DB April 2010- Not so Traditonal , Traditional English Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet

yeah..that was the problem, right there.The last word.

Suet. In case you’re wondering, suet is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body.

Ewwww I KNOW…not my kinda thing either..

But thankfully Esther allowed for substitution and so I did what I love to do best….no not whining..but using butter.Arent the best things in life made of butter????

Steamed desserts are not new to us in India. Especially for us South Indians. We make a variety of steamed goodies – kozhukutta(rice ball dumplings), vatayappam being just two of many many.

But a steamed pudding was something I’d never tried.


Don’t let the ugly pictures fool you..I mean I know
I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in a ugly photo contest but it was real good…and so we couldn’t have cared less.

Sticky toffee and date pudding with candied ginger
Shamelessly copied from here

For the toffee sauce

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (120g) demerara sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt

For the pudding

6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup (40g) candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Butter an 8 1/2-inch (about 24cm) porcelain soufflé mold, or similar-sized baking dish.

2. To make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara sugar, honey and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.

3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé mold and place the mold in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.

4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.

5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.

7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture . The mixture will be a bit liquidy. Add some hot water if required.

8.Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.
The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

9. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Maid Matters

Hiring a maid aka Domestic help is no big deal in India. The reasons are obvious- labour is inexpensive and widely available here , unlike in many other countries. It is even more so here in the Navy as we are provided attached ‘servant quarters'( I hate the word servant, don’t you?) hence help is rather easy to come by. So many of us here employ a plethora of help- cooks, cleaning lady, baby sitters, ironing lady, gardeners at our beck and call. In short many of us are uhm…..I guess the word I’m looking for is SPOILT!

So when my maid a few weeks earlier I was devastated. I was continuously weepy and irritable. M couldn’t fathom why I was “overreacting”!

But now I must admit that I rather enjoy doing some chores around the house. Its a LOT more satisfying to do things the way I want , rather than giving out a million instructions before it gets done the way I want it done…


But the thing is, it’s all I seem to be doing….I barely get time for my music lessons or my painting..or even to watch my kids fight it out:)….so am contemplating hiring help again…

My dilemma( based on a moral lecture my cousins in Australia gave me) is this..
Do I need to feel guilty about hiring help to do jobs that I can obviously do. Am I an exploiter?..I cant bring myself to feel that way…it is developmental aid applied directly , right?There is room today for the Saki lifestyle, no?
hhhmmmm Am I lazy? Obviously it takes very little effort to go around the house with a hoover and a damp cloth atleast once a week,,,Just because there are people willing to do those jobs for money do I need to use them? I’m sure there will be people willing to carry me around all day in a fluff of cushions but does their willingness to do the job make me any less lazy?Isn’t it just the nature of privilege?
Obviously there are so many things that I hire help for although I could do it myself…I use caterers for Birthday parties, I use the services of a milkman although it is possible to go get the milk for the store directly…I do it either because I can afford it, or I would just rather not do these jobs…But is the idea that it is definitionally wrong to pay for something that you can very well do yourself is almost impossible to contain to maids..it has a blanket morality that intrinsically spreads to every aspect of our life..
What do you think?

My maid woes aside here’s an absolutely super delicious pudding I tried from here one of my all time fav blogs……This pudding is simple, chocolaty and delicious at the same time a perfect comfort dessert.

Chocolate Custard Biscuit pudding

Condensed Milk 3/4th of a 400g tin
Milk 400 ml
Chocolate pieces 150 grams
Egg yolks 4
Biscuits 10
Strong Black coffee as required
Fresh Cream for decoration

Working quickly dip the biscuits in the coffee and line a pudding dish/ bowl.
Using the double boiler method melt the chocolate and let cool.
Mix all the other ingredients and the melted chocolate( except the cream ).
Now carefully cook it over low flame, stirring continuously .If you do have a LOT of time at hand you could take the safer route and just double boil it. I used a double boiler to make the custard and it took FOREVER so the last few minutes I just transferred the contents to a thick bottomed pan and heated on low flame.Voila! it thickened in a flash!
Once thick pour the custard over the biscuits. Leave to set in the refrigerator.
Pipe cream over it.

Pudding Bliss

They bake them in the oven, they boil them with meat, they make them fifty different ways. Blessed be he that invented the pudding – to come in pudding time is to come to the most lucky moment in the world. M. François Misson, visiting England in 1698.

Victorian Pudding, Queen of Pudding
M is what you would call a pudding-freak- He’s had almost all kinds of puddings (being in the Navy one gets to try a zillion kinds of desserts) and has a memory or story etched to each. Now this is one that was served every once in a while at the NDA Dining Hall. Although he never liked it back then he did say it tastes waaay better when I made it the other day. But no, I’m not puffed up with pride as I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten whether it was good or not so much. ..As Friedrich Nietzsche said
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time…

Called The Queen of Puddings, this dish, based on a 17th Century version, was created for Queen Victoria by her chefs at Buckingham Palace. Usually it is flavored with lemon zest and vanilla, but for variety, apricots or peaches may be placed on top of the custard mixture instead of jam when it is set and before it is covered with the meringue.

1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp grated rind of 1 lemon
2 ½ cups milk
4 eggs
3 tbsp heated jam (you can try any flavour)

Preheat oven to 160 C.

Mix together the bread crumbs, 2 tbsp of the sugar and the lemon rind.
Bring the milk to boil and stir in the bread crumb mixture.

Separate three of the eggs and beat the yolks along with the whole egg.

Stir into the breadcrumb mixture and pour the entire thing into a buttered baking dish.
Victorian Pudding
Leave to stand for half an hour and then bake for 1 hour

Meanwhile whisk the 3 egg whites in a large bowl until stiff, but take care not to over whip. Gradually add in the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and whisk a bit more.

Spread the heated jam over the baked pudding and then spoon in the meringue to cover the top completely.

Sprinkle the remaining sugar and bake until the meringue browns(15 minutes or so). Serve hot.

Give me a TINKLE anytime…

supandi
“I have been asked to keep an eye on the boiling milk…….any suggestions on what I can do with my other eye till then??!” – a Suppandi original.

Did you know that Suppandi, of the Tinkle Comics fame will make his debut on the silver screen next November 2010?It seems that the producers of the 28 year old comic series, ACK Media, are producing a stereoscopic 3D animation film with Suppandi as the protagonist.

For those not-in-the-know, the Tinkle and ACK comic magazines were one of the standard reads for loads of Indian kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and Suppandi of Tinkle fame was a rectangular-headed village simpleton who often got into troubles because he insisted on thinking for himself. His clumsiness and uncanny ability to get into trouble and his journey from one mishap to another made him such an endearing fool. .

When I read this snippet of information in last week’s Economic Times it brought in a deluge of memories. Did you know the idea behind starting Amar Chitra Katha came to its founder Mr. Pai when he watched a quiz contest on Doordarshan in February 1967, wherein participants easily tackled questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”

I too read a whole lot of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle magazines all though my early school life and even now I sigh with fondness every time I can lay my hands on one. These magazines helped me and many others develop an interest in Indian Mythology and its vibrant history.

I have spent countless hours lost in the vivid stories of poets, dreamers,magical lands, valiant kings and queens, courageous freedom fighters, the clever animals, sly animals… the repertoire was endless and best of all was the eternal victory in all stories of good over evil…if only life were as black and white now….

Anyway I’m going to leave you with a pudding that is as simple as it is delicious …but don’t go by the picture. Its one of those ugly duckling puddings; the taste of the pudding is in the eating……
Chocolate magic mud pudding
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Serves 4

50 g butter
200 g brown sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup self-raising flour( I used its sub i.e.for 1 cup self-raising flour substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75 ml cocoa powder

Vanilla ice cream to serve.
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and keep ready an ovenproof dish( preferably use a soufflé dish as it will support the sponge as it rises)

Put in the butter, ¾ cup of the sugar and 2/3 cup of the milk in a saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remember to stir frequently.

Now, sift the flour, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of the cocoa powder into the pan and stir into the mixture.
Pour this batter into the prepared dish and level the surface.

Sift the remaining sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, mix well and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Pour in the remaining milk over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge is firm to tough.

Serve hot with ice cream.

Sponge Cake Pudding

Spomge Cake Pudding
I started out with the intention of making a Waldrof Cake (courtesy Betty Crocker) but the sponge cake I make cracked while I was turning it over. (I didn’t grease the cake tin well enough I guess!) Searched around and found this simple yes tasty cake pudding recipe. While it was not very visually appealing, it tasted good and qualifies as a quick and simple dinner party dessert.

Ingredients
1 Basic Sponge Cake- Cut into 2-inch thick fingers
1 banana diced
1 Apple diced
¼ cup water mixed with 2 tbsp sugar
(more…)

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