Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Recipe: Forced Rhubarb & Cardamom Breakfast Compote

I'm terrible at breakfast. No, really I am. Unless I leave the house and go out for breakfast and brunch my food choices early in the morning are frankly embarrassing. The thing is, first thing in the morning is just about the only time I don't feel like cooking anything. Just about as much as I can manage in the mornings is dumping things in a bowl, or putting something in the oven that won't require much washing up. When I was living in Los Angeles the amount of times I had oatmeal with honey that only took a few moments in the microwave, or local farmers market strawberries with Greek yogurt on top puts me as a food writer to shame. 
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I don't really believe in New Years Resolutions, but one thing I have promised myself is that in the New Year I'm going to try and be a good girl and make better, more imaginative breakfast choices. This means hopefully less homemade chocolate chip cookies when I have forgotten to make sure that there is actual breakfast food in the house, and less cheating by picking up smoothies, duck confit or steak and rocket sandwiches on my way around Borough Market in the mornings. 
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After spying the first forced rhubarb of the year in Daylesford Organic it became one of my new ingredient obsessions, knocking butternut squash off of its perch (though, kale is still going strong!), which is how I came up with this quick and easy breakfast compote which you can just serve over yogurt in the mornings and you're good to go. The whole process takes less than twenty minutes, or, about a minute in the mornings if you do what I did and serve it cold, from the fridge where I'd made a vat of it for the week ahead over the weekend. With the view of making it so your breakfast is sorted during the week, this makes 6 portions, so you can enjoy it every morning (and maybe jazz it up each morning with some different nuts and seeds?) guessing that you'll probably go out for breakfast once over the weekend. The rhubarb is tart and perfect to make you feel virtuous in the mornings, and the cardamom flavour is delicate; it tastes like it is only just there, but if you omit it completely from the recipe you will feel its loss.


  • 4 Stalks Forced Rhubarb
  • Juice of 1 Orange 
  • 2 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar (regular granulated is also fine)
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods

Wash the rhubarb and cut into 2cm pieces. Add to a medium saucepan along with the sugar and the orange juice. Please don't use orange juice from a bottle here, use the freshly squeezed from the actual oranges, as otherwise the flavour balance will be all wrong. With the back of your knife crush the cardamom pods to release the black seeds inside and add the whole thing to the pan. Stir, and set over a high heat until the juice starts to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the rhubarb has broken down. Taste, and add a little bit more sugar if you think it is a little bit too tart for your liking. Fish out the green husks of the cardamom pods, but you can leave the black seeds in the compote. Serve warm over Greek or natural yogurt, or allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. 


What do you usually have for breakfast on a weekday? Are you extremely lazy about your breakfasts like me, or are you much better at getting motivated to make something in the mornings?

18 comments:

  1. I love breakfast! My usual go-to breakfasts are muesli with apple and almond milk or oatmeal/porridge with banana and peanut butter. Weekends call for pancakes or croissants and eggs.

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  2. I did make a lot of pancakes when I was living in Los Angeles, either at the weekends or for dinner(!), because I had a bigger kitchen which I was able to bake in. I don't drink milk, I only bake with it, and in America buttermilk comes in big cartons, so I always had something leftover to make pancakes from, but I have not done them in ages - thanks for reminding me! Maybe I should get some ingredients especially...

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  3. I am ridiculously lazy about breakfast. Most days it's hot chocolate from the cafe downstairs and a piece of fruit if I'm feeling virtuous. Occasionally toast. This is definitely something I should work on - I need to find more non-boring easy breakfast foods (for everyday, at the weekends I'm all about French toast and pancakes).

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  4. I live above a Sainsbury's Local, so I am honestly surprised that since I moved in in the middle of September I've only given in and gone down there to grab something for breakfast once, but sometimes I think I'd eat better in the mornings if I did! And don't worry, whenever I manage to come up with them I'm planning on sharing my non-boring easy breakfast recipes here - as I said, it is my New Years mission! One of my big problems is that over the last year and a half I've phased out toast for breakfast. I hated the bread in America so I always made my own, which was usually gone or stale by breakfast time the next day, and here I don't have a freezer. But if I can work out a different base, I think my next project is going to feature mashed and very minimally and quickly seasoned avocado on something.

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  5. Do it! I've found biggish cartons of "maslanka," which is basically buttermilk/kefir, at Tesco. I always keep some around, whether for pancakes or (American-style) biscuits (also great for weekend brunch).

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  6. Maslanka is buttermilk? I love you I love you I love you. I used to make Buttermilk American Biscuits for breakfast the night before with leftover buttermilk too, and there are so many recipes (albiet for fried chicken, but for cakes too) that are American which I was wondering how I was going to make with the tiny tubs we can get here. You are literally my favourite person today!!

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  7. Yes, maslanka is very close to buttermilk and I've never had problems baking with it. Glad to help! I love classic buttermilk biscuits, too, and here's my favorite variation: http://taplatt.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/recipe-sweet-potato-rosemary-biscuits/

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  8. Those sound amazing, and so very American. I'll let you know how I get on!

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  9. I'm terrible with breakfasts too! I seriously don't understand how
    people cook elaborate meals first thing. I usually throw a frozen croissant into the oven or have boring cereal. Making a big batch of this at
    the beginning of the week is a good idea!

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  10. This looks delicious. I am now just panicking that I won't get rhubarb in Italy (where I've recently located). This could be a problem ...

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  11. Oh, how exciting! When do you move?

    http://honestcooking.com/a-twist-of-pink-and-orange-stewed-rhubarb/



    According to this article, you can only get it in the North of Italy, so it depends on where you're going, or you could try your hand at growing it yourself? I know it is cold in England, but obviously not Forced Rhubarb, but we find growing regular rhubarb on the farm pretty easy.

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  12. Thanks Rachel. I am already here! I don't live in the deepest North but one with some Austrian influence so who knows. Unfortunately no garden for growing. Might have to get some friends to bring it over. I wonder if there is a restriction on flying with vegetables ...

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  13. Even if there is a restriction on vegetables, we know there is not a restriction on preserves! Send this to a friend the day before they visit as a not so subtle hint and they can pack it in a jar? Would need to be eaten quickly, though, and it would have to be done in a sealed sterile jar as you would for jam making?

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  14. Great minds! I bought some rhubarb yesterday to make into a compote with cardamom for a dinner party this weekend. Leftovers will be lovely for breakfast too :-)

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  15. What else were you going to put with it? I spent ages wondering what liquid I was going to use, and only settled on orange juice because I still have Nigella's trifle with cardamom orange lemon syrup in my head from Christmas. Actually, I think that is where the cardamom idea came from in the first place!

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  16. I was thinking of a little rosewater, but not too much as it can be so overpowering! Orange juice goes wonderful with rhubarb too, or some crushed raspberries, but I find they can overpower it a bit.

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  17. I'd love to hear how it turns out, I did consider rosewater too in my train of thought round Borough Market!

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  18. i love rhubarb so i need to give this a try.
    definitely need to make my breakfasts more nutritious and healthy. i was slacking on that part lately as it is just so much easier to crab a cookie with my tea than actually prepare something.

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