Cappuccino, Monks and this Gate in Spello

The Cappuccini Gate in Spello.

What’s the connection between this gate in Spello, a cappuccino, an order of monks and Lizzie Witch.

Well, if you are a child it’s all about frothy milk and Lizzie Witch so for children go to the programme here: Frothy milk

If you are an adult then read on!

Around 1520 a friar from Marche in Italy said that God felt that the lifestyle of friars of his day was not that intended by their founder, St. Francis of Assisi and He endeavoured to return to the original primitive lifestyle

The Church tried to surpress this movement and Friar Matteo and his followers had to go into hiding. They were given refuge by the Camaldolese Monks and later adopted the hood or Cappucio worn by that order as a mark of gratitude. From this came the name of the order. Capuchin Momks.

Legend has it that when a Turk army fled after marching on Vienna in 1683 they left lots of sacks of coffee beans behind. The coffee made with these beans was very bitter and so milk and honey was added to make it drinkable. The drink was called Cappucino after the capuchin order of Monks the habits of which also just happened to be the same colours as a Cappuccino.

Above: the road in Spello leading from the Cappuccini Gate.

Jumble  Mess

If there’s an ‘Eton Mess’ (Strawberries, whipped cream and broken meringue) then I don’t see why we can’t have a ‘Jumble House Mess’!  Actually I had intended to make Eton Mess but then didn’t have any meringue so concocted this instead! 

To be honest I’d prefer a piece of cheese any day but then I’m not normal!  Most people love a dessert, my husband being no exception and he wolfed the lot! 

This can be made with fresh strawberries or mixed berries or even frozen frutta di bosco or fruits of the forest. It’s even nice if you mix the two! 


Berries ..strawberries or fruits of the forest.

Whipped cream – I added a sachet of brown sugar (1 teaspoon) 

Custard. (If English)    crema pasticciera  (If Italian) and if neither then I’m not sure! I used a packet of Birds Custard powder but used less liquid. Half a pint instead of three quarters. 

Di Saronno

Biscuits. I used an Italian biscuit. In England.  Definitely not Digestive Biscuits because they are too rich. Rich Tea are too plain. Maybe ‘Hob nobs’ or similar would work. 

So the method:

First crush the biscuits. 2/3 per person. I put them in a plastic bag and beat them with a rolling pin. Then put a thin layer of the biscuit crumbs at the bottom of the glasses. 

Chop the strawberries into bite sized pieces and soak in Di Saronno for half an hour.  I used one tablespoon per person. If you are using berries or frozen fruits of the forest do the same..

Then put a layer of strawberries (or your chosen berries) on top of the biscuits. Don’t forget the juice!! That’s VERY important! 

Carefully fold the cold custard and whipped cream together then put a big dollop on top of the fruit. 

Now repeat the layers: biscuit crumbs, fruit, cream mixture.

Finish off with some sprinkled biscuit crumbs and a strawberry or berries. 

That’s it! 


Lemon Cheesecake 

This is a quick, creamy and deliciously lemony Cheesecake. 

Preraratin time:  thirty minutes plus two hours in the fridge. 

About six servings. No bake. No eggs.

The ingredients

Mascarpone – One tub of full fat. 

Butter – 4 ozs

Nestle Condensed milk – one tube

Fresh Cream – 250mls –  the whipping type. (I used half the one in the photograph.)

McVitie Digestive Biscuits -about 12

Gelatine – 2 sheets 

Lemons – the juice and grated rind of three big ones. 


It’s best to watch the video but just a few points to observe.

  • I really believe in getting kids involved in the kitchen and they will enjoy helping to put this Cheesecake together. Even the smallest will have fun smashing the biscuits up . Supervised of course!  Then they can help to spoon the mixture in the dishes before licking the spoon of course! 
  • I followed the instructions on my gelatine advising to soak for ten minutes in cold water and then added it to the cheese and cream mixture prior to whisking . But do use as little water as possible. It helps if you break the gelatine into,small pieces. 
  • There’s no need to add sugar because this is present in the condensed milk. 
  • Choose large juicey good quality lemons. It really does make a difference.  



A lovely hearty dish for cooler days. 

Let’s the kids roll the sausage balls for you. They love the sticky jobs that us adults hate! 

This recipe works  really well in the slow cooker or on top of the cooker or can be casseroled on a low heat in the oven. 


I know it doesn’t look very appetising but it REALLY does taste delicious when cooked!’

For 4 people: 

4 CHICKEN joints 

3/4 thick good butchers sausages . Preferably with herbs. Linconshire sausages would work well.  Umbrian sausages are SUPERB!   

Two wine glasses of red wine.

One stock cube. Two big Cloves  of garlic. One red onion. 

A pack of back olives with stones. 

Two tins of good chunky tinned tomatoes.

Two teaspoons of oregano. 

Peperoncino or chilli pepper to taste 

One thinly sliced red pepper. 


First skin the sausage and roll into balls using four . You should get two/ three good sized balls from each. 

Rub the chicken joints with flour. 

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan. Add the chicken and sausage. Toss on medium heat for just four/five minutes then remove to a plate. 

Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook gently for five minutes. 

Replace chicken and sausage and Pour in the wine. 

Simmer for five minutes then add everything else .

Stir well and then turn down heat and cook with lid on very gently for an hour.  ( or put in the slow cooker or casserole it in the oven).

Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Serve with crispy sauté potatoes and tiny tender peas. 

Jumble House Stuffed Peppers 

These peppers are so gorgeous and filling!  Served with a salad they make a delicious, easy and healthy light meal. 

They are best cooked in the oven but if you, like me, don’t have one then it is possible to  use a microwave as you will see from the video: 

The ingredients: 

Large red peppers

Onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes,

Oregano, salt and pepper

Risotto rice

Stir Fry 

At Jumble House we like our meals to be healthy AND tasty and, if you have been following our blog you will know that we also like food with a bit of a kick!  Nothing bland! 

I can’t see any point in eating food, healthy or not, if you don’t actually ENJOY it.  Food needs to look good, smell good and taste good and what could  be nicer and more tempting than colourful, crisp vegetables and plump, juice prawns! 
                         Click on this link to be tempted!
This stir-fry is crammed full of colourful vegetables and great smelling spices and herbs. I’ve substituted Tamari Sauce for Soy sauce and lemon juice for Balsamic Vinegar to reduce the sugar content but feel free to experiment! 

The ingredients 

A large thinly sliced red onion.  2/3 cloves of garlic and about 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger. 

A large red pepper and some green vegetables. (Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Mangetout) 


A carrot cut into thin strips. ( this adds the sweetness ) 

Prawns ( you can substitute cubed chicken or Quorn ) 

Spices:  A pinch of Crushed Chillies and Cumin. I also like to add half a teaspoon of Chinese Spice. 

Sauces: Tamari and Thai Fish Sauce. Lemon Juice plus 2 tablespoons of Marsala or Sherry.

To finish: A few broken cashew nuts and chopped Coriander Leaf.    (Optional) 


Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a wok. Heat. 

Quickly fry the onion, garlic, spices and ginger for about 3 minutes. 

Push to the sides of the wok and add the vegetables that need the most cooking.  Cook on medium heat for  another 3 minutes then push to the side and add more. Continue this process until all the vegetables are in the wok. ( I suggest adding the mushrooms last.). The vegetables should stay crisp so don’t overcook. 

Mix together 1 tablespoon of Tamari Sauce,  1 tablespoon of Fish sauce and 2 tablespoon of sherry/Marsala or similar and add to the pan with the prawns. Cook until the prawns are cooked and a nice healthy pink (if using fresh ones) or heated through (frozen variety). Taste and add more spices/liquid as necessary. 

Stir in a handful of cashews. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaf and a teaspoon of sesame oil and serve with rice or noodles. 

Maisie’s Ragu with Pici


For four starter sized portions.

400 Grams of lean mince (mixed pork and beef is best) 

One packet of pancetta (smoked is best) 

Handful of chopped mushrooms 

A jar of tomato passata or a tin of finely chopped plum tomatoes or make your own passata by blending a large tin of plum tomatoes

A couple of bay leaves and two teaspoons of oregano  

One stock cube ….if needed 

A stick of celery (only if you like the taste of celery!) and a large red onion

One large or two smaller cloves of garlic

Half a teaspoon of nutmeg and a teaspoon of oregano. Pinch of Chilli . 

A small glass of red wine

Half a cup or small carton of single cream or milk. 


Put chopped onion and garlic with the pancetta in a medium saucepan 

No oil needed. Cook on high heat till cooked and good deep pink colour. ..about five minutes

Add meat and cook for a further five minutes on high heat. 

Add everything else except the cream or milk.

Add the wine and then boil for two minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Add milk or cream and turn down heat.

Put on lid and simmer gently for forty minutes. Keep checking. If it is going dry add more passata

After forty minutes it should be nice and creamy and rich. Taste and season with black pepper. 

If not thick enough add tomato purée. 

Bring a large pan to the boil. Add a teaspoon of salt.

You will need about 2/3 ozs  of Pici per person as a starter.

Drop Pici in bubbling water for about fifteen minutes. Keep testing.

When al dente transfer directly from water into the pan of sauce. Stir gently and heat for two minutes until the pasta is well coated.

Serve with grated Parmeasan cheese. 


You can watch this being made here:  ( please subscribe to our channel!) 

Maisie’s Ragu and Pici

Do visit our channel for more delicious recipes and art and craft and science and travel and …………… ! 

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Jumble House Mulled Wine

It’s SO easy and SO delicious!

I’ve collected the first lot of chestnuts and made the first lot of mulled wine and now I’m going to put my feet up and enjoy a glass while the chestnuts are roasting. It may be four  weeks off Christmas but who cares!  

I’ve  been making this mulled wine for many, many years and , despite sampling the varieties at different Christmas  Markets all over Europe I haven’t found one that comes anywhere near to it!  Of course that’s my opinion and tastes do vary!  I don’t like the sickly sweet varieties and I think you should be able to taste the brandy !

So,  if you like me find most varieties too sweet and if like your  mulled wine to have a bit of a kick then I think you will like this one!


Half a litre of red wine.

A quarter of a litre of good unsweetened orange juice.

Two decent measures of Brandy.

A stick of cinnamon

Half a lemon studded with about ten cloves 

A pinch of Pepperonchini or crushed chilliest….this adds a great kick but don’t overdo it!

( Optional ..I like to add a Star Anise )


I use the microwave but you can do this in a pan on top of the stove if preferred.

Just put everything in a big jug and then put that into the microwave.  Bring to nearly boiling and then turn down setting and keep hot for about thirty minutes.   Microwaves  do vary so you need to keep checking . Don’t let it bubble!  That will destroy the taste and the alcohol.

Then leave for a couple of hours. During this time the flavours will still be percolating through the liquid and through the room which is just divine!

I then strain it into a bottle which has been sterilised in the microwave. To do this rinse a clean bottle and shake out excess water. But in microwave for about one minute until the liquid has evaporated. (Time will vary according to microwave) 

The bottle will be very hot! Be careful getting it out. You will need a cloth or oven gloves. 

Cool a little then pur in the strained liquid. 

I’m not sure how long this will keep as we usually drink it pretty quickly!  

Just delicious with chestnuts roasted on an open fire or mince pies!

Why wait for Christmas!


                     Read the BLOG here.          

We cut sugar out  this week because we wanted to get rid of our coughs and colds.  BUT after reading this very open, informative and funny blog we will be looking at that sweet monster a little bit closer!  We knew that bad bacteria find sugary foods very yummy but there’s a lot more to it than that! 

There’s some great tasting recipes there too.