Monday, 27 August 2007
Lazy Saturday Afternoons
We had such a lovely weekend with gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures. It seems that summer has finally decided to visit us and we are basking in it.
Saturday afternoon saw us on a nice leisurely walk down through the village with Jess. It seemed everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. The local pub was full of people getting their fill of the fresh air and warm temps under the umbrellas outside, and the line of cars going through the village full of people out on their grand adventures was nonstop. I guess that is one of the prices you pay for living in a most populated part of the country and one of the most beautiful counties. It's a shame though because I think it rather spoils some of the charm of rural life.
There is a rather old church down in the village. Todd says it dates back to Norman times. We took a lovely wander through the grounds. There are literally hundreds of headstones there, some so old you can barely make out the writings upon them. There's a story to be told on every one and Ifound it quite fascinating to read them all as we walked amongst them.
I made this lovely bread pudding for our dessert on Saturday night. Loosely based on the idea of British Sticky Toffee Pudding, I found it a very comforting and delicious capper to what had been a quite delightful day . . .
*Sticky Date Bread Pudding*
As simple as this is it really is quite delicious. Who doesn't love bread pudding. This one, studded with sticky dates and crowned while still warm with luciously rich dulce de leche is a real lip smacking winner!
1 pound of day old brioche bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, approximately 8 cups
1 cup pitted and chopped dried dates
1 1/2 cups chopped ready to eat Deglet Nour Dates
(moist and golden)
6 large organic free range eggs
2 large organic free range egg yolks
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 3/4 cup of double cream
1 3/4 cup of whole milk
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
icing sugar for dusting
1 carton of Dulce de Leche for serving
Take a 9 by 13 inch bakign dish and butter it well. Arrange the bread cubes in it along with the chopped dates, tossing them together to make sure they are evenly distributed.
Put the eggs and egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until they are quite frothy. Add the caster sugar and beat again until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow in colour. Add the milk and the cream, mixing it in well on low speed and then stir in the nutmeg an vanilla. Mix well.
Pour the resulting custard evenly over the bread cubes and dates. Let sit for about half an hour to an hour in order to allow the bread th absorbe the mixture, pushing the bread down occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Bake the pudding for about 25 minutes. Open the oven door and give the bread a little push down into the custard again with a wooden spoon. (be careful not to burn yourself!) Continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife or skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool to warm. Dust with icing sugar. Heat the Dulce de Leche in a microwave for about a minute or so. Spoon some of the bread pudding out onto plates and then serve with some of the warm Dulce de Leche spooned over top. Delicious!