Cabinet pudding – but whose pudding was it?

I once worked in a hotel as a waitress; as well as our wages we were gen meals after service. They were very good, as I remember, and the one dish which was my favourite was cabinet pudding. It’s a traditional pud, also known as chancellor’s pudding… although which chancellor liked it I have no idea… however, it is at least two hundred years old – yes, 200! The first chancellor I can find was Sir Richard Sackville who held the office from 1559 to 1566…

Here is a recipe…

Cabinet pudding

  • 7 oz  dried fruit and candied peel
  • 4 sponge cakes
  • 1 oz of  ratafia biscuits
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 16 fl oz single cream
  • the zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp rum or brandy
  • Optional  jam  or jam sauce made with 3 tbsp apricot or raspberry jam, cold water, 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. cream the eggs, sugar and cornflour together making sure they are really well mixed
  2. heat the cream and lemon zest but don’t boil
  3. pour the cream onto the egg and sugar mixture and stir really, really well
  4. add the brandy or rum
  5. pour over the broken up  cakes and biscuits and the fruit
  6.  pour into a greased and lined souffle dish and let it all soak for about 15 minutes
  7.  cover the dish with foil and secure it with string like you might do for any other steamed pudding
  8.  steam over simmering water or in a steamer for an hour
  9.  it needs to stand for a few minutes to settle before you  turn it out

I’m not sure about beetroot and egg salad

I came across a recipe for pickled beetroot and boiled eggs… I like beetroot (unpickled) and I like boiled eggs but together? Some recipes you make and they go wrong but they are still edible – however, I’m not sure that this would be; even though the beetroot are steeped in a sweet pickle. The recipe calls for beet of all colours, and then cooks them together; the red would bleed into the golden  and the pink would just become red. I have the feeling that if it’s not nice it’s not nice and not nice enough to eat at all… hmmm… wasteful… hmmmm.

I’ve had a think, and I’ve adjusted the recipe, here is a version I might try:

Beetroot and egg salad

  • 1 lb beetroot, peeled, cooked in water, liquor reserved, then cubed
  • 2 tbsp of  wine or cider vinegar (or slightly less)
  • 2 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp creamed horseradish (miss it out if you don’t like it)
  • 4 tbsp of double cream
  • 4 eggs, lightly boiled, peeled and cut in half
  • optional grated horseradish (i think it sounds a bit aggressive so I wouldn’t use it – but it is in the original recipe!)
  • salad leaves of your choice
  • chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
  1.  mix the sugar and vinegar  until dissolved
  2. add the mustard and horseradish if you like it and mix really well
  3. stir in enough cream to get the consistency you want and chill
  4.  either serve on a large dish or four separate plates – arrange the leaves and scatter  the  beetroot
  5.  put the eggs on top and season, then top with the sauce
  6. garnish with chives and the grated horseradish

It’s not just the combination of eggs and beetroot, it’s the eggs and that sauce… maybe I’ll try it… If you’re wondering why I reserved the liquor I would cook some more beetroot in it and make soup!

My featured image is of a different salad I made with beetroot but with no eggs


Barm brack at Dunham Massey

I went to a National Trust property, Dunham Massey on Sunday and with a cup of tea I had some barm brack; I realised how much I liked it and what a long time since I ate any, let alone made any! Maybe I will make some tomorrow… here is a yeasted recipe:

Barm Brack

  • ¼pt  tepid milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp  yeast
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 1 very generous or 2 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 oz butter
  • 6 oz  mixed dried fruit
  • 2 oz  tbsp caster sugar
  1. add the yeast and teaspoonful of sugar to the milk and leave to froth
  2. sieve the dry ingredients together (but not the fruit)
  3. rub in the butter
  4. make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the yeast mixture
  5. add the egg
  6. beat for about 10 minutes until you have a really nice dough forms
  7.  add the fruit and work in by hand so the dough is well  kneaded
  8. leave in a  covered bowl and let  it rise in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size
  9. knock back and knead  lightly and put in a greased 7 inch cake tin
  10.  leave it to rise for half an hour
  11. . put into the oven at gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C for 45 minutes
  12. once it is baked you can be glazed the top 2 tsp sugar dissolved in 3 tsp boiling water to make a syrup

I wonder if I have any yeast …

The featured image is of a mill at Dunham Massey, it’s four hundred years old and was used to saw wood… not grind flour!

A lovely day – thank you!

I wrote yesterday about a lovely visit I had to the theatre. It was lovely for a number of reasons. It was lovely because I went with a friend and also met some new friends. It was lovely because the theatre was in Bath, a city I love, and it was a theatre I hadn’t been to, the Theatre Royal which was built in 1805 and is a Grade II* listed building.  It was a lovely day because all the travel arrangements went well, picked up, driven, parked, bus into town waiting for us, free travel because I have a bus pass, the bus deposited us almost outside the theatre. It was a lovely day because we went to a very nice tapas bar, and selected seven tapas for four of us which was just right, the service was impeccable and the food delicious. It was a lovely day because the theatre was splendid, the play was interesting and enjoyable, the acting was excellent, the seats comfortable and with a perfect view of the stage. it was a lovely day because the bus back to the car was waiting for us and we had a drive home with the sun low over the Somerset countryside casting a wonderful glow over the scenery.

So thank you to the friend who picked me up, the new friends I met, the bus  drivers, the people in the taps bar, the theatre staff, the actors and production team.

Now what else made it a lovely day? We had arrived in plenty of time and taken our seats. The overture began, the lights went down and the curtain went up, and the play began. We were about ten minutes into it when there was a polite kerfuffle at the end of the row… late comers. A couple, loaded down with bags came puffing and panting in, squeezing in front of us and collapsing into their seats, relieved to have arrived not too late. They had murmured their thanks as the came past and sunk into their chairs, bags still on their knees, coats and scarves still on, obviously not wanting disturb anyone more than they already had. In fact the beginning of the play is a little slow, scene-setting mainly so it didn’t mater and definitively didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

At the end of the first act when the curtain came down briefly for a scene change, they put their bags on the floor and quickly took off their coats. At the interval, the people at the other end of the row all left to go for ice-creams or a comfort break, and the late comers left their seats beside me and went off too. Everyone returned for the second half and the play continued. The final scene enacted, the last lines spoken, mighty applause, curtain down curtain up and more applause, curtain finally down.

As i got ready to leave, waiting while the crowd cleared, the couple tapped my arm. They then offered the most heart-felt apologies for disturbing me at the beginning… they were so sorry, their bus was delayed, they had run across town, they were just so sorry, it must have been so annoying for me, how sorry they were…

I’d actually forgotten all about it! I reassured them, sympathised with them, hoped they had enjoyed the play, reassured them again, thanked them for their apologies which were appreciated but unnecessary, thanked them again, said cheerio and wished them a smoother journey home.

Well, how very nice of them! The interruption had been tiny, a few minutes at the most, it hadn’t spoiled my enjoyment, and how considerate of them to both apologise! Thank you, unknown people, thank you for your words, it made a lovely day even lovelier, to know there are pleasant, polite, considerate people all around us!

The tapas bar:

  • albóndigas  –  meatballs in spicy tomato
  • gambas al ajillo – prawns cooked in olive oil with garlic & chilli
  • beetroot, blue cheese and walnuts
  • smoked salmon
  • cured sardines with potatoes and salad
  • cheese and dates wrapped in ham
  • artichokes


An annual event in our kitchen

This is becoming an annual event… The 1936 National Mark Calendar of Cooking, has a recipe forMadeleines in its October suggestions. My beautiful daughter is Madeleine, so this is exactly the right thing to make for her…

  • 4 oz flour
  • 2 eggs
  • seedless raspberry jam
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • dessicated coconut
  • glacé cherries and angelica for decoration
  1. butter 10-12 thimble-shaped moulds
  2. beat butter and sugar together until it is pale and fluffy
  3. fold beaten eggs one by one into mixture
  4. lightly fold in flour
  5. three-quarter fill each mould
  6. bake for 20 mins at 200ºC, 400ºF, gas mark 6 (this seems a little hot to me… but I’ll follow the recipe!)
  7. take out of tins, cool upside down on a baking tray
  8. it may be necessary to trim the bottoms so they all stand firm and are the same
  9. when still warm brush with raspberry jam, roll in the coconut, and decorate with a sliver of cherry and angelica cut to look like leaves

Queen’s pudding, Eve’s pudding, Queen Mab’s pudding?

It’s autumn, and for people who like puddings this is definitely pudding season! Here is something i wrote last year about Eve’s pudding:

Eve’s pudding… I somehow get it confused with queen of puddings or queen’s pudding… one is fruit and sponge and one is meringue and fruit… isn’t it? or am I in a total muddle? Consulting my trusty National Mark Calendar of Cooking for October, I see Eve’s pudding is the one with the sponge… so Queen’s pudding is the one with meringue… but when I look it up I find it also has sponge…

I don’t remember my mum making either, but I do remember eating one of these puddings and it wasn’t very nice, slimy with wet stuff at the bottom and the meringue chewy in a not nice way…

Eve’s pudding, apparently sometimes called Mother Eve’s pudding is at least two hundred years old, but I’m sure as with so many of these old traditional recipes, people have been making a version of it forever. “Oh we have a surfeit for fruit, surely we’re not having fruit pie again? Oh look we also have some eggs, why don’t we make a cake and put it with the fruit?!” Eliza Acton has a recipe for Queen Mab’s pudding, but it is not at all the same – it sounds a delicious and very rich cream and egg custard dessert flavoured with dried cherries, preserved ginger and its syrup, pistachio nuts, and a sauce of strawberries and raspberries or plums and pineapple…

Back to Eve’s pudding, which would have had a suet sponge before the invention of baking powder, and was a simplified version of the Duke of Cumberland’s pudding… here is the National Mark recipe:

Eve’s pudding

  • 1 lb of apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • small piece of butter

for the mixture:

  • 4 oz flour (self-raising or add ½ tsp baking powder)
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 egg
  • a little milk
  1. cook the apples in a little water, with the sugar, butter, zest and juice of lemon, and put into a pie dish
  2. cream butter and sugar
  3. beat in the egg and fold in the flour
  4. add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff
  5. pour mixture onto apples and bake in a moderate oven for 45 mins-1 hour (don’t undercook)

I don’t generally like sweet things but…

I don’t in general have a sweet tooth. When we go out for meals i would have a starter but say no to dessert. I like making sweet things, cakes, biscuits, puddings… but I’m not that fussed about eating them…

… except, when i do like something sweet I like it really sweet!! Turkish delight, baklava – and other eastern pastries, Chelsea buns – but only from Fitzbillies in Cambridge… and these brownies that my son used to make:


Oven temp 170

  • 4 oz butter
  • 7 oz caster sugar
  • 3 oz dark muscavado or similar brown sugar
  • 5 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz sifted plain flour (in actual fact I would use self-raising flour as I am very sensitive to the taste of baking powder)
  • 2 tbsps cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  1. gently melt the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, dark chocolate and syrup together and let cool slightly
  2. gently and carefully stir the eggs into the mixture
  3. fold in the flour
  4. pour into a lined brownie tin and cook  at gas mark 3, 325° F, 170° C mins for about 20-25 mins until cooked but still gooey
  5. yum!

By the way my featured image is from when I was in the Brownies – I was a fairy!!