Oh rice pudding! How I do adore this simple nursery food. Not just any old nursery food, but the ultimate in nursery food.
It is a pudding that reminds me of my childhood; of safety and security. A dish that scents the house in a wonderful homely smell with just a hint of nutmeg. It is a pudding that comforts and brings warmth to the body and to the mind. The Secret Island by Enid Blyton, funnily enough, does the same as this pudding. I cherished it as a child and have re-read it many times. Even as an adult a re-read of this book comforts when I need it most.
When Jack, along with siblings: Mike, Peggy and Nora, ran away to the secret island in the middle of the lake, they took as much food as they could lay their hands on. Unfortunately this wasn’t much as their horrible aunt and uncle ran a tight ship. Even so:
“Nora crept indoors and went to the larder. What could she take that Aunt Harriet would not notice that morning? Some tea? Yes! A tin of cocoa from the top shelf. A packet of currants and a tin of rice from the store shelf, too.”
And thank goodness Nora managed to grab that rice. With the copious amounts of milk they had, thanks to Daisy the cow, and this tin of rice, Peggy was able to make a rice pudding on their campfire. Its magical comfort was much needed one evening when Nora slipped up on her responsibilities which affected all of them. Nora felt ashamed of her behaviour and upset because the other three were cross with her. But once it turned out right in the end, a steaming bowl of rice pudding was set in front of her.
Now, I’m not sure if they still had sugar at this point to sweeten the rice pudding. But these children were amazing at foraging. They found wild raspberries, wild strawberries and blackberries. I’m sure one of these fruits was used to add sweetness to the pudding.
And then, as Nora ate, her belly becoming full from the rich creamy milk, the rice pudding would cloak her with warmth, comfort and make everything seem better.
Surely, as a child runaway on a secret island who has escaped a horrible aunt and uncle, living outdoors with no modern comforts, it is the perfect pudding.
A deep baking dish greased with butter.
- 115g short grain rice
- 50g sugar
- 2 pints full cream milk
- Nutmeg OR vanilla
- Pre-heat oven to 140 fan.
- Place the rice, sugar, milk and nutmeg into the baking dish and stir.
- Place in the oven for a couple of hours. (Check after an hour or so.)
- Serve with jam or fresh foraged fruit like blackberries.