There comes a time in everybody’s week when they forgo the fancy food, healthy options and the spicy dishes and want to climb back into their youth.
Throughout my twenties, I had many moments like this. Surrounded by excellent Indian restaurants, Pizzerias, health food stores and amazing shops, I simply wanted my food to envelope me and make me feel all better after a long day at work.
I took to cooking such culinary delights as Chips, Beans and Sausages only to discover my flatmate eagerly ogling my plate so I cooked even more Chips, Beans and Sausages. Then the flat downstairs heard and they were in line to be fed. Our network of pals heard and people started calling by when I was cooking what affectionately became known as “Womb Food”.
The menu expanded to cope with growing need and visitors. Troughs of homemade Shepard’s Pie (always served with Baked Beans) were devoured by the masses. Piping hot bowls of Macaroni Cheese were also well received. Soft, fresh, batch bread filled with hot sausages (red sauce for the girls, brown sauce for the boys) was a Saturday morning favourite.
As the menu expanded, so too did a number of waist bands. Desserts started making an appearance. There was vanilla ice cream sprinkled with Flake chocolate. Viennetta drowned in shop bought chocolate sauce. Or my homemade Bread and Butter Pudding which I doubt every hit the sides of some people’s mouths, it was devoured so quickly.
When the visitors left, and we felt in need of extra culinary cuddles, myself and the flatmate would curl up in front of our nearly obsolete black and white television, PJs on with steaming hot mugs of Hot Chocolate and Cadbury Flakes to dip in.
The Bread and Butter Pudding was always a big hit. I never got why. I was simply replicating a taste from my youth but everyone said that there was a bit of a twist to it. Must have been the grated lemon rind I sprinkled in between the layers…
Bread and Butter Pudding from Number 29
12-14 slices of white bread (day old is better)
Oodles of soft butter (margarine is a poor substitute!)
4 large eggs
1 pint full fat milk (or can use ¾ pint milk and ¼ cream)
3 ounces sugar
2 ounces good quality sultanas (either use dry or soaked in a little apple juice beforehand)
Grated rind of large lemon
1. Use an oval Pyrex dish about 12 inches by 8 inches
2. Place all ingredients and a damp cloth on the counter beside you because this gets mighty messy!
3. Butter the inside of the dish.
4. Cut the crusts off the bread. Cut the slices into triangles and butter each side
5. Cover the bottom of the dish with these bread triangles
6. Sprinkle with some sultanas and a pinch of lemon rind
7. Add another layer of triangles, sprinkle with more sultanas and lemon rind, etc.
8. On the top layer, arrange the pieces in a nice pattern. Some like to sprinkle sultanas on the top but I think they simply get burnt so I keep all the fruit under cover
9. Now wipe clean your buttery hands in that damp cloth!
10. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and sugar together until the mix is frothy and the sugar dissolved
11. Pour this mixture liberally over the bread to ensure it is fully immersed in the liquid
12. Place in the fridge for about an hour to allow it to absorb. It can be left longer if you want to prepare it in advance
13. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
14. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the top is brown and there is no visible liquid
15. At the 15 minute mark, I sometimes take it out and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on the top
16. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.