My grandma was everything a grandma should be -meaning, of course, that she spoiled her grandchildren rotten. Whenever she popped round to our house after school, she’d have two chocolate bars in her handbag ready for my brother and me (my parents were generous with biscuits, stingy with chocolate bars). And somehow she had access to better treats too. Whenever we slept over at my grandparents’ house we would be taken to get a chocolate treat at their local shop, which always had a different supply of goods to ours – I’m even convinced there was a Fry’s Cream with rainbow filling. Very exotic. And Saturday or school holiday lunches at Grandma’s house while our parents worked were also joyous. I recall my brother being served fried egg sandwiches, on the thickest slices of bread I’d ever seen. For me, it was always rice pudding, served in a pink plastic bowl and sprinkled with brown sugar. More often than not it was tinned Ambrosia, but I had Grandma’s homemade pud some Sundays too and that was truly divine.
My preferred rice pudding recipe differs from the traditional baked one of my mum and grandma – it’s made like a risotto (perfect, incidentally, for anyone living abroad in a land without ovens). The coconut and cardamom flavours lend it an exotic touch that I like, but it remains a beautifully comforting and familiar dish.
Coconut & Cardamom Rice Pudding
Serves 4, from Cranks Bible
1.2 litres non-dairy milk
150g Arborio rice
60g caster sugar
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
40g creamed coconut
1. Heat the milk in a pan until just below boiling point.
2. Pour in the rice, sugar, nutmeg, cardamom and coconut. Stir over a low heat for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the milk is thick and creamy.
3. Divide between bowls and serve hot. (Cold leftovers = food of the gods.)