UMAT results came out last week coincidentally on the day of the Full Moon Festival.
For those not in the know, UMAT is the external medical admissions exam you have to sit if you want to get into med school in New Zealand and Australia.
I had been dreading these results. The UMAT test was awful. Hundreds of us sat in row after row of desks at Mt Albert Stadium to answer cryptic questions testing your logical reasoning, interpersonal skills and non-verbal reasoning. I never want to try and find non-existent patterns in another set of clip art doodles ever again.
The test wasn't all bad though: the Warriors provided some light relief by coming out and running drills on the field but other than that UMAT was like going to the dentist: expensive, painful and terrifying!
So when these results came out, I knew I needed something sweet and just so slightly alcoholic to help me get the courage up to check my results and an old fav: Plum chardonnay sago pudding did the trick nicely.
This is not your stogy old school room cafeteria sago pudding. It's a sexy zesty reincarnation of sago pudding...a western take on the asian sago coconut cream dessert.
I love it. It's so fruity and summery and light, it feels healthy. I often have a bowl for breakfast the next morning! Basically a salad I say.
And it's so easy to prepare. All you need is: sago, plums, your fav dry fruity white wine, sugar and cream. Easy as pie.
The plums give the whole dish a festive bright pink tint and makes the sago look like little pink jewels.
Some people think of sago as terribly out of date or can be squeamish about the texture. I love sago. I love the slippery gelatinous little bubbles. They just soak up flavour and then delightfully burst on your tongue. And it's just so pretty looking!
This recipe is not quite like the asian version where the sago is completely suspended in sweetened coconut milk (served cold accompanied by mango or other fruits, or hot as is). This plum version is served cold with very little liquid and only a smidgen of cream, so more like a jelly rather than a sweet soup.
You can really taste the wine coming through so definitely use a wine that you like to drink...doesn't have to be expensive mind you, just tasty.
Now back to the UMAT results....well I shocked myself actually did much better than I thought I would!
Completely stuffed up the clip art doodle part but did well enough in the other sections to lift my score to something within the ball park for admission. It's only one part of the whole process but that's one hurdle down at least!
So that night we got to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival and UMAT. Moon cakes and sago all round!
Plum Chardonnay Sago Pudding
Slightly tweaked from At home with love by Julie le Clerc
1 cup sago
12 dark skinned plums, stones removed and quartered
3/4 cup sugar (***EDIT: You may need to add more sugar, depends on how sweet your plums are and how tart you like things...I just made this with a really sour batch of plums and had to add an extra 3/4 cup sugar, other times I added more lemon juice with a particularly sweet batch of plums to get it to the right tartness!***)
1 1/2 cups dry fruity white wine
1 tsp lemon/lime juice
1/4 cup cream or coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
1. Place wine, 3/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the plums, bring to the boil then lower the heat to simmer for around 10 minutes until the plums are soft. (***EDIT: Taste the mixture at this stage and add more sugar if needed***) Put into a bowl and allow to cool.
3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil (around 4 cups of water). Add the sago and boil for around 30 minutes until the sago is clear and you can no longer see the little white centres. You may need to add more boiling water as it boils off.
4. Drain the sago and put into a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and the cream and half of the plum mixture. Mix well and allow to cool.
5. You can either transfer this into 6 glasses or just serve it out of the large bowl and allow guests to scoop their own portion. Top each serving with the remaining plum and wine syrup.
6. If there are any leftovers make sure you have some for breakfast before some other greedy flatmate scoffs the lot!