The retailers carol and a taste of a bygone era.
‘Tiz the season to be jolly,fa la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la
Come and give us all ya lolly, fa la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la.
I’m done with sloth placed trolley pushers where ‘calming measures’ take customers past clever displays and point of sale stands, add to that the honour and privilege of queuing for unwanted or occasionally unwarranted, yet well-meant gifts.
Bah what? No, it’s all lies, lies, lies I tell you. Truth be told, I love it all.
I have a God-sister, who lives in Cornwall. She has a weak spot for a bread pudd’n that’s pronounced pudd’n not pudding. Pudding takes away any hint of nostalgia. I was placed into her arms when I when newly born, our Mothers were very close friends and our respective God Mothers. We share a life time of history so I made the following for her to share with her nearest and dearest and particularly her show biz brother. Put us in a room together and it’s a mad house and we become kids again, the treasure of longevity, somethings simply cannot be bought. She will have people drizzling in and out and having something to offer with a cuppa takes a little pressure off her, gives her a little love, stops her nagging and its also talking point for any one who tries to get a word in edgeways.
For some commercial versions I think they use recycled exhibition carpet tiles, or maybe its whole wheat bread? This is just a sliced white loaf from a decent bakery.
Tear the bread and soak in warm water, some prefer to use milk but I think it makes it custardy.
Squeeze out excess. Use ⅔ fruit to soggy bread by weight as a guide.
Dried fruit, cheered up with a soak in a bath of orange juice, black earl grey tea or a drop of Grannies sherry to add volume.
Add 2 table spoons of mixed spice, 1 of nutmeg, orange and or lemon zest and some of the juice.
A decent slug of Cointreau was also included in this batch.
Eggs, I used 3 as the mix was a little wet with booze, but 2 would normally be fine.
2-3 tablespoons of Butter
3-4 tablespoons of Sugar
Pinch of salt
Most of this is to taste
Combine thoroughly. I do this by hand and squidge it together in my Grandmas old enamel bowl just as she used to do. She also used to lob in stale cake, biscuits a chopped apple, the end of a jar of jam, and so forth the essence of this was to use up less than fresh bread in an ‘owt for nowt dish. As it cooks it fills the kitchen with the heady smell of Christmas spices without hours and hours of laborious slavish cooking .
The Christmas tree pan was a charity shop find last summer. I filled the “trimmings” with lengths of Italian candied peel and dried cranberries. Filled with the pudding mixture and baked for an hour in a medium oven. I made a garland / ring shape which had comparable decoration, note had. The spare mixture cooked in muffin tins for quality control purposes. Impale with a wooden skewer which needs to come out clean. The larger the pud the longer it will take = festive irony eh? Allow 40-65 minutes in a medium oven, depending on the density of your pud.
Remove from the oven, for the pudd’n cool for a while and then invert on to a slate roof tile in this instance and turn out to cool completely.
She’s a fussy guts and doesn’t like Christmas cake and the like but the taste of nostalgia and blast from the past was warmly appreciated and received.
A few little gingerbread men and some gold leaf topped off the pud which may suppress her endless nagging for Bread Pudd’n.
Drive all the way to Cornwall (a couple of hours from here) as a surprise, a cuppa, a hug, and then drive all the way home again.
Why? Because I wanted too, because I could, it’s Christmas and because they are so worth it.
Serve with love and laughter.