Friday, June 5, 2009

Rhubarb compote

So I am dieting at the moment... One of the things recommended to keep things interesting is to eat seasonal fruit and veg, and to try out new things you wouldn't normally have. Great idea, except it's winter, and so nothing terribly exciting is in season - just apples and pears really. Anyway, I saw a bunch of rhubarb and decided to buy it. Now I have not eaten rhubarb since I was a young girl in Perth, where my parents grew it in our backyard vegie patch. My mum would stew it, and if I was lucky, perhaps add a crumble topping. I have really really bad memories of that rhubarb. Mum was always really stingy with the sugar so it was incredibly tart and I never enjoyed it at all. So I felt I was taking a bit of a gamble buying this.

Good old Weight Watchers has a recipe for rhubarb compote, but it is using only 1tsp of artificial sweetener for 400g of rhubarb - I cannot see how that will effectively counter the natural tartness, and I am definitely not using artificial sweetener. So of course I turn to Nigella's books, knowing rhubarb to be one of her favourite things :). I find a recipe in Feast which involves roasting rather than stewing the rhubarb, with no water at all added, but heaps and heaps of sugar. 225g of caster sugar for 750g of rhubarb. I decided to use 150g for my 600g of rhubarb, so slightly less than Nigella uses. When I pour the sugar in I am alarmed, and wonder if I have done the right thing or if I should have followed WW's recommendations instead.

Unfortunately when the timer went off, I was upstairs feeding the baby, and so asked Jordan (DS1, 14yo) if he could pull it out of the oven for me. About 10 mins later I discovered he hadn't :0. So instead of being tender pieces still holding their shape, it kind of became a mush, but a delicious mush :). We ate it for dessert with some custard (not the proper stuff, but instead made on skim milk from custard powder - Nigella would be appalled).

Nigella says to keep the juice (which had turned deliciously syrupy with all the sugar) for drizzling over icecream or yoghurt, but DH Hans had washed it down the sink when I went to look for it - nooooooo.....

Anyway, verdict was that it was quite yummy. It was almost like jam, I think I could afford to reduce the sugar still further next time.

I love the pinky-red pearlescence of the outside of the stalks.

Zest of an orange added

Caster sugar added - what have I done?! I reduced the amount Nigella uses in the recipe, and yet it still looks like an alarming amount.

All mixed together and smelling gorgeous with the orange zest; ready to roast

Out of the oven and decanted into another container. This spent at least 10 mins too long in the oven, so unfortunately the pieces had lost their shape and the whole thing had become quite jammy. Still tasted good though!

Served for dessert with warm custard

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