As the sun sets on another year of summer food festivals, I marked my September finale at Arley Hall with a very special demonstration. Dedicated to the compere without compare, Katie Johnson, I reflected on a conversation we’d had some months earlier about memorable meals, when she recalled her favourite childhood dish - her mum’s ginger pudding with white sauce. Now Katie has been part mentor, part muse and a total friend for nearly five years. She and her husband Glyn are the driving force behind Wot’s Cooking, providing demo kitchens for events across the country. Katie in particular has encouraged me to ‘be myself’ on stage, resulting in some very ‘memorable’ performances.
Having devised a recipe for ginger pudding, I turned my thoughts to the all but forgotten creation that is sweet white sauce. Most of us can knock up a custard but I had to go back in time to rediscover this particular pudding accompaniment. I found it in my late nan’s copy of ‘Cookery Illustrated and Household Management’ published in 1936, which I regularly turn to whenever I want to check how to roast a ptarmigan or remove freckles with curdled milk.
Katie was clearly touched when onstage I finally revealed what I was making. We worked through the ancient sauce instructions and… it was pretty good. If you fancy having a go at my version of this pud, the recipe is here.
And if you’re looking for the best compere I know… you really can’t do better than Katie!