Welcome to the sixth stop on the Belles Holiday Wassailing Tour.
Surely you are still in a party mood, even after five previous stops!The Duchess of Murnane and her brother, the Earl of Chadbourn, the hero of A Dangerous Nativity welcome you to Eversham Hall. The duchess fears she is indisposed and not up to celebration, so the earl has enlisted the help of his nephew, the young duke and two boys from a neighboring farm to assist in preparation.
The boys have gone all out with mistletoe and have high hopes for the visit of their older sister, Catherine, for the holiday. The earl seems quite smitten.
To win a signed, print copy of Dangerous Works and a Warfield Owl, comment below with 1. Your favorite kind of holiday cookie and 2. the answer to the question below. The answer is to be found at the most recent stop on the tour, Vanessa Riley’s’s blog.
Where did Precious Jewell live in 1819?
Sylvia, the Duchess of Murane, her son Charles, the young duke, her brother Will, the Earl of Chadbourn, Catherine Wheatly and her brothers Fred and Randy, are characters in ‘A Dangerous Nativity’, in Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem
Catherine Wheatly is well aware that the base-born daughter of a younger son has few expectations. She is content to manage her father’s acres and care for her mischievous brothers. That is, she would be if a certain earl hadn’t barged into her quiet world and upset the apple cart.
The Earl of Chadbourn loves nothing better than to care for his fields, his flocks, and the people who earn their living from the land. Trapped by his brother-in-law’s death into responsibility for his traumatized nephew, grieving sister, and an estate gone to ruin, loneliness overwhelms him. The first-rate husbandry of a neighboring farm and the woman who runs it draw him like a moth to flame. With Christmas coming, can he repair the damaged estate and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?
“May I offer you a seasonal beverage?” Ten years of age, the Duke of Murnane, Charles Wheatly, has exquisite manners and is more adult than child. As he works his way around the room, greeting every guest. As he does his rowdy cousins from the farm next door, Randy and Freddy Wheatly stiffle their laughter. Freddie makes a mocking bow. Charles’s lips twitch but he narrowly avoids laughter. “And you, Sir? May I offer you a cup?”
LAMBSWOOL (Hot Wassail)
Found on Traveling Within The World
Original Lambswool Recipe 1648 (1835)
From ‘Oxford Night Caps’, by Richard Cook, Published 1835
Next crowne the bowle full
With gentle Lambs wooll,
Adde sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too,
And thus ye must doe
To make the Wassaile a swinger.
Herrick’s Twelfth Night, or King and Queen (published 1648)
This mixture is sometimes served up in a bowl, with sweet cakes floating in it.
Lambs Wool is merely a variety of the Wassail Bowl, and although not common in Oxford, is a great favourite in some parts of England. The following is the origin of the term Lambs Wool, as applied to this particular beverage. Formerly the first day of November was dedicated to the Angel presiding over fruits, seeds, &c. and was therefore named La mas ubal, that is, The day of the apple fruit, and being pronounced lamasool, our country people have corrupted it to Lambs Wool. Lambs Wool was anciently often met with in Ireland, but is now rarely heard of in that country, having been entirely superseded by the more intoxicating liquor called Whiskey.
Recipe. Mix the pulp of half a dozen roasted apples with some raw sugar, a grated nutmeg, and a small quantity of ginger. Add one quart of strong ale made moderately warm. Stir the whole well together, and, if sweet enough, it is fit for use.
[Note: in deference to a modern kitchen, I suggest a crock pot with amounts of ale and cider to taste and spices adjusted accordingly. Slices of apple work best in that scenario]
The not-so-stuck-up earl grinned down at her. “Catch!” he shouted, and she scrambled to obey. He climbed down with the same grace and alacrity with which he climbed up. Catherine watched in rapt fascination, mistletoe clutched to her breast.
“Cath won’t usually let us get the mistletoe. We make do with holly,” Freddy told Charles. At least the earl’s efforts kept her brothers from breaking their foolish necks.
Will leapt down from the lowest branch, landing on his feet, with laughter in his eyes. “Mistletoe is the best part, Freddy,” he said. “Let me demonstrate.” He moved toward Catherine, a predatory look taking the place of laughter in his expression.
Catherine took a step back, still clutching the mistletoe. She tried to control panic. Don’t be a ninnyhammer. What can he do in front of the boys?
When Will pulled her hands forward and took a sprig, she couldn’t take her eyes from his. “When a lady finds herself under mistletoe,” he told the boys without looking away from Catherine, “she must pay the forfeit.” He leaned in, and her eyes focused on his lips, his fine, chiseled lips. Her mouth parted in amazement just as he closed the distance between them. He took her lower lip in his gently, before moving over her mouth in a caress that took her breath. Before she could disgrace herself by clutching his neck and drawing him closer, he pulled back and smiled knowingly.
“That, my boys, is how it’s done,” he said hoarsely, without taking his eyes from her face.
“Do be quiet and eat your artichokes,” Catherine hisses at her brothers.
“But Cath, it’s Christmas. We want the sweets.”
“Finish this course first and we’ll have a treat.”
Jerusalem Artichoke a la Crème
Wash and peel fifteen artichokes and cook until tender in salted water to cover. Drain and reheat in butter with a little cream. Simmer for ten minutes, season with salt, pepper and minced parsley, and serve with White or Cream Sauce.
Freddy Wheatly”Brilliant!” Randy exclaims. “This Boosh cake is delicious.” He scooped the last morsel on his plate into his mouth. Do you think Chadbourn will let us have another slice?” Freddy licked chocolate from his lips and swallowed hard. “Who cares? He isn’t watching. Besides, Lady Fairweather already had three.” The two boys moved stealthily toward the table. “Good, isn’t it?” came a voice from behind them. Charles grinned back at the two of them. “Let’s have another.”
The sound of a clearing throat makes all three boys spin around on their heels. Catherine Wheatly, Randy and Fred’s sister, looks down sternly. “One more and then stop. I’ll not be up nursing sick stomachs before Christmas.” Only mildly daunted they serve up thick slices and completely miss the twinkle in their sister’s eyes.
“Yule Log (Buche de Noel)
The yule log cake is served at the midnight feast that follows Mass on Christmas Eve. Although it does not take the place of our flaming Christmas pudding, it makes a nice dessert to serve at any time during the Christmas season.
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 egg whites
Chocolate Butter Cream 1
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon hot water
2 or 3 blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the mixing bowl with hot water and wrap a hot wet towel around the base. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat for 5 minutes or until the mixture has doubled in volume. Fold in the flour and then the butter, which should be cooled. Fold in the beaten egg whites gently but thoroughly.
Butter a small, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (10X14) and dust it with flour. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth it evenly with a knife. Bake 10 minutes. Spread a damp towel on a marble slab or table. Run a knife around the edge of the baked cake and turn the pan upside down on the towel, leaving the pan on top of the cake until it is cool. Make the butter cream, using 5 egg yolks, and add to it the dissolved instant coffee. Spread the cake with the butter cream and roll it up lenghthwise like a jelly roll. Place seam side down on a long serving tray and cut off both ends diagonally. Put the remaining butter cream in a pastry bag fitted with a flat cannellated tip. Force the cream lengthwise over the surface of the cake to give the appearance of bark. Place a ‘knot’ here and there. Decorate the cake with almonds and a sprig of holly made with strips of angelica and little rounds of candied cherries. Sprinkle very lightly with green sugar.”
—The Complete Tante Marie’s French Kitchen, Translated and adapted by Charlotte Turgeon [Oxford University Press:New York] 1962 (p. 127-8)—thanks to The Food Timeline
“Enough of that young man,” Chadbourn said, pulling Fred by the collar away from the egg nog. Squire Archer grinned at the two of them and two of them and helped himself to another cup of nog. “Very fine eggnog Chadbourn, but not, I think for sprouts.” “I only had two,” Freddy mumbled. “Two too many,” Chadbourn told him. “Charles and Randy had some!” Freddy exclaimed. Chadbourn looked across the rooom, between the crush of guest to see two ruddy faces peering over the back of a settee looking mildly alarmed. “That may be but you’re the one I saw dipping in. What will your sister say?” Freddy hung his head, well and truly caught. “Look now, your sister is at the pianoforte.
“My favorite!” Freddy exclaims. “Mine too,” the earl murmurs as the woman who haunts his nights begins to sing.
Joy to the world! The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found
Read more: Christmas Carols – Joy To The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics
“Eggnog. Twelve eggs beaten separately, Twelve tablespoons powdered sugar, Eighteen tablespoons French brandy or whisky, Twelve teaspoons Jamaica rum, One tablespoon vanilla extract, One quart whipped cream. Beat yolks of eggs with the sugar till very light; stir in whisky or brandy and rum and set on ice to cool. Just before serving add the vanilla, the beaten whites and all the cream which has been beaten to stiff froth. Serve from cups and eat with spoon.”
—Recipe from Economy Administration Cook Book, Susie Root Rhodes and Grace Porter Hopkins editors [W.B. Conkey Company:Hammond IN] 1913—thanks to The Food Timeline
Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.
***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***
Donate to the Malala Fund
We wish you safe journeys and many holiday joys as you depart. Now that this delightful interlude is done, make sure you link back to all of the Belles’ holiday wassailing stops, with a different Regency era Christmas carol, dinner selection, and beverage, and wassail recipes at every stop that you can make in the modern kitchen.
- 4 Dec: Jude Knight: The First Course, Regency White Soup
- 7 Dec: Nicole Zoltack: The Second Course, Lobster au Gratin
- 9 Dec: Amy Rose Bennett: The Third Course, A Stuffed Christmas Turkey
- 11 Dec: Susana Ellis: The Fourth Course, A Yorkshire Pie
- 14 Dec: Vanessa Riley: The Fifth Course, English Bread
- 16 Dec: Caroline Warfield: The Sixth Course, Jerusalem Artichoke a la Crème
- 18 Dec: Sherry Ewing: The Seventh Course, Mince Pies
- 21 Dec: Mariana Gabrielle: The Eighth Course, Christmas Pudding