The 12 Days of Christmas
Food and Romance
I'm so excited about all my TDoCFaRBE guests, but today's guest especially. I'm a proud alumni of Anne Gracie's "How to write romance" class and a bit of a fangirl too. "The Perfect Rake" stands in my eyes as one of the most perfect regency romances ever! Since that fateful class that set me on a journey, I've had the good fortune to get to know Anne a little. I know she's not only an amazing writer, but a lovely person who's very generous with sharing her wisdom and knowledge.
Today Anne's sharing her wisdom and knowledge on a cheat's version of Christmas pudding which sounds absolutely delicious for non-pudding fans (like me!). I'm going to have to give this one a try. (And I'm going to need a new wardrobe of clothes the next size up in order to cook and eat all the delicious recipes I'm seeing in the Extravaganza!)
by Anne Gracie
I’ve always loved Christmas, and generally do the whole traditional thing — seafood starter, followed by the hot roast dinner — roast pork with crackling, and turkey, with crispy roast potatoes, baked pumpkin, green beans and a dish my mother always made which was made up of sliced tomatoes and onions in alternating layers with a layer of fresh breadcrumbs and butter dotted over the top so it forms a toasty crust. Mmmm, simple but so yummy and easy. I sometimes add fresh herbs, but really, it’s very good just plain. And it’s nice cold, too.
And then there’s the pud. I love plum pudding — my grandmother always made the best, and then my brother-in-law took on the making of the family pub, but this year I’m going for a departure — I’ve decided this year I’m having a cold pudding, partly because a few people who’ll be at my Christmas dinner this year actively don’t like traditional plum pud (shocking, I know!) and partly because my friend, fellow author Barbara Hannay, made an ice-cream Xmas pudding last year and it sounded easy and yummy, and I’m all for that at Christmas.
500 grams of Christmas pudding
I kg vanilla ice cream
pinch of allspice
400 ml pure cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
100 g butter, chopped
Crumble Christmas pudding into coffee bean size lumps, either by hand or with food processor. Thaw ice cream slightly, then, place in a large bowl and mix in pudding crumbles by hand (latex gloves are recommended as protection against the cold). Spoon mixture into prepared dish lined with plastic wrap. Cover and place in freezer for at least 30 mins, or until firm.
Meanwhile stir cream, sugar, allspice and butter in a heavy based saucepan over medium low heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a smooth caramel sauce forms.
Turn ice cream pudding out onto a chopping board. Remove plastic wrap and place slices of pudding on serving plates . Spoon warm caramel sauce over.
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it, but I can never follow a recipe exactly and I might play around by adding extra things to the mix. I’m thinking some extra fruit marinated in grand marnier or something similar. And I’ll probably serve it with some fresh fruit as well. And maybe a fresh raspberry sauce instead of the caramel. We’ll see.
And I must confess that this gorgeous photo was taken by another writer friend, Marion Lennox, who made a variation of the ice-cream pudding with fresh mangoes and crunchie bars instead of crumbled pudding. I might have to try that one, too.
Thanks, Anne! Anne's latest book is available right now, and fittingly, it's a lovely Christmas read!
Don't forget, as part of TDoCFaRBE I'm encouraging you all to undertake a Random Act of Kindness throughout the festive season. Don't miss the very helpful hints Random Acts is providing on all kinds of acts of kindness you can perform -- their latest hint was a bit of selfless shopping, something I'm a big fan of. Why not add an extra little treat to your shopping basket and leave it under one of the giving trees, or in one of the charity bins at your supermarket? Or you can simply send Random Acts a donation and wear a smile all day.