Last weekend I was waist high in nettles, foraging for rhubarb. There is a field near my grandmothers house which last year we discovered was abundant in wild rhubarb and so on a recent visit we set off to discover if it had appeared again this year. At first we were disappointed as we could find no signs of the tall pink stems and bushy green leaves, only a vast patch of weeds, grass and nettles. I was all for admitting defeat but my grandmother declared “it must be in there somewhere” and proceeded to stomp her way through the nettles. Sure enough, she found some young tender stalks fighting their way through the weeds to the surface.
I couldn’t let her battle alone and so I edged my way into the jungle too and soon we were plucking the shiny stalks by the armful. I only got stung three times, which if you could have seen the forest of nettles you would know was quite an achievement!
Rhubarb and strawberries are a fabulous combination and I wanted to keep things fresh and so simply stewed them gently to create a delicious fruity compote. It was so delicious I ate it for three days straight with yoghurt, porridge or cereal for breakfast. It was such a pretty colour, swirled into the yoghurt, that I decided to use the rest of the batch to create some rippled frozen yogurt.
I wanted to flavour the yogurt with something too as plain frozen yogurt can be a bit bland. I decided to add some sweet rose syrup as I think the light perfumed floral notes work really well with summer fruits. This is not the same as rose water, it is a sweet rose infused syrup that you can get in oriental supermarkets or ethnic sections in supermarkets. I got this particular one in Tesco. I think its meant to be used for making rose flavoured desserts and milky drinks but I love adding it to other things. Its such a vibrant pink colour, that it adds a gorgeous blushed pink colour to the yogurt. I also added a little Pimms, not enough to add any noticeable taste, but as I’ve read that adding a small amount of alcohol to your ice cream will help prevent it from freezing quite so solid.
Once churned, swirled and softly frozen it made for a delicious dessert. It was very light and milky, no where near as thick or creamy as ice cream but very refreshing. The yogurt maintained its slight yogurt tang, while the delicate floral flavour of the rose was there too. The rhubarb fruity mixture added a lovely flavour, although I think I would have preferred the rhubarb more broken down. I’d left it quite chunky for the compote but this meant it went a bit icy when frozen. Next time I’ll stew it for longer to get smaller strands.
Light, refreshing, fruity and delicious. The perfect summer afternoon treat. We just need the warm weather to go with it now!
Rose & Rhubarb Ripple Frozen Yogurt
6 tbsp caster sugar
750g low fat natural yogurt
4 tbsp sweet rose syrup (not rose water, see note below)
2 tbsp Pimms (or other fruity alcohol)
Start by making the rhubarb compote. Wash and trim the rhubarb and strawberries and cut into 2cm sticks. Place into a saucepan along the with blueberries and scatter over the sugar. Leave to macerate for half an hour, which will help the fruit release its juices.
Once the juices have been released. heat gently, stirring occasionally until the fruit is soft and completely broken down. Taste and add more sugar if it’s too tart/sour for you.
Allow to cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge to use later.
Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, rose syrup and Pimms together to combine (the alcohol will help keep it from setting so solid, you can’t really taste it).
Churn in an ice cream machine until thick and softly frozen and pour into a freezeable container. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, just place the mix straight into a freezeable container and freeze for 3 hours. Take it out and give it a mix every hour to help achieve even freezing.
Once ready, pour the chilled rhubarb mixture over the top of the softly frozen yogurt and swirl it thought the yoghurt to create a ripple effect. Don’t over mix.
Return to the freezer for another 2 hours before serving.
If made far in advance, remove the yoghurt from the freezer half an hour before serving, to allow it to soften slightly.
You can use 400g of any softly cooked soft fruits, peaches, raspberries, cherries, apricots etc
You can find bottles of rose syrup in oriental supermarkets or ethnic sections in supermarkets