Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Pudding memories

This is my Dad's Auntie Vera, in my memory she was notable for being skilled at crochet lace, taking fuchsia cuttings and making Christmas Puddings.

One year I decided I wanted to make a Christmas Pudding, so I asked my Dad if he could obtain 'the recipe' from Auntie Vera, and shortly afterwards I received this . . .

This is actually a photocopy (the original is somewhere safe), and as you can see it's seen a few baking sessions! The first time I followed the recipe, I started weighing out the ingredients and soon realised that this would make more than one pudding – many more!!! So I now make a third of the quantity and it makes one big pudding and a smaller one.

The puddings are cooking as I type this . . . they will be ready when 'The Archers' begins on Radio 4.

On Christmas Day, before breakfast, I'll put the bigger one in the slow cooker and leave it to cook until the end of Christmas Dinner. How do you serve yours? This has become a compromise, I now make a sweet white sauce flavoured with rum. In my family, the pudding would be served with ordinary custard plus a glug of brandy straight from the bottle which was passed around the table :-) Never, ever Brandy Butter – nasty posh stuff!

So, while the Christmas Puddings boil and become rich and moist and wonderful, here are some lovely colourful photos taken this morning in our greenhouse . . .

and garden . . .

For some reason I keep humming that tune that was played for the 'Vision On' gallery . . .

Dum de dum... dum dee dummm
Dum de dum dum... dee dee deeeee

Dum de dum dee dumdee dumdee dumdee . . .

You'll find it on YouTube if you care to look - I'm sorry but I can't do the links for you (the studio computer is saving it's strength to draw science diagrams!) And no, I'm not related to Tony Hart, but he was my hero when I was 7!


  1. We have to have a choice of brandy butter, pouring cream and custard to keep everyone happy... but one or two people have been known to have a little of all three with their Christmas pud! I used to like Tony Hart too!

  2. Isn't it great how last season's flowers are bumping into next seasons? Strangely mild autumn too.
    As for Christmas puds-we're brandy butter folk but not at all posh. And now I am going to find the recipe I use and compare it with Aunty Vera's.

  3. oh Celia, that handwritten recipe could so easily be one of my dear mum-in-law's!
    I have a recipe for brandy butter with walnuts over on my blog at the moment, so that and pouring cream for us.
    Great to see such lovely flower photos at this time of year - nothing doing in my little patch I'm afraid.

    Jeanne x

  4. Coincidentally I made my pudding(s) yesterday too. My recipe doesn't have any breadcrumbs (most seem to) and makes a lovely firm, almost cheesy-textured pud. Mine were ready after a 6 hour steam just before yours. 2 hours steaming on the day and you wouldn't call the king your uncle!

    Custard here. Maybe a Northern thing?

  5. I personally don't eat Christmas pud. It's the dried grape thing, can't stand them. Tony Hart, on the other hand, I liked a lot. I used to think the sign language thing was really cool too. I was very jealous of his artistic skills as I thought I had none myself. That was until I went on a drawing workshop. Seems it's true that given a few pointers anyone can draw! I don't think I have ever been so pleased with myself. By the way, that tune ... it must be whistled not hummed.

  6. What a precious thing! Thank you for sharing that with us. I made my pud a month ago, but took it out today and fed it with brandy.

  7. such gorgeous photos from such a wacky autumn! mm pudding! will save up some coins (blowing what little extra there is on black friday) to start mine in 2 weeks.

  8. Hi Gina - Yes I sometimes have cream on the left-over pudding on Boxing day ;-)

    HI Threadspider - Once I started looking there are so many flowers in the garden! Your right - Brandy Butter isn't posh, it's just not something we evr had, so seems strange to me!

    Hi Jeanne - Brandy Butter with Walnuts sounds interesting (but not on the pudding!)

    Hi Veg Heaven - I bet your pudding is scrummy! Custard - maybe there is a north south divide? Although I'm Eastern rather than Northern.

    Hi Pamela - I think Tony Hart was a huge inspiration. And yes, anyone can draw! I'm humming the tune because I can't whistle!

    Hi Matron - enjoy your well lubricated pudding!!

    Hi Petoskystone - you're right, winter seems a long way away, we're in for a shock when the wind changes to a nor-easterly!!!!


  9. Auntie Vera's handwritten recipe make a lovely pudding. We have extra-thick double cream with ours. You've still lots of lovely colour going on in your garden. Beautiful sharp images. x

  10. I recognise that handwriting from a hundred ancient and much loved aunts! Pudding is done now, the first one ever just tied up in a pudding cloth. I like brandy butter, husband is a white sauce fan. amazing we are still married.

  11. I used to dislike brandy butter until I made it myself and found that it's the bought stuff that is nasty. Leftover pudding fried gently in it is divine and causes the stomach and hips to swell visibly as you swallow. For this reason, I usually just serve plain cream or custard for those who don't actually like Christmas pudding and can just hide a crumb in the custard and not taste it.


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