Residents at Scarlet House care home in Stroud had their mixing bowls and wooden spoons at the ready for a festive ‘stir-up’ when Great British Bake Off finalist Brendan Lynch popped into the care home on Westwood Road.
Ahead of ‘Stir-up Sunday’ which is the traditional day for making Christmas puddings, Brendan created a recipe especially for the care home in Ebley. He then visited the care home and joined in as everyone took it in turns to stir the festive dessert by mixing together ingredients such as mixed peel, raisins and glace cherries.
Stir-up Sunday traditionally takes place on the last Sunday before Advent and this year it falls on 22nd November. It is the day when families and friends gather together to ‘stir-up’ their Christmas pudding and make a wish, leaving plenty of time for the pudding to mature before Christmas Day.
Pyela Mwale, home manager at Scarlet House, said: “Stir-up Sunday provided the Care UK team and residents with a wonderful opportunity to take part in a tradition which also encompasses all the benefits of baking. Reminiscence activities such as baking are so important for older people, especially for those living with dementia, as the familiar scents and tastes can evoke happy memories from the past.
“We are all fans of the Great British Bake Off at Scarlet House and the visit from Brendan made it a really special day for all involved. Stir-up Sunday is an important milestone in the lead up to Christmas and we all enjoyed meeting Brendan and using his recipe to create the delicious puddings.”
Commenting on his passion for baking and inspiring older people to take up the hobby, Brendan said: “I am a strong believer in the therapeutic benefits of baking for older people and combining this with a traditional occasion such as Stir-up Sunday can create a calm and comforting environment for all involved.
“The process of mixing certain ingredients and the smells associated with baking a Christmas pudding can trigger memories and nostalgic feelings from Stir-Up Sunday’s of the past, conjuring up happy times spent with family and friends.
“Since my youth baking has been an important part of my life. In times of stress and worry I would often use baking as a way to relax. Now I hope to give older people the inspiration to give it a try and see the benefits for themselves.”
Claire Taylor, head chef at Scarlet House, concluded: “Christmas pudding is a firm favourite with residents at Scarlet House and we all really enjoyed working together to create the festive desserts, ready to be revealed on Christmas Day.”