Manchester, so much to answer for

Sorry for not adding an entry for a while…

I got back from the beautiful St Auban last Saturday evening and haven’t quite got back into my routine, which means I haven’t done any cooking – at least not proper cooking – since I got back. I’ve done lots of stir-fries and eaten several pizzas. This is not good. I reckon I’ve put on at least half a stone (I dare not weigh myself). This is, in part, due to the field trip. I managed to do no exercise, eat two three-course meals a day and drink every night. The food was all home-cooked and very nice indeed.

St Auban is about 30 miles north of Nice and resides in the Alps; it was once a ski resort in the winter, but due to climate change this no longer happens, although there is evidence of it’s past in the rusting ski-lifts that run up the mountainside. The place is beautiful, there is the most amazing geology – layers of buckled meandering limestone, caverns, canyons and crevices. There is wonderful wildlife – after all that’s why we were there – wild boar, red deer, chamois, red squirrels, golden eagles, crested tits, Bonelli’s warblers and my favourite bird, the nightjar. Many of these animals can be seen in Britain, of course, but you have to go to Reserves or the Scottish Highlands to see them. The other great thing about the mountain habitats is the smell – walking through the wandering, purple thyme creates a floral mist around you, plus there are lavender plants and juniper berries to crush between your fingers. Ahh…

…and then there’s Manchester. Since returning, there’s been nothing but rain and thunder storms. The temperatures have been similar to what we had in January, for God’s sake. I should be excited as all my favourite foods are in season now, but I feel like it’s all passing me by.

It’s my birthday on Thursday, so I think I’ll get back into the swing of things by treating myself by making some kind of pudding containing all those lovely summer ingredients I’ve been thinking of – raspberries, gooseberries, cherries and the like. Hopefully they’ll give me some pep…

#9 Manchester Pudding

First of all I’d like to apologise for the time lapse between making some food and then blogging it! I’m busy! busy! busy! these days. Anyway. I did #9 Manchester Pudding last Thursday as Joff was coming round. Me and Greg cooked a store-cupboard style tea so I thought I’d do a pud that seemed straight-forward enough. On the bus home I flicked through the tome and saw Manchester Pudding. I should have cooked it first, being in Manchester! I’d had Manchester tart before – shortcrust pastry, a thin layer of jam, then thick custard to the brim and sprinkled with dessicated coconut. This pudding was sort of similar:

Line an eight or nine inch tart tin with some puff pastry and spread it with either greengage, strawberry or apricot jam (I went for strawberry). Next put ½ pint of full fat milk into a pan with the pared rind of a lemon and two ounces of white breadcrumbs. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lemon rind and stir in two ounces each of butter and caster sugar, 2 egg yolks and two tablespoons of brandy. Pour into the pastry case bake for around 30 minutes at 180⁰C until almost set. Meanwhile whisk two egg whites until they’ve got to the stiff-peak stage and spread them smoothly over the tart. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of caser sugar and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes until the whites have turned golden brown. Serve warm.

It was lovely! We scoffed the whole thing between the three of us – so quick, in fact, I couldn’t take a photo of it’s innards! It was proper poor people’s food made slightly posh with the addition of meringue and brandy.

Greg says:
See I reckon there is a difference between Manc tart and Manc Pudding, to me the tart has to have coconut on top as Char mentioned. Regardless, the pudding was amazing! When it came out of the oven after the first baking it was completely alive! It breathed and pulsated like something from Dr Who. Basically it was a textbook dish, and felt quintessentially English too I thought, it had swollen to twice the original size after the second baking and we demolished it quick sharp with knives and spoons, dry-humping accordingly. Neil let me put the jam on so the jam was the best bit. 8/10

I say:
#9 Manchester Pudding: 8/10. Can’t knock it really! I’d give it more but I reckon there’s better ones out there!