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Lipsmacking Backpacking

54 55 Rice white and not long grain , Water, Milk, Sugar to taste, Saffron optional, Cardamom optional, Almonds optional For the daddy and the mammy of all backpacking feasts, and if you can get all the optional ingredients, go for it, and make my ultimate Afghani rice pudding. First thing is to get the cardamom to release its flavour. Put a few pods in a little water and put on the heat. You will smell when they are ready, trust your senses. Put the almonds in a pot and boil them hard for about 10 or 15 minutes. Tip away the water, slip the almonds out of their skins and chop them thinly lengthways. To prepare the saffron, put a few strands or grains into a little water over some heat. Leave it on the heat only for a minute or two. Put the rice in a pot and cover it well with water, put it on the heat and let it cook until it is soft softer than you would have it normally. Add the spices and stir. Add the sugar and almonds and then some milk just enough to make the mixture turn creamy. There it is. If youre not making it Afghani style, try adding some nutmeg or cinnamon. You can also serve the rice pudding over fruit. Get your fruit, anything will work, peel, deseed and decore as necessary, cut into pieces and put in your pot. Sprinkle generously with sugar and cover with water. Bring to the boil, stir occasionally. It is ready when it has become a soft mush. Pineapple and orange work well together, as do banana and passion fruit, and mango and rum but add the rum at the last minute otherwise it will evaporate. Adding nuts can give a nice change in texture. Take your fruit, put a knob of butter or margarine in the pot and fry it. You can add spices to the butter if you want. Fruit, Water, Anything to infuse in the water optional Peel the fruit I find this is only worth doing with firm things like apples and pears leaving the stem on. Cut out the core from the base rub some lemon juice over the fruit to stop it discolouring. Immerse them in cold water which you may have added something aromatic to and bring this to the boil then let it simmer with a lid on for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Take it out carefully and slice it. To make it haute cuisine, only slice up to a point near the stem and then fan it out.
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