Sunday 22 January 2012

New Ideas & an old pud

 Did the first farmers market of the year at Penclawdd yesterday...other markets started earlier but we usually find that the beginning of January is too soon for customers to want to buy anything much, as we're all still using up the Christmas food!
  We used that time to revamp the website ( still doing it!) and for Ryan to be taking new photos of our food, designing new flyers,labels and leaflets for the year.
     The cost of getting photos taken, leaflets, banners etc varies quite a bit and was something I had no idea of when we first started. But just being able to change the website as and when we want to... to add photos or text and  to be able to keep it looking 'fresh', ourselves, is fantastic and so much cheaper. On the down side it does take a lot of time and you have to take that into account ... whether it's better to pay and to hand that side of things over to someone else while you get on with the day job.

  The market wasn't too bad for the first one of the year..had a chance to take our new chiller unit with us which is a hell of a lot easier for displaying the pasties,curries etc. Had great reports from customers who'd had my Christmas cakes...I always like to hear that!  Despite the fact that many people are on diets this time of year, the luxury, boozy rum & sultana bread and butter pudding I'd baked went down a storm.  


 It's based on an old Gary Rhodes recipe that I've tweaked slightly over the years and you always have the option of adding rum as I did yesterday...brandy or sherry or whiskey works well too, for a little winter warming effect of course! One of the main points for a smooth set custard is to bake the pud in a water bath, I think it's very important for a  proper silky custard....that and don't overbake, otherwise you'll end up with scrambled egg!
Variations are endless, use white bread, brioche or panettone...spread the buttered slices with with marmalade,chocolate spread...add berries, mixed spice or'll always have something in the cupboards that'll  transform this humble pud.

 Here's the basic recipe as printed in The Telegraph it's enough for 6 or 8 generous portions


12 medium slices white bread, crusts cut off
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla essence
400ml double cream
400ml milk
8 egg yolks
175g caster sugar, plus extra for the caramelised topping
25g sultanas
25g raisins

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Butter the bread. Split the vanilla pod, place in a saucepan with the cream and milk and bring to the boil. While it is warming up, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl.
Allow the cream mix to cool a little. Strain it on to the egg yolks, stirring all the time, to make the custard.
Cut the bread into triangles, or halves, and arrange in the dish in three layers, sprinkling the fruit between two layers and leaving the top clear. Pour over the warm custard, lightly pressing the bread to help it soak in, and leave it to stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, to ensure the bread absorbs all the custard.
The pudding can be prepared to this stage several hours in advance and cooked when needed.
Place the dish in a roasting tray that is three quarters filled with warm water and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the pudding begins to set. Don't overcook it or the custard will scramble.
Remove the pudding from the water bath, sprinkle it liberally with caster sugar and glaze under the grill on a medium heat or with a gas gun to a crunchy, golden finish. 

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