Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Glorious Grains of Goodness

Rice is the staple diet of more than two thirds of the planet, with 40,000 varieties grown on every continent except Antarctica. Researchers believe it was cultivated over 7,000 years ago, probably originating from Burma. There are numerous Asian rituals relating to rice – for example, in Japan folklore surrounds its harvesting, planting and preparation: soaking before cooking is thought to release its inner life, giving the recipient a more peaceful soul.

High in complex carbohydrates, rice contains almost no fat, is cholesterol free and low in sodium: all the good things needed for healthy, hard working yachties! With so many varieties of rice available we can keep a wide choice in our galleys. One important thing to remember when using rice onboard is to make sure opened packs are properly sealed before going back in storage. Weavels love and thrive on rice! I suggest vacuum-packing whenever possible. Try to buy vacuum packed rice too, to avoid these dreaded creepy crawlies!

Classic rice pudding with rich poached cherries
Serves 6

130g short grain pudding rice
600ml milk
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
60ml thick cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways with
seeds scraped out
A pinch of salt
36 cherries, stones removed
75g butter
75g caster sugar
400ml Banyuls wine (contact Rod at
VSF if you have trouble finding this)
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Rinse the rice in cold water then put
in a saucepan, cover with water and
bring to boil.
2. In another large pan, heat the milk
with the sugar.
3. Drain the rice and add it to the milk
with the salt and the vanilla. Cook
for about ten minutes on a very low
heat, cover and cook for another five
4. Mix the egg yolk and cream. As
soon as the rice is cooked, remove
from the heat and stir in the cream
mixture. Set aside whilst you prepare
the cherries.
5. Heat the butter in a frying pan until
foaming, sprinkle in the cherries and
half the sugar. Toss around in the pan,
adding the rest of the sugar as you go.
6. Flambé the cherries with two-thirds
of the Banyuls. Once the flames die
down, gently poach the fruit for a
couple of minutes then transfer to a
7. Pour the remaining Banyuls into the
pan and reduce to a light syrup.
8. Serve with the cherries scattered
around the warm rice pudding, a good
drizzle of the rich syrup and a pinch of
freshly grated nutmeg.

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