Monday, December 20, 2010


Along with a chocolate tree and peas, straight from the pod, for throwing at people, an essential for Christmas dinner is brandy butter, aka hard sauce. When you pour brandy over a hot Christmas pudding and set fire to it, and pass round portions still flickering with blue flames, brandy butter should melt into the pudding, releasing heady fumes that can bring tears to the eye.

You need butter, caster sugar and brandy. You also need a wooden spoon and a good-sized bowl. Not an electric mixer – you can’t make brandy sauce the easy way. And no, you don’t need help – you will have to elbow the help out of the way.

Let the butter soften. No, no, not in the microwave – you will end up with a yellow mess. Beat the softened butter with the wooden spoon. Go on, more. Beat harder. When it’s creamy and light tip sugar into it and beat some more. Keep adding sugar and beating until your arm starts to ache.

Unscrew the brandy bottle and slurp some into the mixture. That makes it easier and you can carry on beating. Leave bottle open, you aren’t finished with it yet. If you accidentally spill brandy onto the bench, you can use your finger to sort of lift it up. Lick your finger. Repeat the process: add sugar, beat. Slosh in brandy, beat. Taste mixture. Careful with that brandy, it’s going all over the bench.

Fumes getting up nose? Taste mixture. Finger scraped round inside of whatsit, bowl, ish good way. Thish recipe’s been handed down from … shomeone. Aunt? Hmmm. Needs more sauce – er, brandy. Beat. Getting a bit sloppy – more sugar. Whaddaya mean shloppy? I been making thish for ever, know how to do – gerroff. Maste tixture. No you can’t lick spoon, not finished with … More brandy …

When really, really tired, pile stuff into fancy thingy, cover and put into refri – regif – frater … cold place. Lick wooden spoon. Lick bench. Lick fingers. Lick bowl. Have nice nap.