Wholefood Cooking

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding


This is the kind of ‘a little something’ that I needed on a cold and wintery Sydney day recently.. pure comfort food. And I did indeed need a bit of comfort. I was exhausted after doing the shoot for my new book (out next year), and staying with my good friend (and fellow Whole and Natural Foods Chef) Holly Davis, who helped me, the word we used was ‘shattered’. We were completely shattered, and requiring said comfort food (plus, it was cold). It also seems that rice pudding is back in (mind you it has never really gone away in our house) – I noticed it has made an appearance in this months Delicious magazine, so it seems, we are on trend :) I actually don’t use a recipe, just throw it all in and judge from look, but the all important thing in making a rice pudding is getting the consistency right (not too runny, not too thick) so I’m giving you a recipe. It’s originally from this book (I’ve tweaked it a little) … a truly brilliant book that mum has had for years, it’s well worn and stained, and truly, has all the Australian classics – it’s well worth tracking down.


But whilst carrying on about how exhausted we were, it was a wonderful time. I call it the ‘seeing the view from the mountain’ time. That time, when you’ve worked so hard (over years and years), taken the enormous risks that you take, putting it all out there – and you finally get the chance to see the beauty of it all. To see this book, that in the beginning (and for quite some time over the past year) I couldn’t see at all where it was leading me, but I kept on following a jungle path – finally I got to see that it was beautiful, and that the whole was so much more than the sum of it’s parts. That takes one talented photographer (Cath Muscat) and stylist (Michelle Noriento), and of course a publishing team who are there for you (Murdoch Books). BUT, it also takes a friend. I’ve had a lot of lessons about what makes a true friendship this year – easy for some to talk the talk, but not walk the walk.  Thank goodness, that I count Holly as a true friend. Thank goodness she knows how to make a cup of tea because we really needed it. The photo below is a screen shot of the teapot from Cath’s instagram account. It also took another hand in the kitchen, and we were loved sharing more time with Trudie Fenwick – a graduate from the 2013 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program. We also had the opportunity to catch up with another graduate (2010) Belinda Pooley (Wholefood Canteen), another true friend and we got to meet her gorgeous new bub.


A shoot goes like this: you organise what you are going to shoot (we had 40 shots of food + chapter openers + incidentals+ pictures of me) – in 5 days. You organise the shopping list (that was Holly’s job, and no mean feat). You watch in awe as box after box of props are unloaded. You cook your ass off, because that’s a lot of shots you are doing each day. I also keep an eye on the shot so it represents me. No blue plates I say, no twine around everything I say – and in the end, there was blue, and a bit of twine, but I loved it. Loved it to bits. I love who I see this book becoming, I love that whilst I couldn’t see always what it wanted to be, my spirit did and kept me on the path. I think you will like it too. That’s Michelle s hands down there, getting the shot into shape, and below it, is the gorgeous Smeg fridge we used for a shot. Look at the colour – Panna Cotta – it says it all. I literally can’t wait for my new home and cooking studio to be built (that’s another story), but already I have my Smeg oven sorted. I’ll tell you more about that at a later date.




Before I leave and get to the recipe, I will be putting together a class program next week for August, September, October and November for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. It will post on the website, FB and newsletter. I’d so love to meet you and I hope you can come along. In the meantime, try this out this winter weekend… serve it with any baked or stewed fruit as desired. Eat it for morning tea, snack or afternoon tea or dessert… it doesn’t matter :)

x Jude

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding


1/3 cup raw, short grain white or semi refined white rice
2 - 3 tablespoons maple syrup, or semi refined cane sugar (such as the Billingtons golden castor or raw sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 cups full cream, non homogenised milk
1/2 cup cream
freshly grated nutmeg

There are a couple of key things to consider – primarily the rice. Traditionally made with a short grain white rice, I like to use an organic, semi refined white short grain rice. No rice is white – it is only white when refined, with the bran and germ removed. I’ve tried rice pudding with a whole grain brown rice, and don’t get me wrong, it can work and be delicious, but it’s not the same. The semi refined is a great alternative, each grain varies – it’s refined, but some grains more than others and still has some brany, germy goodness, but a lighter end result – see if you can find it. Next, the milk – full cream and non homegenised. If you’d like it richer, replace some of the milk with cream. I also add a little sugar, and then add more later if needed. Use any sweetener you like – maple syrup is delicious here though.


Pre heat oven to 160c or 140c if fan forced. Place the rice, 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice, vanilla, milk and cream in your baking dish (choose one that will enable the mix to come about 1/2 way up the side of the dish), and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Sprinkle generously with freshly grated nutmeg. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every now and then – add more sweetness if desired. Each time you stir, you will break the lovely skin that forms on the top, so I try not to do it more than twice. At the last stir, sprinkle with more nutmeg and bake until the rice is cooked. Don’t worry if it’s still a bit runny, this will be absorbed as the pudding sits. I like to cook it also until the milk on the edges of the baking dish have browned and caramelised – the best part of it all I think.