Wednesday, 15 August 2012


They might have shown us that they can put on a cracking Olympics, but England isn't exactly the first place which springs to mind for having an appealing national cuisine. In terms of variety, flavour or health consciousness. If anything, they have an abysmal success rate on such lists.

But there are two things I LOVE about the Brit's and their attitude towards food. One: their liberal application of the term 'pudding' to a range of dishes both savoury and sweet (Yorkshire pudding, black pudding, bread pudding, et al) Two: thinly veiled sexual innuedo (spotted dick, toad in the hole and many others that SOUND dirty but actually aren't) - which is also a succinct description of British humour from the Edwardian era up to the present day. As both my parents hail from the land of the crisp sandwich, British food is something I've grown up with and as it were, over the years something I've become almost nostalgically fond of. It's heavy, stodgy and completely unpretentious.

In defence of British food, here is my personal recipe for a dessert which utterly typifies these three things. Actually, my version is a bit pretentious cos I use Cointreau and fancy dark chocolate. Eat yo heart out Nigella.

Prep time 20 minutes, baking 40 minutes

8 – 10 slices of raisin bread or fruit loaf
1/3 cup sultanas
dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 eggs
300 ml pouring (thin) cream
300 ml milk
1 orange (for zest)
Brown sugar

First, soak the sultanas in Cointreau for 15 minutes and preheat your oven to 170C. Then combine the eggs, cream, milk, orange zest, vanilla and a few tablespoons of Cointreau in a bowl. Whisk thoroughly and set aside.
Butter the bread, cut off the crusts and halve lengthways like you’re making sandwiches. Layer slices over an ovenproof baking dish, scattering sultanas and dark chocolate pieces between each layer. '
Pour mixture evenly over the bread slices and stand for 15 minutes, until the mixture is completely absorbed. Scatter brown sugar over top of the pudding and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 180c and bake for an additional 10 minutes. 

When it’s ready, the pudding should be golden and the custard firm. Serve warm with ice cream.  

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