My Grandad could cook, this was quite an achievement for a man born in 1914, it wasn’t usual. However, Grandad was a widower for a long time so that might explain it. I always thought that he learnt to cook in the army during the war although Grandad did not talk much about the war and until my parent gets her act together and requests his army records then it will remain shrouded in mystery.
What isn’t shrouded in mystery is Grandad’s bread pudding. He made the best bread pudding ever. Bread Pudding is different things in different countries, the stuff that Grandad made was stodgy comforting and full of spice, with a crisp sugary top. Some people eat it with custard but I like it best cold with a cup of tea or coffee.
When he was in hospital and sick, I asked him if he could give me the recipe. He laughed quite a lot about that, he didn’t have a recipe, although if he had written it down, I doubt that I would have been able to read his left handed scrawl (something I share!). Eventually I found a recipe in Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course for Old Fashioned Bread Pudding and showed it to Grandad, who made some adjustments (mostly in putting more spice in it) and this is how I always make it now. You can use brown or white bread and you can use any type you like, although in this recipe I have only ever used the sliced white mass produced stuff.
8oz (225g) bread, with the crusts cut off
10fl oz (275ml) milk
2oz (50g) butter, melted
3oz (75g) sugar and a couple of tablespoons for scattering over the top (any type you like, I use unrefined caster sugar in most things)
1 jar mixed spice (38g)
1 egg, beaten
6oz (175g) dried mixed fruit (currant, raisins, sultanas, candied peel)
Pre heat oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F)
Break up bread into small pieces, place in bowl and cover with the milk.
Mix it a bit and put it to one side for 15-20 minutes.
After 15-20 minutes, give the bread and milk a really good mix so the bread is more like a paste.
Add the egg, butter, spice, sugar and dried fruit and combine.
Put the mixture into a 20cm x 20cm (8×8 inches) pan and cover with sugar.
Bake in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes.
Leave to cool and eat cold with a cup of tea!