Onion pudding is a doughy and dense combination of suet, flour and onion. It’s a decadent dish with a naturally salty-sweet flavour, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast or Christmas dinner.
Today’s recipe marks the launch of a new series here on the blog, Food Stories, where writers, friends, chefs and amateur cooks are welcomed onto the pages of A Mummy Too to share a recipe that is more than just food to them, it’s food with a story to tell.
For blogger and freelance writer Kate Tunstall of The Less-Refined Mind, onion pudding is “proper comfort food, and when topped with gravy, utterly tantalising.”
“Recreating the recipe is so simple that anyone can do it. It’s probably not what I’d describe as sophisticated, but it is deliciously yummy – the taste of home.”
In addition to her writing, Kate is a married mother of two, for whom family is extremely important.
“I have a wonderful husband, and two beautiful, cheeky little girls called Pixie and Elfin. They’re delightful and infuriating every day, and we both despair of them and love them fiercely.”
“I’m the middle child with a brother each side (I know, poor me) and despite wishing for a sister as I grew up, we’re all very close as adults. Sadly that doesn’t extend to being geographically close, so I don’t see my siblings or nieces and nephews as much as I’d like.”
“My parents live fairly close to me – I moved away and back again several years later – so I see them both regularly which is lovely, especially for my girls. It’s wonderful that they have such special relationships with their grandparents as that’s something I missed out on growing up.”
For Kate, her food memories are interwoven through her memories of childhood, and her passion for food has carried through into adulthood.
“My mum was big on eating family meals together, and a Sunday roast was the norm. My mum should be Italian as she’s always been a bit of a feeder and massive meals come as standard. She never really gave us dessert, so much as seconds (and thirds!), with lots of veggies.”
“My relationship with food was fairly healthy growing up. I’ve always had an understanding of what’s good/bad for me, and I’m a great believer in everything in moderation.”
“One of my greatest memories from childhood, which is probably a mishmash of several occasions actually, is stealing bites of my parents’ takeaways! We were introduced to Indian cuisine at a young age, and as we got older, we would always go to the local Indian restaurant for birthdays. I’m glad my mum, in particular, encouraged us to be adventurous from a young age, and I intend to do the same with my girls.”
These days, I enjoy cooking, but I find myself too short on time to do as much as I’d like. We’ve recently been without an oven or hob for a period, which has led to a love affair with our slow cooker. I get a lot of joy and satisfaction from feeding my family healthy, hearty meals that I’ve made for them – assuming they enjoy them, of course – so being able to do this easily using the slow cooker has been great. It’s so simple.”
And how does onion pudding factor into Kate’s childhood, and her life as a parent today?
“All my memories of the dish meld into one because it’s a part of every family gathering we have. It’s the recipe that everybody who tries it requests to be made again. Every time my sisters-in-law visit it’s the one they ask my mum to make for them, and the newest fan is my daughter.”
The recipe comes from my mum, who got it from an old family friend about 45 years ago. It’s my mum’s understanding that it was (or may still be?!) popular in the North of England, but nobody I’ve ever mentioned it to has heard of it. Admittedly I’m in Essex, so I may just not have spoken to the right people!”
I’ve always loved my mum’s onion pud and still do. I’m probably a little less gluttonous these days though – I’m pretty sure as a child I’d have happily devoured four portions, while these days two is my limit!
When Kate told me about her mum’s onion pudding, how could I resist such a treat? Here’s how I got on. The only change I made was to add a little rosemary to the roasting tray to give the pudding a little extra flavour.
- 280g (10oz) self-raising flour
- 140g (5oz) suet (or margarine)
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- approx 50ml (1.7 fl oz) cold water
- 6 sprigs rosemary
Put the onions, suet and flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Add water a little at a time, mixing to form a stiff dough.
Traditionally, you’d steam on the hob, but the invention of microwaves makes this step super simple. Transfer to a large microwaveable bowl and cover with a loose fitting lid, or cling film, leaving a gap (this creates the steam required to make the pudding rise!).
Microwave for 8min 30sec (or just under a minute per ounce if using different quantities). Make sure there’s room in the bowl for the pudding to rise.
To brown, turn out into an ovenproof dish and, if using, arrange the rosemary around the base.
Place in the oven for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking your roast. (Anywhere between 180C/350F to 220C/425F will work fine, just keep an eye!)
If you’d like to print Kate’s onion pudding recipe to try later, just hit PRINT on the recipe card below.
Onion pudding - a festive side dish
- 280 g self-raising flour
- 140 g suet (or margarine)
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper to taste
- 50 ml cold water approx
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary optional
- Put the onions, suet and flour, salt and pepper thoroughly.
- Add water a little at a time, mixing to form a stiff dough.
- Traditionally, you'd steam on the hob, but the invention of microwaves makes this step super simple. Transfer to a large microwaveable bowl and cover with a loose fitting lid, or cling film, leaving a gap (this creates the steam required to make the pudding rise!).
- Microwave for 8min 30sec (or just under a minute per ounce if using different quantities). Make sure there's room in the bowl for the pudding to rise.
- To brown, turn out into an ovenproof dish and, if using, arrange the rosemary around the base.
- Place in the oven for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking your roast. (Anywhere between 180C/350F to 220C/425F will work fine, just keep an eye!)
What do you think? Have you tried onion pudding before?
For another seasonal favourite, try my festive slice. And if you’d like to learn more about Kate, you can visit her blog, The Less-Refined Mind, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.