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Questions and answers for the 12 days of Christmas

  • Tired of the usual Christmas pudding?

  • Can’t be bothered to make your own and hate the store bought ones?

  • Maybe you don’t really like that heavy traditional pudding and would prefer something lighter?

  • Do you like the traditional Christmas mincemeat but tired of the mince pies?

  • Or you have extra mincemeat left over that you don’t want hanging around until next Christmas?

  • Maybe you want to know how best to get the traditional sixpence’s into an Xmas pudding?

No its not an intro to an infomercial . . . all these questions, plus others have been posed from readers and will be answered in this final run up to the big day. Having said that, do pop back on Xmas Eve, because Hubmaster David tells me he will be posting an updated site on the 24th and I too should be here.

Before anyone mentions it . . . Xmas I am told is not a bastardised version of Christmas either. From my research this month, it merely uses the Greek form of the word for Christ, which is the letter X, so I am reliably informed that it is a legitimate and acceptable alternative word.

My many thanks for all your questions, letters of support during the year. Also to those that wrote saying how you loved my writing as much as my recipes. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you all that you wish for? Me…I am hoping to find that publisher for my cookbook!

Now what’s with Santa’s reindeer then? Here is something to think about; some useless Xmas trivia . . . apparently by Christmas time, the only reindeer to still have antlers are females, as the males would have already shed theirs. Thus, Rudolph, Donner, Blitzen etc apparantly must all be females! What has all that got to do with Xmas culinary delights? Absolutely nothing . . . but all work and no play makes Tally a very dull boy!

So onto the culinary questions that were posed earlier . . . and answering them in reverse order they are:

Putting sixpence’s in the plum pud

It was always traditional to put a lucky sixpence in the Xmas pudding, this has since changed to putting one for each person. But of course where can you get a sixpenny piece these days? Using other coins is fine of course, but there two very important things to remember:

  • Boil the coins for at least 5 minutes in salted water first, this will sanitise them: remove any harmful bacteria that is on them, think how many people have handled them. Drain them and allow to cool before handling. This is best done just before you need to use them, or bacteria can be transferred back.

  • Remember to tell your guests that they will be in there . . . spoils the surprise but prevents them breaking teeth or choking on them!

Traditionally there was only one put in and it was actually baked in the pudding; this would be classed as a lucky sixpence when found. Personally I prefer to place them in once the pudding is cooked and ready to serve, this way I know that everyone will be insured to find one. Just insert a small knife to make a slit just big enough for the coin and gently push the coin into each portion; by running your finger over the slit or applying gentle sideways pressure, you will be the only one that knows where they are and no one else will be able to see, you can cut the portions and ensure there is one in each portion.

Do you like the traditional Christmas mincemeat but tired of the mince pies? Or you have extra mincemeat left over that you don’t want hanging around until next Christmas?

How about trying these ideas this year:

  • Make or buy pasta sheets and make sweet ravioli with them....serve with a tart lemon or orange sauce

  • Purchase some wonton wrappers, make the wontons and deep fry half of them and poach the other half in 1 lt of water with 1/2 cup of sugar in it. The water can then be simmered to make a syrup to serve with them

  • Soften up some vanilla ice-cream and stir the mincemeat through it, spoon into small moulds and place them in the freezer until hard. Turn out and serve with a berry sauce (make it nice and tart to counter act the sweetness of the ice cream and mincemeat)

Which lastly (but not leastly . . . if that’s a word?) it brings me to my recipe for this week, well maybe not so much of a recipe as an idea and answers the questions: What to do if you are tired of the usual Christmas pudding, or can’t be bothered to make your own and hate the store bought ones or maybe you don’t really like that heavy traditional pudding and would prefer something lighter?


I say more of an idea than a recipe, because its really up to you what you put in and how much. So I am not giving you amounts this week, just use sq = sufficient quantities; to suit you and your families tastes. Of course if you don’t like glace cherries leave them out, if you like pecans instead of almonds replace them.

There was going to be a photo of it this week, but my digital camera has decided that its going on strike and for some reason won’t switch on. But I am sure you will be able to picture it once you have read the recipe.

Measure your pudding bowl, fill it three-quarters full with water and then pour it into a measuring jug to see what it holds before you start, so you know how much ice cream to use. Mind you if you end up with extra filling I am sure there will be kids around to lap it up! Or you can put it into smaller, individual moulds if you have any.


vanilla ice cream










glace cherries


mixed candied peel





  • Pre soak the raisins, sultanas and currants; for more information on this <click here>
  • Allow the ice cream to soften slightly, scoop or cut out what you need and beat it in a blender or with a wooden spoon until lightly softened
  • Add the fruits and nuts and mix gently until combined
  • Spoon into your pudding bowl until full
  • Drop the bowl onto a solid surface a few times to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped, smooth the top off with a palate knife or the back of a large metal spoon (placing it under hot running water, will prevent it sticking to the ice cream)
  • Cover with clingfilm, put your pudding bowl lid on and place in the freezer to harden (at least overnight)
  • Just before required, place the bowl under hot running water for 5 seconds. This should loosen it up sufficiently to remove the top and let it slip out onto your serving plate. If it doesn’t try another 5 seconds, but no more than this at a time or you run the risk of it melting
  • Serve with a tart raspberry coulis and cream and don’t forget a sprig of holly!

Chef's Tip

If you rinse all the fruits well before they go in and stir them in carefully, you will have this nice white pudding with very discernible fruit pieces and wonderful colouring. If you prefer a pudding more akin to the traditional colouring, don’t rinse them.

I personally like to add to some crumbled Christmas cake into the mixture, makes for a fantastic ‘cookie dough’ ice cream finish and texture to it.

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com