"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Garden Sparrowhawk and Christmas Pudding Time

What connection do sparrowhawks have with Christmas pudding you may wonder? Well, there is a tenuous connection as I was grating an orange and lemon for the Christmas pudding this morning, I glanced out of the kitchen window and there was a large bird bathing in the pond. It flew into the whitebeam tree and started preening - a sparrowhawk (juvenile, I think). It stayed long enough for me to change the lens on the camera and get out onto the patio to take a few very record shots (well it was 50 foot away!). It was a great encounter that made my day.

and a slightly cropped version

I managed to miss "Stir-up Sunday" last weekend so am a week behind with my Christmas baking. I do love Christmas especially the preparation and anticipation which I sometimes think are more enjoyable than the actual event!

I broke with tradition this year and tried a new pudding recipe - here's the dried fruit, cherries and candied peel prepared last night and left to soak in lots of alcohol.

Here's the Christmas pudding all mixed and ready to go in the bowls

Ready for steaming - yes, I know there should be a string handle to make it easy to get out of the steamer but I haven't yet worked out to create one! Brian usually helps (he is far more practical than me!) but he'd gone out to fetch the Sunday papers.

I decided to experiment with cooking methods this year - I steamed the larger of the puddings on top of the cooker as usual but the two smaller puddings I put in a roasting dish containing about 2 inches of water which I covered with a double layer of foil and cooked in the oven on a low temperature. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the cooking methods and also how the recipe compares with my usual one.

Next weekend I'll be making the Christmas cake followed by mincemeat the weekend after.


Tricia said...

Great to see the sphawk... they always hide so well.

.. and I rather like the "lots of alcohol" ingredient in your rather tasty looking pudding mixture :D

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Tricia - not a bird was seen in the garden until half an hour after the sprawk had finally gone! Never ceases to amaze me how birds often dive for cover seconds before they appear (they must hear alarm calls from birds in the neighbourhood).

Brandy and brown ale for the pudding and sherry next week for the Cmas cake!