God, I've been so productive these last few days. For the past three weeks I didn't feel anything like spending much time in the kitchen (yeah, it happens...) and then suddenly I'm cooking and baking recipe after recipe after recipe. Weird.
Maybe it's also a bit of a distraction thing. A project I'm involved in at work is one and a half week from its deadline which leaves me with a constantly high stress level even when I'm not actually working. So much left to be done, so many things to be checked and checked and checked again, people to be called, lists to be written, mails to be sent. And somehow I always feel responsible for everything even though I am not. I know I do my best work when I get into this constantly high stress level mood, on the other hand it's exhausting and not really good for me.
Cooking and knitting and watching films (Disney's Tangled is my new obsession) helps me unwind at least a little bit. Eating's good, too. And nothing better than a nice tartly sweet rhubarb compote.
Although I love rhubarb compote the simple way my grandma used to make it (just sugar, rhubarb and water), I decided to mix things up a little bit. Substitute Jasmine green tea for the water and add some nice spices. Oh, the difference that makes!
I've been looking forward to rhubarb season since the beginning of February, so I was hardly able resist when the first pinkish green stalks appeared at the grocery store on Thursday.
As almost everyone else, I like the deep crimson rhubarb much better than the green one but this preference is an entirely aesthetical one. I never noticed any difference in taste. And as this was the first rhubarb of the season, I wasn't going to be picky and not buy it just because it failed to please my eyes.
Rice pudding and rhubarb compote. A perfect combination if ever there was one.
Jasmine rhubarb compote
Makes for 1 large jar
4 large sticks of rhubarb (about 600 g)
250-500 ml/1-2 cups strong jasmine green tea (5-6 teaspoons of tea per 500 ml water should do the trick)
5 Tbsp maple syrup (or a bit more if you like it more sweet)
1 sachet real bourbon vanilla sugar
6 cardamon pods
2 aniseed stars
Prepare the jar by rinsing it with boiling hot water. Dry and put aside.
Clean the rhubarb but don't peel it. Chop the sticks into 2 cm/1 in pieces.
Put the rhubarb, the sugar, the cardamon, the aniseed, and the maple syrup in a large pot. Pour 250 ml/1 cup of tea on top, then bring the whole mixture to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and leave to cook for about four minutes, then take off the heat. Add some more maple syrup if you feel your compote's still too sour, then pour the whole thing into the jar and put the lid on.
Store in the pantry or the fridge. It should keep for a couple of weeks at least, maybe even months. I don't know, mine is always gone after a week or so...
One more note on the jasmine: The taste isn't very prominent, it's more of a faint note. If you want a stronger taste of jasmine you might consider boiling some real flowers with the compote.