Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tuppence a Bag

An aquaintance is out in Finland, where it's very cold. He decided to feed the local birds, only to be given a very thorough telling off by his neighbours; basically, for encouraging pests.

I think feeding wild birds in the cold winter is a lovely thing. We're all set for a desperately cold one this year, so in part inspired by the desire to upset some Finns, I emailed my dad for his 'bird pudding' recipe. He makes it every year, filling half coconut shells with it, and leaving it hanging in the garden. It works - they have a fabulous selection of small wild birds, inclduding wrens, goldfinches, and once, memorably, a family of treecreepers. Robins in particular are very scenic at this time of year.

Anyway - the email from him (part typed by my mother, who is quicker on the keys) is another parental classic. I thought I'd share it here so you, too, can make bird pudding, and also marvel at my mother's ability to know exactly where the cheapest porridge oats can be bought, and her in-depth suet foo. I'd suggest M&S or even Fortnums' potatos, personally, because you don't want to be giving the poor birdies inferior food now, do you?


Dad wants me to give you the recipe. I dont know whether I have it correctly in my mind but I only know what dad puts in it ? no proportions so it will require a little experimentation to get the right consistency. It depends on the weather - if its cold the stuff will stay put and if it gets warmer then it might trickle out as the fat melts! Do you just want to put a dollop on the bird table or are you planning to hang it up in a container?

Any way, find the hardest fat which is suet but it will be in a packet shredded but if you warm the whole mixture to get it to come together I imagine the suet will melt so give it a good stir and then refrigerate.

add to the suet - any of the following...

  • Cooked potato - not too much as its not the birds favourite
  • Porridge oats (Cheapest asda or lidl or netto in plastic bag)
  • Any nuts chopped

  • Stale biscuits, cake, bread crumbs

  • Seeds e.g. sesame, poppy (or buy a small pkt of wild bird seed)
  • Dried fruit e.g. sultanas

Dad says its better to get butchers suet. It is in big lumps but will melt if you just break it up a bit. It should be in the greatest proportion in order to hold the additions

love Ma x

P.S. (obviously not taught my Grand mother to suck eggs) just melt as much suet as you can scrounge or charm from the butcher into large pan blend in what ever you can reheat if to stiff, then cool. old chips from your fish & chips are good
love Dad Tags:

1 comment:

Chris said...

I find it interesting that the Finns think of the birds as pests. In the UK, of course, feeding birds in winter is considered quite a noble endeavour - and many species of birds could not survive here if we didn't leave them food in the lean winter months.

I don't think I'll try the recipe, though, as suet makes me feel rather ill. :)