Was it a white one?

I love snow at Christmas. Unfortunately there was no sign of any in the UK this year, with extremely mild temperatures recorded here. In Germany it was also a green Christmas.

Mum’s Heuchera thinks it’s late summer!

There’s a saying in German:

Weihnachten im Schnee, Ostern im Klee

(Christmas in snow; Easter in clover)

Apparently it is known in English too, but the other way round!

A green Christmas; a white Easter

(Some people say it that way round in Germany too, as both seem to be true.)

I prefer the German version because it rhymes!

Despite a different climate, there are amazing similarities between weather proverbs in the UK and in Germany.

There is a lot of truth in them, and even if they are not always correct, they are certainly just as good as the long-term weather forecast!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
You are the tree most loved!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
You are the tree most loved!
How often you give us delight
In brightly shining Christmas light!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
You are the tree most loved!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Your beauty green will teach me
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Your beauty green will teach me
That hope and love will ever be
The way to joy and peace for me.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
Your beauty green will teach me.

For the original German lyrics click here: O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Brussels Sprouts

Brassica oleracea (var. gemmifera)

Brussels were possibly cultivated in ancient Rome, but the sprout we know today gets its name from later cultivation in Belgium in the 14th century.

(Do you call them brussels? Or sprouts?)

They can be bitter, and therefore the saying that they need a good hard frost before being harvested has much truth in it, as they then become milder.

To ensure even cooking, putting a cross at the stem end is important.  But even more important is not to overcook them, as they then go mushy and taste stronger. (That’s why so many people claim not to like them!) You also need to preserve all that vitamin C and the other vitamins, minerals and iron!

They are a traditional part of the British Christmas dinner. But we also like them steamed and then briefly sauteed in garlic oil, served with a dash of lemon juice and a tad of grated parmesan. Yum! (They go well with grilled cheese and croquettes!) The best ones are around now. I find they don’t taste so good later in the winter, but they do freeze well…

How do you like your sprouts?