Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apples & Thyme - Rice pudding

African Vanielje and The Passionate Palate are hosting a blogging event called "Apples & Thyme". This event requires you to blog about time spent with your mother, grandmother or some other special person in the kitchen that influenced how you cook and eat. I thought this was a charming idea, and is a good way to honour the person who introduced me to a love of food and cooking - my mother.

Mum did all of the cooking when I lived at home, and in fact she would never let us cook. However, we were permitted to help her out, and as the only girl, it was considered my duty to do so when required.

Mum grew up on a farm, and due to some adverse events in her life, she learned to cook from a very early age. She relates being 8 years old and standing on a stool so that she could reach the stovetop. Mum rarely uses recipes (a skill which I envy!), hence our family usually ate one of the dishes in her repertoire.

The fare cooked by my Mum was usually simple but sustaining. Corned beef and mash, shepherds pie, rissoles, roasts, apple crumble, blancmange, soda pudding, jam drops, custard, russian caramels, rolled oat (Anzac) biscuits and "pusher" biscuits made regular appearances in our house.

One of the happiest times in my life was when I was a somewhat chubby but self-assured and confident 10 year old (where did that confidence go?). Every Sunday, my brother and I would go to Sunday school in the morning, and would come home at lunch time to a roast meal followed by dessert. (I asked to go to Sunday school so that I could see my best friend and act and sing!) The smells of cooking which filled the house were heavenly, and I eagerly awaited the time when lunch would be served.

My favourite Sunday dessert for many years was rice pudding. This might seem a bland and unappealing choice to some, but I absolutely adored its milky sweetness, and could easily eat the whole dish myself if I had been allowed. Even better, my brother did not like rice pudding - so leaving all the more for me!

Accordingly, in honour of my Mum and in memory of those happy Sundays so long ago, I have made rice pudding for this blog event. The recipe is as follows:

3/4 cup cooked medium grain (calrose) rice
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
enough milk to just cover the rice (skim milk is fine)

Place all ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, and stir over medium heat until it boils. Turn down the heat and simmer the rice until it thickens. Pour rice into a serving dish and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.

This is a warm, comforting treat which I have never made myself until this blogging event. I asked Mum for the recipe some time ago, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. Thanks Mum for making me feel so secure and happy during my childhood - I now remember those times with fondness each time that I make your recipes.

Also, thanks to African Vanielje and The Passionate Palate for creating and hosting the Apples & Thyme blogging event.

Postscript: The roundups for this event are
here and here. Go read them - they are truly heartfelt and make beautiful reading.


african vanielje said...

What lovely memories you have of your mom's cooking, Cakelaw. I love rice pudding and it's not bland, it's subtle. I love it cold for breakfast and I particularly love it with star anise, cardamom, or cloves. Thanks for participating in Apples & Thyme

african vanielje said...

The Apples & Thyme event is a joint event hosted by myself and Jeni from The Passionate Palate. You can get her link on my blog and she will be posting half of the roundup so check her out for some fabulous stories of some amazing women

The Passionate Palate said...

What lovely and comforting memories!
Thanks for participating in our event,

Chef Jeena said...

Lovely recipe I bet it tasted real warming and comforting. :)

Cakelaw said...

Hi Jeena, it really was!

Ann said...

Comfort food always seems to have wonderful memories attached to it. Enjoyed reading your post!


Laurie Constantino said...

Very nice post, although the warming and comforting part made me laugh because I associate rice pudding with hot summer days where an ice cold bowl of rice pudding is just the thing to help cool off. So, for me, rice pudding is cool and refreshing. But, hey, either way it's wonderful, right? Thanks for a great post!

A Scientist in the Kitchen said...

I work on rice research, developing disease-resistant varieties of rice so I do tend to eat a lot of rice. I have yet to try rice pudding though. And it has special memories attached too. Thanks.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Jeni and African Vanielje for hosting such a wonderful event.

I agree Ann - food can be very comforting as well as nourishing. Thanks - I am glad that you enjoyed my post :)

Hi Laurie, I agree - rice pudding is also terrific cold. (I finished this off cold with mango slices!)

Hi Gay, you should save some of your rice to make rice pudding - it's delicious.

Irene said...

Hello. I find that a very good recipe.

Greetings from spain

Simona Carini said...

Amazing how often the simple things are those whose memory stays with us longer, and it is more dearly cherished.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Irene, it is a good recipe and really easy - thanks to my Mum for this.

Simona, I agree - memories of growing up with Mum's simple yet delicious cooking are the most treasured memories that I have.

Julie said...

Your mom's repertoire sounds so delicious! I love corned beef and mash, and shepherd's pie! I've also loved rice pudding since I first tried it 10 years ago, and I made it myself for the first time last week! Bland and boring? Not at all--I love it! Thank you for sharing your family recipe!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Julie, the oldies are the goodies, aren't they!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

I didn't cook much either as home since my grandmother and mother always had it under control; isn't it wonderful to finally try their recipes and make them so well ;)

I *love* rice pudding, so I'll be trying this!

Cakelaw said...

It is good to find out that the cooking gene didn't pass you by - and so much fun!