Black Sticky Rice Pudding Recipe – Gluten Free, Vegan, Yum!

black sticky rice

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ”
~ Mich Ehrenborg

 

This is truly one of those comfort-in-a-bowl dishes. Black sticky rice pudding is popular in Thailand and parts of Asia. It can be eaten warm or cold, and makes a delicious dessert, but it’s equally good for breakfast or as a snack.

To serve I use a splodge of coconut cream or coconut yogurt, some fresh seasonal fruit, and sometimes a handful of nuts or seeds as well. It’s endlessly versatile.

Black sticky rice pudding is a great recipe – gluten free, dairy free, vegan and full of fibre, anti-oxidants and nurture-y goodness.  Black rice is a source of amino acids, iron, zinc, copper and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is great for supporting and nurturing the liver and kidneys, two organs/energy centres that get very depleted during times of stress, illness or depression.  It’s great food for people with burnout or adrenal fatigue as it is warm and easy to digest.  Coconut is also good for low thyroid function and boosting slow metabolisms.

I usually make double this quantity and keep some in the fridge.  I reheat in a saucepan with a little extra water, but if you are a microwave user, I guess you could go there…

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Ingredients

1 cup of black glutinous rice (you can find this in most Asian grocery stores or good supermarkets), 2.5 cups of water, 2 tablespoons palm sugar or soft brown sugar, salt, vanilla essence, 1 cup of coconut milk/cream

Note – If you are sugar-free use Natvia, stevia or your favourite sugar substitute.

Method

Soak the rice overnight (or at least 6 hours)  in the water in a ceramic or glass dish. It’s really important to soak your rice well, so please don’t skimp on that part of the cooking process. The water will go a nice shade of purple – try not to get it on you as it will stain some fabrics. Many people suggest you discard the soaking water, rinse and start over, but then you’d lose many of the minerals and anti-oxidants that have leached from the water overnight.

Transfer to a suitable saucepan and place on the heat.  Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Cook for a further half an hour to forty-five minutes, until the rice is soft and the mixture has thickened.  You need to play this by ear a bit, as you might need to add a little more water and cook longer. It all depends on the rice.

Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of  coconut milk/cream, then sugar to taste. Add in a splash of vanilla essence too. I use about 2 heaped tablespoons of palm sugar, but if you prefer it sweeter, add more.  Stir occasionally over the next ten minutes until the rice is thick and pudding like. (I sometimes omit the coconut milk as a variation, which gives a nuttier flavour.)

Cool slightly and then serve in bowls with the remaining coconut milk/cream drizzled over the top.  Sliced banana or tropical fruits such as papaya or mango are also good.  In winter I may use berries.  Right now I am using a big dollop of coconut yoghurt (yoghurt made on coconut milk!) from a company called Co Yo, which is divine.

If I have made a less-sweet pudding, I will sometimes also add a sprinkle of palm sugar or a dash of maple syrup when serving.

Enjoy ♥

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sticky rice pudding

 

 

Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding #dairyfree #glutenfree

strawbs

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ~ Erma Bombeck

 

I could call this delicious pudding ‘dessert’.

But I have also been known to call it ‘breakfast’…

This creamy strawberry pudding is a versatile and healthy option as a snack, a meal or as a sweet treat at the end of a more substantial savoury offering.

I’ll show you how to make a ‘fancy’ offering with a choc-dipped strawberry garnish, good if you are entertaining or celebrating. Of course you can always just make the pudding without the garnish. It will still taste scrumptious – it just won’t look so ‘party’!

The pudding is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free. It’s high in protein, good fats, vitamin c, and antioxidants.

It’s also dead easy to make. So easy that #EvenBenCouldMakeThis

(I thought if I hashtagged my easy recipes, I may fare better during my recovery after surgery. It’s the best plan I’ve come up with in ages!)

 

Ingredients to serve 4:

500ml (2 cups) of warmed coconut milk. (I used a 270ml can of coconut cream and then added warm water to make up the rest of the volume), 250 grams (1 cup) of fresh ripe strawberries, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup maple syrup or up to 2 tablespoons of your favourite sweetener, 4 squares of dark Lindt chocolate 70% cocoa or higher, 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, coconut yoghurt or coconut cream or ice-cream to serve.

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Method:

Place the coconut milk into a jug or mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the top and then stir in well.

Keep 2 strawberries out. Hull and puree the rest. If you don’t have a blender, chop finely and then squash through a sieve (or just chop finely if you can’t be bothered!).

Add the pinch of salt, strawberry puree and maple syrup to the chia mix. Stir well and allow to stand for ten minutes, stirring every so often to distribute the chia seeds which will begin to swell and thicken.

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If you need your pudding to look fancy, divide into four serving glasses or place in one pretty serving bowl. Otherwise place mixture into a plastic storage container with a lid.

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Melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low until liquid but not hot. Allow to cool slightly. Have the remaining strawberries and dip the cut side into the chocolate. Place on baking paper to cool and pop into fridge. If you have any chocolate left over feel free to give them a second coating once the first one has set.

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chia pudding

Drizzle a little of the remaining chocolate onto the puddings and then place in fridge to thicken and set.

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To serve, add a dollop of coconut yoghurt/cream/ice-cream on top of parfait and add chocolate-coated strawberry. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or cocoa if you feel inclined.

Or, simply spoon some into a bowl and demolish!

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Chilled Coconut Soup with Tapioca and Rockmelon

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“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
~ Ruth Reichl

 

Many years ago, when my sister and I were sharing a house, we’d sometimes venture out for dinner to a little Asian Restaurant in Market Square at Sunnybank. Our restaurant of choice was called Gourmet Court – a cheerful and cheap eating place, which was good because neither of us had any money back then! None of the staff spoke English, and the menu was all in Mandarin, but it did have a helpful photo for each dish. We would always point to what we wanted, smile profusely, and then mime drinking tea. Somehow, this crazy system always seemed to work for us. The tables were covered in red and white checked plastic tablecloths and little vases of fake flowers which was the only decor beside the lucky cat at the till.

Simone and I were always the only Caucasians in the place, and we looked out of place with our pale skin and long blonde hair. At first that felt uncomfortable but we were treated so well that we came to love going there. After we became regulars the owners would usually bring us a complimentary dessert at the end of our meal. In winter it was a plate of sliced fresh fruit, but when the temperature warmed up they brought out this unusual dish – a cold, sweet coconut ‘soup’ with tapioca pearls (made from a form of root vegetable called cassava) and freshly diced rockmelon. It was our complete favourite; cool, refreshing and delicious.

Gourmet Court no longer exists, but I’ve found a way to recreate our old favourite dish! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. An added bonus is that it’s gluten-free,  and dairy-free. I also make mine sugar-free now too, using a sugar substitute. The tapioca/coconut milk mixture will keep in the fridge for five days, if it lasts that long.

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Ingredients:

1 x cup of small tapioca pearls, 2 x cups of coconut cream, 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar or equivalent (I use natvia!), one rockmelon (cantaloupe)

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Method:

Add the coconut cream, water, salt and sugar to a saucepan and stir well over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Soak the tapioca for twenty minutes in cold water, then drain in a colander. Bring two litres (8 cups) of water to the boil in a large pot, and add the drained tapioca pearls. Stir well so nothing sticks to the bottom, and keep stirring every so often. Bring back to the boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for another fifteen minutes. Then rinse well under cold water to stop the cooking process. The pearls should be mostly translucent and jelly-like with perhaps a few white spots still in the middle. Be careful not to overcook, or the tapioca will turn to mush.

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Add the tapioca pearls to the cooled coconut mixture and refrigerate until needed. The pearls will swell a little more with the coconut milk, and will provide a nice chewy texture.

To serve ladle the ‘soup’ and pearls into a serving bowl and then add a generous portion of freshly diced rockmelon to the top. I served mine to Ben and the workmen here at the farm as a post-lunch treat, after they’d spent the morning slaving away repairing fences in the heat. It was soon devoured!

The rest became breakfast this morning. 🙂

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Note – this is also delicious served with freshly sliced banana, mango or strawberries.

Baked Persimmons with Crumble Topping

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“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”
~ Samuel Butler

 

Persimmons are one of my favourite autumn treats. I use the non-astringent variety for this recipe. These fuyu persimmons can be eaten crunchy like an apple, or left to soften so that the interior of the fruit becomes jelly-like. This recipe works best with fruit that are firm and ripe, but not yet soft.

Eating this dessert is decadent luxury, but it’s a healthy one! Persimmons are high in B group vitamins, vitamin C and anti-oxidants, especially those that are anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory. The baked persimmon is soft, fragrant and luscious, and the topping is sweet, crispy and well textured. Teamed with some cream or ice-cream it’s a show stopper!

Baked persimmons are very easy and this recipe that works beautifully as a hot dessert, but also makes a tasty breakfast served warm or cold with yogurt.

*This recipe is sugar-free and gluten-free. It can also easily be made vegan and dairy-free.

Ingredients to serve four:

4 x fuyu (non-astringent persimmons), 1 tablespoon of butter or your favourite butter alternative, 1 tablespoon of almond meal, 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds, 3 medjool dates, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut (non-sweetened), 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon,

plus 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Wash the persimmons and pat dry.

Use a sharp knife to cut the leaves and a small disk of fruit from the top of each persimmon, creating a small depression.

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To make the crumble topping remove the seeds from the dates and cut into small pieces. Mix together with the butter, almonds and almond meal, coconut and cinnamon.

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Divide the crumble mix into four, and mound into the centre of each fruit, pressing down softly.

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Place persimmons in a small ovenproof bowl. Mix the hot water, honey and cinnamon together and pour into dish, being careful not to get any on the crumble topping.

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Place into the oven and bake for forty-five minutes, or until topping is golden and crispy and fruit is soft to the touch.

Remove from oven.

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Serve with thick cream and a drizzle of honey. A good ice-cream or yogurt is also a yummy serving option.

Mine was served with double cream, honey, and a couple of gluten-free almond bread biscuits.

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Persian Love Cake Recipe #glutenfree

persian love cake

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

I wanted to make a special cake to mark my 30 Year Anniversary of having Lyme disease. I’m celebrating all that I have learned, all that I have survived, and all that is now unfolding in front of me. Plus… cake! Do you ever really need a reason?

This is a simple cake to make, but it looks and tastes fancy. Perfect for a celebration! It has those beautiful Persian spices – including cardamom and orange blossom – which give a distinctive exotic flavour, and it is gluten-free. The base is sugary crisp, and the filling is light and not too rich. With a few easy substitutions this cake can also be made dairy-free if needed.

If you don’t have orange blossom water, you can omit or substitute for rose-water. It will still taste delicious. You can buy orange blossom water at many supermarkets, delicatessens, Asian or Indian grocers and even health food stores.

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Ingredients:

3 cups of almond meal, 1 cup of raw (demerara) sugar, 1 cup of soft brown sugar – lightly packed, 1/2 cup (125g) soft unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, 1/2 cup pistachio nuts

1 x baking-paper lined 26cm springform (10 inch) pan.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Prepare your cake tin.

Place the almond meal, sugars and butter in a large bowl.

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Rub the butter through the dry ingredients until it resembles soft crumbs.

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Press half of the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the springform pan. You could use the back of a spoon but I think that clean hands work just as well!

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Lightly beat the two eggs. Add the beaten eggs, spices, orange blossom water and yoghurt to the remaining crumb mix. Stir together well.

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Pour onto the crumb base. Sprinkle roughly chopped pistachios around the outside of the cake.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake will not be quite firm. That’s okay – it will firm up as it cools. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.

To serve, accompany the Persian Love Cake with some more yoghurt or a good ice-cream.

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Variations: If you are following a dairy-free diet, this can also be made with a vegetable spread substitute for the butter. You could use a soy or coconut yoghurt too. I’ve made these variations before and they were still delicious, although the coconut yoghurt adds an additional flavour which changes the taste of the cake (but not in a bad way!)

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Baked Passionfruit and Lime Cheesecake Recipe

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“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” 
~ William Shakespeare

Birthdays deserve cake. For the past few days I’ve had my dear friend Carly staying with us here at the farm, so that we could see in the New Year together and celebrate her birthday.

I’ve not been well on this round of lyme meds, so I wanted to make a birthday cake with minimum fuss and maximum taste. When Ben brought home a massive bag of fresh passionfruit from the farmers’ markets I was inspired to bake this delicious and super easy baked cheesecake. It’s moist and not too heavy, and can so easily be made gluten-free.

Ingredients:

Crust –  250 gram packet of gingernut biscuits or your favourite sweet plain biscuit, 100 grams of melted butter. Choose a gluten-free biscuit if needed.

Cheesecake – 500 grams (2 packets) of softened cream cheese, 300g of sour cream, 2/3 cup of caster sugar (or natvia works well too), 1 teaspoon of good vanilla paste or essence, 4 eggs at room temperature, finely grated zest and juice of two limes (1 large lemon can be substituted if limes are unavailable), 1 cup of passionfruit pulp.

One 22cm (8 inch) springform tin, lined with baking paper.

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Method:

Crust – Using a food processor (or a rolling pin and a plastic bag) crush your biscuits into fine crumbs. Add melted butter and mix well together. The crumbs should hold together when you squeeze them. If the biscuits are particularly dry add a little extra melted butter.

Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the springform tin. Use your hands, back of a spoon or a glass to press down firmly. Don’t be insane though. If you press too hard it will be difficult to cut later on.

Place into the fridge to set while you are making the cheesecake mixture.

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Cheesecake filling – It’s essential to have your cream cheese, eggs and sour cream at room temperature. This way when you mix them up the lumps will dissolve quickly and you won’t need to over-beat the mixture. If mixture is beaten too much (lots of air gets in) it will rise and brown too fast, and shrink and crack upon cooling.

* Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius or 300 degrees fahrenheit – you want a slow oven so the cake cooks through thoroughly without burning or drying out. If you have a fan-forced oven drop this temperature to 140C or 275F.

Beat cream cheese and sugar together on low speed until soft and smooth. (if you were really keen and had a strong arm you could use a wooden spoon like my Nana did!) Add in the sour cream and vanilla and beat gently to incorporate, and then add one egg at a time, beating slightly after each.

Take 3/4 of the passionfruit pulp and press it gently through a sieve to extract the juice. Add to the cheesecake mixture and discard the seeds.

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Add the lime zest and juice plus the remaining passionfruit and fold through.

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Pour over the base. Place into oven and cook for 50 minutes, until just set.

The cheesecake should still have a slight wobble to the middle when you tap the side of the pan. If you think it is still too wobbly, cook another five minutes or so. The cheesecake will firm as it cools.

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Turn off oven and open the oven door slightly, using a wooden spoon to keep the door ajar. Cool slowly in the oven for one hour. Cooling slowly will prevent the cheesecake cracking.

Return to fridge for 6 hours or overnight.

Serve with friends!

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Also delicious served with fresh passionfruit pulp or mango slices, cream and ice-cream.

Will keep, refrigerated for up to one week. If it lasts that long…

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Easy Baked Cheesecake Recipe – Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not!”  ~ Author Unknown

One of the not-fun parts of being unwell, or being on a restricted diet, is that treats seem to be harder to come by. So many desserts are crammed full of sugar, grains and fats. Or they have twenty steps, weird ingredients and you need specialised skill or equipment to replicate the results at home.

If you can eat dairy, you’ll find this fits the bill.  Low fat, made without sugar and grains, and high in protein, it’s suitable for people following High-Protein Low-Carb Diets, for diabetics and for anyone who is gluten-free.

This is a wonderful dessert.  But you can also feel quite happy about eating it for breakfast, as a snack, or following a big bowl of salad or vegetables as your protein fix.

And if none of these things apply to you, make it and eat it anyway – because it’s yummy!!!

I’ve used some fresh local blueberries for this recipe, but frozen ones work perfectly well too.

blueberries

INGREDIENTS

500 grams (2 cups) Ricotta Cheese, 3 eggs, 5 teaspoons of Natvia ( a stevia based sweetener), 1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a loaf tin (23cm x 12cm – 9 inch x 5 inch) with baking paper.

Separate the eggs, and put the whites into a large bowl, and the yolks into another bowl with the ricotta.  Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Whisk the yolks, ricotta, vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg together.  Fold in the berries and then gently fold through the stiff egg white.  Pour into the pre-prepared loaf tin.

Dust top with cinnamon. (Cinnamon is a wonderful spice – it helps regulate blood sugar, lowers bad cholesterol and is very anti-inflammatory.)

Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes.  Mixture may still be a little soft to touch but will firm up as it cools.  Remove from tin when cold. Eat on its own, or with your favourite fruits and toppings. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Don’t be alarmed if this weeps a little as it cools.  Simply drain the liquid away before you store it.  I keep mine loosely wrapped in the paper I baked it in, on a plate in the refrigerator.  The cheesecake will keep for a week, but it probably won’t last that long!

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Simple Baked Apple Recipe

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“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther

Nothing says comfort food like a baked apple – easy to make and good for you too. Traditionally my Nana stuffed apples with a butter, sugar, oats and sultana or currant mixture.  My version still tastes sweet and delicious but is dairy, sugar and gluten free.  Trust me – no one will think any the lesser of you for omitting all that other stuff.  They’ll be too busy eating!  Soft sweet medjool dates and ginger give a lovely caramelly texture and zing, and walnuts – well it just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Ingredients: 1 x cooking apple per person – I like Granny Smith Apples for this; plus 2 medjool dates, a tablespoon of walnut halves, a piece of glace ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice per person.  Note: If there is still too much sugar in the glace ginger for you, trying adding a little extra date and some powdered ginger.

Method: Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Using a sharp knife or an apple corer, remove the core of the apple.  Then take a knife and run it around the circumference of the apple so that you just break through the skin.  This is important so that your apple doesn’t explode when it is cooking. Core your apples Chop your dates, ginger and walnuts and combine them in a bowl with the squeeze of lemon juice.  Mix them well together. Dates, ginger and walnuts Now press the mixture into the empty core of each apple.  Start by filling the bottom, pressing the mixture in firmly.  Then turn over and place into an oven-proof dish. (I find a piece of baking paper helps with easy clean-up.) Keep pressing filling into the core until it is filled to the top.  Mound a little extra over the hole, pressing down well. 2013-04-04 16.43.11 Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes. To serve, simply place in a bowl and eat.  They go very well with a dash of cream, custard, some yogurt (try coconut yogurt if you’re vegan or dairy free!) or a good ice-cream. Baked apples are a terrific dessert but do try them for a warm breakfast on a cold morning. Super Yum Delish! baked apple and cream

Coconut, Ginger and Cardamom Rice Pudding Recipe – Vegan

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Because my Power Word for 2013 is HEALTH, I’ve been modifying a few of my favourite recipes.

This creamy-sweet rice pudding has the added lusciousness of Indian spices, and is entirely dairy, gluten and cane-sugar free.  And it’s vegan to boot, for those of you who are lovers of plant-based diets.

It can be eaten warm or chilled, so it’s perfect for any time of the year.

Ingredients: 1 x 400ml can of coconut cream, 1/2 cup of rice of your choice, 12 green cardamon pods, an inch of freshly grated or finely chopped ginger root, 1/3 cup of palm sugar, raw honey or maple syrup (or to taste), pinch of salt.

Method:

Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the cardamom pods. You could also do this with the blade of a heavy knife. This releases the aromatic oils from the tiny seeds inside the pods.  If you are especially finicky you can pull out all the green pods, leaving just the seeds, but I never bother.  They soften up when you cook them, so you can either eat them or dig them out later.

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Tip your can of coconut cream into a large saucepan, and then use the empty can and add one and a half cans of water to the pot.

Grate your ginger and add the ginger and crushed cardamom to the pot, then bring to the boil.  Now slowly sprinkle in your rice, stirring well.  Let it boil for a minute or two and then bring your pot down to a slow simmer.  Stir every so often so it doesn’t stick on the bottom. It will take about 40 to 60 minutes for your pudding to cook, depending on how low you have your heat. (Add a little more water if needed.) Test the rice – if it is soft, and the mixture is thick and creamy, it is ready.

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Add in your sweetener, checking as you go, so you don’t add in too much. Then add a pinch of good salt and check that you are happy with the taste.

There is nothing more to be done except eat and enjoy!

Some of my favourite serving options include a spoonful of creamy coconut yogurt  (you can often find this in health food stores) over the top, and a little seasonal fruit.

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For a special occasion, layer it into a glass with some fresh or preserved fruit and a good yogurt, and top with some crushed pistachio or toasted crushed cashew nuts.

If you liked this recipe, you might want to try my:

Mandarin and Coconut Jelly Recipe

Healthy Breakfast Parfait Recipe

Here’s a sneak preview of the Breakfast Parfait, which you can use to inspire you about serving suggestions with your Coconut, Ginger and Cardamom Rice Pudding…

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