New My English Country Cottage contributor – Lucy Hoyle Cooks

Lucy being very brave after I told her she had to have her photo taken in her kitchen!

Lovely Lucy has agreed to help me with the cooking side of this website blog thing. You may well be acquainted with my primadonna La Aga who decides how and whether to cook the food I attempt to create for family and friends. It is definitely La Aga’s fault and not mine. However, Lucy is an actual real life professional with her own catering company “Lucy Hoyle Food”. We were supposed to be putting together a brilliant new “What to serve your friends in the kitchen over the weekend” but as we can only produce food that isn’t necessarily what we would normally buy (I have three packets of Curiously Cinnamon and 18 onions that I swear I didn’t order), Lucy has rather brilliantly rethought our genius plan and come up with seasonal food in tricksy times that is delicious for all the family. This is my title, it’s a working title ok? Over to the professional:

This is a deliciously simple pudding for this time of year, when your garden rhubarb is flourishing with the bright pink stalks jumping up through the ground. The tartness of the rhubarb complements the sweet orange flavour of the creamy rice pudding perfectly.  The recipe is also a great one to do to get ahead. If you’re hosting a supper party on a Saturday, you can make the rice pudding part on Friday and then leave it in the fridge overnight ready for the next day.  I normally use little custard glasses as pictured, or small tumblers but you could also do one big one in a lovely glass dish if that works better for you.

Orange Blossom Rice Pudding with Rhubarb Compote

My rhubarb actually grows like a weed frankly so if yours does too, make sure you pick some now, cut into 3-4cm pieces and bag it up for the freezer.  This means you can enjoy it throughout the year in crumbles, pies, preserves and of course the recipe below.  One of my favourite ways to eat it is simply roasted in the oven with a little water and a sprinkling of sugar, served warm with double cream.  I have in the past made some very successful Rhubarb Gin…a recipe for another time!

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

Orange Blossom Rice Pudding with Rhubarb Compote 
Serves 6

1 lemongrass stalk
1.2 litres milk
170g caster sugar
110g short grain rice
1 vanilla pod
100ml double cream
2 tbsp orange blossom water
400g rhubarb stalks, trimmed

Simple, beautiful presentation in a pretty custard glass

1. Bring the milk and 70g of the sugar to boil in a pan. Add the rice and half of the vanilla pod.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 35-45 minutes. Stir in the cream, then press a sheet of parchment or cling film on top to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool. 
3. Once cool stir in the orange blossom water to taste and spoon into serving glasses and put into the fridge. You need to leave enough room on top for the rhubarb.
4. Wash the rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm lengths and put into a large lidded pan with 110ml cold water. Top and tail the lemongrass and remove the outer layer and bash it with a rolling pin. 
5. Scrape the seeds out of the remaining pod and add to the rhubarb with the lemongrass and remaining 100g sugar. 
6. Cover and cook over a low heat until just tender and the rhubarb has kept its shape, approx 10 mins. Keep an eye on the rhubarb as it can lose its shape very quickly, it will still taste lovely but won’t look so pretty!  You could also cook the rhubarb covered, in an ovenproof dish in a very low oven approx 130 deg C, or the warming oven of the Aga.
7.  Leave to cool.
8. To serve, spoon the compote on top of the rice pudding.

The beautiful spring colours of rhubarb pinks and greens.

Obviously in the current climate you may not have some of the ingredients in your pantry, I’m sure you are all getting very good at subbing in, so hear are a few ideas…

Orange blossom water – make up a syrup with the zest of an orange, a sprinkling of sugar and some water.  Heat over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then strain.  Alternatively use 2 tblsp of strained fresh orange juice
Vanilla pod – you could use half a tsp of vanilla extract

Also delicious alone, away from the children!

Fondest Love, Lucy xxx

Please do visit Lucy’s Instagram page for more brilliant recipes: and pop back here for more culinary inspiration every Wednesday.

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