After having my cute little (but ridiculously heavy) city bike for almost a year I have finally gone out for a bike ride with Dan! In fact not once but twice! It was the first times I had been out cycling with another person, apart from family bike rides when I was younger. They were more of a solo affair, each of us cycling at different speeds, nipping up and down the same stretch of path along the cliff tops listening to seagulls and having the rich iodine infused wind whip through our hair.
I am not a very strong cyclist, it is one of my aims for the summer to become confident enough to cycle on the roads by autumn. So that’s what we’ve been doing, cycling up and down the same short path by the river that is both off road for me and tarmac for Dan (and his swish road bike). Instead of speeding off ahead, he even rode slowly next to each other so we could hold a conversation as we went along, which pretty much involved me recounting stories of running with Heather along the same route last summer, ‘look there’s where I tripped over my own feet and cut my hand’ and ‘that’s the bridge we sprint over the floor is covered in spiders’.
After work last Wednesday (much to Dan’s dismay as he just wanted to chill out) I packed up a picnic of cumberland sausages in soft white rolls and piccolo cherries, attached a blanket to my parcel shelf with string and we cycled round in the sunshine until we found a nice spot in the sunshine. I’m hoping this will become our summer tradition as there is so much beautiful countryside near where we live and we so rarely see it.
Memories of riding bicycles will always be intertwined with my Dad, my Mom who never learnt to ride would sit and watch us race along, but my Dad was the one who was there with us speeding past. Remembering summer bike rides reminded me of his favourite dessert, a simple bread and butter pudding, it’s the only sweet recipe I remember him baking. I made this for him a while ago for Fathers Day and I was sent his seal of approval the next day in the form of a text message. I have mixed the recipe from the BBC recipe with the few memories I have of my Dad’s version, for example sprinkling the sugar between each layer. The sultanas in the original recipe have been replaced with raisins as a matter of personal taste, either are fine.
Bread and Butter Pudding
slightly adapted from BBC
8 slices of bread, buttered (with real butter not spread) crusts removed and cut into triangular quarters.
Butter for greasing the dish
2 tsp cinnamon
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50ml double cream
nutmeg grated to taste
Grease a 1l pie dish with the butter.
Mix together the half the sugar and with the cinnamon.
In the dish lay down single line of bread, sprinkle with a little of the sugar and spice mix, and scatter with a few raisins.
Repeat the process, overlapping the layers slightly, until you’ve used all the bread and reached the other side of the dish, reserving a little of the sugar and fruit.
Gently heat the milk and cream together until hot being careful not to let it burn.
In a bowl beat together 20g of the sugar with the vanilla and eggs until light and pale.
Add the warm milk and cream to the egg slowly and whilst whisking, and then strain into a bowl – if needed, I found that whisking created a smooth custard with no lumps so I omitted that straining the mixture.
Pour the custard over the bread and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon and sugar mixture, the last few raisins and a light grating of nutmeg.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes the top should be golden brown and the custard set.