Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What do with ingredients bought on a whim...

Oh if only smell was transportable via high speed internet.  As I type I am sitting in my kitchen, drunk on the smell of bergamot orange (which looks more like a lemon to me) as it caramelises in the frying pan.  I bought it last Friday on a whim, as I couldn't resist the scent.  It is truly incredible; somehow fresher, lighter and headier, all at the same time, than a cup of earl gray tea (which includes bergamot oil)
I had no idea what to do with the fruit, but felt the need for some comfort with a kick.  A facebook request for ideas produced the suggestion of coconut rice pudding and caramelised slices of the fruit.  Oh mamma, perfect.  (Thank you Sarah!)

I was feeling rather unwell last night and this morning.  Not sure why, I have a pretty tough immune system so whatever it was, seems to have been kicked to the kerb now.  I definitely felt the need for some comfort food this afternoon, so I broke some rules and bought white rice (horror!) to make the rice pudding.  It has to be one of the easiest to prepare, cheapest and most rewarding desserts on the planet.

In a saucepan I put half a cup of pudding rice (or grötris in Swedish, which google translate tells me means 'boil'.  Hmmm...sometimes Swedish makes little sense to me) a tin of coconut milk, a teaspoon of rapadura sugar and the seeds from half a vanilla pod.  I brought it to the boil, then simmered for about 20 minutes, giving it the occasional stir.  Once it had thickened up I added a hefty pinch of cinnamon and put a lid on the saucepan to prevent a skin forming.  I'm not a fan of skins on things, like warm milk...yuck.  If you like a skin that you can savour, don't cover the pudding once cooked.  Job done.

I then focused on the fruit.  I figured half the fruit would serve two of us, so sliced it into segments with the peel on (that's where the oil is after all!) and fried them gently on a low to medium heat in some butter and a teeny bit of rapadura sugar.  I turned them a few times in the pan, until they had turned golden and a little bit chewy.

I'm not a fan of sugar, if I had some coconut sugar I would have used that, but I don't, so rapadura was the best I could manage.  If you don't know much about sugar, well...it's a bit of a minefield. Basically, the more processed the sugar, the worse it is for you.  Rapadura sugar is the least processed sugar, still containing many of the minerals that are removed from white sugar and so it is my solution when I have to use sugar.  White sugar is considered to be the cocaine of the food world.  Utterly addictive, completely lacking in nutritional value and damaging to health in every way.  Best avoided, or at least reduced so it doesn't appear in your bowl, plate or cup on a daily basis.

Back to the rice pudding.  Oh lordy, heaven in a bowl.  Not super sweet, as I didn't think it was necessary and I got to savour the taste of the bergamot fruit.  The gentle vanilla and bergamot aroma wafted around the apartment, tempting me back into the kitchen for sneaky tastes every 5 minutes.

I have half a bergamot orange left, so might do something different with that tomorrow.  What would you do with a bergamot fruit?  Ever bought on a whim and made something incredible?

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