Sunday 22 February 2009

Rice Is Nice!

christopher robin A A Milne wrote a little poem called "Rice Pudding" which my grandmother used to recite to me when I was a child. I always felt Mary Jane was a particularly silly little girl - sweet, creamy rice pudding is a delight and a joy. My mother believed pudding was the only way to serve rice - savoury rice dishes like risotto, curries, and Chinese food were anathema to her!

      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's crying with all her might and main,
And she won't eat her dinner - rice pudding again -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I've promised her dolls and a daisy-chain,
And a book about animals - all in vain -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well, and she hasn't a pain;
But, look at her, now she's beginning again! -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I've promised her sweets and a ride in the train,
And I've begged her to stop for a bit and explain -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well and she hasn't a pain,
And it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

However the usual advice [from the Blessed St Delia and co] is that to get a thick creamy rice pudding, you have to cook it long and slow - or buy one of those overpriced clotted cream ones from M&S. On Sundays when I am feeling thrifty [always] and a little pressed for time before church [most- but especially when it is my turn to do Sunday School] I am happy to announce there is another way! 

hidome pressure cooker I've been throwing this recipe together since 1981, when my friend Valerie lent me her copy of a "Sainsbury's Pressure Cooker Cookbook". I use a Prestige HiDome PC, which I got for my birthday in 1974 when I was a student. That makes it nearly 35years old, and apart from 2 new rubber gaskets, it is still going strong. The great thing about this recipe is that you can start preparing it just before you begin boiling the potatoes & cooking the other parts of the main course- and 25 minutes or so later, you have a pud that tastes like it was simmering away for ages! It works equally well with fresh milk, reconstituted dried milk powder, evap & water, or a carton of UHT. After a couple of early disasters, I discovered it was essential to cover the surface of the liquid with a circle of greaseproof or silicon paper. [The pre-cut 'cake-tin liners' which Lakeland sell in packs of 100 are ideal for this] If you do not do this, the pud may bubble up and seep alarmingly through the bottom of the weights! [or worse]


  • knob of butter
  • 2 pints milk
  • 6oz pudding rice
  • 2oz sugar
  • generous grating of fresh nutmeg

Melt the butter in the base of the pan. Add all the other ingredients, stir well. Bring to the boil. Turn heat right down. Cover surface with paper. Put lid on pan with all weights. The cooker should be hissing GENTLY! Leave to hiss away for about 12minutes, then turn off the heat. Leave pan alone till you are ready to serve pud. Carefully remove weights then lid [pressure will have gone down by now] Serve into warmed bowls with dollop of jam [optional] and gasps of delight from assembled company [obligatory].

IM003248Here is my pudding - with a spoonful of Deb's gorgeous home-made blackberry and apple jelly. Bob prefers his without jam. I am childish enough to enjoy stirring it in to make a gorgeous bowlful of pink ecstasy.

The above quantity will make 6 generous servings. Today I modified quantities slightly as I had a 1 litre carton of UHT in the cupboard. Technically that is 4+ portions I suppose - In practice, it is 2 bowls for pud, and the possibility of 2 more for Sunday Supper. As far as I can tell, the only downside is the lack of skin - but not everyone likes the skin anyway!

Mary Janes of this world, please reconsider, rice is nice!

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a pressure cooker, but I love a good rice pud, it reminds me of my grandmother who used to it on bonfire night in a sealed tin (yes... by putting it in the fire!)

    I enjoy all types of rice though, I'm deffiantely no Mary Jane. Yum Yum.


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