In Spain they keep to the old twelve days of Christmas and the last day of Christmas is on 6th January which is Twelfth night. Sunday therefore is the Kings night when the three kings visit the children to leave them gifts or coal if they haven't been good!
There is a big parade through the centre of the city and a multitude of children line the streets. The Kings parade on their horses and camels;floats and bands march and sweets are thrown.When it is finished the Kings:Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar, after a bit of a rest, pop into the children's houses when they are asleep and leave them presents .........yes I know....again!!!!
In my house at least as I have to celebrate Christmas day too!
Can you imagine a Christmas Day with no Father Christmas? I can't!
I remember the very first Christmas I spent in Spain it was hard for me because my Spanish family did not celebrate Christmas in the same way.
I felt very homesick!
There was no Christmas tree only a nativity scene.Father Christmas did not make an appearance! However there were meals after meals after meals in different homes visiting the family.The Spanish families were on holiday and there was laughter and tears when an unexpected member of the family turned up, especially if they had traveled far. There was lots and lots of laughter and smiling faces. Everyone greeted each other ,families,neighbours,shop keepers,friends,colleagues with a smile calling out "Feliz Navidad, Feliz Dia, Felices fiestas " .
Once I adapted I realized that it was a good way to celebrate Christmas too and when I moved into my own place I was able to enjoy my own tradition and the Spanish ones as well.
Christmas Day lunch is always a decision we make together.......turkey,duck,a leg of something or a Spanish meal. It is traditional in this area of Spain to have cocido on Christmas Day and this year Sr P asked me if we could have that.
As my mother-in-law taught me how to make cocido way back when we lived with my in laws and as it is one of the most practical dishes to make because it can be prepared and cooked in advance. This works out very well especially on a day like Christmas day. The late Christmas Eve dinner the night before with all the family means we do get up very late on Christmas day so I was more than happy to do that.
Cocido is a main meal soup
It is a Chicken soup packed full with lots and lots of ingredients:
- half a small chicken
- half a boiling fowl
- half a pigeon (if you can get it but optional)
- meat bone x 1
- ham bone x 1
- chunk of stewing beef
- small piece of belly pork
- chunk of cooking chorizo
- Chicken stock cube x1
- bay leaves by 3
- carrots x 4
- swede x 1 (small)
- parsnip x 1 (small)
- celery x 2 sticks
- leek x 1
- onion x 1
- large whole potatoes x 4
- chickpeas ( soaked over night)
- Medium sized meat balls x 6
- morcilla sausage x 1 (optional)
- lettuce ( outer leaves) x 6 to 8
- water to cover
Wash and prepare all ingredients. Place all ingredients except the meat balls in a pressure cooker cover with water add salt. Calculate 20 minutes from the minute steam escapes from the valve. Lower heat.
At the end of cooking time turn off heat,remove valve. DO NOT TRY TO OPEN LID until all the steam has been released through valve nozzle....IT IS DANGEROUS!!! Once all steam has escaped open lid. Strain soup into another pan. Discard stewing chorizo, sausage,bones,belly pork and lettuce leaves ( I don't like celery so that goes too) . Cut up some of the chicken and the other ingredients (very much depends on personal likes) and add to the strained soup,add meat balls and cook for 20 minutes approx.
Serve with a dash of lemon ( not everyone likes the lemon).
*If you buy a jar of chickpeas they are normally already cooked so add to soup 5 minutes before end of strained soup with meat balls cooking time.
*Sometimes only the meat balls are added to the strained soup and all the ingredients are served on a large platter in the centre of the table so everyone can choose what they want to add to their soup.
*Advice:The soup is much better if you make and strain it the day before.
It does look a long process but it isn't once you have all the ingredients into the pressure cooker you can go and crochet for 20 mins!
I am very happy to announce.....
that BIG Fred the BIG puddy cat, whose photo and appeal from the Spanish Strays organisation in Andalucia has been displayed on my blog for some weeks now, has finally been adopted and has a FOREVER HOME.
This was just before Christmas day...it makes me feel so good!
Now you will see there is another photo displayed on the left of my page ....Charlie boy who also wants a forever home too! I'm afraid you will be seeing many more puddy cats looking for forever homes announced on my blog as Kerrie at Spanish Strays tells me they have over 70 cats and kittens to find homes for!
Have a great weekend