Gluten-Free Chocolate and Raspberry Puddings and…The Charge Nurse

After I posted my story about the Charge Nurse on the cardiac ward, a few of the nurses I trained with read it and then contacted me to swap war stories.  This gave us a lot of laughs and we all agreed that tragedy plus time equals comedy.

The reminiscing reminded me of another story regarding the infamous charge nurse.

Individual chocolate and raspberry puddings

Individual chocolate and raspberry puddings

I’d only been nursing for about four months when I was sent to ‘her’ ward, the cardiac ward.  Since starting my nursing career I had done a four-week study block, eight weeks in paediatrics, another four-week study block and then I was sent to the cardiac ward for a 12-week stint – with zero cardiac knowledge.

Perfect dusted with icing sugar and topped with a raspberry

Perfect dusted with icing sugar and topped with a raspberry

The blue nursing uniform was fairly austere, (behind-the-times) and had to be worn with grey stockings and black orthopaedic shoes.  There was also a white cap to be worn on our heads that was a flat piece of material we ironed with starch then moulded into the shape of a cap and pinned in place.  When it came to shaping the starched fabric, no amount of instruction was of any use and on the wards you’d see a broad variety of caps and often some obviously old caps because the wearer didn’t want to have to make another one.  The caps also contained bright blue stripes.  Three stripes if you were in third-year, two when in second-year and as for me, I was adorned with just one beginner’s stripe.

Raspberry jam and freshly squeezed orange juice sits at the bottom of the ramekins

Raspberry jam and freshly squeezed orange juice sits at the bottom of the ramekins

The stripe system was to warn others of your level of ability (or ineptitude) but as if that wasn’t enough, there was another system for spotting junior nurses.  The blue uniform had a matching belt however, if you were a brand new nurse you weren’t allowed the matching blue belt and instead had to settle for a really, really wide brilliantly-white belt.  These were so glaringly obvious they were loathed and we all wanted to graduate to a blue belt as quickly as possible.  In order to be rid of the white belt, you had to complete three practical tests.

Three types of chocolate melted with butter

Three types of chocolate melted with butter

Now that I had entered my fourth month of nursing I was eligible to sit the practical tests.  There was a nurse educator on every ward and the one in the cardiac ward was absolutely lovely.  She was a very tiny Asian lady with a good wit and she could tell stories of patients she’d nursed that would have you stunned or doubled over in stitches.

The puddings sitting in a water bath, about to go in the oven

The puddings sitting in a water bath, about to go in the oven

One of the rules of having to pass the three practical tests was that you weren’t allowed to know in advance when you were going to be tested.  For some reason it was decided that springing a test on you or having you anxiously looking over your shoulder wondering when you were going to get that tap on the shoulder, was sensible.

But the nurse educator with the good wit and wink in her eye, would whisper to me that I was about to be tested.  ‘Get prepared’, she’d say which would have me scrambling for the nursing manual of how to perform tasks like give an anticoagulation injection into someone’s tummy.

With the nurse educator winking away and putting me at ease, I passed my first two tests with ease.

The trouble is that the nurse educator was not the only one on the ward who could spring a test on you.  Alas, the other assessor was the bitter charge nurse.



One day I was wandering around the ward in a world of my own when I heard a roaring voice bellowing at me, ‘Nurse Stewart-Cooper, you will do your assessment now’.  And that’s the other thing.  Because there was already a Nurse Cooper working at the hospital, I had to be a double-barrel name.  Ridiculous.

So I was forced to run into the treatment room where there was a middle-aged woman lying on a bed.  The charge nurse stood beside her with a clipboard folder held tightly against her enormous chest and she said, ‘Nurse Stewart-Cooper, Mrs Alexander needs her sutures removed.  You will be examined on the safe removal of sutures’.

Light as a feather

Light as a feather

Right.  The first thing I had to do was show the charge nurse I knew how to wash my hands.  I did the full wash right up to the elbows then patted them dry without contaminating myself.  The next step was to wash down a stainless steel trolley with methylated spirits.  As I was cleaning the trolley, she said, ‘Hurry up, Nurse Stewart-Cooper, it’s Mrs Alexander’s wedding anniversary; she hasn’t got all day, she’d like to get back on the ward where her husband is waiting’.

Feeling completely flustered I then had to pass by the charge nurse to reach for a basic dressing pack.  As I did, I glanced at the sheet of paper on the folder and saw that in red pen she had already given me three crosses.  It was three strikes and you’re out so I knew then I had already failed.  I hadn’t even begun!  Not realising I’d seen her handiwork she made me continue and so I used little wipes to remove the adhesive bandage covering Mrs Alexander’s sutures, opened up the dressing pack, poured some normal saline into a container to wash down the wound, , then just as I was about to cut through the first suture she yelled out, ‘Stop there, Nurse Stewart-Cooper.  You have failed this assessment and I’m not sure you have the competency to continue’.  With a loud bang she put down the clipboard with all it’s multiple red crosses and marched over to the sink where she started scrubbing her hands like Lady Macbeth.  ‘I will be taking over from here.  You can observe’.

And Mrs Alexander gave me a very sympathetic glance.

The next week I did the very same assessment with the witty nurse educator with a 100% pass.  And I graduated to a blue belt!

And in case you’re wondering what happened to that charge nurse, she was last seen vomiting out of the door of her car on her way to work.  Pregnant with twins!

Molten puddings with a delicious sauce at the bottom of the dish

Molten puddings with a delicious sauce at the bottom of the dish

For Christmas I was given a set of blue ramekins by my cousin, Megan.  They came with a recipe for a molten raspberry and chocolate puddings that I’ve made for a few dinner parties and it’s absolutely outstanding.  The one drawback though of a recipe like this is that it can’t be made in advance; it’s one of those desserts that has to be made during your event – but it’s so worth it!

5.0 from 12 reviews
Gluten-Free Chocolate and Raspberry Puddings and...The Charge Nurse
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A gluten-free raspberry and chocolate molten pudding that's as light as a feather with a delicious rich sauce
  • 4 tbspns raspberry jam
  • 4 tbspns freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 65g butter
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbspn chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 100g light demerara sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • raspberries to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (fan-force 180C).
  2. Lightly butter 4 Le Creuset ramekins.
  3. Stir the orange juice into the raspberry jam and spoon into the bottom of each buttered ramekin.
  4. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and add butter. Sit over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until completely melted.
  5. Meanwhile, put the sugar into a large bowl with the egg yolks and beat well until thick, pale and creamy.
  6. Stir the chocolate mixture until smooth then gently fold it into the creamed sugar and egg yolks.
  7. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and quickly fold them into the chocolate mixture. Gently spoon into the cups over the conserve.
  8. Put hte ramekins in a roasting tin an dadd enough boilings water to come up 2.5cms (1 inch) up the sides of the cups. Back for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are risen and quite firm to the touch. The centres will still be wobbly with a delicious hot raspberry sauce beneath.

Molten puddings with a delicious sauce at the bottom of the dish

Molten puddings with a delicious sauce at the bottom of the dish

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  1. Your charge nurse was young enough to have babies?!! Ours were all old dragons. Incredibly old to a bunch of new nurses – at least in their 40’s. 😉

  2. Oh my goodness, what a story. The Charge Nurse sounds absolutely terrifying, you are a rockstar handling the way you did, especially knowing you had the 3 strikes. Haha… what a way to remember this delightful character – vomiting out the window of the car. 🙂
    Beaut recipe, always on the hunt for GF dessert recipes, looking forward to having a crack at this one. Hope you have had a happy and fun filled hump day Charlie. x

  3. Gosh Charlie I don’t know whether to laugh at the vision of your nemesis chucking up or feel sorry for her kids! She sounds like a right old dragon 🙂

  4. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I always knew nursing was something that fell in my list of talents or abilities. I’d much rather make these delicious chocolate puddings. They look heavenly.

  5. Someone as “mean” as that Charge Nurse really ought not to be a nurse. At least you able to view this experience now with a humorous eye.

    Love the blue of the cups and that raspberry pudding looks to die for.

  6. Yum Yum Yum yummmmm, Charlie! When I was a nurse, we had white uniformes & we could schoolse if we wanted skirts or pants! A cool story.

  7. hahahahaha!!! I am sure the twins will have by now told her who exactly is in ‘charge’…..looking at how mean she is, how did she even get to the stage of having twins….lol!

    That raspberry pudding looks fabulous!

  8. I’m SO glad we didn’t have to go through that sort of interrogation. The pressure!!! So glad we’re both off the hook and can spend our days baking delectable chocolate desserts…my family would love your lava cakes (duh!!!).

  9. I have such an image in my head!! Love the nursing stories!

  10. That Charge Nurse is a piece of work. Some people so enjoy getting off on their positions. Me? I’d much rather just happily eat this pudding. Lovely dish — thanks.

  11. Is it bad that when you said she was pregnant with twins my first thought was ‘that’s karma for you!’ I’m sure twins are a blessing though right? Right?
    She’s definitely a case of power going to your head.
    Now to the pudding. These look just perfect. Raspberries have just started to reach reasonable prices round here but in more exciting news my raspberry bush has some flowers so I could even use my own!

  12. Oooh, yummy pudding indeed Charlie! Chocolate with raspberries are my favourite combination. I spent a LOT of time in hospitals when I was little and had my mum make me one of those starched hats so I could look like my favourite nurse, Nurse Cranny. She remained a family friend for years 🙂 I bet you’re glad of your nursing experience with your adventurous boys- it must come in handy! Xox

  13. 0ehe I was envisaging Nurse Ratchett the whole time!She sounds like a terror!

  14. You aren’t very old and that hospital sounds positively last century.

    The chocolate and raspberry puddings want to come to my house, I’m sure of it.

    • Hmmm – beautiful lady: this century IS only 14 years old!!!!!!! I certainly trained at many very much ‘last century’ 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!

  15. brilliant recipe but I just loved hearing about the charge nurse – goodness she sounds like a monster – I wonder why she acted like that and hope she treated her children with some kindness. Glad you had someone on your side. Must bookmark this recipe – have never made molten chocolate puddings but always want to and raspberry in it sounds just delicious

  16. Oh my gosh – the scary nurse sounds ghastly!!! How I love that kind, funny one. 🙂 I’m so glad you got her for your final test in the end. 🙂

  17. So many points for the Macbeth reference.

  18. Holding my tummy with laughter, Nurse Stewart-Cooper!!! Oh, I can SO believe it, but the Dragons did not quite dare to do that to us!!! Just snorted!!!! But the male A&E residents paid back when the police arrived every hour on the hour on Sat nights with drunks with ‘broke’ heads – inexperienced, you try to sew up scalps when the very, very inebriated were ‘feeling you up’ [all the way!!] and noone would damn well care 😀 !! The good old days!!!!!!

  19. Ugh, what a story… lovely recipe though! Really lovely!

  20. Thank goodness there were nice staff to balance out that charge nurse! At least the patient you were being tested on was sympathetic too.

    These desserts are lovely and your new ramekins are delightful – I love the colour.

  21. Oh my goodness, what a revolting woman that charge nurse was! Urgh! I get so angry when I hear about such horrible people.
    Your puds look glorious!
    Have a super day Charlie.
    😉 Mandy xo

  22. delicious looking pudding that would thrill anyone with a penchant for chocolate.I wonder why some people just have to thrive on intimidation and power.

  23. Hello Charlie, great little post that made me chuckle. Did you have to wear those “flying nun” nursing caps back in the day? Thank goodness that today those are not needed well that is everywhere except for Hong Kong. The other day I was at the Hong kong Sanitorium in HK and yes everyone was wearing those little flying nun nursing caps, white polyester uniform skirts with the white hose and the wearing white orthopedic shoes. I felt like I was in flash back movie from the 60’s. Love this chocolate and raspberry pudding. I want to dive spoon right in there… Going to pin this recipe! Take Care, BAM

  24. What a great story! How terrible that you had to wear uniforms that showed your training level! I am glad I didn’t have to do that during my training as pharmacist. It is hard enough being new to it all! What a delicious looking desert 😉

  25. So glad that you were able to find some of the other nurses, swapping war stories is fun and yes, these dismal events actually do turn quite funny with time.
    This is a beautiful pudding and I love that they are gluten free.

  26. What a traumatizing experience! I don’t think I would do well under those circumstances….I might have to hurt someone. LOL I don’t deal well with rudeness and bad manners… Glad you passed shortly thereafter, though…you’re far too smart to not have! These chocolates look divine!! I want one immediately!! 🙂 xo

  27. These look so delicious. Stunning photos. Thanks for sharing. Emma xx

  28. Ha! Well at least you know the problem was with her and not you! These looking puddings sound super!

  29. Honestly, I couldn’t focus on your story because your pudding gets all of my attention, lol. Chocolates are one of my waterloos. And so this dessert has sold me :).

    Gourmet Getaways

  30. My wish for the mean ol’ charge nurse is LOTS of morning sickness!!
    Mean RUDE Yucky Bat.
    Pregnacy is no excuse to be a B*tch.
    As far as these little puddings, I WANT Need Desire. xxx

  31. I really enjoyed your story, Charlie. My daughter is a nurse and this was fun to hear about the uniforms as well as nurses training. Don’t you just wonder what it is about an instructor who gets such pleasure out of intimidation. It happens! It’s fun to hear about your life in stories. 🙂 These little chocolate and raspberry puddings look wonderful to me! Two of my favorite combinations!

  32. Great story Charlie … that Charge Nurse would have had me quaking in my boots! The pudding looks fantastic!

  33. My Mum, read and loved your story… she has been a nurse for over 45 years and during that time was also an educator 🙂 She said that she was always that nicest out of the bunch because she remembers have THAT charge nurse too 🙂 Oh and thanks for the recipe… I might see if I can adapt it for the Thermomix 🙂 Liz x

  34. This charge nurse sounds like a real peach. Whew! I would have just been a puddle of nerves and tears around her no doubt. Sounds like the other nurse made up for it though. 🙂 Your dessert looks lovely and one that my kids would definitely devour – chocolate and raspberries. Two of their favorite things!

  35. LOL those stories remind me of my friends doing nursing in the same era… they had similar stories about some of their charge nurses, at least now you can look back and smile about it all….. Have an awesome week, we are heading home on Wednesday – I don’t want to go back 🙁

  36. Power tripping nurses…ahh, I have a few of those stories myself. Do ever think about going back? Maybe she needed a chocolate pudding before the assessment to sweeten her up a little 🙂

  37. I could certainly do with some of that dessert right now. I love the idea that the ramekins came with a recipe.
    I fee sorry for the twins of that charge nurse. What a sour puss!

  38. Wow Charlie I never knew you were a nurse in your past life! I feel bad for the charge nurse for not knowing she perhaps was pregnant and had such serious morning sickness, but that doesn’t mean she has to be so mean!

    I love these sort of molten puddings but I’ve never seen a recipe that uses orange juice, that’s really interesting to me!

  39. Can’t go past a good molten chocolate pudding!!
    These look delicious!

  40. This pudding looks so addictive, seriously, one would not be enough 😛
    Delicious recipe 😀
    And I think I have met THAT charge nurse before…

    Choc Chip Uru

  41. This sounds like chocolatey happiness! The blue plate makes the pudding look stunning! Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

  42. Wait, twins…? For some reason I imagined a tall, large, old, nasty woman… What a horror

  43. What a story! You always entice us with your stories and this dessert looks heavenly. And easy. Whoopee!

  44. Mmmm….I could definitely see myself eating this for breakfast! 😉


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