Christmas pudding has its origins in the late medieval plum pottage – a rich, spiced mix of dried fruit, beef and gravy. ‘Plum’ was just a generic term for any dried fruit (although, confusingly, ‘sugarplums’ meant sugared almonds). Plum pottage was sufficiently expensive to become associated with feasting, especially in the winter, as the ingredients did not rely upon fresh produce. By the 18th century the pottage had become a pudding, with the addition of suet and breadcrumbs, boiled in a cloth or sometimes a mould. The patriotic dishes of Britain became roast beef and plum pudding (served, and eaten, together). The pudding can be made several days or even several months in advance, if desired. Modern puddings are often aged for months, but there is no need for that with older recipes.