Of all the foods that we waste I can’t help thinking that the waste of bread is amongst the most sinful. Yes, that leftover bit of French stick might be as tough as concrete and the last few slices of white sliced a little dried out; but it is still a very versatile ingredient that appeals to my frugal mind. So before you sling out that left-over bread consider making your own bread crumbs or why not make a classic bread pudding?

breadClassic British Bread pudding

This classic pudding seems to have rather fallen out of fashion in recent years, but in my opinion its stodginess can be forgiven in light of its heritage, frugality and moist deliciousness. It can be eaten cold or is simply divine when served warm as a pudding with lashings of cream or custard

1 loaf of stale bread (white works best)
300ml full-fat milk
300g dried mixed fruit (I used a mixture of currants, raisins, cherries and sultanas)
50g mixed peel
1 sweet eating apple, grated (include the skin)
3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp plum or damson jam
40g self-raising flour
2 eggs
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
100g butter, melted
Demerara sugar, to sprinkle over
double cream or thick custard (for serving)

Pre-heat the oven to 170C / gas mark 3.

Grease and line a square cake (28 x 20 cm) tin.

Firstly, you need to slice up the bread, including the crusts. Break up the bread into small pieces and soak in the milk until softened.

Once the milk has been absorbed (which will take about 10 minutes and may need you to push the bread down into the milk), beat well with a fork. The bread and crusts will break down and combine with the milk, forming a creamy milk sop.

Stir in the grated apple, then the rest of the ingredients and half of the melted butter. Beat well together until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

Pour the rest of the melted butter evenly over the surface. (Use a pastry brush to ensure that it is all coated.)

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1¼ to 1½ hours.

When baked, sprinkle over a little Demerara sugar and serve warm with double cream or custard.

Alternatively allow to cool, and cut into squares and devour as a dense fruit cake.