My poor Scientist worked very hard last week to make a big deadline, and was completely wiped out by Friday. He's devoted himself to a series of duvet days to get his strength back up again, accompanied by eucalyptus oil, sudafed and a collection of boy-type dvds (ie heavy on speed, plot and aliens, and low on narrative, characterisation, posh shoes and bodices). I have been nursing him by providing tea, hot lemon and honey, sympathy and his choice of invalid food, which on Friday evening was rice pudding.
I've never made rice pudding before but it's been on my list of things I quite fancy trying for some time; long enough, in fact, for me to have bought some pudding rice at a weigh-save place several months ago. The Scientist's mum used to make it when he was a child, which is always an intimidating place to start from (not that his mum would be at all proprietorial about her puddings or her role as pudding-provider-to-beloved-only-son). We read through several recipes, from Delia's baked version using condensed milk, through a Good Housekeeping single-cream enriched one, to an Anthony Worrell Thompson GI diet dish using just milk and brown rice. In the end we kept it simple, The Scientist preferring to have calorie space free for toppings. I remembered that I had read a very simple recipe on A Spoonful of Sugar blog which used pudding rice, milk, and a stovetop method rather than oven baking, so that's what we went with.
I remember my friend T (Rose's mum) telling of her fondness for rice pudding a few months ago, and extolling how easy it is to make. She was absolutely right; you just need to plan a couple of hours in advance. This method just involved boiling the pudding rice in water, and then stirring in some milk and whatever flavourings you fancy - we used vanilla. After a long simmer with occasional stirring I was amazed at how creamy it was. The milk (semi-skimmed, not even full fat) and starch in the rice gave it ample creaminess and neither of us felt that we would have wanted to add anything richer. I'm not really eating cow's cheese and milk any more in an effort to reduce my environmental footprint so I just tasted it, but it seemed to be just the thing for a poorly Scientist (and of course you could make it with soya milk instead of cow's milk). He ate it warm with blackberry jam (several times over the course of the weekend, actually, as 175g of rice makes one HELL of a lot of rice pudding!). I'm interested to try an oven-baked one, which gives more of the afficionado's crust. It wasn't quite a magical cold-curing elixir - I am typing this under the duvet sandwiched in between my invalid and a sprawling white pook - but it definitely helped him through his weekend.
Creamy stove-top rice pudding recipe here
(I used 175g rice and so upped the liquid volumes a little. It made four big portions)