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Probably the best rice pudding in the world? - Celebrity chef defines the gold standard for our favourite comfort food

Mark Hix who has just opened his own restaurant the Hix Oyster and Chop House in London’s Smithfield Market has created the pinnacle of rice puddings.

In celebration of one of the nation’s unsung favourite desserts, celebrity chef, restaurateur, writer and Great British Menu competitor Mr Hix has used only the finest ingredients, from Jersey & Guernsey milk and cream to Madagascan vanilla. And to complete the transformation from comfort food to heavenly confection the dish is finished with Spanish saffron and gold leaf. Mark is happy to share the recipe with anyone in search of real ambrosia…

Gold Standard Rice Pudding by Mark Hix

Chef Mark Hix: “The secret of a good rice pudding is like much cooking, down to using the finest ingredients, like delicious milk and cream from Jersey or Guernsey cows, the very best rice and handpicked Madagascan Bourbon vanilla. I’ve added a hint of saffron at the end of this recipe as saffron goes well with creamy desserts.”

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 pint of milk from Jersey or Guernsey cows
100g Carnaroli short grain rice
½ a handpicked Madagascan Bourbon vanilla pod
50g unrefined light Muscovado sugar
500ml thick cream, again from a Jersey or Guernsey breed cow
A good pinch of Spanish saffron strands from La Mancha
Flakes of 23 carat gold leaf

1. Half the vanilla pod length ways and scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pods as well.
2. Bring the milk and sugar to the boil in a heavy based saucepan, add the rice and simmer very gently for about 45 minutes, stirring regularly until the rice is soft. A simmer/diffuser plate is good for keeping a low constant temperature under the pan. Add more milk if the rice pudding is getting too thick.
3. Leave to cool for about half an hour, stirring every so often. Then stir in the cream and saffron.
4. Serve warm or cold, dressed with gold leaf and with a glass of Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes 2003 or better.

Sourcing the ingredients

Milk and cream from Jersey & Guernsey cows is one of the world’s finest ingredients – that’s why it’s used to produce the best yoghurts and ice creams. Use it in your own kitchen to add the Taste of Goodness to a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes. You’ll find it amongst the other diary products in your local supermarket. www.tasteofgoodness.co.uk

Carnaroli rice is hailed as the premier Italian rice. Only imported into the UK in recent years, it is key to the perfect risotto but also a must for the very best rice pudding. Find at www.fratellicamisa.co.uk

Unrefined Light Muscovado sugar is the world's finest light brown soft sugar, with a warm honey colour and creamy fudge flavour. It has a richness and depth of flavour which is unmatched. Supplied by Billington’s and others: www.billingtons.co.uk

Vanilla Pods - handpicked Madagascan Bourbon vanilla beans are regarded as the world’s best - supple, black, full of flavour and with an exquisite aroma. Source from www.vanillabazaar.com

Use saffron from La Mancha, with a Denomination of Origin to guarantee its quality. Buy at www.delicioso.co.uk

Edible gold leaf makes the most opulent of garnishes and a fitting finishing touch to the world’s best rice pudding. Buy at www.ediblegoldleaf.co.uk

Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes - described as the greatest sweet wine in the world. Yquem is located on the highest hill in Sauternes and yields are so low that each vine produces only one glass of wine. A breathtakingly beautiful wine for a pudding using the premier cru of the milks.

Ends

For press information, photography or to set up interviews please contact:
Sam Purnell or Harriet Chapman
Bray Leino PR
T: 0117 973 1173
F: 0117 906 4542
E: jandg@brayleino.co.uk

Notes to editors:

About Mark Hix
A passionate enthusiast of local produce and regional specialities and a highly regarded member of the new generation of British chefs, Mark Hix is the Chef-Director of The Ivy and The Gavroche. He also finds time to write a weekly column for The Independent on Saturday magazine. Glenfiddich Newspaper Cookery Writer of the Year 2003, Mark also picked up a special commendation at the Andre Simon awards 2006 for British Regional Food.

Mark's latest culinary masterpiece ‘British Regional Food’, a search for the very best of traditional and original recipes in Great Britain and Ireland, was published by Quadrille in October 2006.

One of the three finalists in the Great British Menu, Mark took his famous Stargazy Pie and his Perry Jelly to Paris to form part of a menu for the British Ambassador's banquet.

About the Jersey & Guernsey Forum
The forum is a representative body created for, and run on behalf of and by, producers and processors of milk from the Jersey and Guernsey breeds of cattle and is supported by the MDC. The forum exists to support the development of the market for Jersey and Guernsey products.

About the Milk Development Council
The Milk Development Council (MDC) was set up in 1994 (after the disbanding of the milk boards) to pick up essential services for dairy farmers that would not otherwise be provided. These services include the genetic evaluation of dairy breeding stock, research and development into better ways of producing milk, and the stimulation and development of the market for milk.

The MDC is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre. This provides an annual income of around £7m.

The MDC’s current focus is on improving the profitability of dairy farming by focusing on three specific areas:
•Innovation and consumer education to stimulate demand and create more value in the dairy ‘category’
•Better supply chain relationships that ensure farmers as well as processors and retailers can enjoy a sustainable share of the profits
•Competitive milk production to help farmers realise better margins in the short term and increase their ability to compete in European markets in the long term.

The MDC co-funds the industry’s nutritional and issues management resource – The Dairy Council – with the processors’ trade body Dairy UK.

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