Saturday, 4 February 2012
When I first started getting interested in photography, about five years ago, my grandfather handed me his camera. It's a Nikkormat (Nikon) FT from somewhere between 1965-7.
I thought it looked incredibly cool but didn't really know what to do with it. I had no concept of exposure at that point, having only ever used a digital point-and-shoot. I took a film but when I had it developed the envelope contained a discouraging sheet of blanks.
It moved from house to house, shelf to shelf, collecting dust. In one move, it was accidentally dropped and the rewind mechanism sheared off.
I finally got around to taking it to the specialists a few weeks ago for a full service and several repairs. When I finally got it back home again, I managed to complete the alien process of loading film after studying the manual. I took my first 24 exposures in 24 hours, rushing it to the developers as soon as possible.
Thankfully all 24 came out. I made mistakes and they're not perfect - but I was thrilled. The feeling of opening that envelope was priceless.
I can't wait to experiment with photographing food (and friends and places and...) on film. The photos below are a sample of my first film - a shot of the park in the afternoon light and one of my orchid (I thought I'd killed it by leaving it over Christmas but the one of the two remaining buds suddenly burst open that day).
Aside from the fascinating process - being forced to work without electronic gizmos and screens, the proper shutter noise, the agonizing wait to see how they've turned out - I love the character of film. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but there's something special.
We made brioche in class this week. I intentionally left some to go stale just so I could make this pudding. The bread needs to be stale so that it doesn't disintegrate into a soggy mess when soaked.
I've left this recipe open to adaption. I made it with my marmalade as that's what I had to hand - I didn't add any extra peel/dried fruit. I brûléed a few of the peaks with some cinnamon-infused caster sugar after I'd taken it out of the oven for some crunch and flavour. The dusting of icing sugar was for purely aesthetic purposes.
I also really like the classic version with nutmeg, currants or sultanas and maybe a bit of quality mixed peel. Chocolate chips could sex it up. Try out different combinations and see what you like.
This is a proper pudding. Winter days were made for proper puddings.
Bread & Butter Pudding
(adapted from Delia's Complete Cookery Course)
4-8* slices of stale white bread (such as brioche)
unsalted butter, to spread
little lemon zest
currants/sultanas/fruits/chopped chocolate etc - handful/approx 30g
sprinkle of spices - nutmeg, cinnamon etc
marmalade/jam/maybe lemon curd - few tbsps
icing or caster sugar to dust/caramelize
Start by buttering one or both sides of the bread, depending on how decadent you're feeling. If you're using jam or marmalade, sandwich the slices with a slick of the preserve. Cut in half into triangles. Stick into a dish (mine was about , standing up or propped up against each other.
In a jug mix the milk, cream, sugar and zest together. In another bowl break up the eggs. Whisk the two liquids together. Pour all over the bread. It seems like there's too much liquid but don't worry. Leave to sit for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Sprinkle with any currants/etc. I also dusted the bread poking out with a little cinnamon sugar. Pop into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes - the custard should be golden brown and set and the bread should be crispy on top. You can caramelize some caster sugar on the bread with a blow torch or dust with icing sugar - or both!
I find this is best eaten warm.
* Depends on size - mine were very small so I used 8, normal loaves you'll need 4-6.