I’ll be well into my trip to Japan when this post goes online, hopefully having just caught up with two of my best friends (twins) in Kyoto. The last two years went by in such a blur that I feel that I haven’t been able to be the best friend to these two as I could have – possibly should have – been. I hope our time together in Japan was experienced with me being fully present so as to be able to enjoy the precious time together. Family and friends are, however clichéd, the rocks in our lives and I suppose the festive season is a chance to reconnect before the next year begins.
The recipe I’m sharing today doesn’t use a single ingredient from the community garden but it is a recipe that presents itself around this time of year, year after year. I call it “Mum’s” plum pudding because that is what I call my grandmother and this is her recipe. Well, technically it’s a recipe my great-grandmother acquired from the wife of the mechanic my great-grandfather relied upon but that doesn’t sound quite as traditional so we’ll skip over that. My cousins used to joke that I had a problem childhood since I don’t call Mum “grandma” like the rest of them do. I suppose I just heard my parents calling her Mum and so it made sense for me to do so as well. And yes, I always get asked so what do I call my actual mother… the answer is usually a variety of things, ranging from Okasan (‘mother’) to Obaba (‘old hag’). Obaba is of course used in an affectionate way at all times! :-)
I made this pudding for the first time a few days before I left for Japan, as an early birthday present for Dad (he absolutely adores this pudding and is usually what he asks from my grandma each year as a present). Apparently Mum (grandma) dropped one off the other day and I wish Dad had taken a photo to send me because mine is a disgrace. The pudding’s skin came off when I unwrapped the cloth and it looks terrible… but it tastes fabulous! So once I discover the secret to keeping the pudding skin on I will definitely post it. Especially since, in my opinion, the skin is the tastiest part of the whole pudding!!
Mum’s Plum Pudding (adapted from my grandmother’s cookbook)
1 cup plain flour
1 cup plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
½ cup sultanas
½ cup raisins
1 cup currants
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
¾ cup sugar or honey
2 cups filtered water
1. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda, nutmeg and ginger into a large bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in, cover with a tea towel and stand mixture overnight.
2. Dip cloth in boiling water and wring out and pat down with flour.
3. Use bowl/colander to support mixture as it is poured into the middle of the cloth. Ensure the top is completely closed, tie with string and dab flour on top (over the gap).
4. Place plate in saucepan before placing the pudding in (otherwise the pudding will burn) and pour boiling water over the pudding.
5. Close the lid and boil pudding for 4 hours (if doubling the ingredients, boil for 6 hours).
6. After the pudding has cooked, remove it from the cloth and place on a plate. Let cool or serve immediately with brandy custard.
So, until next time… Merry Christmas everyone! And a happy New Year :-)