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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

We're all snowed in!


We had such heavy snow on Sunday that we are snowed in still today! This morning we attempted to get the car off the drive, but had to abandon it because there was just too much ice everywhere. It would have been too dangerous even to make it to the end of the road. Larry cleared the snow along the garden path so I could get out and feed the birds, who depend on what we can give them when it gets like this. In so doing he put his back out and can hardly move now! Poor Larry, he's suffering bigtime.

The next picture is of the snowy scene in my back garden on Sunday before we tramped all over the snow and spoilt the look. It was soooo pretty, we spent most of the morning just looking at it with wonder. Christmas came early this year.


Panda, who has never yet seen snow, was mesmerised by it all and kept going out to investigate it, but by the afternoon he was cold, wet and tired so he spent the rest of the day and evening curled up in our washing basket on top of all the washing. The washing basket is over a hot water pipe that runs under the landing floor so he had made a good choice.


The holly tree is looking resplendent in its winter glory, but I think if the cold weather goes on much longer, there won't be any berries left.


The bee house is insulated with snow. Inside is lots of straw and maybe some hibernating bees.


My shed is adorned with its winter wreath, looking pretty in the snow.


I have put a sign up to tell Santa where to go to leave his sack!


Panda coming back from one of his expeditions.


The cathouse is ready for any passing animals that may need some shelter.
We had about four inches of snow that day.


So today we are having whatever is in the cupboard for dinner, which happens to be sausages and mash with fresh vegetables, bought on Saturday and rice pudding with jam for dessert.

This afternoon I shall watch a Christmas film, which with the view outside, will be very appropriate.

Star

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Christmas Pudding


'There is no standard recipe for Christmas pudding, which has its origins in a medieval beef or mutton broth thickened with bread and enlivened by the addition of prunes and spices.  Around 1495 the meat was dropped and a stiffer mixture called Christmas pie tended to be steamed in a pudding cloth, which resulted in the round pudding seen in comics and cartoons and now only sold in National Trust shops.

By the mid 19th century a basin began to replace the cloth, and the plum or figgy pudding, with added sugar, became Christmas pudding.  The Queen's Christmas Pudding is made to a recipe based on one used in 1714 for George 1's first Christmas in England.  He was known as the Pudding King and his contained suet as well as prunes, dates and glace cherries.

The custom of the cook inviting others to stir and make a wish may be an early 10th Century custom.  The wooden spoon is said to represent the wood of the manger where Jesus was laid.  Stirring should be from east to west, signifying the journey of the Magi.  Another tradition suggests that the pudding should have 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles.'

Taken from 'Keeping Advent and Christmas' by Leigh Hatts.
Picture from www.Schwarz.co.uk

I usually buy my Christmas pudding from Sainsburys, our local supermarket. I like their recipe very much so I get two of them, one for Christmas and one to keep for Easter.  The puddings keep well because they are loaded with good things, with spirits added! If you decide to make your own pudding, they are not difficult and everybody has their own favourite recipe. However, I have made them myself and I can't improve on the Sainsburys version, so I make it easy for myself and buy them.  I usually do that - if I can't improve on what is bought, then buy it! especially now I am getting older and everything takes me longer to do.

When I was growing up, it was traditional to add a silver sixpence to the pudding (to crack your teeth on if you found it in your bowl!). That was supposed to bring good luck for the New Year (not the cracked teeth, but the finding of the coin). We don't have sixpences any more. The nearest thing to it would be a five pence piece, which looks silver, but isn't.

Our puddings are steamed and if there is any left over, I resteam them the next day. They are just as delicious the next day.  Some people like them with fresh cream or brandy sauce and others like to put the newer squirty cream on theirs. I like fresh cream best. My ex mother-in-law also used to add a drift of caster sugar on hers!

This year I will be making a pumpkin pie too, to please my American husband, Larry. However, it is more likely to make its appearance on New Years Day because we will not need it at Christmas.

What will you be having for dessert on Christmas day?

Star