Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All August long: rhubarb and porridge

I'm currently harbouring a crush on rhubarb. It's like the best bits of red cordial and jube lollies without that chemical edge and soapy aftertaste. I assumed it couldn't get better than the rhubarb and ginger pudding I baked last year, but I was mistaken. Not only does rhubarb get better, it gets easier!

With the few stalks remaining after the muffins, I tried my hand at a compote. A quick scan of the internet had it looking simple enough - I didn't rely on a particular source, though I did imitate Lucy's sprinkle of rosewater once the cooking was over. Wow. That extra fragrance, that extra complexity, lifts rhubarb to a new plane! I spooned it generously over porridge, carefully rationing it out for each mouthful, savouring every last drop of the sweet-sour syrup.

And now that I've mentioned porridge, it deserves a few words of its own. Though I could probably make my own mix more cheaply, I bought a packet of multi-grains (oats, wheat, triticale, rye, barley and rice) as an incentive to make porridge at home. This habit has outlasted the sublime rhubarb compote, and it has proved an enjoyable and nourishing way to finish stray packets of dried fruits and nuts languishing in the pantry. Dried strawberries and maple syrup made a lovely pair, though the accompanying raw cashews failed to make an impact. I thought that using pomegranate syrup and pistachios was inspiration from heaven but the syrup was actually too sour - golden syrup fared better.

There's been a lot of trials and a little error. One thing's for sure - porridge need never be beige or bland again.

Rhubarb compote

Chop your rhubarb into 4-5 cm segments. Deposit them in a saucepan with a scant tablespoon of raw sugar for each stalk. Add a splash of water to help the sugar dissolve. Stir the mixture regularly over medium heat until the sugar melts, and the rhubarb softens and starts to break down. (This took me 10-15 minutes for 3 stalks.) Allow the compote to cool slightly before sprinkling over some rosewater.


  1. I'm a big fan of rhubarb AND porridge, thus enjoyed this post... even if it made me kinda hungry.

  2. Great minds... I had muesli today at 280 The Wall Cafe today with rhubarb and goat milk yoghurt and milk, there were poached pears too and it was sublime... they do great coffee too, all I needed was some sunshine and it would have been nirvana! Vida x

  3. Yep, the rosewater is such a surprise. Glad you liked it.

    I must say that Kathryn's suggestion at Limes and Lycopene (via Cassie at Veggie Meal Plans) to add a little grated carrot and apple to the top of porridge/muesli really blew me away. I expected it to be awful. Instead it was excellent.

    I'm with you on that pomegranate syrup. I've done the same and been horrified.

  4. porridge always looks alluring but never tastes good to me - maybe I would like the mix of grains?

    but rhubarb compote seems a splendid idea!

  5. Thanks, Jesska! I think they're just perfect in this kind of weather. :-)

    Vida, I hadn't heard of Wall 280 before but have now added it to the list. (But it's so difficult, dragging myself across town for breakfast...) I have not been making the most of pear season!

    Lucy, I read that post too and really wondered about the carrot... I actually have some left over from dinner and must try it tomorrow morning!

    Johanna, the mixture of grains definitely altered the texture, and I think they created a slightly more nutty flavour. Though I'm sure E would recoil in horror, it's really the fruit, nuts and/or syrup on top that get me excited about porridge!

  6. Yum yum!! I was inspired by your porridge this morning and made my own souped-up porridge, with prunes, pistachios and condensed milk. Yum yum.

    xox Sarah

  7. Condensed milk? Oh, lead me not into temptation, Sarah!