Before Covid-19 you’d be forgiven for thinking that lounging around the house and not having to go to work for weeks, possibly longer, would be lazily wonderful, but sadly it really isn’t like that. Confined to the house with just one walk a day, and said house being my parents’ home in Surrey (I didn’t fancy self-isolating alone in a two bedroom flat when there was a five bedroom house with a large garden and the company of my folks available), worrying about family members with the virus, is not an easy task. But staying at home is an essential task and we do what we can to calm and busy our restless selves.
I’m missing work terribly and was heartbroken that I couldn’t go on with the baking, making and delivering of afternoon teas. I’m missing the little things I left in my flat in London before evacuating to Surrey. I’m missing the freedom of not being able to pop out to the supermarket because I fancied making huevos a la flamenco tonight and need chorizo and serrano ham. I’m missing drinking wine and dancing on our dining room chairs to Kylie with my housemate who has escaped to his family home in Ireland. But we do what we can to get through it. I’ve been going for my daily walk (10,000 steps), enjoying the sunshine, blue sky and spring flowers as I go. I’ve picked up a book I meant to finish ages ago. And of course, I’ve been busy in the kitchen.
There is not much else that I find as calming as switching on Classic FM and rolling my sleeves up to cook or bake. Yesterday I distracted myself from some very difficult and worrying news by making bread pudding, using up some leftover end pieces with some dried fruit, some cinnamon and ginger (couldn’t just pop-out to pick up the mixed spices I’d usually use), some milk, brown sugar and a precious egg. It was simple, quick to make, and tastes delicious. We all enjoyed a slice with our morning coffee. This recipe is perfect if you have any leftover bread that’s not good enough for sandwiches anymore and if you can’t get hold of mixed dried fruit simply replace it with whatever you have (chopped apple, chunks of chocolate, raisins, glace cherries…). This lockdown is a time to get creative and try old recipes with new ingredients – let me know what you’re making and how you get on!
This is what I used, but the joy of this recipe is that you can adapt it and use whatever you have…
500g mixed dried fruit
140g brown sugar (plus a little extra to sprinkle on the top)
A generous sprinkling of ginger and cinnamon (around a tea spoon of each)
Tear the bread into small, bitesize pieces. Add the mixed fruit, sugar and spices and mix together. Beat the egg into the milk, pour over the dry mixture and using your hands – this is the bit kids love! – squelch it together. Pour your mix into a baking tray, lightly oiled and lined with baking paper. Sprinkle the extra brown sugar on the top (I was rather generous with this as it makes the yummiest crust!) and bake on 150 for around 30-40 minutes or until brown.