Tree Dressing Day,
Day Three on the Advent Calendar
Sweet Sherry Plum Pudding
Window number three is a
The first weekend in December is Tree Dressing Day ~ and no, NOT Christmas trees, but the trees in your street, garden or local wood and copse. The day was instigated in 1990 by Common Ground, a wonderful organisation that promotes all things common to all of us; here is what they say in their mission statement:
“Common Ground is internationally recognised for playing a unique role in the arts and environmental fields, distinguished by the linking of nature with culture, focussing upon the positive investment people can make in their own localities, championing popular democratic involvement, and by inspiring celebration as a starting point for action to improve the quality of our everyday places. We offer ideas, information and inspiration through publications and projects such as the campaign for LOCAL DISTINCTIVENESS, Orchards and Community Orchards, Apple Day, Field Days, Parish Maps, Flora Britannica, Tree Dressing Day, and Confluence.“
I have always been intrigued by Tree Dressing and so this year I thought it would be fun to “dress” my fir tree in the back garden as part of my Advent Calendar posts, hence the Robin in today’s window. Common Ground promotes Tree Dressing as a way of celebrating all of our trees, whether they be by the roadside in a town or city, or in the countryside and on the village green. They say that it highlights our responsibility for looking after trees and reminds us of their enormous cultural and environmental importance, and I agree, plus it is a rather unique and typically British sort of eccentric celebration, and why not!
Tree dressing is based on many old customs from all over the world and at different times of the year and especially Orchard tree dressing, which is common in the West Country and Kent. Common Ground suggests how to celebrate the day and how to create your own social celebration of the trees in your place. Common community expression for everyday nature could include storytelling, dance, music, hanging ribbons, shapes, shining lights, anything which draws attention to the trees we take for granted, an enjoyable first step towards taking more care of them, is what they suggest. Well, I have decorated my tree with straw stars and angels, glass birds and ornamental kitchen tools, and I am quite pleased with how it looks…….
The day was sunny and crisp, as you may see from the photos, and I had a treat in store for after our lunch ~ a “tester” Christmas Pudding ~ a plump plum pudding stuffed with fruit and nuts, a recipe by one of my favourite writers, Dan Lepard. I have his book The Hand-made Loaf, which, is regularly used, and his latest book Short and Sweet is on my Christmas list! The recipe was published in The Guardian newspaper the other week and I instantly bookmarked it. I have already made my own Victorian Christmas puddings, but I have orders from family and friends, so I was really keen to give this divine sounding pudding a go. I managed to make two medium sized puddings from the mixture and a small “tester”.
The tester pudding was lighter in colour than the other puddings, due it being smaller in size, but the taste was amazing! Think spiced plums with boozy fruit and nuts and you are halfway there on the flavour front; the pudding was packed with different tastes and textures and sherry gave it a wonderfully mellow sweetness. I served the pudding with an enormous dollop of crème fraîche and my husband, who is not a huge fruit pudding fan, asked if we could have one of the other ones for Sunday. It was quite simply a divine and decadent pud, and I made another two batches later on in the week for orders for friends.
If you like fruit and nuts and a light, fruity pudding with subtle sweet spices, than this is the pudding for your Christmas Dinner table. I loved the addition of prunes in the pudding and I used some excellent Agen prunes, as well as two small apples from our garden. The orange extract adds an exotic citrus layer and nuts gave the pudding a great texture……there was nothing that I disliked about this pudding ~ it is exactly a what the label says ~ sweet and plummy!
I hope you have enjoyed my joint Advent calendar and recipe post today ~ more tomorrow as usual…….some hearty comfort meals are on the recipe menu over the weekend. See you later, Karen.
NOTE: The recipe and all links to Dan Lepard’s Book, the Guardian, the recipe on the Guardian and to Amazon have been removed. The photos are mine and therefore I own the copyright to them.
(Makes one large pudding or two smaller ones; serves 8 to 10)