Puddings and Piano - 11th Feb 2012

Post date: 24-Jan-2012 11:26:53

How could we do better, after the punitive diets of January, than celebrate the entrance of February with a Supper Club that celebrates the great British Pudding? I imagine early Feb will have us shivering in our boots and longing for some delicious, sweet, hot puddings to give us some fuel for the winter.

When my father was a boy, my granny always made a pudding, and I know it's the one thing he truly misses about English food, eating now a very Asian diet as my mother rarely cooks Western food. Sometimes he forlornly picks up a Tescos ready-made variety (and sometimes my mother doesn't make him put it back!). But we all know it's just not the same.

I too have a weakness for puddings, the product of 7 years of boarding school. My granny taught me to cook them - I still have the cookbook she gave me with the recipe for bread and butter pudding scrawled in my childish hand. Puddings are one thing the English do supremely well. I've cooked puddings for foreign friends who have been seriously dubious - you should have seen the Italians, they were even more suspicious than the French - and steamed treacle sponge has won over the hardest hearts. With lashings of custard, of course - I think it can hold its own to any tiramisu or tarte tatin.

So for this supper club, my friend Vanessa (whose idea this was) and I will cook 8 of the classic puddings for you to try. There will be light starters and mains but save yourself for the puddings! Try Sussex Pond pudding which has a whole lemon in it and when you cut into it a pond of lemony buttery syrup pools out. Because of the whole lemon it's impossible to do individual portions so you'll never see this on a restaurant menu!

Puddings and Piano is a collaborative effort. In addition to Vanessa's pudding-making expertise, we are lucky enough to have a guest attending who is a professional musician, and who also does a lot of fundraising work – he’s played with people from Dire Straits, Status Quo and all sorts by the look of his website (www.rockliffjam.com) and he has promised to play for us (when he’s not eating puddings), on my friend Donald's lovely 106-year old Bechstein Boudoir Grand piano ("Gertrude Grand"). If you can tolerate a few mistakes even I might take a turn. Should you play the piano and be willing to contribute, you shoot to the top of the bookings list ;-)

Here is the menu. I’ve tried to make the savoury food as light as possible, given the constraints of English food! You can spend hours shelling prawns and still get only a mouthful...

Pints of North Sea Prawns with home made mayonnaise

Served with home made granary bread and butter

Truffled Cauliflower soup


Roast Chicken and Vegetable Pie with a home made puff pastry top

Smoked Fish Pie (with a light breadcrumb topping – no pastry!)


Sussex Pond Pudding

Jam Roly Poly made with home made Jam

Bread and Butter Pudding

Steamed golden syrup sponge

Sherry Trifle

Blackberry and Apple Crumble (blackberries picked myself, during the riots, on Walthamstow Marshes)

Eton Mess

Chocolate Sponge with Chocolate Custard

Gallons of custard!

Cost will be £40 of which £35 will go to MSF.

Please e-mail us with bookings on parkholmesupperclub@hotmail.co.uk