Saturday, 4 April 2020

Lockdown bread pudding

In the UK we are in a lockdown situation, and we are not meant to be out and about unless it is necessary. So I bought a few extra items for the freezer to keep us going. Thinking about dishes to have with storecupboard staples like pasta, noodles and rice, I bought some packs of mince. 

To make space, I had to take out a loaf of bread I had been saving. I didn't want to throw it away. So I thawed it out and made some traditional British bread pudding. It is rich and indulgent. You don't need a large serving to feel like you've treated yourself. (It is not diet food, but I wonder how much we are worrying about that during the lockdown!)

You can make bread pudding with any leftover bread. You don't have to use wholemeal, like I did. You could even mix up unused bread from different loaves. 

You could add seeds to the mix, alongside the dried fruit. But be careful about how much you add, because you need the whole mixture to stick together, or the pudding might fall apart when you try to cut it up and serve it. 

I can't remember who I learned the tip of marinating the dried fruit from. I think it might be Delia Smith or Lindsey Bareham. That knowledge is lost in the mists of my memory, which is a little foggy in these days of lockdown. But whoever it was, it is a great tip, which makes the dried fruit so much nicer.  

Lockdown bread pudding

450 grams of dried mixed fruit and peel, I used a pack of Waitrose dried mixed fruit but feel free to use the stuff you like and mix it up how you want. Raisins, sultanas, peel, currants, cranberries, diced apricots. 
Around 3-4 tablespoons of dark rum

15 slices of wholemeal bread, crusts removed and cubed
600 ml whole milk
1 whole nutmeg, shelled and ground
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
2 eggs
140g light brown sugar
100g butter
Butter for greasing, around 15g/1 tbsp
Brown sugar for dusting before baking
Caster or regular white sugar for dusting before serving

You will need:
2 mixing bowls, one needs to be large
Milk pan
Large dish for baking (I used a glass IKEA one)
Greaseproof paper
Wire rack

Marinade the dried fruit in dark rum for half an hour. This is to make it moist. If you don't want to use rum, you could use orange juice or even a little tea. 

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. I would suggest 180 degrees C for an conventional oven.

Take a baking dish and line it with greaseproof paper. I use two pieces in a cross shape, as this avoids the batter collecting up in the bunched up corners. The cross lining should help make lifting the pudding out when you have finished much easier. Now take the butter for rubbing, and rub it all over the paper. I use a little dab of butter to "stick" the paper onto the baking dish and to stick the top layer of paper to the bottom layer. 

In your large mixing bowl but the cubes of wholemeal bread and add the milk, soak and soften the bread. Leave it to soak in for a couple of minutes. 

Add the nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Although something like Speculoos spice would work well here. 

Add in the eggs and the light brown sugar. Mixed thoroughly with scrupulously washed hands. Really get stuck in, because this needs to be mashed together into a thick paste. 

Melt the butter in the milk pan. Now pour into the mixture and mix it in. 

Now pour the mixture is poured into the lined dish, and it is almost ready to go into the oven... 

But first add a little sprinkle of brown sugar for that traditional crust to the bread pudding. 

Put into the pre-heated oven and cooked. I cooked mine for 1 hour 40 minutes. I might suggest you check it at 1 hour 20 minutes and then every 10 minutes after that. 

I then put on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with white sugar before serving. 


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

March 2020 Favourites List

Spring is gradually reaching out her warming fingers, with raised temperatures and longer days seeping our way.... As we warm up. little by little, the relief from the long, cold days of Winter is palpable. The Spring flowers are slowly blooming in gardens everywhere. The colour and life they display have helped fill me with hope and positivity.

Of course, the world is struggling right now to cope with the pandemic of the Coronavirus. It is a situation not to be taken lightly. We are all busy either social distancing or self isolating right now, in order to lessen the demand on strained health care systems and to protect the vulnerable (the elderly, children and those with pre-existing health conditions). I know many people, (friends, colleagues and students) who are currently self isolating and I know a couple of people who are fighting Covid-19 right now. I am thinking of you, I wish you a speedy recovery and I know we can, if we stay positive, make it through this.

This month I am sharing photos of the new season's flowers with my list of links to food recipes and writing and cultural artefacts. The news is rather dark already, and we need something pretty and uplifting right now. We are in need of beautiful things to fill up our senses. 

Whatever it is that you love, be it art, music, literature, food, poetry, craft.... Immerse yourself whilst we are keeping our heads down to suppress this pandemic. 

Wash your hands, stay at home if at all possible, and protect the vulnerable. Self isolate if you have a high temperature (you feel you are burning up) or you have a continuous cough with no mucus or phleghm. Please practice social distancing, and keep 2m away from other people if you possibly can. 

Wash your hands for 20 seconds if you have left the house, touched any communal surfaces (including but not limited to: door handles, door buttons, payment machines, ATMs, hand rails), after using the toilet, before preparing food, before eating. 

We can make it through this. Stay strong, be safe.

Food writing and articles:

How former lawyer and restaurant entrepreneur Chef Asma Khan is making the restaurant trade a better place. Her Darjeeling Express restaurant is well worth visiting:


Turmeric, Spinach and Sweet Potato Fritters, a recipe from Sabrina Ghayour's new book Bazaar:

Dan Anton and head chef Zaw Mahesh, co-founders of Myanmar/Burmese restaurant Lahpet share four recipes: Mandalay kidney bean fritters, chicken noodle soup, pork skewers and bean fritter and a dessert of cassava cake:
Nigel Slater’s recipe for a meal in a bowl of creamy butter beans, tomato and cabbage:

A Korean-style rice bowl of beef, veggies, egg and kimchi with a spicy kick thanks to a dash of gochujang chilli paste:
Chef Karam Sethi at Brigadiers has shared their house dahl recipe:
Meltingly tender lamb shanks, in a rich spiced yoghurt sauce, with basmati pilau with dill and cardamom by Madhur Jaffrey:

Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for masala baked beans on toast is basically a way of pimping a tin of Heinz Baked Beans!
A 30 minute vegan aubergine teriyaki rice bowl recipe for Meat Free Monday:

Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Pepita [pumpkin seed] Dressing:

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

Free things to do if you are either social distancing or self isolating:  


My Left Nut
Home (Season 2)
Good Omens
Radio 2 In Concert: Tears For Fears


Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans
The Post
Blinded By The Light


Vellum Hill - Chicken Grunt Island Cigarettes After Sex Live at Ancienne Belgique:
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Leon Bridges and Khruangbin - Texas Sun EP 

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.