Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turning on the Cool for Christmas.

It gets a little frustrating in this hot part of the world when the seasonal mags and books and blog stories start flooding the universe with their colourful, tinselly images – and we grab them eagerly – and we read them eagerly ……… and we find that many of the recipes are not for us, but for the cold part of the world.

There are many in these antipodean ex-colonies who still insist on the enormous Christmas roasts with all the trimmings and stuffings – even if they cant remember how long it is since they left “Home” – even if they were not actually born at “Home, ” but someone in the family was, way back when.

It is hot and sultry here. We will have the air-con on full blast on Christmas Day, and hope we will be allowed a dispensation for the profligate use of energy on this culinarily challenging occasion. Full-blast air-con is, after all, the only way of conserving the energy of She Who Must Cook A Big Roast Dinner When The Temperature Is In The High Thirty’s (Celsius, that is. It is HOT. ) You have heard of Extreme Sport. Doing the traditional honours, in this part of the world, to the standard that they are done in the colonial Homeland, is, my friends, Extreme Cooking.

I have my own way of dealing with the situation. In addition to the Christmas Pud (a concession I am prepared to accept, and besides, it is made by my MIL, who makes the best Christmas pud in the world), I serve my own Christmas Ice-Creams, two of them. I may even post the recipes for them if you wish.

But I digress. This is supposed to be a food history story. I was delighted – surprised, but delighted – to find this recipe for a frozen Christmas pudding, in the New York Times of December 21, 1879! Was it a warmer winter than usual, I wonder? Was it to be served in the over-heated dining rooms of posh homes and hotels? It is certainly a rare find, and it sounds delicious.

Plum Pudding Glace.
Stem and seed three fourths of a pound of raisins; simmer them, together with a few sticks of cinnamon, in a quart of new milk; beat up the yolks of four or five eggs and half a pound of white sugar; pound in a mortar one-fourth of a pound of sweet almonds; strain the milk, put it on again to boil. And add the yolks of the eggs; remove from the fire, and when cool, add the eggs; remove from the fire, and when cool add the almonds and the raisins which were boiled in the milk, but not the spice; cut some citron very fine or thin; also preserved ginger, if you have it; when well mixed add a quart of cream, and freeze; beat to a stiff froth a quart of cream; flavor with wine, whisky, or rum as preferred; sweeten, and place in spoonfuls round the pudding.

Quotation for the Day …

He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.
Sunshine Magazine.

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