It took the Holleys five years to prune the evergreen into the perfectly round shape it is today.
The couple achieved the life-like effect by spraying the branch tips with diluted white emulsion paint, using plywood for the leaves and attached toilet ballcocks for the berries. It is proving a much-loved local landmark in the front garden of their home in Yeovil, Somerset.
Grandfather-of-two Roger, 60, said: “We’re so proud of our Christmas pudding. It’s taken a lot of work to make it look this good, but the effort was worth it. “The tree is a real favourite with the neighbours, and the local schoolchildren just love it.
“It’s become something of a local phenomenon among residents, who say it looks good enough to eat.”
The incredible pudding is made up of two 25-year-old conifers which Roger merged together to make a ’single’ tree. Roger and Valerie, both keen gardeners, began pruning the tree into its round shape five years ago. They spent hours every summer intertwining its boughs and trimming its tips to give it the cylindrical shape.
Retired Roger, said he was given the idea to transform it by his granddaughter. “She took one look at the tree and said ‘That looks like a massive Christmas pudding!” he said.
Source: The Telegraph
The puddings will be eaten at Christmas parties and lunches. A team of chefs are starting the festive season early by cooking 3,000 Christmas puddings in a single day.
Up to a dozen cooks at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport will be involved in mixing together the 300kg (47st 3lb) of ingredients needed for the puds. It includes 580 eggs, 94kg (14st 11lb) of mixed fruit, 66 pints of Guinness and 17 bottles of rum.
The ingredients of the hotel’s own pudding recipe, will be mixed using a two foot high and wide bowl.
The ingredients will also include 72kg (11st 4lb) of brown sugar, 30kg (4st 10lb) of flour, 18kg (2st 11lb) of treacle, 17.5kg (2st 10lb) of syrup and 12kg (2st 2lb) of ground almonds.
Once ready, the puddings will be served at Christmas parties at the venue over the festive period as well as at lunches for more than 1,000 people on Christmas Day.
Source: The BBC
Originating in England the traditional Christmas Pud can be dated right back to 1420! Serve on Christmas day with a healthy pouring of brandy. (Also know as Plum Pudding)!
Serves: 8 (easily)
Preparation time: 1 day
Cooking time: 8 hours 30 minutes
150g dried apricots, roughly chopped
30g mixed peel, finely chopped
150ml brown ale
2 tbsp dark rum
100g fresh white breadcrumbs 100g suet
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
225g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
zest and juice of half an orange
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 dessert apple, cored and grated or finely chopped (peel left on)
1. Start this recipe the day before by soaking the dried fruit in the rum and brown ale, cover and leave at least 12 hours or overnight. (The longer you leave the fruit soaking the stronger the taste!) Some traditional recipes leave the dried fruit soaking for weeks before!
2. Lightly grease your pudding bowl. Sift the flour and spices into a separate large basin then begin to add the suet, breadcrumbs and brown sugar. Add the eggs, zest and juice from the orange and lemon, the fruit with all its juices, the nuts, (if using) and the grated or chopped apple. Mix thoroughly then spoon into your lightly greased bowl.
3. All important! - How to steam your pudding: Cover the pudding by using two sheets of greaseproof paper cut slightly larger than the basin with your mix in. Lay them on top of each other and make a pleat down the middle by folding the layers over on themselves, about an inch wide. This allows for the pudding to rise while steaming. Do the same with a piece of foil and place on top of the greaseproof paper. Lay the paper and foil on top of the basin and tie a string tightly around the rim of the basin, thus securing the paper and foil. It is helpful to make a ‘handle’ with another piece of string to help you remove the basin from the pot. Trim some of the excess paper and foil.
4. If you have a steamer large enough to hold the pudding basin, fill the bottom with water and bring to the boil. If using a large saucepan, place the pudding inside and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the basin but not touching the string or paper. Cover the steamer or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for eight hours. Keep the kettle full of boiled water, checking the pan from time to time and topping up with water. Whatever you do, don’t allow the pan or steamer to boil dry!
5. After eight hours, remove the pudding using the string handle and allow to cool completely. Remove the string, greaseproof paper and foil and re-tie with fresh.
6. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a year (again this recipe is all about time the longer you can leave your pudding the stronger and more flavorsome the end result) If you want to feed the pudding with more rum, unwrap and poke long holes with a cocktail stick or skewer. Drizzle a tablespoonful over the top and rewrap, remembering to make another string handle.
7. When ready to serve on Christmas Day, steam for another two hours. Carefully unwrap the hot pudding and invert onto a serving plate. To fire the pudding, fill a large soup ladle with rum or brandy and carefully light with a match. Gently ladle the flaming liquid over the pudding and garnish with a sprig of holly. Serve with brandy butter, rum sauce or cream . Delicious, the traditional English Christmas Day desert