Sunday, 18 November 2007

Let's hear it for Spotted Dick

How could I have omitted other wonderful “afters”.

Tinned peaches or apricots with evaporated milk were not bad.

Jelly (Jello) and Custard were never a favourite of mine, even if the Jelly contained Mandarin oranges (from a tin [can])

I liked blancmange even less! (look it up on Google). It is pronounced blah monge. My best friend Jeff Davies was a great tease, and knowing how much I disliked this dessert, would call me “monger”.

Trifle was a rare treat. Even now I sometimes make it for guests, but it takes quite a while. You’ve just “gotta” have sherry on those lady fingers. And fresh fruit (raspberries and strawberries) work better than the frozen type.

Mum and my two older sisters would make the best Christmas Puddings, and Christmas Cake (sans Brandy) in mid-November. Americans call Christmas Pudding “Plum Pudding” and serve it with white sauce, but ours was always served with “Birds” Custard. We ate it with care, for who knew, there might be a silver thrup-knee bit hidden in the pudding.

Christmas cake was dark and rich, with all manner of dried fruits inside. It would be coated with marzipan (always the best bit for me!), and a hard icing. I’d eat the cake first, then the marzipan, and then suck on the hard icing.

Mum never made Bakewell Tart, but it’s one of my favourites. I remember having home made Bakewell Tart in Sheffield, Yorkshire in about 1962. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven (I exaggerate a bit!).

But Mum made the best little individual jam tarts. She’d mix in some desiccated coconut and bake them to make a lovely treat.

But the best “afters” which I forgot yesterday.

Rhubarb pie, made when the rhubarb (force grown in old chimney pots) was sweet and tender.

Gooseberries - stewed or in pies. If you have not eaten a plump, sweet, juicy gooseberry, then you have not lived!

Fresh sweet greengages - a sort of plum. I last ate these in France about 8 years ago.

And, unavailable in the U.S.A. - black currants, white currants and red currants. To die for!

“Spotted Dick”. Why I almost forgot Spotted Dick. It’s a sponge, or suet pudding with raisins or currants inside, (hence the spots). ‘Tis served best with warm treacle, or with Tate and Lyles ‘Golden Syrup”. “Birds” custard will also do.

In America you can buy tinned (canned) Spotted Dick and Birds Custard mixture at your local British foods store, or on line.

One of these days I’ll have a dinner party with Faggots as the main course, and Spotted Dick for afters.

Wanna invitation anyone?

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