With the temperature
having dropped around 8degC over the course of Easter, I feel
we have truly entered the pudding season.
When I step outside I smell woodfires burning. While I love
that smell, I am still a little worried that people in
Auckland are already feeling the cold and we are only in
April. I saw a girl wearing a puffer jacket today. Not ok
kids. Not ok.
It was over the Easter break that I, along with my extended
family, helped my Nana move into a smaller apartment within
her retirement village.
She no longer has a kitchen, which, as sad as it is, is for
the best. The contents of her kitchen were packed into boxes
and transported away. I was lucky enough to inherit this
beauty of a casserole dish (pictured).
Now I am not going to sugarcoat this. My Nana was never a
By some miracle, my mum is one hell of a
foodie. She definitely didn't get it via the maternal line,
that's for sure. Nana was a roast meat and three vege kind of
woman. She boiled her greens until they were grey, her baking
wasn't very flash either, and as she got older and her memory
slowly deteriorated, baked goods were often forgotten about
in the oven and became drier and drier with each batch.
Nana does, however, have two redeeming features tucked into
her culinary belt: shortbread and baked rice pudding. I am so
pleased to be able to make this for you.
I remember when we all used to descend on Matamata to visit
her and the roast beef and grey veges were followed by a
delicious steaming dish of rice pudding. Dad and I used to
(and continue to) fight over the skin that forms over the
top. This stodgy sweet delight is a winter warmer for sure.
Rice pudding also reminds me of weekend sports tournaments
and school camps at which mum used to buy it for us as energy
boosters. By ''us'' I mean my brother. Me play sport? Me have
hand-eye coordination? Never. That just isn't a thing, as I
have been trying to tell my work's social touch and netball
teams for a while now.
Baked rice pudding couldn't be easier. Put all the
ingredients in an ovenproof dish. Stir. Bake. Stir every half
an hour. Dollop jam on the top. Consume. Boom. Yes, I dollop
mine with jam.
For years at my hostel in Dunedin I was ridiculed and pointed
at for dolloping jam here, there and everywhere, especially
over my beloved rice pudding.
My mother does it and, therefore, so do I. My flatmate loves
hers with raisins. Some like pouring a bit more milk over the
top. The food service manager at my hostel served up big pots
of the stuff with canned plums right beside it.
And here I am wondering why I got so chubby in my first and
second years of uni.
Baked rice pudding
5 Tbsp short grain rice (a calrose will suffice)
3 Tbsp white sugar
3 cups milk (I used 2 cups trim 1 cup full-fat)
1/4 tsp vanilla bean seeds (or a splash of essence)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp butter
Heat the oven to 150degC on bake. Take a small ovenproof
casserole dish (at least 6-cup capacity), add the ingredients
and give it a stir.
Pop the dish in the middle of the oven and bake for 2 hours,
stirring every half-hour until the milk has been absorbed and
the rice has cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to sit
for 15 minutes to thicken.
Serve hot or cold with jam, slivered almonds or whatever your