I have to say that lately, I have been a little distracted and excited. You see, my nephews will be here in less than 45 day (yes, I have been counting the days) and I am on mental overload right now. My mind is constantly churning supper ideas, puddings, picnics, breakfast…..and so on. Then there are the outings; where shall we go and what will we do? Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t stressful for me, in fact, I love planning. I am the queen of planning!
I just want my men to have the best time ever. My nephews are not young boys any more. They are very smart engineers and the oldest one just got married last September and I can’t wait to meet his bride. I love them as much as I love my children and they are like my children, but we are friends, best friends. They also, appreciate great food and love to cook themselves. I have some requests, so in an attempt to fulfil those requests, my mind has been working overtime. Just so my brother does not get mad, I will mention that he too will be joining us from Houston.
So, all this mental anguish to make things perfect for them has affected my cooking. I find myself resorting to quick and easy grub (damn Costco for having so many natural and organic, easy meals!) But, if it will help, I have many great dishes planned for the big visit, so there will definitely be a lot of recipes soon enough.
I do have a pudding/dessert, that I made recently, I want to post. It is a baked version of the famous steamed puddings of the UK. My soul food. I grew up with these puddings in school and they, honestly, make everything right in the world. If you think I am exaggerating, then ask my friend Tammi, who after the first bite of said pudding, would go into a state of euphoria and whose eyes would roll into the back of her head as she slowly, relished every spoonful.
They come in different varieties: sticky toffee pudding, treacle pudding, chocolate pudding or the jam versions. I made the treacle one the other day but, if you cannot find the Golden Syrup required to make it, try a jam version. I know many recipes that require Golden Syrup tell you to substitute corn syrup, but in this particular cake, it will not work at all. The corn syrup just doesn’t have the same depth of flavour. Look for Golden Syrup at World Market or you can order from Amazon. In Houston, you will be able to find it in some Fiesta Markets.
My puddings are always doused in Bird’s Custard. Another childhood favourite. I can make custard from scratch, but I don’t. I love Bird’s custard and that’s the only thing that brings out warm, fuzzy feelings for me. You can make your own custard or you can use the many custard mixes sold in Indian stores. If you can find Bird’s, that’s even better. However, double cream works great on these cakes too.
Our friend Vinnie, who visited us last month from Houston, has been on me to post this recipe. I made the steamed version when he came and he absolutely loved it. So, Vinnie, this one is for you.
2 sticks/227g butter, good quality
4 large eggs, organic or free range
2 teaspoons/10ml baking powder
1/2 cup/118ml milk, organic
6 tablespoons treacle or jam (strawberry or blackberry are very good)
1/2 teaspoon/2ml salt
1 teaspoon/5ml vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 deg F or 180 deg C
Butter a 10″/ 25cm deep dish pie plate and add the treacle or jam to the bottom of the pan, spreading it evenly.
*NOTE: Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. I use evaporated cane sugar in my cooking and baking but it can be too coarse. I, usually, whiz it in the food processor so it’s a bit more fine for baking. You can use regular superfine sugar like Imperial Sugar. I find that about 6 tablespoon jam or treacle is enough, but if you would like more, you can add a bit extra. You need a baking dish or tin that will hold at least 5 cups/2 pints/1.2L batter.
Beat the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer or a standing mixer (can do it by hand too…just need some elbow grease!)
The mixture should be pale and very fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition (add a teaspoon of flour to prevent curdling, if necessary)
Add baking powder and salt to the flour and mix to blend.
Add half of the flour and mix gently and half of the milk.
Mix till incorporated and then add the other half of flour and milk.
Add the vanilla and make sure mixture is well blended.
The batter should be of a nice dropping consistency, not too thick or too thin. If you need more milk then add a tablespoon or two to get the right consistency.
Flour can be a bit dry at times and require extra liquid.
Pour the cake batter over the treacle/jam already in the pan.
Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.
Check at 35 minutes, the top should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted
comes out clean.
Scoop out with a spoon reaching deep to get the treacle or jam at the bottom.
Serve warm with lashings of custard or double cream or even ice cream.
It’s good cold too. It’s just plain good.