Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Clove Compote

Since I searched in desperation for rhubarb several weeks ago arriving home empty handed on several journeys, if I see it anywhere now, I stop my bike and buy some ...  So you could say that I have a 'glut' of rhubarb.  I think that this turn-of-phrase is only used for those people legitimately growing a lot of rhubarb in their back garden, but at the minute I think that it has taken root on my kitchen counter and thus become a 'glut'.
So this evening I am faced with a total of 1260g of chopped rhubarb.  "Should I make jam? I have no pots to put it in", "should I make more crumble?" I can sense my husband in the background waiting for a positive answer to this particular option....I cannot believe it when I phone my mother for a mid-decision making chat and she too is cooking rhubarb...I know a daughter is supposed to be like her mother, but this culinary telepathy is frightening.  She is roasting hers in the oven at 150 degrees.  I think this might take her all night as she is planning a pie, although she is not going to sit up and write about it
I, on the other hand, had a craving for some confort food and finally decided to make my rhubarb into compote.  One Northern Irish postmistress used to make rhubarb and clove jam.  This sounds so lovely that I am going to try out the flavours and make a rhubarb and clove compote.

To make your kitchen smell like Christmas again, you will need:
1260g chopped rhubarb
750g caster sugar
6 cloves
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Place everything into a large oven proof dish and place in the oven for approx. 45minutes, stirring occassionally.  When it is done, taste it and add more sugar if you like it a little bit sweeter.  I love the tartness of the beetroot, and so err on the light side when adding sugar.  Pick out the cloves and let it cool slightly.  Whatever you are using this for, it is much better not hot, but warm or cool.

This rhubarb can be put in the fridge and eaten with natural yoghurt, added to your muesli in the morning, eaten with french toast or pancakes, eaten with brown bread ice cream, just on its own or I think it is delicious with good old fashioned rice pudding.
Rice pudding is not to everyones taste and many people have had such bad school experiences of over-cooked, over-sweetened rice puddings, semolinas and tapiocas that, in Ireland at least, rice pudding gets very bad press.
I did eat the school attempts at it but I think the school rice pudding is much worse in my memory due to the fact that my mother would regularly make rice pudding and as I remember there was never any to spare.  It was sweet, but not too sweet, meltingly soft, comforting, wonderful and always finished off a great warming family meal. 
I imagine she also gave me this as weening food as it is so embedded in my memory as comfort food that I just could not resist making it this evening, despite the slow cooking and patience required, from me of all people.
For an unctions rice pudding for four, you will need:
100g short grain pudding rice
50g caster sugar (add more at the end if you like it sweeter)
1 knob of butter
1 litre of milk

Place all the ingredients into a pyrex/oven proof dish, big enough to take the litre of fluid with a bit of bubble room.
Place in the oven for about an hour and a half.  The top will go a lovely golden brown and the rice will bubble away merrily underneath.  When done, take off the top crust and serve.

I had a bowl of this with my delicious rhubarb and clove compote with some chopped roasted almonds and it was heavenly.  A great spring time dessert for those (many) evenings with a nip in the air.


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