One of the meals I had planned for us was based on a recipe I found in The Dalesman. Some of my readers may be familiar with this monthly magazine, subtitled "The best of Yorkshire". For those who are not, wikipedia has this to say: "Dalesman is a British monthly regional magazine, based in Skipton, and serving the English county of Yorkshire. Its first edition was published in March 1939, under the original title of The Yorkshire Dalesman: A Monthly Magazine of Dales' Life and Industry." And of course, it also has its own website.
Last Christmas, my sister gave me a subscription for this year. Every month (more or less - it has not worked smoothly, and my sister has had to write to them a few times about this), I find the latest issue in my mail box.
The March issue (not the one pictured here) contained a recipe I wanted to try the moment I read about it: Herb pudding.
Now, whenver there is spinach involved, you can be sure I'll want to try whatever dish it is! I just love spinach, and have always done so. Also, it sounded easy enough, and all measures are given in both imperial and contintental units.
Here is what you need, according to Mrs Simkins (whose "Country Kitchen" is a regular feature in The Dalesman):
- 430 ml (3/4 pint) milk [I needed a bit more in the end]
- 275 g (9 oz) breadcrumbs [I went for the lazy option, not having any stale bread anyway, and used the ready-made kind]
- 2 medium eggs [I used three, maybe they were smaller than what goes for "medium" in Yorkshire]
- 50 g (3 oz) diced salted butter, plus extra for dotting (or suet if you prefer) [again, I deviated, as I had neither salted butter nor suet]
- 3-4 generous handfuls of spinach leaves, washed, dried and chopped
- generous handful of chopped chives and parsley [I didn't have chives, but plenty of parsley, it grows on my windowsill]
- salt to taste, if necessary [it was necessary, since I used unsalted butter]
Preheat oven to 160C (fan), gas mark 4.
Butter a pie dish of around 23 cm (9 inch) diameter.
Pour the milk into a pan and stir in the breadcrumbs. Whisk the eggs well, season them (best is freshly ground black and white pepper and freshly ground nutmeg), stir in and leave to stand for a while. The recipe says 30 minutes but it did not take quite that long to set.
Stir in the butter and spinach and heat through gently.
Stir in the herbs (just parsley in my case), test for seasoning and pour into the prepared pie dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and golden.
Mrs Simkins suggests to use nettle tops in place of some or all of the spinach, which I can very well imagine - only I do not have easy access to nettle tops around my flat.
She also explains that herb pudding was once a Good Friday tradition around Whitby and that it is good on its own (I can confirm that) or with fried bacon (sounds delicious).
So, thanks to Mrs Simkins and The Dalesman - and of course thanks to my sister! - I had a proper, home-cooked meal on my own for a change. I ate two pieces immediately and two the next day (heated in the microwave, which worked well). The second half of the pie is in my freezer, waiting for the next time O.K. will be here with me - hopefully this coming weekend.