I’m sure its the same for almost everyone; but for my family Christmas is all about tradition. We follow the same rituals every year; we open our stockings on Mum & Dad’s bed, and then wait for Dad to have a cup of tea before we’re allowed into the lounge to see whats under the tree. Once present opening is out of the way and the turkey’s in the oven we head to meet the rest of our family at the pub for a pint before dinner.
I would be lying if I said that every year we have a lovely, calm, civilised Christmas Dinner – we don’t, its loud its hectic it’s cramped, but I love it! I seriously wouldn’t have it any other way; theres always arguments over who gets the last pig in blanket, people trading carrots with potatoes or slipping Nan their brussels sprouts, its great. After everything has been polished off, everyone pulls a pound from their pocket and places it in the middle of the table, buying themselves a portion of Christmas pud – bizarre I know but let me explain. My Nan or Auntie make the puds themselves, and there’s always a silver coin (threepenny bit or sixpence) hidden inside. The idea is that whoever finds the coin in their piece, gets to keep everyone else’s pudding money.
Usually you need to start making your Christmas Pud around September time, feeding it brandy or sherry right up to the big day. But if like me you didn’t have the foresight, here’s a quick and easy recipe, adapted slightly from one of Jamie’s, enjoy!
3 tablespoons of crystallised ginger diced into small chunks
1 handful of chopped nuts, optional
600g of dried mixed fruit, such as sultanas, raisins, cranberries, apricots & cherries
125g of vegetable suet
1 whole orange, zest and juice
140g of plain flour
125g of caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
Simply mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Now add the zest and juice of an orange, then the beaten egg and fold until the mixture is combined. Transfer to a well greased 1.5 litre pudding basin, and cover with two layers of foil, securing with a piece of string. Now place in a large saucepan with water halfway up the sides of the basin (this is called a bain-marie). Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours, regularly replacing the evaporated boiled water. Remove foil and turn out onto a plate, serve with thick custard or brandy butter cream.
You can make/cook this up to one month before Christmas and keep it in the freezer; defrost in the fridge and re-heat in a bain-marie for 1 hour before serving.