Puddings in the English countryside


For a birthday treat surrounded by family which included some tall thin and hungry 20 somethings I was taken to the countryside to indulge in the best of English puddings…It wasn’t the first time, I’d been to the Pudding Club in Mickleton a golden Cotswold village clothed in hollyhocks and roses. But we hadn’t been in the summer, and summer pudding was bound to be on the menu.

The point of it all of course is to sample all of the seven puddings on offer. And we did, some with repeated helpings. The atmosphere although pervaded by some strict club rules, such as no mixing puddings on a single plate, is very jolly. Everyone is not only there just because they love English deserts. I suspect we are all reliving memories too, from school diners and granny’s specialties to the family favourites that always resurface when we reminisce about our ideal childhoods.

As you would expect in July there was summer pudding and Eton mess, plus a vivid passionfruit charlotte and a chocolatey Bailey’s Mousse. But I suspect as the Pudding Club has an international following after nearly 30 years, some steamed ones couldn’t not be present. Everyone voted on their favourite of the evening and no surprise, sticky toffee pudding was the outright winner. Syrup pudding and spotted dick were also there, loved by many but never by me; I didn’t go to school in England to have them imprinted on my psyche. Have I mentioned the golden sauces, bowls of custard and lashings of cream? You may be wondering how I was able to go to sleep that night after all of this. Well I wondered too, but it wasn’t a problem !

As an antidote to all this sugary indulgence I had another helping of sticky toffee pudding a few days later with a dear friend who as a nutritionist really knows how to cook and entertain well. This one was sugar free and the recipe was from the Hemsley sister’s lovely new book, The art of eating well. Click here for their recipe. Delicious.