Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Ryo has decided to make something special for Christmas Day dessert.
Word Count: 823
Written For: Jae’s Monthly Drabble Challenge # 142 - beam, bent, blood, bowl, brow. Couldn’t get the first one in but all the others are present.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“What’re you makin’?”
Dee had arrived at Ryo’s apartment to find his lover in the kitchen, bent over the recipe book open on the worktop, a bunch of ingredients arrayed around him.
“I thought I’d make a traditional British Christmas Pudding,” Ryo replied. “I had it once on a trip to England with my parents when I was a kid and it was amazing. I’ve always wanted to making one from scratch.”
“But it’s still weeks to Christmas!”
“Doesn’t matter,” Ryo said with a grin. “The amount of brandy that goes into it will probably preserve it forever!”
“Brandy? That’s my kinda pudding!”
Ryo laughed. “You can help me then, just don’t go eating the ingredients. I need them all.”
“Okay, I’m game; let’s do this!” Dee clapped his hands together, then frowned. “Um, what do ya need me to do?”
“You can start by washing your hands.”
“That I can do.” Dee made for the kitchen sink, rolling his sleeves up and thoroughly washing his hands, even scrubbing under his nails; Ryo had long since impressed upon him the importance of proper hygiene when cooking. “Okay, I’m ready!”
“Good. Pass me that big bowl over there, then you can chop the apples and the almonds while I do the candied peel.”
Dee passed Ryo the mixing bowl, then fetched a chopping board and a sharp knife. “How chopped do ya need ‘em?”
“Small as you can without chopping your fingers along with them,” Ryo teased. “This is a Christmas pudding, not a blood pudding.”
“Blood pudding is gross.” Dee wrinkled his nose as he began to roughly chop the almonds. “You need all of these doin’?”
“Every last one, and both apples.”
“How big is this pudding goin’ to be?”
“Search me,” Ryo’s brow furrowed. “I’ve never made one before. Might end up with two. Does it matter?”
“I guess not, especially if they keep as well as you think they will. We can have the second one next Christmas.”
Ryo snorted at that. “Not sure it’ll keep quite that long.”
“Yeah,” Dee agreed. “Guess not. Bikky will probably eat it way before then. I swear the kid’s got hollow legs. How’s this?” He gestured at the chopped almonds. “Fine enough?”
“Yes, that looks good. Put them in the bowl with the other ingredients and start on the apples.”
Dee couldn’t believe all the things that were going into that bowl; suet, raisins, flour, breadcrumbs, sugar, eggs, and something Ryo said was grated nutmeg, plus the apple, almonds, candied peel, brandy…
“Right, now we stir it all together and make a wish,” Ryo said, offering Dee a wooden spoon. “Apparently it’s traditional. You go first.”
“Traditional, huh? Well, gotta preserve traditions.” Dee accepted the spoon with a wide grin.
They took turns stirring the mixture as the butter was added, and kept stirring afterwards until Ryo said it was just the right consistency. By then they both had aching arms.
“Man, that’s a lot of pudding,” Dee commented, staring at the gloopy mass.
“It really is. Definitely enough to make two.”
“So what comes next?”
“We grease two bowls and share the mixture out between them, then get our puddings ready for cooking.”
Working together, they packed the mixture into two smaller bowls, squishing it down firmly, before covering and wrapping both bowls as carefully as if they were gifts to go under the tree.
“What now?” Dee asked, once Ryo had checked both pudding parcels were secure.
“This is the easy part; they just have to be steamed for eight hours,” Ryo replied, placing each wrapped bowl in a saucepan of water, setting the pans on the stove, and turning up the heat.
Dee was certain he must be hearing things… “Did you just say eight hours?” he asked incredulously.
“That’s right; they need to cook slowly,” Ryo replied, grinning at the expression on Dee’s face.
“That’s slow alright.”
“Then once they’re cooked they have to be allowed to cool thoroughly before being freshly wrapped and put somewhere cool and dry until Christmas.”
Dee’s face fell. “You mean after all this work we don’t even get a taste?”
“Not until Christmas day, and even then the pudding will need to be steamed again for an hour before eating to make sure it’s hot all the way through.”
“Huh. This is an awful lot of work for a dessert. I sure hope it turns out to be worth the effort we’ve put into it.”
Ryo looked at the two saucepans steaming merrily on the stove. “So do I!”
“Still,” Dee teased, “if they’re not I guess we can always use them as paperweights or doorstops.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. You want a coffee before we tackle the dishes?”
“Yeah, I could do with a drink. Besides, we’ve earned a break after all that choppin’ and stirrin’ and wrappin’. I get the feeling this is gonna be an interesting Christmas.”