Refreshing rhubarb kompot

Summer is now in full swing, the temperatures going over 20C mean that the hottest season of the year has finally arrived to the Northern latitudes! Nothing complements the lovely weather like a light, refreshing drink made from seasonal fruits or veggies. I have spotted this lovely rhubarb kompot on Around the kitchen table blog. Kompot (that has not much to do with a French compote) is a simple central European drink made most commonly from fresh seasonal fruits boiled with sugar. When I was a kid, my grandmum was serving all kinds of kompots luke warm, but I prefere it much more when they are icy cold. Yumm!

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INGREDIENTS

500g of rhubarb
1.5 l water
4-5 tbsp Demerara sugar
a bunch of fresh mint
zest and juice of a big lemon
2 zest and juice of 2 limes
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
3-4 cloves
2 green cardamom seeds cracked
optionally 8-10 tbsp of pink wine
ice cubes
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1.  Boil the water in a big pot, add a bunch of mint, spices and zest of 2 limes and a lemon.
2.  Boil for 5 min. Meanwhile prepare the rhubarb. Wash it thoroughly and cut into 2-3 cm pieces (leave the skin on, the more red it is, the more vibrant colour you’ll get).
3. Add rhubarb and sugar to the boiling water and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the juice of lemon and limes, set aside to cool down. Transfer to the fridge and let it stay there overnight.
4. Drain the kompot through a fine sieve, pressing the rhubarb against the grid, to squeeze as much of the juice as possible. You may add a bit of pink wine if you wish.
5. Serve with ice cubes, garnish with mint and lime slices.

Mulled white wine with raspberries

A much as I always loved Christmas, the nowadays commercialised version of it just gets on my nerves. Year by year, shops are decorated with Christmas stuff even earlier, pervasive commercials make you feel as if the nuclear war is coming and you just HAVE TO buy all the presents NOW, at least a month in advance (not to mention omnipresent, nerve-wracking “Laaaaast Christmas” song putting it’s final touch to spoil the mood). Yes, it is somehow uplifting to see all of this beautiful decorations, and yes,  it is nice to feel that soon you’ll get several days off your work, but for God’s sake why to start with all of it already in November? By early December I’m sooo fed up with all the “ho ho ho”, buy presents thingy, that I try to avoid shopping at the malls at all costs.  However, I do like Christmas time as such, the time of anticipation for something special to happen. Nowadays, it doesn’t have much of a religious meaning to me but it is all about the family gathering, slowing down the pace, going back to the basics.

The Christmas time has a scent, a beautiful smell of cinnamon, cardamom and orange peel. Making mulled wine is one of those great  Christmas traditions. In every country it is made differently and called differently, but the point is the same – to combine the wonderful  aroma of Christmas with a delicious soul-warming beverage. Glögi, as it is called here in Finland, is THE thing that makes me feel like Christmas time has come. There’s nothing better than a warm cup of glögi in the evening. We usually are fine with a non-alcoholic version of it that is extremely popular here, but once the temperatures dropped below -15C we decided it’s time to make it “real” and spice it up with some booze 😉 The recipe comes from a finnish magazine Kotivinkki and it’s absolutely addictive 😉

INGREDIENTS

400g frozen raspberries
1/2 dl sugar
5 dl apple juice
2 star anise
1 piece of cinnamon bark, broken in half
10 green cardamoms, crushed delicately

5 dl white wine

1. Add raspberries, sugar, juice and spices to a saucepan. Boil on a small heat for about 10 min.
2. Use a sieve to separate the spices and berries from the liquid.
3. Add the wine and heat it up (do not boil!).