Sunday was family dinner day. One of the advantages of living in the countryside in North Cork is getting to spend more time with my family – and getting to try out lots of new recipes on them! This time round I decided to go with something very simple – Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon. “That doesn’t sound like you at all,” the Little Sister said suspiciously when I was talking to her on the phone that morning. “What’s the catch?” The last time she was around we were talking about serving her rabbit from the back garden so her reserve wasn’t entirely unwarranted, although unnecessary on this occasion. A good chicken needs no disguising. I just pushed some lemon thyme under the skin on the breast, tucked a few cloves of garlic and half a lemon inside the cavity and landed it in the oven, serving it with roasted carrots and peppers (livened up with a few chillies) and potatoes. There was supposed to be a side dish of Buttered Leeks as well – our leeks, grown from a bundle of seedlings that a friendly neighbour left on the doorstep last summer, flourished in the garden all winter – but, between breakfast in bed and flat tyres we forgot to pull them.
The pièce de résistance – I had to do something new after all – was desert. I had a long-frozen brioche that I was intent on using for Bread and Butter Pudding so, that morning, I smeared the layers with marmalade and soaked them in a chocolate custard. This pudding is a little like the Greg Malouf one that I made in New Zealand, but it is definitely easier to find decent marmalade nearby than good quality Turkish Delight. Due to my mother forgetting to bring cream, we ate and very much enjoyed this with copious amounts of natural yoghurt, I’m currently in love with the organic Glenilen brand that we stock in the shop and there’s always plenty of it in the house. Better than cream, any day!
Chocolate Orange Bread and Butter Pudding
Good quality dark chocolate – 150g, broken into pieces
Cream – 210ml
Milk – 440ml
Caster sugar – 120g
Butter – 50g, cubed, plus extra to butter the baking dish
Eggs – 4
Stale brioche or good quality white bread – approximately 500g, sliced and de-crusted
Chunky Seville marmalade – 2-3 tablespoons
Flaked almonds – 50g, chopped
Put the dark chocolate, cream, milk, caster sugar and butter into a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow the sugar, butter and chocolate to slowly melt, without stirring, then mix well.
Meanwhile, spread the slices of brioche or bread with the marmalade. Butter the base and sides of a deep baking dish well and fill with layers of the brioche.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. When the chocolate mixture has melted pour it slowly, whisking all the time, over the eggs to make a light custard. Pour it over the brioche, soaking everything well, cover loosely and allow to stand for an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top of the pudding and cook for 35 minutes until set and the almonds have started to brown.