Sunday, 17 March 2013

Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights - Cardamon Rice Pudding

'...Indulgent but balanced food that celebrates the simple joy of eating' - Sophie Dahl.

Cardamon Rice Pudding

Tom's mum sent us a copy of Sophie Dahl's cook book which was rather intriguing as I always think of her grandfather's characterisation of the little girl Sophie in The BFG. How such a girl can develop recipes to tempt and capture the imagination is a testament to old Roald.

The book looks at seasonal recipes for breakfast, lunch and supper, but I of course headed straight for the pudding section.

My Nana has her own legacy- rice pudding, so I was taken with this scented version. I adapted Sophie's recipe slightly to resemble my Nana's methods and polished it off with a spoon full of my friend Jenny's Rhubarb and Orange marmalade.

Cardamon Rice Pudding

1.4 litres Kara coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon
300g pudding rice
8 cardamon pods deseeded and crushed
50g honey
4 knobs of butter

1. Pour the milk and cinnamon into a heavy bottomed oven dish and stir in the rice.
2. Add the crushed cardamon seeds, butter and honey and stir.
3. Transfer to a preheated oven 200C and bake stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Add more milk if it begins to dry out.

My Nana uses condensed milk which creates the delicious caramel layer that rice pudding gets when baked, this didn't materialise when using coconut milk but it was obviously much healthier.

I also wanted to mention my new Hanson mechanical scales which Tom kindly bought me for Christmas! I love them. I was getting sick of replacing digital scale batteries so these work for me.

Hanson mechanical scales

Mini Yorkshire Apple Curd Tarts

Amongst the battered old cook books on my mums shelf above her kitchen door are a collection she was given by my Dad's mother, my grandma. My grandma was a Yorkshire housewife I never had the pleasure of knowing, but one I can learn from when referring to her hand written notes in the margins of her cookbooks.

I was looking for a traditional cold sweet recipe to enter a competition at work, but nothing I found in these books sounded refined enough to grace the cake trolley at Bettys despite it's Yorkshire theme, more a mass of material worthy of farmers and millers and those fascinating dishes traditionally connected with Yorkshire. After trialing and failing one Wharfedale Orange Tart, it became obvious to me that some of the recipes were probably cooked on coal of wood stoves and cooking times in modern ovens probably are quite difficult to negotiate. One disastrous tart emerged slamming any confidence I had in entering a competition with any time soon. The other thing is that all the weights and measures appear in lbs and oz. which is a good test of my maths.

A curd tart recipe jumped out at me as it had a little twist of apple. Curd tart is a keen family favourite so I decided to bake some mini versions as another test case. They came out rather well and adding some berries made them appear slightly healthier despite all the butter. To me these are more of a custard and less a curd, but they are delicious!

Yorkshire Apple Curd Tarts

Sweet shortcrust pastry- makes 500g
500g plain flour
50g sugar
250g cold butter cubed
zest  of one lemon
2 large eggs
a splash of milk

(the additional pastry dough can be frozen to use later)

For the filling
60g butter
60g sugar
1 egg
1 Bramley cooking apple peeled and cored 

1. Make the pastry. Rub the butter into the sifted flour using your finger tips. Once resembling bread crumbs, add the sugar, bind together with the lemon, eggs and milk until it is a soft sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
2. Melt the butter ad sugar in a pan over a low heat.
2. Remove from the stove to cool a little and then add the beaten egg and grated apple.
3. Take the pastry out the fridge. Roll out on a floured surface to about the thickness of a pound coin. Use a cutter to the desired size and fit the round discs into a patty or mini cake tray. I used a silicone cupcake tray.
4. Add spoons of the egg mixture to your pastry cases being careful not to overfill or splash as the mixture will catch in the oven.
5. Bake for 15-20 mins on 180C or until golden and the curd is set.