Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Cooking, however, isn't something that has come easily to me. I have waded my way through several culinary disasters and terrible culinary innovations even as I would struggle to put a decent meal on the table. And the main reason for this, more than any other, was the disdain I had for cooking. No really, cooking to me was a chore, something that I really didn't enjoy. Baking was another story - I have always loved it, but then one can't eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Somewhere down the road, I fell in love with the art of cooking and then there was no looking back. I wouldn't even need an excuse to cook! I was, however, a very wary cook. I'd stick to a handful of ingredients and a few tried and tested recipes.
The food blog came about one lonely night when the daughter was sleeping and the husband was travelling on work and I was surfing the net. Somehow, I landed on a food blog, one blog led to another and then some more. And I thought, well hey food blogging sounds so interesting, maybe I should give it a shot.
But what started "just for a lark" changed my entire approach to cooking. Slowly, I started pushing my own boundaries and making newer and newer things - things that I was always not very confident of making, like bread. And of course, I have to make newer things to feed the blog!
As a result of this quest for newer recipes, however, I realised that I hadn't made some of my perennial favourites in a long, long time.
Like this bread pudding, for example. I grew up watching my mom make it ever so often that when I made it for the first time, I didn't even need to look up the recipe. In fact, the bread pudding is very special to me - not because it is so easy to put together, but because it was the first thing I ever made all by myself - when I was all of 8 years.
Check it out - it is ridiculously easy to make. In fact, you can make it right after you've read this post, provided you have the following:
White bread: 5 slices
Milk: 500 ml
Sugar: 1/2 cup (that is the original amount, I reduce it by a couple of tbsps)
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Raisins: 2 tbsps
Salt: just a pinch and no more
unnecessary: 2 tbsps caramel syrup (find recipe here)
In an oven-proof dish, pour out the milk and add in the sugar, stir to melt the sugar.
(If you wish, you could zap this in the microwave and warm the milk just a bit - this will help the sugar to dissolve faster).
Soak the bread slices in the milk - sugar mixture for about 15 mins, then mash them up completely with your hands (or with the back of a flat spoon, if you find using your hands too disgusting!).
Lightly beat the eggs and stir them into the bread-sugar-milk mixture. Add the essence and the salt, stir; throw in raisins, give a quick stir so as to spread them out evenly.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C and bake it for about 30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If not, keep baking in 5 minute increments.
You could serve it immediately; but, personally, I like it cold so I leave it in the fridge for about 4 hours before serving. Make sure you cool it down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
I used to bake this in an oven-proof dish, this was the first time I used a bundt pan. If using one, make sure you grease it well and then pour in the pudding mixture. Cool it completely before you unmold it.
This time, I added some caramel, just because I had some lying in a bottle and I wanted to clear the fridge. It gave the pudding a lovely golden hue, but other than that, it didn't make any substantial difference to the taste. And if you do add it, do reduce the sugar accordingly.
The texture of your pudding will depend on the bread - some breads are very dense and that will make your pudding denser. In no way does that affect the taste.
Jaya, if you get the feeling that I am sending you this entry because of the praise you heaped on me, you are right. Flattery works for me ;)
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!