Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer (or Nigella Summer, depending on your edition) is unsuprisingly a book about summer food. I bought my copy from a charity shop in the depths of last winter, when I tend to eat more soups, stews and hot puddings in order to stay cosy. I was therefore thrilled to be able to try out some of the recipes from this book over the last few months.
The recipe I chose to make uses ingredients that are easily available all year round. Lots of the recipes in the book use typically summery ingredients (e.g. strawberries, fresh tomatoes etc.) but this Lemon Rice Pudding is, rather, a summery interpretation of what is classically a cold weather dish. Rice pudding in Britian is rib-sticking and nutmeggy. Associated with school dinners and Sunday lunch, it’s something you would load up on to spend an afternoon running around outside in the cold. Nutmeg is a crucial flavouring and a spice generally used in the colder months of the year in Britain, particularly around Christmas.
This was a very different kind of rice pudding. Rather than baking it in the oven, it’s cooked on the stovetop for a considerable period of time and flavoured with lemon zest. Once cool, you beat in lemon juice and, once chilled, fold in some whipped double cream. I was initially wary of a lemon rice pudding because I am so used to the hot, nutmeg-skinned ones we normally eat, but the lemon works spectacularly well in this chilled version. The double cream gives a fantastic texture, making it seem almost mousse-like, and in turn the sharpness of the lemon cuts through the richness of the cream. Nigella suggests serving it with blueberries, but I think it would be good with any fresh summer berries alongside, perhaps as a way of easing us into the autumn to come.