Thursday, 26 April 2012
Spanish and Moreish: Arroz con Leche, or Rice Pudding with Orange and Lemon
After a balmy March, April can only be described as a bit of a wash out, and a cold one at that. Yesterday in particular was bitter (or 'Baltic' as some of us say around these parts) and walking to pick up Lola was a bone chilling, damp experience, reminiscent of those days of Autumn when the skies are leaden, the wind cuts right through you, hinting at Winter, and where no one should really leave home without an umbrella. Ugh, horrible... and alien to my sun loving soul.
So whilst I was dodging the puddles (Finn wasn't; there is nothing more entertaining than jumping in them, let's face it) my thoughts turned to the night's meal. I'd already gone down a Spanish route, with a chorizo and pork casserole (blog post to follow) so I decided that Spain was where it was at, and that a pudding that you could curl up infront of the telly with was in order. Rice Pudding - Arroz con Leche if you will.
I used to know someone who used to open a tin of Ambrosia rice pudding, warm it up, put it in an oven proof dish, sprinkle sugar on the top and put it under the grill to create something like a caramelised, 'skin' top, then passing it off as her own, because she thought it was easier than making her own. It isn't. It sounds like a faff. Making your own rice pudding is really rather easy and whilst you can complicate it like I have done here, the principle is really rather easy, as long as you are able to keep an eye on it and not let it catch too much on the bottom of the pan (though that comes under cook's perks for me; the slightly caramelised scrapings from the bottom of the pan are sweet, vanilla and have the consistency of a chewy sweet - delish!)
This recipe is adapted from Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam and Eddie Hart; a superb Spanish cookery book of which I want to cook every recipe and eat it all. Their suggestion of making a quick orange jam to go along with the citrussy rice pudding was inspired, though I had no brandy as the original recipe calls for, so I dug out my trusty bottle or Triple Sec and used that instead. It's by no means necessary to make it, as the rice pudding is stunningly gorgeous as it is, but if you are looking for something just a little bit different, you may have just found it here.
Arroz con Leche, adapted from Modern Spanish Cooking by Sam and Eddie Hart
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad
For the rice pudding:
850ml whole milk
finely pared strip of zest of 1 orange
finely paired strip of zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
150g pudding rice (they suggest Arborio but pudding rice was fine - and cheaper!)
1 vanilla pod (though a tsp of good vanilla extract will suffice)
For the orange jam:
150ml orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of an orange
1 tbsp sugar
30ml triple sec
Take a large saucepan and put all the rice pudding ingredients in it. Give it a quick stir then turn the heat on. Bring it slowly to the boil then reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. It will take around 40 minutes or so. You're looking for the rice to have swelled and be cooked through and for the liquid to be of a creamy consistency. Keep an eye on it whilst it is cooking.
Meanwhile, to make the orange jam, in a small saucepan put all of the ingredients, give it a quick stir and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the mixture has reduced to a slightly runny syrup. This could take about 15 minutes on a gentle heat, maybe more.
To serve: Remove the citrus zest and vanilla pod from the rice pudding (if you can find them). Serve in warm bowls with some of the orange jam.
A perfect pudding for an unseasonably cold day.