… the Christmas decorations went up today and for The Viking and I it marks the real start to Christmas. However manic we are, we always manage to plan the day that the Christmas tree will be bought and decorated. Sometimes it’s as early as the first weekend of December (although never before the 1st) and it was once as late as Christmas Eve (which was near to impossible and we ended up with the scrappiest tree that no-one else wanted.) Our tree comes from a local Christmas tree farm where we can go into the field and chop down our own tree. This often means The Viking and I standing in the middle of a Christmas tree forest arguing about shape and height. Sometimes, like this weekend, we land on a tree within seconds but we have been known to be a good couple of hours in that field… We have lots of different kinds of decorations that we’ve collected over the years, from swags and wreaths to some rather camp gold reindeers… but when it comes to the tree i’m afraid to say that we have a theme and we’re quite specific about not straying from it. The Viking and I both love the colour turquoise and specifically that wonderful Tiffany and Co blue and so our tree has a lot of this colour going on. We do occasionally stray and find the odd bauble that we love but if ever we update the baubles they are usually in turquoise. I love bringing out the decorations. It’s basically a large box of memories. Christmas is always such a magical time of year when The Viking and I get to spend quality time together at home and we’ve made some wonderful memories together so the decorations represent such a peaceful time.
this is the last of my Leisure Cooker posts for 2016… they’ve been an inspirational brand to work with – it always makes such a difference when brands come to bloggers with great ideas and the team have been lovely too – and i’ve loved developing this three course traditional Christmas Day lunch and cooking it on my gorgeous Leisure Cookmaster CK90 Range Cooker of course!
Christmas Pudding with orange liqueur whipped cream
This is a very simple, throw it all into the bowl, Christmas pudding, made special by the generous amount of booze in both the pudding itself and the whipped cream. I warn you now, the booze will take your breath away so feel free to reduce it or replace entirely with either orange juice or cold tea. I love this pudding because it’s not too dark or too rich and is easy to eat. It steams really well on the hob in a steamer and will keep for a month in fridge or in an airtight container so this can be made well in advance of the big day itself.
- 1kg bag of mixed fruit and peel
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 225g vegetarian suet
- 110g plain flour
- 110g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 55g whole marcona almonds
- 55g shelled pistachios
- zest of one lemon
- 5 free-range eggs – beaten
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 300ml orange liqueur / triple sec such as Grand Marnier
- grease a 1 litre pudding basin
the night before you make the pudding place the mixed fruit and peel into a very large mixing bowl and liberally soak in the liquid of your choice, if you don’t want it to be alcoholic it could be earl grey tea but a good triple sec would be the best – roughly 300ml and leave to soak overnight.
the next day add all the other ingredients plus to the fruit and stir together… if you’re making this pudding on ‘Stir Up Sunday’ this is the point where you need to make your wishes. Make sure it’s thoroughly stirred and then pour it into the pudding basin
cover the basin with a large sheet of foil with a pleat down the centre and steam in either a water bath or steamer for 3 to 4 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
the pudding will keep for up to three months wrapped in foil and placed somewhere dark and cool, each week you could drizzle with a tablespoon or liquor to keep it moist
to reheat on Christmas day simple place in the oven for half of the original cooking time on a low heat
to serve, gently whip up some cream to the soft peak stage and stir in a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or triple sec
eat and of course, enjoy!