I came across a great website today called Make it, Mend it and while browsing the food section spotted an article about making Christmas puddings and a fabulous sounding no sugar, no flour Christmas pudding recipe. A lot of other food bloggers made their puds weeks ago so I thought I’d missed the boat to get one made and marinated in time for Christmas (especially when I’ve not made one before). Not so according to an ancient tradition that names today, the third Sunday in November, as Stir-up Sunday: the day on which the whole family take a turn at stirring good luck into the Christmas pudding and making a wish.Googling ‘Stir-up Sunday’ to find out a bit more about this custom I came across a website for a primary school in Kent. Woodlands Junior School pages are loaded with all sorts of Christmas related information and recipes, interactive games and activities and student pages including book reviews and a joke zone. It’s brilliant that the importance of developing the whole child, the school’s heartbeat, is so tangibly reflected through their website. Here’s what I learnt about Christmas while browsing their site this morning:
Christmas puddings are made with 13 ingredients to represent the Christ and his disciplines and it is stirred from East to West to honour the 3 wise men who visited the baby Jesus. A coin was traditionally added to bring wealth to whoever found it, a ring would foretell a marriage and a thimble a lucky life.
Mince pies were traditionally coffin or cradle shaped and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to represent the gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men. It was thought lucky to eat one mince pie of each of the 12 days of Christmas – to refuse one could bring bad luck.
Christmas trees became popular in Britain after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert brought one over from Germany in 1841. The most famous Christmas tree in Britain is in London, near the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square. Since 1947 a Norwegian spruce tree has been sent over as a thank you to the British people from the people of Oslo (during the second world war King Hakkon of Norway was forced into exile in England when the Germans occupied Norway). Christmas jokes (handy if you’re making your own crackers! answers at the end)
• what’s brown and sneaks around the kitchen? (from Michael Edwards, age 9)
• what is a mum’s favourite Christmas carol (from Georgina Flynn)
• what do you get if you eat Christmas decorations (from Adam Courtley)
As our planned walk with a friend has been postponed today I’m off to buy my missing pudding ingredients instead… once I can decide for definite which recipe to go with. Here are other pudding recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers:
Jules’ Guinness Christmas pudding
Johanna’s beginners Christmas pudding
BBC Good Food 7 Cup Christmas pudding
And since I don’t want to spend a fiver on a lidded pudding basin I thought I’d buy a shop bought pudding to munch on while making my own. Or perhaps I’ll copy Nic’s genius idea for making Chocolate Christmas pudding truffles.
Images licensed under Creative Commons
With thanks to Jules at Domestic Goddess in Training – Christmas pudding mix, David Iluff at Wikipedia – Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, Nic at Cherrapeno – Christmas pudding truffles.