Thursday, August 7, 2014

Coconut Cream Rice Pudding

We first came across this recipe when we paddled the Chochocouane River up in La Vérendrye, Québec. It was a 'add water when you get to camp' kind of recipe using minute rice but powdered milk and we LOVED it! It has now become a Giles-haus favourite since it is both lactose free and gluten free. The only thing that I've found about any recipes that I've tried is that you end up with a pretty solid product at the end - solid in the deliciousness sense and solid in well, the solid sense: the rice soaks up a lot of the coconut milk. If you have some extra coconut milk around, it's great just to mix some in the next day to return it to its slightly runny state. I've also used some soy milk for the same purpose.

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
2 cans coconut milk (highest fat content possible)
1 brick of creamed coconut solid
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 chopped mango (fresh or dehydrated, as per your preference)

1. In a large, heavy pot, boil your rice and water for 7-8 minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk, coconut solid and sugar and simmer again for another 15-16 minutes - stirring occasionally.
3. Add salt and vanilla and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and cool. Yum!


Funnel Cakes

 Probably one of my favourite fair foods of all time is the classic funnel cake. When I came across this recipe, I thought it was too good to be true. And maybe it was. Guys, the deliciousness of these deep fried wonders knows no bounds. If you could take a bite out of heaven, I imagine that it would taste like funnel cake.

Okay, I do have a few warnings to issue before we get down to business: 1. These are extremely addictive and, well, not very good for you. Be sure you have others to share with before you make these. Otherwise, umm, you can imagine. 2. In addition to tasting like those delicious fair-made funnel cakes these may also make your kitchen smell a little like a fair—for a long time. We are deep frying, people—I won't sugarcoat the details (Ha! I'm lame). Open a window. It's a good thing. Unless it's snowing.

Now the timing, batter thickness, and funnel spout size are keys to funnel cake success. If your batter is too thin or watery, you'll have an enormous mess that spreads and won't hold together. If your batter is too gloppy you won't be able to pour it out in a timely enough fashion to avoid an overdone crunchy mess. A 1-cup funnel with a 1/4-inch opening is an ideal size, a squeeze bottle with a 1/4 inch opening is even better—it's easier to control the flow rate. Being a purist (aka don't own a squeeze bottle), I use a funnel and have always had great results. I find a good clue to knowing you have the right batter consistency is to see when you get a 'trace' of batter that forms on the rest of the batter when you pour it over with a spoon. I hope this makes sense... You'll probably find you have to play around with your batter just a bit to get the right consistency.

Bon appétit friends!

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk (possibly more or less... see above)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioners' sugar

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, water and vanilla until well blended. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; beat into egg mixture until smooth. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°.

2. Cover the bottom of a funnel spout with your finger; ladle 1/2 cup of batter into the funnel. Holding the funnel several inches above the oil, release your finger and move the funnel in a spiral motion until all the batter is released (scraping with a rubber spatula if needed).

3. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve warm. Yield: 8 cakes.