An intimate view of Princess Diana from her personal chef, Darren McGrady plus her favorite Bread and Butter Pudding
Princess Diana touched the hearts of people around the world. It’s hard to believe that this August 31st marks the 10th anniversary of her death – a very sad memory.
I interviewed Chef Darren McGrady on my WLRN 91.3 FM NPR program. (www.wlrn.org to listen world-wide) He was Princess Di’s personal chef for 5 years. He lived in
Palace and has many delightful and revealing stories about life around the royal table.
His book, detailing that life is Eating Royally
(Thomas Nelson Press, $29.99.)
Here is an excerpt from that interview:
Your book gives us a look at a real person rather than a princess. What was she like?
DMcGThe Princess came to the kitchen fairly frequently to get a snack or to chat. She would sit on the chest freezer near by eating her lunch and chatting about the previous night’s soap operas. Sometimes she would burst into the room and say, “You won’t believe what the Queen has just told me.” Conversations would meander over many topics.
LGYou talk about Princess Diana’s favorite foods in Eating Royally. Foods like Bread and Butter Pudding. This doesn’t fit with the publicity about her eating disorders.
DMcG When I came to the Palace, she was over her bulimia and was careful about what she ate. I once offered her a donut I had made for the boys and she refused saying it would go to her hips. She would have a yogurt for dessert.
LGYou mention that dating was difficult after the divorce.
DMcG It was impeded by the relentless attention her every move generated.
You’re carrying on Princess Diana’s legacy of working for the charities that she was involved with.
My advance and all royalties from Eating Royally will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. This will be supporting her favorite causes, children and aids.
Princess Diana’s favorite foods.
She loved pasta, fresh vegetables, chicken and fish. Dessert was always fruit or yogurt.
Bread and Butter Pudding
This was Princess Diana’s all-time favorite.
3 ounces raisins
1/4 cup Amaretto
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
9 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, to dust top of pudding
3 ounces sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Soak raisins in the Amaretto, and leave covered with plastic wrap at room temperature 6 to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 slices of the red into 1/2-inch dice, and spread the diced bread on the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle the raisins on top of the bread cubes, and pour any remaining liquid over the bread. Cut the remaining 8 slices of bread in half diagonally, and then cut each half slice in half diagonally to create 4 even triangles per slice. Dip the triangles into the butter, and arrange on the top of the raisins, overlapping the triangles slightly. Pour any remaining butter over the tops of the bread.
Whisk the yolks, vanilla paste, and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat, and pour the hot mix onto the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the warm egg mixture over the bread, making sure all of the bread is coated, and set aside the coated bread for 20 minutes to allow the egg mixture to soak into the bread.
Place the casserole dish in a roasting tray filled with hot water halfway up the sides of the casserole dish, and bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top with the filling just set.
Remove the dish from the oven and roasting tray, and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Broil or use a crème brulee torch to caramelize the sugar. Sprinkle with the toasted sliced almonds, and dust with powdered sugar. Cool slightly, and serve warm with a jug of cream and some fresh berries.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
From Eating Royally by Darren McGrady, (Thomas Nelson Press, $29.99.)