Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

I am not the biggest pudding eater or maker in the world, though luckily with three women in the house I am blessed with a great audience for anything sweet.

Having loads of bread left over I decided to make a Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding, I found a James Martin recipe on the BBC food web site.

The recipe is :

150ml/¼pt double cream

150ml/¼pt milk
55g/2oz dark chocolate
Splash Whiskey
2 free-range eggs
1 free-range egg yolk
55g/2oz caster sugar
4 slices white bread, cut in half.

I varied the recipe slightly by just using all single cream rather than double cream & milk. I also ommited the whiskey as I prefer my Scotch unadulterated and in any event would not be appreciated by the intended consumers.

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/425F/Gas 7.
2. Place the cream, milk & chocolate in a pan and heat until the chocolate has melted. Stir gently to combine.
3. Place the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy.
4. Pouring gradually while whisking, add the hot chocolate milk mixture to the whisked eggs.
5. Transfer the chocolate milk and eggs mixture back to the pan. Heat gently, whisking constantly, until the custard has thickened.
6. Arrange the bread slices in an ovenproof dish and pour the chocolate custard evenly over. Allow to sit for at least fifteen minutes to absorb, then place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until set.
7. Remove from the oven and serve with lashings of single cream.

The entire recipe took less than 15 minutes to make. The pudding was delightfully sticky and eaten greedily - particularly by Mrs Woody who had thirds!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Carbonnade of Beef for a Winters Day

I don't what it is about today but it feels like the first day of winter, perhaps it's because I'm feeling a bit coldy and slightly jaded. So I decided to make some real comfort food for supper.

Like with all stews and casseroles the quality of the meat is the most important thing.

I get my beef from John Howe from Chanctonbury who trades at our local Farmer's Market. John is a true eccentric (borderline nutter) he wears a boater 12 months of the year, wears tweed and drives a Landrover of indeterminate age. His stall is always decorated with signs against the EU and things foreign ("for the convenience of customers we do not accept euros"). He still insists in selling everything in pounds and ounces. However his beef, which comes from a fifty year old herd, is of top quality.

I always use a cut for stews called "Jews Fillet". (The Jews' fillet is part of the silverside and got its derogatory name because it was often disguised and sold as real fillet for a much higher price). Its a lean cut and the same price usually as any stewing or braising cut.

The other vital ingredient is the beer. Most recipes will say you should use a lager, as most of these beers are tasteless I use a bitter, but if you want a really strong flavour you can even use a stout.

The recipe for Carbonnade of beef is as follows:

1 kg stewing beef
4 Onions
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 Bay Leaf
500ml beef or veg stock
350 ml Beer
2tbsp Dijon Mustard
3tbsp flour
1tbsp brown sugar
White wine vinegar


Fry the onions and garlic gently until golden, remove from pan and put in casserole.

Whilst onions are cooking cut meat into chunks and coat with seasoned flour.

Brown meat in pan in batches then remove to casserole. Put remaining flour in casserole coating onions and meat.

Add sugar to frying pan and de-glaze with stock, add beer to stock in frying pan, bring to boil. Pour over meat & onions in casserole. Add bay leaf, thyme, Dijon mustard.

Cook in medium oven for 3 hours at 160c.

Check for flavour if over sweet add a little wine vinegar. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green veg. (Did I tell you to remove the bay leaf)