Friday, 17 June 2011

Barbecue widowhood and weight gain.

Well, I am a barbecue widow this weekend. Husband is finally realising his dream (and that of approximately 85% of men) and trying to make a go of cooking huge chunks of meat over a large grill.So he's off to Stowmarket Food Festival as Bubba Grills UK,  (see here for where else he's going, I lose track) to punt his ribs and flash his pork butt at people, hoping against hope that they will love his vinegar based sauces and actually allow him to make some money out of meat and fire. I am praying too, as setting up a new business, not to mention a catering one, is not cheap, folks, not at all. And while he is out flaming things and worrying that we'll be eating the leftovers all week, I am the one doing what I always do, Monday-Friday, namely get kids up, deal with kids all day, put kids to bed. Only now I do it on Saturday and Sunday too. (Truth be told, it is mostly me that deals with the kids Saturday and Sunday anyway, but at least I get to stand in the kitchen cooking with the radio on while he plays the annoying dinosaur game, and I get to go to the loo alone while he distracts them).
The only real difference is in the evenings. I am used to either fiddling on the PC or sewing machine once the kids are in bed, not just because I like it, but because husband likes to watch unmitigated crap on TV. We have no real mid-ground here, aside from the History Channel, and even I, as an ex-history teacher, can have too much of Hitler and Tony Robinson. I cannot watch anything involving cops and cameras, I detest talent shows and live scenes of nonentities caterwauling/dancing/doing whatever, and we can't watch the news because we argue. Newsnight has been known to reduce us to mean silence with each other for over a week, but that's my fault for marrying a Tory. There is some mild agreement on cookery shows, but only in that we both agree we can never, ever watch Masterchef without wanting to punch those blokes whilst saying to them "Punching doesn't get tougher than THIS". But when he is absent, oh yes......
Now, now is the time I can watch costume drama without havng to explain which period things are in or him pointing out the cars are actually wrong. I can watch as MUCH CARY GRANT as I like (which is a lot), and admire handsome vampires without having to hear that really, they wouldn't be able to do that. I can cook meat-free meals (husband always looks up from a meat-free plate with a sad little face) and eat nothing but pudding for my tea. And herein lies my weight gain. Or at least, it will by the end of the Barbecue Season. Because last weekend, all I ate for my post-kids bed tea was jam roly poly, a 'la Hairy Bikers. Tonight, I have dined on Lemon Pond Pudding, a'la my nan. Next weekend, I fully intend to eat Eve's Pudding all night. Because normally, I can't be bothered to do a pudding. Nobody in my family eats them. They all eat cheese instead. Nary a sweet tooth or suet love between them. It seems greedy to knock a pudding up, just for me. But as there's no-one around but me this weekend, I don't care. Here is a recipe for Lemon Pond Pudding, and jolly good it is too. I can't show you a photo, because I ate it all. You can also use oranges instead of lemons.

You will need lots of eggs and arm strength for this, if, like me, you are blender or mixer less. I have plenty of eggs, thanks to my hens, and tonight used the monster shown in the photo, proud possessor of 3 yolks. Poor Boo-Boo, that must have hurt.

4 eggs, separated.
5 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one lemon
30g soft butter
300g caster sugar
4 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
350ml milk
Oven at Gas 4, no idea about electric.

Beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter together until it is as thick as you can get it. Then gradually add the sugar, flour, salt and milk until you have a thick batter. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. This took me sodding ages by hand and made me swear to fork out for a mixer again. Fold this into the other mixture. You want to retain some air in it all. Cook in a shallow dish, in a tary of hot water, or Bain Marie, as proper cooks say, for between 45-60 minutes. You are aiming for a fluffy sponge on top, and a lovely lemony pond underneath. Eat it. All. Now I am off to watch "North by Northwest" and burp.

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