Category Archives: Christmas

Drrrumroll please….ta daaa! My new blog, Sosusie in the City, is up and running.

Hello all,

I’ve moved to http://www.sosusieinthecity.com

Thanks to all of you that have read this blog, it’s so very exciting when you realise that people are reading what you’re writing and whilst I’ve always written not for an audience but for myself, and will continue to do so, it’s really special to know that there are people that have taken the time to read my ramblings.

I love this blog – it’s going to stay right where it is but please, do come with me to my new home Sosusie in the City where I’ll be saying more of yes and a lot less of no. There’ll be recipes, places to go out, things to do, more ramblings, a bit of style and a bit more rambling.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you over at Sosusie in the City.

I’ll leave you with a reminder of two of my most popular posts from this blog:

A Christmas pudding recipe and, an afternoon out in Walthamstow

Stir it up Sunday or…make whenever you feel like it, Christmas Pudding

I’m not normally a fan of Christmas pudding, it’s too rich and too dense and solid for my liking…and I don’t like Brandy butter to boot but, many years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to the pudding she makes each year and I became a convert.

Sometimes we get together and make the pudding, along with her children and mine, sometimes L makes it and sometimes I make it. This year, pudding making duties fell to me (actually it was more like I claimed them) and a week or so before Christmas day, I could be found chopping a mountain of dried fruits and nuts.

Christmas pudding weighing fruitNot quite a mountain, but this isn’t even the half of it!

Honestly, if you do everything by hand, which we always do, it does take quite a while to get all the prep work done but this pudding is SO worth it and…more than that, it’s ridiculously easy and doesn’t need to be made ages in advance. In fact, it really doesn’t matter when you make the pudding because you simply freeze it, uncooked, and when you’re ready to use it, thaw it and then steam for 5 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the pudding.

Christmas pudding fieryThe finished pudding, doused with a ladleful of brandy and set alight (we did manage, as usual, to set a few other things on fire too).

This pudding tastes ultra-rich, moist and decadent but at the same time, with all that fresh fruit and veg, it is light and manageable. Every mouthful is bursting with gorgeous flavour and texture.

So, without further ado, here is L’s

Really, THIS is the ultimate Christmas pudding

Makes enough for 5 pints. I normally make two 2 pint and one 1 pint puddings but this year I made one 3 pint (to serve 12) and one 2 pint (to serve 4) both of which had enough for leftovers.

Ingredients
8oz raisins
8oz sultanas
8oz currants
8oz dates (I suggest getting ones that have already been stoned) – chopped
8oz prunes (again, get ones that have been stoned) – chopped
8oz mixed soft brown sugar and white sugar
4oz blanched almonds – chopped
4oz butter
4oz suet (I always used vegetable suet and the pudding is none the worse for it)
8oz grated carrot (do use organic, if you can, as they really are so much more flavoursome)
7oz fresh breadcrumbs
5oz plain flour
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best – even in this small quantity)
1 tsp baking powder
1 orange – grated rind and juice
2 apples – peeled and chopped
3 – 4 medium eggs
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
¼ – ½ pt stout or milk (I use stout, bien sur)
3 tbsp good rum (or, a good slosh of the stuff)

Method
Firstly, you will need a really big mixing bowl for this. I use a large cooking pot.
Secondly, prepare your pudding bowls by lining with lightly greased greaseproof paper.

Christmas pudding ingredients on tableMost of the necessary ingredients (please note, none of the bowls you see in these photos turned out to be big enough – dunno why I never remember this, and I did have to resort to the cooking pot)

Then:
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices

Christmas pudding spicesGorgeous smells of Christmas

Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add the breadcrumbs and the suet
Add the sugar, carrots, dried fruit and nuts

Christmas pudding grated carrots in bowl
Grate in the orange rind
Add the chopped apples

Christmas pudding diced apple in bowl

Break each egg separately, give a gentle whisk with a fork and add to the mixture
Add the treacle, syrup, orange juice, rum and stout or milk. Add enough of the stout/milk so that the mixture just drops off a wooden spoon.
Plop the mixture into your prepared bowls, hiding in a few cleaned and foil covered pound coins as you go, cover with greaseproof paper and foil or a lid, and freeze until ready to use.

Christmas pudding finished mixtureTa daaaa….a rather gros looking (and, at the moment, tasting) mixture

Make sure you leave enough time for the pudding to thaw (I’d leave it overnight) and steam for around 5/6 hours, depending on the size of pudding.

Serve however you wish, this year one of the puddings was served with Brandy butter and cream and the other was served with Rum butter. Nom nom nom, as they say.

The pudding can certainly be left in the freezer for a year or so but equally, you can make it and then cook and serve – there is absolutely no need to make ahead. Sorry Stir it up Sunday.

 

Buying a Christmas wreath

A and I had an evening out in East London last week, beginning with a trip to pick up a wreath from Larkspur and Lavender. Sally, who owns the company, is just lovely, she’s cool, a bit edgy, warm and friendly (you probably will want her to become a friend) and she has the most incredible sense of flower style. I’m really quite fussy about flowers, and whilst I don’t necessarily have the skills or the creativity to put together the arrangements that I like, I know them as soon as I see them. Sally creates exactly what I would, if I could, and this year I didn’t even bother to specify what I wanted out of the wreath, knowing instead that whatever Sally created, I would love.

2013-12-19 17.39.53Sally at work, packaging up our wreath.

Sally works out of a container just off Mare Street in Hackney, she does a fair bit of commercial work but she also runs the occasional floristry day course and she will work to commission (though she won’t normally deliver for a small one-off order) and I wish that I had the occasion to commission her to create arrangements for me more regularly than I do.

2013-12-19 17.41.12   2013-12-19 17.40.27Various flora, waiting to be turned into something subtly spectacular (if that’s not a contradiction in terms…and, even if it is one).

2013-12-19 17.40.42A watching Sally at work.

Christmas wreath 2013And our stunning wreath. It got slightly battered having to go, as it did, to a jewellery sale and a birthday party, before finally making it back to our house.