Christmas is coming …

It’s November. Cold and dark evenings. We need some sharp citrusy and warm spicey smells to get us in the mood for the pre-Christmas madness to come in December. We are puddinging and mincemeating. Read on…

I don’t understand why anyone would buy a Xmas pud. So easy to make your own, the only onerous bit is the shopping but that’s hardly an issue since we’re all in and out of the supermarket all the bloomin time anyways. The recipe should really just read – buy the stuff, mix it up, cook it, easy peasy lemon squeasy but here it is in full just in case.


500g mixed dried fruit (best quality, don’t scrimp here)mixed fruit soaking in rum and raki
RUM & RAKI (lots)
100g chopped pecans and walnuts
125g veg suet
50g brown breadcrumbs
125g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 tblsp treacle
50g plain flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
zest and juice of a lemon and an orange
2 eggs
(Sue forgot the eggs. The night -and possibly Christmas itself – was saved by Hannah-round-the-corner)

At least a day before start to soak your fruit – we used a mixture of rum (because we like it and it reminds us of Mojitos) and Raki for a waft of liquoricey exotica. Add as much as the fruit needs and keep adding it if the fruit keep soaking it up.

Next day, combine the fruit, nuts, suet, breadcrumbs, sugar, treacle, flour and spices and mix well. Then mix together the eggs and zests and juices and add to the fruit.Christmas pudding mixingChristmas Pudding mixing

Butter your bowl and spoon in the mixture. We scaled up this recipe and made some big puds and little ones too. It’s REALLY nice to cook a little one – ramekin size – and eat it on the day of cooking. Put the pudding in a saucepan of water with the water level halfway up the pudding and gentle simmer away for 2 hours. When the pud is cooked, let it cool then keep in the fridge til Christmas. To reheat on Xmas day – simmer for 45 mins or zap in the microwave.

The smell when you’re grating, chopping, mixing and cooking is absolutely delish.
Whilst the puddings were cooking we made mincemeat…


500g mixed fruit
3 apples, grated
150g best-quality mixed peel
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 tsp ground cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
150g dark brown soft sugar
your alcohol of choice

Put everything in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. Tradition has it that everyone should have a stir starting with the littlest – this had the dangerous potential to start a sizest arguement so we just took turns as WE ARE GROWN UPS. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars up to 2cm from the top and top up with your chosen liquor. We had access to a fine selection belonging to someone who wasn’t there so we went for Mandy’s fave Metaxa. Pop on the lids and keep in the fridge topping up the liquor every now and then as it needs. Delish in teeny tiny bite sized pies as everyone knows but we are going to have a go at mincemeat ice-cream if there’s any left in January. Nice.


Feeling super virtuous looking at our stack of jars we were also hungry. The tiny ramekin-sized puds were done so we tipped one out onto a warmed plate, splashed it generously with brandy and set it afire! We ate it with unpasteurised Jersey cream and Meadow Farm ice-cream from Blackburn & Haynes Farm Shop in Headley.

Christmas pudding aflameChristmas pudding with cream and ice-cream

We drank…
 mulled wine of course, first of the year. We also had a snifter or two of the Metaxa and Brandy to help us decide which to use haha.

We talked about… impending operations, Skyfall, Farnham Food Initiative, kids at Uni, mice in kitchens (not the one we were cooking in!), OHs in SA, visiting scousers, stilleto marks in wooden floors, Christmas singing falalalala