When you imagine Aunt Bessie, slaving over a hot Yorkshire pudding tray, what do you picture? A homely looking elderly lady maybe? A neat grey bun keeping her hair safely out of the batter, a lace pinny tied tightly around her not unsubstantial waist?
But think again.
Although Aunt Bessie started baking up frozen Yorkshire puddings for Butlins back in the 1970s, it’s only since 1995 that you’ve been able to buy your own frozen Aunt Bessie’s puds in the supermarket. I know – crazy isn’t it? They feel like something that’s been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Last week I went to find out more about Aunt Bessie, and to test my own (poor) kitchen skills, creating some roasty treats alongside a group of other mummy bloggers. They gave me my own proper sharp knife and everything. And I only dropped it once.
After being shown the full Aunt Bessie’s range, we were set to creating our own lunches, to be accompanied of course by lashing of Yorkshire puddings, carrot and swede mash, and Aunt Bessie’s gravy. Purple Mum and I were on the stuffed aubergine station. If you’d like to make your very own stuffed aubergines, and why wouldn’t you, watch and learn:
Gather all your ingredients together in smart white bowls as though you are presenting a cookery show. (You don’t really have to do this bit, but it looks nice and professional.)
Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6. Cut two aubergines in half length wise. Cut almost through them in a criss cross pattern.
Cut out the centre of the aubergines, leaving four empty halves that you can stuff later. Roughly chop the flesh.
Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry a chopped onion for about five minutes.
Add the aubergine and cook for another five minutes or so. Stir in one crushed garlic clove, half a chopped red pepper, a chopped courgette and a pinch of chilli flakes. (Try to avoid chopping any of your nail varnish into the red pepper. Just saying.) Season well and cook for another five minutes.
Tip into a bowl and stir in 200g chopped chestnuts, 100g of mixed nuts, toasted and chopped, 2tbsp of freshly chopped parsley, the zest of one lemon, a beaten egg, 25g grated parmesan and one slice of stale bread, cut into small cubes. Season again. If you have an incredibly phallic looking pepper grinder all the better. (Cue much cackling from mummy bloggers).
Spoon your mixture into the aubergine halves, drizzle with a little more oil, and bake for 20 minutes. Eat all the leftovers while you wait. (optional).
Meanwhile, cook your Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puddings, carrot and swede mash and gravy according to instructions. Crack open a bottle of wine or two, gather your three favourite family members, and tuck in!