19 September 2007

Culinary catastrophe

Christmas Pudding disasterThis is what happens if you steam your Christmas pudding in a plastic container for 12 hours instead of the recommended six. The steamer was full of horrible grey smoke when I came down early this morning. The base of the lower half is covered with a thick layer of burnt-on melted plastic which I've optimistically put in water to soak for a while, but fear might be irretrievable. The steamer was a wedding present that I use nearly every day, so I hope it can be saved.

It's been a pain getting the ingredients together for this pudding, so I'm even more annoyed with myself for ruining it. Vegetable suet seems to be unheard of here, although I had managed to get hold of black treacle (obviously maple syrup is the preferred sticky substance here). You can't buy alcohol in supermarkets so we had to buy the stout in a separate trip to the LCBO. Luckily you could only buy Guinness in a four-pack, so at least I've got spares.

I found a recipe for Christmas Pudding with butter instead of suet so had used that, but now I'm thinking I'll just pick up some vegetable suet in the UK next week and try again in a couple of weeks' time. I'll want some suet to make mincemeat too (not to mention dumplings for winter stews). Surely vegetable suet isn't one of those banned substances that you're not allowed to import? I also need to stock up on harissa paste - it seems to be very hard to get hold of here. Though perhaps I won't put that in the Christmas Pudding.

Steamer cleanedUPDATE (6:40pm): Just in case something similar should happen to you... Soaking the ruined pan in bleach for 12 hours loosened the burnt-on layer of plastic and remnants of pudding (following advice from the ThriftyFun website). Then I scraped it off with a fork, followed by a good scrub with a scourer and Astonish. Looks nearly as good as new! Now, I wonder whether I can get Astonish over here...

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