Gone are the days when I could sit down and enjoy a nice game of tennis without anyone pulling me out of my seat. During those bygone days, all I had to do before sitting glued to the idiot box was to complete my homework and any other school or college related work. Later , during my teaching tenancy, all I had to do was to finish marking the students’ works. Throughout these years, once I was done with my liabilities, all I had to do was to sit tight in front of the telly.No other tensions or worries…right from the moment the players stepped into the stadium and till the presentation ceremony, in fact even after that, till the credits rolled, I simply could’nt have enough.I could rattle off all the names of the players along with their rankings…in fact most of the trivia attached to them.
Now, of course, it’s a different story…nor do I know the names of most of the players, apart from a few, I hardly get to see any match in it’s entirety. On Sunday evening, both Dinesh( who is also a fan of the game) and myself were quite excited at the prospect of watching the men’s French Open finals. Every now and then, he kept checking the timings and as the game started, we settled down to watch it. The kids joined us as well and I thought, that, at last, I was going to get to watch it. Things went quite well for the first few minutes. Then, Agastya, who was watching the players’ strong strokes( and also Nadal’s grunts while returning the strokes) quite intently at first, got animated and stood in the middle, trying to imitate the players strokes (grunts included). After a few more minutes, he got a better idea and ran upstairs to his room to fetch his tennis set( kiddies version, of course), put on his shoes and began pestering Dinesh to play with him. All the tactics that Dinesh employed were ultimately of no avail and he gave in.
As father and son were hitting the ball in the garden, Rengoni( who had already removed herself from the match ages ago), mentioned with that look accompanied by a sigh as to how she was having to play all alone. This resulted in me having to give up my coveted space in front of the telly to going upstairs and being mothered by her(yes, I had to be her little girl, or as they say most of the time, pretend to be one).
After all this, when I finally managed to escape for a minute on some pretext to catch a glimpse of the match, Nadal already had his teeth on his trophy(if you are wondering what I’m talking about, he has this strange trade mark pose of biting his trophies)… and so ended another vague attempt(a very deep sigh!!!) at watching a great game of tennis…somewhat like Federer, whose hopes of winning the French Open was shattered once again.
We may not have been able to watch Nadal’s sweet route to success, but we did have this sweet pudding, one of my ma’s recipes, which I simply love and would like to share…The preparation time for this pudding is very little but the end product is great. One can just pop it in the oven and get on with the other work.
3 slices of bread with the crust removed
1 and 1/4 C of milk
4-5 tblsp of sugar
2 tblsp of honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
a handful of crushed blueberries(very optional)
Pre- heat the oven at 170 deg cel.
Beat the eggs.
Add the milk and mix well.
Tear the bread into the mixture and mix well. In fact the whole mixture can be put into a blender to quicken the process.
Add the honey and blueberries and mix again. The blueberries are very optional and I would suggest to avoid it. I added them on a whim and it did not taste better, anyway. Besides ma’s recipe did not call for them…
Grease a baking dish or ramekins(as I did).
Add the sugar to a heated pan, stirring briskly till it melts.
Pour the melted sugar into the greased moulds and spread it out with a spoon so that it coats the bottom evenly. This should be done very quickly as the sugar sets quite fast. And be careful, molten sugar is a nasty burner.
Allow the baking dish or dishes to stand for a while and check that the caramel coat has hardened. To do this, gently tap with a spoon at the caramel.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish or ramekins.
Fill half of a slightly bigger oven proof dish with very hot water and place the prepared dish or ramekins in it.
Place this in the centre of the preheated oven and bake till set (approximately 1 and 1/2 hours) or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
While still hot, run a knife along the sides of the dish. Placing a plate on top if it and holding both of them together, turn it upside down.
If making a single one instead of smaller ones in ramekins, cut into triangles before serving.
Serve hot or cold…tastes great anyway. However I strongly advise against the blueberries…they did not spoil the taste but did not add to it, just rose to the top and formed a thin layer. They were very much non existential apart from the thin dark layer that one can see in the picture at the bottom of the pudding( however the fresh ones were great for garnishing). Goes to show that innovations may not work all the time…so much for trying to fiddle with ma’s recipe…should have known better…
All said and done, The pudding tasted great. The slightly stronger caramelised top with the rest lightly vanilla flavoured, was truly a treat…easily passed the tongues of the kids who have become my newest critics…