When I announced that I’m hosting Sugar High Friday this month, I made a secret promise to myself that I would also make January 2011 a grain-free month: that all the recipes I would publish this month would be void of any grains, true grains. In effect, kind of participating along with you all who are joining in on the SHF grain-free challenge. As well, I also appreciate the simplicity of grain-free baking, which is something I like to fall back on now and then as gluten-free grain-based baking is still sometimes of a learning curve for me as far as how different grains behave and interact with each other, though I’ve learned quickly – and continue to learn.
That said and that personal promise being not so secret anymore, this promise has cracked slightly to allow this rice pudding, which leads me to return to that challenge of food photography I so love. Perhaps it’s because rice is in a clump, virtually shapeless without help and that’s what makes it so danged elusive to take decent pictures of. To make it more visually interesting, I use the sharpen tool on Picnik to make the grains of rice pop a little more. I use a point and shoot – there’s only so much I can do with the camera before I must resort to photo editing, minimal at best.
Anyway, I don’t come on here to stand on a soapbox and rant about my photography shortcomings: this was never the intent of creating this blog nor is it one I intend to embark upon, especially as I’m not yet confident enough or know how to answer questions regarding food photography. If I must rant, I must also give a solution. (Something I’m trying to learn and apply in other areas of my life as well.)
I doubt very few remember but I once posted rice pudding – twice, actually – in my early days of blogging. I’m posting it again not so much out of hope that this time it will be seen but that I think this version is way better. What’s funnier is that I looked at that recipe only once and went from there, just going by feel, and it was while I was adding a little bit of this, a bit of that, I thought to myself that rice pudding really is easy. It’s practically a no-brainer and, unless there’s something really specific about it, you don’t really need a recipe. At it’s most basic it’s just rice, milk, some sort of sweetener, and spices.
A New Year is on our doorstep. Tomorrow it is 2011. I’ll be taking that day off in blogland, but first I’m taking this moment now to reflect upon this year, appreciating all the good things which includes you, Dear Readers, and all my blogging friends who have made my blogging journey that more of an adventure. Truth be told, I’m feeling slightly nostalgic. Last year at this time, I was having camera issues (the camera was on its way out) and I was posting nearly every day.
I’ve grown from that awkward moment of just staggering out a paragraph or two about the recipe, sometimes barely so – sometimes not sure what to say – before launching into the recipe to writing fluidly and knowing what to say, or at least most of the time. There are still days when I’ll stare at the blank screen and not do anything, or I’ll type out a whole lot of fluff for the sake of flexing my muscles before I delete it all; days when I just want to post the recipe without further commentary but somehow find a way to still say something.
This year I hosted a blog event. I’ve made friends. I feel like I keep on repeating myself, but it has been – and continues to be – a whirlwind of an adventure. For the longest time I didn’t share much about myself or insert my character because I thought that the focus should be more on the food and less about me, but I’ve learned that part of what makes food blogs – and any blog, whatever its area – fun to read is the personality and voice behind all those words, as well as fun to write. My primary focus is still the food, though I am learning to being open and sharing more about myself in the process.
Now, for my Top Ten. Since I couldn’t really get into picking my top ten (or twelve) cookbooks of 2010, simply because I didn’t read that many cookbooks actually published this year, I’m opting for what I do know. This year, my criteria for my Top Ten are if it’s a favourite with family and friends and if I’d make it again. Next year, if I do this again, maybe I’ll go with stats or hey! more fun: I’ll have you all vote for the top ten favourites. How’s that sound?
I know it looks more like a loaf of biscotti, but blame it on the size of my loaf pan. I think it’s meant for those breads that rise, with the aid of yeast and gluten and all that…size, though, doesn’t matter if it’s utterly delicious. In fact, I came to terms with the size, specifically width, of the slice today and found that if it’s cut thickly, it’s really just the right size.
This pound cake isn’t too sweet and it’s nicely rounded off by a hint of vanilla at the end. Plus, I’d say that if you doubled the recipe you could even have a decent white cake (baked in a round pan) for a birthday party, complete with candles, as suggested in the header of the original recipe.
And because no matter how thoroughly I try to mix the vanilla in, every time I’ve made this cake it ends up with an interior that looks vaguely marbled, with the slightly darker shade being where the vanilla was most absorbed. I’ve also found that the colour of the batter also depends on the egg yolks’ colour and subsequently the resulting cake. Standard yellow yolks make a slightly paler cake, while richer shades of yellow or orange creates a more golden-coloured cake.