Bread and Butter Pudding

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A simple pudding that can be served with custard, fresh cream or creme fraiche to make a filling and tasty conclusion to any meal.

Ingredients

Serves 4 or 6

4 slices of wholemeal bread

20g low fat spread

20g marmalade

25g currants (or sultanas)

20g sugar

2 eggs

450ml of milk (any kind)

1 tsp of vanilla essence

Method

  • On 1 side of each slice of bread, spread the low fat spread evenly across, from corner to corner using as little as possible. Now spread the same side with a thin coating of marmalade. Cut the slices diagonally to create 4 triangles from each slice.
  • Take a medium size ovenproof dish and grease the inside. Layer the triangles of bread, in effect ‘stacking’ them upon each other to fill the dish.
  • Now pour the milk into a bowl, adding the eggs, vanilla essence and sugar. Whisk with a hand whisk until all the ingredients have combined and the mixture has become light and fluffy both in texture and look.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread triangles, covering them all. Set aside in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Dawn: This ‘resting’ in the fridge allows the bread to absorb the egg mixture so when the pudding is cooked, it’s thick and morish in texture rather than simply bread slices and egg custard sitting side-by-side. 

Andrew: Mmm…egg custard! Another simple and tasty favourite!

Dawn: Another for the blog! It’s worth pointing out that I used light muscovado sugar which has added a light golden brown tint to the pudding before it was cooked. 

  • About 10 minutes before you are due to take the dish from the fridge, turn on the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C electric.
  • After the dish has stood in the fridge for about 1 hour, remove it and allow the dish to reach room temperature before putting it in the pre-heated oven.

Andrew: Why do we do this, Dawn? 

Dawn: Because the dish will be cold straight from the fridge and with the oven already hot, we avoid the dish shattering in the oven by allowing it first to reach room temperature. It’s only a precaution and all you need do is let the dish ‘rest’ for about 10 minutes before putting it into the oven. 

  • Place the dish in the centre of the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until the bread has risen and is golden brown in colour. Remove and allow to cool. Serve warm with custard, fresh cream or creme fraiche.

Andrew: We served it with reduced fat creme fraiche so offering a lower fat topping.

Dawn: Yes, and we used skimmed milk to reduce the calorific content even further, too.

For more pudding recipes, meal ideas and tasty treats that all the family can join in making, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and Twitter @Love_Food_UK

Dreamy Chocolate Delights

DSCI1727Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and what better way to say “I love you” to your special person than by giving them chocolate treats crafted by your very own fair hands?

Ingredients

Makes 8

150g plain dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)

12 apricots, chopped into small pieces

4 dark chocolate covered digestive biscuits, broken into small pieces

2 egg whites

15g of milk chocolate

Dawn: My! How I’m looking forward to these dark, handsome devils!

Method

  • Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Dawn: I used a baking sheet 6″ x 8″ in size but you can use any size. You will find that the mixture doesn’t completely fill the baking sheet and that’s fine.

  • Using an ovenproof pudding basin, place it over a small saucepan with boiling water in the bottom making sure the pudding basin is suspended above the water and doesn’t touch it. Break the plain dark chocolate into the pudding basin and allow it to melt. Stir the melting chocolate once or twice to enable it all to melt and form a lovely runny consistency.
  • When the chocolate has completely melted, remove from the heat and set aside placing the pudding basin on a tea-towel rather than direct onto a cold kitchen work surface which could result in the basin cracking or shattering. Put the chopped apricots and broken digestive biscuits into the melted chocolate and mix together.
  • In a seperate mixing bowl, put the egg whites and whisk with an electric hand blender until they have turned opaque white in colour and can form peaks.

Dawn: This is the basis of the Magical Meringues recipe which is here: http://wp.me/p3lk3r-4c and it’s worth pointing out that any dried fruit can be used: currants, sultanas, figs, dates, glacé cherries, etc. About 25g or 50g of one of these, depending upon whether you like a hint of fruit or prefer an explosion of juiciness: the choice is yours. 

  • Gently, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until they are combined together and the egg whites are now part of the plain dark chocolate.
  • Carefully spoon out the chocolate mixture onto the lined baking sheet by starting in one corner, spreading the mixture into the corresponding, adjacent corner and then further out along the baking tray. You won’t fill the tray with the chocolate-y yumminess and that’s fine.
  • Now place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container until required.

Dawn: As I lick my lips, removing the chocolate crumbs evidence! You can either put these in some clear, cellophane gift wrap, tied with a ribbon bow (similar to what you’d find at a florist’s shop) or place in a pretty little gift box, lined with tissue paper to give to your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Spreading the love!

For more easy-to-follow recipes, main meals on a shoestring budget and mouth-watering treats, simply follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK. See you over there, chocolate romantics! 

Rice Pudding with Baileys Infused Currants and Cinnamon

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A classic rice pudding – with a twist! This comfort pud is a great source of protein and calcium which are needed to maintain strong bones. Not like the stodgy old rice pudding served up for school dinners!

Ingredients

Serves 4

50g currants (or sultanas)

10ml Baileys

150g short grain rice (rinsed)

25g sugar (used light muscovado sugar here but you can use whatever kind you have in)

1l of milk (any kind)

1tsp of vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp of ground cinnamon)

1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg (freshly grated was used here but you can use what you have in)

Method

  • Put the currants in a small flat container and add the Baileys. Set aside in the fridge to infuse overnight.

Dawn: The currants will be all plump and juicy-looking from having absorbed the Baileys which you need hardly any to work its magic on the dried fruit so remember this when adding the liquor. 

Andrew: As an alternative to Baileys which some people find a bit too sweet, soaking in a little dark rum is a possible alternative.

  • Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C electric.
  • Lightly grease a 1 and 1/2 – 2 pints ovenproof dish. Put the currants, rice, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk in the dish and stir. Sprinkle the ground nutmeg across the top of the pudding.

Dawn: It’s important to use a large enough ovenproof dish to enable the pudding to rise and increase in size when cooking.
Andrew: And if you use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, you reduce the fat content of this pud further.  

  • Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the top of the pudding has turned golden brown, then serve.

Andrew: The muscovado sugar adds a hint of caramel to the rice pudding but don’t go out and buy this sugar especially as the spices give it a lovely zingy flavour. Use what you already have at home. 
Dawn: And, this makes an ideal dish to cook in the oven alongside a casserole at the same time, so saving on fuel costs. Two birds with one stone, so to speak!

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