Tag: gordon ramsay bread recipe

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
butter
currants
sultanas
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
milk
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…

 

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Banana bread. Again.

There is an American writer – dead now – called Richard Yates. You will know him because he wrote a book called Revolutionary Road, which was made into a film with Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet a few years ago – 2007 I think, or 8.

Anyway he wrote loads of books and I read them all. That’s not a boast, they’re mostly very short. But I did also read his biography, which was really long. And then I wrote a very long piece, almost as long as the biography, for The Independent about him, which I think they still owe me my £90 fee for.

The thing about Richard Yates, the reason why you don’t know his name as well as you know other big American writers, is that he was just really obsessed with his mother. In every single book he wrote, there she is. Irritating, mad, feckless, vain, selfish, shrill, talentless, deluded. In Revolutionary Road she appears as an estate agent and because that’s the only book of his most people have read, they think nothing of it.

But she’s there, in all the others, lurking. And when you read one Yates book after the other, it ends up seeming really quite mad. After the third or fourth book you get a horrible psycho “ehhr ehhr ehhr” tingly feeling, like if you were to walk into the bedroom of a friend and it was plastered with photographs of you.

So the reason that Yates never really made it, died alone and mad in a tiny dirty flat, despite being a really terrific writer, was that he was unable to tackle the big themes that make you properly famous; instead he zeroed in, time after time, on miserable little people leading miserable little lives, every book, every page, stalked by his unbearable mother. Revolutionary Road was a hit by accident, while obsessing about how much he hated Ma, Yates also – almost as a side-line – struck a chord with discombobulated middle America. But it was a fluke.

I fell to thinking about Richard Yates and his unwitting, untherapised obsession with his mother when I found myself, almost trance-like, making yet another type of banana bread. Considering I am trying to get material for a book, it seems so mental and obsesseive compulsive to keep making the same thing over and over again with no reason, no explanation.

Although I suppose there is an explanation. And that is, banana bread is fucking delicious.

This recipe I found on a card in Waitrose, and it was originally a banana, chocolate and caramel cake, using a tin of Carnation caramel, but I got home and didn’t have any caramel but did have a tin of condensed milk, so I used that instead.

I know it’s just banana bread and I know there are already about fifteen recipes for it on this blog and I probably belong in a nuthouse but this is really terrific, all the same.

Banana and Condensed Milk Bread
Makes a 1kg loaf

75g butter
25g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 397g can condensed milk
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat your oven to 180c or 170c for fan ovens. Grease and line your 1kg loaf tin. You can get away with just lining the sides with one long strip of greaseproof paper, but you must grease the ends well.

1 Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then add the egg – do not worry too much if this curdles –  followed by your can of condensed milk. Mix the flour and baking powder together and fold into the mixture.

2 Fold in the banana and then pour into the tin. You can decorate this, if you like, bearing in mind that it is going to rise quite significantly. I dotted a spine of walnut halves down the middle, which then heaved away to the left – like a hip tattoo on a pregnant woman.

3 Bake for 1 hr

Eat, then ring your shrink.

 

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