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Posts Tagged ‘In and Irish Home Recipes’

 

Traditional Irish Plum Pudding on a white plate

 

I know it’s late…but it’s not too late…to make your plum pudding for Christmas. This traditional Irish dessert is rich in spices and gloriously packed with delicious fruit.

A few weeks back I made homemade Mixed Candied Peel for this very recipe and it is incredibly more-ish…if you have the time and the inclination, I highly suggest you make you’re own too as it really is magic.

Of course, as one would expect, there are some superstitions {or call them traditions, if you will} that go hand in hand with making Irish plum pudding. They include:

* You make your Christmas plum pudding the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent, also known in the north of Ireland and the U.K. as Stir-up Sunday.

* It must be made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and His disciples.

* Every member of the family should take a turn stirring the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west in honor of the three kings.

* If you make a wish as you stir your pudding, it will come true by Christmas morning.

* When serving, present the pudding with a sprig of holly on top as a reminder of Christ’s crown of thorns…or…add the holly for good luck…you decide the meaning.

* And set your pudding alight with a wee bit of brandy, to represent Christ’s passion.

Personally, I make plum pudding at Christmas for one reason…it’s my husband’s favourite dessert for the holiday and I want to make him happy. Though this might sound old fashioned and sappy, I don’t mind. Christmas is a time for giving and this is one of my gifts to my husband.

If you’ve never made plum pudding, fear not! This recipe is easy to make. The hardest part is being home for six hours while it steams. The recipe I use has been handed down from my mother-in-law, to my sister-in-law, to me…and now to you. It originally came from one of those little Stork Margarine leaflets written by Paula Daly back in the late 1970s. One last tip, however, if you’re making a pudding to give as a gift, a pot of brandy butter makes it all the nicer. Enjoy!

Irish Plum Pudding

Makes 2 Puddings

Ingredients
8oz/225g Stork margarine {or whatever margarine you can buy}, melted
8oz/225g dark brown sugar
7oz/200g plain flour {or self raising}, sieved
12oz/350g currants
8oz/225g raisins
6oz/175g sultanas
2oz/50g mixed cut peel
1oz/25g chopped almonds
1oz/25g glace cherries
6oz/175g fresh breadcrumbs
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1 rounded teaspoon nutmeg
1 rounded teaspoon mixed spice {or pumpkin spice}
2 large eggs
3-4 tablespoons beer/milk
2 tablespoons of whiskey or rum

Directions
1. Mix all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl {don’t forget to melt the margarine first}.

2. Cover with a round of greaseproof paper that has been greased with margarine and leave overnight. {The greased side goes against the mixture in the bowl.}

3. The next day, grease a 2.5-3 litre pudding bowl with margarine.

4. Stir the pudding mixture again, very well, and pour into the prepared pudding bowl. Fill to about 1-inch of the top of the bowl. Smooth out the top.

5. Cover with greaseproof paper, which has been pleated in the centre and greased with margarine, and tie it down tightly under the rim with cotton twine.

6. Cover a second time, with a piece of aluminium, and tie it tightly under the rim with cotton twine. Make a twine handle so you can remove the bowl easily after the pudding has been steamed.

7. Place the bowl in a saucepan* and add enough water such that it comes halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover the saucepan with a lid and steam for 6 hours. Be sure to check every hour and top up with boiled water, if necessary.

8. After 6 hours, turn the heat off. Remove the pudding from the saucepan and allow to cool.

9. Re-cover with fresh greaseproof paper, be sure to put another pleat through the middle of the paper, and tie with more cotton twine as before. Store in a cool, dry, place until Christmas Day.

10. On Christmas Day, steam the pudding again for another 2 hours.

11. After two hours, turn the plum pudding out onto a warm plate, pour over some Irish whiskey or brandy and, very carefully, ignite with a match. Serve with brandy butter or cream.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* The way I steam a plum pudding is I use a saucepan that has a steam basket insert. I place the insert into the saucepan, put the covered bowl into the steam basket, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Then, when I have to check the water in the saucepan, I only have to lift the steam basket up to take a look.

** If you’re looking for an Irish music playlist for Christmas, checkout this one over at Spotify.

*** The meaning of holly and ivy at Christmas in an Irish home is explained well in this article from The Irish News.

 

 

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Many of you have written in and asked, “What do the Irish eat during Lent?”.

The simple answer to that question is: “Pretty much what everyone else in the world eats during Lent.”

If you mean to ask, “What do Irish Catholics eat during Lent?”…well, that’s an entirely different question.

Catholics everywhere are meant to observe the Lenten tradition of giving something up. In Ireland most will abstain from eating sweets and puddings (dessert) or drinking alcohol. The exception, of course, is on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone gets a free pass to do as they please. I still don’t know how that came about but you know the saying “when in Rome…”. On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, Catholics also observe the custom of not eating meat.

DSC_0376In our home, we typically eat fish once a week throughout the year. During Lent we eat it on Fridays. I tend to serve salmon because it’s a healthy protein, high in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper brain and heart function. My favourite places to buy salmon in Ireland are Caviston’s Food Emporium in Glasthule, Donnybrook Fair, and Marks & Spencer.

When it comes to recipes, Delia Smith’s roasted salmon fillet with a crusted pecorino and pesto topping is hard to beat. You may think pesto and salmon are an odd combination but the two together are just divine. As this is a dish I have been making for many years, I offer you the following three bits of advice: 1) supermarket pesto works better than homemade; 2) omitting the breadcrumbs from this recipe is fine; and 3) don’t substitute Parmesan cheese for Pecorino…it just doesn’t taste the same.

This simple salmon recipe is one I’m sure you’ll enjoy both during Lent and the whole year through.

Roasted Salmon Fillets with a Crusted Pecorino and Pesto Topping

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 x 5-6oz salmon fillets

2 rounded tablespoon finely grated Pecorino cheese

4 tablespoons fresh pesto sauce

squeeze of lemon juice

4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8.

2. Begin by trimming the fillets if needed, and run your hand over the surface of the fish to check that there aren’t any stray bones lurking.

3. Now place the fish on a baking tray that’s been covered with foil or parchment paper.

4. Give each fillet a good squeeze of lemon juice and a seasoning of salt and pepper.

5. Give the pesto a good stir and measure 4 tablespoons into a small bowl, mix a third of the breadcrumbs with it to form a paste and spread over the salmon fillets.

6. Then, mix half the cheese with the remaining breadcrumbs and scatter this over the pesto. Then finish off with the remaining cheese.

7. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, by which time the top should be golden brown and crispy and the salmon just cooked and moist.

8. Serve immediately with steamed new potatoes.

For more information about the Irish and Lent, please visit these websites: http://www.worldirish.com/story/22662-11-things-the-irish-will-give-up-for-lent-this-year

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/instead-of-giving-up-for-lent-give-something-back-says-cardinal-29068738.html

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