Saturday, August 18, 2012

comfort pudding

I must have been in the mood for some comfort food when I suddenly had the urge to make this dish.  It wasn’t as if I needed more rice.  We’d had rice accompanying the previous two nights’ dinners.  Perhaps it was simply the need for some comfort wrapped up in sugar and cream and trying to look wholesome. Whatever it was, it led me to this simple gem. 

I had found it in an old Marie Claire cookbook written by Nigel Slater and if anyone knows comfort food, it is Nigel.  If I make rice puddings at all, and I seldom do, it has been baked ones and short grain rice was used.  Out of them all, I liked this best as it retains its moisture making it creamy and delicious.  I loved the little bursts of juiciness from the sultanas.

I had planned serving this for dessert but my tasting didn’t stop at one spoonful.  I devoured about a quarter of the contents of the pan before a shot of willpower stepped in.  After all, I wanted to try it cold too.  I kept sneaking into the fridge and taking a spoonful (a la Nigella, except not in the dead of the night and without the glamour) so in the end ate most of it myself.  It was just as lovely cold.

cardamom spiced rice pudding
Serves 3-4

570ml/1 pint milk
230ml/8 fl oz single cream
30g/1oz long-grain white rice
¼ tsp ground cardamom*
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sultanas or raisins

In a heavy-based saucepan, pour in the milk and cream and mix together.  Bring slowly to the boil. 

Add the rice and cardamom and leave to gently simmer for one hour (the cooked rice should still have a little bite to it).

Stir in the sugar and sultanas or raisins and simmer for a further five minutes.

Eat warm or cold, served in little bowls.  A touch of orange zest on the top would be nice.

*It may have been the strength of the cardamom powder I used, which was close to use-by date, but next time I will add a touch more cardamom.

This is my entry to Sweet New Zealand, hosted this month by Plum Kitchen (see more details here).  Sweet New Zealand was started by the delightful Alessandra as a tool for connecting New Zealand bloggers.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

lemon louise slice

This is what I made with some of the lemon curd from last week.  Louise slice or cake is a shortcake base with a layer of jam or curd and topped with coconut meringue.  It seems it is a very popular recipe here in New Zealand.

The longer you live in another country, the more blurred your memory gets.  (This is just a roundabout way of saying I am getting older!).  Sometimes I can’t recall if we had certain foods in Scotland and it’s like that with this slice. 

I attempted to make Neenish tarts once (I say attempted because I stuffed up and threw the lot out) and at the time imagined they were Irish, but I was probably thinking of a place we’d visited in Ireland called Neenagh and mixed the two up.  Hmmm.

What I do know is that I have baked Louise Slice twice, once with a filling of raspberry jam and now with lemon curd.  I have to say, the lemon curd is more my thing.  The lemon cuts through the sweetness of the slice and gives it a bite that you don’t get with the raspberry jam.

I’ve got this thing about not liking store-bought raspberry jam.  I find it too sweet but I don’t often see home-made raspberry jams.  Maybe I should add raspberry plants to my garden of forgotten foods?  Maybe not….

Whilst I enjoyed this Louise slice, it would not be at the top of my favourites list but it does make a nice treat for afternoon tea.

lemon louise slice

130g standard flour
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
75g butter, softened
45g sugar
2 egg yolks

¾ cup lemon curd

Meringue topping
2 egg whites
120g caster sugar
60g coconut thread (or use desiccated coconut)

Line a baking or swiss roll tin (approximately 25cm x 16cm) with baking paper, letting it hang over the edge for easy removal of the slice.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

With a cake mixer or hand electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a spatula to scrape the mix off the sides of the bowl 2 or 3 times.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Press into the base of the tin.  I find it easier to flatten the dough between two sheets of cling wrap or baking paper and roll out to fit the tin evenly.

Spread the lemon curd over the base.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition.  Beat until stiff and glossy.  Gently fold in the coconut.

Spread the coconut meringue evenly over the lemon curd. 

Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or until meringue is lightly coloured and dry.  The meringue will crack during cooking.

Remove from the oven and whilst still warm, cut into squares or slices in the tin.  Carefully transfer to a cake rack to cool completely.  (This is where your overhanging baking paper comes in handy.)