23 April, 2008

Rice pudding

Rice pudding and I have a history. Or rather we don't. I could never ever stand the stuff. And we're not just talking school dinner slop with no flavour or Ambrosia (pah!) in a can. We are talking about home-made by my mother and adored by my father and frankly loathed by me.

Dave, my father, (he was always just Dave) was a great story-teller. And one of my favourite stories was about rice pudding. Perhaps he plagiarised it from somewhere else or adapted and embellished it. Perhaps he made it up from scratch. It went like this (and I'm not promising Dave's skills).

Once upon a time, there was a king in a far off land who fell ill with melancholy and was unable to eat. He became thinner and thinner and sadder and sadder and eventually all of his ministers were very worried about him so they sent a message to all the corners of the land, saying that any woman who could tempt the king to eat again, would marry the king and become queen.

Well in a remote part of the land lived three beautiful sisters, all talented cooks who each thought they should try to succeed at this challenge.

The eldest sister went into the meadows around their house collecting the freshest and most tasty of fruits and together with dew and nectar, created a wonderful dish for the king. She placed it into a golden bowl, on a golden tray with a gold spoon and covered the bowl with a gold silk cloth. And then she took it to the king. The king looked at it and sighed deeply and then said "No, no, take it away!"

The second sister wandered into the nearby woods and collected nuts and berrys and honey from their hive and made a fabulous dessert to tempt the king. She placed it in a silver bowl, on a silver tray with a silver spoon and covered the bowl with a deep blue satin cloth and took it to the king. But again he looked, and sighed and said "No, take it away!"

The third and youngest sister thought long and hard about the problem. When she had made her dish for the king, she took an old enamel bowl, a tin tray, the kitchen measuring spoon and covered the dish with a clean tea towel. She took the dish to the palace and as she went through the palace everyone sniffed and said "What is that wonderful smell?" The king looked at the simple tray and bowl, and lifted the cloth. And he tasted the food. And then again until he had eaten every last bit. "You shall be my queen" he said, "But first, tell me what was that wonderful food you made?"

"Well, your majesty" she said, "It was rice pudding."

Anyway, I think her recipe probably went something like this:

Serves 6-8

100g pudding rice
1.2 litres Jersey milk
130 g caster sugar
the seeds from at least one vanilla pod
rind of 2 oranges, peeled in large strips with a potato peeler

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/ 300 degrees F/ Gas Mark 2.

Mix all the ingredients in a buttered glass or ceramic baking dish and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring once after 45 minutes, until just solidified. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

The above was taken from Casa Moro. I used vanilla instead of cinnamon and made sure the milk was Jersey. Emilia has been requesting the pudding for ages and ate three helpings. It was rich, simple, creamy, orangey, warming and actually, even to me, rather lovely.

1 comment:

G said...

This sounds so good! I shall have to try it very soon... a lovely post. Can we assume you learned to love rice pudding at one point?