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Rhubarb– an avatar of springtime, tart, glorious, friendly.

I happened upon this recipe for a wonderful Rhubarb Compote  with it’s suggestion to roast the rhubarb for better shape retention, and the inclusion of a link to a Rhubarb – Rose Petal Jam. Heavenly.

But on my countertop — me whose husband did once affectionately suggest I name this blog Kitchen Counter Clutter for all my space-occupying experiments– sat a jar of Rosehip Syrup, the hips suspended since September in a sugar syrup.   It needed using up.   The syrup had never developed the intensity I’d wished for, and next autumn I will wait until frost softens the hard shells and perhaps do some simmering– the old fashioned way. But, there was a nevertheless a lovely perfume to it, and a slight bite despite its sweetness.

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So I strained out the hips, added a little wild Blackberry Apple Vinegar (I’d read Jamie Oliver somewhere adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to his rhubarb) to dilute the sugar crystals on the bottom, and poured the syrup over the stalks. And into a medium oven it all went, maybe for 20 minutes.

Indeed they did stay stalkier, less mushed. And were wonderful with the homemade, vanilla-flecked custard and crumbled shortbread biscuits.  Really good. And the juice on the bottom of the roasting pan— mmmmm— rhubarb infused rosehip syrup.  Just decadent with the last of the custard clinging to the bottom of the pan.

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In past years I’ve made jams I call Tutti-Frutti for their mix of rhubarb with orange, apple, strawberries (classic), raspberries– whatever is around.  And I love Deborah Madisons use of orange juice and cloves in her stewed rhubarb in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and that’s become a fall-back combo for me.  Lots of people love ginger, fresh and powdered, paired with rhubarb (perhaps oddly, I don’t).  Maybe it’s wonderful with all bright and spicy flavours.   Now I’m thinking…. hibiscus tea! Also everyone’s hedgerow jams that linger in the cupboard– maybe my friend’s Crabapple Jelly, maybe black currant preserves…  Would all be wonderful in compotes and tarts.  Want to explore.

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