Celebrating the Wild Side of Yorkshire’s Coast & Country:
Ian’s Christmas Bird Pudding Recipe
You need a large bowl and several smaller bowls, a large wooden spoon, peanuts (bird-food not salted!!), mixed birdseed, sunflower seed, Niger seed, raisins (optional but avoid desiccated fruit or other such foods) and other food scraps such as bacon rind. It is best to wear a kitchen apron for protection and to keep a roll of paper towels on hand to wipe excess of your hands. If you are going to use the pudding in containers to hand outside then you need to have these pre-prepared as well.
First, take four 250 g packs of lard (or of a vegetable lard substitute). Place on a plate and allow them warm to room temperature. They need to be sufficiently warm as to be mixable by hand in a large bowl.
(You can melt the lard in a saucepan but then it does take a long time to cool and set, and also it smells! If you do this then take care as it splashes and scalds, and is hard to remove from clothing etc).
Prepare into separate bowls the ingredients you intend to add to the pudding. I suggest the following:
• Two handfuls of peanuts
• Two handfuls of mixed birdseed
• Two handfuls of sunflower seed
• Two handfuls of Niger seed
• Two handfuls of juicy raisins
• Other suitable food scraps
Having placed the lard into the large bowl and mixed to soften with hands and the wooden spoon, gradually add in the peanuts and seed whilst stirring with the spoon. Try to get a reasonably even mix throughout.
Now you can dispense the pudding in one of two ways:
1) Place it into suitable containers for handing outside
2) Smear dollops of the pudding to set on suitable locations such as tree branches or forks in trees etc. Avoid placing where the pudding might drip onto a surface where it isn’t wanted.
Sprinkle some nuts, seed and Niger seed onto the outside of the cooling budding to tempt the birds in. The pudding can then be allowed to cool further and to set. This will provide a long-lasting, energy rich food source for the birds and is relatively low cost too. Additionally, as far as I know, the grey squirrels are not too keen!
Add a sprig of holly or mistletoe for seasonal effect. Good luck.