Mum’s Rice Pud and a Glut of Fruit

I love the word glut. It’s so guttural (especially when spoken with a strong Derbyshire accent) and expressive. It’s also a bit like saying gluttony, which is my favourite of the deadly sins. It means – for those of you who need educating – ‘an excessively abundant supply of something’. Mummy Swan has a tip top fruit and veg garden, and so ‘gluts’ are something myself and Sister Swan have experienced throughout our lives, when everything comes into season and ripens at once. We have legendary gluts of courgettes which result in everyone on the street eating them every day for months on end. Gluts of blackberries so extreme that Mum still has blackberries in the freezer that she picked LAST YEAR (blackberry and apple crumble ftw) and I recall one particularly memorable period when all we could eat for breakfast for about a year was greengage jam on toast OR ELSE.

ANYWAY, even without a fruit garden and green fingers you can experience a glut. This usually happens to me when I fall for the BOGOF offers in supermarkets and then panic when I get four punnets of raspberries home and realise I can’t eat them all before they go out of date (the next day). What you do in this situation, dear Readers, is stew the fruit. Simple pimple, easy peasy. Chop it up, stick it in a saucepan with a splash of hot water and a drizzle of honey and put it on a low heat for about 20 minutes until it’s all gloopy (technical term). You can also add cinnamon, or vanilla extract is good especially with tart fruit like blackcurrants. Apple, cinnamon & sultana and rhubarb & date are two more dreamy combinations, but you’re really only limited by your own imagination; go nuts!

Stewing works brilliantly with ALL fruit, it’ll keep in the fridge for days and is an excellent way of mainlining a couple of your 5 a day with minimal fuss and chewing. You can have it on cereal in the morning, with yogurt at lunch and make crumble with it in the evening. One of my FAVOURITE things to have this with though, is Mum’s rice pudding. A perfect, autumnal dish, brilliant when you have a bit of time on your hands on a rainy evening (I’m looking at YOU, Monday) and you fancy some comfort food.

You will need:

An ovenproof dish
A smear of butter
110g pudding rice

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A pint and a half of milk (I use this ^ topped up with normal full fat milk for optimal rice pudding skin, but adding cream works as well. If you don’t like the skin, you need to go home, you don’t belong here)
(optional) sugar/vanilla extract/nutmeg/cinnamon

A topping of your choice – I had stewed peaches and plums with cinnamon (plums from Mum’s friend experiencing a glut. Hi Di! *waves*).

What to do:

1.Butter your ovenproof dish, to prevent the rice sticking when you bake it. Put the rice in the dish and add a splash of just boiled water from the kettle to start swelling the grains.

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2. Add your milk, if you’re using vanilla extract/sugar/nutmeg etc then add this too

3. Put it into a 130ºC oven for about 2 hours. After half an hour give it a stir to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Keep checking it, and if the skin puffs up too much (see below) pop it which will deflate it

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4. When it’s done and has that gorgeous crispy skin on top, take it out of the oven. Leave it to stand for about 10m and then serve with your favourite topping.

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Yum!

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