Figgy Dowdy, Sussex Pond Pudding and English food

I got back to England to find, appropriately enough, that some food blogs, English or otherwise, celebrated St George’s Day (Apr 23rd) by cooking English puddings, cakes, biscuits and other sugariness.

Why British food has such a bad reputation, and whether it’s deserved, is a question for another day. One kind of British food that has always been easy to defend is the baking; and one of the nice things about it is that it seems to be a genuinely popular tradition. Despite the good work done by Tea Shoppes in the Lake District, to a large extent, the cake-making tradition of Bakewell tarts, fruit cakes, tea cakes, spice cakes, lemon drizzle cakes, oatmeal biscuits [etc etc] is passed on through local charity cake sales and coffee mornings. I almost feel moved to make some parkin. Mmmm, parkin.

Another British tradition that is perhaps less lively is the steamed suet pudding. And yes, that is indeed a dessert made with beef fat and steamed. With central heating, we just don’t have the same appetite for piles of calorific stodge any more. But excitingly, two food bloggers tried particularly noteworthy steamed puddings: Sussex Pond Pudding (which I’ve wanted to try for some time) and Figgy-dowdy (particularly vital reading for fans of the Patrick O’Brian novels). Both of those bloggers do a far better job of explaining the dishes than I could.

A round-up of other entries can be found at Becks & Posh.

2 Comments

  1. 26 April 2006 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the figgy-dowdy mention! We had quite an adventure making it and who knows… this may lead to even more bouts of Patrick O’Brian inspired cookery.

  2. Harry
    26 April 2006 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Glad to offer the mention; I really enjoyed your description of making it. I can’t really remember much about what they ate in those books other than lots of toasted cheese. Even the most cunning of cooks would find it hard to make much of the materials they had available, I’d have thought.

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