Delicious Magazine : April 2007

Top Table

With its ancient minster, cosy tea shops and atmospheric ghost walks, York is a city with many attractions. But it has never really been known for its restaurant scene – until J Baker’s Bistro Moderne opened last March, that is.

Jeff Baker, who runs the place with business partner Neil Nugent, is the man who earned Leeds its first Michelin star in his time as head chef at Pool Court, which until its recent closure was for many years the pinnacle of Yorkshire’s restaurant scene. His new venture is far from being a starched-collar kind of place. “There are so many restaurants serving good food that are expensive and formal,” says Jeff. “I wanted a more relaxed atmosphere, and it helps that we’re a family-run operation.”

Creamy rice pudding with poached rhubarb
Serves 2
Ready in 45 minutes

50g short grain rice
1 large orange
500ml full-fat milk
65g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
200g trimmed rhubarb, cut into 2.5cm pieces
4 tbsp double cream
Icing sugar, for dusting
20g toasted flaked almonds

1. Make the rice pudding. Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold water. When the water runs clear, tip into a heavy-based saucepan. Pare off 1 strip orange zest and add to the pan with the milk, 50g sugar and the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for 35 minutes or until the rice is soft and swollen and the milk is absorbed. Wipe the pod, halve and reserve.
2. Meanwhile, poach the rhubarb. Pare the remaining orange zest (discard as much pith as possible) and juice the orange. Put the zest, juice and remaining sugar in a pan over a medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes until reduced and syrupy. Lower the heat, add the rhubarb and cook gently for 3 minutes or until just tender but holding its shape.
3. Stir the cream into the rice, divide between bowls and spoon rhubarb on top. Dust with icing sugar, scatter the almonds and decorate with vanilla pod.