Well hello 2015! This year has been off to a good start. I had three weeks off work which I spent seeing friends, reading, sleeping in and heading to Victoria for a week (the Grampians were the unexpected highlight. This is one of the loveliest hotel experiences I’ve had, not to mention the incredible views from our cottage). On our last morning in Melbourne, we splurged and had breakfast at Cumulus Inc., where I had a coconut rice pudding with mango and lime. I am a sucker for all things coconut and this might just be one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had – creamy and rice but so fresh. It was a great way to see out the summer holidays.
When we got back to Sydney, it was straight back into work and the holidays glow disappeared pretty quickly. With so much stress swirling around, I’ve been mulling over the idea of resolutions. I hate the idea of them – the pressure to make them and the expected failure. Rather than making concrete goals (go to the gym 3 times a week, lose 5 kilos etc), I tend to think about small ongoing changes (taking better care of my skin was one a couple of years ago). That way, there isn’t such a risk of failure. If you fall of the wagon for a couple of weeks, it’s pretty easy to get back on. This year I’m shooting for maintaining a regular yoga practice (my beloved Yoga 213 closed its Sydney studio before Christmas and I’m looking for a replacement), printing some photos, posting here from time to time and using my vast cookbook collection more often (I tend to go online for new recipes but I’m sure there are many treasures in the books I already own and I’d like to find them!).
That last resolution has been working for me so far. The first book I plucked off my stack of unused cookbooks was Delancey by Molly Wizenberg, which just so happened to have a recipe for coconut rice pudding. It’s a slightly different beast to the one at Cumulus Inc. (more dessert than breakfast) but it might be even better. Seriously, it’s one of the best things I’ve made in ages – creamy, coconutty and rich but not too sweet. I’d like to say that I’m making this again soon but I polished this off all by myself in a handful of days so I think this pudding is going to be an occasional treat only.
Coconut rice pudding (adapted from Delancey by Molly Wizenberg)
Makes 4-6 servings (I halved Molly’s original recipe)
70 g basmati rice
190 ml (3/4 c) water
pinch sea salt flakes
240 ml (scant cup) coconut milk (full fat – I like Ayam brand)
240 ml (scant cup) milk (I used reduced fat and it was fine)
125 ml (1/2 c) thickened cream
50 g white sugar
1/4 a vanilla bean
1. Rinse the rice under running water until it runs clear.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, rice and salt. Place over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, until the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes).
3. When the water is absorbed, stir in the coconut milk, half of the milk, cream and sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the saucepan, along with the bean itself. Increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally) until the rice is tender and the pudding is thick and creamy (about 35 minutes). If it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat slightly and add a splash more of the milk. Remove from the heat and stir in the leftover milk.
4. Leave it to cool slightly before transferring to a storage container. Press a sheet of cling wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
5. Serve with thinly sliced mango and lime zest or, as Molly suggests, with cherries. It’s pretty tasty scooped straight from the fridge with a spoon, too.