Pre-Festive Cooking

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The last couple of days has been a massive realisation that Christmas is coming super quickly. Yes it is almost a month away but our commitments start on the 1st with our Advent Calendars (one each for Nikki, Pippa and the Parents!). Then we are hosting around 40 people for Mince Pies and Mulled wine on the 8th and 10 for Christmas Dinner #1 the next day and from then on we have lots more engagements before the actual day itself…

Currently I am cooking the 8 Christmas Puddings (of varying sizes), Making Mulling syrup and soaking the fruit for Mince Pie Fudge.

Mulling syrup is something that we make in industrial quantities in the run up to the festive period. Serving mulled wine and cider for 40 people over the space of 4/5hours takes up a lot of spice and we have always found that mulling the wine on the go takes too long as it does take a while for the spice to actually penetrate into the wine.
Inspired by the Good Food recipe a number of years ago we started making mulling syrup and it has streamlined the process soo much.

Mulling Syrup:

1l Orange Juice
2L Water
20 Peppercorns
8 Allspice Berries (crushed)
6 Cardamoms
12 Cloves
1-2 Inch Ginger (grated)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Star Anise
1/4-1/2 Nutmeg (freshly grated)


Add everything to a pan and simmer for a few hours until it at least halves in volume. Add sugar and bottle until the day.

Generally if I am giving this as a gift I will boil it down to at least a 1/4 of the volume so that the sugar solution is more concentrated as this will preserve it for longer.

Then add a nice label and some instructions for a nice gift 🙂

For our Christmas Pudding we use a modified King George I pudding recipe which removes the plums from it and has been handed down from my Grandmother (and possibly before I don’t know). Obviously our pudding recipe is not quite as large as that one but every time I make it I am reminded that my largest mixing bowl is not quite as large as I think it is!

All of the Christmas puddings...

Mince Pie Fudge:


150g Mixed Fruit (Sultanas/raisins,
Mixed Peel, Dates)
100ml Dark Rum for soaking
70ml Rum
1 can Condensed Milk
150ml Milk
450g Sugar
115g Butter


Adapted from Carnation Recipe.

Mix the dried fruits and rum together and soak for a few hours. Mix Condensed Milk, Milk, Sugar and Butter in a pan, Heat.
Stir until temperature reaches 118°C take off the heat and beat until it cools and thickens.

Put into lined baking tray to cool and set. Cut into Chunks. Devour.


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