Monday, 15 December 2014

Plums and Christmas


There is some connection with Christmas and Plums
"The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads"
Even the sugar plum fairy from The Nutcracker didn’t give a clue as to what to expect from plums.

Then you will find a Plum pudding on the Christmas table with no plums in it.    


The plums are looking good.
So what is it with plums 
Sweet and juicy, a delicious ingredient to cook with and to bring a wonderful, rich flavour to your food.  
And they are healthy too.  

What will we do with the abundance of plums that are ripening in our garden.  

Thinking about a plum, blueberry and almond crumble. 
You will find a wonderful recipe here

While writing this page the plum relish is gently boiling on the stove.  
I have used 7 cups of plums, halved and the stones removed.  But then it seems as if the halves looked a bit big so I quartered it.  
2 cups of water 
2 cups of vinegar (preferably white to keep the colour)
2 cups of treacle sugar (brown sugar will also do) 
About 3 tablespoons of preserved ginger, chopped and then add some of the sugary syrup.  
3 tablespoons of last year's plum liqueur.  
Bring very thing to a bubbly boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.  
Add plums and boil gently till liquid is reduced by halve.  
Bottle as usual.  

Regarding the Plum pudding.  It is a steamed or boiled pudding served at holiday times. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novel Doctor Thorne.  

Our Christmas was never a Christmas tree and Christmas cracker affair. We prefer to celebrate the Season of Joy. Joy for the forgiveness and release from our Sin, Joy for the chance of a life without war and generally Joy for being able to live a relatively carefree life.
Grandma Hester Fincham 
 If the celebration was held at Granny Fincham, the table would be laid with a damask cloth and silver and we would have venison and wild bird.  There would always be baked potatoes – a la Fincham. Dessert was thick custard – the original home made custard, definitely not box custard. This would be served with bottled peaches which would be given a quick turn on the griddle pan and accompanied by a cognac sauce which as children we were allowed only a little of. In my grandmother's home a Plum alias Christmas Pudding was also known as a ticky pudding.  (Named after the ticky coin that was steamed with the pudding) 

So why is a Plum Pudding called Plum Pudding when there are no plums in it?
In the 17th century, plums referred to raisins or other fruits. Plumb is another spelling of plum. Prune is actually derived from the same word as plum - the Latin word was pruna, which changed in the Germanic languages into pluma. But the terms were quite confused in the 16th and 17th centuries and people talked about growing prunes in their garden.

Lots of blessing from South Africa 
Sandra