Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy (Be-Lated) Birthday Bosco-(Queen Victoria's Pug)            

Thursday, April 24, marked the birthday of Queen Victoria's pug, Bosco.   Actually the Queen owned many pugs, as many as thirty six during her life time (now thats a life well lived!). Bosco was a particular favorite, however, and was Prince Alexander's special pet.   In the above picture you can see that though pugs had longer noses in the past, the adorable cobby body and tummy has stayed much the same, as has the pugs fondness for humans and furniture.       Bosco really reminds me of my Tubby

You can read about Bosco in the wonderful book Noble Hounds and Dear Companions.  There are some pictures of other charming pugs in there as well.

As any history buff knows, Queen Victoria was like me and loved all dogs, not just pugs.   Bosco shared his home with Greyhounds, Spaniels, Labs, Pomeranian, etc.   (as well as cats and birds)

Below is  Queen Victoria's Dogs and Parrot by Sir Edwin Landseer, RA 1802-1873. c.1833-1834.  It depicts two grey hounds, a parrot, and a cavalier on cushion.

So Bosco lived in a true menagerie, just like my own dogs (albeit in less luxurious digs). 

The hounds in their back yard (and the late lamented Bingo being petted by me) This picture is from about 2 years ago.

In honor of Bosco's belated birthday I decided to celebrate with an English Pudding (that's British for dessert).  I cheated though and used a recipe from an American cook, my favorite TV Cook Ina Garten, in my humble opinion she can do no wrong.

Summer Pudding with Rum Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint strawberries , cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 pints raspberries , plus additional for garnish
  • 1 pint blueberries , plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons framboise (or other raspberry liqueur)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds brioche or other egg bread (I used Challah)
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream , cold
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
Combine strawberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a large (6- to 8-quart) saucepan and cook uncovered over medium-low heat 5 minutes. Add 2 cups raspberries and all blueberries and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture simmers. Continue cooking 1 minute. Remove from heat and add remaining raspberries and framboise.

Slice bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices and remove crusts. Ladle about 1/2 cup cooked berry mixture into bottom of souffle dish (approximately 7 1/2 inches across by 3 inches high). Arrange one layer of bread slices side by side in a circular pattern (this will become the top when pudding is unmolded); add more berry mixture to saturate. Continue adding bread, slicing to fit mold, and berry mixture. Finish with bread, and top with any remaining berry mixture.

Cover pudding loosely with plastic wrap and place a plate (with approximately the same diameter as inside of mold) on top. Weight with a heavy can and refrigerate. Remove weight after 6 to 8 hours. Continue to refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

To make topping:
In a small bowl, whip cream until it starts to thicken. Add sugar, vanilla and rum. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Run a knife around outside of pudding; unmold upside down onto a serving plate. Garnish with fresh fruit. Serve in wedges with whipped cream.


  1. good mornign to all of you!
    what a wonderful post!
    thank you so much for the history and the recipe!
    we love seeing all of you together!
    you are just the coolest family!
    a & m

  2. I hadn't heard of Bosco, but over here in England we know that Queen Victoria was a real dog lover who did lots to make lots of breed popular.
    We like the story of Dash - another of her dogs -