Butter your basin and place greaseproof paper discs in the bottom. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and the milk and bicarb, and mix thoroughly (not forgetting to make a wish).
Fill the basin to an inch short of the top, not compressing the mixture. Cut a disc of greaseproof paper twice the width of the basin; cover the basin top, fold down all round and secure with string. Make a string handle across the top. Lower the basin into a saucepan of water, making sure the water level is only about half-way up the basin. Put on the pan lid. Place on the hob until the water boils, then turn down to a simmer.
Cook for at least three hours, topping up the boiling water as it evaporates. Use a fork to catch the basinís string handle to lift it out.
Keep in the fridge until Christmas day, then microwave for six minutes or boil as before for an hour. Turn out onto a serving plate, dress with icing sugar and holly. Take to your table. Dim the dining room lights, flame the pudding with brandy and enjoy the applause!
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