In this week of food blogs at Teatime Romance, I just couldn’t decide what to write about. There are the many different cakes and cookies I’ve made over the years. (I wanted to be a pastry chef in case the IT thing didn’t work out.) And there was the venison sausage balls I made for a holiday party at Church. I called those Bambi’s balls. Yes, Bambi was a boy. I got the deer sausage from my sister. We’ve made cinnamon rolls or danish pastry for Christmas mornings. I’ve made Pannetone for gifts. But for this, I wanted to do something different.
Food defines many holiday traditions. We gather family and friends, share laughs and make memories. I can still see the pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving on my thighs. But this isn’t a blog on dieting, but on food traditions. So let’s touch on a couple from England and one from me.
During the Regency, the traditional Christmas pud was started early on Stir-Up Sunday. This was the last Sunday before Advent. After church, children would chant:
Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home we’ll eat the lot.
A traditional Christmas pudding consists of thirteen ingredients representing Christ and the twelve Apostles. Each member of the family would stir the pudding, and make a secret wish. Stirring occurred from east to west to honor the Three Wise Men. A coin was put into the pudding and the finder would be lucky in the New Year. I’ve never made a Christmas pudding but you can find more information and a recipe here: http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article022.html. I’m going to have to try this one day.
Last year I went on the hunt for a sugarplum recipe. There are some who say that they were seeds like caraway seeds that had been coated with layers and layers of sugar. Others seem to think they were a combination of ground dried fruits and nuts with spices. I found that intriguing and found this fabulous recipe originally from Saveur Magazine: http://userealbutter.com/2007/11/18/sugar-plums-recipe/. I made these and rolled them in turbinado sugar instead of powdered sugar. Make them small, they are sweet, require no cooking and are gluten free. They are really, really good and different.
Our Family Tradition: Fudge
At the beginning of my career in Information Technology, one of my co-workers Karyn gave me a recipe for fudge that I use to this day. It’s easy, flexible and always works. I’m now famous for my different flavors of fudge during the holidays. It is the most popular request I get during the holidays. You can switch up the flavors by switching up the alcohol or just add a different flavoring. Some flavors I’ve tried are Peppermint Schnapps, Cognac, Coconut Rum, Vanilla Rum, Kahlua, and Godiva Chocolate Liquor. I’m thinking brandy might be next.
Amy’s Bailey’s Irish Cream Fudge
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 can (15 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the milk and the chocolate and melt on high for about 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add the Baileys and vanilla and slowly stir until incorporated. It might take a while. Stir in the nuts. Line a 9×9 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread the fudge in the pan and cover with additional foil. Refrigerate for at least four hours or over night. Cut into to 1 inch squares. Refrigerate leftovers.
So what food makes your Christmas special? Do you have a recipe to share? I have an autographed copy of Grace Burrowes’ Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight for a lucky commenter.