Amma and her sister peddi were big clippers and collectors of recipes…..peddi worked as the Assistant Librarian of a huge library and often, magazines and periodicals trashed by the library would make it to the house….also at church there was a library run by the womens group….people would borrow books and magazines and also donate what they had already read…..plus there were the recipes in the daily newspapers…..womens weekly, womens world and some other foreign magazines I vividly remember…..i think somewhere on my loft, still is an ageing file with yellowing cutouts from years of this indulgence…..Not just recipes, they would collect knitting patterns, sewing projects and household tips…
Every once in a not so often while we’d have western style puddings, cakes, stewed fruit, jams and marmalades, casseroles, meatloaf, roast etc….….(they said it helped preserve the excitement and exclusivity of the preparation….but I think it was more to do with the time they had and the availability of ingredients….) we’d eagerly wait for a festive occasion, birthdays in particular cos we could request what we wanted….and hope that foreign returning relatives would be invited for a meal where the food laid out would be kicked up a few notches to suitably impress the relatives!! I always loved this extra dressed up meal….the stainless steel utensils would be swapped for my grandmother’s precious dinner set(the guests had to be really important to get this out of the cupboard!!)…or sundry glass bowls would make an appearance …. What we would be eating from was fully dependent on who would be eating with us!!
In all of this, trifle puddings were my absolute favourite…I think it was because it contained almost 4 of my favourite desserts….cake, custard, jelly and fruit!!Think amma also chose it based on the fact that most of it could be made the previous day, and two of them, the jelly and custard is made from a packet….. and simply assembled in a jiffy when needed…..infact the cake would be made a couple of days earlier ..…. I’d hang on…under the guise of “helping”….watching hawk like if any goldspot (fizzy orange drink like fanta….made in india, but the company was bought over by coco cola) was left in the bottle so I could get a few sips…. (no we grew up not surrounded by fizzy drinks…it was a really rare treat)…..extra custard, extra jelly and fruit would be devoured….all this for peeling a few oranges and apples!! I think I developed my sweet jaw from childhood, because I don’t have many memories of food….though all good….but I distinctly remember occasions by the desserts served….and I would wolf down my food (getting as subtle as possible glares from amma) and wait impatiently for dessert…… I think I can choke on the memories (not the custard silly) every time I make a trifle pudding!!
This one was made when we had some friends over for dinner….i could have avoided the cream looking like a lump on top had i not squirted it directly from the carton!! in the hurry to finish taking a picture, I didn’t get the best ones….orange flavoured jelly is my favourite….i siphoned off the leftovers and substituted them for dinner on two consecutive nights!!
200 gms slab of Plain vanilla sponge cake (either home made or store bought)
(sometimes I omit the cake and only add about 20-25 roughly crushed marie biscuits)
½ cup of orange fizzy drink (I use fanta)
½ litre milk (I used low fat)
2-3 T sugar
3 T vanilla flavoured custard powder
300 ml water
1 packet flavoured jelly crystals (I used orange)
2-2 ½ cups chopped assorted fresh fruit (I used apple, orange, sweet lime, banana, grapes)
1 T dry fruit of choice (I used a few each – walnuts, pistachios and raisins)
2 T fresh Cream
Boil the milk, add sugar and dissolve, mix the custard powder in 2 T of cold water and add gently stirring to the milk. Cook stirring continuously for a few minutes till it thickens. Set aside, cool and refrigerate till required.
Make the jelly according to the instructions on the pack and refrigerate till set.
In a serving bowl, place the cake cut into 2-3 inch pieces at the bottom. Pour a few tablespoons of fanta over the cake to moisten it well (do not make it soggy).
spoon in the custard over the cake layer.
arrange the chopped and peeled fruit over the custard
spoon in the jelly to make the top most layer
garnish with whipped cream. chill for a couple of hours before serving. ensure you serve the pudding in such a way that each serving gets a part of every layer….!!