Posts Tagged ‘Mason Cash Pudding Basin’

Christmas is Coming, Guess Who’s Feeling Warm Inside!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Royal Mason Cash Pudding BasinThe British Royal Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding is a big deal in Great Britain, even for the British Royal Household. For the past several years, Queen Elizabeth II has gifted hundreds of her loyal subjects, family and friends with Christmas Puddings prepared and presented in none other than Mason Cash pudding basins! We are proud to offer a brief and fascinating history of Christmas Pudding in the English tradition, and a tremendously long and deliciously overwrought recipe for same.

Happy Holidays!

Family recipes for Christmas Pudding are often closely guarded secrets, handed down from generation to generation. Many are based on the Royal family’s Sandringham recipe – rich with dried fruit and spices, some include nuts, grated apple or carrot – harking back to years when sugar was scarce.

The first Sunday in December is ‘Stir-up’ Sunday, the day when the best puddings are begun. It’s already time to roll up your sleeves and think about making the Christmas pudding. Some cooks go so far as to prepare it six months to a year in advance. In the old days, it was traditional for everyone in the house to come into the kitchen and give the batter a stir while making a wish. The puddings are cooked, cooled and tucked away in a dry place to wait for their final steaming on Christmas Day when they will be turned out onto a handsome dish, decorated with a sprig of holly and wreathed in blue flames from a generous dousing of warmed spirit.

It seems as if all of Fortnum and Mason’s stock goes into the recipe: currants, raisins, sultanas, almonds, candied fruit, ginger…. There may also be cherries and citron, or one of the two, or neither, depending on the recipe. Some chefs add to the mixture a diced russet apple and a grated carrot.

Tradition dictates that six objects be found in the pudding: two rings to bring love, a sixpence as a sign of prosperity, a trouser button for the bachelor, a thimble for the spinster, and a little pig who will determine the glutton at the table. The tradition of hiding silver coins in the pudding is a link to earlier days in English and Scottish courts when the leader of the Christmas revels was chosen on Twelfth Night by finding a bean hidden in the pudding

At the end of Christmas Day, after having listened to the Queen’s Christmas Message, the plum pudding is brought out to be enjoyed for tea on the stroke of five, as one raises a drop of port to toast the Queen!

The presentation is a festive affair. Dickens describes the arrival of the Christmas pudding in “A Christmas Carol”:

“Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre. Oh! The marvelous pudding!”

All guests receive a slice with a little dancing flame so that they can make a wish before it goes out.

Countrywide, brandy butter is served with the pudding alongside cream or custard, it’s a tradition that originated in Cumbria – where the best brandy butter is still made today, a delicious blend of butter, sugar and spirit with a hint of spice.

Ingredients

– 250 g (9 oz.) sultanas
– 250 g (9 oz.) seedless raisins
– 250 g (9 oz.) currants
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied lemon zest
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied grapefruit zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied orange zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied citron
– 125 g (4 oz.) candied cherries
– 60 g (2 oz.) blanched almonds
– 60 g (2 oz.) chopped almonds
– 500 g (18 oz.) chopped suet
– 250 g (8 oz.) rye bread crumbs
– 125 g (4 oz.) brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp. powdered cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp. ginger
– A pinch of salt
– 4 tbsp. brandy
– 250 ml (1 cup) milk
– 30 g (2 tbsp.) butter
– 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
– 125 g (4 oz.) flour
– 2 tbsp. baking powder

Brandy butter

– 250 g (9 oz.) unsalted butter
– 250 g (9 oz.) icing sugar
– 50 ml (2 oz.) brandy
– Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

Method

Quick method (only 7 hours!)
1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel;
2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large non-reactive bowl and combine; add the other ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended;
3. Line a Mason Cash pudding basin with a large piece of cloth that has been buttered and floured on each side; pour the mixture into the basin and enclose by folding in the four corners of the cloth; top with a piece of buttered parchment; cover;
4. Place the pudding in the oven in a pan half-filled with water or in a steamer on the stove top; cook for 6 hours at a bare simmer, checking the water level from time to time;
5. Remove the pudding from the pan and let cool;
6. Cover with a fresh cloth and parchment; replace the cover or wrap in aluminum foil and let ripen in a cool spot (not refrigerated) for at least one month. It will be even better if it ages longer!
7. On Christmas Day, return the pudding to the oven or steamer (as described in step 4) for 3 to 4 hours; unmould;
8. Flambé with brandy or cognac and serve hot with brandy butter.

Longer method… 216 hours! (7 days macerating time)

1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel; pour 1 litre (4 c.) of rum over top and let sit for 48 hours; drain, reserving the rum;
2. Combine all the ingredients except the eggs; add 200 ml (generous 3/4 cup) of the reserved macerating rum and the juice of an orange and a lemon; cover the bowl with a cloth moistened with rum and let sit 7 days. Stir the batter once a day, adding a little rum if necessary to keep the batter soft;
3. If the batter becomes too stiff, thin it with a small glass of old ale; if the batter is too thin, add a little flour and mix gently; continue with the recipe (above). As adapted from worldwidegourmet.com

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4 Bean Chili and Halloween: The First Stop on My Holiday Cooking & Overeating Binge

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Pacific Merchants and Chef Louise

Pacific Merchants and Chef Louise

 

It’s so hard to believe that it’s almost Halloween! You know what this means don’t you? It’s time to…well…put away your scale. I’ve already begun to have conversations with myself about NOT dipping into the trick or treat candy. The conversations go something like this: “You don’t need that, you’ve had it before, it tastes the same” – and then I eat it anyway – AUGH!

Halloween marks the beginning of the end for me…the end of the year that is.  I will be cooking and overeating nonstop from now until New Year’s Day. I actually bought my first can of cranberry sauce for a salad dressing, and began to dream about ginger bread cookies. Sorry, I can’t help but jump ahead. The best part of it is that I’m already looking forward to New Year’s Day. We have a family tradition of going to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. The parade is nice, but you want to know what I’m really looking forward to?   Eating a bacon wrapped hot dog from a street vendor at 7 a.m.  Sounds crazy I know, but you can’t mess with tradition. You just have to do it.

What are your Halloween traditions that mark the beginning of the holiday season?

My Halloween Traditions

Fight with my son about his costume not being too scary.
Pull out my multitude of fake pumpkins and hope the Santa Ana winds don’t blow them away.
Medicate my dog’s food in her Mason Cash pet bowl so she won’t have a heart attack.
Pull out the holiday decoration and eat Snickers bars.

Make a huge pot of low fat, high fiber, healthy turkey chili, and then pile on cheese and sour cream.

Attempt to convince myself I am still a “healthy” eater  by making a fresh tangerine and avocado salad using my Pacific Merchants acacia wood  salad bowl

Pacific Merchants and Chef Louise

Homemade  Bean Turkey Chili is one of my favorite fall treats. I can’t think of a meal more perfect for Halloween evening to energize the little ones before a long night of trick or treating. It’s warm, hearty, and quick and easy to prepare amidst the hustle and bustle of the day’s holiday activities. The smell of it simmering on the stovetop, how it looks in my favorite Mason Cash Pudding Basin and, of course, the mouthwatering taste can’t be beat. The perfect presentation is almost as important as the taste – almost! My eyes feast first, then my taste buds, and it couldn’t be a more divine moment.

As a chef I use a wide array of kitchenware when I cook and serve meals, but I have to say the Mason Cash and Acacia wooden products from Pacific Merchants are some of my absolute favorite go-to pieces, and are the perfect “assistant” in the kitchen.  I especially love using my hand carved Calabash Acacia Dipping Bowls to prep my ingredients when I’m cooking chili on a breezy fall afternoon. And my Mason Cash Mixing Bowls and Pudding Basins are both beautiful and versatile. The Pudding Basin’s sleek design lends itself well to be used as a mixing bowl, serving bowl, pasta bowl, ice cream and cereal bowls! The perfect kitchenware is like the perfect pair of shoes. Makes you feel like million bucks whether you’re lounging around the house or showing them off to family and friends.

4 Bean Turkey Chili

Makes 24 8oz servings

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large white or yellow onion – diced

1 large yellow bell pepper – diced
1 large red bell pepper – diced
Pinch of salt and pepper

2 pounds of lean ground turkey (not extra lean; you need some fat for flavor.)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons dried thyme
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons chili powder

40 oz can pinto beans – drained
30 oz can dark red kidney beans – drained
30 oz can black beans – drained
30 oz can white beans – drained
28 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce

6 cups low salt chicken broth
3 Tablespoons corn starch

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large bay leaf

  • In an extra large soup/stock pot warm olive oil over medium heat and sweat the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper until they appear translucent – about 4-5 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to high, add in turkey meat and begin to brown.
  • Season the turkey with salt, pepper, cumin, thyme, garlic powder, and chili powder.
  • Once the meat is browned, add in the beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
  • In a small Mason Cash Mixing Bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold chicken broth and add to the chili – stir to combine.
  • Add in remaining ingredients – apple cider vinegar, ketchup, seasoning, and bay leaf –  and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
  • Serve warm in a Size 42 Mason Cash Pudding Basins.

Tangerine & Avocado Salad

One head of  butter lettuce

One 6 oz can of your favorite tangerine slices (refridgerated)

One large avocado

One pinch Garlic Salt

One pinch Seasoned Pepper

Cut lettuce into bit sized pieces.  Pour in tangerine slices and slice avocado into a large Pacific Merchants salad bowl.  Use a bottled mango dressing or you can use a home made dressing using white wine vinegar, olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic salt.

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Pacific Merchants’ Mason Cash Pudding Basin and Acaciaware® Products Featured in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Here at Pacific Merchants we’ve always known that the Mason Cash and Acaciaware® line of products are nothing short of newsworthy, but we’re still over the moon to see some of our most popular and beautiful housewares in print.

Our signature Mason Cash pudding basins and bakeware, and our hand carved Acaciaware® round plate were given the nod by the queen of hospitality herself, Martha Stewart, in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Now on newsstands, the magazine features a beautiful spread, which pictures a collection of stunning photographs showcasing a delectable arrangement of pot pies baked in traditional, white Mason Cash pudding basins and a cane rectangle baking dish crafted from high-quality stoneware that easily moves from the oven to the freezer to the microwave and on to the dishwasher. The article is capped off with a picture of a beautiful Acacia wood plate.

To see more, pick up your own copy of the magazine at your local retailer, and visit our website, www.pacificmerchants.com to purchase these and even more beautiful housewares for your home or next gift purchase.

A Kitchen Isn’t Complete Without Mason Cash Bakeware and Pudding Basins

Mason Cash handcrafted ceramics can be traced back to Derbyshire, England, circa 1800. The nostalgic feel of the white and cane glazed earthenware gives a special flavor to whatever you’re whipping up in the kitchen. Cooking icons like Martha Stewart and Julia Child have regularly used the brand for years. Even the Queen of England relies on Mason Cash pudding basins for traditional Christmas puddings.

While Mason Cash products may offer a sweetly nostalgic remembrance of your grandmother’s favorite piece, the line is anything but old-fashioned. Simplicity of design gives Mason Cash bowls and basins an eternal beauty that is as at home in an upscale dining room as it is in a country kitchen.

Fall Is in the Air and the Holidays Are on the Horizon

As the long, hot summer days give way to cooler days and the changing colors of Mother Nature, our sights are set on the holidays and the flavorful foods of the season. Holiday entertaining and gift giving are high on our priority list as we’re sure they are on yours.

Simplistically beautiful and yet perfectly functional, use your Mason Cash servingware to prepare your holiday meal and set a festive table reminiscent of the photographs featured in the Martha Stewart Living spread.

A set of pudding basins also makes the perfect holiday gift for the “chef” in your life or those just starting out in their own homes. The elegant basins are designed to resist chipping, cracking and signs of wear.

So the next time you’re in the kitchen, do as Martha does and bring out your Mason Cash and Acaciaware® pieces to create and display a feast for the appetite and the eyes.

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Christmas is Coming… and Guess Who’s Getting Fat?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The Royal Christmas Pudding Basin by Mason Cash

The British Royal Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding is a big deal in Great Britain, even for the British Royal Household. For the past several years, Queen Elizabeth II has gifted hundreds of her loyal subjects, family and friends with Christmas Puddings prepared and presented in none other than Mason Cash pudding basins! We are proud to offer a brief and fascinating history of Christmas Pudding in the English tradition, and a tremendously long and deliciously overwrought recipe for same.

Happy Holidays!

Family recipes for Christmas Pudding are often closely guarded secrets, handed down from generation to generation. Many are based on the Royal family’s Sandringham recipe – rich with dried fruit and spices, some include nuts, grated apple or carrot – harking back to years when sugar was scarce.

The first Sunday in December is ‘Stir-up’ Sunday, the day when the best puddings are begun. It’s already time to roll up your sleeves and think about making the Christmas pudding. Some cooks go so far as to prepare it six months to a year in advance. In the old days, it was traditional for everyone in the house to come into the kitchen and give the batter a stir while making a wish. The puddings are cooked, cooled and tucked away in a dry place to wait for their final steaming on Christmas Day when they will be turned out onto a handsome dish, decorated with a sprig of holly and wreathed in blue flames from a generous dousing of warmed spirit.

It seems as if all of Fortnum and Mason’s stock goes into the recipe: currants, raisins, sultanas, almonds, candied fruit, ginger…. There may also be cherries and citron, or one of the two, or neither, depending on the recipe. Some chefs add to the mixture a diced russet apple and a grated carrot.

Tradition dictates that six objects be found in the pudding: two rings to bring love, a sixpence as a sign of prosperity, a trouser button for the bachelor, a thimble for the spinster, and a little pig who will determine the glutton at the table. The tradition of hiding silver coins in the pudding is a link to earlier days in English and Scottish courts when the leader of the Christmas revels was chosen on Twelfth Night by finding a bean hidden in the pudding

At the end of Christmas Day, after having listened to the Queen’s Christmas Message, the plum pudding is brought out to be enjoyed for tea on the stroke of five, as one raises a drop of port to toast the Queen!

The presentation is a festive affair. Dickens describes the arrival of the Christmas pudding in “A Christmas Carol”:

“Mrs. Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre. Oh! The marvelous pudding!”

All guests receive a slice with a little dancing flame so that they can make a wish before it goes out.

Countrywide, brandy butter is served with the pudding alongside cream or custard, it’s a tradition that originated in Cumbria – where the best brandy butter is still made today, a delicious blend of butter, sugar and spirit with a hint of spice.

Ingredients

– 250 g (9 oz.) sultanas
– 250 g (9 oz.) seedless raisins
– 250 g (9 oz.) currants
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied lemon zest
– 10 g (2 tsp.) candied grapefruit zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied orange zest
– 20 g (4 tsp.) candied citron
– 125 g (4 oz.) candied cherries
– 60 g (2 oz.) blanched almonds
– 60 g (2 oz.) chopped almonds
– 500 g (18 oz.) chopped suet
– 250 g (8 oz.) rye bread crumbs
– 125 g (4 oz.) brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp. powdered cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp. ginger
– A pinch of salt
– 4 tbsp. brandy
– 250 ml (1 cup) milk
– 30 g (2 tbsp.) butter
– 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
– 125 g (4 oz.) flour
– 2 tbsp. baking powder

Brandy butter

– 250 g (9 oz.) unsalted butter
– 250 g (9 oz.) icing sugar
– 50 ml (2 oz.) brandy
– Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

Method

Quick method (only 7 hours!)
1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel;
2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large non-reactive bowl and combine; add the other ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended;
3. Line a Mason Cash pudding basin with a large piece of cloth that has been buttered and floured on each side; pour the mixture into the basin and enclose by folding in the four corners of the cloth; top with a piece of buttered parchment; cover;
4. Place the pudding in the oven in a pan half-filled with water or in a steamer on the stove top; cook for 6 hours at a bare simmer, checking the water level from time to time;
5. Remove the pudding from the pan and let cool;
6. Cover with a fresh cloth and parchment; replace the cover or wrap in aluminum foil and let ripen in a cool spot (not refrigerated) for at least one month. It will be even better if it ages longer!
7. On Christmas Day, return the pudding to the oven or steamer (as described in step 4) for 3 to 4 hours; unmould;
8. Flambé with brandy or cognac and serve hot with brandy butter.

Longer method… 216 hours! (7 days macerating time)

1. Chop the raisins, currants, cherries, candied fruit and peel; pour 1 litre (4 c.) of rum over top and let sit for 48 hours; drain, reserving the rum;
2. Combine all the ingredients except the eggs; add 200 ml (generous 3/4 cup) of the reserved macerating rum and the juice of an orange and a lemon; cover the bowl with a cloth moistened with rum and let sit 7 days. Stir the batter once a day, adding a little rum if necessary to keep the batter soft;
3. If the batter becomes too stiff, thin it with a small glass of old ale; if the batter is too thin, add a little flour and mix gently; continue with the recipe (above). As adapted from worldwidegourmet.com

Is My Dog Smart, Or What?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Zapper, The Official Pacific Merchants Mascot

This morning, my two year old Golden Retriever attacked the Wall Street Journal before I did. He left it, like so much confetti, sprinkled across the front lawn. Is my dog smart, or what?

Reading the papers these days is akin to riding a roller coaster blindfolded. You never know what’s coming next. So I have taken to creating my own reality. I keep my nose to the grindstone, try my best to turn potential problems into opportunities, and work closely with top-notch staff, customers, sales reps, and vendors around the world.

It also helps to have a fabulous array of products.

Pacific Merchants prides itself itself on a range of housewares both broad and deep. Our MacFab, Saleen and Malibu place mats run the gamut from restaurant elegance to outdoor practicality. Our Acaciaware™ serving pieces are exotic beauties hand-crafted with pride in the Phillipines. Sturdy stoneware bowls, bakeware and petware from iconic British manufacturer Mason Cash are heirlooms to pass from one generation to the next. Price & Kensington teapots and tea accessories are cheerful, functional additions to any kitchen. Our American-made Cutting Edge Flex Mats, decorated with stunning archival-quality photography, serve as both light-weight cutting surfaces and sophisticated placemats. And our stylish Multi-Use Eco Mats, perfect for kitchen, mudroom, doorway or pet area, are also produced stateside from 90% recycled materials!

STYLE. FUNCTION. VALUE. Do you see a theme here? It’s my Pacific Merchants reality, and it beats the heck out of the morning papers.

Good boy, Zappy!


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