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Bourbon Brigade Pudding

Coming back to Melbourne in winter after a tropical holiday has been a shock to the system.  I’m not sure if it is the cold or getting back onto germ-laden public transport but I have come down with a whopper of a cold.  Sore throat, blocked nose, and a head that feels like it is about to explode.  When I have not been in bed this weekend, I have been craving comfort food and what better way to rally one’s flagging spirits than with a Brigade Pudding.  And not just any Brigade Pudding but a Bourbon laced Brigade Pudding!  Because alcohol kills germs right?

Brigade Pudding 3To quote The Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need”. Such was the case with the recipe for Brigade Pudding.  There I was flicking feebly through the A-Z of Cooking, trying to muster the energy to get out of bed / the house / my sense of lethargy.  And to quote Marcy Playground (who knew illness would bring out my musical side, or maybe it was those weeks of Balinese cover bands).

“And then there it  was, Like double cherry pie, Yeah there it was, Like disco superfly, ”

Right in the  sweet spot of L (Leave it to Cook) in the A-Z of Cooking, Brigade Pudding.

Definitely what I needed!

Brigade Pudding 4Not even the Lemon Pond Pudding debacle of last year was going to stop me from making the Brigade Pudding.  Yes, the number of suet puddings I have made  to date is 1 and the number of failures I have had making suet puddings is also 1 but due to that disaster and a yet untouched bottle of fruit mince from a Christmas hamper I also had all the ingredients for the Brigade Pudding in the house.  No need to shop!  Yay to making food in one’s pyjamas! Yay to comfort food!  Yay to The A-Z of Cooking providing just what you need!

Brigade Pudding 1I am not sure which Brigade, if any, the Brigade Pudding was named after.  I did some cursory research but please see above for head that feels like it is about to explode.  What I can tell you is that it consists of layers of  apple and fruit mince sandwiched together by layers of suet pastry and then steamed to pudding perfection.  I added a little Trans Atlantic twist to my Brigade Pudding by adding in a good splash of bourbon into some warmed golden syrup to help give that  lovely shiny glaze and also allowed my apple and fruit mince to soak in another good splash of bourbon whilst the pastry chilled in the fridge.

Brigade Pudding RecipeThe verdict?  The Fussiest Eater in the World who grew up with stodgy British suet puddings loved it!  My opinion was not quite so positive.  Personally, I found the suet pastry  a bit heavy going.  I would have preferred the apple, fruit and bourbon mix with a lighter sponge pudding. He also liked it as is,  whilst I really thought it needed a little something-something to go with it.  Custard would have been super but we didn’t have any.  What we did have some was some of Sabrina Ghayour’s Pistachio, Honey and Orange Blossom Ice Cream which gave it just the lift I felt it needed.  Pudding perfection!  I also love that combination of hot pudding and cold ice cream! So good.

Bourbon Brigade Pudding
Serves 6
A lovely old fashioned British Pudding. Perfect comfort food for a winter night!
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For The Pastry
  1. 200g self raising flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 100g shredded suet or butter
  4. water
For The Filling
  1. 4 tbsp golden syrup
  2. 1/4 cup bourbon
  3. 200g mincemeat
  4. 3 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, grated
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the suet or butter. Rub in well then add enough water to make a soft dough. Leave this to chill in the fridge for around an hour.
  2. Put the golden syrup in a small pan and gently heat with half the bourbon. Set aside.
  3. Take your pudding bowl and place it on a piece of baking paper, small side down. Trace around the bowl and cut the paper to size. Then, turn it over so the widest part of the bowl is on the papder. Cut three circles this size. You will now have one small circle and three large. Trim two of the large circles down so you now have four circles of varying sizes.
  4. Mix the mincemeat, the apples and the rest of the bourbon and allow to sit for half an hour so the flavours can develop.
  5. Grease the pudding bowl and our the golden syrup & bourbon mixture into the bottom, swirl around so it coats the sides.
  6. Now, roll pastry out thinly. Using your paper circles as templates, cut four circles from the pastry. Place the smallest in the pudding bowl and top with a third of the apple and mincemeat mixture. Repeat until all the apple is mixture is used, topping with the largest circle of pastry.
  7. Cover the basin with greased paper and foil tied on with string.
  8. Steam over boiling water for 2.5 hours.
  9. Serve with custard or ice cream.
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking, 1977
Adapted from The A-Z of Cooking, 1977
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a wonderful week! 

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Sussex Pond Pudding

In a weird coincidence, the last three cookbooks I have read have all contained recipes for Sussex Pond Pudding. I had never heard of such a thing  before and suddenly, it was stalking me!  The universe was absolutely, positively telling me something.  And I took that message to be that I should make one.  Because that’s what the universe does right?  Offers a gentle guiding hand to point you in the direction of where you need to be going. 

But first, somewhat of a digression.  The cognitive bias that had me seeing Sussex Pond Pudding everywhere has a name – The Bader-Meinhof Phenomenom.  It occurs when a word, name or thing comes into your attention and shortly afterwards it reappears with what seems like greater than normal frequency.  I’d love to know if, after reading this any of you randomly hear the words Bader-Meinhof or Sussex Pond Pudding over the next few weeks.   Let me know if you do. 

My most recent sighting of a Sussex Pond Pudding (kinda makes it sound like the Loch Ness Monster) came from Big Table, Busy Kitchen by Allegra McEvedy.

I find Allegra McEvedy immensely likeable and all of her recipes that I have tried have been successful.  She describes the Sussex Pond Pudding as follows:

“This classic English Steamed Pudding is definitely of a superior nature to most of it’s steamy brethren…it’s the only steamed pudding I ever make and I need to make it at least once a winter”

High praise! 

The next reference came from  The National Trust’s Complete Traditional Recipe Book by Sarah Edington.

She offers some the following explanation of the name.

“Sussex and Kent extend their rivalry to puddings – the most famous being Sussex Pond Pudding and Kentish Well Pudding.  The former consists of a suet crust enclosing butter, brown sugar and a whole lemon, and in the latter currants are added.  Either way, when the pudding is cut open, a rich sweet syrup, the well or pond  – oozes out.”

The final book (which was actually the first book I read containing those three words was Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking.  Which you can read more about here.

You may have noticed that thus far, you have not seen any of my photos of the Sussex Pond Pudding.  I thought I would intersperse my pictures with Laurie’s commentary.

By the way, Laurie Colwin calls it Suffolk Pond Pudding.  For the sake of consistency, I will refer to it as Sussex Pond Pudding throughout.

But first.  Can we talk about suet? OMFG – was a more disgusting substance ever invented?  This has to figure right up there with the civet pooping coffee and that bird embryo they keep getting people to eat on Survivor and The Amazing Race.  I had to look it up because I was actually not too sure what it was.  I wish I hadn’t

Suet – raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys. 

I am really sorry British people who eat this stuff all the time but that is just disgusting.  Raw sheep kidney fat.  Exactly what I want in my sweet pudding. 

Turns out you can buy (fake?) suet in the supermarket and it looks kind of like breadcrumbs of butter.  So not as bad as you might think.  Just try not to think where those buttery breadcrumbs come from. 

And that pastry?  Was a bastard of a thing to make.  And I was not at all happy with the finished product. It was very both heavy//thick and fragile.  Getting it to line the pudding bowl was a nightmare. 

Suet PastryAnd now, over to Laurie Colwin.

“Sussex Pond Pudding although something of a curiousity sounded perfectly it splendid….it never occurred to me that nobody might want to eat it”

No one wanted to eat mine either.  The fussiest eater in the world took one look at it.

“What is that?”

It’s a Sussex Pond Pudding”

“It looks disgusting”

He comes from Kent.  Maybe I should have added currants.

Suet Pastry2Back to Laurie:

“My suet crust was masterful.  When unwrapped from it’s cloth, the crust was a beautiful deep honey colour”

Mine too, at least at the bottom, which became the top where all the butter and sugar had soaked into the pastry.

Sussex Pond Pudding

“My hostess look confused.  “It looks like a baked hat”, she said.

“It looks like the Alien,” my future husband said.

“Never mind, ” I said.  “It will be the most delicious thing you ever tasted”. 

Sussex Pond Pudding2

“I cut the pudding.  As Jane Grigson had promised, out ran a lemon-scented buttery toffee.  I sliced up the lemon which was soft and buttery too.  Each person was to get some crust, a slice of lemon and some sauce.  What a hit!  I thought.  Exactly the sort of thing I adored.  I looked around me happily and my happiness turned to ash”

The buttery lemony sauce was by far the best thing about this .  It was actually quite delicious.  And the soaked buttery pastry was not awful either. 

Sussex Pond Pudding4My host said: “This tastes like lemon-flavoured bacon fat”

“I’m sure it’s wonderful, ” said my hostess.  “I mean, in England”.

The woman guest said “This is awful.”

My future husband remained silent.

Mine did not taste like bacon fat, maybe because I used the fake supermarket suet. If you got it in the right ration of sauce (lots) to pastry (not much) it was actually not too bad.  It was not the “weird inedible sludge from outer space” Laurie Colwin describes however it is also not something I will feel compelled to make at least once a year like Allegra. Or ever again. 

Although I am going to have to find something to do with the rest of that suet!

Sussex Pond Pudding5I guess that sometimes, instead of being that gentle guiding hand, the universe is a smartrase little jokester who is six steps ahead of you laying down banana peels for you to prat fall on. 

And then, just as you are shaking your fist at it, it gives you a little wink and a grin and holds out its hands in a let’s be friends gesture.  In my instance, remember a couple of weeks ago  I said this:

I have a real hankering to go back and watch some early XFiles. I have yet to scratch that particular itch but it’s there….

And lo and behold, I was flicking channels on Saturday night during an ad break in, ok, I admit it, The Hunger Games and look what was on my telly:XfilesJust a couple of minutes before this scene Mulder was examining Scully’s butt for alien probes.  It was AWESOME!  I can’t wait for next Saturday!

Have a great week!

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The Margaret Fulton Cookbook 4 – Soups

 “What wonderful memories I have of soup and my Scottish mother’s kitchen.  We had soup everyday and each one had it’s own character and charm”

 – Margaret Fulton

To me, the character and charm of the soups in the 1977 picture are rather overwhelming.  How much nicer are the modern pictures?  I do however like that there is a nod to the past in the dish for the Soup Chiffonade…

Margaret Fulton Cookbook Soup Collage
Margaret Fulton Cookbook Soup Collage

 And I just love the orange pumpkin soup in the blue bowl. 

In fact, I have used this particular combination more than once on this blog.  Once in one of my posts on Valli Little’s Slow:

Thai Style Tomato Soup
Thai Style Tomato Soup

 And it will shortly feature in my post on Cantina…hmm…maybe it already has?

Pumpkin Soup with Chorizos Migas
Pumpkin Soup with Chorizos Migas

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Ole, Ole Ole, This Soup is Hot, Hot, Hot (Daring Kitchen)

Hola and Olé friends…and that’s the extent of my Spanish done!

Vintage Spain
Vintage Spain

Let’s talk about soup, baby….ok…I’m stopping with the bad music puns.

Right here.  Right now.

Or..Maybe not…

Green Asparagus Soup

Green Asparagus Soup

Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!

I chose the Green Asparagus version as not only is it my second favourite vegetable ( behind the far less exotic green bean) but also, currently in season here in the Southern Hemisphere..

Just look at how gorgeous it is!

Green Asparagus Soup Ingredients
Green Asparagus Soup Ingredients
Asparagus
Asparagus

And the soup was pretty awesome too…I love the combination of egg and asparagus and I also love a poached egg in a soup…so, so good.

And saffron in anything just makes it awesome!

Recipe here

Try it, it may just get you dancing just like this!

flamenco 002
flamenco 002

Have a great week!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Where Angels Fear To Tread

If you are not already a fan and follower of Emily aka Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972, head on over and check out her latest post which features the Rolling Stones recipe for Hot Dogs on The Rocks that  I mentioned in the Franks, Beans and a Saucer of Milk post back in January.

And hats off to her, she’s a braver girl than me and actually made the recipe.  To find out how it tasted and read all of her fabulous posts, click on the link below

http://dinnerisserved1972.com/2013/03/27/wiener-wednesday-hot-dogs-on-the-rocks/

She’s also inspired me to put the Mad Men Cookbook at the top of my wishlist!  Ahh…so many books, so little time!

So, to Yinzerella and everyone who reads, follows and likes what I am doing, a big, big thank you!

I really appreciate it!

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