Rhubarb Compote


It’s springtime, and even though I might have a bad back, I’m a die-hard gardener.
Some of the most simple and rewarding treasures of a garden are the ones taken for granted. Possibly because they are so easy to grow they are often over-stepped. Take rhubarb, it’s one of the first things up and it doesn’t need any tinkering, thank goodness it’s so big and bright I get a red reminder to pick some and make something like this for breakfast. Although, I’m sure if you have leftovers, rhubarb is one of those great flavours that can pair really from sweet to savoury. Give it a try. Today I did with breakfast!

RHUBARB COMPOTE

2 Cups Chopped Rhubarb Stalks
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
4-5 Cardamom Pods
Small 1/2″ nub of Ginger, peeled and minced
Juice and Peel of one Tangelo (of course you could use an orange)
Pinch of salt

Add rhubarb, sugar, water and cardamom pods to a medium sized saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
Scrub your tangelo, then using a vegetable peeler, remove the outmost peel, leaving the bitter pith.
Add the juice, peel and a pinch of salt to the rhubarb and return it to a boil.
Reduce it to a rolling simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender, but not mushy and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
Set aside to cool then remove the cardamom pods, and the peels, if desired.

Blueberry Peach Sonker



Really?
I didn’t know what a “sonker” was either until I looked up what was closest to what I’d made.
Just think of it as a cobbler on it’s head, I did. So, when I looked up an inverted cobbler, I found Pandowdys, grunts and a sonker, which seemed closest to what was baking in my oven.
But please, if you have any suggestions, I’m open.

This time of year I seem to have ample berries on hand that I don’t have to ration when it comes to snacks. I’ll typically set out a big bowl of each of what I have on for breakfast and see where we’re at by mid-day
After lunch, I looked across a messy table to a bowl of blueberries and half a plate of freshly sliced peaches.

It’s already known that blueberries and peaches are a match made in heaven – or in August around these parts, but still, I couldn’t help imagine what I would do with them next.

I was thinking cobbler, but wanted something a little more plateable for an afternoon tea with our neighbour and so, the “Sonker” is where we evolved. A crumbly biscuit like cake, perfect for soaking up those juices, that’s sweet, but not too much and topped with a good layer of fruit, zest of lemon and sprinkling of sugar.

Pretty simple, but impressive and delicious, especially with a dollop of “cream”, iced or not.

BLUEBERRY PEACH SONKER

1/2 Cup Earth Balance (Butter)
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Cups Peaches, pitted & sliced, about 4
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, packed
Zest of 1/2 Lemon, optional

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan.
Cream the butter with the granulated sugar until well combined and fluffy.
Add the vanilla to incorporate.
Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 cup of flour.
Add 1/2 cup of soy milk and mix well.
Add another cup of the flour and once incorporated, the remainder of the milk followed by the last of the flour to form a thick batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula, which has been dipped in water, to spread evenly to the edges.
Top with the sliced peaches and blueberries. Sprinkle over the zest and evenly distribute the brown sugar.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester can be cleanly removed from the center.

Cape Gooseberry & Raspberry Clafouti


Being indigenous to South American countries like Columbia, Physalis doesn’t exactly fit into the local food movement around here. However, they are in season right now.

Physalis, or Cape Gooseberries, come naturally wrapped, giving them a shelf life of over a month or more. Described as a cross between sweet cherry tomato and pineapple flavours, the Cape Gooseberry actually isn’t a gooseberry at all. In fact, it’s about the closest to the tomato, coming from the nightshade family.

An interesting combination of tart and sweet, they are a perfect and versatile match for desserts, preserves, salads or savoury dishes.

From the moment I saw my little package of Cape Gooseberries, it was destined for my grocery cart and clafouti. Most typically toped with cherries, clafouti is a French baked custard that’s super simple to make and rustic yet elegant to present.

Having not baked with Cape Gooseberries before, I still wasn’t so brave as to go it alone to tempt my clafouti solo. I opted to pair the Gooseberries with a handful of raspberries, which turned out to be a tasty choice. Both seedy, a bit tart but sweet, they balanced really well.

So well, my vegan friends thought I might just have been pulling a fast one this time.

CAPE GOOSEBERRY & RASPBERRY CLAFOUTI

1/2 Package Firm Silken Tofu, about 210g
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Brandy
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Pint Cape Gooseberries, about 1/2 cups halved
1/2 Cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons Demerra Sugar

Combine the soy milk, lemon juice and brandy; Stir and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a food processor, blend the tofu until very smooth
Add the sugar and vanilla, continuing to blend.
Pour in the soy milk mixture into the tofu.
Sift the flour and baking powder and add just to combine.
Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet, soufflé or oval baking dish.
Evenly top with fruit.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the edges are browned and the center is set.
Cool and dust with confectioners sugar.

Raspberry Coulis


Perfect and quick addition to pancakes, swirled into cheesecake and of course, anything chocolate.

RASPBERRY COULIS

1 Cup Raspberries, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Heat everything in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries have broken down slightly, cook for 1 – 2 minutes more then remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture.
Strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, if desired.