This is the secret of rice, told to me on a dark wintry night by a young Japanese lady. This revolutionised my cooking (which, admittedly, does mostly consist of rice-based dishes), and it can and will do the same for you, fellow eater!

This works best on a gas hob, where the temperature can be quickly and easily adjusted, but one may also use an electric hob if one is so handicapped. In this case, it is best to use two hob plates set to the required temperature, as electric hob plates take time to cool down and will belittle one’s humble efforts to make perfect rice.

Take one pan of indeterminate volume, and add dried rice in the normal manner (i.e. with a cup, glass, hands, catapult, Archimedes Screw, whatever. Just get the rice into the freakin pan) and add the same amount of cold, cold water. This will look like too little water. But it is not! Do not add any more water, or your rice will be poor, like a rice-based pudding, and people will have contempt for you!

Next, put the rice on a very hot thing until it begins to boil. But be vigilant! As soon as the water begins to boil you must do two things as quickly as possible! You must first seal the pan completely, so none of the lovely, fluffy steam escapes and carries off all the rice-magic. You should use a plate, or even the pan lid. But you must take care! Many pan lids do not fit well, or have holes designed to let the steam out. These are things of the Devil, and must be watched for. Secondly, you must transfer the pan to a low heat. Use the lowest heat your hob is capable of. This will seem foolish, but you must trust me! For as yet you do not know the secret of rice, and I must be your guide. Leave the pan on this heat for fifteen minutes exactly, to the second! And remember, you must not unseal the pan........

When fifteen minutes exactly has passed, you must remove the pan from the low heat and put it heat at all! This is the secret of perfect rice, but you must leave the pan sealed for a further ten minutes to achieve it. If at any time during this process you are foolish enough to unseal the pan, the gods will laugh at you and your rice will be poor.

After this final stage of waiting has elapsed, you may unseal the pan and gaze with happy wonder at the perfectly cooked rice that you have brought into being. Gasp at the perfect light, fluffy tumescence of each grain, and giggle at the absence of any superfluous water to be arduously drained. You have triumphed over the forces of nature, my worthy friend, and have cooked perfect rice!