I hate cooking. No actually, I don’t hate cooking. I enjoy choosing a recipe, buying the ingredients and making it, plus of course eating it afterwards. The part I hate is deciding what to make because I get no input from others I’m cooking for (apart from N who always wants pasta, sausage, cheese or fish), then they’re never grateful afterwards.
I tend to not cook much during the week (thank you the mother in law for usually having made enough for the OH to eat, and I try and eat at lunchtime rather than later in the evening), especially in winter when the OH is usually home before me because it’s dark. When I do cook, it’s quick and easy, something that’s versatile because I only usually have 30-45 minutes to cook from getting home to serving up.
Weekends mean a bit more time, although Sunday roasts annoy me. Yes they might be easy and just shove everything in. But with an Aga that has temperamental temperatures, you can’t really follow a lb to minutes cooking times, it’s a case of bung it in and either hope it’ll be cooked in time, or cover it with foil and put it in the bottom oven if it’s cooking too quickly. Because I like to be out and about with N on our only free day of the week, it’s a pain having to be back to prepare everything ready to put in, or rush when we get home and the OH turns up with whatever meat out of the freezer.
But puddings are another matter.
I have a sweet tooth, and the OH has been used to having puddings after pretty much every evening meal. I was brought up having fruit or yoghurt or nothing afterwards unless it was a weekend, so having to remember to do a pudding is just another inconvenience.
I do have a few staples, especially at seasonal times of the year:
Quick and easy puddings
- Fruit crumble – keep some frozen bags of fruit in the freezer, perfect and quick to make.
- Rustic fruit pies – or a real pie if you must. I always have chilled puff pastry in the fridge (or some shortcrust), I can just lay it on a baking tray, put some fruit in the middle, curl the edges partially over the edges of the fruit and bake. Yum and really easy and homemade looking.
- Chocolate and pear pudding – I use Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her Nigella Express. If you’ve not got much in the cupboards apart from baking essential, cocoa and tinned pears, then you can make this.
- Golden syrup pudding – again a Nigella Express recipe. If you like sweet, this is the way to go. Chilled shortcrust pastry, spread on golden syrup, roll up, put in a greased dish, pour milk down each side of the pastry and bake. It makes a lovely syrupy sauce to go with the pastry.
- Faux creme brulee – just pop crushed berries in ramekins, add a few dollops of Philadelphia (we use Lactofree instead), level off, sprinkle over sugar, grill or blow torch the top, then chill until the sugar has set.
So I’ve got a few that get rolled out, inbetween some cakes, cheesecakes or other random dessert recipes I’ve ripped out of magazines to try. This weekend I was planning on just doing a crumble, but then realised we had a bit of milk to use up. The OH would always use it to make chocolate blancmange (not just for kids!), but I decided to try rice pudding.
The last time I cooked it I put it in the top of the Aga for way too long, forgot about it and ended up with a ruined pyrex dish (this has happened quite a lot to me – rhubarb being another occasion. I rely on a loud timer!), so this time I decided to use the electric oven instead.
It turned out really well and I was really looking forward to it after our roast…and then in walked my brother in law with a lemon meringue pie for the OH….every birthday his sister-in-law makes him one because it’s his favourite and she makes a good lemon meringue pie. So of course my rice pudding was left and I’ve been eating it cold for days afterwards instead. The OH always moans about puddings and cake saying they’re like buses…you don’t see one for ages, then several turn up at once!
If you’ve never made rice pudding, this one has made it through me making it:
65g Pudding rice
600ml milk. Probably should use full fat, but I only had skimmed milk.
25g caster sugar
Nutmeg, accorded to taste
If you don’t have full fat milk, you can always use what milk you have, but then top it up to the right amount with double cream like I did.
- Preheat oven to 150C or Gas mark 2,
- Put everything in a lightly greased dish (glass or casserole type is best)
- Stir, cover and put in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Home made rice pudding does taste so much better than shop bought, so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.
The question is, jam or not?