Tuesday, 29 March 2011

my perfect rice pudding

I grew up eating Ambrosia Rice Pudding (the tinned stuff) and that to me, was for a long time, is how rice pudding should taste! (My husband would KILL me to hear me say that!)

On and off over the last decade I've been making homemade rice pudding. Every recipe is slightly different. But the other day, I think I nailed it. I combined the best elements from a few recipes.

So this is my rice pudding, that is still moist, with the rice in a lovely sweet vanilla milk and nutmeg on top.


90g pudding rice
700ml milk (I used semi skimmed)
30g caster sugar
0.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

Oven proof dish
150 deg C


Pre heat oven to 150 deg C.
Put pudding rice in bottom of your ovenproof dish. Add your vanilla extract and sugar to your milk, give a quick stir. Pour milk mixture into dish on top of rice. Make sure rice is spread out evenly in your dish. Dot small pieces of butter over dish (just 4 or 5 small pieces). Now grate fresh nutmeg all over the top of dish.

I put my ovenproof dish on top of a baking tray to catch any spillages. Now put in oven for 2-2.5hrs. After 30mins, give everything a stir. Some people try and keep the nutmeg on top when doing this, which is quite tricky, my husband thinks stiring the top back into the mixture improves it. Then stir again around the 1-1.5 hour mark. If you think it's going to dry out keep an eye on it. (aim between 2 or 3 stirs) And I would be prepared to add some more milk if you are concerned about it drying out. I tested mine at the 2hour mark and the rice was done, so I removed it from the oven and served it up.

You may prefer it slightly sweeter, in that case increase sugar by 5-10g max
If you prefer it richer, use single or double cream for some of the milk.

Do you have a perfect rice pudding recipe? Let's share!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

spring sunday

Spring is definitely here, which gives me a very happy feeling inside. It seems like we have had a very long and cold autumn and winter. It is so nice to see the sun, and feel the warmth of it on my skin.

On Saturday I had the pleasure to meet Lisa Lam from U-Handbag. She is so nice, people! She was running a new craft fair in Brighton, called Craftaganza. There were some great stalls, really nice things. Lisa was just overseeing it all, she was not selling any of her bag making things. Lisa and I had a lovely chat. She is very giggly. She is writing her second book, this time there will be 15 projects (not all bags) and it is coming out in 2 parts. The first part is an E book with 3 projects and then the second part (2012) will be the entire thing.

I do plan on making a few of her bags from her book, it's just finding the time and money for the projects I would like to do (namely the gorgeous weekend bag).

But right now, the outside is where it's at! Suddenly a coat is not needed, just a cardigan. Boots have been put away and trainers are back on my feet (soon I hope I shall just be wearing sandals). The bikes have also been in heavy use again this weekend. All the boys were on their bikes.

The park offers many areas of pleasure, like finding a gnawed pine cone. Who has been chewing on it, we wondered.

And some interested new hedging has gone up, with an explanation of how and why it has been done. (thank you local council!)

Look how they split the branches to bend them into place. Not many things can survive being cut in half!

Here is the small growers exhibition garden that had been set up in the park. It is a demonstration to everyone in what you can grow in a small space. This year they have doubled their plot size. It's a very interesting project. Inspirational even!

And then to round off the weekend a nice game of Doodle Dice. Lots of fun, even the little one can play it with my help.

I hope you had a lovely weekend as well.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

wonky witch

A dear friend of ours has recently opened a rather lovely needlecraft e-shop named Wonky Witch.

The cross stitch patterns that she has in stock are really detailed and amazingly intricate and fabulously designed. But if like me, you've never tried it the Wonky Witch team also have some starter kits, which have some really sweet designs like this cute watering can.

Or for the experienced cross stitcher one of these designs from Bothy Threads.

If you have any questions, just send the Wonky Witches an email, and I know Zoe will get back to you very soon. And if you need another blog to read, look no further than here!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


I don't know how this happened, but it did. Just thought I'd share my happy accident with all of you.

Spring seems to be coming along now. I optimistically started sowing some salad seeds last week, no shoots yet though. I am hoping that I will not have to buy any lettuce/ herbs over the next few months.

I still have major pigeon problems. If you have any anti pigeon ideas, I am all ears!

Monday, 21 March 2011


(photo taken on phone with sun quite low!)

Possibly the best thing about my childhood was spending endless days on my bike around our neighbourhood. You know those days when it was hot all the time, and the days and weeks of spring and summer just went on forever.

It gives me so much joy to see my two on their new / old bikes, experiencing the freedom of our local park, spending brief moments out of easy reach. Their first taste of freedom.

I think we'll be spending many upcoming hours / days/ weeks here. Me still, they on the move.

(blogged from park!)

uber choccywoccyness

Choccywoccydoodah is on TV!

(piccie courtesy of Good Food Channel - everything in it is made of chocolate, apart from the guy in the middle!)

If you haven't caught it already (it's on nightly at 9pm, on the Good Food Channel - SKY 249/ Virgin 260 - but lots of repeats inbetween) it's a documentary about Brighton's extravagant Chocolate Cake Shop that is Choccywoccydoodah.

I appreciate the Americans have the fabulous Charm City Cakes but we have the highly imaginative, creative, extravagant, flamboyant, cheeky chocolatiers in the centre of the city. We love looking at their window displays, which are amazing.

I will only have some of their cake, from their cake bar, every few years (it is v v rich, but v tasty, and I just can't justify it, unless it's a special occasion!)

They do not reveal how they model with the chocolate (some magic recipe with glycerine, maybe?) Although you can buy modelling chocolate from other sources (I once bought some but I didn't like the taste) and I'm sure I was given a recipe from a chocolate workshop I did a few years ago? Or do I imagine that?!

The artistry is superb, and it's amazing to watch how they put together their cakes.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Didn't mean to be away so long...

I really didn't mean to be away so long, but life has been so busy over the last 6 months so some things had to be dropped temporarily. I am always thinking about this space even if I'm not present.

But now I have to go as the wonderful Prof Brian Cox and the Wonders of the Universe is on TV. (BBC2).

PS. I'll be having the marmalade for breakfast!