Winter Warmer Rice Pudding

For all us southern hemisphere folks, this jumps the gun a bit, but as I have included chestnuts, they hit their peak around Autumn anyway, yes, this post is still seasonally appropriate.

This is what happens when I am home alone a few days and the usually pleasant March-May weather swings like a meteorological tantrum from stable and sunny to depressingly gray, with wind and rain lashing the house with a fury matched to none, and temperatures plummeting below the mid-teens (yes I realise some people would still find this pleasant, the nutters) before I had even fetched my winter wardrobe and heavy blankets from the attic. (Phew, long sentence alert.) In this misery, of course the only solution for me is mushy hot comfort food, eaten while bundled in fleece while streaming episodes of House (only the best medical drama ever created) with all the lights switched on.
Sadly, supplies were a little thin on the ground, since no car + no money = no grocery runs. However, constraints foster creativity, according to this fascinating article, and so it was for me. I noted the four cups of accidently fermented, pre-cooked brown rice (I'll explain 'nother day), and the apples and carrots (the only things left in the fresh produce section of the fridge), and a little bowl of chestnuts that I had lovingly chopped, steamed and peeled two days prior. And the cogs started turning....

Initial thought: "If I include rice and veg, it is basically dinner right? Dinner can be sweet!"
So I whizzed up some nut milk, threw mushed chestnuts and rice in a pot with a dash of spice, chucked in carrot for the dinner qualification, and apples and dates because yumminess and in no time flat: a steaming, creamy pudding was born.

Winter Warmer Rice Pudding
serves one lonely person with a big bowl

1/3 cup pre-cooked rice
1/3-1/2 cup cooked chestnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brazil nut/cashew/almond milk (1/2 cup more if needed)
5-6 pitted dates (no, not medjools, just the normal cheap kind)
1 carrot
1 apple

Chuck chestnuts, rice, milk and spice in a pot. Allow to warm until steamy on medium heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, finely chop dates, grate the carrot and apple. Add remaining ingredients into the pot, and cook. Stir and watch until you can't bear it anymore the carrot is pleasingly soft. Place into a large bowl.
Garnish with a little shredded coconut, cinnamon or orange zest if you wish and devour!

PS: I made a scarily terrible night-time shot of this concoction, please excuse our "warm white" lighting.....
PPS: Art post is in the works! Will be very excited to share.......


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