Spinach + Blue Cheese Bread Pudding (Unplanned)

25 Jun

AngelKitten + N came over tonight to watch the Brasilians and the Portuguese play a very boring final match of their group stage, and I had promised them beans on toast! One of my favourite easy dishes that you dont really have to think about. I thought of jazzing it up with a poached egg on top. Going all out! Well, when I checked my cupboard, all those cans sitting so certainly in the cupboard were soup – no beans! Oh no! What to do?! From this moment of panic, delicious dishes are born. I did a quick once over of what I had in the fridge and freezer, and decided to make a savoury bread pudding. I had eggs, milk, cream, blue cheese, onions, garlic, old good bread, and a packet of flash frozen spinach. It took about 10 minutes to assemble, 30 minutes to bake, and it was REALLY good. Much better then the second half that we watched!

This dish can serve about 6 greedy or 8 polite people. I baked it in a cake tin, so you could cut it like a quiche (or cake!) and it was perfection.

  • 1/2 cup half and half (or 1/4 cup milk + 1/4 cup cream, which is what I used)
  • 5 eggs
  • 12 – 16 slices days old bread
  • Blue Cheese (I used that Irish classic Cashel Blue – rich, creamy and sublter than most blues)
  • Packet of frozen spinach
  • Tiny bit of butter + small glugg of olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • Oregano
  • Salt + pepper
  • Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a shallow bowl or container, beat half and half with eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Toast your bread, if you can. I didnt and it made a very unctuous bread pudding, but if you like the deeper flavours of toasted bread, and if you have the time (I was trying to get it done quick quick), then by all means toast away!

Make some blue cheese sandwiches: divide your bread in half, and lay one set on your working surface. Finely slice the blue cheese (I tried to get the creamier bits as I didnt want to be overwhelmed with the blue flavour, but do as you like best) and layer sparingly over one set of bread. Cover with second set, and trim off the crusts. Poke fine holes in the sandwiches with the tip of your knife, and lay them in the cream and egg mixture. Set aside to soak up.

Defrost your spinach. I dont believe in microwave ovens, so I dont have one, and obviously, if you can get fresh spinach, this would be best, but hey, I was working on instinct here! I used a large frying pan, and about 1/2 cup of water, and slowly defrosted over medium heat. When the spinach is fully defrosted, drain, saving the water. It will be spinach-y and delicious.

Use a little bit of butter and olive oil in the same pan, and over low heat slowly soften the onions and garlic. Season with oregano and salt and pepper. Once the onions and garlic are glossy, add the spinach, just to heat through.

Butter or spray olive oil in a large cake tin. Using your hands, take the eggy sandwiches, and tear about half of them into smaller chunks, lining the bottom of the tin. Layer about half of the spinach mixture on top, and repeat, ending with spinach. Pour about 1/4 cup of the spinach water into the remainder of the egg and half and half mixture, and pour all over the top of your bread pudding. Grate a bit of cheddar cheese (or other browning/melting cheese like parmesan) over the top, and pop in the oven for about half an hour. The bread pudding should puff up and get brown and golden on top.

Serve immediately, though Ezril tells me its delicious cold too!


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