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Vanilla Rhubarb Cordial

Anyone who has ever visited our house, never left empty-handed. Various homemade gifts were given to take away such as jar of jam, a bottle of cordial or a piece of cake.

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Anyone who has ever visited our house, never left empty-handed. Various homemade gifts were given to take away such as jar of jam, a bottle of cordial or a piece of cake. My Mum’s larder (just an ordinary cellar in one of the council houses) was always fully stocked. Rows of shelves were piled up to the ceiling and each of them had its own purpose. There was a shelf full of marmalades, preserves, jellies, juices, cordials or various pickles (winter salads, plums and sauerkraut). The amount of preserves was so huge, that going down to the basement was like visiting a secret cave full of treasures. When Mum opened a jar full of strawberry jam during the winter time, whole house was filled with summer flavours, warmth of sun and the smell of summer rain within a second.

This is one of my childhood memories that comes back, when needed. My Mum have passed many of family values onto me and the love for homemade food is the most valued by me. Also love for seasonal products, preserving them and closing the best part of them in jars. That is why I prepare jams and cordials and I seek for various recipes for marinating and pickling vegetables. Sometimes I follow my Mum’s recipes, sometimes I create new ones and tend to discover interesting combination like rhubarb and fresh vanilla beans. These tiny, full of flavour seeds and sour, crispy and deep red stalks are a perfect match. All I need is to sacrifice part of my free time and prepare a bottle full of delicious cordial for the winter time. My Mum had used a steam juicer but I prepare it in thick-bottomed heavy pan. The quality is completely different, but still allows me to remember my background and taste it whenever I want.

VANILLA RHUBARB CORDIAL

500g rhubarb

500g caster sugar

1 tsp fresh vanilla beans

1 large organic lemon

1 l water

 

to serve

chilled mineral water, still or sparkling

ice cubes

fresh mint leaves

lemon, sliced

 

Wash the rhubarb, remove the woody ends and chop roughly. Place the rhubarb in a thick-bottomed heavy saucepan with vanilla beans and sugar. Stir well and refrigerate overnight. Put the saucepan on the stove, add the water and bring to boil. Add lemon, lower the heat and cook gently until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Ladle into a fine strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth) that has been placed over a large bowl. Strain until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Give it a gentle press to extract more liquid. Transfer the liquid to a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer over medium heat for another 15 minutes until the cordial has reduced quite a bit and slightly thickened. Carefully pour the cordial into a clean bottle, cover or cork the bottle and keep it in a fridge . This will give a deep pink colour and rich flavour.

Serve with mineral water, sliced lemon, ice cubes and mint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos © Ewelina Majdak – Around the Kitchen Table

 

 

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