Festive Rice Pudding for a Fairy Tale Feast

Sunday morning and I haven’t made a rice pudding yet. I have been mulling over the ingredients, starting with searching out various recipes around the world. Yes, rice pudding is global!

We often dismiss this dessert as a humble dish, but certain ingredients will make a pudding incredibly more-ish.

My mother’s version was simply to simmer it on the hob in full fat milk, then add sugar if needed, at the table. Nanna would bake hers, including knobs of butter – everyone seems to agree that the skin is best!

Today I will make a Festive Rice Pudding for a Fairy Tale Feast with

 unsweetened almond milk – 6 cups to 1 cup of rice

chopped dates, dried figs would be nice too – no need for sugar

vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest

butter

A dash of Chambord black raspberry liqueur

It will be baked for two hours low heat.

I am anticipating a festive aroma!

The most decadent version was served to me in the Highlands of Scotland. A Lady Claire MacDonald recipe laden with cream and butter!

Persian interpretations are perhaps the most famous – one recipe has milk, one does not. Rose water and cardamon are added, then the dish is adorned with rose petals, almonds and more. See Shir Berenj and Sholeh Zard https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/331999803767086537/

I found another recipe on instagram from Chile with the naughty addition of condensed milk (okay once a year!) Rick Stein has share the Mexican version on his latest jaunt. And please let’s not forget honey, which is made for this sweet dessert.

My culinary reading for the festive season is Nigel Slater’s The Christmas Chronicles.

Other books on the coffee table include:

Marco Polo – from Venice to Xanadau

Norse Mythology

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Plus a couple in the fantasy and magic realism genres arriving in the post soon.

I intend to watch international films throughout winter – the real, the magical.

Links:

Rick Stein’s recipe from Mexico:

https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/mexican-rice-pudding-with-honeycomb

Nigel Slater:

https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008260194/the-christmas-chronicles/

fairy tale feast

All roads lead to…

each other and yet we all have our very own. Are you on your path, are you sticking with it.

Looking at the art of knitting, I thought there was just English and Continental techniques. I had an inkling that Shetland had its own style. Then discovered there was Portuguese, Spanish.

Knitting began as the coptic style – one needle threading through loops. Origins may be from Africa and the Middle East. In Europe, Germany apparently heralded the Continental way, which is very similar to Russian.

South America adopted European habits apparently.

In reality, no one can say exactly where two needle knitting began! But as a knitter you tend to be either a picker or thrower of the yarn, sometimes combined. It’s good to know both. Continental is speedy for  knit stitch, great for different colours on one project. English suits purl and decreasing at end of rows. Continental gives an even, neat appearance on knit. English does purl the right way up.

I’m Continental with a Russian slant. I adopt English for certain aspects of patterns. But recently have found Russian patterns, in Cyrillic! That would be like knitting in a secret code. It’s all magical though, isn’t it.

I have spent some time in recent hours researching a fairy tale. This too appears to have different techniques, origins perhaps, and adaptations on the way over hundreds of years.

Whatever stories we choose, or perhaps they pick us, the road they take us on bring us to each other. We all have our own folk or fairy tale, our own favourite. I have mine and it’s been in my subconscious for years leading me to story-making. I have only now realised how influential it is on my main character.

Mexican three bean soup, malted pecan loaf, textiles, for the weekend. Have a good November. It doesn’t matter if you take an alternate route, it makes a story more interesting. Keep writing!

redriding

 

Rhubarb!

It’s a part of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. There’s a saying – ‘load of old rhubarb’ – meaning what nonsense. Every allotment still has at least one plant.

The stalks are chopped, cooked with sugar and ginger then a dollop of custard added on top for a lazy school pudding. It’s a certain kind of person who can consume that tart, slippery mess – a hungry one!

I’ve always had some in a garden. The leaves are good for pesticide when dunked in water. the stalks freeze rather well, but an instant crumble is best.

I’ve read a little recently about its history in Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc. Rhubarb comes from China (as many plants have) and Siberia. It became popular in West Yorkshire and the Victorian era, in London.

There is the tradition of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb whereby it is grown in sheds in the dark by candlelight. Certainly sparks the imagination!

‘Forced rhubarb plants are shrouded in such an aura of mystery and romance, like fragile prima donnas that have to be handled so gently,’ says Raymond.

We are all stalks in the dark sometimes, growing slowly.

Image from slowfood.org.uk 

rhubarb