November 30, 2012

Nibbles and Novels Dec. 1

"And then it started. A great surge of sound from the organ. Huge chords and waves of music filled the church, overflowed out through the open doors, resounded up and out into the night... The music thundered all about her, filling the huge void of the soaring arched ceiling..."

So begins my favorite moment of one of my favorite books in all the world.

*Welcome to my Nibbles and Novels party! Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you're here to join as well as look, there is a button at the bottom and I'm excited to see what you share! Now, on with the show!*

My book this month is "Winter Solstice" by Rosamund Pilcher. This being the beginning of December, it seemed the perfect time to share it! I've been reading almost since I was born, and out of the thousands of books I've read, this simple, heartfelt story has made it into my top five favorite books of all. It is a story about people. Almost strangers, really. Some related, some not, all just happening to come together in the midst of snarls and tangles in their lives that have left them all, in one way or another, feeling loss or displacement. They forge bonds of love, family, and friendship. It has heartbreaking moments, and moments of deep and shining joy. One of those moments brings literal tears to my eyes, every single time I read it. Even though I know what will happen!

It's the perfect book to snuggle up with on a rainy, snowy, misty day, with a warm drink and a yummy treat. Out of every book I will ever tell you about, this above all others, you should try. It's just... beautiful. Deeply, soul-touchingly beautiful. Ha, I got teary just flipping through looking for a quote to share!

Ahem. On to the recipe!
"Oscar liked rice pudding. Elfrida had made him one before, and it had been splendid, creamy and rich, and lightly spiced with lemon zest."

There are many mentions of yummy food throughout this book (most of which takes place in Scotland! Eeee!) but I picked this one because I love rice pudding, have never made it, haven't had one I liked since childhood, AND it was the recipe I typed into Google that led me to the blog that inspired me to start my own. *Phew! That was quite a sentence!*

The Best Rice Pudding (adapted from The English Kitchen)
Printable Recipe

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 strip of lemon peel, without pith (or a tsp of lemon zest)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 ounces flaked almonds, toasted and crushed with your fingers
Aren't vanilla beans neat looking??

Combine the milk, cream, vanilla bean and it's seeds (or vanilla extract), cinnamon stick, nutmeg and lemon peel in a large saucepan.
Bring almost to a boil, then add the rice. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (If you don't, it will burn to the bottom!)

Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir in until dissolved. Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is completely softened, tender and creamy. Remove from the heat. Take out the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and the lemon peel. Stir in the almonds. (or sprinkle them on top!) Marie serves this with a gorgeous looking cherry sauce spooned on top! I sprinkled mine with lemon zest, almonds, and extra nutmeg. Serve immediately!
She's right, this IS the best rice pudding!! Best I've had, at least! It's rich and creamy, the rice is tender, NOT mushy. Very important! 
Full of delicious spices and hints of lemon... and the vanilla bean! This is my first time cooking with it, and it is delicious! Not as strong as I thought it would be, I might add a little extract to back it up next time... But still so smooth and delicious! 
I never would have thought of adding lemon, but I love it! Of course :) You can always skip it if you aren't a lemon-lover like me, and add raisins like the classics, or berries, or maybe chocolate chips! Who knows! 
Either way, if you love rice pudding, this is the one to try!! Homey, decadent, comfort food at it's best. Mind you, I only ate a tiny bit, but it was worth it. :)

Now it's time to link up your own book-inspired posts! Your subject matter can be anything, from book reviews to crafts, projects, fashion, food, etc! Just link back to this little party, please, and I'd love it if you followed me! There's also a button, if you'd like one. Thanks for stopping by!

Dimples and Delights


  1. I don't think I've ever even seen a vanilla bean before. Do they sell them at normal grocery stores?

  2. Funny, even though I introduced you to Pilcher forever ago, I feel like you've introduced her back to me. I feel like I need a book and rice pudding. I LOVE rice pudding! Lemon. Genius. I've also felt that vanilla bean was overrated, and I wondered if it's because the seeds are still whole... One idea is to mash the bean into a paste. like with a mortar and pestle, or smear it a few times under a big knife. I'm going to try that. Maybe I should start a blog just so I can contribute to this event...

    1. Yup, I'm going to have to agree. Overrated. And expensive. The event will be retired, due to lack of participants. Maybe I'll bring it back some day when I have a thousand followers... :)

  3. I have never tried rice pudding before, but this recipe sure looks divine!! But then again, all of your recipes do! ;) Have a great weekend, April!

  4. Wah, I missed nibbles and novels. I will be back! I promise and I'll have nibbled and noveled!

    I love this rice pudding. Todd is a rice pudding fanatic. It's one of his favourite puddings, next to custard and all those stodgy school lunch puddings of his childhood, and apple pie of course. Hmm . . . methinks he is just a pudding person! (along with meat and potatoes.) Hmm . . . methinks perhaps he is just a glutton for good food. A skinny glutton. I know . . . it annoys me too. xxoo


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