Forget going down to the woods today unless you wrap up really, really warm ‘cos it’s really cold outside. But, if you really do want to brave the wind and rain to explore all things autumnal, make sure you have something like this waiting in the oven at home!
Bread and butter pudding is real comfort food, but it’s also something that’s really hard to get right. Some recipes can be soggy, sticky and somewhat disappointing, but not this one. This new twist on a new favourite sprung out of a new twist on an even older favourite, here’s the food fable behind it’s creation…
Thanks to Twitter, I recently stumbled across a new brand called The Healthy Bears who make bear-shaped bread (yep, you read that right). I’ve long been interested in ways to encourage younger folks to eat more healthily and this wholemeal bread seemed like a good way to wean little uns off white bread into something altogether more, um, wholesome! Intrigued, I got in touch with the lovely bears at Healthy Bears (I know they probably are not bears but it makes them seem more magical and improves the story if we pretend they are) and they sent out a loaf for me to try. So far, so good. Unfortunately, it was left up to my not-so-competent concierge Barry to take delivery of said bread. As regular blog readers will know, Barry is not brilliant at parcel care and thus the loaf was returned to the Royal Mail depot twice before I gave up and headed off to my local Asda to buy a loaf for myself. Should you want to do the same, you’ll find the quirky creations in Asda stores across the nation.
Loaf finally in hand, I was quite impressed with the colour and sponginess of each slice, which was rather long and thin thanks to it’s bear shape. Although it may be tricky to use for sandwiches, the shape of the bread is spot on for toasted soldiers and perfect for the dish I chose to turn it into : Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding. Although the bread kept fresh for a week, I often find living on my own that I struggle to get through a whole loaf at once, so I decided to take this opportunity to do a bit of experimentation and come up with a recipe for something quick and tasty using the bread. I opted for a savoury bread and butter pudding that can easily be made vegetarian or free from cow’s milk (which most of my meals happen to be!)
Savoury Bear and Butter Pudding recipe
Eight slices of Healthy Bears bread (or six slices of normal bread cut into triangles)
Margarine/sunflower spread (around 50g)
Unsweetened soya milk (400ml)
Two reduced fat sausages, grilled and chopped
One large vine tomato (sliced)
One small red onion (cut into wedges)
Mozzarella ball or goat’s cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and grease a rectangular oven-proof dish. I used my lasagne dish that turned out to be the perfect size. Next, spread the bread on each side with the sunflower spread or margarine and spread the mustard on one side. Lay in the dish with mustard and spread sides alternating. Use the other ingredients to hide as surprises between the slices. So, slip nice juicy vine tomato slices between the bread, alongside red onion wedges and chunks of sausage. I used two reduced fat sausages in this recipe as I’m on a bit of a health kick, but you could up the meat content or leave it out altogether.
Beat the eggs in a measuring jug, add the soya milk and mix together well. You can use normal milk here but I tend to cook with soya milk because cow’s milk doesn’t agree with me. Pour the mixture over the bread and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Covering with cheese adds the finishing touch and helps create a great bubbly, crunchy texture on top. I used mozzarella but a hard goat’s cheese or even Feta would work well.
Bake for around 35 minutes until the egg mixture is cooked and your bread and butter pudding is golden, crispy and delicious. The texture lies somewhere between a luxury French Toast and a Croque Madame and is utterly delicious. I served mine with some rocket and chilli jam (which I’d received in my last foodie penpals parcel). It was beary, beary nice!