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Prune & Walnut Puddings with a Lemon Sauce



I have always loved prunes.  I used to make a beautiful Prune & Apricot Coffee Cake, which I haven't made in a very long while.  Note to self:  As soon as the oven is fixed, bake one.



We tend to associate prunes with  the elderly and care homes  . . .  tinned yucky prunes that have a really pasty consistency and are blecch.  (Sorry, don't like tinned prunes!)



Ready to eat, dried pitted prunes however, are lovely.  Sticky and sweet, sightly chewy.  As appealing as raisins or dried apricots. 


This recipe I am sharing today is one that comes from this book.  A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, by  Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron.  It was originally published in 1917, and reads like a diary.  Its quite good actually.  I have cooked a few things from it, and all are very good. 



The original recipe actually called for finely chopped Dates.  I couldn't find any in my larder, so I used prunes instead . . .  with great success! 



I also added chopped toasted walnuts  . . . for a bit of interest and crunch. 



A simple batter containing soft bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, sugar and suet . . .  beaten together.  I added some vanilla and lemon extracts.



Some people don't like to use Suet, or have a problem finding it.  You can use frozen vegetable shortening, grated if you wish, and you could also use butter, but, personally, I think butter would make it very rich.


It is a steamed pudding  . . .  you simply mix the batter together and then pop it into a buttered pudding basin, or buttered individual pudding basins.  If you do it as one large pudding, it will take roughly twice the time as the individual ones.


Don't worry if you don't have individual pudding basins, you can also use custard cups  . . .  even small tins, about the size of a mandarin tin.  Just make sure you butter them well. 



There is a lovely lemon sauce that you can also make to spoon over the finished puddings  . . . 



Its lush and low in fat . . .  but large on flavour  . . .  don't be tempted to skip it.  Its gorgeous. 



You could of course also serve it with ice cream or even pouring cream  . . . 




Just don't skip the lemon sauce! 



When I make it again (and I WILL!) I am going to add some chopped dried apricots . . .  they are so jewel-like and taste fabulous with prunes!



Bottom line  . . . with prunes, or prunes and apricots . . .  with dates . . .  toasted nuts or not, this is one very gorgeous pudding.


Your family is sure to love it.

Steamed Prune & Walnut Puddings


Yield: 4
Author:
These lovely steamed puddings are studded with sticky bits of prune and crunchy toasted walnuts. Don't skip the lemon sauce.  They go perfectly, deliciously together!

ingredients:

  • 40g soft fresh bread crumbs (2/3 cup)
  • 80g plain flour (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 85g finely chopped suet (2/3 cup)
  • 125g granulated sugar a92/3 cup)
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 100g finely chopped prunes (2/3 cup)
  • 40g chopped toasted walnuts (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 156ml milk (2/3 cup
Lemon Sauce:
  • 95g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 TBS plain flour
  • 240ml water (1 cup)
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp butter

instructions:

How to cook Steamed Prune & Walnut Puddings

  1. You will need a steaming pan, and four individual molds,  or custard cups. (heat proof).  Butter the four molds or cups really well. Have ready 4 squares of tinfoil which you have also buttered and pleated in the middle, and which are large enough to wrap over the tops of the cups securely.
  2. Measure all of the ingredients for the pudding into a bowl, in order given.  Stir well for several minutes.  Divide between the four cups.  Place boiling water in the bottom of the steamer.  Secure the tops of the cups with the pleated and buttered foil, covering them completely.  Place them into the rack of the steamer. Cover and steam over simmering water for  1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.  To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into one. If it comes out clean they are done.
  3. About 15 minutes before they are done make the sauce.  Measure the sugar and flour into a small saucepan.  Whisk together and then whisk in the water. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes over moderate heat, at which time the sugar should have melted and it will have slightly thickened.  Beat in the lemon juice and the butter.
  4. Run a knife around the inside rim of each mold.  Insert over serving plate (s) and gently tip out.  Spoon a bit of sauce over top and pass the remainder at the table.
  5. Serve hot.

NOTES:

Any leftovers can be reheated gently in a steamer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Prune & Walnut Puddings with a Lemon Sauce

Our days of hot puddings are almost to a close now.  Why not make one last pudding before the berries start, something to hold you over until next autumn!


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Marie Rayner
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Crock Pot Mac & Cheese



The Engineer should be here at some point today to fix our oven. (Fingers crossed!)   I am really missing it, although without it working, I have been challenged to use some other methods of cooking.


I don't think I have used my slow cooker/crock pot this much in a long time!  Its come in really handy!



Today I did Mac & Cheese in it.  I adapted the recipe from one I found on The Country Cook




Her recipe makes 10 servings, so if you are wanting to feed a large bunch by all means check it out.  I have downsized it quite a bit to serve only 3 people.


There are only two of us and one of us doesn't like pasta all that much!  So my version makes three servings only. 




I can tell you that the end result was very creamy and very rich!  


I also created a crispy bread crumb topping.  I like a crispy topping on mac and cheese, I don't know about you.  Its optional, but its very simple and very very good.



I used two kinds of cheese, a strong cheddar cheese, which I grated, and a Jack cheese which I cut into cubes.


She used cheddar and American cheese.  We don't get American cheese over here and I am not really sure what it tastes like, but I thought Jack would work well, and it did. I think Gruyere would also.


If I make it again, and I probably will, I will add some mustard to the mix.  I think mustard works well in mac and cheese, as does hot pepper sauce.



You do need to cook the macaroni first.  Just cook it to al dente and then drain. That can be cooking while you prepare and measure out all the remaining ingredients.


Once the macaroni it cooked, simply drain and add to the bowl of the slow cooker (first spray it with some non stick low fat cooking spray) along with a TBS of butter, stirring to coat the macaroni with the butter, which should melt from the heat of the macaroni.



After that you just stir in everything else, pop on the lid and then let the crock pot do the work. You do need to give it a stir once or twice, just to make sure everything is mixing together.



The milk and cream meld together with the cheese to make a rich and creamy cheese sauce.  Oh so luxurious!  If you like mac and cheese, you are going to love LOVE this!

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese


Yield: 3
Author:
Creamy, cheesy and easy.  Sized for the smaller family, but easily doubled.

ingredients:

  • 115g dry elbow macaroni (scant cup)
  • 1 TBS butter4
  • 80ml evaporated milk (1/3 cup)
  • 80ml single cream (1/3 cup, half and half)
  • 90g strong cheddar cheese, grated, divided (3/4 cup)
  • 115g jack cheese, cut into cubes (scant cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Crumb Topping:
  • 1 slice of bread made into crumbs
  • 1 TBS butter, melted
  • pinch of parsley flakes

instructions:

How to cook Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until just al dente.  Drain well. 
  2. Spray a small slow cooker/crock pot with some non stick low fat cooking spray. Add the hot macaroni and the butter.  Stir to melt the butter and coat the macaroni.  Pour in the evaporated milk, the cream, 60g (1/2 cup) of the strong cheddar,  the cubed Jack cheese and salt and pepper to taste, remembering that cheese can be salty.  Stir to blend.
  3. Cover and cook on low for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.  During the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the remaining 30g (1/4 cup) of cheddar cheese.  Cover and allow the cheese to melt.
  4. Once done, turn the crock pot to the warm setting until ready to serve.
  5. To make the crispy bread crumb topping, melt the butter in a small skillet.  When it begins to foam, add the bread crumbs, Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they crisp up and turn golden brown. Stir in the parsley flakes.  Sprinkle this over the mac and cheese if desired.
  6. Any leftovers can be stored, covered in the refrigerator. (As if!)
Created using The Recipes Generator



I think if you wanted to you could stir in bits of cooked ham or sliced hotdogs, even cooked vegetables.  Broccoli would be especially nice!  





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Marie Rayner
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Grilled Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese



We have just enjoyed a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend, with beautiful sunny and warm weather!  Its been really gorgeous!  That makes a change, as the norm is rainy, cold and wet on a bank holiday! 



We took advantage of the sunshine to have our first BBQ of the season!  This isn't something we can usually plan well ahead of time.  You have to strike when the iron is hot, so to speak . . .  make hay while the sun shines! 



I had some leftover potatoes from the day before, which I divided between two foil packs. I just sprinkled them with some cheese and let it all melt into them while they heated on on the corner of the BBQ.  



I thought the star of the meal was going to be two thick and meaty bone in pork chops that I had brined, ready for cooking.  We got our chops at Costco and they really are lovely . . .  loin chops with the rib bone attached, each about 1 inch thick.  Simply gorgeous.  For two just use 2 cups of water and 1 TBS each sugar and salt.  Leave them to brine in it for about an hour.  Perfection.  Never a dry pork chop.  Never ever.



I was wrong however  . . .  the star wasn't the pork chops, nor was it the potatoes, both of which were VERY good!  It was the vegetables!


I took one each, broccoli crown and cauliflower head, both of ample size and I cut two "Steaks" from the centre of each.  I guess they were each about 1/3 of an inch thick, and well held together.  I just put the remainder into a plastic bag and returned it to the refrigerator where it is ready to use another time for another purpose, soup or whatnot.

Grilled Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

I then brushed both sides of each "Steak" with some olive oil and sprinkled them on both sides with some Italian Herb & Garlic Seasoning. 


I cooked them on a cooler part of the BBQ, turning them every now and then, until they were just crispy tender, and had lovely grill marks on them.


Just before they were done, I sprinkled each with about 1 TBS of grated strong Cheddar cheese, but you could use any kind of cheese you preferred, or even a combination of cheeses. These turned out EXCELLENT.  They were delicious! 


Yield: 2
Author:

Grilled Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

I am only giving you the quantities to make two servings, but you can certainly make more as this is more of a technique than an actual recipe!  Its delicious! Don't worry about the end bits of raw veg.  You can break them into florets to cook another day, or serve them raw with a tasty vegetable dip.

ingredients:

  • 1 large broccoli crown
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • olive oil to brush
  • Italian Herb & Garlic Seasoning to sprinkle
  • 4 TBS grated strong cheese or as desired

instructions:

How to cook Grilled Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese

  1. Preheat either a grill pan or the BBQ to a moderately heat.  Taking your vegetable crowns, and working in the middle area, cut two 1/3 inch thick steaks from the centre of each. (Reserve the remaining vegetables for another use, Wrap and place in the refrigerator)  You will have 2 broccoli steaks and 2 cauliflower steaks.  Brush each on both sides with a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle with the Italian Herb & Garlic Seasoning to taste.  Place on the grill and cook until your desired doneness, turning them every so often.  Just before they are done, sprinkle each with 1 TBS of cheese and let it melt. Serve immediately. Delicious!
Created using The Recipes Generator



I know it probably wouldn't be practical to do this for a large number of people because of the amount of veg you would need, not unless you were also offering a raw vegetable tray on the side for dipping. 

 

Our BBQ Grill is the Space Grill 1800 3-Burner Gas GrillThis stainless steel Space Grill is a revolutionary idea for modern families with a unique fold-away design which is perfect for garden patio grilling or even using on a high rise balcony. It fits in perfectly every where, and is as truly versatile as it is beautiful!  You can either mount it on an existing load bearing wall, or you can buy a specifically designed stand to mount it on.  



We have ours on a stand which was purchased with the grill.  We got this last year and it arrived almost completely assembled.  In fact, it took Todd longer to break down our old BBQ for disposal, than it did for him to assemble the Space grill. Because we don't own our own home, but are in a rental property, we opted to have the separate stand, rather than using a wall mount. Todd found putting the stand together very easy to do.  Once the stand/or wall are ready, mounting the grill on it is a very simple process. 
  
This revolutionary, Australian designed, Chef Grade Stainless Steel grill folds out in about 10 seconds. There is no need for super human strength. Even I have found it quite easy. A simple pivot system changes space into a grill. It is really that easy!  

 

I can't stress enough how simple it is to install, with the lid doubling as a splash back it is perfect for those small spaces. Simply light the (independently ignited) burners and start cooking. It has two sides,  with a stainless steel  grill and a cast iron griddle plate that  is flat on one side and ridged on the other. What more could anyone ask for?

• Folds away in seconds
• Sleek modern design
• Stainless Steel for rust resistance
• Massive cooking surface (640mm x 480mm)
• Patented auto fold-down drip tray
• 3 separate individual-ignition burners
• Perfect for apartments to mansions
• Lid doubles as a splash-back
• Fast to install
• Multiple cooking plates
• Reversible cast iron flat / grill main plate
• Includes stainless flame grill plate
• No more ugly BBQ's on the deck 

 

I am hoping that the lovely weekend we have just enjoyed is just the tip of the iceberg and that we will have a whole summer filled with lovely opportunities to enjoy this fabulous piece of kit! 



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Marie Rayner
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