Start on the day before you want to steam the pudding.
Get your biggest mixing bowl and get going by putting in the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar mix these ingredients completely together, then steadily mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts followed by the apple and the grated orange and lemon zests. Don't forget to tick everything off so as not to leave anything out.
At this point in a smaller basin measure out the rum, barley wine and stout, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together next pour this over all the other ingredients, and begin to mix thoroughly.
It's traditional to get together all the family around, especially the children, and encourage everyone to have a really good stir and make a wish!
The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency that is to say, it should fall instantly from the spoon when this is tapped on the side of the bowl if you think it needs a bit more liquid add a tad more stout, cover the bowl and leave overnight.
The next day cram the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) or greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone's finger for this!)
It's also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle so you won’t have any problems when its time to take the pudding out of the steamer.
Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours please do make sure you keep a reliable eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from the kettle from time to time.
When the pudding is steamed, let it get quite cold, then remove the steam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a string handle for easier manoeuvring.
At this point, your Christmas pudding is all set for Christmas Day, keep it in a cool place away from the light a cool cellar is ideal or do as we do keep it on the bottom shelf at the back of the fridge.
Christmas Day; fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water, put it on the heat and, when it comes back to the boil, place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer, place the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours you'll need to check the water from time to time and top it up a bit.
To serve, remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping, slide a palette knife all round the pudding, then turn it out on to a warmed plate.
We put a sprig of holly on top and warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot set light to it, you might need help with this.
Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding but don't pour it over until you reach the table when you do, pour it slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame to the cheering of your family and friends
When the flames have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce, or rum, or brandy butter.
Serve and Enjoy!