Today is Stir-up Sunday – when it really does begin to feel as though Christmas is just around the corner! I remember my grandma, our family’s champion pudding maker, in her tiny kitchen vigorously stirring a huge bowl of fragrant, spicy-smelling mixture with a wooden spoon before inviting all us grandchildren to take a turn, make a wish, and stir in a well-washed silver sixpence from the special pot kept in the corner of her cupboard for the rest of the year.
My grandma’s Christmas puddings were legendary and formed one of the centrepieces of our Christmas dinner, a wonderful rich concoction of flour, eggs, spices and a good slosh of something alcoholic (probably why all the grown-ups fell asleep on Christmas afternoon – nothing at all to do with the 4 am start us children insisted upon!). Of course a rich pudding like this needed time to mature, which is why it was always made in advance. The weekly visit to church at the end of November provided a helpful reminder as the Collect in the Book of Common Prayer for the last Sunday before Advent offers up a most timely reminder …
“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.”
Tradition decreed that every member of our family should stir the Christmas pudding (preferably from an easterly to westerly direction in honour of the Three Kings who came from the east) and make a wish. Then the mixture was spooned into my grandma’s row of pudding bowls, topped with a circle of greaseproof paper and securely tied with muslin to prevent any unwanted water penetration. It was boiled in a large pan on the hob for at least SIX HOURS before being left to cool and carefully stored in a cool dark place ready for the BIG DAY.
These days I’m afraid I purchase my Christmas pudding, as I’m a much more enthusiastic chocolate log maker than I am pudding boiler. But I do still enjoy making a different sort of Christmas pudding ….
My Figgy Pudding tea cosy from the December issue of the Magazine! Not long to wait now – it’s out on Thursday.
Just over this morning’s tea, my daughter stated … you really need a new cozy, this one is shredded to no repair. Then I get on my computer and see your wonderful tea cozy. I am up to look through my stash of fabric to see what I can find to make one. You are an inspiration.
Thanks Monika – so lovely of you xx
I absolutely love this cosy,only wish I could purchase it lol.I love cooking but as there is just the two of us it doesn’t seem worth making cake or pud for Christmas,but I am contemplating it for some daft reason.I always spoil the kids in our very small road with advent calendars and biscuits coming up to Christmas.Have a happy week.Cuddles for the doggies.I will be out with Baz the collie and Tallulah the mad choccy sprocker tomorrow.Phew.xx
Thank you for sharing this lovely tradition! Sounds such fun, and I just love the tea cosy!
You have brought back some good memories Helen. I always made the Christmas puddings both for our own family and for the small goodie hampers I made up for special family members as Christmas presents. Sadly I no longer make the puddings as there are only two of us and hubby doesn’t want pudding these days. Love the tea cosy though and need one of these 🙂