For the rice pudding, pour the milk into a heavy-based saucepan with the cinnamon stick and cardamom. Bring to the boil, and stir in the rice and vanilla extract.
Simmer on a very low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring continuously so the rice does not stick to the base of the pan.
When the rice resembles a soupy risotto, but still has a little bite, stir in the raisins, almonds and sugar or maple syrup, and continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes, adding more milk if necessary.
For the plums, 10 minutes before the rice pudding is ready, place in a saucepan with the orange juice or 100ml/3½fl oz water, star anise, cloves and ginger syrup or cordial, and heat through gently until the plums are slightly softened and the flavours have infused.
To serve, divide the rice pudding between four bowls and top with the spiced plums.
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