Comfort Eating

Here in England it feels like autumn has suddenly arrived. We’re still holding out hope for an Indian summer, but the temperature dropped 10 degrees over the weekend, and I noticed the first yellow leaves on my greengage tree.

This definitely calls for the first stodgy, comforting, warms-the-cockles-of-your-heart meal of the season. Goodbye leafy, verdant summer food and hello to a lovely savoury twist on a staple British dessert – bread and butter pudding. If you don’t know, bread and butter pudding was a delicious end-of-the-week dessert made by frugal mums using the stale bread, buttered with sugar sprinkled on and baked in a sweet egg custard with sultanas. The thought takes me back to childhood!

I can’t remember where I got this recipe, so apologies if I’m stepping on anyone’s copyright, but it’s too good not too share.

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Sorry it’s in metric!

400g spinach

1 ciabatta loaf, thinly sliced

a slurp of olive oil and a dollop of butter, mixed

1 clove of garlic

1 red onion, thinly sliced

115g mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

115g grated cheese

2 eggs

500 ml milk or a mixture of milk and creme fraiche

nutmeg and black pepper

1. Fry the onions and mushrooms lightly for 5 mins, add the cumin seeds, and cook for a further 2 mins.

2. Add the spinach and cook very gently until wilted.

3.  In a pestle and mortar crush the garlic into the butter and oil mixture – I find a few grains of coarse sea salt helps the crushing – and spread the mixture onto the bread slices.

4.Layer vegetables, bread and butter, cheese.

5.Beat the eggs with the milk and season with nutmeg and black pepper. Pour over the dish.

Bake for 40 – 45 mins @ 190c until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy!