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Recipes from the Skys with Head Chef Darren Marchant

We are delighted that Darren Marchant, Head Chef for our Skys Fleet will be contributing a weekly recipe to Travel Post. 

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I’m really not sure where the time has gone this year despite, sadly, not being aboard our ships. Whilst writing my recipes for Travel Post last week and enjoying the lovely weather we are currently experiencing in the British Isles, it suddenly dawned on me that August was upon us and not that long before that coveted visit from Father Christmas. I know he'll already be preparing for Christmas right now and in the hospitality industry we are doing the same. There is always so much to organise at Christmas that getting much of it done in advance now will take some of the stress away. That's why this week’s episode is dedicated to the cherished Christmas Pudding.

This is a Noble family recipe. We take pride in making our Christmas puddings, ensuring we have plenty of time to love and care for them. By producing these so far in advance, the flavours develop and mature in time for the festive season. My team and I want you to experience a truly unforgettable Christmas Day Dinner on board and what better way to finish it off than with our delicious punchypud. So here is our Christmas pudding twist on the Skys. 

Darren Marchant 

Head Chef – the Sky Fleet 

 

 Noble Caledonia Skys Christmas Pudding

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Ingredients - makes two 2lb basin Christmas Puddings

Stage 1

100 Grams Raisins

100 Grams Currants

150 Grams Dried Cranberries, roughly chopped

80 Grams Mixed Peel

50 Grams Pitted Prunes, roughly chopped

80 Grams Golden Sultanas

50 Grams Glace Cherries, roughly chopped

50 Grams Dried Apricots, roughly chopped

25 Grams Ginger in Syrup, roughly chopped

Zest of 2 Oranges

Zest of 2 Lemons

50 Grams Dried Figs, roughly chopped

1OO ml Dry Sherry

100 ml Brandy

100 ml Guinness

4 Earl Grey Teabags

 

Stage 2

250 Grams Fresh White Breadcrumbs

175 Grams Plain White flour, sifted twice

250 Grams Shredded Suet (or vegetarian if you prefer)

100 Grams Soft Brown Sugar

50 Grams Peeled Whole Almonds, roughly chopped

100 Grams Bramley Apples, peeled, cored and grated

2 Level Teaspoons of Mixed Spice

1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

5 Medium Eggs

2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup

1 Tablespoon Black Treacle

 

Method

Stage 1 

1. Place all the ingredients from stage 1 into a large bowl, except for the alcohol.

2. Add the sherry, Guinness, brandy and the Earl Grey teabags to a saucepan and bring to the boil, slowly. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Remove the teabags.

3. Pour the cooled liquor over the dry ingredients and mix well. Cover with cling film and leave to steep for 1 to 2 days in a cool, dry place.

 

Stage 2

4. Once the fruit has been left to steep, combine the breadcrumbs, suet, flour, mixed spice and cinnamon in a separate bowl and mix well.

5. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar, treacle and syrup.

6. Mix in the apple and almonds to the dry mix.

7. Gradually stir in the soaked fruit to the suet mix.

8. Now add the egg mixture to the pudding mix, beat well to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

9. Clean down the sides of the bowl and cover with cling film.

10. Place the mix in the fridge for at least 2 days to let the flavours mature.

11. Once the mixture has matured, sterilise the pudding bowls with boiling hot water.

12. Remove the mixture from the fridge.

13. Fill the pudding bowls using the below method.

 

How to fill your pudding bowl

It’s important to pack your pudding mixture tightly in the basin – this doesn’t mean squashing it down, however. You want to ensure there are no air bubbles. To do this, spoon in some of the mixture, then firmly tap on the bottom of the basin on the work surface to knock out the air bubbles. Give the mixture that’s still in the mixing bowl another stir to keep the fruit evenly distributed. Then spoon some more into the pudding basin and knock on the bottom again. Keep going until you’ve filled to the ridge. That’s an inch from the top of the pudding basin.

 

14. Place a circle of parchment paper on top of the pudding.

15. If your pudding basin has a lid use it. On the Sky vessels we use tin foil, then tie string around the lip of the bowl and cling film tightly to stop any moisture entering the pudding. You can wrap the lid and bowl with cling film if you like.

16. Place the pudding bowls in a saucepan big enough to take the bowl and fit the lid. Fill ¾ of the way up with water.

17. Bring the water to the boil on the stove, add the lid to the saucepan and simmer for 3 and a half hours (the puddings are cooked when they are a nice dark glossy colour).

18. During the cooking, check that the saucepan does not run dry of water. Just top up with more water from a boiled kettle if you need to.

19. Once the puddings are cooked, remove from the saucepan and leave to cool on the side.

20. Take off the cling film, tin foil or lid and parchment paper. Replace with a fresh disc of parchment paper and recover with foil.

21. Store the puddings in the coolest place in the house until needed.

22. To reheat on the day, place back in the same saucepan you used before. Fill ¾ full with water, cover with a lid and cook for another 2 hours on a low simmer.

 

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