As 2016 is a leap year, we thought we would get into the spirit and celebrate the one extra day we get every year!
Firstly, a little history.
The Gregorian calendar (the one we use) was introduced in 1582 and was split into 365 days. However, this was problematic as the earth’s revolution around the sun actually takes around 365 days and six hours! This would be an issue, as seasons would move back through months, making it much harder to predict weather and to know when crops should be planted and harvested.
It was made even more problematic that the year isn’t a neat 365.25 days – it’s about 11 minutes short of that. To compensate, not every four years is a leap year, and there is no February 29th in century years that aren’t divisible by 400 (so 2100 will not be a leap year).
There are a lot of superstitions surround leap years and leap days. An old proverb dictated that “leap year was ne’er a good sheep year”, while some folklore claims that the weather always changes on a Friday in a leap year. It’s also considered bad luck, especially in Greece, to get married during a leap year, although it is good luck to be born on a leap day.
In less enlightened times, Leap Day was sometimes known as Ladies Day – it was considered that in this year normal gender conventions were reversed. As such, it was the only year that women were allowed to propose to men – and a refusal from the man meant that he must reimburse her with money, expensive dresses, fur coats or gloves, depending on when and where this happened. In some cases the woman could only propose on Leap Day itself.
So, onto the bit you’re really interested in…the recipes!
First of all, we have a delicious Prohibition-era cocktail to help this leap year go down a little more smoothly.
The Leap Year Cocktail
Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill it with ice cubes, stir for around thirty seconds nd then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
And to go with your cocktail, why not try our nation’s favourite leapers in Rendang form?
Curry Paste Ingredients
- 4 peeled cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp chopped lemon grass
- 1 tsp each coriander seeds, cumin seeds and salt
- 4 small red chillies, chopped
- 2 tbsp peanut oil/melted ghee
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1kg kangaroo – topside or rump, diced to 2-3cm
- 2 medium brown onions, sliced thinly
- 600ml coconut milk
- 4 cardamom pods
- 90g dessicated coconut
- 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
Heat your oil in a big pan and seal the kangaroo meat so that it’s brown on the outside and rare inside.
Once all the kangaroo is cooked, begin on the onion, stirring it until soft.
Add the curry paste and cook over a low heat for around five minutes, stirring.
Add the coconut milk and cardamom and then bring the mixture to a boil
Simmer on the stove, uncovered, for around forty minutes.
Add the dessicated coconut and kangaroo meat, simmering for another five minutes. You want the meat to be medium rare.
Stir in the sweet soy sauce and season with salt
Best served with steamed rice and coriander sprinkled on top!
And remember to make the most of your extra day!