Friday, April 23, 2010

Saint George's Day and Jam Roly-Poly and Custard

This recipe is an entry for Family Recipes; Memories of Family, Food and Fun! Hosted by Lynda at: Here’s what she says, Make a dish that is a favorite of your family's, whether it's yours, your moms, an aunt, cousin or whoever, and submit it to me. I’m not to sure if this qualifies as, while it’s a favorite, it is a traditional rather than an original recipe. Anyway here goes.

A few months ago, for some strange reason, Mick and I were reminiscing about junior (elementary) school lunches. Back when we were kids, school lunches were really good, absolutely no fried or fast food, just good wholesome grub. But it wasn’t really the main courses that we remembered so much as the puddings (desserts). One thing we both agreed on was that jam roly-poly was one of our favorites. It was obviously the same for the other kids at school, ‘cos if second helpings were in the offing, one could get killed in the rush.

Anyway, I decided to have a go at making jam roly-poly. And I must say, that it’s a good thing I’ve lost my sweet tooth, because if I was to make stuff like this all the time I’d be built like a house-side. I did cheat with the custard, and used Bird’s Custard Powder, which while better than the instant stuff, isn’t as good as homemade.

And another thing, it’s Saint. George’s Day today (he’s the patron Saint of England, in case you didn’t know), and what better way to celebrate it than with a traditional English pud!

You can find Bird’s Custard Powder here:
And the Atora Vegetable Suet here:

The recipe I used is from Brian Turner’s book, Favourite British Recipes. It was actually a recipe for Spotted Dick (no, I am not making that up!). Spotted Dick is basically the same pudding except that it’s filled with currants and raisins instead of jam.

Jam Roly-Poly and Custard


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ cup vegetable suet (the book uses beef suet but that isn’t available in the US)
Approx. ½ cup water
Approx. ½ cup raspberry jam

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together, then rub in the suet. Add the water gradually and mix to a dough.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 10 x 6-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with a thin layer of jam leaving a ½ inch border. Don’t spread the jam too thickly or it will ooze out when you roll it up. Brush the border with water.
  • Turn the two short edges in and seal, then roll up carefully from a long side.
    Rinse a clean kitchen cloth in boiling water and wring out. Sprinkle cloth with flour and shake off the excess. Roll the pudding in the cloth and tie the ends with string.
  • Set the pudding on a rack in a roasting pan, add water to the pan, just enough that the water isn’t touching the pud. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven to steam for about 2 hours. Top up water occasionally, as you do not want the pan to boil dry.

NOTE: Exercise extreme caution when removing the pudding from the oven.

Serve hot with custard sauce – it must be custard, I will accept no substitutes. :-)

Custard Sauce


2 cups milk.
3 large eggs.
1 tablespoon cornstarch.
2 tablespoons sugar.
½ tsp. vanilla extract.


  • Reserve 4 tablespoons of milk and put remainder in a saucepan. Heat to just below boiling point.
  • In a medium sized bowl mix cornstarch with a little cold water to form a smooth paste. Add eggs, sugar and reserved milk and whisk until smooth. Add hot milk to mixture and whisk together.
  • Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Serve hot over jam roly-poly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

Lately, we’ve been busy tidying up the garden after the ravages of winter. It’s hard to believe that only three weeks ago it was snowing, as this cardinal will attest.

Now the leaves are on the trees, along with peach, pear and apple blossoms. My daffodils have bloomed and gone, and the tulips are taking their bow. I hope that winter is a distant memory where you are too.

Leek, Bacon, Mushroom and Pasta Bake

This is a yummy recipe containing one of my favorite veggies, leeks. It also has a lovely cheesy, mustardy sauce, which enhances the flavor of the leeks, and the fresh breadcrumbs give it a nice crunch. For the breadcrumbs, I usually toast 2 slices of wheat bread and Mick crumbles it up into chunky breadcrumbs. Well it gives him something to do when he’s loitering around the kitchen getting under the feet. :-) You can, of course, pulse them in a food processor, if you prefer.

For a veggie version, omit bacon, use 4 leeks instead of 2, 8 ounces of mushrooms instead of 6, and vegetable stock instead of chicken.


2 slices wheat bread
6 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, sliced
8 ounces penne pasta
1 cup chicken stock
1½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground mustard powder (use 1 if you don’t like it too mustardy)
½ cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded and divided
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Toast bread, crumble into breadcrumbs and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan covered with a lid, simmer leeks in chicken stock for about 5 minutes.
  • While leeks simmer, put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta, and fry bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  • Drain leeks and set aside, reserving ¼ of a cup of stock.
  • Add pasta to boiling water, reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside.
  • While pasta boils, make sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a
    medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour and mustard powder. Gradually add the ¼ cup of stock until you have a smooth paste. Return pan to heat, gradually add milk, then cream, stirring continuously until sauce thickens.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in half the cheese.
  • Grease a 7x11x3-inch baking dish with a little butter. Add pasta, leeks, bacon and mushrooms to dish and mix to combine the ingredients. Pour over mustard/cheese sauce, top with remaining shredded cheddar, and finally top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.