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GEARING UP FOR CHRISTMAS

make ahead special.

We have an SOS (save our sanity) plan to put to you: let’s make Stir-up Sunday a THING. The marking of the day, which falls just before Advent (it’s on 25 November this year), dates back to Victorian times and, traditionally, it was when the family would gather round to make – or at least stir – the Christmas pudding. It’s a part of our heritage worth reviving and, to make it more beneficial, Debbie Major has created eight get-organised recipes incuding a twist on Christmas pud, spiced rum mincemeat to use in a cake or traybake, plus boozy cranberries with myriad uses (they make great gifts), a freeze-ahead, slow-cooked chilli and a brilliant starter and party nibble. Make a day of it, then enjoy the fruits of your labours next month

RECIPES DEBBIE MAJOR PHOTOGRAPHS GARETH MORGANS FOOD STYLING SOPHIE AUSTEN-SMITH STYLING VICTORIA ELDRIDGE

Sloe gin ‘figgy’ Christmas pudding

SERVES 8-10. HANDS-ON TIME 20 MIN, SIMMERING TIME 9½ HOURS, PLUS

OVERNIGHT SOAKING

Steam the pudding as in step 4, cool completely, then cover and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 months.

KNOWHOW

According to tradition, everyone in the household is meant to give the pudding mixture a stir as it’s being made, stirring from east to west, while making a wish.

To watch how to prepare a pudding for steaming, search ‘How to wrap a pudding for steaming’ at deliciousmagazine.co.uk.

FOOD TEAM’S TIP

If you need to free up hob space, steam the pudding before cooking your lunch veg, then take off the heat. Covered, the pud will stay warm for ages.

• 125g sultanas

• 125g raisins

• 125g currants

• 125g dried figs, stalks discarded, cut into raisin-size chunks

• 50g chopped mixed peel

• 5 tbsp sloe gin

• Finely grated zest 1 lemon

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About delicious. Magazine

Buy the November issue of delicious. magazine and celebrate our 15th birthday along with Michel Roux Jr, Henry Harris, Gill Meller, Tom Aiken, Mary Berry, Anna Del Conte and Annie Rigg. Eric Lanlard cooks a birthday cake, of course and everyone’s in the party mood with our simple cocktails and top wine recommendations. Find out which cookbook most inspired Nigella, Rick, Yotam, Prue and more. Plus, it’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas – see our gift guide for brilliant gift ideas and pick your favourite get-ahead Christmas bakes.