I don’t know how old I was when I saw this film, but I wasn’t more than around 7 I think. The film was made in 1943 and at one point I was attending a convent school and they took us to see this movie. The Song of Bernadette which is the story of Bernadette Soubirous who had visions of Mary, Mother of God and who was instrumental in uncovering the waters of Lourdes which have healing properties. Wikipedia have the full story of the film here. The film has stayed vividly in my mind ever since for close on 70 years. It really made an impression on me. I have never heard of anyone else seeing it nor have I heard/read the film being mentioned anywhere but, to me, at the time, it was an absolutely wonderful movie. By the way, I am not a Roman Catholic but as a child during the war, moving around with my parents, my father being in the RAF and posted to different stations throughout England, I went to whatever local school was available. This included two convents and 8 other schools.
As for an underappreciated book, I have to choose Havenstar by Glenda Larke. I love all of Glenda’s books but this, her first, is the one I have read several times and never fail to enjoy it. Glenda’s books are set in the most incredible worlds which she builds beautifully and sets the scene for different kinds of magic. The Havenstar world is set in a restricted environment where Kerris, the daughter of a brilliant mapmaker, is not allowed to follow in his footsteps because she is a girl although she has been doing most of her father’s work, behind the scenes, for years. She is betrayed by her brother and forced to flee into the Unstable which is an absolutely fascinating and dangerous place where anything can happen. When Glenda first published this book it was in her married name, Glenda Noramly, and then shortly after, the publisher went under. It has now been reissued in digital, paper and hard back. Glenda has a blog at Tropic Temper which is where I first discovered her quite a number of years ago.
How about an under appreciated food. The traditional Steak and Kidney Pudding. I used to make these a lot many years ago, but now avoid the pudding part because it is very bad for dieting. The author of this recipe is right, it is very different and I am not sure I approve of the untraditional way she has altered it even though it does sound pretty tasty.
Steak and Kidney Pudding RecipeBy Elaine Lemm
No other British dish shows the British idiosyncrasy of calling a savory dish a pudding than Steak and Kidney Pudding. A Steak and Kidney Pudding recipe may at first look a little daunting, but don’t be put off, it is actually quite straightforward and all the efforts are well worth it.
This is my version and slightly more elaborate than my grandmother made, not sure she would approve of using red wine, but I love it.
Do not confuse this 'pudding with a Steak and Kidney Pie, this is something completely different.
- 1 oz/25g beef dripping, lard
or vegetable oil
- 1½lbs/675g beef topside, cut into 1"/2.5cm cubes
- 12 oz/350g beef kidney, cut into 1"/2.5 cm cubes
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, washed, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 oz/ 25g all purpose/plain flour
- 10 fl oz/ 300ml beef stock
- 5 fl oz// 150ml red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup/ small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 10 oz/280g self rising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 5 oz/ 140g beef suet, finely chopped
- 2 - 3 tbsp cold water
- Butter for greasing
- Salt and pepper
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 180 minutes
- Total Time: 225 minutes
Serves 4Preheat the oven to 350° F/180° C/Gas 4
- Heat a large casserole dish on the stove, add the dripping/lard or oil and heat until slightly smoking. Add the beef cubes and the kidney, stir well until all the meat is browned. Add the onion, carrots and stir again.
- Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables and stir thoroughly.
- Add the stock, red wine, bay leaf, parsley and tomato puree. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a lid, place in the hot oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove the casserole from the oven, season with salt and pepper to taste, and leave to cool.
- Make the pastry. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt into a baking bowl. Add the suet and rub into the flour. Add enough cold water to form a stiff, slightly sticky dough. Leave to rest for 30 mins.
- Grease a 2 pint pudding basin with the butter. Divide the pastry into ⅔ and ⅓ and roll the larger piece of dough in to a circle large enough to line the basin plus an extra ½" border. Dust your hands with a little flour then carefully line the basin with the dough.
- Add the meat mixture to the lined pudding basin. Roll the remaining dough in to a circle large enough to cover the pudding basin. Wet the overhanging lip of the basin with cold water, lay the lid on top and press firmly around the edge to seal.
- Cover the basin with two circles of greaseproof paper secured with kitchen string.
- Steam over rapidly boiling water for 2 hours. Check frequently to make sure water has not boiled dry - top up with boiling water as needed.
- Remove the pudding from the steamer, remove the greaseproof paper and serve.
Have a great day