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I’ve been an atheist since ten but it has never stopped me enjoying or participating in religious festivals, particularly Christmas. Growing up in a family where Christmas baking was taken very seriously I grew to love the intoxicating smells of the season’s baking. Firstly in September there would be the plum puddings, not just for us, but dozens of little ones that were given as gifts all studded with threepences, sixpences and a single shilling that were hung to dry and mature in the big breezeway between my Grandmother’s kitchen and her laundry. The laundry was the hub of her production kitchen and was complete with a gas-fired copper where the puddings were boiled and sauces, chutneys and jams also manufactured depending on the season. Two houses side-by-side with massive backyards and vegetable gardens, my great grandfather who lived next door even dried the fruit that was used in our plum puddings. As a child it was taken for granted that this was the way life we thought that everyone had just picked peaches and fresh passionfruit for breakfast because it was all we knew. Today it is possible to understand that we lived in a type of culinary Utopia that must have subliminally shaped my love of food and season from a very early age. The down side is it has become an endless search for the same quality and taste to cook with.
The keeper of the pudding coins for my family I still have them plus a single New Orleans pudding doll with an entirely different history, it’s mate was eaten by the cat who mistook it for food, but that is another story. As usual the pudding hasn’t been made and it is truly this week or never or resign myself to a plateful of tasty lumps of a pudding too youthful to hold together that breaks apart when cut. Last year there was a marvelous program on ABC Radio National about the famous CWA (Country Women’s Association) pudding makers shared their secret of rapid maturing a good four to six weeks in the freezer, so its knife edge!

At the Adelaide Central Markets we love the boys and girls at Charlesworth Nuts who are happy to be given the recipe, weigh everything out and have it ready for you when you get back. Suet has become much harder to find and whilst it can still be found in some supermarkets in a long-life form it has a weird smell which we do not like. All Feast Stores and Marino Meats have suet and any good oldfashioned butcher will be able to come to the party, but you might be wise to order it. Last year determined to have something on hand for the usual visitors over the Christmas break I made a huge fruit cake and didn’t hear the timer go. When the smell finally made it to the upstairs room where I was working it was way too late and totally ruined. We have done exactly the same thing on a Christmas Day occupied with drinks and canapés until the smell of a steamer boiled dry brought us to our senses. Forget the waste ice cream without pudding was a miserable end to an otherwise wonderful meal and a fruitcake in the bin left me feeling angry and distracted at my stupidity for days. Best advice; keep the timer in your pocket. This is the last time I am publishing the recipe for The Mistress’ Own Plum Pudding in the conventional press and I’m not sending it to anyone ever again it will be on the Galaxy Guides web site with our fruitcake and other Christmas baking in the Christmas section from the recipe index where you will also find the recipe for Olive’s Own Fruitcake and a very easy, but utterly wonderful fresh date and apricot cake that we used to make at Mistress Augustine’s Restaurant and serve with house-made apricot jam and that wonderful old Farmers’ Union Black Rinded Vintage Cheddar. There are now a few good Australian Vintage cheddars including South Australian Alexandrina Cheese Company’s Mount Jagged Mature Cheddar, Tasmanian Pyengana, or a good British mature cheddar, but we still fondly remember that rinded black cheddar.

Don’t get hysterical Christmas is supposed to be a good time for everyone. Think it through, thrink about how many bruners you have an actually what you can achieve and till enjoy yourself! Make lists. Make a menu, write a shopping list,write a prep list, even to the point of what can be done in advance and when and systematically work your way through what you need to. The Tangello Jelly is a fab recipe and just a guide line for a zillion other recipes that are eveneasier to make. The jelly is gorgeous made with Moscato and eqaully good those newish Preshfruit, crystal clear fruit flavour the make it almost and instant dessert. get a bit tricky and inject some runny cream into the centres, add some pitted cherries and raspberries and your favourite ice cream and they’ll marvel at how clever you are!

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.