New Year’s Heave.

So much for welcoming in 2012 with a bowl full of pudding and some champers. This year, I was semi-comatose well before midnight, having puked all afternoon. Thank you, Norovirus.

Luckily for me, my family and friends knew how sad I was to miss the treats, so they had a whip round and made a small collection: into the bank of Gog went some chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, boozy date pudding, chunky millionaire’s  shortbread, German chocolate Christmas cake, and – oh, yes – another mini helping of Granny’s famous trifle. Two days later, when my hunger had returned – and the frequency of my loo-trips had subsided – I was finally ready to tuck in.

When it comes to pudding, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Unfortunately, it also makes the stomach smaller, so a nibble of each was just about all I could manage. Still, it was enough to make me appreciate the culinary talents of my loved-ones (and remind me why I like these people so much).  The chocolate pumpkin cheesecake – with its scattering of dark chocolate chunks – was particularly divine. It was made by one of my unofficial godmothers, as was the German chocolate Christmas cake.

Thank unofficial God for unofficial godmothers! They have instructed me in the ways of fantastic home-cooking ever since I can remember – and each reunion we have involves the ritual filling of stomachs.

It was they who insisted that my mum make the boozy date pudding, which, by the time I got round to it, had been soaking in a caramel brandy syrup for quite some time.

There’s a story behind this particular treat. Many years ago, my mother was heavily pregnant with yours truly – and I was several days overdue. She and her friends (the unofficial godmothers) had a dinner party, at which the pudding was served – much to everyone’s delight. When the party was over she finally went into labour. The taste of pudding must have lured me out. 

Until last night, I hadn’t ever tried it for myself (except through my own umbilical cord), so it was pretty special to taste it at last. Rich, sweet, and moist, I can see why it dislodged me from the womb. Still, I can’t help thinking, if she’d waved Granny’s trifle in front of her stomach, I might have popped out much sooner…

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