Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bread and Butter Pudding

This is one of those desserts that can be awful heavy and clunky and creamy – somehow with an Australian recipe (that has long since disappeared to my dismay, and remains only in my head) I have managed to perfect a lovely light B&B pudding – that could even rival Gordan Ramsey’s pain-au-chocolat-B&B-pudding (which btw is awfully delish!).   Anyway, instead of a cake for his birthday my brother only wanted bread and butter pudding, in the middle of May too – weird eh? So here it is: Enjoy!

We made two to feed a party of 12 and there was none left over, so just work with what you have and how many you’re cooking for.

2 Bought Brioche loafs, cut into slices. (I bought them I know, bold but easier)

A handful of raisins, or sultanas (whichever you prefer)

Vanilla essence/paste, or seeds from a pod

teaspoon of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg if you want to go wild

800ml of milk (650ml milk and 150ml double cream if you’re feeling naughty)

3 eggs and 3 extra egg yolks (keep the egg whites for a meringue)

Pop the milk (and cream if you want to use it) into a pot, with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and heat, until hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, slice the brioche and layer it into pyrex or baking dishes, throwing a load of raisins/sultanas among the slices as you go. [If you want to be really really naughty, forget the raisins and throw in some cadbury’s chocolate buttons or something equally nom].

In a separate bowl whisk up the 6 whole eggs  with a whisk. Remove the spiced milk from the heat and add slowly to the eggs, whisking continuously to prevent them from scrambling. Pour the milky mixture into the bread, making sure to soak the brioche well and to have a good few cm or an inch of liquid at the bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle the top of the pudding with a cinnamon, cocoa, sugar mixture.

Place the bread and butter pudding into the oven, you can pop a tray with water in at the bottom of the oven, but it works well without too. When cooked for 10-15 minutes (possibly more depending on how many layers you got in your dish) in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius – the top of the pudding will be crispy and crunchy, the middle layer will be cooked, and the milk will have been soaked up by the bread and the raisins.

Serve with icecream if needed, cold the next morning if there’s any left, or as it is.

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Lime Meringue Cheescake

Exams. They give me an overwhelming opportunity to procrastinate in many different ways, and what better than to bake? As well as helpful friends posting lots of potentially delicious recipes that should be tried out – if I had the time, and didn’t have to study – it’s three days until the next exam so why not. Baking time.

This one is pretty easy to do, tastes delicious and feeds a party after a sunday afternoon bbq – which the weather will hopefully allow for from now on. April has been a bit mad so far weather-wise , so we’re hoping the sun is here to stay. Apparently this is meant to be made with key limes, but it’s pretty much impossible to get them anywhere but Florida, so the generic supermarket limes will have to do! Jamie Oliver calls it his NY Cheesecake, but I do wonder about the name.. NY have a lot of cheesecakes.

What do you need?

350g Digestive biscuits

120g Unsalted butter, melted
900g Cream cheese, softened (can use light or low-fat, but NOT fat-free)
150g Caster sugar
5 large eggs
150g Caster Sugar

3 large egg whites
40g desiccated coconut
zest of 2 lime (one of the ones used for the juice!) finely grated
125ml Fresh Lime juice (5-6 limes)

Get a springform tin, one of the big ones, usually 23/24cm wide and lines with greaseprrof paper, or if you’re super cool like me get one that has a pyrex glass base and you can serve straight off it! Feel free to lightly butter or oil the side of the tin.

Grab the digestive biscuits, graham biscuits if you’re in the U.S. [Funny story that one, the american advertising and standards agency (or equivilant thereof) wouldn’t allow Digestives, a UK brand, to advertise themselves

as that in the U.S. because the biscuit has to quality that aids digestion – and it suggests that it may do so. But digestives were so similar to an existing cookie called Graham Crackers that the UK company decided to market them as Graham Crackers, even though they are slightly softer and sweeter!]

Anyway, grab those graham crackers/digestives and blitz them in the food processor, or if you’re a bit miffed with someone, pop em in a ziplock bag and smash ’em to pieces with a rolling pin – somewhat cathartic. Melt the butter and add to the now crumbly digestives. Pour it all into the springform tin and with a small spoon squish and smooth it down until it’s a nice uniform layer of crumbled-cookie-nomnom.

Whack 900g (three large philadelphia tubs) into the food processor and whizz it. Add the caster sugar slowly, spoon by spoon and continue whizzing, then add each egg one at a time until smooth. Finally pour in the juice of the 6 limes and have a final spin. It’ll be really liquidy and you’ll wonder how this could ever be a nice firm cheesecake – but it will!  Just you wait.

Pour all that goodness over the biscuit base in the springform tin and pop it into a preheated oven (160 degrees celcius). Bake for roughly 50 minutes, until there is a slight golden brown hew at the top. Don’t undercook cheesecake – undercooked eggs are not nice, and even a hint of the raw-eggy taste can ruin the om noms. When it is that nice deep yellow with a little bit of brown take it out and let it cool! You could even pop it in the fridge overnight and do the topping on the day of your part-ay.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites until stiff, with peaks, and then fold in the sugar, until it becomes a glorious shiny sweet sticky cloud. Fold in the desiccated coconut, om nom nom.

Spoon all this over the now cool cheescake base, making sure to leave nice little peaks or swirls (or whatever shape you want) in the meringue topping. Bake for 5-8 minutes until the peaks of the meringue are browning.

Cool, slice and serve.

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Easy Lunch: Steak

Stuck for a nice lunch. Sirloin Steak and some spring onions from the garden and some of that salad from last night sitting in a tupperware container in the fridge. That’s all you need.

Pop a little bit of oil and a little bit of butter in the pan. A mix of butter and oil means the boiling point is reduced and it will burn at a slightly higher temperature. We cook on an old AGA that doesn’t know the meaning of “controlled” temperature, it flucuates on a daily basis so it’s always a bit hit and miss.

Grab your steak, and cut off any extra fat. I really dislike the grissly ends on a steak and prefer to spend an extra ten minutes removing any fat I can see BEFORE cooking, than afterwards. Also it’s probably healthier that way!

I used lots of pepper and dried lemon, which is hard to get, but if you know somewhere go get it, it’s amazing. Using dried lemon here allows you to keep the pan really really hot (adding a tablespoon of lemon juice would cool the pan quite a bit and stop that nice brown edge coming up on the steak!).

Once the oil/butter is hot and melted and bubbling a little pop the steak on the pan. Add 5-6 spring onions around the side. The heat will sort of steam them, the butter will caramelise them a little and they’ll end up a nice caramelised green with a sweet oniony taste to them lovely. The steaks we get are usually 2-2.5 cm thick so a good 5 minutes on either side  (this is on the grumpy inconsistent AGA remember) leaves a nice pink streak in the centre of the steak. But cook to your own taste!

Serve with some salad and the soft sweet spring onions.

Om nom nom.

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