Rhubarb and apple compote

Rhubarb&AppleComp-tile

There’s been a lot of publicity about Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb. I bought 400g in Waitrose and made a compote together with three Braeburn apples which were looking past their best.

I sliced the rhubarb into 3cm lengths and peeled, cored and sliced the apples.

Microwave on high for about 7 minutes. Stir and cook for a further minute or so.

I then added sugar and honey to taste.

Could be served warm with Birds Custard; but I cooled mine, stored it in the fridge, and served it for breakfast with Greek yogurt, granola and mixed seeds.

Cardamom rice pudding

This can be easily made in a microwave, which means you won’t have to scrape all the burnt bits off the cooking dish afterwards – enough for 4:Cardamom_Rice_Pudding

  • Seeds from 30 green cardamom pods finely ground
  • 70g pudding rice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pint milk

Mix all the ingredients together in a microwaveable (lidded) dish.

Bring to the boil (this took about 6 minutes at 900W).

Stir, and cook for about an an hour at 150W – stirring at 20 minute intervals.

Pour into a plastic storage container, allow to cool, and keep in the fridge before serving.

I served this with strawberries and orange segments, seasoned with black pepper.

Caponata

CaponataTileEnough for 3:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  aubergine (chopped into largish chunks)
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 a large red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp capers (rinsed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 750g ripe tomatoes (cored, deseeded and sliced (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve))
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • A handful of basil leaves

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan. Fry the aubergine chunks in hot oil until they begin to colour. Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion, celery, pepper, capers, garlic and raisins, and cook gently until the mixture is soft.

Spread the mixture over a large baking tray and scatter the tomatoes over the top. Mix together the tomato liquid, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar, and pour this mixture over the vegetables.

Cook in the oven at 140C (Gas mark 1) for about a hour or until the tomatoes begin to fall apart (I cooked mine (in the top of the oven) with slow roasted lamb, increasing the oven temperature to 140C for the final hour). mix in the basil leaves before serving.

Microwaved cardamon rice pudding

Rice_pudding_tile

This will serve 3 or 4 people. I increased the normal amount of rice (60g) by 20g to produce a very solid rice pudding which can be served cold, turned out from large individual ramekin dishes (which if filled to the top, yielding 3 portions):

  • 1 pint milk (568ml – to be precise!)
  • Seeds from 12 green cardamom pods (ground using a pestle and mortar)
  • 80g pudding rice (or risotto rice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put all the ingredients into a microwavable casserole dish with a lid. Stir and cover, and microwave at 750W until the milk starts to boil (about 7 minutes). Remove from the microwave, stir, cover and bring back to the boil (at 750W). Then immediately turn down to ‘defrost’ and cook for 1 hour. The result should be a creamy glutinous mass.

Line the bases of three ramekin dishes with discs of baking parchment. Fill each dish with rice pudding and level off the tops. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. The rice can easily be turned out of the ramekin moulds, by running a knife around the edge of the dish, turning upside down and removing the baking parchment.

I served mine with defrosted berries from Lidl’s frozen Black Forest Fruits, which – although they now contain strawberries – are still quite good as they now also contain some rather tasty cherries.

Getting worked up about jam

Black Currant Jam-horz

Images: Look at Your Life…Look at Your Choices & Feasting on Art

I can’t say that I’ve previously paid much attention to the sugar content of jam up to now. I very rarely eat jam anyway. But I did wonder at Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt saying that proposed changes in government regulations (allowing ‘jam like’ products containing less than 60% sugar to be described as ‘jam’) would result in fruit spreads which “tasted like mud”.

This Guardian article suggests that you can make excellent  with significantly less sugar than the amount recommended by Ms Munt.

I tend to side with one of the many comments on the Guardian article: “Nothing proposed here will require any jam manufacturer to change anything. …… If you like jam made mostly of sugar (because it’s cheaper than making it with more fruit) then just carry on as before”).

 

Bread pudding

BreadPud0-horz

I’d rather over done it buying bread, and there was no room left in the freezer, so I thought that I’d make a bread pudding.

Makes 12 ‘modest’ pieces:

  • 250g stale bread
  • 250g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 nutmeg grated
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 70g brown sugar (sifted)
  • 50g melted butter

Cut the bread into small cubes (some recipes suggest that you remove the crusts – I didn’t bother) and put into a large bowl. Add the fruit and spices (and ensure the ingredients are well mixed). Pour in the milk. Then scrunch the mixture with your fingers, ensuring that the bread is broken up and fruit evenly distributed. Stir in the egg and sugar (again stirring to ensure even distribution). Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Line the bottom of a cake tin with silicon paper (I used a tin about 20cm x 10cm, but I think it would have been better to have a deeper mixture in a smaller tin). Stir the melted butter into the mixture and transfer to the cake tin, smoothing the top. Bake for about 1.5 hours until firm and golden brown (cover with foil if browns too much).

When cooked, turn out onto a wire rack (removing the paper). Cut into squares.

I think this is equally good, cold just like a cake; or hot with custard.