Rice Pudding

January is waving goodbye. Christmas and New Years Day are a distant memory. Diets and to-dos are dissolving. Winter is still here. There is an upside to this all - it's still cold enough to overindulge and rationalise that the excess is necessary. Sometimes you just need that comfort from something. We each have our own little secrets. Mine is this rice pudding. I guess it's no longer a secret. Creamy, rich and totally comforting. This is one of those desserts that's simple and decadent. You can serve this with whatever topping you'd like. I opted for caramel but I also really like this with fresh berries. For someone who claims to not have a sweet tooth I seem to be blogging exclusively about desserts. I guess the blog reflects how our diets change over time.

125g short-grain rice (I used arborio)
100g caster sugar
1 litre full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod
150-200ml double or whipping cream
3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
dulce de leche

Pour the milk and sugar into a saucepan and heat up. Add the split and scraped vanilla pod/beans to the milk and continue to heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rice and simmer for up to 30 minutes or until the rice has expanded and completely cooked through. Take off the heat and let it cool down completely. Take out the vanilla pod. Whisk the double cream with the icing sugar. Fold the cream into the cooled rice. Spoon into bowls and add as much dulce de leche you would like to each serving. You could add bananas if you want but it's not necessary.


The Lebanese way of living dictates that food plays a central part in everyday life, social occasions and revelry. Celebrations are especially grand affairs where families, friends and neighbours come together to not only salute the happening of a certain event but to also indulge by eating lovingly prepared food. Something in the Lebanese psyche equates food and love and nowhere is that better shown than during a celebratory event, be it a wedding or otherwise.

One of the most elusive but enticing celebratory dishes is something known as meghli, a spiced rice-based dessert made to commemorate the birth of a new child. It is one of the things I most look forward to during family gatherings and on occasion have made it as a dessert on a regular week-night. Some things are special and as such are reserved for befitting occasions but I believe we can elevate meghli into becoming a quintessential Lebanese dessert. Flavoured with caraway, anise and cinnamon and topped with a multitude of optional extras, meghli is a real show stopper.

200g rice flour
2.5l of water
200g of sugar
20g caraway seeds (ground)
10g aniseed (ground)
10g cinnamon (ground)

optional extras: dessicated coconut, blanched almonds, pine nuts, pistachios and sultanas.

Pour two litres of water in an adequate saucepan, reserving 500ml in a glass jug. Add the sugar to the pan and heat up to boiling point (making sure the sugar has dissolved). Mix the remaining ingredients into the reserved water making sure to mix through thoroughly. Add the mixture to the sauce pan and once again bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and let the pan simmer, whisking as it cooks. This will keep bubbling for 30-45mins until the rice flour has thickened the meghli considerably. It sounds like hard work and I guess it is but it'll be so worth it. The cooked mixture will yield twelve small bowls/pots which you should fill as soon as you turn the heat off. Cover the tops with cling film to avoid the meghli forming a skin. You can eat it warm but generally it's eaten colder. Sprinkle with any of the optional extras and tuck in! Addictive, isn't it?

Happy New Year!

Hey guys, just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year and say a big thank you to everyone who read this blog. 2010 is going to be amazing so I hope you keep checking back to see how I get on in my adventures. Follow me on twitter if you want additional recipes or tips! Thanks!