Christmas Dinner Crisis

21 Replies



I have been roped into cooking Christmas dinner for my French parents in law and the dad in particular is very fussy and only likes "French" food. He has already warned me he won't eat turkey but I wanted to give them a taste of the traditional Englsih Christmas dinner. I find it so delicious! What can I do?

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lindz-74604 1194944686

You could at least do a Christmas dessert like a Christmas pudding or mince pies... (keep a French buche handy too just in case!)

anna2-74619 1195029899

Hmmm maby...any idea where I can pick up a veggie Christmas pud in Paris???

mossie-74765 1195033280

I can send you a recipe for one if you like. I make it every year, it is dead easy, light and citrussy as I don't like the traditional dark ones. It is always a hit with visitors and I now have to make (and send) ones to the mother in law and former neighbour.


camille-72237 1195035481

Please email me a dopy of that recipe mossie!

bb-73099 1195457439

me too please mossie - that pud recipe sounds grand

LizzyB-75246 1195498773

Could you post the recipe on this forum as I too am a vegetarian interested in a suet free pud!

mossie-74765 1195551080

OK, here goes: Christmas Pudding Recipe - long list of ingredients but still very easy.

75g self raising flour, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 150g stoned raisins,100g sultanas, 75g currants, 75g candied peel, 50g dates, chopped, 50g candied pineapple, 50g candied papaya, 25g candied cherries, 1 dessert apple, peeled and grated, 1 carrot, peeled and grated, 50g almonds, blanched and chopped, 200g shredded vegetable suet, 175g fresh white breadcrumbs, 100g soft dark brown sugar, 3 eggs beaten, 3 tablespoons brandy, 85 ml brown ale, juice and grated rind of one orange, butter for greasing bowl, 1 tablespoon brandy to serve.

Serves 8-10. Preparation time 1 hour. Cooking time: 6 hours plus three on the day.

The pudding can be made in advance and left to mature in the same way as heavier puddings.

1. Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Add the dried and candied fruits, the apple, carrot, almonds, suet, breadcrumbs and sugar and mix well. Stir in the eggs, brandy, beer and the orange juice and rind.

2. Grease a 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pint) pudding basin with butter. Line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper, buttered on both sides. Spoon the mixture into the basin, packing it in tightly, and level the top.

3. Cover with greased greaseproof paper and a piece of aluminium foil, pleated in the middle to allow for expansion and tie on with string (or I use rubber bands).

4. Place the basin in a large, heavy saucepan. Pour in boiling water to coome two-thirds up the side of the basin.

5. Cover the saucepan and steam steadily for 6 hours, topping up with hot water when necessary. It is very important that you do not allow the pan to boil dry (I put a marble in the pan, when it gets near the bottom, it rattles).

6. At the end of the cooking time, remove the basin from the saucepan and leave to cool. Take off the string, paper and foil and replace them with a fresh cover. (though it does not say this in recipe, I also turn the pudding out onto a plate, because I like to have a look and then wash bowl, dry it and then put pudding back into it) Store in a cool, dry place.

7. On the day of serving, steam the pudding again for three hours.

8. Remove the string, paper and foil and turn the pudding out onto a warmed dish. Decorate with a sprig of holly.

9. Just before serving, remove the holly, pour a tablespoon of warmed brandy over the pudding and light with a match.

10. Serve with brandy butter or cream.

To make brandy butter, cream 75 g unsalted butter with 75 g caster sugar and the grated rind of half an orange until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the brandy until thorougly mixed. Chill for 2-3 hours or until the butter is firm.

This is the recipe as I have it printed. However I make some changes to suit my personal tastes. ie I also put in the juice and rind of a lemon too. Also, I don't like brandy and my big secret is that I substitute Cointreau for the brandy. Yum, yum, yum!!! Also I don't like dates either so I just put in extra dried fruits. I am also generous with the amount of almonds and cherries that I put in.

The other big secret to a good pudding, well not a secret really - GOOD INGREDIENTS. If you buy cheap stuff, the pudding will still be good but not as good as if you bought good stuff. Also, I try to use natural coloured cherries. Some of the stuff will be harder to get here, but try health food type shops or english food websites here. The amount here is easily doubled (as I do and I end up with four puddings or varying sizes) or to halve.

I hope you all enjoy this!!!

Please e-mail me with any questions as well.


people-75003 1195552285

thanks so much mossie!

does anyone else rember boiling pennies to put into the christmas pud alongside granny?

stephane12 1195588562

That seems a little too dangerous from a health and hygiene point of view now doesn't it?!


anna2-74619 1195588608

Definitely, you never know what grubby little mits had their hands on those coins over the years!

people-75003 1195593912

come on guys - that's why you scrub and boil them first, I think my Grand used to boil them thrice anyway, how else do you figure out who does the washing up?


anna2-74619 1195640751

That doesn't stop you breaking your teeth on the little blighters though!

lindz-74604 1195641178

What about buying a load of Christmas dinner accessories such as crackers and party poppers, that way your parents in law can eat food they are used to but still experience an English twist to proceedings!

newby-73984 1195641643

lindz - good idea, but where to get uk style party favours without taking out a mortgage in order to do so?

janet-72456 1195665419

There are always great crackers on sale at the Anglo Saxon Fair at Fontainbleau, it is on this weekend, just hope there is a train to Avon on Saturday and Sunday!

San Fairy Ann 1195680398

Is changing father-in-law not an option?

anna2-74619 1195722040

Hahah, yes that is an option but not particularly feasible unfortunatley! It is true that he is a rather tricky dinner guest however!

bb-73099 1196849868

Found crackers (white and gold) with decent seeming gifts at my local Monoprix yesterday, unless I've zapped something this is the first time since Marks & Sparks left that they have been readily avilalbe in a supermarket...

PS Think they were on sale for 12.50€ which is cheaper (although less fun) than a Eurostar trip bakc to the UK to get some...

anna2-74619 1197031173

That sounds good! I bought some crackers from my local English supermarket and pulled one just to see what was inside and was very disappointed with what I found. I will maby go and see if I can buy some of the one's you mentioned.

janet-72456 1197271620

See that Thomas Green have got their supply of Christmas goodies in:

lindz-74604 1197310349

yes, sounds interesting and just in time. Think I will pop down to see what they have in stock!

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