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19 October 2016

This week I turn 25. I'm not a lover of birthdays - or rather, of my birthday.

Other peoples, I love. After all, what better excuse is there than a birthday to make a huge, buttercream-laden cake, to pick out paper and ribbon from my (unnecessarily extensive) collection, to write a soppy card and to do decadent things like drink champagne on a Monday? 

But my birthday is different. I seem to have developed a bit of an ageing complex (Mum, I blame you as you have one too!), and with each year comes more worry that I'm not 'there' yet, that I'm not 'mindful' enough, that I'm running out of time to decided 'where I'm going', that I'm still not happy with how I look in a bikini and Jesus, will I ever manage to finish The Female Eunuch? 

The rational part of me know that the answer to that last question is, inevitably, probably not and honestly, that I should really find better things to worry about (sorry, Germaine). 

As to whether I'm 'there' yet - well, if anyone is able to tell me a bit more about what 'there' looks like, that would be a huge help. I seem to be adult-ing to an acceptable standard which, I suppose, will have to do for now. 

And alas, it seems that my bikini body aspiration will have to wait a little longer. Instead, I'll be eating a large helping of this rich, indulgent and wonderfully comforting self-saucing pudding, laced with dark cocoa and London's Porter beer. Perfect for cold autumnal evenings or Sundays at home.

What will you be baking this weekend? You can browse my recipe archives for inspiration - just click on the 'recipes' tag at the top of your screen.

for the pudding
75g butter
75g muscavado sugar
1 egg
100ml Porter
50ml milk
160g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
40g cocoa powder

for the sauce
120g muscavado sugar
50ml Porter
150ml water
50g butter

Heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan. Melt the butter, then use a little of it to grease a 1.5 litre oven-proof dish with a pastry brush. Whisk the sugar into the butter, then add the egg, Porter and milk and whisk to combine. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk quickly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.

To make the sauce, boil the water then combine with the remaining ingredients. Stir until the sugar and the butter have dissolved. Pour the sauce over the pudding mixture, the transfer to the oven. Bake for  25-35 minutes. The pudding is ready when the cake has risen, and is starting to crack on the surface.

Serve immediately and piping hot, with ice cream, thick cream of creme fraiche. 

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