Maundy coin Queen Victoria
Maundy or Holy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. The name comes from the Latin ‘mandatum’ when at the Last Supper Jesus commanded his disciples to love each other and show loving service by the washing of feet.
Last year Pope Francis performed the ceremony breaking away from tradition by including women and people from other faiths. In the UK it is traditional to mint special silver coins to be handed out by the Queen to elderly citizens who have helped in the community – one for every year of the her life. This year 98 men and 98 women will be handed a white leather bags containing the Maundy moneyand a red bag containg money to replace the food and clothing given in the past. The tradition began in the Middle Ages when alms were bestowed after the ritual feet washing. The feet were washed by servants three times in scented water before being presented to the sovereign.
All over Naples mussel soup is traditionally served on Giovedi Santo but it is so good it is eaten all through the year.
2 k mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
400 g can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 dry chilli pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Fresh chopped parsley
4 friselle or rounds of toast.
Before buying the mussels I usually mince 2 dry chillies and cover with a little extra virgin olive oil – known as ‘olio santo’ in the south. It should be freshly-prepared. Dribble this over the soup after serving.
Heat the oil and add the garlic and chilli. Chop the tomatoes and stir into the pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Open the mussels by placing in a large pan with a little water. Cover until they open, discarding any that fail to open. Add to the tomato and stir well. Check for salt. I like to serve in individual bowls with the friselle before sprinkling over the parsley and piccante oil.