Whenever we are driving along small A/B roads in the UK, going past the green hills and ancient stone walls, I picture myself sitting under a giant tree transformed back to one of my favourite childhood scenes from Peter Rabbit illustrated by Beatrix Potter. The curious side of me always wants to step over the fence and run into those hills to discover what its really like to be on the other side. Mr A and I had been on a holiday to North Yorkshire recently, admiring the breathtaking landscape the Yorkshire Dales had to offer. There, I got to experience this amazing feeling of climbing over the walls, scaring away a few wild sheep and finally descending into a hidden cave – the excitement I encountered that day was truly priceless!
From the adventurous activity packed canoeing, caving, abseiling and rock climbing, to the peaceful serenity of the Aysgarth Waterfalls located in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, we sure had a well deserved break. Not sure it would be called a ‘relaxing break’ if you wake up the next day with every single muscle of your body aching, however, a quality trip away from the usual responsibilities of work and parenthood was just what we needed.
Despite the heavy rain, the cloudy skies and the typical cold British weather we were absorbed by the stunning scenery, the history and the greenery – after all its the constant rainfall that makes the place green right? Amongst the cold and rain, we were always comforted by the warm hospitality of our hosts and their delicious meals provided. I certainly did enjoy my fair share of food and I admittedly confess that a raspberry pavlova served in one café was just what I needed at the end of a tiring day. In our B&B I could not resist photographing the most amazing, most adorable sheep chess board I had ever seen, plus a few vintage paintings and dishes.
Amongst our adventure we also came across a spelling mistake, different shades of green, sunshine (on our way back home), giant daisies (below) and a few interesting facts about the science of botany and nature. Much to Mr A’s ‘delight and interest!’ I was approached by a animated botanist as I was photographing the daisy. He started a fascinating conversation about his research in that field and how plants (edible ones too) are split into many categories. I discovered that carrots originated in Afghanistan, flowers are categorised by their number of petals or leaf shapes, and if it wasn’t for a restless someone, who knows what else I might have learnt? 🙂
Back at home and keeping with the British and more specifically Yorkshire theme I quickly whipped up a compote from a couple of leftover rhubarbs. It’s a a super-quick compote that will be ready in 15 minutes. A true British summer evening delight best to be served in the garden when you’re hoping the little ones are quietly tucked away in bed. The long days sure makes it much harder for them to go to sleep, as we enter the never ending debate “but it’s still light mum!”
When cooked, rhubarb has a unique texture going from a tough stalk into silky strands in a matter of seconds, making it ideal for turning into jam or compote. Any further additions such as strawberries (in season now), rose water, vanilla or even cardamom can really make this simple pudding truly special. I have written more about rhubarb in this post.
Rhubarb Compote with Yoghurt – serves 2-3
Note: This compote makes an excellent topping to porridge, ice-cream and even custard.
- 2 stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into rough cubes
- Splash of water, about 2-3 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, optional (or vanilla, rose water or 1/8 tsp ground cardamom)
- Small bunch / 50 g strawberries, hulled and quartered, optional
- 50-60 g/ 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup to taste
- 250 g or ml/ 1 cup cool thick Greek yoghurt
- Chopped pistachios (or other nut), coarsely chopped,
Put the rhubarb in a small pan, add water and ginger (if using), cover and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat, and simmer gently, until the rhubarb starts to soften and the strands become visible. Break up any large pieces left with a wooden spoon and continue to simmer until the rhubarb is softened completely, about 3-4 minutes. Add the honey / maple syrup, cook for a further 1 minute and leave aside to cool. Add any of your preferred flavouring from the list above and mix – I prefer freshly grated ginger.
To serve, divide the yoghurt among 2-3 bowls top with the rhubarb, swirl gently for a pretty effect, and finally finish off with a sprinkling of pistachios or any other preferred nut.