Saturday, 14 November 2015

Saturday Snippets (16)


The lead up to Christmas in our household means a flurry of activity. I like to be prepared and organised as far as all the main food items are concerned, so I begin my preparations early.

22nd November is traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday. Everyone in the family gets a chance to have a stir of the Christmas pudding and to make a wish for the coming year. You should always stir the pudding clockwise to signify the Wisemen going from East to West. It is also traditional to insert a coin into your Christmas pudding, although views differ as to when this should take place. If you are lucky enough to have a silver coin, it is quite safe to insert it before the pudding is cooked, but always give the coin a good wash first using washing up liquid. I use an old-fashioned sixpence. The person who is lucky enough to get this coin in their portion of Christmas pudding gets extra luck.

I thought that maybe you might like my Christmas pudding recipe, so here it is:

Christmas Pudding Recipe



Ingredients:

9 oz ready to eat prunes, chopped
3.5 oz glace cherries, halved
5fl oz stout
2 tbsp brandy
9 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
2.75 oz blanched almonds, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
8 oz soft brown sugar
1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
3.5 oz ground almonds
5 oz plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Half a tsp freshly ground nutmeg
9 oz beef or vegetable suet, shredded
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
2 large cooking apples, peeled and coarsely grated

Method:

1 Mix all the ingredients together in your largest mixing bowl and stir well (make sure all the family make a wish during the stirring). Cover tightly with cling-film and leave to stand in a cool place overnight.

2 Turn into one (or more, if smaller) well-buttered pudding basins and cover with a pleated circle of both baking parchment and aluminium foil, securing with string. Place in a saucepan on an improvised trivet and pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes slow simmering.

3 Transfer the pudding, water and pan, to the floor of the oven and continue to simmer at around 100 degrees (or whatever heat is a simmer in your oven). Cook for at least 12 hours in this way (overnight is preferable). 

4 Remove from the pans and allow to cool. Brush the surface of the pudding(s) with brandy and then cover with fresh parchment and foil coverings and string. Store in a cool, dark and dry place or in the refrigerator until Christmas.



Don't forget that when you serve your Christmas pudding, to pour a goodly slug of rum or brandy over the top and then set fire to it. It will burn with a blue flame. It should then be carried carefully to the dining table with as much ceremony as possible! It's also traditional to decorate the top of the pudding with a sprig of holly, but do this after you have placed it on the table, or you might be calling the fire brigade!

Christmas Mincemeat

This is dead simple to make.



Ingredients:

1 lb cooking apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
8 oz shredded suet (either beef or vegetable)
12 oz raisins
8 oz sultanas
8 oz currants
8 oz whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
12 oz soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 oz whole almonds, cut into slivers
4 tsps mixed ground spice
Half a tsp ground cinnamon
Nutmeg, grated
6 tbsps brandy

Method:

1 All you do is combine the above ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them together very thoroughly indeed. 



Then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop. After that pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 1 quarter, 225 degrees F or 120 degrees C, cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours.

2 Then remove the bowl from the oven and don't worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look. As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and instead of it being in tiny shreds it will encase all the other ingredients. When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir in the brandy. Pack in clean, dry jars, cover with wax discs and seal. It will keep in a cool, dark cupboard indefinitely, but I think it is best eaten within a year of making. 

Traditional Mince Pies



Ingredients:

12 oz plain flour
3 oz lard (I use Trex which is vegetarian, but you can use traditional lard if you wish)
3 oz margarine or butter
A pinch of salt
Cold water to mix
1.25 lb mincemeat (hopefully you made this earlier)

For the top:

A little milk
Icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 400 degrees F, 200 degrees C.

Method:

1 Make up the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rubbing the fats into it until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Alternatively, you can whiz it all around in a food processor, which is what I do. Then just add enough cold water to mix to a dough that leaves the bowl clean. Leave the pastry to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, then roll half of it out as thinly as possible and cut it into 24 3-inch rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling. Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, this time using the 2.5 inch cutter. (You can also, if you prefer, cut out some 'star shapes' and place these on top instead.)



2 Now grease the patty tins lightly and line them with the larger rounds. Fill these with mincemeat to the level of the edges of the pastry. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges. Brush each one with milk and make three snips in the tops with a pair of scissors. Bake near the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown. Cool on a wire tray and sprinkle with icing sugar. When cool, store in an airtight tin.

Hot Spiced Cider with Roasted Apples

I may have shared this recipe before, but I know from experience that a glass of something warm and spicy goes very well with warmed mince pies during the party season, especially if you are greeting guests who are rubbing frosty fingers and shaking snow off their boots!
Ingredients:

4 pints still, dry cider
8 oz soft brown sugar
24 whole cloves
4 whole cinnamon sticks
16 allspice berries
The juice of 2 oranges
Half a whole nutmeg, grated
8 small Cox's apples
2 oz butter

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 5, 375 degrees F, 190 degrees C

Method:

1 First, using a small sharp knife, make a small slit around the 'waist' of each apple, then rub each one with butter. Place them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes - they should be softened but not floppy, so test them with s skewer. Put all the other ingredients into a large saucepan and heat the mixture, stirring quite often, and adding the apples halfway through. Don't let it come right to the boil, just keep it at a steady simmer! Serve it very hot.

2 When you're ready to serve, pour it into a large warmed bowl (I serve straight from the pan, using a soup ladle!) and ladle into glass beer tankards with handles. Spoons in the glass will prevent cracking.



I hope to get my Lurkers Day post up in a day or two. It sort of crept up on me this year and I am a bit late, but I do so appreciate everyone's comments and really love it when someone new plucks up the courage to say something. If you are lurking right now, why not try one of my recipes and let me know how you got on?



18 comments:

  1. Always love seeing your delicious recipes :-) Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you will try one of them.

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  2. Hi Darlin! I just want to come over and have you cook for me. Of course it would be fun to help you prepare the recipes too!
    My dad loves Mincemeat!
    What is suet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Honey!

      Come any time! You will have to make some mince pies for your dad for Christmas.

      Suet is beef fat chopped very small. You can buy it in packs, dried, or get it from the butcher's and chop it up yourself. You can also get a vegetarian version which is healthier but doesn't have the flavour.

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  3. Wow Ami - I'm tired just reading the ingredients. For the last ten years or so, I'm a five step, five ingredient lady.

    It's lovely that you carry on the traditions. Any we've had have long since gone by the wayside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! 5 steps is good and the use of 5 ingredients very impressive. I need some of your recipes!

      I love old traditions, from any countries.

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  4. Ami,
    I think you could give Martha Stewart a run for her money! These recipes are amazing. I don't do anything this fancy. For Thanksgiving my guys insist on buttermilk biscuits. Even though I have made fresh yeast rolls before, they prefer the biscuits covered with turkey gravy.

    For Christmas I have several favorite cookie recipes that take a good amount of time. Sam's favorite are Sweetie Pies. He has been known to squirrel some away in a secret stash, because they seem to disappear first. I also like to make sugar cookies with sour cream. There is also a peanut butter one that I always make to please one of our sons. Thank goodness for Winter Break. It takes me days to get them all done. I also love to make yeast breads when I am not working, but I usually do fresh bread for New Year's Eve.

    No matter what are your family's favorites, it is so special to treat your loved ones with those recipes. I love that part of the holidays!

    Hugs Across the Pond,
    Ella

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Ella! But your recipes make my mouth water! I love the thought of Sweetie Pies! I would love the recipes!

    Hugs
    Ami

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Ami,
    My puddings have been maturing in a dark cupboard for a couple of weeks now but I might try your mincemeat recipe, it sounds nicer than the one I used the only time I had a go at making my own.

    Your post reminded me of days long ago when my Granny used to make Christmas puddings for all the family. She would fire up the copper to cook them in and mix all the ingredients in Mason Cash basins. I usually managed to be there to have a stir and make a wish. Come Christmas Day, I would always find a sixpence in my slice, several of which I still have - the sixpences, not the slices!

    Rosie xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine are also safely in the cupboard now too. The mincemeat recipe is tried and tested. It is a Delia Smith recipe. I always use old Mason Cash basins!

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  7. Mmmm yummy mince pies. Not a fan of Christmas pud, but do like the original six pence inside. P likes some christmas pud to go with his brandy sauce ;)
    hugs
    DF

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've already munched our way through several mince pies. Everyone says they don't eat Christmas pud, but I twist their arms up their backs and they smother it in brandy sauce and end up licking their lips. LOL! Good for P!

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  8. One of our Christmas traditions is pork pie for breakfast...Thanks for all the recipes....
    hugs abby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Abby, we always have pork pie for breakfast on Christmas morning. And some smoked salmon!

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  9. Hey Ami...was beginning to wonder where you were...even asked Minelle if she had heard from you. Thanks for sharing your recipes...you spiced cider is very similar to mine....don't know if you remember mine or not. Katie and Rob really like it...especially with added rum. ;) Hope everything is going well for you.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still here, but swimming backwards under water a bit!

      Yes, I have your cider recipe, but I make your eggnog! It is getting quite famous round here! A whole new tradition!

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete
  10. MMMM Ami you recipes all sound so good. I remember the tradition when I was little of a sixpence in the pudding. Your family are so lucky that you make all those delicious things for them and keep up the traditions.
    Hugs Lindy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! And we all end up putting on weight and needing to diet!

      Living in the countryside helps.

      Hugs
      Ami

      Delete