Work has got under way to decorate a giant Redwood tree with 1,800 lights at Kew’s country garden in West Sussex. The 100ft Redwood at Wakehurst Place is said to be the UK’s tallest Christmas tree - and when lit up is visible from the sky on flights to Gatwick Airport.
Expert tree climbers were scaling the tree with ropes and high-level platforms from 0730 GMT on Wednesday. James Pumfrey, from the conservation and woodland unit, said work would take most of the day to complete.
Mr Pumfrey is one of a team of arborists who look after trees around the 500 acre estate near Haywards Heath. He said: “Stringing up 1,800 Christmas lights is a bit different to our normal work, and it always marks the start of the build-up to Christmas here at Wakehurst.
“The tree is a local landmark which can be seen for miles when the lights are switched on and it is great to be part of this festive tradition.”
The energy-saving lightbulbs will be tested on Wednesday and will be officially lit up on 28 November.
source: The BBC
Cartoon favourites Wallace and Gromit will return to BBC One at Christmas with their latest half-hour adventure. A Matter of Loaf and Death sees inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit open a bakery.
It reunites Oscar-winning animator Nick Park with Bob Baker, co-writer of The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. “Over the years, the BBC has been incredibly supportive of Wallace and Gromit,” said Park. “This film feels like their homecoming.”
The film - originally entitled Trouble At’ Mill - marks Wallace and Gromit’s first appearance since their 2005 film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Peter Sallis will again provide the voice of Wallace with Coronation Street star Sally Lindsay playing his new love interest Piella Bakewell.
“I love making films for the cinema but the production of Chicken Run and Curse of the Were-Rabbit were virtually back to back,” said Park. “Each film took five years to complete,” he continued, saying A Matter of Loaf and Death had been “so much quicker to make.”
BBC One controller Jay Hunt said she was “delighted” to be premiering the latest instalment which she promised would be “unmissable family entertainment”. The film is described as “a classic ‘who-doughnut’ mystery… in the tradition of master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock”.
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
To have a proper Victorian Christmas feast, you must have roast goose with the classic sage and onion dressing. The onions are parboiled first, so the stuffing will be pleasantly mild, and with the addition of apples, it is milder still.
9 pound goose 2 teaspoons coarse salt
For The Stuffing:
3 medium onions, peeled
4 large apples, peeled, cored & chopped (use tart apples, Granny Smith are best)
2 tablespoons loosely packed dried sage leaves, crumbled
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, cut into tiny bits
Garnishes: sliced apples, parsley or watercress
For The Brown Gravy:
Gizzard, neck, heart, liver and wing tips of the goose, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1-2 tablespoons rendered goose fat or cooking oil
3 cups stock or beef bouillon
½ bay leaf
3 sprigs parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
For The Port Wine Sauce
½ cup port
1 teaspoon mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Rub inside of goose with salt and set aside.
Parboil onion in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and, when cool enough to handle, chop them finely.
In large bowl, combine onions, chopped apples, sage, pepper and butter. Stuff cavity of goose and Sew or skewer the openings and truss in the usual way.
Roast goose at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and turn the goose onto its side. After 1 hour, turn goose onto its other side. For the final 15 minutes, roast goose on its back. Baste every 20 minutes during entire roasting time. (Allow approximately 15 minutes per pound for the total weight of the stuffed goose, or 2 ½ hours for a 9 pound stuffed goose. The internal temperature should register 180 degrees when done, the legs should move up and down freely, and the juices should run a pale yellow.)
Prepare the gravy while goose is roasting. In a large saucepan, brown the goose parts, onion and carrot in the fat. When they are nicely browned, add the stock and seasonings. Simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour, skimming occasionally. Strain, degrease and pour into a warmed sauce-boat for serving.
For the optional port wine sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan. Just before serving the goose, slit open the breast and pour the sauce on top.