Clipping Time Pudding

And talking of summer days, June once found us celebrating Clipping Time. This was the time when sheep farmers were busy clipping the winter fleeces off their flocks. This was a big communal event in sheep rearing areas when the Clippers would come together and visit each farm in turn. Even in my lifetime I can remember seeing the sheep clipped by hand. This was an exceedingly tiring job. So how they managed to celebrate the end of the clip with a barefoot race for a fleece mounted on a pole, defeats me.

It was the job of the farmers’ wives to feed the clippers, and sometimes their families, who sometimes travelled the country with them. Clipping time suppers sound like they were rather jolly events with lots of singing and dancing. The meal would be finished off with “Clipping Time Pudding”. A variation on rice pudding with the added ingredient of bone marrow or suet. This pudding was sometimes so large it had to be baked in a local baker’s oven. Sadly Clipping Time events seemed to disappear around the time of WW2 after which hand clipping gradually died out.

I didn't think any of you would thank me for a rice pudding recipe including bone marrow or suet. So this version sticks to butter. It really is worth waiting the three hours it takes to cook this version.


4oz (115g) short-grained rice 4oz (115g) raisins
2 pints (1.1 litres) milk 3oz (75g) sugar
1 inch (2.5cm) cinnamon stick 2oz (50g) butter
Freshly grated nutmeg, a good pinch1 egg, beaten


  1. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC/350F/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Generously butter a large ovenproof dish.
  3. Cover the rice with boiling water and leave to soak for 2 mins.
  4. Drain the rice and put it into the baking dish along with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Stir well and cook for 1 hour.
  6. Stir well again and continue cooking for another 1 - 2 hours, or until rich and creamy.
  7. Serve on its own or with fresh cream.


Short Grain Rice
RICE (Short Grained)

Nutmeg and Cinnamon