The holidays are all about tradition, and the foods served at those special meals are a large part of the celebrations.
What are the recipes that your family wants every holiday? Share them in comments and maybe a new tradition will be started for another family.
The following recipe, from Brenda Marshall's The Charles Dickens Cookbook, is from a letter Dickens wrote in 1847 to a friend. It contains alcohol so is for adults only.
Charles Dickens’ Very Own Christmas Punch
Makes around 10–15 glasses-full.
- 1000 ml (1 L) bottled mineral water
- 700 ml of dark rum (one bottle)
- 350 ml of brandy (half bottle)
- 500g natural brown sugar (Demerrara)
- 3 large lemons – grated zest and juice
- optional – 6 lemons sliced into several thick wedges
- optional – grating of nutmeg
- optional – a cinnamon stick in each glass to stir
Put the rum, mineral water and sugar into a large saucepan. Heat the mixture in the pan on a low temperature for 10 minutes. Do not allow the punch to boil, but stir continuously to dissolve the sugar.
After 10 minutes, add in the brandy and the zested lemon peel from 3 large lemons, then cut them in half and add all the lemon juice from them (strain through a sieve to catch the pips). Gently warm for another 10 minutes; again, do not allow the punch to boil.
While still hot, add the heated punch mix from the saucepan into a heat-proof punch bowl and take it to the table. Dim the lights.
Into a large metal ladle pour in some brandy (do not overfill the ladle). Ignite the surface fumes of brandy in the ladle with a long-lighted wick (keeping both away from you), and slowly pour the lighted brandy, just above the punch, igniting the surface of the punch. When ready, stir well with the ladle and extinguish the flames.
Serve in glasses that are heat-proof to warm liquids. Either serve the Christmas Punch plain, as Dickens’s Recipe states, or with a lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and a grating of nutmeg.