Summer pudding is just one of those recipes that seem to capture the essence of summer on a plate. I grow my own strawberries at home, if you buy them from a supermarket I can guarantee you have forgotten what a real, fresh organic strawberry tastes like. They are dead simple to grow and every garden should have a few.
First – pick your strawberries. You don’t have to grow your own but freshly picked, in season and from an organic source guarantees you are getting something real. Imported ‘out of season’ strawberries may well be pumped up with all sorts of stuff you don’t want in your body.
I shop bought some local plums and raspberries also and set myself up with a spherical pudding bowl for the shape.
The fresh fruits are bursting with anti-oxidant vitamin C. In traditional medicine strawberries are a recommended digestive cleanser. They have antibacterial properties and act as a mild tonic for the liver.
So for this recipe you will need the above fruits, or any summer fruits. My favourite is tayberries and strawberries but I have only just put the tayberries in my new garden this year.
A touch of vanilla essence and some sugar if you need it! Some sliced white bread, a day or two old is better than fresh. Then get some bowls like in the picture.
Start by washing the fruit in cold water and trimming stalks, stems and any bits that are too ripe. I also cut off any areas of heavy seed on the outside of the strawberries as they can cause flatulence. If you pick your own from the garden, check for tiny slugs nesting inside little holes they make. Bird beak marks are OK, just wash the strawberries and cut off the flesh around the holes if you need to.
I cut the strawberries in half, then de-stone and cut up the plums. Put the raspberries into the pan whole. Add just the tiniest amount of water and heat up the mess, stirring the fruit gently until it starts to break down.
Taking your loaf of sliced bread, cut off the crusts and cut the slices into fingers. I find 3 fingers to a slice works well. Arrange them as shown in the pictures, building them up to create a well for the fruit mess. Press the fingers slightly into each other, you are making something here which shouldn’t leak!
Pour off the juice from the fruit and have a glass or two – its delicious. Save some fruit juice for a sauce later – you can reduce this if you like or even make it into a fantastic strawberry jelly by adding jelly cubes or even pour in a tot of vodka.
When you have finished experimenting with the juice, pour the solid fruit mess into the bread and start to construct the ‘base’ as shown in the picture above. Hopefully you should have some bread slices poking above the base which you can fold over and seal. Use a bit of juice on the fold to encourage it.
Finally add some weight to the underside – I used another bowl filled with sideplates. Put the summer pudding into the fridge once it has cooled and leave it under pressure for a minimum of 5 hours. It is meant to be overnight but who can wait!
What should happen when you place a plate on the open side of the summer pudding, and then turn the whole thing over, is a neat pudding arriving on your plate. Serve this delicious pudding with clotted cream or ice cream. Add some of the sauce if there is any left.
A total dream of a pudding.
Read ‘WildFood Wizard‘ for more wonderful recipes and medicines from the wild or from your garden. Nature’s gifts are truly versatile. Aches and pains, bites, burns and scratches, stomach upsets, tiredness, bloat, insomnia, colds and flu – you name it there is already something in your kitchen that will help.
One way to a greener lifestyle starts at home in the kitchen! Here’s holistic thinker and wild food enthusiast Simon Mitchell with a radical new book that celebrates the awesome power of natural foods for managing your health.
Reach for a holistic lifestyle from the heart of your home, the kitchen. Discover for yourself the power of Mother Nature’s Gifts, a real integrated medicine working for you from your very own kitchen. Hiding in your meals, is a whole food medicine for health, for healing and for fun!