Daily Archives: April 11, 2012

The easiest rice pudding ever!

I love rice pudding but I always felt the amount of effort was not worth it (I must have a rubbish recipe).

Recently, we were having friends over for dinner, one of who was dairy and gluten intolerant. This caused my brain to ache slightly. Our brief was to stick to vegetables and rice (I forgot to mention they were both vegetarian). My first instinct was rice pudding but then I realised it was full of cream, butter and milk which were off the menu!

One evening Mr Mac and I had a thai curry for dinner. I always misjudge the amount of sticky rice to make (the instructions on the side of the packet are in cups – I think I use mugs!) and we end up with enough to eliminate third world famine. The other annoying thing is we only ever use half a tin of coconut milk. The other half goes in the fridge and then gets thrown out after a month when I find it again!

Can you see where I’m going with this? Mr Mac suggested trying to make a rice pudding using the leftover rice and coconut milk.  It took us a while to get it right but we impressed our friends and now feel smug about not wasting food.

It is worth playing around with it to suit your own taste but this is what we do:

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • Rice – whatever the packet suggests for a portion per person. We have used pudding rice and also leftover thai sticky rice and both work equally well.
  • 200ml (or half a tin) of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 or 4 cardomams
  • sliced mango for a garnish

Method

  1. Cook the rice as per instructions on the packet, drain and leave in a bowl.
  2. Put the coconut milk, sugar, cardomams (I bash them to get the seeds out but put the whole lot in the pan ) and vanilla pod (slice it open to release the seeds but put the whole lot in the pan) in a pan and warm through gently until all the flavours have infused into the milk.
  3. Once you are happy with the taste of the milk, strain it through a sieve over the rice. WARNING do not do what I once did and strain the milk over the sink only realising what a prize idiot I was when the last of the milk disappeared down the plughole!
  4. Mix the rice and milk together and eat straight away or leave until later and warm it up in the oven. Some sliced mango over the top finishes it off nicely.

You can mess around with other spices like cinammon or add nuts, and orange and lemon zest.

The beauty of this dish is it can be eaten straight away, eaten cold or made well in advance of guests coming leaving you time to be an attentive host.

It is also naturally free from dairy, eggs, soy and gluten so can be eaten by virtually everyone (unless you don’t like rice or coconut).

Enjoy!

My favourite livingstone daisies

Our first few years at this house were spent renovating inside. The garden was neglected other than cutting the grass, some emergency tree surgery and seeing what plants we had inherited.

There was an overgrown bush in front of the kitchen window which blocked our view of the gate. It was also a jaggy bush and as Mr Mac has made it his mission to eliminate all things jaggy from the garden,  it was pulled out and burned.

This did leave us with a large area to fill and so off we went to the garden centre to buy a selection of bedding plants to give us some colour for the summer. After parting with £50 of his hard-earned cash Mr Mac announced that from then on I could grow my own flowers!

We bought a selection of livingstone daisies, calendula and zinnias and I fell in love with them all, especially the livingstone daisies. These are the flowers I chose for my blog banner at the top of the page.

Now some of you may have noticed that there has not been much actual gardening going on over the last week although I have (hopefully) been keeping you entertained with tales of broken pottery and growing chips. There is a reason for this. See below!

A victim of my own succcess! All of these little seedlings need a new home.

I planted a tray of livingstone daisy seeds and look at how they have germinated. I knew they were ready for potting on but I could not face it and kept putting it off. However, I had a word with myself yesterday, cleared a space in the greenhouse, put the radio on and got on with it.

There was a lot of wastage but in the end I stopped after 360!

360 livingstone daisies

I grow so many because we have several long borders and the daisies create a stunning display as well as provide good ground cover. I have also grown some to give to friends.

There were two things that kept me going. The first was knowing how fantastic they will look. When they open their wee smiley faces to the sun my heart just melts. The second was the fact that the garden centre sells 6 plants for £3. So I calculate that for a packet of seeds that cost £1.49 I have saved Mr Mac £180!

As a bonus this year I also got a free packet of livingstone daisy seeds with Amateur Gardening magazine (worth £1.99). They are a different variety but (thankfully!) have not germinated quite as successfully. They should be ready to pot on soon.

If you are tempted to grow some I promise you, you won’t regret it. They are perfect for the edge of borders and seem to be able to grow in any type of soil as long they are in a sunny spot.

Their “Sunday” name is Mesembryanthemum which means midday flowering. They are native to South Africa and are also known as fig marigolds or icicle plant.

This is what they looked like last year.