She had noticed him in the shop one day when a group of boys came over from the school to buy treats. He had been the quiet one and easy on the eye, too.
Her mum was puzzled when she came back from the green grocers a week later with rhubarb as well as the strawberries she had been sent to buy. “I used my own money” she explained so her mum let it go and turned back to the till to make change.
That afternoon she was alone in the kitchen and she went to work with a will, cutting the washed rhubarb into chunks and hulling, then slicing the berries. She prepared the pudding bowl by rubbing it with a thin layer of butter. The berries, rhubarb, sugar and almond extract smelled wonderful as they gently cooked on the stove top while she mixed together the sponge.
The berry mixture went in the bottom of the bowl, then she carefully placed sliced almonds higher up the bowl sides, smiling as they stuck to the butter. After putting in the sponge mixture and evening the top as best she could…there was a lot of fruit juice that wanted to seep through the batter…
she secured parchment and foil over the bowl with twine,
then set it all in a pot partially filled with simmering water.
While the pudding steamed, she helped her mum stock the shelves and sweep the floor. She even washed the front windows of the shop so she could try and see if the students were still in class.
Soon after the pudding was done and looking wonderful on its flowered plate the bell on the front door started ringing repeatedly…the lads were back!
She looked for the dark haired boy and soon saw him quietly observing the slight mayhem of his mates choosing their weekly sweets, some giggling like six year olds, some with their voice changing and looking all knees and elbows with adolescence. When she noticed that the one she was sweet on was alone she made her move. Coming to stand next to him she said, “I noticed that you don’t buy any sweets…don’t you like them?” He shrugged and replied that he was short of funds. She tugged on his sleeve and said, “Come try my pudding then” so he followed her to the back and couldn’t refuse a serving of the warm and fragrant pudding.
It was better than any pudding he’d ever had and he told her that. Her smile was even better. Then he heard everyone leaving the shop. “Have to go” he said. “Wait” she said, “I don’t even know your name.” Turning back he gave her a heartwarming smile and said “Bond, James Bond. What’s yours?”
As we leave the Land of St. Honore' you may want to know what it is that the young James Bond was enjoying. It was a steamed pudding, and it was a spring-time steamed pudding with spring fruits and none of the strong spices of winter to be seen. Often the charming Dharm at this blog also does a Daring Baker's post about James Bond.
The sponge is light and buttery with a hint of almond and the sliced almonds were added as a nice garnish, plus a bit of added texture.
The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet. We really enjoyed this pudding and I want to thank Esther for getting the Daring Bakers to try the traditional British dessert of steamed pudding. I was hoping to make some with suet but my butcher only gets partially dressed meat with no suet to be seen. I think this version with butter is delightful with the fruit. If I ever find a place with suet I'll be sure to try some of the other recipes.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Steamed Pudding
• 175g fresh rhubarb , cut into 4cm lengths
• 175 g fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
• 200g caster sugar, divided
• 1/2 tsp almond extract
• 125g unsalted butter
• few drops natural vanilla extract
• 2 medium eggs , beaten
• 175g self-raising flour
• 50 g sliced almonds (optional)
1. Cook the rhubarb and strawberries with 75g/2¾oz of the sugar and the almond extract over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until just starting to soften. Remove from heat.
2. Butter a 900ml pudding basin. Put butter and remaining sugar in a bowl and cream together. Stir in vanilla extract, then beat in eggs, a little at a time. Sift in flour and carefully fold into the mixture.
3. Spoon rhubarb- strawberry into the bottom of the basin. If using, place individual sliced almonds around the sides of the basin above the fruit mixture, using the butter to help them adhere to the sides. Spoon the sponge mixture on top of the fruit mixture and level off surface.
4. Butter a piece of greaseproof paper slightly bigger than the top of the pudding basin. Make a pleat in the centre and secure over the top of basin. Repeat with a piece of foil, then secure the whole thing with string. Place in a pan half filled with simmering water. Cover and cook for 1½ hrs, checking regularly that the pan does not boil dry. Remove cover, invert the pudding onto a plate, then carefully lift off the pudding basin. Serve with crème fraîche, single cream, ice cream, or garnish with fresh strawberries.
Recipe: BBC Good Food: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3157/rhubarb-steamed-pudding
Esther from The Lilac Kitchen : http://lilackitchen.blogspot.com/