Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

December's edition of Country Kitchen contains my two festive articles - an edible Christmas tree for birds and squirrels and our Family Christmas Pudding recipe! Now is the perfect time to make Christmas puddings and I have to say our family Christmas pudding recipes is pretty good. I can say this without being modest as it is not my recipe but has been passed down through our family for as long as anyone can remember. We still have my great Grandma's crock pot to stir the puddings in and use silver thruppenny bits to hide in the pudding. There are some family traditions that should be kept and this is one of them! I know that many of you will have your own family pudding recipes, but if you are feeling like a change this year, here is ours!

Great Grandma’s Christmas Pudding Recipe

Preparation time 30 minutes, plus stirring and steaming

Makes 2 puddings

½ lb/225g suet (vegetarian suet for those who prefer it)

½ lb/225g currants

½ lb/225g granulated sugar

½ lb/225g sultanas

¾lb/340g raisins

3oz/85g breadcrumbs

5oz/140g self raising flour

1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

3 large eggs

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

A good rub of grated nutmeg

½ tsp mixed spice

A pinch of salt

½ pint/300ml Guinness or other strong beer

2 tbsp brandy

Mixing the pudding is best done in a very large bowl. Something like a jam pan would be ideal as you need plenty of room to stir everything in. Place all the ingredients in the bowl and mix, making sure that everyone in the house has a stir and makes a wish. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop.

Spoon the mixture into two pudding basins and cover the top with a double layer of greaseproof paper and foil, folded tightly to seal. Tie string round the top rim of the basin and over the top to make a handle so that the pudding can be lifted out of the pan easily.

The puddings will need to be boiled for at least 7 hours each but this can be done in stages, whenever you have time. Just keep the pudding in the fridge in between cooking sessions. Place the pudding in a saucepan quarter filled with water or in a sealed steamer above a pan of water. Remember to put your kitchen timer on to remind you to check the level of water in the pan every half hour so that the water doesn’t run out and the pudding burn as this would be a waste of all your hard work. The pudding should be a dark brown colour when cooked.

The puddings will keep for at least a year in a fridge so you can save one for next year. When you are ready to eat the pudding, heat in a pan of water (as above) for an hour to ensure that the pudding is warmed through. To serve, remove the greaseproof paper and foil cover and slide a knife around the edge of the bowl. Place a plate on top of the bowl and invert holding both the plate and the bowl tightly. Decorate the pudding with a sprig of holly. To flambé, heat 1 tbsp of brandy in an old spoon over a flame. It will ignite so be ready to quickly tip over the pudding when it does and rush to the table so that your guests will see. Serve with brandy butter and brandy sauce!


Helda said...

Sounds wonderful,I've never used guiness before will defiantely try this.

GBVC said...

Does this mean you had to hold Christmas early in your house?
How fun!

vida said...

The guiness and the carrot are new to me but it sounds great, I will give it a go!! Vida x

Marie said...

Ohh, I can't wait for my issue to arrive! It's late!

Magic Cochin said...

How lovely to have an heirloom recipe.

I got my Dad to ask his Auntie to write out her Christmas Pudding recipe - she used to make all the puddings for the family!

The first time I used her recipe I started weighing the ingredients and then realised there was enough to make at least 6 big puddings!!! Her recipe was probably from a 1940s 'Farmers Weekly' magazine, in includes grated apple and carrot and beer!

Charlie said...

Hey cuz

Give it an extra few stirs for me whilst I'm in absentia.

Chat soon

Go gently x