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Recipe #11: Summer Bread-and-Butter Pudding

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This is one of those annoying recipes where the person really just wants to boast about wonderful fresh ingredients that you, stuck in the city, with barely time to dash to the 24-hour Woolies at the Engen, are not in any position to acquire. Since that’s usually me – and is going to be me again next week – I understand exactly how irritating that is. And I’m going to do it anyway.

Today’s fresh, unattainable ingredients are berries, handpicked from a French country garden with the help of two charming little children.

First, find your raspberry bushes. These will be hidden like ruby fields down at the bottom of the garden where the grass is long. Some of them may even be perilously close to nettles.

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Raspberry bush things look very much like weeds, except they have raspberries attached to them.

Teach charming children what colour a ripe raspberry is (not green) and how to find them without getting stung by nettles. Fill a bowl with raspberries before proceeding to search and strip the garden of red currants, gooseberries, wild strawberries and even a few cultivated strawberries, hot from the sun.

Is this picture helpful? No. Am I going to use it anyway? You betcha.

Is this picture helpful? No. Am I going to use it anyway? You betcha.

Leave some of the raspberries for later so that your niece can sit in the tree house and order you and your nephew to bring her more in a most charming manner.

It is important that your berries are rigorously quality tested.

It is important that your berries are rigorously quality tested.

Then, before you pass out from sunstroke or cheap French wine, make this pudding, which is fortunately easy enough to bake even if you have had too much sun and wine. The only culinary skill you’re going to need is the ability to butter bread. You can manage that, right?

Ingredients

  • A large bowl of fresh mixed red berries, handpicked in a French country garden. If you can’t get these, frozen berries will have to do.
  • Sliced baguette, brioche or bread. Or all three. This kind of pudding is not fussy about the bready stuff that goes into it.
  • Butter. It’s easier to spread if it’s soft. (Sometimes I like to state the obvious because sometimes the obvious stuff is actually helpful to me.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 500 ml milk
  • About 1 cup sugar
  • Ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Fresh vanilla, handpicked on your last exotic holiday in Madagascar… (Nah, just joking. Haven’t been there in years.)

What to do

  • Rinse off the berries (or defrost if frozen). Put in a bowl and sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over them and leave for maybe half an hour, or until you remember you’re supposed to be making pudding (you will be reminded by your niece).
  • Grease a largeish oven dish and butter your bread stuffs on one side. Put one layer in the dish butter side up and then cover with the berries. Put another layer over the berries, also butter side up.
  • Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Beat the eggs with 1/2 cup sugar and add the milk (slightly warmed) and vanilla. Pour it all over the bread and berries. Squish everything down a bit with your hands (it’s a good idea to wash your hands, especially if anyone’s watching you.)
  • Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and leave to stand for about half an hour or until you remember you’re still supposed to be making pudding (your niece and nephew will remind you).
  • Heat the oven to 180 C, trying to ignore alarming rocket noise French ovens make. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes, or until rocket noise can no longer be ignored.
  • Serve to impressed adults with ice cream and more French wine long after nephew and niece have been put to bed (but remember to keep a portion aside for them for tomorrow).

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Time taken

  • Berry picking: depends on how much help you have and how many you eat while picking. (A good nephew and niece will eat only 5% of total pickings.)
  • Preparation: 10 minutes (excluding standing time of 30 mins for fruit and 30 mins for pudding)
  • Cooking: 45 minutes

Dishes dirtied

  • 1 dish
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 bread knife
  • 1 butter knife
  • 1 bread board
  • 1 fork/whisk
  • 1 spoon
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Recipe #3: No-machine chocolate ice-cream

I MADE this. And it was EASY!

I MADE this. And it was EASY!

Skip the waffle, get to the ice-cream.

I think there’s a conspiracy among household appliance-makers to give cooks an incompetence complex. For example: ice-cream machines.

When I was in school, about 20 thousand years ago, we had a home economics class (yes, that’s how long ago it was) where we were taught how to make ice-cream. It was one of the most memorable and most useless pieces of education I’ve received, as our home economics teacher, a most glamorous woman, did this using her ice-cream maker, which she’d imported from overseas. (Such hi-tech items weren’t available in South Africa back then.) Since that class, I didn’t think it was possible for me, an ordinary, non-icecream-machine-owning mortal, to make my own ice-cream.

Then, a couple of months ago, I was sitting in a waiting room, browsing through a copy of Fresh Living, when I came across a recipe for yoghurt fruit ice-cream, with these wonderfully simple instructions:

Mix a tin of condensed milk, 300ml greek yoghurt and 300g berries. Beat 300ml of cream and fold in. Freeze overnight.

No machine needed! Unless you count the beaters, which would be a bit nitpicky of you.

I’ve made this ice-cream several times – usually with the raspberries and passionfruit that my darling absent-minded boyfriend buys for his breakfast and then forgets about – and it always gets rave reviews. But then, yesterday, I started wondering: what if I could make¬†chocolate ice-cream?

This thought was sparked by two things in the fridge that needed using.

1. I’d bought a litre of cream at the supermarket a while ago, simply because it was CREAM and I didn’t realise it came in LITRES before. It would be more economical this way, I’d reasoned. Of course, that would depend on me actually using the cream before it went off. Yesterday was a day past the cream’s sell-by date. Eeek!

2. There’s an enormous great hunk of organic dark chocolate that has been lurking in the fridge for months. My boyfriend might be absent-minded when it comes to the contents of fridges, but he is something of a genius otherwise, and 88mph awarded him this giant chocolate numberplate for being their mentor of the year. (What do you give the tech guru who has everything? A giant chocolate number plate – obviously!)

You need some imagination to work out what to do with a giant chocolate numberplate.

You need some imagination to work out what to do with a giant chocolate numberplate.

I was too lazy to walk 500 metres to the shops for a tin of condensed milk, and I do get a bit annoyed at how expensive condensed milk is, so I thought using extra cream and a half-packet of castor sugar (one of the six Hefty-bagged sugars in the cupboard) would be a decent substitute.

Castor sugar, cream and chocolate numberplate.

Castor sugar, cream and chocolate numberplate.

So, here is what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • About 500/600ml cream (pour until it feels like enough)
  • 300ml double-cream greek yoghurt
  • About 100g dark chocolate (I broke a random chunk off the numberplate)
  • About 200g castor sugar
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons cocoa (for extra chocolateyness)
  • Optional: some chopped nuts

What to do:

  • Break/cut the chocolate into smallish pieces and put them into a pot with a little of the cream and most of the sugar. Melt the chocolate into the mixture over a very low heat.
  • Beat the cream with the cocoa and a little bit of sugar (adding the sugar makes the cream solidify faster, which helps if you’re using a hand-beater). You want it to make stiff peaks – but don’t turn it into cocoa butter! (I beat cream into butter once when I got a bit enthusiastic. It was slightly traumatising.)
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream, gently stirring until thoroughly mixed.
  • Put into whatever Tupperware/old ice-cream/yoghurt containers you have available and freeze for at least 6 hours.

The result: an extremely creamy, highly chocolatey and slightly tart chocolate ice-cream. Hurrah!

This part is fun!

This part is fun!

Dishes dirtied:

  • 1 pot
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • Beaters

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 10-15 minutes (depending on how easy your chocolate is to cut)
  • Freezing: 6-8 hours
The finished product, ready for freezing.

The finished product, ready for freezing.

Wine pairing suggestion

Savignac Potstill Brandy

marmalade and molasses, cinnamon and clove, coffee and chocolate, hazelnut and nutmeg, old rose and raisin, vanilla and sandalwood all in a whiff. That's how Jorgensen's describe their Savignac - and I agree.

Marmalade and molasses, cinnamon and clove, coffee and chocolate, hazelnut and nutmeg, old rose and raisin, vanilla and sandalwood all in a whiff. That’s how Jorgensen’s describe their Savignac – and I agree.

Yeah, yeah, I know that technically brandy isn’t wine, but it is brandewijn (burnt wine), so I think it ¬†counts. And nothing, but nothing, could make this ice-cream taste better than partnering it with this incredible brandy from Roger Jorgensen. Er. Mer. Gerd.