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Essentially England News, December 2008 -- Essentially England is 1 Year Old!
December 16, 2008

Essentially England Celebrates Its First Birthday!

A cheerful welcome to everyone who subscribed to Essentially England News during the last month! Here you'll find England news, site news, travel tips, reviews and our Recipe of the Month, all in one easy-to-digest email.

December tends to be a mad rush, so I'll try to keep this one short with only a few reflections and a brief look ahead and a recipe, of course.

Our First Birthday!

After a very busy year, Essentially England is celebrating its first birthday this month! From 8 pages and 38 visitors last December the site has grown to 120 pages and over 4500 visitors a month.

Thanks for coming, thanks for looking and thanks for reading and most of all: thanks for all your comments, ideas and encouragement!

I'm having a fantastic time building the site steep learning curve and long nights and all and I hope that you enjoy reading about England as much as I enjoy writing about it.

What Next for Essentially England?

England's an endlessly fascinating topic, so there's lots of history and food still to be written about. So what can you look forward to over the next 12 months?

Get to know England's counties: I've lined up a whole raft of pages about the attractions, food and history of Norfolk, Suffolk, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Cornwall.

Recipes and Food galore: I'll be adding more traditional recipes as I find them.

And the Made in England section will expand greatly, with features and portraits of traditional English craftsmen and artisan producers and of course their products. There's tea and cheese and furniture and beautiful porcelain and any number of quirky things that I'll keep secret a little longer!

For a sneak preview, check out this most wonderful play house! It looks so beautifully quaint that it's hard to believe that it has heating and lighting. I wish I'd had something like this when I was a girl or had a garden large enough to accommodate it now. I can see it looking really nice alongside a Cotswold hotel or an upmarket garden centre just imagine the kids' faces!

Travel Tips and Reviews

I'll leave most of those until the New Year, but if you're planning to visit England next year, like to stay in slightly unusual surroundings AND are looking for a stocking filler then check out the UK Guide to the Mr & Mrs Smith hotel collection that I've only just found in our local garden centre of all places!

I love their quirky sense of humour and the knack they have for selecting truly outstanding hotels and guest houses. Several in the book are local to us, so I was able to compare their reviews. Available both in the UK and North America it's absolutely one for your bookshelf if you like to travel in style!

Recipe of the Month - Crispy Mincemeat Pudding

If you're looking for a lighter alternative to Christmas pudding, but want all the Christmassy flavours then try this crispy, crackly pie that goes great with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. It's very quick and easy to put together.

You will need:
A shallow cake tin
1 packet of ready-to-use Filo pastry
1 small handful of chopped nuts
1 jar of good-quality mince meat
Melted butter

  1. Heat the oven to medium.
  2. Generously butter your cake tin and line with 3-4 sheets of Filo pastry, so that the pastry overhangs the cake tin.
  3. Brush melted butter over the filo pastry and be generous.
  4. Sprinkle the nuts over the filo, then cover with 3-4 more pastry sheets, again leaving them to overhang.
  5. Spoon a thick layer of mince meat onto the pastry, before brushing the overhanging bits with more melted butter.
  6. Fold the overhanging bits of pastry over the mince meat, as neat as you like. I prefer to scrunch the pastry sheets so they look like crumpled paper.
  7. Brush all over with the rest of the butter and cook for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.
  8. Serve with lots of ice cream.

And Next Month

Look out for destination pages and of course the much expanded Made in England section.

Until then, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! sue

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