Saturday, January 7, 2017


6 January 2017

Misty with very fine rain.  Not a lot of light today

7 degrees

By the 6th January, many Brits are feeling depressed (apparently) - the cake is eaten, the turkey just a carcass in the overflowing bins, the rellies have gone home and we have binged at the Sales.  However, in many countries this is an exciting date because it heralds the arrival of the Three Kings.

In Spain, there is quite a debate raging regarding whether Santa Claus is displacing the traditional Three Kings.  The truth is that Santa Claus is becoming more and more commen but even familities who sign up with 'Papa Noel' usually keep their accounts open with the Kings.

As for the Kings themselves, they continue to arrive on schedule every year to villages, towns and cities throughout Spain to make the annual parade which is known as Cabalgata.  This starts at dusk on the 5 January.  Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar are magically able to appear simultaneously throughout the country and they don't come empty handed.  They process on floats and throw handfuls of sweets to the waiting children.  The same night, children leave out their shoes to receive gifts.

It is also traditional for families to set up a nativity scene in their homes or gardens and move the images of the wise men closer and closer to Bethlehem over the Christmas season.  The idea is to have them arrive at the stable right on the 6 January.

Ten facts about the Feast of the Epiphany

  1. The three Kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) represented Europe, Arabia and Africa respectively.
  1. Hundreds of years ago, roast lamb was traditionally served at Epiphany in honour of Christ and the three Kings' visit.
  1. Whoever finds the small statue of a baby Jesus hidden inside their slice of the Rosca de reyes throws a party on Candlemas in February. In France of course, we have the Gallette des Rois and whoever finds the little china model gets to wear the crown.  It is known as the 'fève' which actually means bean.  It now can be whatever character the patissier fancies throwing into the mix.  Not being obsessed with health and safety in France, if you break your tooth, it is your own fault......
  1. In some European countries, children leave their shoes out the night before to be filled with gifts, while others leave straw for the three Kings' horses.
  1. According to Greek Orthodox Church's traditions, a priest will bless the waters by throwing a cross into it as worshippers try to retrieve it.
  1. In Bulgaria too, Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the sea and the men dive in - competing to get to it first.
  1. In Venice a traditional regatta that started as a joke in the late 1970s has been incorporated in the celebrations of Epiphany Day.
  1. In Prague, there is a traditional Three Kings swim to commemorate Epiphany Day at the Vltava River.
  1. In New York, El Museo del Barrio has celebrated and promoted the Three Kings' Day tradition with an annual parade for more than three decades. Thousands take part in the procession featuring camels, colorful puppets and floats.
  1. The day's activities involve singing holiday carols called aguinaldos.
A Coruna town hall

breakfast view

Our lodging

Hallway chap

Large model railway 

More railway with firefighter tower

German bit

Sodding Minions

Basque bits - ikastola is a college and Txistorra is a dish.  Euskal is basque for Basque

If you fancy running yourself up a traditional gallette des rois, here is Raymond Blanc's recette

For the puff pastry
400gPuff pastry, all butter, ready rolled (*1)
½Egg yolk, free range/organic, beaten (*2)
For the almond cream
75gButter, unsalted, at room temperature
75gIcing sugar
75gAlmond, powder
1Egg, free range/organic, whole
1Egg yolk, free range/organic
1 tbspDark rum or cognac
For the glaze
1Egg, free range/organic, whole
½Egg yolk, free range/organic
1½ tspSingle Cream

Cooking Method

To cut out the pastry
Using metal rings or plates as guides, cut out a 20cm round from one pastry sheet for the base, and a 22cm round from the other for the top. Place on a tray and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (*3). Any excess pastry can be kept for other use.
To make the almond cream
In a large bowl, whisk the butter, icing sugar, ground almonds, whole egg, egg yolk and rum or Cognac together to a smooth paste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
To make the galette
Spoon the almond cream onto the centre of the puff pastry base. Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the pastry, leaving a clear 2cm margin around the edge.
Brush the pastry rim with beaten egg yolk and carefully drape the other puff pastry circle neatly over the top. Press the pastry edges gently together to seal and expel all air, using your fingers and thumb. Cover loosely with a sheet of greaseproof paper and refrigerate or freeze for 1 hour to firm up the pastry before finishing (*4).
To finish the galette
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and place a baking stone or baking tray inside to heat up. Using a sharp knife, trim the edge of the galette to neaten. With the back of the knife, crimp the edge of the pastry all around (*5).
For the glaze
Lightly beat the egg, egg yolk and cream together until evenly blended. Brush the galette with the glaze.
Now, using the back of a knife, score a spiral of curved rays starting from the centre of the galette and extending right to the edge. Alternatively, you could simply criss-cross the top of the galette with the knife.
To bake the galette 
Carefully slide the galette onto the preheated baking stone or tray in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Carefully lift the galette onto a wire rack and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

- See more at:

And of course, what else could song in my head be?

No comments:

Post a Comment