Time for a bit of random tootling as we call it. I have just finished the washing up after a dinner for thirteen (plus the dog in case you are superstitious). We had a complicated group of people including friends, and teenage children who are back from university for the Easter holidays.
The dog was beside himself with joy at so much company particularly because it has been so cold recently and he hasn't had so many walks as usual. It is still snowing today and it's April! In London! Brrrr!
Jim cooked. It was supposed to be "leftovers" but when we looked in the freezer we realised that there was only one dish we could use. Twenty boxes of redcurrants (even though organic home grown ones) wouldn't really be ideal. Jim cooked a lamb curry with potato, chili con carne, spaghetti bolognese and chicken and chorizo. (I may have mentioned before that he loves to feed people). We also had gypsy tart* which was a bit of a trial. I looked at it beautiful in the oven, golden and risen. I thought "two more minutes". Two minutes later it had overflowed, separated and coated the oven in goo. A quick trip down the High Street and two more successful tarts made with the leftover (luckily) mixture. Phew! Just in case I made a Oliver's Chocolate Surprise* pudding which is known to be foolproof - even if it goes wrong it tastes good. We also had a fruit jelly, because I love the way they wobble! It is diet day tomorrow so the kids will have to eat up what is left without Jim and I. This is the end of the random tootling for the day.
I don't know about it being quiet all night. This next bit of tootling is slightly less random so it doesn't count.
In October 1987, the year after Sam was born, I slept through the great storm, sometimes known as "the hurricane" which devastated the south of England. Sheds, trees, roof tiles all flying about outside in 115mph winds, it was the worst storm since 1703. We lost 15 million trees, thousands of people had no power, wreckage brought roads and rail to a halt, but the whole family slept like babies! I guess that means that whether it's quiet all night or not makes little difference in our house.
* Recipes because they are both yummy.
Everyone who was at school in the UK in the 70s knows this because you had it for pudding once a week if you were a "school dinner" or lusted after it if you were a "packed lunch". I always forget to put the evaporated milk in the fridge the night before so 1 hour in the freezer works for me.
Ingredients - serves 8
Chill the evaporated milk in the freezer for an hour or so first.
For the pastry
8oz ( 225g) plain flour
4 oz (115g) butter
cold water to mix
For the filling
14oz (400g) tin of evaporated milk (unsweetened) Chilled
12oz (350g) dark muscovado sugar
Make the pastry case. (or buy one if you are lazy or in a hurry like me).
- Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl
- Rub in the butter until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add 2-4 tablespoons of cold water and mix to a dough
- Knead lightly.
- Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven with a large baking sheet in it to 200*C, 400*F or gas mark 6.
- Roll out the pastry and line a deep buttered 10inch (25 cm) loose based flan tin.
- Bake blind in the usual way.
Make the filling
- Whisk the evaporated milk and the sugar together for 15 minutes.
- I don't have an automatic mixer so I have to stand there and hold it, but if you can leave it to get on with mixing, go and have a cuppa.
- Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for 10 minutes. No longer!
- Serve with pouring cream, or if you want to go really retro use spray cream that comes in cans.
Oliver's Chocolate Surprise Pud
This is really lovely and goes very well with hot chocolate custard. I have never known it go wrong, even when small children "help". It is a recipe I inherited from my granny so it is only in imperial. If you want to, you can make the sponge and the sauce separately and put the sauce on just before you cook it. I did that last night and put it in the oven when we sat down for the first course.
For the sponge
4oz butter or margarine
4oz caster sugar
1oz cocoa powder
3oz self raising flour
For the sauce
1/2 pint of water
4oz soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Make the sponge
- Prepare the oven at 1908C, 375*F or gas mark 5.
- Grease a 2 pint oven proof dish.
- cream butter and sugar in the mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time adding a spoonful of flour with the second one.
- Sift the rest of the flour and cocoa together and fold it in.
- Turn into the dish and smooth over.
Make the sauce
- Stir water, sugar and cocoa together (It will look lumpy and the cocoa floats)
- Pour it over the sponge mix
- Place in the oven for 30 mins. the top should feel cooked but it will still wobble because of the sauce underneath. Rats, I spoiled the surprise.
Serve with hot chocolate custard (make a blancmange mix and serve it as custard), or pouring cream.