Thursday, March 6, 2008

Novel Food - Steak and Kidney Pudding

O, who would be a puddin',
A puddin' in a pot,
A puddin' which is stood on
A fire which is hot?
O sad indeed the lot
Of puddin's in a pot ...
(From The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, 1918)

Champaigne Taste and Briciole are hosting Novel Food: Spring 2008. To participate, it's simple - prepare a dish that is connected to a published literary work and post about it by 22 March 2008.

When I read about this event, the first book that popped into my mind was The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. (For art lovers, the author was also a famed Australian artist, who was the subject of the film Sirens.) While The Magic Pudding is regarded as a children's book, there is much academic discussion about the hidden symbolism and meaning behind the plot and characters. The "magic pudding" of the title is a walking, talking pudding with stick- like legs called Albert. In addition to having an unpleasant personality, this pudding is magic because (a) it is literally the pudding that never runs out - when you cut a slice, the pudding regenerates itself; and (b) it is a steak and kidney pudding on one side, and is jam roly poly and apple dumplings on the other side.

As I have never made a savoury steamed pudding, let alone one with a suet crust, I made a traditional steak and kidney pudding in honour of The Magic Pudding for this event. I used Delia Smith's recipe (sans the extra gravy), which can be found here. Delia mentions that the cockney slang for steak and kidney is "Kate and Sidney" - I think this is really cute!

The one barrier which I hit with making this pudding is that suet is as rare as hen's teeth in Australia. It is not sold in supermarkets, and even butchers can't promise that they can procure any for you, because the suet (beef kidney fat) is often removed before they receive the meat for processing. Rather than hang around hoping for some suet to turn up at the butcher's, I decided to substitute the suet for a product known as Supafry, which is basically tallow (rendered suet) used for frying. I'm not sure what effect this had on the finished pudding, but it worked! (We won't mention that I also stupidly did not buy an onion, incorrectly thinking that I had one at home, so I substituted spring onions instead.)

This pudding was, to my surprise, delicious. The crust was "melt in your mouth", and the filling was rich and flavourful. I would definitely make this again at some point in the future.

Thanks to Champaigne Taste and Briciole for hosting this event, and please check their sites after 22 March for the orundup of literary-inspired food.


Pixie said...

My FIL would love this pie! He keeps begging me to make him one..any chance of 'beaming' one up my way?

Cakespy said...

Love it! Literature and food! :-) It looks tasty too--nice!

Rosie said...

This is a lovely traditional pudding and it looks perfect!! I agree with you on the melt in your mouth crust and tender chunks of meat - simply stunning cakelaw!!

Rosie x

Cakelaw said...

LOL Pixie - I will try my best!

Thanks Cakespy - a slice is winging you way ;)

Hi Rosie - I honestly didn't hold high hopes for this, and was really pleasantly surprised. Another great traditional British pud!

adele said...

That pudding looks fantastically delicious.

I have to stop reading food blogs before lunch. (I keep saying that. Somehow I never stop.)

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Adele - it does make it so much harder when you are hungry and wistfully looking at food blogs (sigh).

Abitofafoodie said...

Love the look of this pudding. And what a great idea for an event. I bet it was just delicious - your crust looks perfect despite not getting hold of suet.

Mary said...

Now see here you've created yet another thing that I would love to taste! I love reading your blog because you always have such interesting foods that look so delicious!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Very impressive! It looks perfect!I've never made a savory pudding either. I wouldn't know where to start!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Antonia - I was very trepidatious about using Supafry (!) instead of suet, but sometimes the weirdest things work.

Thanks Mary - I really appreciate your thoughts. I try to choose things that are new to me, and I am glad that someone else finds them interesting.

Hi Susan - I kinda felt as if I was driving without a map too, but I was happy with the destination.

Simona Carini said...

This is such a great story! Thank you so much for submitting it to Novel Food. It looks like there was some cyber-breakdown in communication, as a result of which, we only learned about your entry now. I have heard stories about the two-sided pudding. I also have a funny story of my own about kidneys, but not as interesting as the story of Albert. I am glad your experiment was a success.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Simona. This is a fun event, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has made.