing about traditions, carols, and special recipes for Christmas! Today we are going to enjoy some Christmas Traditions from the UK, Italy, Portugal, France and Spain!

What are some Christmas Traditions in your country?

The United Kingdom

  • “Deck the Halls” was originally a pagan Yuletide drinking song, with the melody taken from a 16th century Welsh song (“Nos Galan”) and the “fa la la” repetition possibly dating back to medieval ballads. The English lyrics (by Scottish composer Thomas Oliphant) didn’t come along until 1862.
  • Christmas cards, which originated in England, were first sent in the 1840s.
  • People enjoy decorating a Christmas Tree, and “fighting” over Christmas Crackers.
  • Holly and Ivy are also used as decorations, and people serve Christmas Pudding, a pudding composed of many dried fruits held together by egg and suet, sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses and flavoured with cinnamonnutmegclovesginger, and other spices.

Italy

  • According to Italian legend, a kind witch called “La Befana” flies around on her broomstick on the night of January 5th, bringing gifts to worthy children and lumps of coal to the naughty ones.
  • In front of St Peters cathedral in Vatican City, a huge Christmas tree is put up and many families buy tickets to get entrance to the festive midnight-mass which is held by the Pope.
  • The whole month of December is filled with joy, there is a festive atmosphere, and Christmas markets with various stalls serve typical food, Christmas sweets and gifts.
  • On the 6th of December, many families celebrate St Nicholas Day. Children write letters to St Nicholas asking for gifts, and they hang up a sock on St Nicholas day’s eve.
  • During the festive season and Christmas in Italy, a nativity scene, a ‘presepe’, is usually put up in churches, town squares and often in houses and is for many the most important parts of Christmas decorations.
  • On Christmas Eve, as in the old Catholic tradition, often no food is eaten during the day as this is a fast day. The festive celebrations start after midnight mass. Nowadays, ‘Babbo Natale’, the Father Christmas, brings presents to children on Christmas eve.

Portugal

  • “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” originally written in Latin in the 17th century, has been attributed to King John IV of Portugal.
  • On Christmas Eve Portuguese families gather around the Christmas tree and the Crèche to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Catholicism is the main religion in Portugal. Thus, the Crèche is a very important part of the celebration. Traditionally, children are in charge of collecting materials for the Crèche.
  • Most children write letters to Infant Jesus asking for presents rather than to Santa Claus.
  • Some families will open the presents (that are displayed around the Christmas tree) on Christmas Eve around midnight. Others open them in the morning of the 25th, Christmas Day. Some families put one shoe (“sapatinho”) of each child next to the chimney (since most of the kitchens in Portugal have one) or next to the fireplace instead of a stocking.
  • On Christmas Day, people eat stuffed turkey for lunch and the traditional desserts.
  • During the holiday season towns are decorated with lights.
  • The festivities end on January 6, “Dia de Reis”.

France

  • “Il est né, le divin enfant,” which has been recorded by everyone from Plácido Domingo and The Chieftains to Annie Lennox, is a classic French carol.
  • The four weeks before Christmas are dedicated to preparations for Christmas. On the 1st of December, children open their first ‘window/door’ in the Advent calendar. This French Christmas tradition makes kids even more excited about upcoming Christmas events.
  • “The thirteen desserts” is a Provençal French Christmas tradition but worth mentioning as it sounds so ‘challenging’ – can you imagine having 13 desserts after the main (big) Christmas feast? In France they are important as they symbolise Christ and the 12 apostles at the Last Supper. Typical desserts include fruits, nuts and sweets such as dried figs, hazelnuts or walnuts, almonds and dried grapes or a cake called Pompe à l’huile. As part of this Christmas tradition in France, everyone has to taste each dessert in order to have good luck for the upcoming year.
  • Mulled wine is popular in bars and in French Christmas markets, although you won’t see it so much at French houses. During Christmas dinner a very good wine is required and Champagne is imperative.
  • French children put their shoes near the fireplace so that Père Noël can find them and fill them with small presents or treats.
  • Mistletoe is popular in French Christmas traditions and used as an important decorative item. People hang it above the door during the Christmas season, where it is supposed to bring good luck during the the coming year.
  • These are the nativity scenes or crèches displayed in many French homes. There are little clay figures called santons or little saints in the crèche, which you can buy from Christmas markets. There are plenty of pieces available for sale so you can create a small or huge crèche at home.
  • The 6 January is a day to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings. Some places in France perform a street procession of the Three Kings for children to watch.

Spain

  • In Catalonia, Spain, they have a uniquely bizarre holiday tradition known as the Caga Tió, or pooping log. Kids will decorate a small log by adding wooden legs, a face, clothing, and a Catalan hat. They’ll keep the log in their home or school, feeding it small pieces of bread or fruit every day. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, they hit the Caga Tió with a stick while singing a special song encouraging him to poop out plenty of sweets, such as turrón (a popular nougat), for them.
  • Have you ever heard of King Cake, the popular dessert served in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season? The Spanish have a similar tradition of serving a sweet bread ring known as Roscón de Reyes on January 6, during celebrations of Día de reyes (Kings’ Day), to commemorate the arrival of the 3 Wise Men. This Christmas cake is usually topped with crushed almonds, candied fruits, and powdered sugar, and sometimes stuffed with whipped or almond cream. There’s usually a baby Jesus figurine (or a dry fava bean to represent him) stuffed inside the cake, and the lucky person who finds it gets to buy the following year’s roscón.
  • Apart from Christmas, there is another festival that is celebrated in Spain that is about the Christmas Story. It is called Epiphany and is celebrated on 6th January. In Spanish, Epiphany is called ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’: in English this means ‘The festival of the three Magic Kings’.
  • Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before the service. The traditional Spanish Christmas dinner was ‘Pavo Trufado de Navidad’ which is Turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones!) or ‘Pularda asada’ (a roasted young hen), although they are not commonly eaten now. In Galicia (a region in north-west Spain, surrounded by water) the most popular meal for Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day is seafood. This can be all kinds of different seafood, from shellfish and mollusks, to lobster and small edible crabs.
  • Popular deserts and sweets include ‘mazapán’ (made of almonds, sugar and eggs), ‘turrón’ (made of honey and toasted almonds) and ‘polvorones’ (made of flour, butter and sugar).
  • After the midnight service, one old tradition was for people to walk through the streets carrying torches, playing guitars and beating on tambourines and drums. One Spanish saying is ‘Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no Es noche de dormir’ which means ‘Tonight is the good night and it is not meant for sleeping!’
  • A few different languages are spoken in different regions in Spain. In Spanish Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Feliz Navidad’; in Catalan it’s ‘Bon Nadal’; in Galician ‘Bo Nadal’; and in Basque (or Euskara in basque) ‘Eguberri on’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.
  • December 28th is ‘Día de los santos inocentes’ or ‘Day of the Innocent Saints’ and is very like April Fools Day in the UK and USA. People try to trick each other into believing silly stories and jokes. Newspapers and TV stations also run silly stories. If you trick someone, you can call them ‘Inocente, inocente’ which means ‘innocent, innocent’.

Please find below the sources for the information above!

https://www.kids-world-travel-guide.com/christmas-in-italy.html

https://www.momondo.com/discover/article/christmas-traditions-around-the-world

http://www.worldholidaytraditions.com/en-us/countries/portugal.aspx

https://www.expatica.com/fr/out-and-about/french-christmas-traditions-christmas-traditions-in-france_871680.html

https://greenglobaltravel.com/christmas-traditions-around-the-world/

https://www.whychristmas.com/

Free Time

Hello everybody!

Welcome to English Monday! Today we will learn about free time!

 

– I enjoy reading and watching TV shows in my free time. What do you like to do?

– I am a sports fan, and I enjoy playing football and watching football matches on TV!

 

Cook and maybe share a meal with friends.

Exercise in a gym or play a sport such as football or basketball.

Garden – depending on the space available, you can choose to plant flowers, vegetables or herbs and maintain your garden by watering it, pulling the weeds and feeding it with fertilizer.

Go fishing for trout / crappie / bream / northern pike, etc.

Go out with friends, either to a pub or bar, or have dinner at a restaurant, have a barbeque or get some coffee.

Go shopping for clothes or supplies.

Go to the beach and enjoy a nice sunrise / sunset. Bask in the sunlight.

Go to the cinema to watch a movie. You can choose between Action, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Horror, Musical, Science Fiction, Thriller.

Go to the park and have a picnic or enjoy a nice walk.

Listen to music. Maybe you prefer pop, rock, hip hop, rhythm & blues, blues, jazz, or classical, soul, heavy metal.

Play a musical instrument such as the piano, guitar, violin, cello, flute, piano accordion, mouth organ, panpipes, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet.

Play video games

Read. If you like fiction, you can try novels, short stories, crime fiction, romance, etc. If you like non-fiction, you can read biographies, autobiographies, or books on history, science, philosophy, religion, or any other topic you are interested in.

Spend time with family.

Surf the internet

Travel to new and exciting destinations.

Visit a museum or an art gallery.

Watch TV. You can choose between the News, Soap Operas, Dramas, Reality TV, Sit-Coms, Talk Shows, Documentaries, Cartoons, Game Shows, Sports programs, Movies.

Write in your diary or start a blog or maybe write a short story.

Transport to Places in a City

Hello everybody!

Welcome to English Monday! Today, we will learn about transport in a city, and the major points of interest when travelling!

 

– We need to arrive at the Museum at 11:00! We could take the bus, it usually arrives on time!

– I think we should catch a taxi. I do not want to be late!

 

Airplane

Bicycle

Boat

Bus

Car

Helicopter

Motorcycle

Ship

Submarine

Subway / Underground / Metro

Taxi

Train

Tram

Truck

Van

Yacht

 

Airport

Bakery

Bank

Bar

Bookstore

Bus station

Butcher’s

Cafe

Church

Court

Cinema

Gas station

Gym

Hairdresser’s

Hospital

Hotel

Gallery

Grocery store

Jail

Library

Mall

Museum

Motel

Parking lot

Pharmacy

Police station

Post office

Pub

Park

Restaurant

School

Supermarket

Train station

Zoo

 

 

Food and Drink – Restaurant Menu

Hello everybody!

Welcome to English Monday! Today, we will learn how to order food in a restaurant

 

– Hello! I will have a cheeseburger with fries and a coke!

– I also want a cheeseburger, but no fries for me! I will have a beer.

 

Soups

Tomato Cream Soup

Vegetable Cream Soup

 

Salads

Caesar Salad

Tuna Salad

Cobb Salad

 

Chicken dishes

Grilled chicken breast

Chicken and vegetable Skewers

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Wings

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Burger

 

Pork dishes 

Pork and vegetable Skewers

Pork Schnitzel

Pulled Pork Sandwich

 

Beef dishes

Grilled Rib-Eye

Hamburger

Cheeseburger

 

Fish and Seafood

Grilled or fried Seabass

Grilled or oven baked Salmon

Seafood in spicy sauce

Fried shrimp

Shrimp fried rice

Mussles in red sauce

 

Pasta

Spicy Spaghetti with Garlic

Oven baked Penne

Spaghetti Primavera

Four cheese Penne

 

Side dishes / Garnishes

Sauteed Broccoli

Grilled vegetables

Potato Puree

Rice

Potato Wedges

 

Desserts

Chocolate Cake

Ice Cream

Pancakes

Chocolate Lava Cake

 

Drinks

Glass of Wine

Bottle of Wine

Beer

Coffee

Tea

Cappuccino

Hot Chocolate

 

 

How to tell TIME

Hello everybody!

Welcome to English Monday! Today, we will learn how to tell time in English!

 

– What time is it?

– Excuse me, do you have the time, please?

 

12:00 – It is twelve o’clock / midday / noon

12:05 – It is five past twelve

12:10 – It is ten past twelve

12:15 – It is a quarter past twelve

12:20 – It is twenty past twelve

12:25 – It is twenty-five past twelve

12:30 – It is half past twelve

12:35 – It is twenty-five to one

12:40 – It is twenty to one

12:45 – It is a quarter to one

12:50 – It is ten to one

12:55 – It is five to one

13:00 – It is one o’clock

14:00 – It is two o’clock

00:00 – It is midnight

Numbers

Cardinal numbers  Ordinal numbers

1 – one                               1 – first

2 – two                               2 – second

3 – three                            3 – third

4 – four                              4 – fourth

5 – five                               5 – fifth

6 – six                                6 – sixth

7 – seven                           7 – seventh

8 – eight                            8 – eighth

9 – nine                              9 – ninth

10 – ten                              10 – tenth

11 – eleven                        11 – eleventh

12 – twelve                        12 – twelfth

13 – thirteen                     13 – thirteenth

14 – fourteen                    14 – fourteenth

15 – fifteen                        15 – fifteenth

16 – sixteen                      16 – sixteenth

17 – seventeen                17 – seventeenth

18 – eighteen                   18 – eighteenth

19 – nineteen                   19 – nineteenth

20 – twenty                       20 – twentieth

30 – thirty                         30 – thirtieth

40 – forty                           40 – fortieth

50 – fifty                            50 – fiftieth

60 – sixty                           60 – sixtieth

70 – seventy                      70 – seventieth

80 – eighty                         80 – eightieth

90 – ninety                        90 – ninetieth

100 – one hundred   100 – one hundredth

 

Days, Months, Seasons

Days of the Week:

– Monday
– Tuesday
– Wednesday
– Thursday
– Friday
– Saturday
– Sunday

Months of the Year:

– January
– February
– March
– April
– May
– June
– July
– August
– September
– October
– November
– December

Seasons:

– Spring 🌷
– Summer 🏝
– Autumn ☔
– Winter ❄

Hello!

Among the first things you need to learn when travelling is saying “Hello!”, introducing yourself and mentioning some things about you.

– Hello!

– How are you?

– I’m fine, thank you!

– My name is…

– I am Italian / Portuguese / French / Spanish.
– Where are you from?
– I am from Italy / Sicily / Catania / Portugal / Lisbon / France / Paris / Spain / Barcelona.

– Pleased to meet you!

– Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! Good night!

– Good bye!

– Have a nice evening!

– Excuse me!

– Please!

– Thank you!

– Please speak more slowly!

– Could you please write that?
– Please, say that again!

– Yes / No / Maybe / I don’t understand!

– Do you speak English?
– I speak a little English!
– Does anybody here speak English?