Sunday 25 December 2011

Christmas Fare - Fleet style

Here are some of the goodies we traditionally eat / drink in the Willis household at Christmas time:

Sloe Gin. This is my own home-made one. I love it! Probably the best I have ever made. Really fruity, and not too sweet. Here it is being served with a little bowl of savoury Macadamia nuts as a pre-dinner ap√©ritif - a wonderful pairing.

The carved wooden tray is one with significance for us too - it came from Shimla, in India. We bought it during a culinary tour of India that Jane won some years ago (you can read about how she did it on her blog The Competition Grapevine)

Mince Pies. Since Jane was diagnosed earlier this year as having diabetes she can't eat much in the way of sweets, desserts, cakes etc, but she made some Mince Pies just for me anyway. Isn't that generous?
Her style of Mince Pie has a lid that is not crimped tightly to the base but is easily removable. This facilitates the addition of a large dollop of Brandy Butter... She knows me well!

Christmas Pudding. Jane also got me this personalised Christmas pudding. Need I add that she won this as a prize in a competition? Just look at the poignant message she chose!

Chocolate "Gold Coins" and Satsumas. We have a family tradition that everyone's Christmas Stocking should include a bag of chocolate coins and a satsuma / clementine or equivalent. The Satsuma part of this goes back at least to my Grandmother's time. I think in those days (very early 20th century), citrus fruits were not available in the UK all year round as they are now, but used to come into the shops round about Christmas time, so it was a special treat to get one as a gift. People used to be content with simpler pleasures in those days I think!

Port wine and Stilton cheese. You can't get more quintessentially English than that! Stilton is probably the best-known English cheese after Cheddar. It could hardly be more different though. The perfect way to end a special meal.


  1. What a great idea to share some Christmas fare with your blog friends. First thing I thought, what a lovely tray. Then I thought.. Jane is a very special person. Loved the personalized pudding. Great idea.

  2. Wow Mark! You and Jane certainly do Xmas in style. I too remember the choc coins and satsumas in our stockings as children... Loved the Xmas pudding. Hope you enjoyed it all. Happy happy!!! x

  3. Lovely Christmas fare. Jane is so sweet as getting you your own personalise pudding. I am happy that the seeds get in time for Christmas.

  4. So how bigger are you and the end of Christmas? Such lovely warm colours

  5. I think we are related (my mother was half English). We always got an orange/tangerine/whatever citrus fruit in our stocking and you have to have the coins too and that tradition I have continued with my own kids. My mother also always made a mincemeat pie though ours was a regular sized pie with no top. She made 2 pumpkin, an apple and a mincemeat every year. I never liked the mincemeat. We never had any kind of Christmas pudding though. I have to wonder why that tradition never made it to the US? Anyway, it all looks wonderful. Glad you had a very nice Christmas!

  6. Wonderful Christmas fare, Mark! When I saw the satsuma/gold coins on FB I did wonder why it was special. It's lovely to know the story behind it. I love the dish that holds the mince pies too. The pies look most tempting of course and that gin...! Will you the sharing the recipe here, some time?:)

  7. Kanak, the recipe for the sloe gin is already on the blog (26 Sept) - here:
    I too love the family history and traditions element of blogging. It's fascinating to read about different customs from around the world.


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