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Stir-Up-Sunday…

If you haven’t already made your Christmas Puddings then Sunday the 24th of November is the time to do it, the last Sunday before the start of Advent and traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday.

Here is a fail safe recipe for a lovely moist, boozy pudding!

 

Ingredients

 

600g mixed dried fruit and nuts. I use roughly 500g of mixed dried fruits (predominately raisins, sultanas and currants with a few cranberries, sour cherries and a good handful of glace cherries). For the nuts I usually use nibbed almonds.

500ml bottle of Guinness

300ml port

100ml brandy

 

200g shredded suet (proper beef is best, you can use vegetarian of course)

zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

2 medium cooking apples grated

freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

250g muscavado sugar

75g plain flour

3 medium eggs beaten

150g breadcrumbs

 

Method

 

Soak the fruit for at least 24 hours in the alcohol (if you don’t want to use alcohol then you could use tea and orange juice)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Get the whole family to give it a stir and make a wish at the same time (my wish is that the pudding turns out ok!)

Grease a large pudding bowl and a few smaller ones (ideal for giving away to friends, family and neighbours), pour the pudding mixture into the bowls leaving an inch from the top.

Cover the mixture with a circle of greaseproof paper. cover the bowl with tinfoil (with a pleat in it to allow for the pudding to expand) and then place in a large pan on a trivet with a folded strip of tin foil underneath to allow you to lift the pudding out. Pour water into the pan to come up 2/3 of the way up the pudding basin.

Put the pan on to boil. When boiling turn down to a simmer and cover the pan. A large pudding will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook (test with a skewer, the skewer wants to come out clean). I usually take the pan off the heat but leave the pudding in the water for an hour just to make sure the pudding is evenly cooked through.

Lift the pudding out of the water and set aside to cool. Once cool I take the pudding out of the basin, wrap in greaseproof paper, then cling film and then tin foil. I then put in a spare cool box where it stays until the big day.

On the day you are eating having the pudding it can either be put back in the basin it was cooked in and boiled again for an hour to heat up or it can be microwaved in short bursts (a couple of minutes at a time leaving a minute in between).

To serve place the pudding on a heatproof plate. Pour a couple tablespoons of Brandy into a ladle and gently heat over a low flame. Once the Brandy starts to shimmer pour over the pudding and light with a match.

Remember to have a bucket of water and fire extinguisher on hand… just in case!

Merry Christmas!

Flaming Pudding!

P.S try slices of leftover pudding fried in butter for breakfast… Fantastic!

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Beans, Beans, Good For Your Heart…

Bean Caught Stealing! (For all the Janes Addiction fans!)
Bean Caught Stealing! (For all the Janes Addiction fans!)

A while ago, well it seems a long time ago, way back when the weather was dry & hot, hot, HOT! & all us Brits were saying ‘Well, we mustn’t complain!’ (BUT WE DID!) We gave one of our neighbors some chicken & duck eggs. In return a few days later he gave me some French & runner bean seedlings to grow.

Now, I’ve never grown beans, apart from a very small trial run of broad beans a couple of years ago. I’d somehow got it into my head they were like peas & to get enough of a crop to feed 6 peeps you need to plant a whole football field full!

How wrong was I?

My generous neighbour gave me 8 plants, which I as usual broke the rules with when planting them out.

You see, there’s this thing of ‘Distance’ & ‘Depth’. The distance which each seedling should be planted from each other & the depth in the soil it should be & all the finnickity stuff like Ph of soil etc…etc…(I just feel like I’m back at school doing trig & chemistry!) I just ignored it all (again school springs to mind).

‘Proper’ veg growers have now started tutting at me & now clicked away from Our Blog in absolute disgust!

I hadn’t prepared the soil (apart from turning it over & pulling out a few weeds) apart from apologising to the worm I accidently chopped in half & I basically took these little babies & planted them about 4inches (if that!) apart.

The result of not really trying? Well, to be truthful when our neighbor was on about the fact that they’d got so many beans they didn’t know what to do with them & then asked how ours were going, I kind of smiled & said ‘yeah, they’re great, the beans are fab!’.  To be honest we’d had about 6 beans in total & I felt guilty about the fact that I’d obviously not done his plants justice!

MissT Bean Blog

But, starting a couple of weeks ago with the rain being more of a frequent visitor we’ve had beans galore! So I’ve figured that not doing the home-work just delays them a bit….Phew!

Picking them is a nightmare! Just when you think you’ve got them all you move your head a couple of inches & find a load more. They are either very well disguised or I need glasses. Also, a funny thing I discovered is if you don’t realise you’ve been leaning into the bowl of beans you’ve picked, when you get into the house & put the bowl down & you then look down at the front of your jumper you discover 20 beans clinging to you for dear life!

Beans Blog

So crisp, fresh beans, what to do with them? The best way I’ve found to cook them is pick them fresh & young, (when they’re about 3inch long & if you find a bit of a huge beastie hiding in the foliage just chop it up a bit) stick them in a pan with a knob of butter, a clove of chopped garlic, salt, pepper & a splash of water. Put the lid on & leave over a medium-ish heat for around 10-15mins giving it a shake every now & then. You can also add some chopped courgette & ripped-up old sorrel leaves.

Then serve when just softened but still got a bit of crunch. Yum!

Be prepared for an evening of sly smiles & duvet wafting. Well worth it though!

Kit x

          Dj Bean Blog