How to... rhubarb and ginger compote with rice pudding April 30, 2018 12:30

How to grow RhubarbA couple of years ago, I thought 'I know, I'm going to grow a little rhubarb'. I love a shot of rhubarb in a crumble and also enjoy how handsome rhubarb looks in the veggie patch. Fast forward a year or two, and I have created a BEAST! A hedge of rhubarb has formed. The mere utterance of 'anyone fancy rhubarb for tea..?' creates screams and howls that can be heard for miles. 

Thankfully, Sarah Giles has come to the rescue and helped to extend my rhubarb repertoire with this fab, tasty recipe. Sarah is a freelance journalist specialising in food and gardening – both of which are great passions of hers away from work too. Her blog, A Cook’s Plot, is where you’ll find lots of lovely quick and easy recipes using homegrown fruit, veg and herbs. Here’s just a taster…

This is an exciting time of year because, for me, the gardening season really feels as though it’s begun in earnest once the first stalks of rhubarb are ready for picking. And it’s a great crop to kick off with because it’s so versatile, lending itself to hot and cold puds and cakes, as well as savoury sauces. This is a useful recipe to have up your sleeve as it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I’ve decorated the pudding in the photo using a curly strip of raw rhubarb – it’s completely edible and its fresh, concentrated taste works really well if you nibble it with the creamy rice. Just peel off a thin strip from an extra rhubarb stalk (where you’ve trimmed the ends you’ll notice that some thin strips will have started to peel back a little of their own accord, so pull on one of these right down the length of the stalk. As it detaches, it will automatically start curling up as shown. Clever, eh?) 

Ingredients: 

  • 50g short grain rice (also called pudding rice)
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (or, better still, vanilla paste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600ml whole milk
  • 5 stems rhubarb (plus an extra one for the decoration, optional)
  • 5 pieces of stem ginger (from a jar)
  • 50-100g caster sugar, to taste

Serves 4

Method: 

Lightly butter a shallow ovenproof dish and preheat the oven to 140C (fan oven). Stir the rice, sugar, vanilla, bay leaf and milk together in a jug, pour into the dish and bake for one and a half hours (giving it a good stir after the first 30 mins). Meanwhile, chop 5 of the rhubarb stalks into 2.5cm lengths then put in a pan with the stem ginger and about 50g sugar. Cover and cook over a medium heat until the juices start to run from the rhubarb, then remove the lid, turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 15 mins until the rhubarb is tender. Taste and add more sugar as necessary – you want it to be quite sweet as a contrast to the creamy rice. Leave to cool to room temperature then divide among 4 glass dishes. When the rice is cooked, let it stand for a few minutes to thicken up, then add to the dishes and top with the rhubarb curls, if using (see above).

COOKS' PLOT TIP: To make the rice super-creamy, stir in 2 tbsp of mascarpone along with the milk. And for a special occasion, adding three tablespoons of amaretto liqueur to the rhubarb as it cooks takes the dessert to a whole new level!

For more rhubarb recipes over the coming weeks, (I know where I am heading!) visit Sarah's blog at  https://a-cooks-plot.blogspot.co.uk

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