Remember, remember, the Fifth of November! And, yes, I am remembering on this fifth day of the eleventh month of a pretty spectacular year - but what I am remembering is my Mum's bread pudding. Or, as Mr B likes
to call it: "Rubber Plonk."
I am not sure why it has come into my mind after all these years. Perhaps it's because there is a lot about the War Years on TV at the moment, as we approach Remembrance
Day. Or, perhaps it's all the talk of Austerity Britain. Or perhaps I'm just turning into my mother...
My lovely Mum had a family of six to feed and not a great deal of money to spend on even
the necessities of life. However she always managed to serve up at least two, sometimes three, puddings every dinner-time - one of which was always Rice Pudding. We called it "365" because we ate it every single day of the year. Honest.
She also made the most delicious Bread Pudding - and today I was seized by a quite irresistible urge to make one for our tea. I had to google a recipe - it was important, I felt (don't ask me why) that
my Bread Pudding should be of the Wartime Variety - not a Jamie Oliver version and most definitely not Nigella, delicious though their concoctions might be. I was determined to make "Dolly's Bread Pudding", for better or for worse.
At this point Mr B decided to chime in. He told me that Bread Pudding figures high among his worst food nightmares. At his boarding school, it was served up regularly and was universally known as "Rubber
Plonk". He regaled me with tales of how he and his school-mates would hurl the said Rubber Plonk at the walls of the dining hall to see if it would bounce. Invariably, it did.
B's rather less than enthusiastic welcome for my latest culinary experiment, I set about it with my customary zeal. The very first ingredient I needed was plenty of stale bread. Here's the thing about Wartime Recipes, nothing is to be wasted.
What would they make of us these days, I wonder, with our fervent adherence to eat-by and sell-by dates? I did, as it happened, have bread which, if not exactly stale, was only fit for toast - plus everything else I needed was somewhere
in the fridge or the food cupboard. That's the other thing - here is a Great British Pudding from the days when basically you had to rely on whatever you had in the cupboard. So, that's why we had rice pudding every day! Clever Mum!
I wonder what you want to hear now. Are you interested to know whether Dolly's Bread Pudding is as tasty as I remember it from my childhood? Or are you secretly hoping that Mr B has been throwing
great lumps of it at the kitchen wall to see if it is, indeed, the Rubber Plonk of his schoolboy days?
It looks a little paler than I remember my Mum's pudding to be but we have both had a taster
and have agreed that it is delicious. As yet none has been thrown at anything or anyone.
We have Short Mat Bowls tonight, after which we shall celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. When
the family was young, we always had a Guy Fawkes Supper, with sausages, crisps, baked beans and other delicacies. Tonight we shall celebrate, just the two of us, with a couple of sparklers and a generous slice of Dolly's Bread Pudding.
Rubber Plonk, indeed! The very idea!