27 Feb 2009


I have a real passion for puddings and if they are British, then so much the better. I have always been interested in the history of food, and particularly so, when it comes to a good honest British pud!

I chose a Delia recipe I have yearned to make for a long, long time, but have never somehow got round to making.

Sussex Pond Pudding is usually made in a large glass bowl and steamed for about 3 hours. This is, to me, the best of all the suet puddings. A whole lemon is placed inside the suet lined bowl with equal quantities of butter and sugar placed around the lemon, then topped with a suet pastry lid.
Now for the pond, once you cut into the pudding the buttery, lemony juices pour out around the pudding creating a pond. A piece of the cooked lemon is served to everyone along with the pastry and juices.

Note - if you don't prick the lemon all over with a skewer before placing in the pastry lined bowl you risk the lemon and your pudding exploding - unfortunately this happened to a friend of mine who had cooked this for us! Mary Norwak in her book of English Puddings, tells of a similar pudding where you leave the lemon whole and the pudding is called Lemon Bomb because of the exploding lemon!

There is also another version of this pudding that includes dried fruit to the mixture, and this is called Kentish Wells.

Recipes can be found in the following books, and obviously in many others - Jane Grigson in her book English Food, English Puddings by Mary Norwak, The Pudding Club and Bibendum. Bibendum Restaurant even have Sussex Pond Pudding on the menu from time to time. Now for an update on this pudding - Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food - his latest cookery book that he has written with Mark Sargeant - includes a recipe for this pudding, which is very similar to Delia's recipe.

Now back to Delia's recipe - these one portion size puddings were really easy to prepare, I was a little worried that I would be short of pastry to line the pudding basins, but as usual, Delia had allowed just the right amount. The pudding basins are lined with a very thin suet pastry. The addition of fresh white breadcrumbs to the suet mix, gave a very light texture to the pastry. This pudding certainly wasn't a poor relation to the huge pudding that would normally be served. Sussex Pond pudding isn't pretty by any means, but boy does it taste good!!

Here is a lovely nineteenth-century rhyme - all about boiled puddings, of course.

Mother Eve's Pudding

If you want a good pudding, to teach you I'm willing,
Take twopennyworth of eggs, when twelve for a shilling,
And of the same fruit that Eve had once chosen,
Well pared and well chopped at least half a dozen;
Six ounces of bread (let your maid eat the crust);
The crumbs must be grated as small as the dust;
Six ounces of currants from the stones you must sort,Lest they break out your teeth and spoil all your sport;
Six ounces of sugar won't make it too sweet,Some salt and some nutmeg will make it complete,
Three hours let it boil, without hurry or flutter,
And then serve it up - without sugar or butter.

This recipe and most of the content is from a previous posting. Johanna has kindly agreed to let me enter this very worthy pudding.

22 Feb 2009


Do you still have some marzipan lurking in the back of the kitchen cupboard from Christmas!! Here is the perfect recipe to use up some of the leftover marzipan.

This recipe is also useful to make if you have an orange that has possibly gone a little past its best. You simply cook the whole orange in a saucepan, pop it into the food processor, whizz to a puree and add this to the cake mix.

Unfortunately, this recipe is quite heavy on calories. Perhaps you would prefer just to look at the photograph, but then again, you might just be tempted. After all, they were really, really delicious. Mr Him tends to put on weight just looking at food, whilst I am the complete opposite and so it makes sense to mostly leave these type of indulgences for a special treat!

As you can see from the photograph I lined all but two of the loaf tins. A very wise decision on my part because the cakes have a tendency to stick.

For me, they were a little on the sweet side, whilst Mr Him thought the sweetness was perfect. If I was to make these little cakes again, I would definitely cut down on the amount of marzipan used.

The recipe came from Waitrose Seasons Winter Cookbook 2009, which just happens to be a freebie you can pick up at the check out!

15 Feb 2009


I seem to be on a mission at the moment to find soup recipes with both 'bowl and taste appeal'. Lots of recipes disappoint me, and in the past I have had more than my fair share of failures. This winter has been unusually cold, and a bowl of homemade soup with freshly baked bread is the ultimate in mid-day comfort food.

Maybe, if you have thought about making soup, but the thoughts of buying fresh soup from the supermarket holds more attraction - I hope these following two soup recipes will help change your mind.

Lightly seeded bread straight from the bread machine was a perfect accompaniment.

Hot Food is a great cookery book and every recipe is accompanied with a photograph. It's always helpful and much more user friendly to look at a beautifully styled photograph.

There are recipes for most of us in this wonderful book. Chapters on soup, spicy, rice and noodles, hearty and pasta. Recipes such as asparagus soup with Parmesan crisps - lamb kofta curry - tamarind beef, bean and noodle stir-fry - Welsh lamb pie and for rainy day cooking - pasta with lamb shank, rosemary and red wine ragu.


ISBN 1740452259 - Page 65

Serves: 4-6 people

This is the slightly adapted recipe:

You will need: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 finely chopped red onions, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 diced red peppers, 90g tomato puree, 250ml dry white wine, 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, 500ml chicken or vegetable stock, 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, 4 tablespoons chopped coriander.

1. Heat the oils in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the red pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the wine, simmer for a couple of minutes, or until reduced slightly. Add the tomato, stock and 500ml water. Season and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Puree most of the soup along with the herbs. Add the remainder of the soup mix to the puree. Enjoy!

My next success story is Tomato and Basil Soup taken from Olive Magazine, a link to this recipe can be found here on the BBCGoodFood website.

The recipe states that it cooks in 15 minutes, but I found it took a good 30 minutes to cook all of the vegetables. If the soup gets too thick, just thin it down a little.

Another soup to enjoy with some good crusty bread!

7 Feb 2009


Here in the West Midlands, we got off fairly lightly with the snowfall at the beginning of the week. I know others had a significant amount of snow and it brought lots of things to a grinding halt. The children loved it though, and it was definitely the right sort of snow to build snowmen and have lots of fun.

Curry is always good to eat when the weather is cold and brings with it lots of comfort.

This recipe is by James Martin and was taken from THE COLLECTION - ISNB 978-1-84533-350-8 - Page 146. I found a link to the recipe on the UKTV Food website. Simple this curry recipe may be, but it was totally delicious.

James says to use fresh tomatoes, even in the summer most of our tomatoes are unfortunately tasteless. I replaced these with half a large tin of chopped tomatoes, at least this way you get some tomato flavour.

Chilli powder - now how much, or how little! In the recipe it says one tablespoon of chilli powder - in this house we definitely aren't brave enough for that amount. I'm presuming he means mild chilli powder, still sounds quite a lot to me though. Perhaps some of you have used this amount of mild chilli powder in other recipes and can let me know if you think this sounds about right. Unfortunately, I didn't make a note of how much chilli powder I used, but I mostly use an organic hot chilli powder from Waitrose and am guessing I would have used half a teaspoon.

Coconut powder is a store cupboard essential, I never use canned coconut milk. It works out far better value as you can measure out the powder and then add water to make up the same amount as you would buy in a can. You can buy this at most Tesco Supermarkets.

I've never had takeaway but always make my own curry, for no other reason than I love roasting the spices and smelling the curry as it is cooking.

This recipe is for four people, but if there are only the two of you, make the full amount in the recipe and freeze the rest for a rainy day.

NOTE: I have added lots of new links and recommended blogs to my list on the right hand side of the page. Some you may have come across, and others may be new to you. Please pop over and check some of them out.

1 Feb 2009


How about making a heart shape cake for sharing and one that is perhaps a little too pink, topped with lots of butter cream. I bought the shimmer sprinkles and silver dragees from Sainsbury's (these were made by Supercook) and planned the cake around them. The cake is simply a three egg Victoria sponge mix.

We had a family wedding yesterday morning and lunchtime was spent at the bride and groom's house for snacks and cakes before we had a 'bit of a do' in the evening for the wedding reception. As cake is my domain, I baked three quite simple cakes to take along. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and I thought I would share the cakes with you. I made the heart shape cake, a Bakewell cake and an iced lemon drizzle cake.

Cherry Bakewell cake from the February 2009 BBC GoodFood Magazine tasted as wonderful as it looked. The only alteration to the original recipe was I used Bonne Maman Raspberry Conserve instead of the suggested morello cherry conserve. If you like Bakewell Tart then you will love this.

I topped a lemon drizzle cake with butter cream and a few pastel coloured dragees. Use any lemon drizzle cake recipe, but for the 'drizzle' you will need to make a lemon syrup by placing into a small saucepan 25g caster sugar and the juice of one lemon, heat gently to dissolve the caster sugar into the lemon juice, simmer until syrupy. Prick the cake all over when it comes out of the oven and carefully spoon over the hot lemon syrup. Leave in the tin until the cake is cold before turning out.

It's perhaps best to line the cake tin first with baking parchment so that you can just lift the cake out of the tin - it makes life easier. The buttercream was made with unsalted butter, otherwise the buttercream is just too sickly.

Followers of my blog might like to pop over to read a piece by Becky Hogge who has written an article for the NewStatesman called Recipes for Twitters. Becky has given my humble blog a little mention!