It is an age-old, honoured tradition, one which your grandmother probably still keeps, and one which, for many people across the county, marks the official countdown to Christmas.

This tradition is 'Stir-up Sunday' which this year takes place on November 26 – the day for making the Christmas pudding in preparation for the big day.

Stir-up Sunday is always the last Sunday before Advent and takes its name from a prayer said in the Anglican church, which reads: 'Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Yum, yum Christmas pud

The words are supposed to remind churchgoers to start stirring up their plum pudding so it has time to mature before Christmas Day reports the Mirror.

It's the perfect time for families to get together in the kitchen and get stuck in making a Christmas pudding. The idea is for everyone to take a turn and make a wish and takes place this far in advance of Christmas because it takes a while to get the flavours to mature.

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The most wonderful time of the year...

However, if you don't have a recipe to hand, or have missed the date, Waitrose have got a recipe of easy steps to a perfect Christmas pudding.

If you are short of a recipe - and there are lots of variations here is a one from the Waitrose website

Classic Christmas pudding recipe

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes plus soaking overnight
  • Cooking time:6 hours plus 2 hours reheating
  • Total time: 6 hours 20 minutes plus soaking overnight and 2 hours reheating

Serves: 12

You will need:

2 x 150g packs Waitrose Love Life Berry Mix
100g currants
50g mixed peel
175ml brandy
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g fresh white breadcrumbs
175g dark brown muscovado sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Grated zest 1 lemon or orange
150g shredded vegetable suet
1 Bramley apple, peeled and coarsely grated
50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
3 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Eggs, beaten
Butter, for greasing

Method

1) Place the dried fruit and mixed peel in a large glass bowl. Pour over the brandy, mix well, cover and place in the fridge to soak overnight.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, sugar, spices, citrus zest, suet, apple and almonds. Stir in the soaked fruit and any remaining juices. Add the beaten eggs and stir until well mixed.

3) Lightly butter a 1.2-litre pudding basin and place a disc of baking parchment in the base. Spoon in the mixture, cover with 2 sheets of baking parchment topped with a double layer of foil and tie in place with string, making a handle for lifting.

4) Place the pudding in a large saucepan and pour hot water halfway up the sides. Cover and steam for 6 hours, topping up with hot water from time to time.

5) Lift the pudding basin from the pan and leave to cool completely. Remove the foil and baking parchment and cover with fresh sheets. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks.

6) To reheat, steam for 2 hours as before until piping hot, then invert the pudding onto a large plate to serve.

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