Category: X’mas Fare & Recipes

Stir-up Sunday

A Christmas Pudding, sometimes cream or custard etc are added as a topping.


Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent.  The custom comes from when families & relatives gathered together and stir the ingredients of a traditional British Christmas pudding before the first Sunday in Advent as observed by Anglican churches.

There is a Collect (prayer)

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’ 

Also, It allows time for the pudding to mature properly for the month before the Christmas Day meal. By tradition, each member of a family or participant is encouraged to make a wish as they stir.

The pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour and remembrance of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus with their gifts.

In some households, silver coins are added to the pudding mix. It is believed that finding a coin brings good luck.

I remember as a child in the 1960s, my mother would traditionally put & stir ‘silver’ sixpence coins known colloquially as a tanner into the mixture. Later when the UK went decimal ‘other’ silver coins were added.

It is believed that like Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, Christmas puddings were introduced to the UK in the 1800s, by Prince Albert, who was the husband and consort to Queen Victoria.

There can be some variations of ingredients, traditional puddings mainly contain dried fruits, raisins etc. The mixture and cake are held together by egg and suet &  sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. It is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and or other spices. Measured alcohol is added, mainly brandy but dark beers or stout can be used.

Before the pudding is served during the Christmas meal, some households set light to the pudding as the alcohol content allows it to burn briefly as part of the serving tradition.

The pudding is usually aged for a month or more,[or even a year until the following Christmas Day; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.




Pigs-in-Blankets Recipe

Xmas day 2013 285

sausages wrapped in bacon Photo by PH Morton


Pigs in blankets are the easiest thing to do and yet a great favourite with everyone. It is an ideal finger food for parties.

I usually make a lot for Christmas to go with the turkey. Actually I get a special request from my son and hubby to make a lot. I find that everyone in our household would eat the bacon wrapped sausages either hot or cold. When cold they can go nicely with the cheeseboard  with some pickles or with some cold meat and salad.

The recipe below is a rather fancy way of making the pigs in the blankets.

The simplest way is to wrap the cocktail sausages in bacon rinds using a toothpick to keep it in place.

Then grill, fry or put it around the turkey or roasting potatoes in the oven for 25 minutes.

Pigs-in-Blankets Recipe


  • 8-10 rashers streaky bacon, halved
  • 1 tbsp ready-made English mustard
  • 16-20 small party sausages


Run a knife along the length of the bacon rashers so they stretch a little, spread lightly with the mustard, then cut in half. Use the bacon to wrap a sausage. then spear onto short skewers.
Roast the bacon wrapped mini-sausages in the oven  for 30-40 mins until golden.
Serve with the Sunday roast or some green salad.

Table At Christmas

We really had a good time at Christmas, despite cough and cold and flu for most of the family.

I supposed we made the best of it as it only comes once a year and bearing in mind that so much preparations were put into it.

As they said “Feed the cold, starve the fever.” And we really did.

We celebrated our Lord God’s birthday with joy in our hearts, with love for our family, with toys and gifts, which pleased everyone and enough food on the table.

Sharing a meal, with everyone (except for poor Stacey, who was really battered by flu and was resting in bed) was a joyful affair.  The food, if I say so myself, was beautifully cooked.  Peter and I did put a lot of effort into to it.  We were on our feet four hours, pummeling, forming, stirring, mixing, blending, chopping, crushing, washing and cooking the meal.  After 4 hours of non-stop activities in the kitchen, we serve a very palatable Christmas fare, which everyone enjoyed:)

We really had a very merry Christmas and now look forward to many, many more to come!

Table At Christmas



We did correct the cutlery positions: Fork on the left and knife on the right! 😉



A Christmas table without the Christmas crackers is rather cheerless!




Starter: Avocado and Cantaloupe melon with Serrano Ham

the christmas table

“It’s ok to let yourself go, just as long as you let yourself back.”
– Mick Jagger
I shall diet after Christmas. Promise!!! 😉

Rich Fruit Cake Recipe

This is Christmas. This is the cake for Christmas. It is rich, full of luscious juicy raisins and sultanas bursting with goodness.

It is just about the time to take stock and prepare the Christmas fruit cake. Keep it and store in an airtight container and would have matured by Christmas time.

rich fruit cake
Rich Fruit Cake Recipe


3 cups currants

2 cups sultanas

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup glace cherries, halved

1 cup almonds chopped

1/2 cup citrus peel

grated rind of 2 lemons

3 tbsp brandy

3 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)

1 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice (allspice)

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup ground almonds

1 1/2 cup soft margarine or butter

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp black treacle or molasses

6 medium eggs

How to make:

1.  Preheat the oven to a very low heat at 140 degrees centigrade.

2. Grease a deep cake tin and line with wax paper/greaseproof paper.  Also grease the paper with a little butter or margarine.

3. Place all the ingredients in a huge mixing bowl.

4. Stir to incorporate the ingredients together.  Then using a wooden spoon, beat it for at least 10 minutes until well mixed.

5. Spoon the mixture into the greased cooking tin amd smooth the surface using the back of a spoon.  Be sure to make an impression in the middle of the cake to prevent the middle rising higher the edges.

6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 3 3/4 hours.  If the cake is turning brown too quickly, cover the cake loosely with an aluminium foil.

7. To test if it is cook, it should be firm to the touch and when a knife is inserted in the middle it would come out clean.  If not leave it a little longer in the oven but make sure to test in short regular intervals.

8. Let it cool in the tin.  Turn over the tin when it is completely cool.  It would be advisable to leave the greaseproof paper on the cake as this will keep the cake moist.

9.  Store in an airtight container until needed.



Christmas Recipe: Stollen



Stollen is a traditional German cake.  It is a fruit cake made from chopped dried fruits, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. (Wikipedia)

Christmas Recipe: Stollen


325g strong white bread flour

7g sachet easy-blend yeast

45 golden caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

45g melted butter

100ml warm milk

100g soft dried apricots

100g raisins and sultanas mix

50g dried cherries

4 tbsp orange liqueur

100g pistachio nuts

60g dried cranberries

100 white chocolate, chopped

3 tsp icing sugar


In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and sugar.

Add the beaten egg, butter and milk.

Mix these together and when a ball had formed, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough had turned smooth and elastic.

Put in a bowl and cover with cling film and let it stand under room temperature for at least an hour, to give the dough a chance to double its size.

Now, put the apricots and the orange liqueur into a pan and warm for a couple of minutes so the apricots absorb the liqueur.  Transfer into a bowl to cool.

Using a food processor, blitz the pistachios until finely ground, then add the cranberries, white chocolate, sultanas and raisins as well as the cherries and the apricot mix. Blend lightly for a few second just to combine.

Put these in a cling film and pat it into a roll, measuring 10 inches long and then put in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm it up.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.

Meanwhile, roll out the bread dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a rectangular shape measuring 11 by 7 inches.

Put the apricot mix on top of the dough.

Brush the edges with water.

Begin to fold the dough over the apricot stuffing.  This should look like a Swiss roll or a log.

Be sure to press the edges to seal.

Transfer the log into a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven for half an hour or until the log has risen a bit more and had turned golden.

Cool on a wire rack and then dust generously with the icing sugar.

Enjoy and have a lovely, smashing Christmas.