Cinnamon and Nutmeg Apple Breadcrumb Pudding

A brilliant way to use up stale bread and dodgy apples by turning them into a nourishing and comforting pudding. This is based on a recipe in River Cottage Everyday.

For 4-6 portions you need
50g butter
6 dessert apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
100g caster sugar
175g freshly soft breadcrumbs
4 eggs
400ml milk
Nutmeg, vanilla paste and ground cinnamon

Heat the milk to boiling point. Meanwhile mix the eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla (1tsp of each) and 75g of the sugar in a bowl. Once the milk is hot, slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the time, to make a thin custard. Add the breadcrumbs to the mix and set aside to steep.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the apple wedges and remaining sugar. Continue cooking until the apples are glazed.

Pour into a baking dish in a single layer:

Cover with the eggy, milky breadcrumb mixture:

And bake in a hot oven for 30 mins until it’s set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Serve hot, warm or cold and with or without a bug fat dollop of jam. Lovely and comforting. 

Cardamon Rasmalai with Saffron; Vanilla and Nutmeg

I cheated for this, and used a packet. But frankly most of the Asian cooks I know do the same. You can buy the Shan ones from Asda for under £1. This was the perfect sweet note to follow our curry night, and calmed my tingling taste buds down after the fiery madras.

For 6-8 portions you need
1 packet Shan Ras Malai mix
5 tsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 litre of milk
500ml water
200g caster sugar
pinch saffron fronds
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated

Place the milk, water, sugar and saffron in a large pan and slowly bring to the boil. Stir every now and then to ensure the sugar melts evenly.

Make the ras malai following the packet instructions (tip powder into a bowl, add the oil and enough beaten egg to make a stiff paste).

Once the milk mixture has come to the boil, keep on a full flame and drop in small teaspoons of the ras malai mix (you can be pretentious and make them into quenelles if you want, or roll into balls). Cook for 5 mins until the ras malai has puffed up to 3-4 times its original size. Remove and leave to cool in a bowl. Reduce the milk mixture by half and then flavour with the nutmeg and vanilla. Pour the milk over the ras malai and leave to chill thoroughly before serving.

Proper Boozy Egg Nog

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a belly full of dangerously alcoholic egg nog. Not in my book anyway.

For 6-8 glasses you need
1/2 pint double cream
1/2 pint milk
3 eggs
4 tbsp icing sugar
3 measures each rum, brandy and whisky
freshly grated nutmeg
cocktail cherries to serve

Place everything apart from the nutmeg and cherries into a blender and blend for 2-3 mins till smooth and thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into a jug and decorate with lashings of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve topped with enough cocktail cherries to just make you start to feel rather sick. Hic.

Malteser Milkshake

I had one of these amazing beasts at the wonderful Kyoto Lounge bar yesterday. I shudder to think about how many calories were in the glass. But it tasted delicious. This was a pretty reasonable recreation. But the photo is of the original.

For one person you need:

1/4 cup maltesers
2/3 cup cold milk
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream

Place everything in a blender. Blend. Drink.

Cut Rounds

L and I love watching Edwardian Farm, and we saw these being made last week so decided to give them a go. They were ridiculously easy and very tasty too.

For about 10 you need:
170g self-raising flour
170g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml buttermilk

Sift the flours in to a bowl with the bicarb and salt. Add the buttermilk and quickly but gently work into a dough. It should be soft but not sticky or dry. Knead briefly and then roll into a fat sausage. Cut into about 10 discs. Place these on a floured backing sheet and bake at 150 degrees for 20-30 mins till risen and golden brown. Serve with clotted cream and home made strawberry jam. Delish!

Home Knitted Yogurt

Please, only eat this wearing sandals and socks and a kaftan and being pretentious 😉

For 4-6 servings you need:
500ml milk
25g dried milk powder
3 tbsp live yogurt

Heat the milk to blood temperature (or heat it to boiling and then allow to cool to blood temp) then add the milk powder and yogurt. Place in a thermos overnight and eat for breakfast the next morning. Feel smug.

St Delia’s Creme Caramel

I lurve creme caramel, and especially love this recipe as it gives copious amounts of delicious caramel with each portion.

For 6-8 portions you need:
175g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
150ml milk
275ml single cream
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Begin by placing the sugar in a pan and gently heating it. Once it starts to dissolve, swirl the pan to ensure it melts evenly. Keep going until all the sugar has dissolved and has changed to a dark golden colour. Take off the heat and add the water (careful it might spit!). Return to the heat and mix well till smooth and runny. Pour 75% of it into a souffle dish and carefully swirl it up the sides.

Place the milk and cream in the caramel pan with the remaining caramel and slowly bring to the boil. Meanwhile mix the eggs and vanilla together in a bowl. Once the milk mixture has come to the boil, pour it quickly into the eggs, mix and then strain into the souffle dish. Place in a bain marie and bake for about 30 mins or so will set. Leave to cool and then chill for at least a few hours.

Chocolate and Orange Brioche Pudding

We had a bit of a milk glut this weekend so needed something to soak some of it up (geddit). This is an easy one to throw together but tastes really light and creamy. You can of course substitute cream for some of the milk.

For 4-6 portions you need:
5 chocolate chip brioche rolls, spit in half lengthways
2-3 tbsp marmalade
650ml milk
4 eggs
2 tbsp sugar

Spread the marmalade on the brioche and lay them in a baking dish. Mix the milk, eggs and sugar together and pour over. Leave to soak for at least 15 mins then bake in a moderate oven for 30-45 mins.

Beghrir (Moroccan Pancakes)

Yet another variation on the pancake theme… These were served in our hotel for breakfast with lashings of butter and honey. They were very very good indeed.

For 12-16 pancakes you need:
2 eggs
125ml warm water
2 tsp yeast
125ml warm milk
250g plain flour
225g semolina
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable oil for frying
honey and butter to serve

Begin by adding the yeast to the water and leaving it for 5 mins to dissolve. Put the flour, semolina and salt in to a bowl. Add the eggs to the milk and mix well. Pour the eggs and milk in to the flour mixture and then add the yeasted water. Mix well to form a very sticky dough/very stiff batter. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for at least 2 hours (I leave it overnight in a cool room).

When you’re ready to make the pancakes, mix the batter again and heat a large frying pan. Add a little oil and then pour some of the batter into the pan. Spread out to make a pancake about the size of a side plate. Cook gently until bubbles perforate the top. Eat topped with honey and butter.