Boxing Day…. what is it?

Of course Santa loves Boxing Day #dayoff

So today is Boxing Day. If you are reading this in the States then it’s just another day… in England and other parts of the Commonwealth this is also a days holiday for most people.

When I was growing up I always thought that the 26th December was named ‘Boxing Day’ because of all the sport that happens.

It’s always a huge day for football in the English Premiership (that’s soccer to you Americans, and football to the rest of the football playing world LOL), and Boxing Day evening in our house always meant tuning in to Match of the Day which is the summary program of all the day’s action….

My Dad and I would sometimes even go to a game when Aston Villa (his team) were playing at home .. (I’m a Liverpool fan so we’d always look for that tie!).

It’s also a huge day for horse racing and hunting..( we used to have a hunt come right past one of our houses in Worcestershire)..

Today is also a huge sales day at the stores…think Black Friday in the States… it’s crazy and I’ve never been…I’d rather lie in bed than get mixed up with that crazy! People queue in the cold… no thanks… there is a reason I live in Florida now!

So imagine my surprise when my husband (who is American) told me this morning that Boxing Day had nothing to do with sport and shopping originally..although there is some query about the origin!

According to Wikipedia

There are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which is definitive.[5] The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.[6]

The term “Christmas-box” dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.[7]

In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[8]This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[9] This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

So apparently I’ve had it all wrong all this time…

Our Boxing Day traditions at my parents was an open house and lots of ‘buffet’ style food and desserts for anyone, family, friends and neighbors, to drop in and enjoy…. here my husband has gone to work and I’m blogging… hmmmmmm.

Have a wonderful Boxing Day, and enjoy your leftovers!

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Cherry, Vanilla Bean & White Chocolate Scones

Cherry is not something I grew up with in my scones, but it is one of my favorite flavors.

You could make these scones with the candied red cherries that you can get at Christmas… I like this brand which I buy on Amazon – Candied Fruit – 1 Lb Tub (Red Cherries).

Here I’ve used a dried cherry, no extra sugar added. The sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla negate the need for the extra sugar.

This is as close to perfect as I’ve found so far, the key is a set of baking scales, because cups are just not accurate enough… I recently purchased this very reasonable set on Amazon, Weighmax Electronic Kitchen Scale 

Baking Scales Amazon Prime

They are only $11 and you can free delivery if you have Amazon Prime.

This recipe calls for Vanilla Bean… it’s become so expensive recently and I’ve taken to using this in both my scone recipes and whipped cream…. yummy! Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Get you some!!

Print Recipe
Cherry, Vanilla Bean & White Chocolate Scones
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan assisted)/425F/Gas 7.
  2. Line baking tray with parchment paper
  3. use 1lb of the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers to create a breadcrumb-like mixture.
  4. Add the sugar, eggs and baking powder and use a wooden spoon to turn the mixture gently. Add the chocolate chips and cherries at this point. Make sure you mix all the way down to the bottom and incorporate all of the ingredients.
  5. Now add half of the milk with vanilla mixed in and keep turning the mixture gently with the spoon to combine. Then add the remaining milk a little at a time and bring everything together to form a very soft, wet dough. (You may not need to add all of the milk.)
  6. Sprinkle most of the remaining flour onto a clean work surface. Tip the soft dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. The mixture will be wet and sticky.
  7. Next roll the dough out: sprinkle flour onto the work surface and the top of the dough, then use the rolling pin to roll up from the middle and then down from the middle. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and continue to roll until it’s about 2.5cm/1in thick. ‘Relax’ the dough slightly by lifting the edges and allowing the dough to drop back onto the work surface.
  8. Using a pastry cutter, stamp out rounds from the pastry and place them onto the baking tray. Dip the edge of the pastry cutter in flour to make it easier to cut out the scones without them sticking. Don’t twist the cutter – just press firmly, then lift it up and push the dough out.
  9. Once you’ve cut 4 or 5 rounds you can re-work and re-roll the dough to make it easier to cut out the remaining rounds. Any leftover dough can be worked and rolled again, but the resulting scones won’t be as fluffy.
  10. Place the scones on the baking tray and leave them to rest for a few minutes to let the baking powder work. Then use a pastry brush (or your finger if you don’t have a brush) to glaze them with the beaten egg and salt mixture. Be careful to keep the glaze on the top of the scones. (If it runs down the sides it will stop them rising evenly.
  11. Bake the scones in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the scones are risen and golden-brown.
  12. Leave the scones to cool, then split in half and add butter, jam and clotted cream to serve.
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