Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Kitchen time

November 16, 2009

I decided that as I was off work today, it would be a good idea to make my Christmas puddings. Yes, I do make my own! And I thought I’d share the basic recipe with you all. Note: My puddings are actually a variation on this – you didn’t expect me to share my secrets do you?

Christmas Pudding

serves: 8

Prep Time: 40 mins

Cook Time: 3hrs

  • 110g raisins
  • 110g sultanas
  • 300g currants
  • 100ml stout
  • 4tbsp brandy
  • 110g whole candied fruit, finely diced
  • 50g blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 50g undyed glace cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 185g self raising flour
  • 55ml milk


  • 2 pt pudding basin
  • Baking parchment
  • String
  1. Place the dried fruits in a small saucepan with the stout and brandy, bring to the boil, then gently simmer for 10-15mins or until all the liquor has been absorbed, stirring occaisionally
  2. Transfer to mixing bowl and leave to cool for 20-30mins
  3. Stir in the peel, almonds, cherries and spices
  4. Blend the butter and sugar together for several minutes in a food mixer, add the eggs, one by one, then the treacle, flour and finally the milk
  5. Stir into the dried fruit mixture
  6. Generously butter the pudding basin, butter a square of baking parchment and line the bottom of the basin with it, buttered side up
  7. Spoon the mixture into the basin and smooth the surface
  8. Cut a double sheet of baking parchment measuring 30cm square, make a pleat in the centre. butter the underside and place over the top of the pudding
  9. Tie the paper in place with a string below the top of the pudding
  10. Put in a saucepan with boiling water that comes two thirds of the way up the sides, cover and simmer gently for 2hrs 45mins. Top up water level now and again, if necessary
  11. Remove basin from the saucepan and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes before running a knife around the outside of the pudding and then turning on to a plate

To freeze

The pudding can be frozen for up to 3 months. Leave the cooked pudding to cool, then remove the baking parchment on top and replace with fresh parchment. Place the pudding, still in the basin, in a freezer bag and freeze. Defrost at room temperature for 6-8 hours (or overnight in a fridge). Reheat as above, for 1 hour


So there’s the instructions. My puddings are made slightly different to that though. Mainly because I take after my mother in the kitchen! Her cooking exploits are legendary! She has on more than one occasion turn two pages in a recipe book and carried on, without even noticing! On another occasion she misread 1 tablespoon of water for one cup of water and wonder why the cake took ages to cook! This could explain why , when the recipe said “softened butter” I ended up with melted butter (or was it facebook distracting me?) or why when I was half way through he recipe I suddenly realised the blender was still buried at the back of the cupboard! In fact the 40mins prep time end up nearer 2 hours!

But I got there in the end. There all cooked – I made 4 small puddings and 2 medium sized puddings – and ready to be eaten.

And here’s the finished product



November 16, 2008

So today it was my turn to prepare the bread and wine for Communion in Church and I thought it would be nice to have a freshly baked roll for the Minister to break.

Now whilst I do like to cook and bake, I don’t always have time. So today I decided I would use a part-baked roll which would only take 10 minutes in the oven.

I duly placed two rolls on a baking tray and put them in the oven. Almost immediately I started to smell something burning, but I put it down to something at the bottom of the oven. After all, the rolls had only just been put in so it couldn’t be them, could it?

After ten minutes, I opened the oven and took it the tray out to find just one roll. Oh dear.

I looked inside, and there, at the back, was the remains of the second roll.


It must have rolled straight of the back of the tray as I put it in.

I think I’ll stick to shop-bought rolls next time!