|From Wilhelm Busch, who was rather fond of puddings|
The days are getting shorter, and - occasionally at least - colder, so naturally one's mind turns to steamed puddings. Steamed puddings with suet, naturally.
I recently managed to find a supply of real suet - not the dry long life variety, but fresh from the butchers. I just bought two kilos of the stuff and froze it, so I am all set for the winter. Today I decided to try out my new Quick Cooker pudding bowl.
I achieved good results, and the pudding cooked within 1,5 hours, twice as fast as usual. However, the funnel in the middle also needs to be coated with a layer of pastry, so the relation of pastry to filling came down decidedly on the side of pastry!
I made beef and mushroom pie, which was good but needed a bit more gravy. With the leftover pastry I also made an apple pudding, in an old Oxford Blue Cheese container. It worked well, but the pastry lid stuck to the pot lid.
With regard to the string I used to tie up my pudding containers, the kitchen string I used for the large bowl worked OK but needed to be discarded after use.
For the small pudding container I used some Hermes ribbon, the sort they use to tie up the box their scarves come in, and it was excellent!!! If I think of all the things I use this ribbon for (see also orange pomanders below) I have to conclude that buying all those scarves was an excellent investment, even just on the basis of the many uses I find for this ribbon...
|Steamer pot - it has an insert, very handy for resting the pudding basins on|
|Beef and mushroom pudding|
|Turned out of the form very easily|
|Cut open - not enough gravy!|
|Apple pudding in an Oxford Blue cheese jar, tied up with Hermes ribbon|
|Top stuck to lide|
|Again, turned out of the pot easily|
|Too much pastry versus fruit?|
Yesterday I also involved myself in a comforting activity - making orange and cloves pomanders! Basically, you stick cloves into oranges, dust the result in a mix of different powdered spices like cinnamon and cardamon, and hang them up to dry.
The string I used for tying around and hanging up was, you guessed it, Hermes ribbon!
It is very a restful activity, sitting with a bowl in your lap, poking cloves into oranges! I did seven oranges and felt quite mellow afterwards.
In my house whatever needs hanging and drying inevitably ends up on the chandelier. What else are they for? In the kitchen things get moldy more easily, so the parlour is the natural place for this.
I think this is what our ancestors did, too - one reads in old novels about visitors being put up in the parlour or 'best chamber', where they made themselves at home amongst hanging bacon flitches and sausages and hams, and drying bunches of herbs and garlic and onions, and even Christmas puddings and cakes.....
Well, why not? The parlour is the least used room of the house, usually unheated, and less prone to dust and creepy crawlies, given the lack of use.