...Food and Recipes

Stir Up Sunday 2015

Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday of Advent and is the traditional day for making your Christmas puds.
And it’s TOMORROW (Sunday 22nd Nov)!

For those of you who have been like me, and merrily ignoring all things Christmas, this is the wake up call that it is approaching at speed, and might actually be time to start to Get Organised.
I spent a quiet half hour this morning with a cup of tea, writing a list for all things Christmas, starting with the ingredients for the Christmas pud and cake.

Last year I attempted the Super Scrimpers recipe and cooked it in the slow cooker-I seem to remember that it didn’t really set. Not sure if this was the recipe or the slow cooker method, but this year I’m taking no chances and returning to my tried and trusted version. This was given to me by hubby’s Auntie, who had been given it by her mum.
BUT it was just a list of ingredients, in imperial measurements, and in industrial quantities.
Each year I try and scale it down, and muddle my way through what I think I should be doing with the ingredients. This year, I’m writing it down here, so that I can refer back to it!
I managed to find a Delia recipe which is very similar, so I’m using that for the ‘method’ (by all accounts, hubby’s Nanny was quite a formidable lady, so if she were still here, I’m not sure anyone would have been brave enough to point out the similarities…)

Christmas Pudding-P

For a 2lb pudding (or 2 1lb)

This is what you need:

  • 100g suet
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • generous pinch ground cinnamon
  • 170g dark brown soft sugar
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g raisins
  • 225g currants
  • 25g mixed peel (or I might go glace cherries this year-I’m feeling kind of Crazy)
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 1 small cooking apple-grated (I don’t bother peeling it)
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Zest and juice of half an orange
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 4 tbsp barley wine (Special Brew)
  • 4 tbsp stout
  • 1 tbsp rum

I can’t be bothered buying a can of barley wine, and a can of stout, only to use a few tbsps out of each, so I think I will just double up on the stout, and then I’m going to use brandy (which I’m buying for the cake anyway) instead of rum. If you have a very replete drinks cabinet then obviously may already have rum in the house, in which case, use that!

This is what you do:

  • You need to start this the day BEFORE you want to cook your pudding
  • Grab your biggest bowl, and into add: suet, breadcrumbs, spices, sugar, dried fruit, nuts, apple, orange and lemon zest
  • In a separate bowl, mix the booze with the lemon and orange juice, and then whisk in the eggs
  • Pour this concoction over the big bowl of dried fruit/spices etc and mix
  • This is the time to assemble the family and get everyone to take a turn stirring and making a wish. For the purists among you, tradition dictates that you stir from East to West (no idea if you have to go clockwise or anticlockwise from East to West though…) as a nod to the Three Wise Men
  • Once it’s stirred thoroughly, cover and leave to steep overnight
  • The next day, stir in the flour, and get ready to steam
  • Grease a 2lb (or 2 1lb) pudding basin and pack the mix down into it
  • Cover with baking parchment, and then a layer of foil, and tie round tightly with string. If you are feeling clever, you can fashion some kind of handle from string to enable you to lift it out without burning yourself/dropping the pud. Trim the foil/baking paper if necessary to prevent it dipping into the water and getting soggy
  • Steam for EIGHT hours-eeeeek! (I’m tempted to try and slow cooker method again-has anyone done this with any success?)
    Keep checking the water levels so that your pan doesn’t boil dry
  • Store it in a cool dark place
  • On Christmas Day, steam again for 2-3hrs, and then tuck in!

I’m also taking the opportunity to make my Christmas cake this weekend.
This is my favourite Christmas Cake recipe that always seems to bake well and taste good!
I’m going to make an 8″ cake, but I really love this idea of making mini ones in baked bean tins, and might make a few of these for gifts (or for the Smalls to decorate so that I don’t have to feel guilty about not wanting them to ‘help’ decorate the main one-their aesthetic and mine are sometimes not compatible…)

I think the Smalls *might* have helped with this one (note the sprinkle 'dump')

I think the Smalls *might* have helped with this one (note the sprinkle ‘dump’)

So that’s it. No more avoiding it. Christmas 2015 is well and truly underway.
I’m still waiting for the year when it sinks in that in order to have a serene stress free run-up to a handmade Christmas, I need to start in September…




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