Christmas preparations have started in my house. I have a Christmas list, and making a traditional Christmas Plum Pudding is on it. This is my family's traditional Plum Pudding recipe, with the original but superceded ingredient measurements included, lbs and ounces, however Imperial measurements will still be familiar for my friends in the UK. For anybody reading this in Australia or the U.S. I have converted the ingredients to Metric, and rounded them off to the nearest amount. As I was brought up with the old Imperial measuring system I converted most of these in my head to use my brain and tried to be consistent. The llbs and ozs are correct, however let me know if I have made any mistakes with the conversions.
|Fruit soaking in brandy|
This recipe makes a very large pudding so I often make two puddings, and either give one away as a gift to friends, or save the second one for the following year, and store it in the refrigerator.
1 1/2 lb sultanas/24 oz/680 g
2 oz mixed peel/65 g
1/2 lb raisins/8 oz/230 g
1/4 lb currants/4 oz/115 g
2 oz. Glace cherries/65 g
2 oz Almonds/65 g
1/2 lb/8 oz/230 g butter
3-6 tablspoons Brandy or Sherry (some extra for flambe if you wish)
1/2 lb./8 oz/230 g Brown sugar
1 grated carrot
6 oz flour/170 g
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 level teaspoon bi-carbonate soda
6 oz. soft breadcrumbs/170 g
N.B. Packets of Mixed dried fruit can be used to the equivalent weight of fruit listed above.
Prepare fruits, by slicing the cherries in half and chopping some of the raisins if you wish and place in a large mixing bowl. Add brandy or sherry to the fruit and stir so that all of the fruit is covered in brandy. Cover the bowl and allow to stand overnight or for a few days, depending on your time frame. I often add a little more brandy over a few days if the fruit seems to have soaked it all up. The more brandy the better I say, when it comes to the Christmas pudding.
Cream shortening (butter) and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beat well with each addition. Add this mixture to the marinated fruit in the large mixing bowl, add the grated carrot and mix well.
To the mixture add the sifted flour, spice, and bi-carbonate of soda which have been sifted together into a bowl, and the fresh breadcrumbs. Grease a large pudding steamer well and 3/4 fill with the mixture. Seal. If using a calico pudding cloth, flour the inside of the cloth well, fill with the mixture allowing space for expansion during cooking, and tie securely.
Place in a large pot of boiling water with the water level about half way up sides of basin. Cook for 4 hours in large pot on gentle simmer being careful not to let the water run dry.
Cool the pudding and keep in a cupboard or the refrigerator depending on hot the weather is, and then gently simmer again in the large pot for 2 hours on the day of reheating (Christmas Day) .
Last year I made this plum pudding in advance when we were in the Perth Hills in July as we were travelling back for Christmas. The dry heat over there allowed me to prepare the pudding in calico, hang it up in the laundry for the rest of the year, and by Christmas after it was cooked again it was absolutely delicious.
I serve this pudding with my Delicious Boiled Egg Custard.
I'm fermenting again.
As the weather was a lot cooler on the weekend I started another ferment. We are eating a lot of our sauerkraut in various ways, so I needed to make some more. A friend lent me his new and very large, modern looking Fermentation Crock, so I am giving that a try rather than using Mason jars. The cabbage is bubbling away, it is Day 3, so it looks like it is going well and smells like it should.
I used my basic Sauerkraut recipe of green cabbage, grated carrot and a mixture of caraway and fennel seeds this time. and of course the essential Himalayan Rock Salt. As a rule of thumb, I use 1 tablespoon of rock salt to 800 grams of cabbage. To fill this crock I would have needed at least one very large whole green cabbage. I only bought half a cabbage from the Farmer's market this time so that is what I used.
Here is the recipe.