Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Homemade Christmas Pudding

I can remember as a child going to my aunts every christmas with the whole of my family, (she had a BIG house!), and 20 of us would sit around the dining table after a large turkey roast awaiting the arrival of THE Christmas Pudding! The lights were extinguished as my aunt carried in the flaming pudding and everyone applauded the event. Then we each would have a slice with brandy sauce or butter and hope that we would be one of the few rewarded with a silver 2 1/2p that had been cooked within the pudding. If you found a coin it was considered to bring you luck, unless, of course, you found it whilst choking on it!!!!
Happy days for me but I have to admit as I grow older I am a bit Bah Humbug with the whole christmas event. It's a lot of planning and expense for just one day and, personally, I think it's been spoilt by the commercial side of it and people starting everything too early. My friend reported yesterday that a house in her street is already displaying their christmas decorations!
Having said that I love a new cooking challenge and this year, at The Old Red Lion, it has been decided to make our own christmas puddings for our festive menu.
It's a long winded process but the results are well worth your patience so why not give it a try and impress the family on christmas day.
First job was to find a recipe. We chose this "Cook Britain" book by Sainsburys for ours.
Lots and lots of ingredients to purchase first! (See below for list of what you need)
Cookbook Containing the recipe
First part of planning was to soak currants,raisins,sultanas,mixed peel and figs in a solution of fresh orange juice and zest, stout and ameretto together with nutmeg,cinnamon and mixed spice. This was left overnight for a good soak.
Soak the fruit overnight
Next day I weighed out all the remaining ingredients needed. Easier way of doing things so everything can be quickly put together.
Weighing out the ingredients
For the first stage I melted some butter and brown sugar in a pan and added pecan nuts,mixed peel,glace cherries and flaked almonds and mixed to coat.
Preparing the topping
I then placed in the base of my greased pudding case.
Filling the bowl with the topping
All the other ingredients were then mixed  thoroughly into the bowl of soaked fruit and added to the pudding bowl, packing it in tightly. The next stage is to cover the top ready for steaming with greaseproof and foil in a tight manner, so as to avoid any water getting in.
I went to youtube at this point as I wanted to make sure I did the job properly. Check out this link on the BBC food website
I found it great information.
Wrap very tightly so no water gets in
Puddings prepared, I placed them in a pan with an inverted plate in the bottom and filled with boiling water to half way up the pudding bowl. I then covered with a tight fitting lid and left to steam for 6 hours, checking every hour to see if the water needed topping up.
Cooking the pudings
The long wait over I removed from the pan, took the foil lid off and put on a rack to cool.
Cooling down the puddings
The moment of truth came when I tipped them out of the pot and wow was so pleased at the final result. They looked just like the picture in the cookbook!!
Wrapped in greaseproof and foil, these puddings will last up to 2 months. How's that for forward planning for christmas!
The finished article!
If you would like to try these for yourself I have listed the ingredients below.
Go on, give them a go!
Beautiful glazed topping

Soak in a bowl overnight:
100g raisins
100g sultanas
100g currants
75g chopped dried figs
25g mixed peel
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp nutmeg
200ml stout
2 tbsp ameretto
1 orange, zest and juice

For the topping:
25g melted butter
25g dark brown sugar (melted with the butter)
25g flaked almonds
50 pecan nuts
25g chopped glace cherries

Other ingredients to add to the fruit mixture AFTER it's overnight soak. Mix together well.
100g vegetable suet
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g plain flour
100g natural breadcrumbs
225g dark brown sugar

This mixture will fill a 1.2litre greased pudding bowl. I used 3 smaller ones.

Monday, 4 November 2013

New Menu Launch

As the weather turns much colder, and the leaves fall from the trees, it is time to move on from our summer menu and create something new to take us through the winter at The Old Red Lion.
It takes a while to create something special for our customers.Many hours spent looking through cook books for ideas, googling ideas and thinking what accompaniments work well with each dish. Then, armed with ideas, ingredients are bought and we make each meal to ensure sure it looks and tastes nice.
After several weeks of ideas and trials, finally, on Friday evening, we officially launched our new menu.
The whole weekend went really well. Most main course dishes were ordered, though sadly, not many starters, and the feedback received was really positive.
Great news for us, and if you fancy having a peek at a few things we have on offer, scroll down the page and see if anything takes your fancy!

Sundried Tomato Hummus served on a bed of vegetables roasted in soy sauce with rosemary and basil and accompanied by handmade mini heart shaped pittas.

Courgette & Sweetcorn Pancake Stack filled with melted mozzarella and roasted peppers.

Tuna Steak served on a bed of lime & herb butter noodles and wilted spinach, topped with a tropical fruit salsa of mango and papaya.

Peppered Fillet Of Beef Steak serve on layers of potato rosti and roasted peppers and topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce.

Chicken, Choritzo & Prawn cooked in a tomato and basil cream sauce served on Fusilli Lunghi and accompanied with mini, handmade, heart shaped garlic bread.

Venison Steak cooked in blackberry sauce and served on dauphinoise potatoes with sprouting broccoli.

Halloumi Filo Parcel with zesty chilli middle, served on a bed of sweet potato & sesame mash with marinated olives.
Duck Breast cooked in a spiced red wine & redcurrant sauce served on garlic and parmesan mash and ribbons of vegetables.
So have I tempted your taste buds?
 Hope so!