Advent 15: Oh! Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding…

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Blumenthal’s Banana and Bacon Trifle from Waitrose, though I believe Elvis ate it first © Southampton Old Lady

p1180558At Christmas time, we are bombarded with both new and traditional weird combinations of rich eats that we would not bother with at any other time. Each year celebrity chefs and supermarkets offer shocking products to pile on the calories and get in the news – it has become more like a jungle challenge from “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here”

Michelin Star chef Heston Blumenthal, who brought us the likes of snail porridge and lollypops made from real mice paté has come up with Banana and Bacon trifle this year to replace our traditional English one.

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Turkish delight and bon-bons
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A variety of dates

Some British try to sample every single item that is considered ‘traditional’ over the festive period, which costs a fortune and prevents you from moving from your armchair.

By no means exhaustive, there’s: Russet apples, Anjou pears, quinces, clementines, Medjool dates, Quality Street chocolates, chocolate mice, chocolate tree decorations, advent calendar chocolates, chocolate selection boxes, Belgian chocolates,

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Seafood

chocolate biscuits, short-bread biscuits, gingerbread, lobster, prawns, salmon, raised pork pie, turkey, venison, goose, Brussels sprouts (which no-one seems to be able to cook properly), pickled onions, p1140457
pickled gherkins, pickled red cabbage, assorted chutneys, parsnips, turnips, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, pigs in blankets (chippolata sausages wrapped in bacon), nut-roast, chestnut-stuffing, Stilton cheese, baked Brie, panettone, stollen, samosas, Turkish delight, sherry trifle, crisps, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate Yule log, and lots of cakes and puddings made with dried fruits, marzipan and all soaked in alcohol (I’ll need a separate post for the booze, though WordPress are telling me I am running out of space on my post): Christmas cake, mince pies (nope no meat in these).

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Set fire to Christmas pudding

p1140735Then pour plenty more alcohol over your figgy pudding (Christmas Pudding) and set alight to it!  Serve these with brandy-butter, rum-cream, vanilla custard or any flavour ice-cream you fancy – Heston has brought out marmalade-on-toast flavour for Waitrose this year!

Photos © Southampton Old Lady

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring it right here.
Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
we won’t go till we get some,
We won’t go till we get some,
we won’t go till we get some,
So bring it right here.

Have I left out any ingredients?

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2016 Predictions: Land of Hope and Glory

Field becomes lake with haystacks
Field which has become a lake with haystacks

I returned home yesterday from visiting friends abroad. The view of England from the plane was one of waterlogged wheat fields and mossy-looking bog. I took quick snap-shots from the Southern Network train from Gatwick Airport to Southampton Central. It all looked green and glorious with the sun going down. More like April that January.

I have seen a few seasons like this in my time. When people worked hard to pay rent or mortgages and made great efforts to build up their homes, Mother Nature came along and just laughed at them.

In December, farmers that waited to bring in crops for the Christmas tables have suffered, as have field-reared animals such as sheep.

Predictions for 2016: Being a glass half-full person though, I predict a good building industry using new innovative technologies. I predict a good production of crops in Britain later in the year. Lamb and beef will be expensive, but pork and chicken will be cheap and people will try other birds like partridge. People will give locally grown foods their strong support, but there will be a big demand for imported exotic things like bananas, coffee, rice and especially pineapples. Mushrooms will be added to everything, Brussel sprouts will be eaten all year. Salads and chillis will grown in window boxes. British beer and even wine will become a world-wide trend and, of course, there will always be whiskey in the jar-o.

Roads become rivers
Roads have become rivers
Birds enjoying swamped fields
Birds enjoying swamped fields
Abundance of green
Abundance of green with constant water supply
Impossible to plant crops
crops (such as potatoes) will be late
Rivers widen
Boats become the preferred way to travel
Arriving home over the Itchen River, Southampton
Arriving home over the River Itchen Southampton