I decided to make a plum pudding for the first time this year. I got a recipe in the paper and I bought the (lots and lots of) ingredients.
On Friday night I soaked the fruit in stout and brandy.
On Saturday I added the other ingredients. On Saturday afternoon, I realised that I would need some pudding basins.
On Monday, Mr. Waffle ran plastic pudding basins to ground for me.
On Tuesday, I realised that I needed ceramic basins but, after consultation with my sister, I shoved the plastic basin in the oven and put it in a roasting tin of boiling water for three hours. Then I lost my nerve and took it out. The plastic bowl was very, very hot but not melted. The middle of the pudding was cold.
On Wednesday, I put the pudding gloop in a metal pot and put it in the oven in a basin of water for an hour and then I lost my nerve and took it out – largely still cold – re-transferred it the pudding bowl and stuck it in the fridge.
On Thursday I went to the shops to buy a steamer. I could not find one large enough for my pudding bowl. I bought one of those metal things you steam vegetables on. I put it in the bottom of a large pot over a couple of centimetres of water over a low heat. I went out to dinner with a friend and instructed Mr. Waffle to make sure that the water was topped up. I came home to find Mr. Waffle had gone to bed and my pudding was sitting in the pot up to its neck in tepid water (tepid as he had turned off the heat when he went to bed). My instructions were, he explained, unclear also, he had three children to feed and put to bed. And the wretched thing still wasn’t cooked even after being boiled for three hours.
It’s sitting in the fridge as I write. I am going to make a last ditch attempt at steaming in the morning. Do you think that heating gently then cooling several times over a period of a week is going to mean that everyone who eats it will get gastroenteritis? Those of you who studied home economics might raise your hands first.