Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Archive for Christmas

Toasting with the Tudors

Feeling festive? I hope we all are, by now! So that you can enjoy the holiday season and keep our favourite historical family in mind at the same time, I give you my Tudor-inspired toastmakers to enjoy* during the Christmas season, for New Years, for the third Thursday in January, or for whenever you like.  I did create these so do blame me if you love them or loathe them; I hope it’s the former!

(Yes, there are generalisations of each Tudor’s personality in this piece and I realise that we can’t pigeonhole them with just a few words; please allow the descriptions for the sake of the post. Thanks!)

The Henry VII (dependable and non-extravagant) Mix a bottle of shiraz with 1 cup of orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 sliced orange, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of cardamom pods, and about 5 whole cloves. Simmer and serve very warm.

The Henry VIII (big and charismatic) Drop 2 big scoops of dark chocolate ice cream into a frosty mug and top with cold Guinness.

The Catherine of Aragon (long-lasting and loyal) For white sangria, mix 1 bottle of white Rioja with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 sliced peach, 1 sliced mango, 1 cup sliced strawberries, 2 sliced apples, and 1 sliced lime in a large punch bowl. Add ice.

The Anne Boleyn (spicy and spirited) In a martini glass, pour 2 oz vodka, 2 0z ginger brandy, and 1/4 cup lime juice; mix.

The Jane Seymour (low-key and family-oriented) For non-alcoholic eggnog, slowly heat 1 cup of milk and a 1/4 cup of condensed milk with a pinch of cloves and cinnamon in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar. Very slowly, whisk some of the the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture drop by drop, then add it all back to the saucepan with a sprinkle of nutmeg and 1/2 cup heavy cream, whisking constantly.

The Anne of Cleves (pleasant and barely noticeable) Pour a tall wine glass of cold riesling and garnish with a lemon wedge

The Katherine Howard (light and bubbly) Add just a drop of peach nectar to a Champagne flute, top with Champagne or sparkling wine, and float a few fun raspberries at the top

The Catherine Parr (a strong ending) To a cup of hot coffee, add  1/2 cup Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of ground cocoa.

The Edward VI (small and a bit salty/sour!) Make a mini-margarita by combining 1/2 cup of lime juice with 1 oz tequila and a splash of triple sec, over ice. Be sure to salt the rim!

The Lady Jane Grey (over in an instant!) Mix 1/2 oz of amaretto with 1/2 oz of Kahlua, add a splash of cream, down as a shot, finished!

The Mary I (old-fashioned and staunch) Pour a dash of Angostura bitters and an equal amount of water over 1 tbsp sugar, add 1 1/2 oz  whiskey and set a twist of lemon peel on top.

The Elizabeth I (the center of attention) Pour 1 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps into a heat-proof glass, add 1 1/2 oz of Bacardi 151 and a splash of pomegranate juice, stand well back and carefully light with a long match or lighter, blow out after a few seconds.**

*Enjoy responsibly and if you’re of-age, of course.  **Obviously, do not drink this whilst it is still flaming and I have no responsibility for complications that come from this process. ***Silly that anyone needs to add disclaimers such as these but at the present time it seems the norm.


Food, Glorious Food!

Just a reminder that, for our UK friends, the Yesterday channel is airing “A Tudor Feast at Christmas” tonight, 20 December, at 9:00 pm, so try to catch it if you can. The description is as follows:

“Historians and archaeologists forego the convenience of modern equipment and turn back the clock to re-create a feast with the ingredients, recipes and methods that would have been used more than 400 years ago. Part of the Medieval season.”

Maybe they’ll mention that superduper Tudor masterpiece, the Christmas pie: A pigeon shoved into a partridge shoved into a goose shoved into a turkey…all baked up in pastry dough. (Sure, why not at that point?) 

(Thanks to our friend Amy on the Tudor Tutor Facebook page for the heads-up regarding this series on YouTube, for those outside the UK who cannot watch tonight: Part 1, 2, 3, and 4.)

So to carry on the food-theme and because I’m trying to make a blog a bit more, well, bloggish, I’m taking the liberty of sharing just a few of my fave places to grab a bite or enjoy a leisurely meal. When the holidays have worn off and you’re ready to have another nosh out and about, give one of these a try if one is nearby you:

A Tudoriffic Christmas!

Are there really six days left until Christmas?? I’m usually a good planner, list maker, and so on, but this year I have found myself with less than a week remaining and loose ends left to wrap up! At least I have completely my Christmas post for you: giftwrapped and tied with a bow, here are some Tudor Christmas goodies.

Check this out for commentary on Tudor-era Christmases mingled with holiday pics from the Showtime series “The Tudors.” For a Christmas 1536 scene via the series, here’s some Joyeux Noel from Henry VIII and his une grande heureuse famille, apparently. And as if the Transiberian Orchestra’s brilliant “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo” needed any further angst, here is a well-made fan vid using scenes from “The Tudors.”

Step this way for all the details on the swank Christmas bash at Hampton Court palace and have a look at this 4-minute video from Historic Royal Palaces regarding a genuine Tudor Christmas as it would have been in the Massive Monarch’s day.

When I visited the Vivat Rex! exhibit in Washington DC’s Folger Shakespeare Library last fall, I was treated to the scrolls featuring Henry VIII’s holiday shopping list from 1539; you can see them here.

For the marvellous Tudor Advent Calendar from the Anne Boleyn Files, click here. Although there are not many days left, you can still click on days past to discover the treasures behind the numbers.

Imagine you have stepped into a Tudor Christmas celebration with this angelic performance of the Conventry Carol. And why not have some fun as the Muppets take on that popular 16th-century carol, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”!