My no-recipe rice pudding.

With all the bad weather lately, there has been a lot more soup, stew and the like on the menu. Cheap, cheerful and helpful at keeping the cold out.

This recipe is very straightforward, and I almost always have the ingredients to hand. It’s also pretty quick compared to other methods I use – if I get this started first, it can sit on the back burner, literally, while I get on with the rest of dinner. It’s like a risotto inspired pud.

A tablespoon or so of butter is melted over a medium heat. About a cup of pudding rice is added, and stirred so that every grain is buttery and warm. Leave a few minutes, stirring regularly, so that the grains begin to toast.

When the first of the milk hits the pan, it will bubble and steam. Stir well and quickly! It will need topping up with another slug of milk within a couple of minutes, and some more stirring.

After the second addition, and once the milk had started absorbing, turn the heat down a little, then add the rest of the litre of milk and some vanilla extract and stir well.

At this point, apart from a stir every here and there, you can get on with cooking the main. This should simmer slowly – adjust the heat if it’s bubbling away as milk will overboil in a split second!

After half an hour, it’ll look something like this:

Leave it quite loose, as it will continue to absorb liquid as it cools. I usually add a couple of tablespoons each of cream and brown sugar at this point. Some people add cream earlier, but I want it to coat the grains and not be absorbed by them. It makes the end result much silkier in texture.

Into badly-photographed bowls, with a spoon of jam on top and eaten while still warm.

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