THE HOLLY AND THE IVY
This Christmas carol is different from many of the others in that it blends both pagan and Christian ideas, symbols and sentiments. The typically pagan symbols of holly and ivy are primitive symbols of the male and female, whilst the image of the ‘The rising of the sun’ is clearly linked to paganism. It is thought that the words of the carol were originally associated with an ancient fertility dance.
Baked Cod with Butter Beans and Vine Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6. Spoon the butter beans into an oven-proof dish and add the finely minced garlic, mixing well. Wash, wipe and pat the cod fillets dry before placing on top of the butter beans in the oven-proof dish, then season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the fish fillets. Pour over the white wine and arange the lemon slices on top of the fish fillets before. Cover the dish with some tinfoil, before baking in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes; after 20 minutes, take the fish out and arrange the cherry tomatoes on the vine in and around the fish fillets before baking for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the fish is cooked and breaks away in large flakes, and is still moist and the cherry tomatoes are soft. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of Pimenton (smoked paprika) and some freshly chopped parsley over the top; allow 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes per person and some cooked lemon slices. Serve with the cooking juices and some crusty bread, as well as a side salad.