Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bloody freezing

What the hell is going on! The weather today in Melbourne is wild and unexpectedly cold for the end of spring. Let me rephrase that. It is bloody freezing down here! These unseasonably cold arctic winds are whipping the trees outside our office window around madly, and there odd patches of sunlight creeping in between dark and heavy skies. Cold weather food is the order of the day. But with the boys coming tonight, the question is what to cook?


Last night I made the most luscious rice pudding. Puddings of rice are not something I would normally even consider making – too stodgy and filling – but yesterday I bought home a bag of sticky black rice. Asian desserts don’t really do it for me, though I know many people who positively love them. But I am now a convert (well, to this recipe at least). It was the most beautiful deep, deep purple. The cardamom softly scented the rice; the coconut cream and mango made it rich but light. A touch of exoticness in the kitchen and not a bit of dairy in sight. The Artist even liked the mango element…

So risotto it will be – a deeply satisfying bowl of warm risotto. I plan to make more than enough (difficult thing to do this as the Musician would eat the entire thing if he could) so I can make a dish of risotto croquettes with spring vegetables from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers book for tomorrow.

I urge you to make this. You won’t be disappointed. Not for a second.

Black rice pudding – serves 2

100g of black glutinous rice
50g of palm sugar
500ml of water
Seeds from 2 cardamom pods
A little coconut cream
1 ripe mango (or more if you like) – peeled and sliced

Put the rice, sugar, water and cardamom seeds into a large pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Cover with a lid and stir frequently (lazily as you go past the stove is fine) for 45 minutes. Uncover, turn up the heat a little bit and stir constantly for another 15 minutes. The rice should be sticky and sloppy, but still distinct and separate.

Spoon into small bowls, top with a little drizzle of coconut cream and top it all with the skinned mango slices. Beautiful in a rather unexpected way.

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