Pudding with suet
Why don't we make steamed puddings any more?" said the gorgeous young thing who was serving me at the hardware store. I was purchasing a pudding basin to make suet puddings in. "I have no idea," I replied as I marched off with basin in hand to see my butcher, because no steamed pudding tastes quite like Nana made it without some suet. "Sounds like a grain or sago or something like that," said my daughter when I asked her if she knew what suet was. When she found out what it was she ran from the room groaning.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and gradually add the milk to form a soft dough.
- Knead lightly until smooth. It will make a lovely doughy consistency. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to form a cylinder about the size of a baked bean can, only slightly longer.
- Make a pleat about 5cm wide in a clean tea towel - to allow for the pudding to expand - and then wrap it up loosely like a Christmas cracker, tying it at each end.
- Put it in a pot of boiling water so that it's covered, and cook with the lid on the saucepan for two hours. Serve with lashings of custard.
Tip: If you have any suet leftover, the wild birds love it, especially in the winter when a bit of fat is much appreciated.
It suets me Suet is the fat found around the kidney when a butcher cuts up beef. My butcher was more than happy to slice me off a bit and sell me the kidney too, which I later made into a very satisfying steak and kidney pudding (you'll have to wait until I write about kidneys for that recipe). You then take the suet home, make sure there's no meat left on it, grind it up in the food processor (Nana used to grate it) and it will sit in your fridge without going off for a few weeks. Mr you can buy shredded suet mixed with flour and sold under the name of Shreddo from the supermarket.
Red alert You can use either suet or Shreddo when you make this dish, but be careful when it comes to choosing a tea towel to wrap it in. I put my pudding in a nice red dobby tea towel, popped it in the boiling water and left it for two hours, only to find that the dye had come out and I had a bright red spotted dick that no-one would touch. Fortunately the hens were happy to accept my gift the next day, and I was relieved to see they didn't deliver me red eggs. I think this pudding tastes gorgeous and is very filling, so you need only a little served with a dollop of custard. Perfect for a Sunday night dessert in winter.