Sunday, 14 December 2008

Dairy Free Rice Pudding (egg free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan)

However hard I try, at some point Christmas always gets the better of me. I’ve been trundling along with my shopping this year, not feeling smug - always a trap - not feeling panic.
Fact: I wanted to make a Christmas pudding. Fact: my pudding bears a Tesco sticker.
Fact: I wanted to make my own mincemeat. Fact: I had to call Mr Tesco for that too. Although actually I think I may still have time to make some; I’ve found that you can compensate for making mincemeat late with the simple addition of a litre of brandy.

Still, all in all, it was going well, and whilst incredulous that there are now only about 10 days left before the big day, I thought I had my head above water.

Then, just ahead of Cyber Monday came Suicidal Saturday.
‘I’ll just,’ I said, ‘nip to the supermarket to get a few bits, and then I’ll pick up the tree. It won’t take long’. I hadn’t banked on the list-making machine in my head. When it heard I was going near a shop, its lights suddenly glowed green and it started to spew orders into my head.
‘Get gifts for the music teachers’,
‘Buy present for Mrs Langlois’,
Buy stocking fillers for the dog’ (haven’t told you about the dog have I?),
then a question to mix it up a little,
‘Have you got enough brandy to feed the cake?’.

As my face assumed the Christmas look; furrowed brow, stress acne, pained grimace and frenzied whispering under my breath, the voice of doom joined the cacophony in my head,
‘You do realise this is the last weekend you have to do X, Y and Z don’t you? You have to get it all done this weekend, or - sadistic pause - it will be too late”.The list machine had one parting go before I reached the checkout,
‘Make sure you have enough toilet cleaner’.
I somehow survived the supermarket intact, then headed to the garden centre to buy the tree.

Now I hadn’t committed the novice error of dragging children along with me to make tree-buying a fun and festive activity. If you have ever tried that you know what I mean; tension, squabbling, ‘I need a wee’, freezing little fingers, misery.
Don’t do it.
Being child-free, I thought I’d be fine.

Apparently the xmas calendar had deemed that this was tree-buying Saturday for all French citizens who live north of the Rhône. Getting a parking space took about 15 minutes, and then I shuffled forward with the masses. I was duly sucked in to the noisy, sparkling, stressful winter land of wonder. It was a violent assault on the senses. There were small children writhing and screaming in the clutches of their parents. The music was too loud. There were too many people. The list machine in my head froze; all conscious thought suspended.

Caught in the festive crossfire, I did well to make it outside to where they sell the trees. We are ever so green and buy a ‘proper’ tree for Christmas - natch - which we plant in the garden afterwards. In fact it’s not a Christmas tree at all, just something pine-like, a third cousin of the Nordmans, twice removed. Going outside to the ‘real’ trees did reduce my stress a bit because I was alone in the gloaming, albeit peering at horribly expensive specimens and wondering whether to sack my conscience and go buy a rootless thing that’ll be dead in a few weeks. Eco-warrior prevailed and I loaded up my trolley and headed for the checkout.

Standing in the queue confirmed my suspicion that Christmas should probably be cancelled. Careworn faces waiting to be served, toes curling in dread at what the till display would read. Tired brains totting up how much Christmas has already cost, and that’s without buying the food and drink. Worrying, worrying, will it all get done? Should I have bought that present? Will I still have a job in the new year?

I wanted to leave my trolley and run. Run into some parallel universe where Christmas consists of wooden handmade gifts, simple red and green decorations. Where there is snow, peace and quiet, no obligations, no tension, and healing cups of jasmine tea.

Of course I didn’t run. My children would be distraught without a tree to decorate, and the dog would be crushed if she didn’t get a stocking. I steeled myself, struggled back to my car and told myself it was all worth it.

Do you know what else I did? I went home and made rice pudding. A big bowl of filling, creamy stodge, topped off with a dollop of jam. I hunched over my bowl and savoured the mouthfuls.

Well your first name doesn't have to be Sigmund to work it out; in times of stress cook yourself soothing, childhood food. Maybe by doing that you’ll find yourself in a warm, safe place where grown ups are doing the worrying, someone else is washing up, and you can go to bed excited, because tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day full of presents and more lovely food.

If I keep eating the rice pudding, do you think that will happen for me sometime before December 25th? Well there’s certainly no harm in trying, is there?

Merry Christmas lovely readers!
Eat, drink - try to be merry - and here’s to 2009 with lots of allergy-friendly treats.

Love Pigx
Festive Dairy Free Rice Pudding
(Serves 1 mildly depressed pre-Christmas adult, or about 4 festive ones)
Oh but this is simple! A joy to prepare in these hectic days of extra cooking duties. Rice milk is a bit of a tricky one, I find it doesn't always work so well with its distinctive taste, but in this recipe, it is in its element.

1 cup/225g risotto rice
1 tsp ground cinammon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg / a good grating of fresh nutmeg
sugar to taste, at least 3 tbsps
1-2 litres of rice milk
Blackcurrant jam to serve
  • In a heavy-based saucepan with a lid - mine was not a non-stick one, I'd try not to use a non-stick one for fear of a flaking bottom - gently melt the dairy free spread, and when just liquid add the risotto rice. Stir to coat the rice
  • Add the sugar and spices, and if you think you're lacking a bit in dairy free spread, throw in a bit more (it's Christmas after all)
  • When the rice is gently sizzling, glug in about 200-300 ml of rice milk and stir. Cover the pan - make sure the heat is down low - and leave the rice and milk to do its thang for 5 minutes or so. The rice will gradually start to absorb the rice milk
  • Stir the mix and glug in more rice milk, you will have to do this over and over until the rice is tender. Keeping the lid on the pan helps, it sort of steams the rice and hurries the process along. In addition it means you can bustle around doing other things instead of stirring endlessly
  • So, keep putting in more rice milk, stirring, covering, bustling and repeating it all over again until the risotto rice is tender. It varies, but this will probably take about 20 minutes. Have you noticed the delicious creamy taste? Isn't that a marvel? So rare in a dairy free diet to get that good creamy coating on your tongue. Yum
  • When the rice is tender, add more sugar if required, then ladle out a serving into a bowl, and top with jam if you desire
  • Let the steam warm your face and gently spoon the pudding into your mouth
  • Inhale. Exhale. It will all be ok.

© Pig in the Kitchen


The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I never fix your recipes. I just come for the hilarious story that precedes it and then I read the recipe and think how interesting it is that you make it work. Of course, I'm not egg free and gluten free and dairy free. I don't remember how I stumbled upon your blog, but it is some while ago and I have been reading it ever since. Keep up the god work. I, for one, enjoy it very much.

Vegetation said...

It's always a hilarious pleasure to read a post of yours! I love it, you catch the spirit of parental Christmas perfectly!

And yum to the rice pudding with jam.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

TFTW, you know I can't keep up with your ever-evolving blog names! Thanks for your lovely comments, you are very sweet. This recipe worked the magic for itself, creamy risotto rice and rice milk, soooo easy.

Vegetation, ah I'm glad you too feel the joys of Christmas. Yum indeed to rice puddng and jam, I may have to make it again tonight!

Potty Mummy said...

Sounds gorgeous and comforting. I don't think the boys will eat it due to being whingy complainers at the moment (don't ask), but hey, who wants to share anyway?

Kitty said...

It's a standing joke in our family that as a child I would eat anything and everything ... except rice pudding. I don't know what it is about the texture, the taste, the smell, but ... BLEURGH! Sorry, I'm sure it's a perfectly lovely rice pudding. Apparently my grandmother made legendary rice pudding, but I never, ever liked it.

I feel your pain on the issue of Christmas preparations. All for one day (or a few days) of jollity. Every year I think I will be more organised next year. Needless to say - it's never happened.


Akelamalu said...

You always have such a great tale to tell with your recipes Pig -

Hope Christmas is stress free for you when it arrives.

Amanda said...

I've just discovered your blog and what a wonderful read it is. I love your stories, but even more I think I love your recipes - I say think, because I haven't tried any yet, but they look as if they'll be terrific. I've been wheat free for about 6 years, but have now been advised to go totally gluten-free. I'm also intolerant to potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and chillis. I've been 'fishetarian' for 35 years. I've tried eating meat but don't like it, and I don't like cream either. So my options are closing in on me!! I've rather lost the will to cook anything other than 'fish and two veg', so look forward to trying out some of your recipes. I'll be back!!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

PottyM, do you mean I sound gorgeous and comforting? well, i like to think so... Whingy complainers, what a fab turn of phrase!

Oh Kitty, you are missing out on the pleasure of comforting stodge! And excuse me, can I just splutter for a minute at your assertion that you are not organised?? Have you looked at the beautiful photos on your blog today? Home made baubles anyone? tsk, don't come here and tell me you're not organised when your tree is a visual feast of artwork!

Akelamalu, thank-you, and a merry christmas to you too...only - arrrgggh - 8 days to go.

Hello Amanda, hurray for you discovering me, and let's hope my recipes live up to the pictures ;-)
I've had a few people tell me they are intolerant to potatoes, that must be very hard when combined with a wheat intolerance. I hope you find something to tempt you here.

Marianne said...

Merry Christmas to you too, PITK. It is awesome, being responsible for producing Christmas for so many expectant people. I keep wondering when someone else will take over, but no offers so far.

On the one hand, you have to be grateful to be able to do Christmas at all, but on the other, why is it so much hassle?

I'm off now to make myself a bowl of old fashioned porage oats with brown sugar and cream. You're right there's nothing like nursery food when the going gets tough.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Marianne, indeed, just who appointed me organiser and executor of all this 'fun'??! they clearly have not read my CV coz i don't think i'm up to the job.

It's nursery food all the way in now, brown sugar and cream, mmmm, yummy! Merry Christmas!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I love rice pudding! Thought it was yuk when I was a child though. You'd get a long with Mr Eco Warrior that lovely man I married.

Have a splendid Christmas. Trolley surf but only when it's fully loaded with food and drink - I dare you!! x

Lowood6 said...

Merry Christmas PITK! Wishing you a lovely time with your family with everything going perfectly! I think I'll be needing the rice pudding - while I procrastinate about what I should be doing...
Thanks for all the great stories and recipes in 2008, we do look forward to reading/cooking more of your creations in 2009.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

As a mere man I cannot get over how much there is to write about food. (and fun) Particularly on behalf of my coeliac wife well done, thank you, long may you reign. (Touch of royalty and adoration there!)

Grit said...

a splendid recipe, lovely pig! we need this type of food! comfort food here is bean stew and baked potatoes. and that's probably what we'll have on christmas day.

happy holidays and hope you have a truly relaxing time, so you can re-energise to inspire us all again soon!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Still haven't got the cooking bug but I'm asking Santa for it so you never know...I come to worship at your altar. Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and yours!

Mya said...

Rice pudding rocks!The ultimate comfort pud.

Have a fab Christmas, Pig. Put your little piglets to work, and put your trotters up and have a good rest and a large drink. Did you remember the misteltoe for when the pompiers call?

Mya x

GoneBackSouth said...

Oh Pig, I do hope you have recovered from all that tree rush and list anxiety business. Happy new year to you my bloggy friend, and it was lovely to meet you in 2008!