Having become almost obsessed with the lack of cold, white flakey stuff (no, not chilled dandruff) I've decided not to dedicate another post to the topic, despite it being seasonally appropriate.
For my views on the four letter 's' word, see my previous post.
It occurred to me recently that being in the kitchen tends to remind me of people. "Huh?" I telepathically and through the magic of electronic technology hear you say. Well, at the time I was making Christmas pudding. The traditional Christmas pudding made months ahead of time and left to improve in flavour through careful storage. Well, that was my mum's tradition. Being a generation Xer (or whatever letter we're up to now) I have put my own spin on it. I just think about making the pudding months ahead of time. I plan for it. In September I even buy the fruit. Then I think some more until... well, I'll be blowed it's the week before Christmas! One year I even made the pudding on Christmas Eve, while wrapping the presents. I refuse to feel guilt about wrapping presents the night before Christmas - everyone does that (except for you, dad).
So anyway, I was making the pudding and thinking about my mum, like I do every time I make the pudding. Now that I stop to think about it, that may why I put it off so long. In particular I think about Mum's last Christmas with us, the first Christmas I made the pudding - because Mum was too weak to stir the mix. Well, mixing fruit and rubbing flour into the pudding cloth got me to thinking about other people who have also given me valuable kitchen lessons.
For example, every time I cook rice I now think about Rachel, who taught me how to cook it in the microwave (a service to saucepans worldwide). Rachel, by the way, makes a supurb Chicken Parmigiana... ask her sometime for the recipe.
I suppose we like to think that cooking is just a process, with a beginning a middle and an end. But I never really reach the end of a recipe, everytime I make something it is altered in some way... somewhat like my memories really.
Well, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere it is still Christmas Eve so you're not too late to join in on my family tradition. You Aussies will just have to wait until next year (or really push the boundaries and make pudding Christmas day). You can find the recipe below. Feel free to substitue your own memories.
Jiffy Plum Pudding
You will need.
1 cup of brown sugar.
7 cups any mixed fruit (chop large ones).
2 and 1/4 cups of plain flour.
2 tsp mixed spice (I couldn't find this in the USA and used extra cinnamon and nutmeg instead).
1/2 tsp cinnamon.
1/2 tsp nutmeg.
1 tsp bi-carb (baking soda).
A pudding cloth. A big pot.
Beat eggs and sugar together until light.
Add fruit and cream and mix well.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Wet pudding cloth and rub flour into a big circle. Plop mixture onto the cloth and gather the edges together, tying at the top.
Boil in a great big pot for three hours.
Hang in a cool dry place and pour brandy over. One or two cups should be enough. Cheap brandy is fine. Don't worry if you don't like brandy, it all washes off when you cook it again on Christmas day - it's really only used as a preservative.
Boil for one hour on day of serving. Remove from cloth and serve, preferably with hot custard.
-should be made by beginning of October (ha!)
-do not allow to boil dry while cooking. Top up with boiling water from kettle.
-while hanging, don't let children or spouse use as a punching bag.
Oh, and happy Christmas.