Note to self: Don’t rub your eye after cutting chilli

I have been working my way through a large selection of plums recently thanks to some heavy duty raiding of hedge rows etc. These cooking sessions are waiting to be posted but are currently suffering from “silly cow disease” which in this instance manifests itself in forgetting to put the card back into my digital camera which means I can’t get the pics of the camera until I’ve found the camera lead – and I do like to include the occasional picture on Appetite for Cake.

In addition to copious amounts of plums we have had a busy weekend entertaining as we were visited by a couple of lovely Australians, who weren’t really Australians but have lived out there since 1976 (Husband’s cousin and her husband) – they can come again anytime, especially as they washed up before they left this morning.

Had been planning on emptying the leftovers in the fridge into a pie dish and covering it with pastry, but Husband had already got dinner under control (pasta and odds and ends of cheese) however there was still time to do a curry for lunch for the rest of the week.

This curry again is based on the things in the fridge that needed to be used up, plus a few store cupboard items.

Prior to the phone call on friday from Husband’s cousin asking if they could drop in over the weekend I had rescued some duck legs from the bottom of the freezer and was all geared up to stick them in the slow cooker. As they had now been defrosted several days cooking them was becoming rather a priority. I also had some elderly garlic, a sorry for itself thumb of ginger, part of a red chilli and an onion. In the cupboard there was a tin of coconut milk which had been there for rather some time…in fact all the ingredients for Peter Gordon’s Duck Curry with Pickled Plums -which is currently slowly cooking in the top oven.

The remaining plums unfortunately were a bit too ripe to be pickled so I have improvised with a plum compot (based on seasonal compot from Leon cookbook) but with the seasonings from the pickled plums (star anise, cinnamon stick and lemon zest instead of lemon grass). The remaining coconut milk I’ve mixed with some frozen rice.

I will report back tomorrow, as its going to be my lunch, Husband does not eat curry, duck and possibly not coconut milk…it is smelling “interesting”

Incidentally the recipe is meant for 6, I divided mine by 3….

And, despite knowing from past experience what can happen after you have been cutting chilli I rubbed my eyes whilst putting Spider to bed…I have however learned from past experience, usually its my nose I rub !


RECIPE: Sweet Cinnamon-coconut Rice

This is from the Sainsbury’s Magazine (June 1999) and makes a great breakfast, correction, makes a great dairy free breakfast. I wouldn’t say that it otherwise would count as a healthy breakfast option as the pudding rice is white, not brown, coconut milk has a high fat content and it has 110g sugar in it.

If you were looking for a healthy option than have a smaller helping and serve with fruit. It is best served cold but I guess you could eat it warm. For me this does actually count as store cupboard cookery.


2 cinnamon sticks

1 x 400ml tin coconut milk

110g short grain (pudding rice)

110g golden caster sugar

2 teaspoons rosewater

seeds 6 cardamon pods, ground

1. Rinse the rice in a sieve under running water. Place in a saucepan with 450ml water. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer until water has almost evaporated.

2. Pour in the coconut milk. Add the cinnamon sticks. Stir gently and bring back to the boil. Turn heat down and let the mixture cook over a low heat, stirring regularly so that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan. Approx 10 minutes. (should thicken slightly)

3. Stir in sugar. Continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes until sugar has dissolved. Add the rosewater and ground cardamom.

4. Transfer rice to a glass dish, leave to cool and then refrigerate. Rice is best if really cold before serving

Serves about 4 people

Zombies Awake

On Sunday morning we were woken by the gentle garlic infused breath of Toddler (Husband had taken Toddler and Teenager to Pizza Hut the night before on the way back from a bonfire display).

We had not had a good night having been kept awake firstly by the wind that had been blowing a Hooley around the house all night and secondly by the sound of Teenager, who’d had an even worse night, having been sick about 4 times. Definitely not a good start to what was meant to be a day of celebration at my parents for my Dad’s 70th birthday.

Things went downhill rapidly as the birthday cake I made for my Dad was not looking too good, the icing had gone wrong. As I’ve mentioned before my Dad does not like butter cream so I’d used a mascarpone based icing. I’d left the cake out overnight, as sponge goes hard in the fridge and would have ruined the cakes texture. As a result the mascarpone had set hard in places and gone almost translucent in others. Fortunately I had a spare tub of mascarpone and some double cream so I was able cobble together a second icing to cover the imperfections of the first and then covered the lot with a later of black sprinkles and jammed a “7” and a “0” candle in the top.

The birthday cake was a simple lemon sponge with a lemon curd, mascarpone and cream filling (idea nicked from Nigella Lawson book)

Toddler and I went off to the party where we had a lovely time with the rest of the family. Husband and Teenager stayed behind gently moaning and dozing on the sofas. I of course was suitably sympathetic, but perhaps I should have kept quite. My comeuppance was that my tummy hadn’t been ready for rich food as a result I’ve been surviving on apples and oxo most of the week waiting for things to return to normal.

I was just about to post this when I realised that my head has been so full of work related things that I’d almost forgotten the reason for this post in the first place – rice pudding. A side effect of this tummy bug is that I am having problems digesting milk and I’ve been searching the cupboards to find things that are gentle on the stomach other than beef oxo.

The result is 2 rice puddings made with non-dairy milk replacements which in my case is coconut milk as I usually have some in for making Thai style curries. The first is a cinnamon rice pudding (sainsbury magazine circa 1998) and the second is Ubud black rice pudding (with banana) from Cook at Home with Peter Gordon – a similar recipe can be found here …I have a packet of black rice lurking at the back along with the semolina and other things no one will eat…