I've had a bag of dried carrageen moss, in the press, for the past year. A friend of my late aunts, from Donegal, gifted me with it, as I had mentioned that I had never used it before. Then last summer, while holidaying in Cork, Diarmuid and I had the most glorious dinner at Ballymaloe House and there, on the dessert trolley, was a large crystal bowl filled with carrageen moss pudding. I thought it was rather nice, for something that is so nutritious, and vowed to make it on returning home. Only today did I make it, for the first time. Carrageen Moss, also known as Irish Moss, is highly nutritious. It is very rich in iron, iodine, fibre and anti-oxidants. My Dad is currently struggling to maintain high levels of iron, so I'm trying to help him with some iron-rich foods. We had this carrageen moss pudding for today's dessert and tomorrow morning the boys and I are going foraging for another iron-rich ingredient - nettles. I'll be making Nettle Soup, as suggested to me by the very lovely Sally McKenna, who knows a thing or two about foraging!
The dried Carrageen moss can be found in most health food shops and online. It keeps almost indefinitely, when it's in its dried form.
This recipe is from the queen of foraging, Darina Allen. Darina claims that all the babies of Ballymaloe were weaned onto Carrageen moss pudding. All of my children tried it today and once sprinkled with a little soft brown sugar they seemed to enjoy it. It is best served chilled with a fruit compote. I paired today's pudding with some poached rhubarb, which worked wonderfully.
Carrageen Moss Pudding
1 semi-closed fistful (1/4 oz /7g) cleaned, well dried Carrageen Moss
1 tablespoon castor sugar
1 egg, preferably free range
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.Soak the carrageen in tepid water for 10 minutes.
2.Strain off the water and put the carrageen into a saucepan with milk and vanilla extract.
3.Bring to the boil and simmer very gently, on a low heat, with the lid on for 20 minutes.
4. At that point separate the egg, put the yolk into a large bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk together for a few seconds.
5. Pour the milk and carrageen moss through a strainer onto the egg yolk mixture whisking all the time. The carrageen will now be swollen and exuding jelly. Rub all this jelly through the strainer and whisk this also into the milk with the sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract if used.
6.Whisk the egg white until stiff and fold it in gently. It will rise to make a fluffy top.
7. Serve chilled with soft brown sugar and cream and/or with a fruit compote.