Cardamom rice pudding

This can be easily made in a microwave, which means you won’t have to scrape all the burnt bits off the cooking dish afterwards – enough for 4:Cardamom_Rice_Pudding

  • Seeds from 30 green cardamom pods finely ground
  • 70g pudding rice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pint milk

Mix all the ingredients together in a microwaveable (lidded) dish.

Bring to the boil (this took about 6 minutes at 900W).

Stir, and cook for about an an hour at 150W – stirring at 20 minute intervals.

Pour into a plastic storage container, allow to cool, and keep in the fridge before serving.

I served this with strawberries and orange segments, seasoned with black pepper.


Rice gratin


This is an adaptation (the ingredients have substantially changed) of Dish of the Month which appeared on the February 2014 edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine. It was an Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. Enough for 4:

  • 275 g cherry tomatoes (peeled and halved)
  • 50g camargue rice (I used Waitrose LOVE life red camargue & wild rice)
  • 70g brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
  • 250g spinach (washed and spun in a salad-spinner to remove any moisture)
  • 80g feta (I used Sainsbury’s Basics Greek style salad cheese)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80g Greek yogurt
  • 40g double cream
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 60g mature cheddar (grated)
  • 20g parmesan (grated)

Put the tomato halves on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 120C (Gas Mark 1/2) for about 1.5 hours until semi-dried.

Put all the rice in one pan and cook until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and very gently cook the onion and celery for 15 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the spinach, stirring constantly until it has all wilted. Remove from the heat, crumble in the feta, mix well and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, double cream and black pepper. Add this to the rice mixture, and add 2/3rds of the tomatoes. Make sure everything is well combined and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle the remaining tomatoes and the grated cheeses over the top.

Bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 40 minutes until set and golden brown on top.

When I made this dish, I was in a hurry, so I used the microwave instead. Starting with a warm rice mixture, I microwaved it on ‘high’ for 8 minutes and then browned the dish under the grill. I don’t that the finished product suffered as a result.


Microwaved cardamon rice pudding


This will serve 3 or 4 people. I increased the normal amount of rice (60g) by 20g to produce a very solid rice pudding which can be served cold, turned out from large individual ramekin dishes (which if filled to the top, yielding 3 portions):

  • 1 pint milk (568ml – to be precise!)
  • Seeds from 12 green cardamom pods (ground using a pestle and mortar)
  • 80g pudding rice (or risotto rice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put all the ingredients into a microwavable casserole dish with a lid. Stir and cover, and microwave at 750W until the milk starts to boil (about 7 minutes). Remove from the microwave, stir, cover and bring back to the boil (at 750W). Then immediately turn down to ‘defrost’ and cook for 1 hour. The result should be a creamy glutinous mass.

Line the bases of three ramekin dishes with discs of baking parchment. Fill each dish with rice pudding and level off the tops. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. The rice can easily be turned out of the ramekin moulds, by running a knife around the edge of the dish, turning upside down and removing the baking parchment.

I served mine with defrosted berries from Lidl’s frozen Black Forest Fruits, which – although they now contain strawberries – are still quite good as they now also contain some rather tasty cherries.

Another fruit compote


I made this with:

  • 3 sticks of rhubarb (cut into 3cm lengths)
  • 3 cox’s apples (peeled, cored and thickly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp castor sugar
  • 500g frozen raspberries (£2.29 from Lidl) defrosted

Put the rhubarb and apples in a microwavable dish. Add the water and sugar. Cover, and cook at 750W for 3 minutes. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes (at 750W).

Add the raspberries, stir in, and cook (at 750W) for 4 minutes. Stir and cook for further 2 minutes (at 750W). Cooking time will be longer if you leave the rhubarb and apple mixture to cool before adding the raspberries (or add the raspberries while still partly frozen).

Leave to cool and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 litre of compote.



I always make mine in the microwave, as it’s much easier to wash-up afterwards. I use a large Pyrex casserole dish with a lid. This recipe is plenty for 2 people (I suspect that the portion sizes are far larger than shown on the packet, but then with a bowl of this inside you, you won’t feel hungry for a long time!). This recipe is measured by volume – this somehow seems much easier first thing in the morning:

  • 450ml of rolled oats (I’ve used ‘basics’ ranges and they seem just as good as more expensive rolled oats)
  • 500ml milk (you can vary the proportions of milk and water, as you like)
  • 500ml water

Put the rolled oats into a large non-metallic dish. Stir in the milk and water.

Cover and microwave at 850W for 7 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes and 15 seconds at 350W.

Remove from microwave, stir, and leave to stand for a minute. Serve.

Serving suggestions:

  • ground cinnamon; or
  • sliced banana, raisins and maple syrup.



A quick ‘left-over’ lunch for one


I had a little of the sausage and lentil casserole left in the fridge, as well as about 250ml of the gravy from the beef casserole. I also had some chopped kale which needed eating.

I took three handfuls of kale (from which I removed the very thick stems). I then mixed the kale (washed), the remaining sausage and lentil casserole, and the gravy in a Pyrex dish, which I covered and microwaved for 3 minutes at 750W.

The result was quite delicious – much better than the original sausage and lentil casserole! I think it must have been the gravy, which when cooled in the fridge has become gelatinous (probably due to the marrow bone slices cooked with the beef casserole).

Very quick chocolate cake/pudding

Choc 1-tile

This – ‘one pot’ chocolate pudding –  probably ranks as a ‘slummy mummy’ dessert, but despite this is excellent with vanilla ice cream.  I made a small quantity using one egg.  This would definitely feed three people and four at a stretch.

  • 30g plain chocolate
  • 75ml milk
  • 30ml oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa
  • baking powder 1 rounded tsp
  • 40g caster sugar

Break up the chocolate and melt in a microwavable pudding basin (capacity at least a litre) for 3 minutes at 350W in the microwave. When melted, add the milk and the oil to the melted chocolate and then beat in the egg.

Sieve the dry ingredients together (and ensure that they are well mixed).

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate, milk, oil and egg mix (in the pudding basin) and mix with a large spoon until well combined.

Smooth the top of the mixture. Cover in cling film (pierced in a couple of places) and microwave at 750W for 2.45 minutes. Allow to stand for 2 minutes.

Serve a scoop of the cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you want to turn it out, to look like a pudding, I did this quite successfully by running a palette knife around the inside of the pudding basin.

Different microwave ovens may have different settings and the suggested powers/timing may require adjustment.