It’s stir-up Sunday

November 22, 2009 at 11:12 am 7 comments

I came across a great website today called Make it, Mend it and while browsing the food section spotted an article about making Christmas puddings and a fabulous sounding no sugar, no flour Christmas pudding recipe.  A lot of other food bloggers made their puds weeks ago so I thought I’d missed the boat to get one made and marinated in time for Christmas (especially when I’ve not made one before).  Not so according to an ancient tradition that names today, the third Sunday in November, as Stir-up Sunday: the day on which the whole family take a turn at stirring good luck into the Christmas pudding and making a wish.Googling ‘Stir-up Sunday’ to find out a bit more about this custom I came across a website for a primary school in Kent.  Woodlands Junior School pages are loaded with all sorts of Christmas related information and recipes, interactive games and activities and student pages including book reviews and a joke zone.  It’s brilliant that the importance of developing the whole child, the school’s heartbeat, is so tangibly reflected through their website.  Here’s what I learnt about Christmas while browsing their site this morning:

Christmas puddings are made with 13 ingredients to represent the Christ and his disciplines and it is  stirred from East to West to honour the 3 wise men who visited the baby Jesus.   A coin was traditionally added to bring wealth to whoever found it, a ring would foretell a marriage and a thimble a lucky life.

Mince pies were traditionally coffin or cradle shaped and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to represent the gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise men.  It was thought lucky to eat one mince pie of each of the 12 days of Christmas – to refuse one could bring bad luck.

Christmas trees became popular in Britain after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert brought one over from Germany in 1841.  The most famous Christmas tree in Britain is in London, near the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square.  Since 1947 a Norwegian spruce tree has been sent over as a thank you to the British people from the people of Oslo (during the second world war King Hakkon of Norway was forced into exile in England when the Germans occupied Norway).  Christmas jokes (handy if you’re making your own crackers! answers at the end)
•  what’s brown and sneaks around the kitchen?  (from Michael Edwards, age 9)
•  what is a mum’s favourite Christmas carol (from Georgina Flynn)
•  what do you get if you eat Christmas decorations (from Adam Courtley)

As our planned walk with a friend has been postponed today I’m off to buy my missing pudding ingredients instead… once I can decide for definite which recipe to go with.  Here are other pudding recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers:
Jules’ Guinness Christmas pudding
Johanna’s beginners Christmas pudding
BBC Good Food 7 Cup Christmas pudding

And since I don’t want to spend a fiver on a lidded pudding basin I thought I’d buy a shop bought pudding to munch on while making my own.  Or perhaps I’ll copy Nic’s genius idea for making Chocolate Christmas pudding truffles

Images licensed under Creative Commons
With thanks to Jules at Domestic Goddess in Training – Christmas pudding mix, David Iluff at Wikipedia – Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, Nic at Cherrapeno – Christmas pudding truffles.

Joke answers:
Mince spies
Silent Night

Entry filed under: home life, in the kitchen. Tags: , .

moving things around apple juices and jellies

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Don  |  November 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Anne has made her Christmas cakes and puddings but seeing your introduction about no sugar, no flour, I immediately thought about a recipe we picked up several years ago at a National Trust Property. It is called Molly’s Cake and is guaranteed to get you up any mountain – I’ll email it you. Regards, Don

  • 2. Mrs Green  |  November 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    What a fabulous post – I’d never heard about ‘stir it up’ Sunday, so thank you for starting a tradition – DD and I have just made our wishes whilst stirring a new and original recipe from myself! I have no idea how it will turn out, but it was fun trying.

    I didn’t have any alcohol in the house apart from a glass of white wine in the bottom of DH’s lunchtime bottle, so goodness knows how it is going to taste., or whether it will last until Christmas Day without going off.

    Don, I would love the Molly’s cake recipe too please- any chance you could post it in the comments section here or hit the ‘Contact me’ link on my site ( and send it to me as well?

  • 3. Nip it in the bud  |  November 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Don – thanks for the recipe. Ann’s been very organised ;o)

    Mrs G – to make Molly’s cake Don said ….

    1 x Loaf tin. Cook 170oC for 50 min @ Gas mark 3 to 4.
    (Line tins with non stick parchment)

    10floz WATER
    1tsp MIXED SPICE
    2floz ORANGE JUICE

    Put dates and water in a pan and simmer until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Put into tins and sprinkle with nuts.

  • 4. Jacqueline  |  November 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I look forward to seeing which recipe you go with and hearing about the tasting at Christmas. Nice little fact snippets too!

  • 5. Ann  |  November 23, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Enjoyed this posting, it’s very Christmasy, really starting to get in the mood now. We’ve still got our cake to make, never made a pudding.

  • 6. Nip it in the bud  |  November 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    thanks Jaq – going for two recipes, the sugar free one listed above and George’s grandmother’s secret recipe ;o) Had to seek out pudding basins so only got to stir the soaking fruit to make my wish.

    Ann – nor have I, or a cake. Always like the idea of injecting christmas cakes with booze ;o) Enjoy baking x

  • 7. Johanna  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:23 am

    love the idea of stir up sunday – and all the good info in the post – I got help from my mum this year but have now used the same recipe for a few years – but I like the sound of a sugar free one


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