Existing on a gluten free diet means there has been a distinct increase in the amount of rice products I consume, whether it’s rice milk, brown rice, rice flour or just good old simple rice grains. Using brown rice at least gives the grain a little more bite and fibre, it can feel less like I’m eating a pile of starch and more like I’m eating something with health benefits. Brown rice does taste different, it’s nuttier and reminds me of rolled porridge oats, I serve it up alongside fish and meat, speckled with herbs and spices. It’s cheap, easy to cook and inoffensive, a great base for exploration.
In our house we favour nursery food after a long day or a stomach ache. By nursery food I mean bowls of pale, creamy grains sprinkled with cinnamon or a spoonful of jam. Porridge, rice pudding or cream of semolina. My partner is usually in charge of the latter two, he makes the rice pudding with gallons of milk and he whips up egg whites to aerate the semolina. He brings my bowl to me on the sofa where he receives an appreciative smile.
The absence of lactose does prove an issue with these staples since lactose free milk is sweeter and seemingly less creamy than normal milk. Semolina is out, it being a wheat product but rice and porridge are still on. However, I don’t like to gorge on bowl after bowl of white rice pudding, it may be filling but I don’t count much on its nutrient levels. I had some left over, cooked brown rice and figured it was the perfect rainy day to stand dreamily over a pan of steaming milk and cinnamon. Because the rice isn’t pudding rice it doesn’t break down to such a starchy texture, but if cooked for long enough the rice grains can be soft and lost amongst the creamy milk. Spiked with a grating of fresh nutmeg and sweetened with a little maple syrup this is perfect sofa food. Make this for breakfast on a Sunday and take it back to bed with you like an invalid, enjoying spoonful’s of earthy nourishment for body and soul.
Brown Rice Pudding
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 ½ cups well cooked brown rice * (cook a little longer than packet instructions)
2 cups milk (I used rice milk but any type should work)
20g butter (I used lactose free but a dairy free alternative would be fine, or even none at all)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. maple syrup
*Note: I have since come across some brown sushi rice which is wonderfully sticky, I would recommend using this in place of short grain rice if you can find it, it will enhance the creaminess of the dish!
- Add the rice to a pan and combine with the butter, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, stirring gently for 15 mins.
- Bring to the boil once more before removing from the heat and adding maple syrup if using.
- Cover the pan and leave for a further 15 minutes until creamy.
- Serve up on its own, or alongside stewed fruit. Finish with an extra sprinkling of nutmeg, a drizzle of cream or dollop of jam.
- Remember to sigh contently as you eat.