Who doesn’t love a summer Christmas? Welcome to Daisy Banks and her Christmas Carols Blog Tour, as we help her celebrate the release of Christmas Carols, to be published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August. Readers can pre-order to enjoy a 20% early bird discount. Take it away, Daisy!
I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early.
My paternal grandmother knew about the work that went into getting Christmas foods underway in a ‘big’ house. I believe her mother worked for a landed family. My gran made her Christmas puddings in September every year so they could mature to their full flavour by Christmas. I believe it is the level of alcohol in the pudding that helps to preserve it.
I thought if you or your readers might like to try making a Christmas pudding of their own I’d give you a traditional recipe for it. Do be aware this pudding takes time to steam.
8 oz of butter
8 oz of fresh breadcrumbs, white or whole-wheat.
4 oz of plain flour
Half a teaspoon of mace
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
8 oz of Demerara sugar
4 oz of chopped candied orange peel
2 oz of chopped candied lemon peel
4 oz of glace cherries
8 oz of currents
10 oz of chopped raisins
3 oz of chopped blanched almonds
1 grated carrot
6 small beaten eggs
2 tablespoons of black treacle
A quarter of a pint of brown ale
3 tablespoons of sherry or brandy (Personally I think the brandy is best for the pudding.)
• Grease 4 one pint pudding basins or 2 two pint basins.
• You will need a large mixing bowl for this.
• In a separate dish put butter in a warm place to melt. (If you don’t have your range going full blast, I’d melt the butter in a pan on a gentle hob.
• Add Breadcrumbs to your mixing bowl.
• Sift in flour and spices.
• Mix in sugar.
• Add chopped peel and cherries
• Add currants and sultanas.
• Mix well.
• Add almonds and carrot.
• Mix again
• Stir in the beaten eggs and black treacle. Mix well.
• Add the melted butter, beer and spirits to the mix and stir well.
• Divide mixture equally between your basins.
• Cover tight with greased greaseproof paper and tin foil too.
• Place in a large saucepan. The boiling water must come halfway up the basin. Put saucepan lid on so the pudding will steam.
• Steam your pudding for 3 and a half hours. Never let the water drop below half way in your saucepan. Check often. When you replenish the water use boiling hot water from the kettle so the temperature doesn’t drop.
• The two big puddings take longer to cook if you do them both together, up to 8 hours. (This recipe comes from the time when people boiled their pudding in the copper of hot water they used for doing their laundry.)
• After the cooking time take you pudding out and remove foil and greaseproof. Allow the pudding to cool
• When the pudding is quite cold recover with fresh greased greaseproof paper and foil.
• Store in a cool place.
• When you wish to eat your pudding steam again for one and a half to two hours.
Christmas pudding is eaten at the end of my story Christmas Carols in a celebratory Christmas lunch. Rather like the pudding the romance has bubbled for some time. I hope you enjoy this little extract from the beginning of Christmas Carols.
“Would you care to sit with us for the recital?” Mrs. Clarke asked after the verger took their tickets and they stepped into the church.
She’d rather not. The Clarke’s would wish to converse and she would much rather be quiet, also she wanted to sit in the third pew from the back of the church, as she knew from her attendance at Sunday service the acoustics there were perfect. “I’d planned to sit alone in one of the pews at the back, Mrs. Clarke. I would rather not be a show for people to observe.”
“Then perhaps you’re not ready for public events, Mrs. Broadbrace,” Mr. Clarke said. “I’d hate to see you distressed tonight.”
“This is why I chose to sit alone, sir. I do hope you and Mrs. Clarke enjoy the recital. Good evening to you both.” She turned and made her way to the back of the group of chairs that had been set out, and further back still to the last group of pews where she could sit in the shadows cast by flickering gas lamps. Seated in the gloom she would be almost private from the rest of the audience.
A long time seemed to pass as she kept her gaze on her mud-splashed boots. She’d no wish to look up at any of the crowd of people whose chatter buzzed and hummed.
She hoped no one spoke to her here. Perhaps she shouldn’t have come. Maybe it was too soon. She ought to make do with listening to him play when he rehearsed. Each time she’d heard him as she worked with the flowers it had seemed a rare privilege, almost as though he gave a private rendition for her alone.
Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.
Thanks for reading
Daisy Banks is the author of
Marked for Magic
A Perfect Match
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.
Thanks for visiting, Daisy! I am crazy for vintage recipes and look forward to trying this traditional, old time pudding. Not to mention your book, which sounds soooo romantic!
Cheers & Happy Reading to All!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance