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)
Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says
Tree dressing sounds like a very fun time! I love all your ornaments! I have a kitchen tree, it's decorated with cookie cutters! Your pudding looks delicious too!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Karen, love the info on Tree Dressing and the recipe is wow. I adore your pudding basins! How very pretty they are! xxoo
What a wonderfully festive post 😀 Tree dressing has always fascinated me and I was thinking I might post about it today too, although I'm not sure I'll have time. And a great recipe as ever. Thank you Karen.
Helene Dsouza says
Your Advent calender looks just like the one I had brought back to goa once. I remember it, because the chocolate had already melted when unpacking. lol The foodie christmas tree looks awesome, kind of cute. Lovely pudding u v got there, good job. 😉
Oh i do adore that rolling pin, I do love that kind of kitch kitenalia.
Cathy at Wives with Knives says
What a lovely post, Karen. I have a sweet little pine tree in my back yard that would be so pretty with some seasonal decorations. I have to admit I've never tried a pudding like this let alone made one and I would love to try it. All the fruits and nuts have to be good, and the sherry sloshing must only make it tastier.
I'm planning to make your Drunken Chicken recipe for Xmas Eve. I do need a dessert to complete the menu…hmmm…
Goodness, your plum pudding is much lighter than mine! It looks delicious and I know that I enjoyed my little tester pud, I think that may have to become a tradition 😉
Dom at Belleau Kitchen says
I love the idea of tree dressing and what a brilliant idea to use kitchen utensils… fab stuff… I'm not crazy for Christmas Pudding but as I mature my taste buds change and i'm beginning ti come round to it… has to be really dark and warm and have loads of cream on it… yours looks so pretty… good old Dan eh!
Susan's blog says
Not a Christmas pudding fan at all but I saw the pictures of this and think I may have to dive in. Its looks fabulous! x
Kate - Turquoise Lemons says
Hi Karen I am loving your advent calender each day. It is lovely, christmassy and inspirational. Really looking forward to opening your calender every day. xxxx
what fun! you do wonderful tree dressing 🙂 really enjoying all your advent posts!~
The puddings look gorgeous! I'm such a fan of prunes, anyway, and most dried fruit in general. Love Christmas puddings. Good ones, anyway!
We're having horrible weather here–woke up to a thunderstorm (with hail!) this morning. It was so weird. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better because I really love the idea of Tree Dressing. We have a lovely old tree in our front lawn.
I saw you tweeting about this pudding and it looks as good as it sounded!
We just got our tree this weekend and I love how festive it makes the house feel. We drank tangerine bellinis and sang christmas songs whilst decorating it…happy days!
I am so pleased to see photos of what this pudding looks like. Mine is sitting and waiting for the big day because I didn't make a little taster! Your pudding basins are great, wish I could find some myself 🙂 x
Working london mummy says
what a gorgeous post and lovely little pudding basins. This looks fab x
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David Whitehouse, Business Manager for Dan Lepard and Editor, Short & Sweet says
Glad you like Dan Lepard’s Sweet sherry plum pudding recipe, but could I ask you to take this recipe off your blog, and instead just give a link to The Guardian’s website at http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/18/sweet-sherry-plum-pudding-recipe where it was originally published.
Dan’s recipes are copyright and The Guardian employs Dan to write for them, and it’s also more helpful to Dan if anyone searching for this recipe is directed to his Guardian pages, rather than the recipe being reprinted on other sites without Dan’s agreement.
David Whitehouse, http://www.danlepard.com.
I will delete the recipe and links completely and never advertise any of his recipes or him or his books on my blog again.
If you had read my original post fully, you would have seen That I had no less than SIX links to The Guardian, Dan’s Publisher and to Amazon, which was pretty good advertising for you! I have removed all the links and the recipe; the photos remain, as they are mine! Karen