Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Irish (Suet Free) Christmas Pudding

Well just as I promised this is my Mum's Christmas Pudding Recipe which she has used for donkey's years and has always proved a massive success in your house on Christmas morning and as presents for friends and family.

6oz/175g self raising flour
1 level tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
8oz/225g fresh white breadcrumbs
12oz/350g dark brown sugar
375g currants
375g sultanas
4oz/125g mixed cut peel
4oz/125g cherries, washed, dried and halved
2oz/50g chopped almonds
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
8oz/225g margarine, melted and cooled a little
3 large eggs
2tbsp brandy
1/2pt/275ml Guinness or stout

  • Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl
  • Add the breadcrumbs, sugar, fruit, nuts, orange and lemon rind and mix thoroughly.
  • Beat together the eggs, brandy and guinness.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the melted margarine and the egg mixture. mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  • Cover and leave overnight in a cool room.
  • Next morning prepare 2 x 2 1/2 pt pudding bowls by greasing well with butter.
  • Grease two large pieces of greaseproof paper and make a large pleat crossways in it.
  • Give the pudding mixture a good stir once more.
  • Divide the mixture between the two pudding bowls, weighing each to make sure that they are the exact same size and weight so that they both have the same cooking time.
  • Push down the mixture well down in the bowls and bang them on the table so that there are no air gaps. 
  • Make a little dip in the centre of the mixture in the bowl before covering so that the puddings don't push the lid off the pot when they start rising.

  • Cover the bowl with the well buttered greaseproof paper, making sure that the crease runs down the middle of the bowl.
  • Tie a long piece of strong around the bowl very tightly as close to the rim as possible.

  • Place the plastic lid over the bowl and wrap the paper up and over the lid.
  • Fill two large pots to about a half way up the pudding bowls and bring to a strong simmer. 
  • Place an old saucer at the bottom of the pot to lift the pudding from the base of the pot and allow it to cook all the way around.  Make sure that there is no air bubbles caught under the saucer.
  • Cook the puddings for 7 hours with the water simmering all the time.  You will need to top up the water on a regular basis.
  • On Christmas Day cook the puddings for one hour more.
Because there is so much alcohol in these puddings if one is left uneaten it can be kept for the following year so long as it is kept in a clean airtight bowl.  We have done this many times and it has been perfect always and even improves over the year!!

Linking for the first time (hoping this will work) to Cosmos and Cottton.

Hope you enjoy.  There is still plenty of time left to cook yours.
Rosie xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Where's The Pause Button??

I've got to be honest and tell you that I've missed you all quite a lot.  I've missed reading all about what you've been up to and only having the odd chance here and there to pop in when I have a second.  I've felt so guilty too for going AWOL once more.  It was not at all intended!!  Life has been so seriously hectic that I just haven't had any time to even look at my laptop, let alone actually turn it on and sit down and write a post.  Here's some of the things that's been going on....

The week before Halloween was exceptionally busy too with making costumes for the kids.  They decided that they wanted to dress up as Batman and Robin from the original tv series.  So I set about stitching and piecing and measuring and hoping for the best that all would work out in the end.  I was very nervous about it all because I was not working from any type of pattern but only from a picture that we printed out from the internet.

I breathed a great sigh of relief when they tried on their suits and absolutely loved them.  They were as proud as punch going to school for their dress up party in the outfits.  And even though Patrick was called Fatman at school, he came home saying that he didn't care because his Mammy made it for him.  Ahhh so sweet.  That made me feel so good.

First up I Michael asked me to go with him for the weekend to see The Boomtown Rats in Dublin and since I figured that this would a great deal of shopping too, it didn't take me long to agree.  I'll be honest and say that I was not really looking forward to the concert, not being a great fan and only knowing two of their songs.  These guys are golden oldies after all and I was expecting songs to be only crooned out.  How wrong was I!!!!  It was their first concert in 29 years and they sounded no different at all.  There was a lot of Dad dancing and some very bad clothes that really should have been left in the 70's but these guys had still got what it takes to put on a fantastic show.

The next day after breakfast we took a walk into the city centre.  There is so much beautiful architecture to be seen in Dublin that I was kicking myself for not remembering my camera.  I plan on soon taking a day trip up to take a long walk around the city with camera in hand and try to capture the best that the city has to offer.  My Husband refuses to accompany me on this trip.....spoilsport!

I just love these old shop fronts and the arched windows .  There still remains a lot of Georgian architecture that can be seen all over the city.  I promise that some in the new year i will give you a full tour of Dublin and all it's fantastic sights.

While walking back late night from the concert to the hotel we came across a small chemist shop that my mother went to when she was a child and also brought me to when I was young. I walked straight passed it at first and it took a second to register with me what I had actually seen. At first it felt like I may have been sleep walking and dreaming of times past but thankfully not. I was so delighted to see it still there and that it was not changed at in all this time.  Just look at this window display.

There has also been a lot of baking of Christmas cakes and puddings.  As soon as I get the chance I will post the recipes for these wonderful failproof Christmas necessities.  they are recipes that my mother has used for years and had taught me well from a young age how to get the best results.  Now we were joined in the kitchen by my two kids.  We had so much fun and I would say that our laughter would have been heard on the road outside.  These are the things that make this time of the year so special to me.  Things that make memories that I clutch close to my heart.

I did take many more pictures over these busy weeks but being the total plonker that I am, when I changed my phone a few weeks ago, I hadn't checked to see if they had uploaded to the iCloud and had lost all of them.  Some very precious pictures of my mother and myself baking together that my son had taken when we weren't watching.  I must organise another baking session soon and pass the camera over to Patrick once more, so long as he only gets my best side!!!!

Anyway, I hope to be back as soon as possible to share those recipes with you.
Rosie xx