This week I've made myself a basic rice pudding. This doesn't sound like a huge challenge, but when you start researching recipes you quickly find that every food write out there has a very definite opinion and a slight variation on the recipe. Just the cookbooks we have in the house disagreed wildly, with Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall flat out contradicting Nigella and Jamie Oliver going off on a totally different tangent. After a great deal of thought, I went with Jamie, if only because his version called for the fewest ingredients (rice, milk, sugar) and I wanted to start off as simply as possible, so then I could tweak it by trying out the different variations.
I also wanted to make this batch on the stove, because that would take 30 minutes as opposed to 3 hours in the oven. The only downside to the stove version as opposed to oven version is that it doesn't produce the skin on top, which I love.
The most difficult part was working out which rice to use, because in the UK I'd simply grab the bag marked "Pudding Rice", here the only pudding rice I could find was a pre-packaged Uncle Ben's box mix. So I trusted in Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall's emphatic assertion that "Short-grain rice is essential. You cannot make a respectable rice pudding with the long-grain variety" (Neither of Nigella's recipes are for respectable rice puddings then, she must make the floozy version), and went with... Sushi rice. Of course.
It was a gamble, but that was the only short-grain rice I could find and it actually worked really quite well. I didn't rinse the rice first so there was enough starch to thicken up the milk nicely, and the rice maintained it's integrity and didn't turn to mush. I made enough to have some for mid-afternoon snack at work every day this week. Yummy!