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…¶

He’s Craisin in the Coconut! (that boy needs therapy)

G.F, henceforth known as ‘the Doctor’, having just received her doctorate in environmental business and being awesome, returned recently from a retreat in Chile. The Doctor wanted my help in formulating a breakfast option high in protein and good oils, low in carbs. And quick.


‘Lie down on the couch, what does that mean?

So we made granola. With craisins (dried cranberries) and coconut and lots of other breakfast fun. You could easily substitute those for any dried fruits. There are carbs in it and they’re totally optional. Without them though this little exercise really starts to hit the wallet a bit. It’s easy to keep gluten free if that’s what you need, and we’ve also used puffed brown rice which I have left out of the picture below. Oops..


250g whole almonds – roughly chopped.
150g raw cashews
2 cups corn flakes (gluten free ones if you want to keep this gluten free. The ‘K’ brand are not. Go to your health food store.)
250g pepitas
250g sunflower seeds
50g puffed brown rice
2 tablespoons chia
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup each, dried apple, goji berries, craisins.


Pre-heat an oven to 150*c. Mix everything bar the fruit in a big bowl. Spread it out over a couple of baking trays and toast it lightly in the oven for around 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so it toasts evenly. Any longer than this and the nutritional value of the seeds begins to diminish.
‘Now when I count three’
Let it cool a little. Pulse it gently in a food processor so it crumbles a little. Add the chopped fruit, stir and store in an air tight container.
Serve with a little milk or yoghurt for breakfast or take some to work for a desktop snack.

‘Did I ever tell you the story about?’

What Kid Did.

Kid did all her usual tricks, measuring, weighing, mixing etc.. apparently she has taken over the cooking at her other home on a Saturday night too. Proud much?

Kid really loved this at breakfast but the next day asked if she might have the leftover corn flakes instead. Sigh…
We got the thumbs up from the Doctor as well.

‘Yeah, sometimes a parrot talks.’

There’s plenty of evidence around about the health benefits of nuts and seeds, you don’t have to look far. However I did read conflicting stories about the use of heat on them. Bird seed?? Maybe but either way they make you feel good, you know what’s in it and you don’t need much because it’s really quite filling.
‘Yes, some birds are funny when they talk’

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