Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house and, later, at my parents’ was always traditional.  There was no starter, unless you count the little bowls of nuts and raisins for nibbling with pre-luncheon drinks. We had turkey, pickled pork or ham, roast potatoes and pumpkin, peas and/or beans and a festive baked half tomato. Followed by Christmas pudding, homemade some months or weeks in advance and containing a treasure trove of silver coins.

The pudding was accompanied, not by custard or hard sauce, but by brandy cream. This confection of sugar, cream and egg could pack quite a wallop, thanks to the tradition of having the males of the family taste it and pronounce on the sufficiency or insufficiency of brandy. “Just a dash more,” was the usual comment. Plain whipped cream was, you’ll be relieved to know, provided for the children.

The recipe was as follows:

Brandy cream


3 tablespoons of brandy (approx)
1 egg
3/4 cup caster sugar or sugar
Pinch salt
150ml cream, whipped


Separate eggs. Whip egg whites until fairly stiff.

Fold in sugar, then add slightly beaten yolk and salt.

Fold in cream, then brandy to taste.

Nanny made a double recipe for Christmas.