Sugar And Rice And All Things Nice

Strawbs3Strawbs1Kisses sweeter than wine¶
Kid has never had rice pudding. She is 10, how did this happen? We had it all the time as kids. That sweet, sticky, lightly vanilla flavoured treat firmly implanted on my childhood psyche. Mum knows how to keep things simple.
I do too, just not on this occasion. I can be the proverbial kid in the lolly shop at my deli.  Saffron, rose-water, shaved coconut, spices and, given the boon season, strawberries.
I could smell the strawberries before I even entered the shop. Our local producers were smashed by a freak storm earlier in the year, they seem to have recovered somewhat. It worries me when supermarkets sell them for $2 a punnet mid-season. What are the farmers getting?
Screwed no doubt. Hit the weekend markets or pay the extra 2 bucks at the fruit shop peeps…Strawbs2
Saffron is a dear, sweet love of mine. It’s pricey, the most expensive spice in the world, but if you buy the good stuff and use it properly, you get good mileage.

Spiced Saffron Rice Pudding w/ Strawberries, Coconut and Rosewater.Strawbs9HOW?
Firstly rinse your rice under some cool water and strain. In a suitably sized saucepan toast the cardamom and cinnamon until fragrant. Add a little coconut, the saffron and vanilla and 1/2 a cup of water.Strawbs4 Place on the heat for a minute or two. The water will help the saffron to bleed. Now add your coconut milk and sugar. Warm gently and let simmer very slowly for 15 mins. Strain the spices out, return the liquid back to the pan. Stir in the rice and cook gently, stirring occasionally for 20-25 mins. The rice should be cooked and sitting in plenty of liquid. Stir in the yolks thoroughly, remove from heat and chill in the fridge for later.Strawbs6In the meantime. Toast your coconut in the oven on 140*c for 5 mins. It will burn very quickly if you forget it. Chop the strawberries as big or small as you like and toss with the rosewater. Rosewater is overpowering and unpleasant if you over do it. We are using an eye dropper to avoid this. Get it right and it’s a perfect match for ripe, sweet strawberries.Srawbs7What Kid DidStrawbs5Today I had kid ‘hulling’ the strawberries (chopping the tops off). Toasting coconut in the oven. Weighing ingredients. Straining the spices from the coconut milk. Measuring and mixing the rosewater. Stirring the rice on the stove and finally  helping to arrange our dessert in pretty glasses for you all to see.Strawbs8We layered the cold rice, strawberries and toasted coconut in the glasses. They look great huh?! It will look good and taste the same however you serve this. You could layer all the ingredients in a dish and serve from there or serve the strawberries and coconut over the rice in a bowl for each person.

And the result? Kid didn’t like this rice much. Loved the strawberries but left the rice. That’s okay. As I said I got a bit carried away and made it all a bit cheffy. It’s the saffron that’s largely the problem here. It has a particular flavour which I probably wouldn’t have liked at 10 either.  I’ll keep this one for when my adult friends come for dinner and make Kid a nice simple rice pudding next time.  Or just get Mum to make it instead.

<em>¶You know that little girl is mine…¶

Mr Milk (the lactose free version…woo woooo!)


So whilst G.F is hanging in Chile, we’re keeping up that Latin rhythm  at home with a refreshing drink to wash down tonight’s  Asado.


Horchata or Orxata (pronounced Or – cha – ta) is a traditional  staple in Latin countries.
Originally made from the Tiger nut or Chufa and also called chufa milk.
I read a story about a young girl in provincial Spain serving this to a passing King who, upon tasting the drink declared ‘this is not milk, this is Or, Xata’ or gold, cutie.

So it’s another wonder of the cuisine world bought to you by the humble peasant and now enjoyed by all.
We’re using almonds and cashews because we can.
In Mexico they use rice, in other Latin countries seeds, legumes and even barley are used.

Kid Did This……


100g cashews
100g almonds
zest from a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean – halved and scraped. Keep the pod.
1 tablespoon honey – the flavour of the honey will influence the outcome.
A good Leatherwood will add plenty, as will a good floral scented honey.
1 litre water


Lightly warm the almonds, cashews and cinnamon quill in a pan over the stove. You don’t want colour here, just trying to warm up the oils and release some flavour. Blend the nuts, vanilla and water until smooth. Place in a bowl with the other ingredients (including the vanilla pod) and let stand overnight in the fridge. (2 hours at room temp will do but overnight is better)


Next morning let it drip in a colander with a fine cloth and a weight on top for the whole day (in the fridge). Or you can rush it by squeezing if you have to.
Serve over ice with a slice of lime.
A wee dusting of nutmeg or mace would go well here.


This is basically spiced almond milk. I’ve used some cashews for extra flavour.
You could use desiccated coconut to add flavour too.
Great for lactose intolerance.
Or just because it’s nice to make your own stuff sometimes.

To make a richer, creamier version you could use milk or almond milk in place of water.
There’s a version in Mexico with a dollop of jam made from cactus.
Why not try a little raspberry or strawberry jam?
If you’ve got some left in the morning, add it your tea or coffee.
For reals!

hasta la proxima semana mi amigos!

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