The Philippines typhoon still dominates the news, and our government is giving a further £10M in overseas aid. Shop counters support an array of collection boxes, and charity shop windows display a variety of posters giving instructions on how and where to donate. Newspaper headlines include “Give a Quid, Save a Kid”, accounts have been set up On-Line and bank ATMs have options for direct donations. All major Credit Cards are accepted of course.
Yesterday, Friday 15th November, was the official transmission of the UK’s Children in Need fund raising marathon. Once again, the previous year’s total has been exceeded and over £31M has been raised so far.
I think it’s wonderful but on the other hand obscene, that so much money can be raised when so many UK families are struggling to live day to day. To me, a pensioner donating £5 as we come into the winter months when they may have problems heating their home, or the little boy emptying his piggy bank , is worth infinitely times more than any company CEO donating thousands of pounds which is probably tax deductible anyway. It’s not his money after all, yet the pensioner, little boy and the majority of Joe Public dip into their pockets and put whatever they can spare into the collection tins or buckets for those less fortunate than themselves.
One of the hi-lights on the radio yesterday was an auction for 5 places at a specific weekend event to be held next Summer. Each auctioned place was for 2 people, and included amongst other forms of entertainment by the rich and famous, a 5 course meal. Each course is to be prepared by a different celebrity chef, and the second highest bid was over £225,000. I didn’t hear numero uno. I for one can only dream of having that amount of money to spend on a weekend away and dinner, no matter how worthy the cause.
However, to show my support and for lesser souls like me, I can offer my own variation on the dessert that is apparently to be served. Mine does not contain the boasted 2000 calories per portion, neither does it contain cream or any of the other no doubt secret ingredients intended to tantalise the taste buds. It also won’t burn a hole in the pocket or budget, after all, it used to be considered a poor man’s ‘afters’ using left over or stale bread.
BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING serves 4
4 slices of economy loaf bread (with crusts) lightly spread with low fat margarine
3 medium eggs
½ pint of skimmed milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 handfuls sultanas
Cut bread into 4 large and 8 small triangles.
Arrange the large ones flat on the base (sticky side up) of a greased 12” square baking dish.
Sprinkle with two thirds of the sultanas.
Arrange the remaining 8 triangles in 3 overlapping rows, pointy side down.
Sprinkle with remaining sultanas.
Break eggs into a jug and add the milk and sugar. Beat well, then pour over the bread and sultanas making sure to include all the bread corners.
Sprinkle a little sugar on the top if required.
Bake in a moderate oven (gas 3, 160C, 325F) for about ¾ of an hour until top is brown and crisp.
Note: some book recipes suggest letting the dish stand for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the egg mixture before putting it in to cook. I’ve never done this and just ensure that the mix is firm when the dish is removed from the oven.