Thursday, 3 January 2013

Bread and butter pudding

My mind has gone. I felt it fading away about two months ago but it's really gone now. Bye bye. I can't read anything and am starting to do things like order 5 of the same thing on Ocado when I only wanted 1 and leaving the iron on.

When I was just newly up the duff I was reading Bring Up The Bodies and although I didn't really understand what was going on, there was no doubt that I was genuinely reading it, enjoying the, you know, atmosphere, if not actually taking on board any content. But then, like the bloke in Flowers for Algernon, I gradually ground to a halt, got stupider and stupider, more vague. I read fewer pages every night until my Kindle battery ran out and I just didn't bother to recharge it.

And that was the last literary thing I read. Now I read newspapers and Twitter and that's it. I can't even really concentrate on films. It's not forever, I know, but it is annoying. It happened with Kitty, too, but things were easy then. I just sat about humming to myself, eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and ordering things off the John Lewis website. Now, with nothing to read and nothing to think about all I do is obsess over when this will all be over and I don't have to be pregnant anymore - or ever again.

I am constantly struck by the pitifulness of the pregnant woman-with-toddler combination. Whenever I saw them in the playground I always used to think "Oh god, you poor cow." And now it's me. Yesterday, as I pushed Kitty's buggy through the freezing rain I was brought to mind of a character in The Mayor of Casterbridge*, the tedious Thomas Hardy novel, (which I hope for your sake you have not bothered reading): little Fanny Robin, pregnant out of wedlock by a scoundrel soldier and forced to walk for miles and miles through the snow, 8 months gone. I think that's what kills her. Or maybe she dies in childbirth. Anyway, it's grim and I dwell ghoulishly on poor Fanny Robin as I am forced, bookless, to focus inwards.

It will do that to you, being pregnant - it makes you selfish, self-pitying, green-eyed. It makes you covet things - slimness, agileness**, more help or the life of the woman whose children are all at school.

This is an inappropriate introduction to my recipe today, which is for bread and butter pudding - probably the antithesis of all this stark moaning. If stark moaning were a foodstuff, it would be a bad cheese sandwich from a motorway service station. Bread and butter pudding on the other hand, is the food equivalent of a really brilliant wedding speech.

I am not going to provide you with completely exact quantities for this because your pudding dishes will all be different and it's a very simple thing to make, so being very precise doesn't matter and you can judge things by eye yourself. And if I say that, you know it must be true.

This is based on Delia Smith's recipe, so if you can't handle the vague quantities thing (and I wouldn't blame you), do seek hers out online.

So here we go, Bread and Butter pudding.

Some white bread
ground cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg or all three
some mixed candied peel might be nice? But don't go out specially for it
3 eggs (ok you really DO need 3 eggs here)
double cream
50g sugar
some lemon zest if you have it

Preheat your oven to 180C

1 Generously butter your pudding dish. Then start buttering slices of white bread on one side, cutting them in half - rectangles or triangles, up to you, (crusts on) and arranging them in the dish.

2 You ought to be able to get about two layers of bread in here, and between the two layers, throw in some currants and sultanas and a sprinkling of spice or spices. Be generous. I used only Allspice, but a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg would be lovely as well.

3 Repeat this on the final layer.

4 In a jug beat the three eggs and then add to this the sugar, lemon zest then the double cream and milk in a ratio of about 2/3 double cream to 1/3 milk and mix.

NOW - this is the bit where you have to judge for yourself how much cream and milk you need. You don't want the egg-and-cream mixture to be slopping over the sides, but you want the top layer of bread to be soaking up the mixture from the underneath. Err on the side of caution and add less than you think you need - you can always top up the cream and milk afterwards.

Stir all this round and then pour over the bread. Give it a small jiggle. Mix some more cream and milk together and slosh over if you think it needs it.

5 Finish this off with a sprinkling of granulated sugar, if you have it, then shove in the oven for 30-40 mins. The eggy mixture ought to be just set.

Eat with custard or more cream, while staring into space.

*Fanny Robin is not, of course, in The Mayor of Casterbridge but in Far From The Madding Crowd - I TOLD you I'd lost it...
** agileness!! not EVEN a word!! Just give me some colouring-in to do...



  1. God I love bread and butter pudding. I have the last bit of panettone and some almond brandy butter at home and I'm going to make bread and butter pudding with it this weekend. My husband isn't a huge fan so I'll have to eat it all myself - shame.

  2. It's Far From the Madding Crowd not the Mayor of Casterbridge :)

  3. As people keep saying to me: "Enjoy these times because they'll be gone before you know it..." (I want to punch them all in the fucking face)

    I am going to make this B&B Pudding and eat it all MYSELF. Am also going to experiment with lacing it with rum.

  4. How have I only just found this blog, it's fabulous...I shall have a wonderful time dodging work and reading everything from 2009.

    Anyway, sadly the people who tell you to "enjoy the being pregant and having a small baby" are like me , very ancient and the parents of TEENAGERS. Who smell worse than babies and are MUCH louder. Hope the morning sickness really goes soon, I still remember it was dreadful.

  5. Yes !! You are back !I have been waiting for updates as all over xmas. I have been stuck on my own in fucking St Albans because I moved here. All I can do is cook and try out recipes to waste my hours, and you are the only one I trust. I am so bored, the guy I am casually shagging is in Brazil for 3 weeks so I post to facebook everything I cook in the vain hope he will come back and say forget fuck buddies ! MARRY ME ! That will do the trick right ? Guys want a chef in the kitchen. he already knows i'm a whore in the bedroom. I'm cooking the best curry in the world tomorrow...for no one in particular you are going to be so proud of me.

  6. The above comment is the best I have ever read on here.

    1. Yes I always like it when Oraleek comments. I once used a comment as an entire post back in 2010

    2. Laughing so much that my face hurts

  7. Pregnant with toddler! I hate to admit it but I look at women like you with absolute pity and total gratefulness that my reproducing days are over and that it is only 616 days until my toddler will be in full time school.
    You see, I know what it is like to have children at school and to enjoy the day, but then I had another baby.
    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my 2 year old but the relief that the pregnancy/baby days are gone is wonderful.
    But then, the little one's cute innocent days are chasing by too, which makes me sad.

    1. don't worry, I feel sorrier for myself than you ever could in a million years

  8. So easy to make, but not sweet enough so I added more sugar, and put mixed spice on top, rather than just nutmeg.

  9. It's easy to get confused with Thomas Hardy novels, as they're all much the same. Woe, despair, abandonment, pregnancy, death... A bit like Eastenders, really.

  10. I think 'don't go out specially for it' might be my favourite instruction in a recipe ever.

    1. it is a VITAL instruction. I have often skipped over recipes, because I take them so literally, and do not have an ingredient. I can't be the only one...

    2. I agree! My friend showed me one of her recipe books yesterday saying that she hadn't made anything from it because she didn't have any of the right herbs. It was a student cookbook, we are students. I tried to explain that whilst fresh herbs are great and yes, all the tv chefs use them in everything, they are not needed to make a recipe work and it would still be yummy without them (especially when most of the recipes were things like omelettes and spag bol)

  11. This looks delicious, I will try it out. Thanks for the recipe.