I was lucky and very glad to be invited to stay at my cousin's friends' house in London. We spent a couple of days and nights, and all we rambled around together, went to a play and an exhibition, ate an endless and delicious meal at a Chinese restaurant, and had a clear, beautiful spring day in Greenwich. To top it all off, we were cooked for, which is just the nicest, friendliest thing ever-even better than gorgeous Chinese restaurant meals, IMHO.
We drove the few hours from Brighton. Linda's* big wonderful townhouse was complete with bay window, nifty tiled victorian fireplace, and had (as did its neighbors) a very cool carved plaster mask/head over the huge front door. It smelled fantastic, due to the bread pudding which was doing its thing in the oven. When we had it after dinner, it had cooled down, and there was warm custard to pour on top. Not too shabby, eh? So I got her recipe, and here it is for you, so you can be lucky, too.
This is a bread pudding of the sturdy variety, such as I remember my mother having sometimes made, and it was perfect cool, with the warm custard. It is also nice warm, with a little cool cream on top. The contrast seems to work well, either way. It smells very homey cooking- in the manner of gingerbread, or baking apples. Also good are the more etheral sorts of bread pudding-especially the kind made with leftover croissants, but that is a story for another day.
To make bread pudding you need:
8 oz. bread, white or brown, crusts off unless they are totally mushy
10 fl. oz milk
2 oz. butter
3 oz soft brown sugar
2 level tsps "mixed spice" (This is comparable to a "pumpkin pie spice" here in the States. You can mix cinnamon, ginger,tiny bit of cloves, if you like)
1 egg, beaten
6 oz "mixed fruit"- (this refers to a mix of raisins and candied peels- chopped fine. I didn't have any candied peels- so I chopped up some mixed dried fruits very small, and added golden raisins and a bit of lemon peel, to make up the difference. It worked well. I quite like candied peels-just didn't have any.)
grated rind 1/2 orange
freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350F. Break bread up as finely as possible. Put in a bowl, and pour milk over. Let it sit about half an hour. Butter a baking dish that holds 2-2 1/2 pints. Melt butter and add to crumbs with sugar, spices and beaten egg. Beat well with a fork, so there are no lumps. Add fruits and peel. Spread in baking dish, and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake one to one and one half hours.
*It has been my experience that 98% of everyone who was ever named "Linda" is within 5 years of my age, in either direction. What was in the air then?
The fireplace is a phone picture, I'm afraid it didn't blow up too well. Some of them do, with the iphone, but my hand was unsteady on this one.