Tag Archives: Pudding

Rocking Dog’s Little Bit Of This & That!

The Hambrook Rhubarb Triangle!, Rocking Dog

The Hambrook Rhubarb Triangle!

Rocking Dog has been doing a little bit of this and that…and going nowhere fast! I hate germy long haul flights, and have been laid low with some mild airborne affliction. Multi-tasking has been difficult and I have found myself ineffectively pootling from one project to another like an ant having been sprayed with DDT!

Sunday lunch was a case in point. I couldn’t really decide what to do for friends and family so we ended up with a Lebanese/ British mix up! Lamb Shawarma (whole leg of lamb with an amazing spice rub), chopped salad, roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad together with tahini dressing and bread came from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem”. The English elements were Delia’s roasties and some sausages. Pudding saw the first of the the Hambrook triangle’s rhubarb. I poached the tender pink strips together with a vanilla pod, water and golden caster sugar in a gentle oven. To accompany it I whizzed up a batch of praline ice cream – sorted! It sort of all worked and I was very proud of myself when I didn’t capitulate to Alex’s hint/request for homemade ice cream for 120 wedding guests! Go Girl!!!

Staying on the subject of weddings, the boys is now getting ever closer. So in between feeding people and nursing my aircraft lurgy I have tried to step right on up to Planet Wedding!

When the happy couple came over on Sunday, they bought with them a list (both mothers I gather had been angling for one!) This list was not dissimilar to one of those manuscripts that ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ unrolls, taking you through from present day folk to those walking about wearing furs and carrying clubs! I fear that the brides mums’ weekend of relaxation in a spa will be a very distant memory when the said list is unravelled this week! Maybe all those to do’s were best left on a smart phone after all Kylie!

So menu planning, sourcing, ordering (yelp!), making ten staff aprons, reviewing a colossal crockery order etc…all clutter my work bench together with all the components for THAT wedding coat ….. GET IT DONE! On a more positive note I have finally finished the Roman Blind which had been festering in my To Do Basket. My Beloved Bernina repair and a holiday interrupted its completion. Today will see me get the blind up, I suspect that it may be more than a little wonky!

I sincerely hope you are being productive and more focused than poor old Rocking Dog! Enjoy your day.

PS. Big thanks to my gorgeous sis’ for sorting out more space with SiteGround so that I can keep on blagging oops, blogging!

To The Oven You Go!, Rocking Dog

To The Oven You Go!

Chopped Salad, Rocking Dog

Chopped Salad

Cauli' & Hazelnut Salad, Rocking Dog

Cauli’ & Hazelnut Salad

Blooming Blind!, Rocking Dog

Blooming Blind!

Marital Menu Planning, Rocking Dog

Marital Menu Planning

GET IT DONE!, Rocking Dog


Trying Not To Be A Control Queen- The Makery

First Attempt, Rocking Dog

First Attempt

I hope you have had a good weekend and not feeling too down about the longer darker nights. It takes a while for our household to change all the clocks and its quite disconcerting for a couple of days as to what time it really is!

On Friday I had a great time at “The Makery” in Bath when I joined a Freehand Machine Embroidery course. It’s a very bizarre technique, and not one for Control Queens (or Kings!) The feed dogs of the machine are dropped, so the little teeth that normally feed fabric through are no longer there. Ultimately you are in charge of the movement of the fabric.

The morning started with friendly Emily and Jess making mugs of coffee and tea for the group of eight before taking to our machines. Free embroidery requires a darning foot for your machine, copious reels of thread and embroidery hoops, in short nothing too wildly expensive. We embroidered lots of stitch work to gain confidence, and then added in fabrics which spilled out of baskets in the workshop. It was so relaxing, for me so much better than a spa!

My attempts are a bit rough and ready -but i’m looking forward to lots of further practice on Beloved Bernina.

Yes, i’m becoming a bit of a serial offender at The Makery, Roman Blinds, Meticulous Ink Calligraphy and now, Freehand Machine Embroidery. I can truly recommend taking a workshop there together with a visit to the shop. If you have done a workshop that day you benefit from 10% discount on shop supplies and any workshop bookings. For London residents The Makery is available at John Lewis, Oxford Street and again you can enrol on a variety of lovely workshops.

Since I have a Christmas Pudding on this post perhaps it’s a good opportunity to announce Rocking Dog Christmas events.

On Saturday 5th December I will be at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall for the Original Vintage & Handmade Christmas Fair. 10-3pm. Gorgeous vintage cupped tea and cake by the lovely WI.

On Sunday 13th December Rocking Dog will be opening the kennel in Hambrook, Bristol. 11am-2pm ish. There will be lovely last minute homemade gifts to buy, and a chance to sit with a mulled drink and delicious home made eats. As usual the kennel will be decked with 11 boxes of mainly vintage and homemade decorations. My poor long suffering Andyman just how does he cope with my Christmas dec’ addiction?!

Someone very kindly told me recently that a visit to the Rocking Dog Sale really signifies the beginning of Christmas for her. Thank you I am humbled. This year profits from refreshments will be going to Young Carers. During 2015 I have worked as a volunteer with a group of young children who help to look after parents and siblings with complex needs. They are truly inspirational.

So i’ll soon be dusting off you know who!

Makery Calligraphy, Rocking Dog

Makery Calligraphy

Makery Blinds, Rocking Dog

Makery Blinds

Spread The Word, Rocking Dog

Spread The Word

Makery Take-Away, Rocking Dog

Makery Take-Away

Brown Paper Packages Tied ..., Rocking Dog

Brown Paper Packages Tied …

Second Attempt, Rocking Dog

Second Attempt

Apricot Compote For Dusk & Dawn

Feasting At Dawn, Rocking Dog

Feasting At Dawn

With summer in full swing it is lovely to find blushed ripe apricots in season. Apricots, however are a fruit that benefit nearly always from gentle cooking.

With two large punnets full of these soft velvety beauties, I halved each fruit removing their stone. Placed in a large pan I added a little water, a split vanilla pod and some golden caster sugar. Slowly brought to the boil, I stirred, and then covered the pan with a close fitting lid, reducing the heat to a simmer. I cooked the apricots until they were tender (approximately 10 minutes) and left the compote to cool. Later I poured the fruit and its thick juice into a large jar (or use a lidded box). Refrigerate.

The fruit will form the basis of our breakfast for the next week. We will savour the gorgeous taste of the fleeting summer, adding granola, some Greek yoghurt and a trek into the garden!

Alternatively, the compote can be used as the basis for some delicious summery desserts. For a simple light pie, put a generous layer of compote into a shallow dish before topping with a packets worth of crumpled up filo pastry. Brush lavishly with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake in a hot oven until golden brown. A contemporary trifle can be concocted with amaretti biscuits, Amaretto, homemade custard, mascarpone cream… and of course the apricots! Even simpler, lightly toast brioche and top with the compote and good quality ice-cream. Crumbles, pancake filling, waffle topping- the possibilities are endless!

For a W.I. take, bake a batch of light and fluffy scones (gorgeous with the addition of some chopped stem ginger and ginger spice). Serve warm with the compote and lashings of clotted cream.

Thanks to the lovely Matt Waite for his gorgeous cups, bowls etc.. Wonderously, the talented potter bears a passing resemblance to a young Sean Bean!

.....And Dusk!, Rocking Dog

…..And Dusk!

Summer In A Jar, Rocking Dog

Summer In A Jar

Alfresco Breakfast, Rocking Dog

Alfresco Breakfast

I’m All Mixed Up With Planter’s Punch!

Fruit For The Slaughter!, Rocking Dog

Fruit For The Slaughter!

My oldest girl asked me about a recipe yesterday- a Fruit Salad in a Planter’s Punch. It got me a thinking about this old family favourite… so I looked in the fridge and I foraged in the garden to rustle together fruit components.

I loosely based my boozy fruit salad on Delia’s Tropical Fruit Salad in Planter’s Punch. Delia’s recipe starts with making a sugar syrup flavoured with cinnamon sticks and lime zest. Leaving the syrup to cool and infuse, the fruit can be prepared. Fruit which is particularly lovely for this lots of your 5 a day dessert include mango, lychees, pineapple, and passion fruit. Alas in my fridge I only had the pineapple, and a rather battered one at that! My fridge fruit were combined with white currants and raspberries from my unkempt veg patch.

With fruit washed and cut neatly, it was back to the cooled syrup. I added in lime juice, some tropical fruit juice and Pimms. My version of Planter’s Punch was born! It is not known where Planter’s Punch originally originated but a recipe first appeared in print in the August 8th 1908 edition of The New York Times. Planter’s Punch typically includes, a sugar syrup, Grenadine, rum, fruit juices and bitters. Many believe that this rum based drink first came from Jamaica. Romantically, it is said that a Jamaican planter’s wife concocted the drink to cool down workers. Other reports are that the punch originated from hotels in Charleston and Saint Louis. When I started styling my photo’s I came over sort of Hawaiian. What a Mix Up!

After combining the fruit with the syrup put the fruit into a pretty serving bowl or individual dishes. Sprinkle over a little freshly grated nutmeg and some fresh mint leaves. For a dramatic centrepiece top the fruit filled serving bowl with the spiky pineapple top, that’s unless it’s a battered example like mine!

Buy British!, Rocking Dog

Buy British!

Lime Zest Syrup, Rocking Dog

Lime Zest Syrup

Prepared Fruit, Rocking Dog

Prepared Fruit

Pretty Fruit, Rocking Dog

Pretty Fruit

Liquid Components, Rocking Dog

Liquid Components

Fruit Finale!, Rocking Dog

Fruit Finale!

The Rhubarb Glut. Homemade Ice Cream.

Delectable Dessert, Rocking Dog

Delectable Dessert

A little while before Christmas my beloved Kitchenaid Artisan mixer decided it had simply had enough! For a while at least I tried to soldier on without it….but whisking meringues by hand is no fun, Yorkshire Puddings definitely suffered and baking dwindled. An expensive Shopping trip ensued and of course there was the difficult debate of what colour to choose! Purchased 16 or so years before, my previous Kitchenaid came in two colours, white or black, and a much cheaper price tag! Somewhat boringly I chose a graphite matt finish machine but excitingly it came with the bonus of a free ice cream churning bowl.

I am not a new convert to making ice cream, in fact I have a dedicated ice cream making machine. It has given good service over the years churning out ice cream for various parties and weddings when I was running my catering company “Heaven’s Cake”. Favourite flavours have been Gooseberry and Clotted Cream, Brown Bread and Sour Cherry and Praline. I would often serve the ice creams in spectacular ice bowls which encased borage flowers, roses, herb sprigs, fruits and pansies.

My new Kitchenaid Ice Cream attachment is proving simple to use and produces wonderful smooth ice cream. Unfortunately the fit of the beater feels as if it’s a bit of a Friday afternoon bodge job….but i’ll forgive the annoying design details.

I personally love Skye Gyngell’s basic ice cream recipe. To that you can then add your own flavourings. The recipe can be found in Skye’s “A year in my kitchen”. This is a well used tome, with the pages almost automatically turning to Skye’s recipe for “Roast chicken and bread salad with sour cherries and roasted red onions”. It is utterly divine, and great to serve for an informal alfresco lunch or supper. You may be alarmed by the list of ingredients -but it is SO worth it!

As with most ice cream recipes a custard needs to be knocked up using egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla pod. This needs to be cooked very carefully otherwise the mixture separates and your ice cream won’t be so delectably smooth. If I see the custard getting a little bit hot and bothered I simply remove it from the heat, stir it, and return it to the heat when it has cooled a little. Poured into a plastic tub the custard then needs to be chilled thoroughly. Eventually the mixture can be poured into your just out of the freezer ice cream bowl, with the beater already going. After about 20 minutes the mixture will have really firmed up and you can add your chosen flavouring. A further few minutes churning and you’ll have soft clouds of ice cream. If you want a firmer ice cream the mixture can be boxed up and put in the freezer for a couple of hours. For the rhubarb ice cream pictured, Skye’s book gives the recipe for the rhubarb compote to add to her ice cream base. I reserved a little of the compote for drizzling.

To serve I made some simple coconut macaroons from Nigella’s “Domestic Goddess”. It proved an economical way of using up some of the egg whites leftover from the egg yolks needed for the ice cream. Gluten and dairy free, they are a good recipe to have in the repertoire. Approximately 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook they’re a doddle! Prior to baking I pimped my macaroons with some little flecks of 24 carat gold because I love a bit of bling to match the serving plate!

Feeling like summer already!

Skye And The Rhubarb, Rocking Dog

Skye And The Rhubarb

Magic Machine, Rocking Dog

Magic Machine

24 Carat Macaroons, Rocking Dog

24 Carat Macaroons

Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding

Recycling Hot Cross Buns!, Rocking Dog

Recycling Hot Cross Buns!

“Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! one a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns!” I had some hot cross buns that were not the soft moist buns they should have been. So… it was time to make some simple wintry comfort food. My trio of hot cross buns would once again taste wonderful!

For this Eastery version of Bread & Butter pud’ you will need the following:-

200ml milk (preferably whole milk)
150ml double cream
2 free range eggs
4 tbsp caster sugar
Butter for spreading
2 tbsp sultanas or other dried fruit
Vanilla pod (optional)
3 or 4 hot cross buns

Set oven to 180 degrees. Slice each bun horizontally into 3 and spread each piece with butter. Place bun slices (reserving the cross tops) into an ovenproof dish (hope you noticed my Egg shaped Nigella Lawson one!) and sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar and the sultanas. Top with the reserved tops.

Break the eggs into a jug, whisk with a fork. Add milk and cream together with the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod and 2 tbsp sugar. Stir well.

Pour egg mix over the buns, they may float until they become saturated with the custard.

Pour some water into a baking tin and place the pudding dish in the tin. This is a Bain Marie and helps to stop the custard from overheating and separating. Cook for about 25 minutes until deliciously golden brown. Serves 4.

Variations- after spreading the buns with butter, spread with some marmalade for a lovely citrus flavour* Grate over a little nutmeg or mixed spice* Add in some chunks of dark chocolate in place of the sultanas* For a lower fat version, make the pudding with skimmed milk and a buttery low fat spread.

Admittedly this isn’t the healthiest of sweet treats, but with March looking springlike, but feeling rather raw, it gives your being a pleasing warm glow!

Carb Fest, Rocking Dog

Carb Fest

Uncrossed Buns, Rocking Dog

Uncrossed Buns

2015 Pop Up Restaurant Being Plotted!

Andyman's Dough!, Rocking Dog

Andyman’s Dough!

My 100th Post! Gradually getting used to this Social Media malarky but still need to know how to make more friends!

Yes, bubbling up in the pipeline are plans for another pop up restaurant event. This will be our third, and once again it will be a sparkling event in aid of another great cause. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southmead benefitted from our last Pop Up. Our lovely little neighbour spent a few weeks in this wonderful unit following his birth. I am pleased to report that today he is an energetic, chatty and charming little two year old !

At this Autumn 2013 Pop Up, guests were treated to a warm welcome, a glass of Prosecco and Italian inspired canap├ęs. Guests were then seated and the serous eating began! Andyman made fantastic Focaccia bread which included basil, roasted cherry tomatoes and peppers. The bread was served with antipasti, together with Umbrian olive oil (the olives having been picked by us). Main courses included Sicilian sausages with Cannellini Beans and Red Onion Marmalade, Aubergine Parmigiana and Calabrian Seafood Lasagne. Dolce (puddings!) were Panna Cotta’s, Tiramisu and Fig Frangipane Tart. Coffee followed, together with homemade Chocolate Salami.

The guests certainly appeared happy and went away feeling reassuringly full. Thankfully we had no difficult customers and people gave incredibly generously to the charity. As a family we really enjoyed hosting the event.

Currently I am uncertain which country we’ll be visiting for this years menu, but as ever everything where possible will be cooked from scratch using seasonal, local ingredients. I am looking forward to planning the menu and the decorative elements, but can’t say I ever get desperately enamoured with the thought of the furniture shuffling or the washing up!

Please Be Seated, Rocking Dog

Please Be Seated

Antipasti, Rocking Dog


Ambience, Rocking Dog


Scaffold Clad Restaurant , Rocking Dog

Scaffold Clad Restaurant

Welcome Bubbly!, Rocking Dog

Welcome Bubbly!

Banter And Bubbly, Rocking Dog

Banter And Bubbly

Something For The Weekend Sir?!

Heading For The Oven, Rocking Dog

Heading For The Oven

I have decided that Rocking Dog Fashion Week has ended early! I am definitely no Gok, though there were some pretty unbelievable colours in M &S today. Who does look good in muted tangerine one wonders? Other things to report are that some linen has hit TK Maxx (Cribbs, Bristol) together with some great Joules, Crew, Paul Costelloe and Moschino pieces. Good stock of Hunter wellies there too- though expensive they last and last- I wear mine every day for walking Real Live Rocking Dog.

I’m finishing the week with a culinary post to inspire a delicious weekend pastry making session. Click the link for the recipe for Dried Pear Frangipane Tart. It’s simple to make, especially if you cowardly decide to use a shop bought pastry. It can be served warm or cold and it’s delicious served with creme fraiche, ice cream or clotted cream. Although the recipe asks for the pears to be soaked for 24 hours I quite often forget, so I just cook the pears for a little longer in the pan with the Armagnac (I used Schnapps, but use what you have at hand). The dried pears maybe a little difficult to source but Waitrose always stocks them, after all the recipe is one of their recipes! Fresh apricots, raspberries or fresh figs would also work well. Lastly I scattered my Frangipane with some blanched almonds prior to baking. Incidentally, always use metal to bake pastry, using china or glass flan dishes give a less crisp result. Baking beans or coins also help when baking blind because they conduct heat well.

I have been busy sewing for spring, whilst watching the Great British Sewing Bee. LOVE IT! I’m rather hoping my son watched last nights episode so that he can make his Ferguson clan kilt for his wedding! I was sat there feeling rather smug, because I managed to make a pretty spectacular kilt in an hour two years ago. However, it was dog sized… fancy dress for Real Life Rocking Dog. I have got to come up with this years outfit in readiness for the Fox Terrier Rescue fun day. Strange but true!

Whatever your weekend holds have a really lovely one, and hope the Frangipane Tart proves truly spectacular.

Spread And Scattered, Rocking Dog

Spread And Scattered

Wrapped, And Ready To Go, Rocking Dog

Wrapped, And Ready To Go

What Have You Got Cooking Rocking Dog?

The Magic Begins!, Rocking Dog

The Magic Begins!

The answer, another simple dessert to blag, oops, blog about! My lovely Mum’s recipe for Scandinavian Peasant Girl With Veil delighted many a guest during the 70’s. It was often the perfect end to a dinner party which had normally begun with Beef Stroganoff or Athenian Mince (rather like lasagne but the pasta layer being replaced with boiled thickly sliced potatoes). Another pudding staple was cherry pie (Morton’s black cherry pie filling trapped in a homemade pastry case). The pie was normally decorated with large pastry stars, had a hole to let the steam escape, and a generous sprinkling of sugar before baking. Pudding plates cleared, it was my Dad Doug’s piece de resistance to offer a range of liquors. Holiday travel abroad was in it’s infancy but there’d be some weird concoction from Palma de Mallorca, French hypermarket buys together with Drambuie and Tia Maria. Latterly I remember one of Dad’s less successful liquer buys, a kiwi flavoured liquer with two whole kiwi unappetisingly floating about in it. It rather resembled a specimen jar on some gory hospital lab’ shelf!

Unfortunately, I do not know where the original recipe for Scandinavian Peasant Girl came from. My Mum Barbara, had a small shelf of cookery books and recipe cards, but for weekday cooking she relied on a selection of regular stored in the head recipes. I remember her loving Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet when he hit the TV screens, she definitely said he was dishy! She certainly couldn’t abide the bullying Fanny Craddock but was rather fond of Keith Floyd

We ate this nostalgic pud’ yesterday for a small gathering, and I hope my children will keep this family recipe in their repertoire. I tried to look for Barbara’s glass trifle bowl to get the whole 70’s vibe, alas my cellar is much to untidy to lay my hands on it! (job 476 on the list) Although a grating of 70% dark chocolate would be more PC these days, I still personally love the Cadbury’s Flake to remind me of this pudding being served up at home by my mum in a jazzy trouser suit!

So the recipe for Barbara’s Scandinavian Peasant Girl With Veil.

(serves 6 very generously)
3/4 large sliced wholemeal loaf (day old bread perfect)
250g butter
100g soft brown sugar
4 large Bramley apples
4 tbsp white sugar
200ml double cream
2 Flake bars or grated chocolate

*Peel, core and slice apples and put in a pan with a little water and the white sugar. Cook until pulpy. Cool.
*Break the bread slices into pieces and blitz to coarse breadcrumbs with a stick blender or in a processor.
*Melt the butter on a medium heat in a large high sided frying pan.
*When butter melted add in the breadcrumbs and continue cooking over a medium heat. Stir constantly!
*After about 15 minutes the breadcrumbs will be crisper and a chestnut brown colour. Remove from the heat.
*Stir the brown sugar into the breadcrumbs.Leave to cool.
*When apple and breadcrumb mixes are both cold, whip your cream into peaks.
*Layer the apple and breadcrumb mixtures in a large glass bowl/glasses. End with a breadcrumb layer.
*Dollop the veil (cream) on top of your dessert(s) and break over some shards of Flake or grated chocolate.
*Refrigerate until serving.

If you were making this dessert ahead of time I would suggest making the apple and breadcrumb mixes and storing them separately in airtight containers in the fridge. Assemble up to 2 hours before guests arrive. No Hostess Trolley required!

Thank you to Malago WI for the lovely Emily Ketteringham tea towel which features in my photo’s. Simply too lovely to dry dishes with!

Mother and Brother, Rocking Dog

Mother and Brother

Scandi' Pud', Rocking Dog

Scandi’ Pud’

Hallelujah! The Turkey Is Finished!

beetroot gravadlax in the making, rocking dog

Beetroot Gravadlax In The Making

The turkey is at an end and now it’s time to enjoy my Beetroot Gravadlax. Taken from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie Does..”book this is a family favourite. Served with his Simple Crunchy Salad and creamy dill sauce this makes for lighter eating after all the Christmas excesses. We were planning to eat this together with baked jacket potatoes in the garden today, sat huddled around the chimnea. Alas the rain made an unwelcome appearance- so eating was done in close proximity to the wood burner. Pudding was made with the knowledge we’d need something warming after our alfresco dining. So it was an apple crumble made with some of Sorrel’s salted caramel and baked in white porcelain tea cups. Yum!

the finished article, rocking dog

The Finished Article

simple crunchy salad, rocking dog

Simple Crunchy Salad

salted caramel apple crumble cups, rocking dog

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble Cups