Stir the flour, spice, suet, breadcrumbs and sugar in a large bowl. Tip in the fruit, peel, cherries (if using) and carrot, then stir well to mix. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the mixture into a buttered 1.2 litre pudding bowl (with a buttered disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom) and press down well, leaving room for the pudding to rise a little during steaming. Cover with a circle of buttered greaseproof paper, then cover with pudding cloth or foil and tie securely with string.
Stand the bowl on an upturned saucer in a saucepan and half fill with boiling water. Cover tightly and steam for 8 hours, topping up the water as necessary. Leave to cool in the pan.
Remove the pudding from the pan and discard the cloth or foil and paper. Then cover with fresh greaseproof paper and cloth. Store your pudding in a cool, dry place until required - you can feed it with a few tablespoons of brandy once in a while. Before serving, steam again for 2-3 hours.