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

Indian Delights on a Weekend

Here in the North of England people tend to refer to all Indian Cuisine as ‘curry’. It’s still popular amongst many to go out drinking or to an event followed by a late night curry, especially after a week of hard graft.

I stopped doing this a long time ago and fell out with meaty, excessively hot dishes served for British palates, finding them all too rich and filling. I also discovered that ghee didn’t agree with me.

Instead I turned to perfecting the art of cooking Indian dishes  – vegetarian and vegan – with the help of Madhur Jaffrey.

Long-time favourite has been Saag Aloo, then Chana Masala, Baingan Barta and absolute supremo – Aloo Gobi Masala. I am lucky to live in a diverse place where spices and all kinds of vegetables are readily available, from around the world, at good prices. Stocking up, from turmeric to cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and more, has always been a delightful aspect to my grocery shopping here. Not forgetting large bundles of coriander!

To accompany I go for either brown rice fused with whole spices – cinnamon sticks, cardamom, start anise, saffron – or chapatis. Sometimes there are samosas, pakoras. Always minty yoghurt and mango chutney to make the palate tingle.

Essentials – onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, sunflower oil, turmeric, chilli. Then whatever grabs you. I learnt to be generous and adventurous when it came to Indian cuisine over the years. My early attempts were dreadful. I became less fearful of what I was creating and it stopped being a brown mush and slowly became full of heady aromas.

Fear doesn’t make for good cooking, like everything else in life. Love and savour every ingredient of everything made, when you can.

 

madhur