Helen and Judy’s Christmas Pudding

This recipe is deceptively simple, but just so delicious and moist. The pie apples make the difference.
Before beginning ensure you have a large, deep heat proof bowl that fits into an even larger saucepan.

Fruit Mix

500g Raisins
500g Currants
500g Breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons Flour

Pudding Mix

125g Butter
500g Brown sugar
110g Pie Apples
4 tablespoons Brandy
8 Eggs
1t Salt

Combine the ingredients for the fruit mix in a large bowl.
Using a mixer, mix all the pudding ingredients together. Don't mix too long, you don't want to mix air into this.
Stir creamed butter mixture into fruit.
Place in pudding basin and steam 5 hours. To do this watch http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/technique/how-steam-pudding, or see the instructions at the bottom of this page. I never remove and replace the foil and baking paper, but it still keeps for months.
Cool thoroughly.
On Christmas Day, remove the foil and run a knife around the outside of the pudding. Place a plate over the top of the pudding and turn it upside down. Lift the basin off. 
Microwave on medium until hot, about 15 minutes. Heating this in the microwave is amazingly easy and tastes exactly the same as steaming.
To flame the pudding, gently heat about 75 mls brandy to a little warmer than body temperature. Pour this over the warm pudding. Bring to the table, and then light with a match.
Serve with Brandy Butter.

Brandy Butter or Hard Sauce

500 grams butter, softened,
500 grams icing sugar
20-100 mls brandy, to taste
Cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters. Whip until lightened in colour.
Add brandy tablespoon by tablespoon, tasting after each addition until it is to your liking.

From Grandma Glen, Helen and Judy Hudson’s mother’s mother’s mother. Grandpa Dunhill’s parents.
Tryst House
10 Finkle St
Market Weighton,

Kitchen Aid method

Cream butter and brown sugar with K beater. Add pie apples and continue until they’re mashed.
Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Add flour.
With dough hook add the rest of the dry ingredients. Steam 5 hours.

To steam the pudding

Take a large sheet of aluminium foil and a piece of buttered greaseproof paper about the same size. Make a pleat by folding a crease in the centre of both the paper and the foil.
Turn the buttered sheet over so the foil’s on top and press it around the bowl with the fold on top. Tie the foil tightly around the bowl using a long piece of string.
Trim away excess foil and greaseproof paper. Leave about two inches or 10 cm of foil and paper around the sides of the bowl.
Tuck the paper in and fold the foil around it to totally encase the paper and give the pudding a water-tight seal.
Make a handle for bowl by threading a double length of string through the string already tied around the pudding. Pull it through to the other side and secure. The pudding is now ready to go into the pan.
Place the pudding into the steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water, or use a large saucepan with a saucer in the bottom.
Steam for several hours, or as recipe indicates. Top up water when necessary.
When the pudding is steamed, cut the string around the bowl. Gently ease away the paper and foil.

Before storing the pudding ready for re-steaming, recover with a fresh sheet of foil and paper as before. Tie a handle around it for ease of removing

Moussaka of Eggplant with Seared Scallops and Tarama –Peter Conistis

For the taramosalata:

3 slices crustless white bread, soaked in cold water
½ Small onion, chopped1 Lemon, juiced
100gms Tarana
225ml Greek extra-virgin olive oil

For the tomato salsa:

2 Ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 tbls Parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp Fennel seeds
2 tbls Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Freshly ground pepper

For the eggplant and scallops:

3 Medium eggplants
2 Red bell peppers
24 White sea scallops
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Freshly ground pepper


1.      Squeeze the soaked bread.
2.      Process together with the onion and lemon juice at high speed.
3.      Add roe and process for another minute.
4.      With motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Remove and chill.
5.      Combine all the ingredients for the tomato salsa and chill.
6.      Sprinkle the eggplant liberally with salt and leave to sweat on a sheet pan for 2 hours.
7.      Rinse and pat dry.
8.      Deep fry until golden. Drain on paper towels.
9.      Roast the bell peppers until their skin blackens.
10.   Remove skin under cold water. Remove pith and seeds.
11.   Cut the peppers into thin strips and toss with olive oil.
12.   Heat a heavy, non-stick skillet until very hot.
13.   Toss scallops with a little olive oil and pepper and sear for 30 seconds on each side.
14.   Place a slice of eggplant on each plate and top with a tablespoon of the taramosalata.
15.   Place 4 scallops on top, cover with a few strips of roasted red pepper and top with another eggplant slice.

16.   Drizzle generously with tomato salsa. Serve immediately

Tahdig - Persian Rice

4-6 serves
The aim of this rice is to have the grains as separate as possible. This looks complicated, but all the steps are easy, and once you’ve done them the first time, it’s easy to repeat it. It can be used for a crowd, using 1/3 cup uncooked rice per person. Instead of cooking it in a pot with the crust you could put it in a baking dish, cover with aluminium foil, and cook in the oven at 150 celcius for an hour.

1½ cups rice
Pinch Saffron
2 tablespoons butter
Optional – onions, dried fruit, nuts

Prepare the Rice

Rinse your required quantity of rice in a few changes of water, until the water runs clear.
Soak the rice in wait to cover for at least 1 hour.
At this point take a small pinch of very expensive saffron and soak in 3 tablespoons of rose water. The longer it soaks, the better the colour.
Par boil the rice in salted water for around 5 minutes. You know when it is ready because the grains of rice will rise to the top.
Drain the rice. You can do all this ahead of time.

Cook the Rice

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the bottom of a non stick saucepan or frypan.
Add half a cup of rice and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Pile the rest of the rice up loosely into a dome shape. Using the back of a wooden spoon, make a few hole in the dome. All this is done so the steam can escape.
To stop the steam dripping back onto the rice, cover the top of the pan with a tea towel and then the lid.
Cook over medium high heat for 20 mins. The idea is that the rice on the bottom fries and gets crispy brown, but this takes practice.
Reduce heat to low and cook a further 30 mins. or you can leave it this way for a long time.

Finish it off

(Optional) In a separate pan fry onion, green onions, dried fruit etc in a little butter. Add a little boiling water to reconstitute the dried fruit.
Take the lid off the rice and stir through the onions, dried fruit and any nuts you may want to add, being careful not to disturb the crusty bottom.
Swirl the saffron liquid over the top.
Scoop the rice onto a serving platter. Carefully remove the crust and scatter it over the rice.