I have been known to have some culinary disasters in my time. It seems to happen when I am trying my hardest to put on a good show for my guests. And it usually involves something we didn’t really need on the menu – a last-minute addition.
A week before Christmas we went to the seafood shop down the road to buy some fresh fish for dinner. I noticed they had some frozen, peeled prawns and I thought they could be added to our Christmas lunch.
We had guests at our place on Boxing Day (we went to my son and daughter-in-law’s place on Christmas Day). I pre-cooked the turkey and had a nice piece of ham to go with it.
That morning I got the prawns out of the freezer but hadn’t given much thought as to how I was going to serve them. I decided that a lime and chili dressing would be nice. I made sure the prawns were at the right temperature (not still frozen but safely defrosted).
I mixed the dressing and added it to the prawns and put them in a bowl on the table. I put some on my plate. When I ate one I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I had a panicky feeling that maybe they were raw!
I decided to confess my fears but my guests assured me they were fine. After dinner I checked online about eating raw prawns – it seemed that I would live to tell the tale!
PS the photo is from a Christmas Dinner a few years ago – those prawns WERE cooked!
Before my mother-in-law passed away I agreed to continue the family tradition by using her recipe to cook the Christmas puddings she made each year for her two sons. I have all the ingredients ready to make the pudding this weekend.
Here are the ingredients:
8 ounces of flour
8 ounces of suet (I use butter)
8 ounces of dark brown sugar
8 ounces of bread crumbs (white bread).
2 and 1/4 of dried fruit (sultanas, seedless raisins and currants
1 ounce of crushed almonds
Juice of one lemon
3 large or 4 small eggs
1 heaped tablespoon of thick marmalade
1 heaped tablespoon of mixed spice and a pinch of bicarb soda
Alcohol or milk if necessary (for the cook?)
Mix all the fruit together and rinse it under running water for a few minutes. Add the grated apple, grated carrot and marmalade. Pour on alcohol of choice (brandy, sherry or fruit juice if preferred) and leave overnight. Then next day cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy then beat in sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Fold in the fruit mixture and prepared breadcrumbs. Add the crushed almonds. Sift the spice, bicarb soda and flour and fold into the fruit mixture until the right consistency in reached.
Pour the mixture into two prepared pudding bowls and cover them with kitchen paper and tin foil. Place the bowls in large pots of water to steam for about four hours. Remember to keep topping up the water as it evaporates. They can be kept in the fridge once cooked and then reheat for a further two hours on Christmas Day. Serve with custard, cream and/or ice-cream.
Here are my puddings in the bowls and saucepans last Christmas 🙂
My mother-in-law taught me how to make Christmas Pudding in the way she prepared and cooked it every year for her husband and two sons. The responsibility was passed to me when she passed away in 2010. Each year I say I am not going to make it but I usually give in to howls of protests.
The tradition of putting the coins in the puddings comes from my childhood. I have 15 x three-penny coins dating from 1921 to 1955. I also have seven six-penny coins dating from 1910 to 1963. I always clean them in boiling water and bicarb soda before mixing them in the pudding! I usually ask the coins be swapped for some chocolate money so as I can continue the tradition the next Christmas.
Next the mixture goes in two pudding bowls and sealed with kitchen paper and foil before inserting into two pots of boiling water.
Then they steam for four hours. I need to keep topping up the water so it does all disappear 🙂