I gave up smoking two weeks ago. I’ve been a veritable shedload of laughs in 2012 – I’ve either been doped out of my brain on codeine or snarling and snapping like a <insert something funny here>
To make it up to my poor beleagured boys I made them an American feast on Saturday night and the piece de resistance was a Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert.
So, pastry making? Again? Really?
YES. REALLY. I had high hopes as I welcomed a new addition to my kitchen in the form of Kitty.
I followed the recipe – once again using softened (and therefore room temperature) butter for the pastry. I’m sure this isn’t right you know?, and I’m positive it’s the reason my results are so crappy (sorry for the spoiler – although if you hadn’t guessed that the pastry was a disaster then I urge you to stop and have a look around the blog; it’s kind of my “thing”)
Actually, I’m going to be honest – the reason the pastry didn’t turn out too well is probably less to do with the temperature of the butter and more to do with my inate clumsiness.
So, gathered the ingredients, blah blah and then added the flour and butter to Kitty and mixed to a fine breadcrumb consistency before adding sugar and and egg. I carried on mixing on a slow speed until a ball of dough formed.
I worked really quickly this time just gently pushing the ball together into a nice ball and covering in cling film before resting in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After resting, I ran my hands under a cold tap to get them all nice and frigid – just so the pastry didn’t get upset at being touched by “human temperatured” hands and quickly, and gently rolled out the ball.
I used the old trick of flipping one end of the pastry around the rolling pin to make it easy to place into the tart tin.
As you can see the pastry is lovely and “short” which should mean it bakes to a lovely buttery and crumbly texture.
I managed to get the pastry into the tin with clean efficiency,
and was feeling very proud of myself. The only thing left to do was to trim the edges of the pastry from the tin and VOILA! I would have not only barely handled the pastry but also shown that pastry can be made with the minimum of effort.
What I did though was pick up the tart tin and put my hand right through the base of the loose bottom.
I’m sure that some of my readers are starting t think “Oh, man! She’s definitely making this stuff up now. No one can be this incompetent” But I swear on my eyes that I am, actually this incompetent.
The air in the kitchen turned a violent shade of purple for a few minutes and the distant sound of hammering could be heard from the boys’ bedroom as they battened down the hatches.
I scraped the pastry up – inventing a few new swears as I did so – formed it into a ball, rolled it out and tried again.
This time I managed to get the stuff into the tart tin, pricked (with vigour), and trimmed with no further disasters but I must admit that I wasn’t quite as gentle as I could have been. (Understatement). The case then went into the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes.
I blindbaked the case, as per the recipe, for 10 minutes with baking beads and 10 minutes without. This was nowhere near long enough as the pastry still looked “sweaty” and so I gave it another 5 minutes.
I set the pastry case aside to cool and got on with making the filling.
To make the caramel which holds the pecans together, I melted butter, brown sugar and golden syrup over a low heat.
and when melted and cool I added this sweet brown mix to some lightly beaten eggs.
I poured roughly chopped pecans and chocolate chips into the pastry case, added the caramel mixture and decorated with whole pecans.
After about an hour in the oven, the pie should be cooked through with a very slight wobble in the centre of the pie. I left the pie to cool down before wrangling it out of the tin.
As I took the base of the tin from the bottom of the pie I noticed that the pastry wasn’t quite cooked through – I am finding this to be a consistent and very irritating problem with the recipes in the Hummingbird book. Of course, each oven is different and the cooking times in recipes are just guidelines but it’s really infuriating to realise that had I cooked the pastry for an extra 15 minutes during the blind bake I wouldn’t have had to try and squeeze the pie BACK into the tin to return it to the oven for additional cooking. Which of course just resulted in the topping losing some of it’s velvetty texture and basically just irritating the shit out if me.
Anyway – the pie was finally cooked, and cooled and slices were cut.
The boys loved it, I’m not too sure (but to be honest I’m still in quite a lot of pain in my mouth so only had a small taste) but one thing I do know for sure, the pastry is crap.
I’m going to beat you, pastry nemesis, oh yes I will – one of these days.
I’m sorry, I have been neglecting the blog for the last couple of weeks. This is due, in part, to having had some pretty serious dental surgery (yuck) and also partly to do with sheer laziness.
Anyway, I had a pretty great Christmas and New Year and although I am currently only able to
drink wine eat soup through a straw and I’ve also been forced to give up smoking (BAH!) I am unfazed as my eye is on the main prize of 2012. Oh yes, I have booked a holiday to Florida in July and have been researching Man vs Food eateries to visit. *SCREAM*
In homage to this exciting development I have been cooking some traditional American dishes and have started with Tom’s favourite – Hot Sauce coated chicken wings.
I’ve been looking at recipes for a truly HOT hot sauce for a while – our favourite is Louisiana hot sauce but every recipe I found needed the chilli peppers to steep in vinegar for six months in a basement, behind some peaches, at a temperature of 85C.
And then I found a recipe that was far more forgiving of my Not-Yet-Being-In-the-USness…
So I gathered together the ingredients. The original recipe called for four habanero chilli peppers – I have two hopes of getting hold of habaneros but I have read that scotch bonnets are pretty much on a par heat and flavour wise and these are readily available. I chickened out though and only bought two.
I chopped the red onion into a fine dice and minced the garlic. When chopping the chilli, please make sure to use rubber gloves – those scotch bonnets are vicious. I, of course, used rubber gloves and as I smugly diced the peppers a perfect arch of searing hot juice shot into my eye causing a volcano of swears and violence. So in addition to rubber gloves make sure you have a pair of sunglasses or goggles to hand.
I added the onion to the pan with the olive oil and softened before adding the garlic and chopped chillis
I then added three cups of chopped fresh tomatoes to the mix. I used a whole
punnet, box, pack of basic tomatoes and did not de-skin them – Life is too short. I then added the vinegar, sugar and salt
Once again the house filled with that horrible vinegary feety smell. This is the major downside of cooking any chutney or sauce with vinegar – it smells vile and makes you want to cough up a lung.
This sauce only needs about 10 minutes now, just long enough for the tomatoes to become mushy and for the vinegar *cough* to evaporate a little bit.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before adding to a food processor
Blitz the mix until smooth-ish. Then push the mixture through a metal sieve.
You then end up with a bowl of
excruciatingly hot sauce which can be either added to a plate in the same way as ketchup (but with added agony) or can be used to marinade meat.
I added the sauce to a bunch of large chicken wings (scoring the meat before adding the marinade) and left to sit for a few hours – overnight in the fridge is better; scored, marinaded and frozen for a week is the best.
When ready to cook, Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a roasting tray. Brush the wings with a little more marinade before placing in the oven.
Now to cooking times – I roasted these at gas mark 6 for well over an hour – these were large wings and were nowhere near cooked at 40 minutes (as per usual chicken wing cooking time). Use your discretion and keep cooking and basting with marinade – keep turning the wings until you’re confident that the evilness of salmonella has been burned to death and the wings are crispy on the outside but nice and succulent within.
This recipe gave a yield of enough sauce to marinate about 12 large chicken wings with a jam jar full excess which can be poured over the cooked wings if you like it very hot, or kept in the fridge and used whenever you feel like scaring the shit out of your tastebuds.
I served the chicken with plain green beans, macaroni cheese, and some random sausages that I had left over in the freezer from Christmas. QUITE the combination I’m sure you agree.
It was bloody LOVELY.
And so begins my concerted effort to cook bundles of American dishes to acclimatise us all before our big trip. We’re all so excited that I’m sure you, poor reader, will be sick to the back teeth of us soon – either that or you could give some of these recipes a go and become enamoured with American cooking as well.
If you’d like to give the Hot Sauce a go have a look here for the full recipe.
The tree is starting to droop. Hoovering up the needles is an hourly chore but it’s still not over! Oh no.
The spectre of New Year’s Eve hangs over me yet and we’re all feeling a bit like this:
If, like me, you have no plans then a quick meal that you can prepare in advance and just leave alone until serving time – with some killer puddings to see the new year in – is just the job.
I’m here to give you my menu for this this NYE.
I am going to be serving my Greek Lamb with Orzo. This is a stew with the pasta added in at the final stages of cooking and fills the house with the warming scent of an array of spices and herbs and tastes just bloody fab.
You’ll need *takes deep breath*:
A splash of olive oil
Stewing Lamb (not too lean, you need some good streaks of fat)
2 carrots (or one big bastard) Sliced in half, lengthways
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 carton of creamed tomatoes (or passata)
2 Cloves of garlic
Dried Thyme and Oregano
Cinnamon, ground and a stick
Fresh oregano, rosemary and mint
Got all that? Sounds complicated and a bit of a pain in the arse? It’s not, honestly.
Chop your lamb up into bit size pieces
and brown in the olive oil in a heavy based large casserole pan (you might need to do this in batches depending on how many you are cooking for).
While you are sealing the lamb, roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic (I’ve specified a couple of cloves but you can decide how much you want to add – it’s up to you) before blitzing to a pulp in a food processor.
Remove the browned lamb from the pan and add the oniony pulp to the fat and gently cook until soft.
Add the spices and herbs (I’ve not given amounts as I do just tend to throw “an amount” in, with the exception of the ground cloves – I’m not terribly keen on cloves so only ever add 1/4 teaspoon) and continue frying for a couple of minutes.
Replace the lamb into the pan (and the juices which will have accumulated in the dish) and add the tomatoes (tinned, passata and a squeeze of tomato purree) stock (about a pint), a glug of wine, the carrots and the fresh herbs. Bring to the boil and then place on the lowest possible heat and leave to bubble away gently for 2-3 hours (or longer).
SO, while the lamb is cooking you can get on with making some dessert.
I ummed and ahhed over which recipe to prepare, One Jug Chocolate Brownies or Ice Cream Cake and plumped for the ice cream cake as it’s stupidly easy and has a party feel to it.
And now, I will ask for a moment of bowed heads and silence as I have some sad news to impart. This will be the final recipe in which Ken, the Kenwood Chef mixer will make an appearance. At the grand old age of 34 (we think) he has finally shuffled from his mortal coil. Which is a bit strange actually as the problem does appear to be with a spring inside him which has finally rusted to the point of no return.
Farewell Ken. You did us proud. *Bravely holds back tears*
Line a springform cake tin with clingfilm, making sure that you have enough to cover the cake at the top.
Leave your ice cream (I went for vanilla, but you could use chocolate I suppose, or cookie dough, or raspberry ripple, or anything at all!) out of the freezer to soften a little, meanwhile take a rolling pin to some bourbon biscuits and smash them into small chunks.
Add your ice cream to your *sobs* mixer.
And add the bourbon biscuits, chocolate drops (I used both milk and white) and honey roasted nuts before mixing. (Keep back about a third of the biscuits and a few chocolate chips for decorating later)
Smash up a crunchie bar and add that to the mix (reserving a third of the honeycomb)
Pour the “batter” into your prepared cake tin and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
Wrap the overhanging cling film over the top of the cake and place into the freezer until five minutes before you’re ready to serve.
When you are ready, take the ice cream and chuck the reserved biscuits, crunchie bar and chocolate chips over the cake (and I’d definitely throw some sparklers on the top for some New Year’s Eve glitter and POP!)
For the full recipe (and also some details about hot butterscotch and chocolate sauces to go with this beauty) check out here
Back to the lamb. After a few hours of gentle simmering the lamb should be soft and the sauce a little bit thicker.
At this point I usually turn the oven onto a low heat (gas mark 2) and add a couple of handfuls of Orzo before giving the stew a final stir and putting the pan, lid on, into the oven to cook for 30 minutes – or until the pasta is cooked.
Make a quick mix of feta cheese, fresh chopped mint and oregano to sprinkle on the top of the stew.
Serve with green beans and broccoli. I sometimes make some garlic and rosemary roasted new potatoes, but these aren’t really necessary as the pasta in the stew provides the carby bulk.
I wish you all a Happy 2012, may your year be full of parties and happy times!
I. Am. Obsessed.
Obsessed with flavoured alcohols.
At this rate my entire family (including the children) will be completely and utterly spangled by lunchtime of Christmas Day. (HEY! Sounds like a plan)
As my Werther’s Original Vodka winged their way to family members I realised that I was now a couple of gift bottles short – Catastrophe!
The Christmas Pudding Rum lurks maelvolently in the back of the cupboard, refusing to taste like anything other than rum.
And so, I decided to try the top tip of speeding up the process of sweetie dissolution via Dishwasher. Oooh. Yeah, that’s right if you have a dishwasher and an airtight jar (Kilner preferably) you too can make some flavoured vodka in a matter of hours!
I decided after a quick twitter poll (@partyspanner) that Chocolate Lime Vodka would go down a TREAT.
Ah, Chocolate Limes – the sweet of elderly relatives and strange men who wanted to show you their puppies.
I bought a cheap bottle of vodka (750 ml) and two bags of chocolate Limes.
I got rid of some pointless aggression by smashing the living crap out of the sweets before adding them to the kilner jar. Quite the therapy I’m sure you’ll agree.
I added the vodka, and now for the genius part. I sealed the jar, gave it a good shake and added to the dishwasher load. I used the bottom rack to make sure the container stayed upright (which will be more than can be said for me come the party season).
Now, the top tip I had received didn’t specify whether the dishwasher cycle should include soap, but in these financially straitened times I decided to wash my dishes and include the vodka in the load – therefore needing to add a dishwasher tablet. You will need to use your hottest wash cycle – and to be honest it seems not only to make more sense financially to add the jar of alcohol to a full load; but also *earnest face* for the planet, yeah? *wafts patchouli*
I must admit to being a little bit concerned as the dishwasher clanked and bubbled away.
There was no need. Once the cycle had completed I had lovely clean dishes and this:
DON’T make the mistake I made of having a sniff while the liquid is still hot – the fumes will make your eyes water and your BRANE GO RONG.
See that large amount of chocolate limey sediment in the bottom? Do Not Worry.
All you need to do is keep shaking the jar every hour – or half an hour if you can – and the heat of the vodka will continue to melt the sweets and dissolve all the sediment away.
After the first hour:
Second Hour after leaving Dishwasher:
Three and a half hours:
And after four hours I was ready to filter the stuff.
My record of filtering flavoured alcohol is…sporadic to say the least ..but this one really needed a jolly good filtering. My poor old brain finally worked out that if I emptied the liquid from the jar into a large measuring jar and then placed the funnel and coffee filter paper into the now empty Kilner Jar, I can pour the unfiltered stuff through the funnel and just walk away and do something else until it is finished.
It took about 40 minutes to filter the whole batch but it left me with a clear mix which goes down smoothly. Oh yes.
I bottled up:
And now have three bottles (and a small jam jar – don’t ask) of gorgeously chocolatey, evocatively flavoured vodka to give as gifts (and add to my Christmas Day Liquour Tour)
I utterly adore that little seam of chocolate at the top of the bottles and am delighted with the result.
So – if you’ve wanted to take a stab at making some flavoured alcohol, but have either refused to take my previous advice, or haven’t had time, or are stumbling onto my blog for my first time – be of good cheer! You too can have some sickly sweet vodka in just a few hours by following this advice!
Good luck and please let me know of any flavour combinations you come up with.
I’m not going to start this post by waxing lyrically about my mum. Suffice it to say that she is an amazing mother, grandmother, friend and all round good egg. I love her more than cake.
My mum and I are united in our appreciation of floral flavours. We both get pretty excited at a box of rose and violet creams and so I wanted to bake her a cake for birthday with a pinkily rose taste.
Luckily enough, my favourite cake book has just such an offering.
So here we go with yet another Hummingbird Bakery cake.
I whipped up a plain sponge and added rose water and some pink food colouring to the wet ingredients before adding them to the dry mixture
After adding the wet ingredients to the dry I added a couple more drops of pink food colouring and poured the batter into two 8 inch tins.
So, I baked the cakes for 25 minutes and after testing they seemed to be cooked.
So what went wrong? Sadly I haven’t the tiniest clue.
We’re now into damage limitation and this disaster is going to need some serious buttercream icing, the problem being that Mum is not the greatest fan of icing and sweet sweet cakes, so I’m somewhat limited.
I made a small batch of buttercream adding some more rose water to compliment the cake and also added some pink food colouring…
and tried desperately to salvage the birthday cake.
I slathered one of the cakes with one third of the icing…
before getting on with icing the whole cake and decorating with sugar paste flowers
We sang Happy Birthday and sliced the thing up.
So there you are – It tasted OK, but I wouldn’t rush to bake it again to be honest…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!
enjoy your cake
At last! It is ready and amazingly tasty too.
So I finally have a definitive recipe for you all. To make a lovely litre of werther’s original vodka you will need:
1 Litre of vodka
4 x large bags of Werther’s Originals.
Check out the method by looking here
I decided not to filter this one, after starting to do so and it taking AGES and it not making a huge difference to the consistency of the booze.
I wrote some labels (adding the tip to shake the bottle before serving!) and made the bottles look pretty by attaching bows.
I then poured the vodka into the bottles using my trusty funnel and they’re ready to go!
I also have my own personal bottle to tuck away with the rhubarb and custard and parma violet versions.
The Christmas Pudding rum is still not ready. I have added a handful of sugar, a handful of raisins and another of currents and a shaking of flaked almonds. I’ve still got 3 weeks and I’m hoping it’s going to come together by Christmas day.
You’ve still got time to make some flavoured vodka though – I’m going to try a batch of Chocolate Lime Vodka next…
Let’s get back to some baking shall we?
Recently one of my friends invited me to celebrate his birthday at a pub. The invitation was pretty short notice but I decided the best gift I could give him (apart from the macaroni cheese in my man vs food post - which, incidentally, he’s been nagging me for ever since he read it) would be some cakes. *Cheap*
A week before the invitation, I’d bought some mini Lindt Lindor chocolates – God, I love them – and so I thought I’d try and make a cupcake with a lindor chocolate in the centre.
Chocolate cakes would be too rich, so a vanilla batter would be the best option. No icing on them either as I needed to put them in a cake tin and I also believed that the sweet in the centre would be sweet enough.
I popped the chocolates into the freezer for an hour – to prevent them from melting the second they hit the hot oven – and then realised that I didn’t have enough chocolates for each cupcake. Never fear! There’s always a stray box of chocolates in the Partyspanner household (it’s my secret shame) so I dug out a half empty box of mint chocolates and broke them in half before shoving the lot in the freezer.
I whipped up a vanilla batter
And double lined my muffin trays with jaunty cases before adding the batter to each case, adding a chocolate and then “topping up” the cases until they were 3/4 full.
Into the oven for..er, I think it was about 20 minutes and they came out looking (and smelling) pretty good.
I just HAD to try one to see how they turned out
SHIT! The chocolate had sunk to the bottom of the cake. The sponge was tasty though (and the mint had infused through the cake while baking which was interesting). I decided to take the risk and after letting the cakes cool completely, I placed them into a tin and took them to the pub.
At the pub we all had a few drinks, toasted the birthday boy, and I opened the tin. People started eating the cakes and I suddenly heard my name being bandied about with the phrase “hash cakes”. At first I thought they must be saying “smashing cakes” until someone actually asked me what was on the bottom of the cakes. Confused, I looked at the empty case in the someone’s hands and saw:
Gah! All of the chocolates had sunk – DAMN THEIR EYES – and so I had basically served up plain vanilla sponges with encrusted chocolate cupcake cases. Genius.
Ah well, the cakes soaked up a little bit of the alcohol at any rate.
To The Tune of We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel
Autumn Statement Day today, George Osbourne go away,
Slashing, cutting, burning, hurting, borrowing yet more,
Growth too weak, The Poor Must Pay, It has always been this way,
Cut their wages, Freeze Tax credits, Leave the bankers be.
Council houses, right to buy, they don’t need no alibi,
Maggie Thatcher, back again, in the guise of richer men
Pouring money into schools, not the sort the poor would use,
Bastards, wankers, Tory Bankers, Condem Government.
The Poor didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
While the world was turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we can still fight it.
Sure Start Centres, EMA, Rights for workers in decay, Health Service Cuts are Deep. Big Society.
DLA, Student Fees, They don’t care who gets the squeeze, Deficit is all they say, It’s Absolute Shit.
Lib Dem, Nick Clegg, “Brake on Tories”, backing them. Opposition just won’t fight, as the slashing starts to bite.
The Elite, Millionaires, Stupid if you think they care; Time to strike and make a stand – Agitate and make demands.
So I say on STRIKING day – I support you, DON’T GIVE WAY!
We didn’t start the fire
Repeat to end.
Yeah, I’m aware of the scansion is a bit off, but I’m ANGRY Goddammit.
The horribly funny and truthful blogger MommySaidASwearWord nominated me for..oh God, I don’t understand all this stuff..some kind of badge thing that I can attach to my site that means I’m brilliant, or something.
The only thing I need to do is to tell you seven secrets and then link up to other blogs that I think are great. I might have the whole concept totally wrong, and to be brutally honest, I’m really not prepared to talk about my true secrets online, so instead I’m going to make some secrets up.
1) I was the original model for the Lois character in Family Guy. I met the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane back in 1990 when we were both bright-eyed 18 year olds with our whole lives ahead of us. We met at a party through a school exchange (Kent in England and Kent in Conneticut) and hit it off. I was sporting a short bobbed red head look at the time and often wore a green shirt with chinos. Seth and I had a few drinks, a few laughs, and when he tried to kiss me, I rebuffed him gently. I truly believe that in his hugely successful Family Guy TV show that Lois = me, and Brian = him.
2) I won a huge sum on the lottery back in 2006. I accepted the money and transferred it instantly into the bank account of my favourite charity. They never knew where the money came from, and I have never told a single soul.
3) I have a mole shaped like a horse on my left buttock.
4) I recently deleted all of the Dr.Who series which had been recorded on our Sky Plus box because I only had 5% of memory left and I wanted to ensure that there was room for America’s Next Top Model. I told Oliver that there had been a file corruption.
5) Sometimes, when I’m bored at work, I prank call suppliers pretending to be an idiot.
6) My favorite food is actually a sandwich comprised of veal, beef, chicken, hot chilli pepper, peanut butter and coleslaw. I call it a Scooby Doo Sandwich and I eat it when I’m feeling hormonal.
7) Sometimes I dream about Ian Hislop – in a sexy way.
So, that’s the secret part of it out of the way.
Onto my favourite bloggers:
And I’m done.
I have a confession to make. I hate Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mincemeat – mainly because I don’t like raisins, sultanas, glace cherries and mixed peel. ick.
This year, we are having lots of lovely people to us for Christmas day and so I thought I’d better make a traditional pudding.
Stir up Sunday, which falls on the last Sunday in November before Advent, is the day when we’re all supposed to scuttle into our kitchens and prepare our cakes and puddings to give them plenty of time to mature into dark, sticky sweets and making them this far in advance also means that they can be fed with brandy or rum for a good few weeks before the big day.
The night before making my pud, I put a pound coin into some coca-cola over night to give it a good clean.
I’ve never made a christmas pud before so I had a good look through my recipe books, and online, before plumping for a fairly basic recipe – with a couple of my own personal tweaks.
I macerated the dried fruits, substituting a little of the
horrible raisins for horrible glace cherries, in my Christmas Pudding Rum, and a splash of Cointreau.
and left it to stew in it’s own juices for an hour or so. I then zested an orange and lemon using my amazing new gadget.
Yep, I’ve got yet another new helper in the kitchen and it is awesome! It fits onto your knuckles and as you gently rub away at the skin of the fruit it grates it very finely giving you perfect zest in a little box with no mess or aggravation.
I couldn’t be bothered to grate the apple shown in the ingredients photo, so for that reason, it’s out.
I added the zest, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice), suet, sugar and plain flour to the marinated fruit, popped the cleaned coin into the mixture and stirred it up!
Traditionally each member of the family, starting with the youngest, gets to have a stir of the mixture and make a wish.
Tom was out so he didn’t get a wish. I guess I should be grateful or I might have been melted and unable, therefore, to write this post.
I prepared circles of foil to fit onto the top of the basins and large circles (a good few inches wider than the circumference of the bowls)of greaseproof paper before packing the mixture into two bowls. (Lucky Nana might be getting one of these)
The next bit – the tying of the paper onto the basins was a total nightmare. The full basins were awkward, the string kept sliding off the slippery surface of the greaseproof paper and it was frustrating, until I called for help and finally managed to secure the bloody things.
The puddings need to steam now for 5-6 hours. I KNOW! That’s bloody MAD! FIVE TO SIX HOURS and then they have to be steamed again on Christmas day for a further 2-3 hours. It’s not even bloody NICE and it takes eight hours to cook and – let’s face it – a month to mature.
Waste. Of. Time.
Unless you like Christmas pudding that is, in which case, I expect it all sounds very reasonable.
I placed one pudding into a steamer pan, and the other into a large saucepan with an inverted saucer on the bottom, and boiling water poured to 3/4 of the way up the bowl and left them to it.
The noise of it! The water bubbling and boiling, the lids ticking, the steam escaping! My kitchen sounded like some sort of steampunk dream.
After the first couple of hours had passed (and condensation dripped from every window pane) it suddenly started to smell a lot like Christmas in the Spanner home.
It’s very important to keep a close eye on the water levels. I let the steamer pan boil dry twice and only noticed when the bubbling from the kitchen had changed from a low bubbling sound to a high pitched crackly screech.
After five and a half hours, and just as Antiques Roadshow started it’s comforting theme tune, I removed the puddings and left them to cool.
Once they were cold I replaced the foil and paper for fresh, before stashing in a dark cupboard.
For the recipe have a look here - if you started this weekend I’m sure it would be fine.