I am looking forward to a lovely festive holiday.

We are so busy in Valvona & Crolla getting everything ready to make all our customer’s Christmas parties go with a swing, we make sure we don’t neglect our own festivities.

Preparing for Christmas goes on all year round as we select and buy goods ready to sell. Our wonderful team who work with us have as much fun as us. it is a fact of life that we have to test all the food and wine that we choose to sell. I know! It’s a tough job.

You might think when it comes to our own Christmas dinner we are fed up looking at food! I can tell you here…emphatically not!

We enjoy all our family traditions, from deep fried salt cod fritters, to a huge pot of bubbling tomato sugo, home-made pasta followed by roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast chestnuts and brussels sprouts. Having spent all year serving food to happy people we have the best time serving ourselves! If it all sounds too much and over indulgent, it is!

This easy pudding a favourite on Boxing day…after the Christmas pudding left overs are scoffed! You can make it with old bread slices if you have eaten all the panettone.

Happy Christmas!

Christmas Panettone, Cranberry and Marsala Pudding

100g cranberries

100 ml fresh orange juice and the rind

100ml marsala wine or sweet sherry

Half a stick cinnamon or a teaspoon ground cinnamon

120g unsalted butter

8-10 slices panettone….the older the better

1 cooking apple peeled and shredded

3 large free range eggs

2 tablespoons caster sugar

300 ml full fat milk

200ml double cream

Gratings of nutmeg

1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Add the cranberries to the orange juice and Marsala.

Add the half stick of cinnamon.

Warm on a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Allow to cool and leave overnight

Butter an oven proof dish, the prettier the better.

Butter the slices of panettone and layer in the dish, sprinkling with the cranberries and their juice and some grated apple. (Discard the cinnamon stick. )

Layer up until all the ingredients are used.

Whisk the eggs in a dish and add the caster sugar.

Add the milk and cream and stir everything together.

Pour over the prepared pudding and leave to soak until ready to bake.

Pre-heat oven 200C/Gas 6

Finish the top of the pudding with a scattering of demerara sugar, a generous grating of nutmeg and sprinkle with the grated orange zest.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the custard is set and the pudding golden and crispy round the edges.