I first made this dessert because I was a fan of Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. I went through the entire book and tried every recipe then I started putting my own twist on everything. I make my own jam for the Queen of Puddings and if you look in one of my cupboards, it’s full of my homemade jam.
I’ve done lots of competitions in the horticultural show here. I win the bread competition every year. I've never bought processed foods - not even biscuits. I make it all myself. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread in 40 years or a jar of jam. I think it’s important for a mum to know how to do all of these things.I even know how to rear and butcher a pig.
I had a pig in the back garden and would have it slaughtered in the yard. I learned how to do bacon preserving, sausages and hams. I would have loads and loads of sausages hanging up in the house. I even did Brawn and used the head.
I was neurotic about my children’s teeth and their health in general. I wanted them to have beautiful teeth and be fed well. I think you show your love with nutritious meals. Not just tasty meals, but home made meals. People now are so obese. Don’t they have mirrors in their homes?
I’ve always liked the rural life. They call me 'Chainsaw Jenny' in the village because I have three chainsaws and I'm not afraid to use them. My father had been posted to Nairobi in the army in my formative years and I have lots of memories of being out there. We used to go on holiday to Tanzier right out in the countryside and we’d stay on the farm of a polish nazi escapee at the edge of Kilimanjaro. She’d rescue birds and she’d let me go and feed them every day.
I've always been maternal and I tried hard to be a different mother to my children because I didn’t have a good childhood or a great relationship with my own mother. She never bonded with me so I made a special effort to bond with mine. I never went to work. My mother worked into her 70s.
I left home as soon as I could. My husband, Iver Wilde, was older than me by 15 years. I worked on his farm as a dairy maid and he was married. It was very rare back then but we had an affair. He made the first move and kissed me, which was very unexpected because I was in the cow shed milking the cows at the time. He was the first and only man I have ever been with and he was married to someone else. We couldn’t well meet in his house, so until we married, it was the hay shed. Wilde by name, wild by nature.
He had 3 children by a previous marriage and I consider them all my own. He was very loving and intelligent and he came from such a loving family. They never rowed. My parents rowed every day and so my brother and I ended up completely neurotic. He really was was the perfect match for me in that sense.
I don’t regret not having a good relationship with my mother. It was never meant to be. She just wasn’t maternal. I felt like she never really wanted me.
When I had my first child I knew I needed to feed my family. When you cook, you want to do it properly, so I decided I would go and take a cookery course. I don’t have so much of a sweet tooth but as soon as I started cooking for the children, pudding came instinctively. I never ate dessert growing up, so I wanted that for my children. There has always been one with every meal ever since. That’s why they call me The Queen of Puddings.
I remember the very first time my dad held my hand I was 13 and we were crossing the road in Nottingham. Once we got to the pavement he dropped my hand and he never held it again. It was the only time I’d ever held his hand. When I saw him before he died all I wanted to do was tell him how much I loved him but I couldn’t. I was too emotionally stilted. I’ll always regret it but it’s the way I was raised. As my mother said, ‘we’re not a kissy family.’