Monday, July 30, 2012

A brief history of England ?!

I have attempted to condense over 500,000 years of history into one post - here it goes...
  • 500,000 BC 1st people arrived from Europe on landbridge.
  • 6500 BC Sea level rises and landbridge flooded - Isle of Britain is formed
  • 2000 BC  Stonehenge is completed
  • wars, wars, wars
  • 43 BC Romans ivade and rule for next 400 years
  • 50 BC  London is founded
  • 410 AD Romans leave but Anglo-Saxons invade
  • wars, wars, wars
  • 1055 AD Westminster Abbey is completed
  • 1348 Black Death (bubonic plague) kills half of population
  • wars, wars,wars
  • 1591 William Shakespeare's 1st play is performed
  • 1620  Pilgrims set sail for America aboard the Mayflower
  • 1652  Tea is introduced.
  • wars, conflicts, strife
  • 1868  NJoseph Lister invents disinfectant
  • 1876  Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone
  • 1991  Sir Tim Berners Lee invents World Wide Web !!!
Ok, now I know I skipped all the kings and queens, and the great wars, and the many, many different invasions and conquests that occurred but I would have had to fill many pages and I just couldn't do that to you (or myself).  If you would like to learn more please visit your library or google "history of England".  England is a country with a rich and diverse background which is probably why so many books, plays, movies and songs have been written about it.  Please accept my apologies for abbreviating it so harshly.
Now let's EAT!!

Project 1: Toad in a Hole

When I told people we were going to eat English food this week I got so many moans and comments about how bad English food is...well, they were wrong!! So far we've had Fish and Chips, which were delicious, and Toad in a Hole :)  When I told my daughter we were making Toad in a Hole, she looked at me and told me straight out that she was NOT going to eat a toad!!  Luckily for her real toad is not part of the recipe.  You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 3 eggs beaten (I only have 2 in the picture)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of Bangers (sausage made with pork and breadcrumbs) or any other good, mild sausage
We live in the SF Bay Area and have access to many international ingredients.  I realize many of you may not so I will try to make recipes that have easily substitutable (sp?) ingredients :)  Now on with the show.
1.  Combine flour, salt and pepper in bowl.  Add beaten eggs, milk and melted butter and stir until everything is smooth.  Cover and let stand 30 mins.
2.  Coat bottom and sides of baking dish with oil and put in bottom third of oven .  Preheat oven and dish to 425'.
3.  Brown sausages in skillet.  I didn't feel like there was going to be enough sausage (and I wasn't sure if we'd like bangers) so I added 3 hot dogs too :)
4.  When oven and pan is preheated, pull rack out slightly and (carefully) add sausages to pan.  Pour batter over the top of the sausages and cook for about 25-30 mis until golden and puffed up!!
Isn't it lovely! It was super yummy too!! The batter cooks up and around the sausages and makes it's own little bun.  The bread part was crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.  The bangers were very good too.  I used this brand but I think it would

work well with any kind of sausage.  The kids ate it and the husband ate it, so it is a recipe I will have to remember!!  Plus the look on your friends' faces when you serve them Toad in a Hole is priceless :)  Enjoy!!   

Week 2: Tally Ho! We're off to England!

Week 2:  Tally Ho!  We're off to England! (and a lesson in latitude and longitude)

Pip, pip cheerio and all that, today we are going to start our adventure in England!  We are going to start all our adventures by finding them on our map.  Do you have a map or a globe? There are many online or you can purchase a large wall map at most office or educational stores- kids love to see where they live and it will be fun to put a sticker on every country as we visit! 

 Ok, how do you find a country on a map if you don't know where it is?  Latitude and Longitude! Ok, but what is that?  It is a system for charting locations on a map where the Earth is divided up into a grid.  The horizontal lines are Latitudes (aka parallels) and they are all equally spaced 69 miles (111 km) apart, with the equator being the middle.  An easy way to remember is to think of latitude as being a ladder up and down the earth- get it? "ladder"tude :)

Longitude (aka meridians) are always the second coordinate given and they are the vertical lines that meet at the poles and are widest at the equator (also 69 miles or 111km).  0' is located at Greenwich, England and known as the Prime Meridian.  The lines extend east and west from there and meet at 180'E and 180'W at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. 

So now you should be able to find any place you are looking to find, as long as you have the coordinates :) 

 London (the capital of England) has the coordinates of  51N, 0.1W

Because of it's distance from the Equator and the fact that it is an island country, England's weather is usually fairly mild and sometimes downright wet and chilly. In fact, since recorded history, the summer of 2003 was the first time temperatures hit the 100' mark.  Better wear layers...and carry an umbrella!