Peanut milk rice pudding, 16p [VG/V/DF/GF] (slow cooker)

Sometimes all you need is a little nursery-soft sloppy comfort food, and for me, rice pudding usually does the trick. Over the years I have made rice pudding in many kinds of ways, on the hob, in the oven, and scooped from a tin, but last night I decided to give the slow cooker a go. And my oh my am I glad I did. As soft and creamy as any tinned variety, as plump and rich as any from the oven, this is delightful, and so so very simple. Those of you without a slow cooker can make it in a saucepan on a low heat for half the time, but do consider investing in one – mine has changed my world, especially on low-energy, bad-joints or tired days.
Serves 2 very generously at 16p each
120g rice, 7p (60p/kg, Sainsburys Basics)
600ml water

2 tbsp sugar, 1p (80p/1kg, Sainsburys Fairtrade granulated white sugar)

150ml soya milk (or any kind), 13p (90p/1l, Sainsburys)

3 tbsp peanut butter, 11p (90p/340g, Sainsburys Basics)
First weigh your rice and tip it into the slow cooker. For those without scales or can’t be arsed to dig them out, 120g is around the size of a ramekin dish, or 2/3rds of a decent sized mug. It doesn’t look a lot but believe me, it grows!
Add the water and sugar and turn the heat on your cooker to high. Tip in the sugar (or equivalent if you are a low-sugar person, I do use it rarely in my recipes these days but lordy, a girl’s gotta have the occasional treat!) Give it all a stir, pop the lid on, and give it 20 minutes to start to warm through.
Add the peanut butter and stir through, then reduce the heat to low and let it cook for an hour, checking and stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out, stick or burn. Measure your milk and pop it beside the slow cooker, and add it a slosh at a time if it starts to stick.
After the hour is up, your rice pudding should be a soft swollen stickiness, sweet but not saccharine, creamy and comforting. I gave mine another half hour at this point just to really soften it up, but the difference was frankly negligible, more a sweet congee than a rice pudding, so you don’t need to.
Serve with a sprinkle more sugar, and enjoy.
A word on rice – do not put it in the fridge while warm. Rice is one of the top causes of food poisoning, caused by little spores that thrive in warm conditions. Allow it to cool completely before putting it in the fridge, then reheat within 24 hours to piping hot. I like you lot, don’t be gung ho with your own health on tbis one.
And a note on ingredients: I make mine vegan, because that’s my personal choice, but I’m aware that not all of my readers are vegan and as many of you are on stringent budgets (that’s why you’re here!) I’m not going to preach to you about ‘changing your ways’. You can use any kind of milk in this – it will still work out delicious – and any brand of peanut butter, and any colour of sugar, too. Use my recipes as ideas, not as prescriptive bossy missives, and develop and adapt them to suit you and your families as you wish. 
Jack Monroe.

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