The Small Girl is ill. Not life-threateningly sick, just miserable, out of sorts, not wanting to eat anything sick. For a child who loves to eat, this is a bad sign. In the weekend I tried to atone for all my bad mothering by making her a sort of invalid’s pudding, the sort of thing that Nanny would take up on a tray in books. She turned it down flat. So after putting her to bed I lay on the sofa with a cold cloth on my forehead, gobbled up every last bit and felt much better.
I made this completely by memory – having a vague recollection of reading about it in an Alison Holst cookbook for toddlers that I picked up in a charity shop (and then, with great strength, put down again). There’s something similar, which is hailed as a great restorative for the infirm, in the Edmonds’ Cookbook. It’s a bit like a very thick custard. I wouldn’t serve it at a posh dinner party, but there’s something weirdly addictive about it (imagine eating cake mixture and you’re on the right track).
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1tsp proper vanilla
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (not skinny milk, thanks)
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (you can do this in the mini bowl of your processor if you’re a slack mummy like me). Pulse or stir in the lightly beaten egg, vanilla and flour. Put this mixture in a small saucepan and gradually add the milk, stirring constantly over a low heat until it thickens. Don’t let it get too thick or you’ll end up with glue. Pour into four ramekins and top with walnut halves if desired. Chill until set.
Do you have a favourite morsel to tempt your kids back into eating when they’re ill?