Christmas

Dec24

One of the staples of our Christmas is Granny Williams’ Christmas Pudding. Granny Williams is my Great Grandmother and she came from Lincolnshire to Bermuda in the 1920s. Her recipe has been a part of our family Christmas since then – so almost 100 years!

I just doesn’t feel like Christmas until the pudding is made. We actually soak our fruit in rum and brandy for the entire year so as soon as this years’ pudding is made the fruit goes into soak for next year. Our recipes is in cups and ounces so you’ll need to convert it if you’re cooking on metric measurements.

This recipe makes one good sized family pudding.

 

Ingredients:

4 oz currants

4 oz seedless raisins

4 oz sultanas

4 oz chopped dates

4 oz mixed peel

1 orange

1 lemon

1 apple (peeled and grated)

1 carrot (peeled and rated)

4 oz beef or veg suet

4 oz brown sugar

4 oz flour

4 oz breadcrumbs

3 eggs

1 bottle of Stout

1/4 cup dark rum

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

 

Method: 

Combine all the fruit together, add rum, brandy and stout – let stand for a couple of days. If you want to soak your fruit for the year just put all fruit in a Kilner jar, add the rum only and keep somewhere cool. Remember to give your jar a shake every so often.

When you’re ready to make your pudding, add the rest of the ingredients together with the fruit mixture – don’t forget to let everyone have a stir and make a wish!

Butter a pudding basin, pour in your mixture, cover with a double cover of waxed paper which has also been buttered. Top this with double tinfoil. Tie tightly with string and soft boil for 6 hours. Be sure to check your water level often to see that the pot hasn’t boiled dry. The cooked pudding will keep in the fridge for a few months.

When you’re ready to serve, soft boil for an hour more. Remove coverings and tip out onto a plate. Pour over some brandy and light with a match for some magic at the table. Serve with lashings of brandy butter (make in advance and chill: 1 cup soft butter mixed with 1 cup of icing sugar and as much brandy as you like).

 

Enjoy! We still hide sixpences in our pudding and whoever finds the sixpence has a lucky year ahead.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Nov26

We all have someone in our lives who is impossible to buy for (for me, that’s my Dad!) They have everything they could possibly want, and when asked, say that they don’t want anything for Christmas! Well, I’ve got a solution for you.

Here in Somerset we have a huge number of brilliant antique shops, flea markets, and reclamation yards. There’s nothing better than having a poke around these treasure troves, and you are sure to find something unique for that special someone.

UnknownOne of our favourites is Wells Reclamation. We actually got some pieces for the bed and breakfast after having a good rifle through their collection. If you have £80,000 lying about (we wish we did!), you can actually buy a T34 Russian Tank, believed to have been built in 1944. A little more affordable are statues of the Greenman (a pagan symbol of rebirth), kitchen accessories, and vintage and antique furniture. Their collection of statues is also quite a sight to behold!

A stone’s throw away from the bed and breakfast is the Bath and West Showground, which periodically hosts antiques and collectors fairs   and  giant flea markets throughout the year. Over 250 stalls, both inside and outside, have everything – from jewellery to books to fabrics. And retro furniture, of course! Even better, the Showground is dog friendly, though you must keep your dog on a leash. Keep an eye on the Royal Bath & West Showground website for upcoming dates.

Another of our go-to spots is the Antiques Bazaar in Crewkerne. Filled with helpful, friendly staff, we love to visit to look through the piles of antique furniture, signs, and esoterica. They offer a bespoke kitchen table service and furniture restoration. The home bakery (great tea cakes!) and plant centre at the Antiques Bazaar are also worth a visit.AB5
 

Last but certainly not least, in Shepton Mallet you will find Somerset Antiques & Interiors. Just down the road from the bed and breakfast, this antiques store has something for every room of the house. Again, they’ve got someone for everyone! Want a vintage matchstick doll’s house? Or Victorian oak panel carvings? They’ve got one! Also, if you are looking for a very particular item, they offer a service where they can source and locate it for you. How helpful is that!  If Vintage is more of your interest, Shepton has a lovely variety of independently owned vintage shops up and down the high street.  Browse and buy to your heart’s content – it’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and there’s plenty of restorative tea, coffee and goodies on offer at The Cheeky Bean Cafe, The Art Bank Cafe or Loaf.

We personally love the antique and vintage shops and stalls on offer in Somerset. You never know what you’ll  find!