Blog & News / christmas presents

PUTTONYOS & PUDDING

PUTTONYOS & PUDDING

Last night we were visited by a great friend of mine, Emma, who I used to work with in a former life. She brought many gifts with her, and had gone to great lengths to find drinks that were the perfect match for Christmas pudding, and chocolate brownies! She brought Madeira for the brownies, and Tokaji dessert wine for the puddings. Here is the Tokaji Aszu.

I know - I'd never heard of it either, but here are some facts I unearthed, courtesy of Berry Bros.

The Tokaj wine region is found in Hungary, 240 kms north-east of Budapest. The wines were so well regarded by the end of the 17th century that Prince Rakoczi was encouraged to classify the vineyards surrounding the 28 villages of the region, and it therefore has the distinction of being the first classified wine region in Europe.

If you look closely at the label you will notice it has 5 ‘Puttonyos’ – this refers to the sweetness, 2 being the driest, 6 the sweetest. In the very best years they are able to produce wines of 7 Puttonyos, known as Aszu Essencia, deemed to be one of the best dessert wines found anywhere in the world. So there we are, knowledge which could stand you in good stead ahead of a family round of Trivial Pursuit come Boxing Day! We will be quaffing this on Christmas Day with our own pudding, and I will be sure to report back on how it goes down. I’m also conscious I post pictures of bottles of alcohol with alarming regularity in my blogs...however in my defence two have been Christmas pudding related – I’m just keen no-one ends up with a glass of Rioja, or worse, Blue Nun, in front of them come 3pm on 25th December. Think ahead, people.

This week I made the difficult decision to stop doing my regular monthly markets for the time being. I’m still all over the Christmas ones, but it’s become too taxing trying to make muffins into the early hours with 3 very small children, who would love nothing better than to join me at said markets, but in reality are completely feral and not good for business.

Puddings are available to order on the web-site – and they can be sent as presents with a hand-written gift-note for no extra charge. I sent lots last year, and the feedback was great. So be more Emma - if you’ve hit the Christmas jackpot and have an invitation to visit someone else, take the pudding, and something decent to drink with it.

Read more →

HARVEYS & HORSES

HARVEYS & HORSES

So it's the 17th September, and I've made 70 Christmas puddings... I started at the end of August. Even by my own fairly ridiculous standards, it's been an epic few weeks of soaking, grating, zesting, mixing, simmering and steaming. I've launched mini puddings as wedding favours, and offered up own branding for corporate gifts. Parts of our house are no longer recognisable, as every cool and dark corner is filled with hermetically sealed puddings, maturing before their market debuts. It's exciting, but frankly also exhausting. And so this afternoon I took a welcome break from the kitchen to go and work a Sunday lunch shift at the pub. I've been moonlighting there sporadically for a couple of months now - I soon realised that what was initially a temporary stint covering a friend on maternity leave was actually a few hours of adult conversation, watching someone else do the cooking, and a chance to relive my student days of pint pulling in Edinburgh (although I did get fired from that job due an unfortunate mix-up involving changing my flights and forgetting I'd told them I couldn't work that weekend...I was young...and very drunk when I rocked up demanding long vodkas from my boss who thought I was overseas).

The Volvo still regularly refuses to start, so I took Grizzly's car instead. Ancient, but reliable. I had to park against a hedge, so could only get out of the passenger side, which involved a lot of clambering over things and generally unladylike behaviour. After four hours of roast dinners and pints of Harveys I skipped back to the car, recharged and ready to face the pudding basins and children again, delighted with myself for choosing the car that never fails to deliver. Except it wouldn't start. Because I'd gone out of the passenger door the alarm telling me the lights were on didn't sound, and because I normally drive a Volvo I never have to turn them on, let alone off again. After a brief sob into the steering wheel, wondering whether any other driver has had so many disappointments when turning a car key, I stomped back to the pub to announce what an utter cretin I am. Happily Lovely Bob came to my rescue with jump leads.

And as another week of baking dawns, I pause to reflect on how long it will be before the Volvo next leaves me high and dry. Happy times. Horse and carts all round, I say. Here's me in ten years time.
Read more →