We do love our puddings!

The word pudding is probably from a source which means something like a sausage, a contained mixture of meat and grain and flavourings – the container might be a rag, like a pudding cloth, or it might be a skin, like a sausage skin. However if you ask most British people if they like pudding, they won’t immediately think of a savoury pudding such as steak and kidney pudding, or black pudding (like the French boudin which is a word with the same origin) they will think of the sweet course which comes after the main course of a meal, a dessert, ‘afters’, pudding. In a general sense, someone could mean apple pie, treacle tart, jam roly-poly – but a real pudding is boiled, streamed or baked in the oven.

In the book I came across at a friend’s house, Good Cookery, written in 1920 by Winifred Francillon, she has a whole section on puddings, and I copied three pages; college, currant, date and equality puddings on page 183, fig, French rice, Gloucester, golden and Gretna puddings on the next page, lemon, and marmalade I, II and II (cheap) and plum duff or spotted dog on page 185… and there were more puddings after that!

Most of these recipes were made with flour and / or breadcrumbs, suet, sugar and flavourings but the French rice pudding was made with rice – obviously. Rice pudding, a great favourite, is so easy to make although each family will have its own traditional recipe, pudding rice (round grained) milk and sugar with a scrape of nutmeg on the top! This is the French recipe:

  • 3 oz rice
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 2 oz chopped suet
  • 3 oz raisins
  • 1 oz chopped  peel
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint milk
  1. cook the rice in the milk until soft
  2. add all other ingredients and steam in a greased mould till firm (2 hours)
  3. turn out and serve with a good sweet sauce (marmalade)

I think I might replace the suet with butter, and probably add a spice like nutmeg or allspice, but otherwise it sounds nice… now how do I make the marmalade sauce?



  1. mariathermann

    At a guess I’d see it’s just melted/heated-up marmalade of the home-made variety? I’m just rereading Flora Thompson’s “Lark Rise to Candlefort” and it’s full of mentions of the type of food eaten in the late 1800’s, such as the roly-poly or meat pudding (made with scraps of bacon when available), which was cooked together with green vegetables in one net and potatoes in the other, all popped into a three-legged pot hanging above the fire in the hearth. Most of the time though, the roly-poly would not contain meat but be a sweet offering containing jam, currants or fruit. It would only be eaten on its own when it contained meat and was followed by roast meat afterwards or a bacon joint cut into cubes, otherwise the family would have vegetables and potatoes after the sweet starter roly-poly. Your rice pudding sounds lovely, real winter-warmer comfort food.

    Liked by 1 person

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