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Archive for April, 2009

April ‘Meanderings’ …

All images ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’ www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pictured (top to bottom)
Courgette & Lentil Gratin
Australian Spiced Roast Pork
Chocolate Up and Over Pudding
Spicy Hot Cross Buns

100_2915str-courgette-lentil-gratin-2The French expression ‘à la carte’ meaning ‘from the menu’ or ‘by the map’ (the word carte meaning both menu and map) is, I think, particularly suitable for this site.   I see life very much as a journey, hence the title of my original site ‘Meanderings along the narrow way’.  I try to follow the rewarding, if more difficult, ‘narrow path’ Jesus advocates rather than the easy ‘wide path’ (Matthew 7 verse 13) in my Christian life.  My original title was chosen to reflect the way my life’s path takes me in all 100_2332-Australian spiced roast porksorts of directions, of which food with its connected diversions is just one.

This is my first monthly roundup – this site was launched on 1 April 2009.  A complete list of recipes from April can be found further down in this post.  However, as this is the first monthly roundup since 100_2881-chocolate-up-and-over-puddingthis site was formally launched, I have also included all recipes and food information transferred from my other site.  (These are marked * – apart from † which was also published in the Parish of Walthamstow magazine.)

In April we have marked the end of Lent, celebrated Easter and had a very enjoyable short break (along with 150 others from the church) on the Suffolk coast – a very successful self catering event.  I have spent a short while in our local hospital, Whipps Cross, sampling its catering which was not too bad, although there were some interesting choices. “Rice Pudding?” “Would you like custard with that?” and (me) “I’ll have the fish please” to which the reply was “Would you like gravy with it?” – I will certainly not be experimenting with any of these options! I was grateful for the Chinese takeaway on the day I came home which saved me having to cook. There is something very homely about Chicken & Cashew Nuts, in fact, it made me get out the wok the following week to cook my own version.

During Holy Week our parish held Taste! a food orientated event, which was a new venture.  This might seem unusual for this particularly solemn week, often associated with fasting rather than food, but it was an expression of the mission of one of our churches.  St Luke’s no longer has a building but operates a stall serving the community and stallholders at our local Sunday Farmers’ market. It is recognised as a Fresh Expression of Church in Chelmsford Diocese.  The event was built around an Italian Cookery Demonstration by Walthamstow Farmers’ Market stallholder Giovanni Carleschi, of ‘Seriously Italian’ with food available from our regular Traidcraft supplied Fairtrade food stall and tasters of food from the Farmers’ Market, all of which is low in ‘food miles’, being sourced from within 100 miles of Walthamstow.  We also heard about the work of the Christian Kitchen, which has been running locally for about 14 years feeding a substantial hot meal to around 50 local homeless people every night of the year. It is volunteer staffed and financially supported by local churches of all denominations.  Running through the evening were short reflections on food and the Christian faith.  This was a highly enjoyable and popular community event, attended by church members and local people.

100_2509 Spicy Hot Cross BunsIt is some years since I made a Simnel Cake for Easter and I also made Hot Cross Buns again this year, having come across Nigella Lawson’s recipe in the Easter issue of Radio Times. I also rediscovered some almost forgotten recipes, some of which I was able to serve when entertaining friends, including Australian Spiced Roast PorkChocolate Up and over Pudding and Courgette & Lentil Gratin.

On the television I have been watching Gary Rhodes’ new series Rhodes Across the Caribbean where he explores the varied cooking across the islands.  It was interesting to hear the reason for the use of salt cod in the region: it is, of course, not an indigenous fish. During the dark days of slavery salt cod was introduced as a cheap ‘ballast’ for the empty boats that were sent from the UK and afterwards was found to be useful to feed to the slaves.  A dreadful reason, but if it was not for this we would not have the famous dish Saltfish & Ackee or, one of my favourites, Salt Fish Cakes regularly made by a Jamaican friend who has recently given me her recipe!  It is a long series and I’m looking forward to watching more.

Recipes (complete list up to and including April)…

Prawn & Tomato Korma
Courgette & Lentil Gratin
Chocolate Up and Over Pudding
Spanish Style Pork & Peppers
Roast Lamb with Orange & Rosemary
Spicy Hot Cross Buns
Simple Cheese & Tomato Topped Baked Fish
Strawberry & Banana Fool
Old-fashioned Bread Pudding
Fish Pie with Pesto Topping
Australian Spiced Roast Pork
Chilled Citrus & Melon Cocktail

*Spicy Chicken with Chickpea Couscous
*Spanish Style Chicken with Red Peppers
*Smoky Fish Chowder
*Pot Roasted Vegetables & Pearl Barley
*Tomato Risotto
*Lime Syllabub
*Sliced Caramel Oranges
*Le ‘Far’ Breton

and other posts

Divine: Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with Heart – Linda Collister
*Hot Sun, Cool Shadow – Angela Murrills
*Food & Drink Discoveries (Languedoc, France – Holiday 2007)

If, in my Meanderings…, I use a recipe book I aim to credit the writer and where I use it often I aim to place information in the sidebar. Where available Highlighted links lead to reviews, the author’s or publisher’s website.  (Some books may be out of print and information in some cases is no longer available or cannot be traced.)

*****

‘For what we are about to receive…’ May 2009 and beyond

Food for the mind…

Non Fiction Food book

Going with the Grain: Travels for the love of Bread – Susan Seligson  I have had this on loan from my sister-in-law for some time and it is about time I read it!  It’s a travelogue about baking with recipes in a easy to handle paperback.  I don’t plan to finish it all in a month, so it will probably be a while before a review appears, if I think it worth it!

Recipe book

Various books on Pasta  & Pizza  including Step-by-step Pizza by Wendy Lee

… and for the May table

It’s my dad’s birthday on 3rd and I am cooking lunch.  I’m planning Roast Beef & Yorkshire Puddings with a special dessert.  Watch out for Apricot Hazelnut Meringue Gateau which I already know I will be posting.  (Another rediscovered recipe that I last cooked about 20 years ago!)

Our Italian FEAST! event at church has left me wanting more, so I am planning to cook Pasta and/or Pizza (hopefully both) at least once each week during May and recipes will appear during June.  There are quite a lot of Pizza base variations to try and enough types of pasta and sauce to keep my pasta loving daughter happy for the whole month, I hope!

Happy Cooking & Eating!

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This dish reminds me of one of my favourite Indian Restaurant starters, Prawns on Puri – where the spicy prawn mixture is served on puri (alternatively called poori or boori), a south Asian unleavened bread. I occasionally serve Indian food at Supper parties and this would be a good starter. Using a mild, ready mixed, Korma spice makes it not too hot. Living in outer London, I am fortunate to have access to a variety of ethnic foodstores and I mainly buy my Indian spices from one of the many Asian food shops. The Korma mix is Rajah brand, but others are available. Don’t leave out the sugar, which helps to counter the acidity of the tomatoes. Small peeled prawns, frozen or fresh, are fine for everyday meals, but it is good to use larger ones if entertaining.  The mushrooms and courgette, which could be replaced with slices of okra, are my own additions.  If you use okra do not cook it for too long.  It should still be crisp with the sticky juices just starting to run out – 5-8 minutes maximum.

The original version of this recipe, originally called Prawn & Tomato Curry came from a leaflet available from Sainsbury’s supermarkets in early 2009.

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'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Prawn and Tomato Korma
(Serves 4 as main course)
(Would feed 8+ as part of a starter leaving out mushroom & courgette)

5g butter
1tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
125g button mushrooms
1 x 2cm piece of root ginger, peeled & grated
1 tbsp Korma curry powder
1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
125ml vegetable stock
4 fresh tomatoes, quartered
¼ tsp sugar
Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
250g courgette, quartered lengthways in small slices
250g peeled prawns
To serve:
Basmati rice
Half fat crème fraîche or yoghurt if needed
10g fresh coriander, chopped

1.  Melt the butter and oil in a pan.  Fry the Korma mix for 1 minute. Add the ginger, mushroom and onion. Turn down heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2.  Chop the tinned tomatoes well and add to the pan with the vegetable stock, fresh tomato and sugar.  Season to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Add the courgette and prawns and simmer for a further 5 minutes with the lid off the pan to reduce the liquid.

4. Serve on a bed of Basmati rice with crème fraîche or yoghurt, if wanted, plus a sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander.

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This unusual and tasty base becomes a crispy crust that lifts easily from the flan dish when cooked.  The courgette as part of the fairly traditional filling is tasty, but as an alternative you could easily substitute small florets of lightly steamed broccoli or slices of uncooked tomato. The lentil and onion used for the base reminds me of dhal, a common accompaniment to Indian meals, but without the spices. The crust could take on an Indian flavour if dhal spices were added and a suitable vegetarian filling (or even a meat based one) could be used. Occasionally I have been asked by various schools and churches to submit a favourite recipe to their fundraising cookbook and this has appeared several times. It is a good recipe for a light summer meal and I would certainly serve this, or a variation, when entertaining a vegetarian friend.

The original recipe came from Sainsbury’s Healthy Eating Cookbooks: Beans, Nuts & Lentils by the vegetarian food writer Sarah Brown.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Courgette & Lentil Gratin
(Serves 4)

Crust
125g/4ozs red lentils
15ml/1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
50g/2ozs oat flakes
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
10ml/2tsp chopped mixed herbs (sage/thyme/marjoram)
Filling
250g/8ozs courgettes, diced
2 eggs, beaten
15ml/1tbsp wholemeal flour
50ml/2fl ozs skimmed milk
salt & pepper
50g/2ozs Cheddar Cheese

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/375oF/180oC.

2. Cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fairly soft. Beat well with a spoon, then drain excess liquid if any remains.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and mix in the cooked lentils, tomato purée, oats, lemon juice and herbs. Season well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold together. If the lentils are a little wet, return the pan to the heat to dry them out before adding or add a few more oat flakes.

5. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of an 20cm/8″ flan dish. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon.

6. For the filling, lightly steam the courgettes for 4 minutes or until tender.

7. Blend the eggs with the flour, then add the milk. Stir in the cooked courgettes and season well.

8. Spoon the filling into the flan case. Cover with grated cheese. (Tomato slices can also be added to decorate if you wish.)

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set.

10. Serve hot with jacket potatoes and salad.

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Under this nutty topped chocolate sponge pudding hides a gooey mocha fudge sauce. Delicious, yet simple to make, the sponge is mixed by the very quick ‘all in’ method and then you simply pour over strong black coffee which ends up underneath the pudding. A mocha/chocolate lovers dream. (This recipe is quite sweet and you could experiment by slightly reducing the demerara sugar in both the topping and the coffee – I suggest that no change is made to the sugar in the sponge.)

This is another excellent recipe from The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook. (Original recipe by Pat Dixon, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire)

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‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’ http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Chocolate Up and Over Pudding
(Serves 4-5)

Pudding
75g/3ozs self-raising flour
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa
125g/4ozs soft margerine
125g/4ozs granulated sugar
2 eggs
Topping & sauce
1 rounded tbsp cocoa
40g/1½oz chopped nuts – I used 1oz rough chopped hazelnuts & ½oz flaked almonds
125g/4ozs demerara sugar
300ml/½ pint hot, strong black coffee (pour water onto 3tbsp coffee, if using instant)

1. Grease a deep ovenproof pudding dish – 1.2litre/2pint capacity.

For the pudding:
2. Sieve flour and cocoa into a bowl with the other pudding ingredients.

3. Mix together well, either for 2 minutes with a wooden spoon or ½ minute with an electric mixer.

4. Tip mix into the greased pudding dish and level the top.

For the topping & sauce:
5. Mix together cocoa, nuts and 2ozs of the demerara sugar and sprinkle over the pudding.

6. Sweeten hot coffee with remaining 2ozs demerara sugar and pour over the pudding.

7. Bake in a moderate oven Gas 4/350oF/180oC for 50minutes to 1hour. During cooking the sponge rises up and over and the coffee mixture forms a thick fudge sauce underneath.

8. Sprinkle over a few more toasted nuts to serve, if you wish. Serve with cream or ice cream.

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This uncomplicated dish has quickly become a firm favourite, especially as it can be cooked quickly and in one pan. Mixed colour peppers make it extra colourful. It is a warming dish for a winter evening, but can be eaten all year round. Smaller quantities could be served as a light meal or as part of a Tapas menu.

This recipe was originally published in the ASDA supermarkets free instore magazine, January 2008 issue.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spanish Style Pork & Peppers

50g chorizo, diced
1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 small green chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
500g Pork Fillet cut into 3cm pieces
3 medium sized peppers cut into strips, preferably red, green & yellow
400g can of Plum tomatoes, chopped
1-2tbsp smoked paprika
12 black or green pitted olives
Chopped parsley to serve

1. Cook the chorizo and onion together with the chilli over a medium heat. There should be enough fat from the choirizo to cook the onion without adding any more.

2. Add the pork and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and paprika. Heat until simmering and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the olives, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

5. Serve with rice or naan and chopped parsley.

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I love Roast Lamb, but am not a great lover of the mint sauce with which it is traditionally served.  This quick and simple method gives a lovely background hint of orange, as well as the more obvious rosemary flavour. Just be aware that these lovely flavours could be masked by mint sauce! 

This recipe is my own.  I find that I enjoy this even though I am not a lover of meat and fruit combined.  Perhaps because the recipe is not particularly sweet and I like the background citrus flavour. For a more pronounced orange flavour, you can squeeze one of the oranges and use the juice as well, either in the marinade or the gravy (or both).  The joint needs to be defrosted and prepared in advance of roasting (the night before, assuming it is for Sunday lunch next day) otherwise it can be cooked according to normal roasting times.

100_2534-lamb-with-orange-and-rosemary

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Roast Lamb with Orange & Rosemary

A lamb joint of your choice and size to suit number of diners
Marinade:
Zest of 2 oranges (3 if a large joint)
Juice of ½-1 orange (depending on size of joint) – optional
Large sprig of fresh Rosemary, shredded
1-2tbsp Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Defrost the joint and place in a roasting tin on a rack so the fats and juices drip down below the joint.

2.  If using the orange juice, then pour over the joint now. (Or you could add some juice to the gravy later – or as well – if you wish.)

3.  Rub the joint with olive oil.  Sprinkle over orange zest and shredded rosemary, tucking sprigs of Rosemary into any gaps and slits in the meat.  Season.  Leave to marinade overnight or for as long as possible.

4.  Roast according to usual timings for the size of joint.  I tend to put joints of meat in a very low (140oC) oven very low from quite early (just before I leave for church) and raise the temperature when I return, which is often nearly three hours later, removing the lid for the final 15minutes of cooking.

5.  For the gravy separate the meat juices and remove the fat before thickening.  If you wish you can add a little orange juice (or additional orange juice) at this point.

6.  Lamb is lovely served with new potatoes and peas, if both are available, as well as other vegetables of your choice.

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I have long felt it is sad that we can buy Hot Cross Buns, with their crosses on, throughout the year. I’d be happy just to have ‘Not Cross’ Buns for most of the year, just putting the crosses on from Good Friday until the end of the Easter season at Pentecost (fifty-two days later) to mark their special seasonal significance. (This year the Dean of St Albans has been saying much the same with an article about reclaiming the Hot Cross Bun in the press.)  Hot Cross Buns are especially good when eaten still warm for breakfast or tea on Good Friday, with or without butter. However, made without the crosses, why restrict them to the Easter season as they can be enjoyed at breakfast or tea at any time of the year!

I love home made Hot Cross Buns and try to make some every year. I have tried different recipes but have never felt I have found that ‘extra special’ one – until, that is, this year. Radio Times this week has a recipe feature including Nigella Lawson’s Spicy Hot Cross Buns from her book Feast: Food that Celebrates Life. Finally a recipe to remember – I will most definitely be making these in future years. Interestingly, Nigella uses Cardamom seeds, one of the ingredients used in the buns mentioned in the St Alban’s article where they are given their ancient name ‘grains of paradise’ – appropriately, in my opinion, as I love them!

100_2509 Spicy Hot Cross Buns

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spicy Hot Cross Buns
(Makes 16)

For the dough:
175ml/6fl ozs milk
50g/2ozs butter
Zest of 1 orange
1 clove
2 cardamom pods
400g/14oz strong white bread flour
1tbsp castor sugar
7g (1packet) easy-blend yeast
100g/4ozs mixed dried fruit
1tsp ground cinnamon
½tsp ground nutmeg
¼tsp ground ginger
1 egg
1 egg beaten with a little milk to make an egg wash
For the crosses:
3tbsp plain flour
½tbsp caster sugar
2tbsp water
For the sugar glaze:
1tbsp caster sugar, dissolved in
1 tbsp boiling water

1.  Heat milk, butter, zest, clove and lightly crushed cardomom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts and leave to infuse.

2.  Measure the flour, sugar, yeast and dried fruit into a bowl and add the spices.

3.  When the infused milk reaches blood temperature, take out the clove and cardamom pods and beat in the egg.

4.  Pour the liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together.

5.  Knead dough well. If it is too dry then add a little more warm milk. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic – takes about 10minutes. The dried fruit will keep escaping, but just push it back into the ball. Form dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover and leave to rise. This can be either overnight in the fridge (the slower the rise the better), at room temperature. If in a hurry I use the airing cupboard, which takes at least 1 hour. (The risen dough should be doubled in size.)

6.  Heat oven to 220oC/Fan Oven 200oF/Gas 7.

7.  Punch the dough down and knead again until elastic. Divide into 16 smooth round buns. (16 means you can just keep halving the mixture.) Place on lightly greased and floured baking sheets, leaving a space between each so it they can rise. Score each with a cross using the back of a knife. Cover with tea towels and leave to rise until doubled again with buns almost joined up on the trays.  (Once more I use the airing cupboard, but this can be done at room temperature.)

8.  Brush the risen buns with egg wash and then carefully spoon/drip flour mix into the scored cross marks. Bake at the top/middle of the oven for 14-16minutes.

9.  When the hot buns come out of the oven, brush immediately with the sugar/water glaze to make them sweet, sticky and shiny. Cool on a wire tray.

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At home, this has become known as ‘Our Favourite Fish’ and is eaten regularly!  The beauty of the recipe is its simplicity.  It can be put together in around 10 minutes maximum, using easily found storecupboard items and any white fish, either fresh or straight from the freezer. Popped into a pre-heated oven is ready in no time (almost).  We like a mild onion flavour so I use just a small amount of chopped onion or chopped Spring Onions if available.

This recipe is based on one for ‘Haddock & Tomatoes’ that I found in one of my favourite sources, The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook.  You can use any white fish, fresh or frozen – I often use Pollack which has recently arrived in the UK and is a good substitute for the overfished Cod or Haddock. It has a crisp cheese topping.

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'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Simple Cheese & Tomato Topped Baked Fish
(Serves 4)

1lb (450g) white fish fillets – 1 piece per person
Salt & Black Pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 small Spring Onions or 2/3 tsp red or white onion, finely chopped
4 small cherry tomatoes or 2/3 slices small tomato
4 tbsp grated cheese
4 tbsp breadcrumbs

1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4.

2. Place the fish in an oven dish. (If not frozen then wipe and trim fillets.)

3. Evenly season pieces with salt & pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice.

4. Scatter chopped onion and sliced tomato on top.

5. Top with a layer of grated cheese and then breadcrumbs.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.

7. Serve with oven chips (which can be cooked in the oven at the same time as the fish – cut cooking time as oven will be at a higher temperature) or potato and a green vegetable.

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Fruit fools are so simple.  Usually just a mixture of fruit puree and whipped cream, with a little icing sugar to sweeten if needed.  I hardly need to re-type the recipe.  Once you have understood the principle you can dream up your own concoctions.  (At some point I may well experiment with a 50/50 mixture of cream and yoghurt, which would add a different dimension – if it works well I will post the results.)

The source was my well used paperback Claire MacDonald’s Quick & Easy Desserts & Puddings which I originally borrowed from the library on a long loan and then found in a charity shop.  The recipe below needed no adapting, apart from my use of Elmlea Double Cream (the 55% less fat than ordinary Double Cream version).  I expect Elmlea Whipping Cream would work well too, but not single as it would not thicken.  The original makes 6 small portions.

Variations (see below): Rhubarb & Raspberry Fool

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'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Strawberry and Banana Fool
(Serves 4-6)

100fl ozs/284ml Double Cream (Elmlea)
Icing sugar to taste (and dust over finished dish)
4 Bananas
450g/1lb Fresh Strawberries (works well if slightly soft)

1.  If serving in individual dishes reserve slices of banana and either a small strawberry (cut into a fan shape) or a single slice, depending on size of fruit.  For a large dish save a single strawberry fan and a few slices of banana.

2.  Puree Bananas and Strawberries in food processor. Sweeten with icing sugar if needed.

3.  Whip Cream in a separate bowl.

3.  Combine cream and fruit puree.  Pile into bowl or bowls and decorate as above.

Variations:

Rhubarb & Raspberry
1 stick of rhubarb per portion, lightly stewed in the microwave without water and sugar to taste.  Cool and, reserving enough for decoration, mix in 2ozs raspberries per portion.  Sweeten to taste with icing sugar or alternatively a little rose syrup (or rosewater can be used, but still with icing sugar).  Mix well and continue as in steps 3 & 4 above.

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I freeze breadcrumbs regularly, using up loaf ends, storing them in plastic ‘take-away’ type containers. (These come in several sizes and the deep ones I have hold about 8ozs each.) The original recipe suggests not using the crusts, but I always do. Two of these containers give me enough for a double batch of this spicy, fruity family favourite recipe and I have made it on many occasions. It is so popular in our house I always make a double quantity as a single is never enough – and it is great for packed lunches! It is a simple recipe for a child or novice cook.

The original recipe comes from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (the final section, on using up leftovers). I have made just a few minor changes to the original recipe. Delia writes: ‘This is a lovely spicy cross between a cake and a pudding – perfect for using left-over bread.’   Since I added this recipe I have discovered that another friend makes the same version, substituting glace cherries for some of the dried mixed fruit.  Delicious.  Other dried fruits could be part substituted as well: dates, figs, glace ginger, apricots would all be good for a change.

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‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’ http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Old-fashioned Bread Pudding
(This double size recipe makes around 12 pieces)

1lb/450g breadcrumbs (can be white or brown)
1pt/550ml milk
4ozs/100g butter, melted
6ozs/150g soft brown sugar (use demerara or white if not available)
4 level tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
12ozs/350g dried mixed fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel)
Grated rind of 1 orange
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4

2. Line an oblong baking tray with baking parchment. The one I use is 12 x 9 x 2 inches (aprox 31 x 23 x 5 cm) but the exact size is not crucial as long as the container is big enough for the mixture.  Ideally use a square or oblong tray to make cutting into regular pieces easy.

3. Put the crumbs in a bowl, pour over the milk, stir and leave for about 30 minutes so the bread is well soaked.

4. Add the melted butter, almost all the sugar (retain about 3tbsp for the crunchy topping), mixed spice and beaten eggs. Beat the mixture well until there are no lumps. Stir in the mixed fruit and orange rind. Substitute glace cherries or other dried fruit for some of the mixed fruit in the recipe if you wish (see 2nd paragraph above)

5. Spoon into the baking tray and sprinkle with the reserved sugar and grated nutmeg.

6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¼-1½ hours.

7. Turn out, peel off the baking parchment and cool on a wire tray.

8. Serve warm as a dessert with cream or custard or cold as a cake. Store in an airtight box or tin.

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