It’s just 24 sleeps till Christmas! Who’s excited?
I love Christmas, so much so that I put my tree up last weekend (and there are already presents underneath). Christmas is my favourite time of year – it is about food, but not just the delicious excuse to cook and eat for days on end. Food is best enjoyed when it’s shared and there’s always a plate (and a drink) to enjoy with the miss-fit of friends and family that grace my parents house over Christmas.
This year Christmas won’t be in Sydney. There’ll be fewer guests at the table, but no less food. Bring on the leftovers!
In honour of the exciting Christmas countdown and the woman who first taught me how to cook, this is my mum’s Christmas pudding recipe – the Christmas pudding she’s been making for the last 35 years.
I love Christmas pudding – not a fan of Christmas cake (marzipan, no thanks), but warm Christmas pudding drowning in custard… oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
This Christmas pudding recipe originated with a woman named Doreen that mum used to work with at the overseas shipping container lines when she first moved to Australia. Doreen, or ‘Aunty Dor’ as she was known, would always bring cakes, breads and slices she’s baked, in to share around the office (she sounds like me).
It’s really simple recipe – see Doreen’s notes for bread ‘ordinary loaf, no fancy bread’ and one my mum, and our Christmas lunch guests swear by.
Mum starts soaking the fruit at the end of September and then cooks the pudding at the end of October. She prefers to do this while the weather is still cool so the pressure cooker isn’t on for hours in the middle of Summer.
She used to hide silver charms in the pudding that would be exchanged for a gold coin by the lucky recipient… until the charms started to mysteriously disappear. So now, it’s the silver six pence that go in and our diners are a little more conscious about what’s in that spoonful of pudding.
There’s always a drama that comes with flambéing the pudding – by the time we reach dessert and a few drinks have been had, the brandy either doesn’t flame enough or spills and flambés the kitchen bench instead. Either way, it’s entertaining.
Doreen also made my mum and dad’s wedding cake – a simple square fruit cake with white icing – and now that I’ve been entrusted with making my little brothers wedding cake next year, I feel like Doreen and I are kindred spirits. I’d love to get hold of her recipe book.
Mum is also renowned for her mince pies. So this weekend, as the weather is cooler (perfect for making pastry), I’m going to make mince pies with mum and, like Doreen, I’ll be bringing them in to work to share on Monday.