Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writers and editors on food 11: Felicity Pulman

Felicity Pulman is an Australian author with an interest in crime, history and fantasy. Her novels Ghost Boy and the Shalott trilogy reflect her fascination with such possibilities as knowledge travelling through time, ghosts, parallel realities and reincarnation. Her very popular medieval crime series for older teenagers, The Janna Mysteries, indulges her love of crime, history, plants and herbal healing. Her short stories for adults have won several awards. Many have also been published, as have Felicity's numerous articles on various topics including writing and the creative process. Felicity is also a popular presenter at schools, conferences and writers festivals, where she talks about her work and/or gives workshops for students and budding authors.Her website is at

A lovely festive recipe from Felicity:
After growing up in Africa I found, when I got married, that I had to learn how to cook, keep house and later, look after children - a HUGE learning curve! We moved to Australia after we were married and for several years there were only two of us celebrating a rather lonely Christmas away from our families. A friend passed on this old family recipe for Christmas pudding - and for the first time I learned the difference between store bought and delicious homemade! Over the years our family has grown and I've had to double the quantity to make the pud. This year 17 family and extended family members will sit down to Christmas dinner at our place, with a new baby girl being our fifth grandchild. We are truly blessed in our family and our friends. May I wish you and yours a happy and blessed Christmas with your loved ones, and may all your wishes come true in the new year.
Christmas Pudding
500g mixed fruit; 1/4 cup brandy, 4 oz butter, 1 tsp Angostura bitters, 3/4 cup br sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup grated carrot or apple, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp mxd spice & cinnamon, 1 cup soft (not new) breadcrumbs.
Method: prepare fruit the day before; soak overnight in brandy and bitters. Cream butter/sugar and add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add almonds, carrot/apple and mix. Sift flour and spices, add with breadcrumbs to mxd fruit. Add to cream mixture, mix thoroughly. Butter pudding basin and place small square of butter paper at base. Spoon into basin and press down. Cover top with butter paper and double thickness foil. Tie lid down. Place in large saucepan with enough boiling water to come halfway up basin. Cover pot with lid and boil 4 hours. Remove foil to let steam escape. Replace when cool to store. On Christmas Day boil another two hours.
NB For family size pud and a bigger basin, I double the quantities, and boil for 5 hours, with another 3 hours on Xmas Day.
BRANDY BUTTER: Cream 125g butter; gradually add 2/3 cup icing sugar, then brandy to taste. Should be creamy, light and foamy. Chill. (Can also be served with store-bought brandy custard or brandy cream - all delicious!)

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