For the sauce, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to cool, then add the brandy and mix well. Add the raisins and allow to macerate for 8 hours. Mix the remaining sauce ingredients and 5 tablespoons of the ‘drunken raisins’ (seal the remainder in a jar and refrigerate for another use) in a saucepan and simmer for a few minutes until thick and creamy. Set aside. For the pudding, preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan- forced). Place the water and dates in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then add the baking soda. Set aside. In a bowl beat together the butter, honey and sugar, then mix in the eggs and essence. Add the dry ingredients. Gradually stir in the liquid from the dates, then add the dates and ginger. Pour the mixture into a 20cm square tin lined with baking paper and bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes (you can also use 8 small ramekins buttered and lined on the base with baking paper, and reduce the cooking time). When cool, cut the pudding into squares and set aside. If making in advance, pour a little sauce over before reheating for extra stickiness (this pudding also freezes well). To serve, place a scoop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream on each serving plate, place a slice of hot pudding next to it, then drizzle with drunken raisin sauce.