Sunday, 17 February 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Crema di Riso Dolce con Gusto di Coco & Limone
Lemon & Lime Scented Coconut Rice-Pudding

Don't be a sour-puss just because you have bitter lemons and a hankering for something sweet- even in the cold of Winter when a lemonade would not hit the spot. Use a little imagination, or let me do it for you- and make yourself a sweet and satisfying treat like this.

There's nothing exciting about rice pudding, I hear you thinking... well maybe not- but it is yummy and comforting and great on a cold Winter's afternoon. And maybe there are ways to make it a little more exciting- there's a thought for you! This combination with the tangy lemon and lime and aromatic coconut gave it an almost Thai-like perfume and flavor... and made it into something just a little bit special- you might give it a go and see if you agree...

The secret to getting this to taste wonderfully lemony and yet not turn bitter or sour, is to make a lemon-infused milk to cook your rice in. To do this, you need to cut a few thin strips of lemon zest and blanche them with boiling water- just pop them in a cup, pour boiling water on them and let them sit for a minute- then discard that water and repeat the procedure one more time. Now you have removed the harsh bitterness (and probably lots of chemicals- whether declared or not!) and can use the zest to flavor the milk.

So- take the strips and cut them across-ways into very fine strips- add these to the milk along with a piece of vanilla pod and a little cardamom and bring to the boil- then reduce the heat to a very low simmer and let it cook down for 3-4 minutes further- this will give you a wonderful, rich, exotic and lemony flavor that you can enjoy without wincing!

I then added the rice and grated coconut, a pinch of salt and in my case, Stevia to sweeten- although you can obviously use sugar. I found 1 tablespoon way more than enough for a single serving! But of course the sweetness is a matter of taste- so give it 4-5 minutes to cook in and then give it a try. On a low simmer, the rice pudding will take between 20-25 minutes to become nice and glossy and smooth. As an extra little kick, I added a little candies lemon and lime at the end, just for the last 5 minutes of cooking- this is also something you may like to add to a savory risotto- it's good almost always- just a little bit of it, to tickle your taste buds- they will approve! And all you need to do now is enjoy!

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