This year it's Delia's Christmas pudding recipe. Traditionally there are supposed to be thirteen ingredients to represent Jesus and the twelve Apostles, but Delia's recipe comes in at nineteen, and by the time we'd missed out a couple of ingredients and used mixed fruit instead of some of the separate dried fruits, we counted sixteen in ours.
We all had a stir and a wish. There was some geographical debate - you're supposed to stir East to West (the direction in which the Wise Men travelled). Is North where the top of the bowl is, or should the bowl be orientated so that it's pointing North? And when you're standing in our kitchen where is North anyway?
And I found it necessary to keep topping up my glass of Guinness (a vital Christmas pudding ingredient), through the pudding making process, purely in the interests of preventing food waste you understand...
The Collect for the 25th Sunday after Trinity, gives Stir-up Sunday its name and served as a reminder to church goers to get the pudding ready so it had time to mature before Christmas.
'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord,
the wills of thy faithful people, that they plenteously bringing forth
the fruit of good works,
may be of thee plenteously rewarded.'
Delia's Traditional Christmas Pudding
40z/110g shredded suet
2 oz/50g self-raising flour
4 oz/110g white bread crumbs
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon
8oz/225g dark brown sugar
4 oz/110g sultanas
4 oz/110g raisins
1 oz mixed candied peel
1 oz/ 25g almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
grated zest 1/2 orange
grated zest 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 fluid oz/75 ml barley wine
2 1/2 fluid oz/ 75 ml stout
2 tablespoons rum
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the rum, wine, stout and beaten eggs. Leave overnight. Pack in a pudding basin and wrap with two layers greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Steam for 8 hours. Re-wrap with fresh paper and foil. On Christmas day, steam the pudding again for a couple of hours.