You may already know this, but, I studied Food Science at University. Think molecular gastronomy meets extreme chemistry with a sprinkling of maths and you’re about there. I enjoyed it immensely. All the tests and experiments that you see on the TV are familiar to me and if there’s something I don’t know about food poisoning it’s not worth knowing. Imagine what a joy it is to sit next to me at a formal dinner, “I wouldn’t take that from the buffet if I were you, there’s no guarantee it’s stayed out of the danger zone”. I have all the fun…
It’s always nice to see some bright pink rhubarb poking its head out at the market but as it’s the first of the season it can be quite pricey. So when you have only £1.80, what can you do with two rhubarb sticks? Make a lovely, vibrant rhubarb compote/jam to sandwich in the middle of two fat slices of cake of course. Other things that you can do with two sticks of rhubarb include: jousting, a spot of relay running or making a parasol (if you have the leaves left on) but none of those would be anywhere near as good as this cake.
You will need (for two fools):
- 2 sticks rhubarb
- 1 tsp honey (runny or set)
- 1 tsp water
- 150ml double cream
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- Small handful chopped hazelnuts
- A few pieces of honeycomb
Chop the rhubarb into inch sized chunks and put into a saucepan with the tsp honey and water. Cook on a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft and most of the water has gone. You do need to make sure it’s quite thick otherwise your fool will be more like a soup. Set the rhubarb aside to cool.
Put a small dry pan over a medium heat and toast the hazelnuts, watching that they don’t catch, then set aside.
In a large bowl whip together the double cream and runny honey until firm. Fold in two thirds of the rhubarb with the hazelnuts and crush in a few bits of honeycomb. Divide the fool into glasses and top with the remaining rhubarb and a few more hazelnuts and honeycomb.
I have wanted to attempt this classic French ‘King of Tarts’ for so long; the rhubarb seemed like a perfect addition. I have made many frangipanes in the past so just halved what I would normally put in my large fluted tart tin for this recipe.
You will need (for one finished galette des rois):
- 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
- 3 large sticks of rhubarb cut into inch sized pieces
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 75g unsalted butter, very soft
- 75g caster sugar
- 75g ground almonds
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp milk and 1 egg beaten together (for glazing)
Preheat the oven to 180C and put the rhubarb onto a baking tray in a single layer. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and then toss the rhubarb in the sugar so it all gets nicely coated. Put this in the oven for 15 minutes to roast. When it’s done the rhubarb should have softened but retained its shape and be gently caramelised. Put the rhubarb to one side to cool. Leave the oven on after you remove the rhubarb as you’ll need it at 180C to bake the tart.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in the designated driver situation where you end up at a soiree and the host assumes that the only guests not drinking alcohol are children? As much as I like Um Bongo it’s always a little embarrassing to reach the end of the carton and make that loud, conspicuous slurping noise while in the middle of a conversation. Down with this I say and hooray for the now bursting market that is adult soft drinks and cordials. I’m not sure why but all the ready-made ‘adult’ soft drinks available used to be either apple orientated or have grape juice in. I am really not a fan of grape juice; maybe because it tastes artificial to me and not at all like grapes. Not to worry though as this Rhubarb, Rosehip and Lime Fizz is a corker of a soft drink.
I had this need, this craving for a properly good biscuit. Nothing disastrous, or even slightly unusual, had occurred but sometimes you don’t need an excuse. I had a fridge load of rhubarb that needed a good home. Rhubarb is always very happy under a crumble topping but a crumble wasn’t going to help my desire for a biscuit. I devised a cunning ensemble where biscuit and crumble would meet.
You will need:
400g plain flour
100g sugar and a little extra
300g butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp chopped, toasted hazelnuts
6 small sticks of rhubarb
I managed to get hold of some delicate Champagne rhubarb and set about making my sorbet. Two large sticks of rhubarb weighed around 500g which turned out to make enough sorbet for four. Discard the ends of the rhubarb before cutting into inch sized pieces. Put the chopped rhubarb in a pan with small amount of water and about 80g in total of sugar. When I make sorbet I always add a tablespoon of glucose syrup and half the sugar I think I’ll need. The glucose syrup gives it a certain texture; it sort of makes it sticky and gives a thicker mouth feel.
I was one of those children who would pick out the sourest, most mouth puckering and sharpest of sweets. Sherbert wasn’t quite tart enough for me and so rhubarb and custard sweets were my saviour when all the sour apple ones had gone. They soon became my favourite; when you were turning the sweet over in your mouth you never knew if you were going to get a burst of sour or a shot of sweet. Although I do enjoy one of these sweets occasionally I have moved on to a more grown up version.
This is the very first of the English forced rhubarb I could get my hands on. It was nestled amongst a load of potatoes, swedes and cabbages; poking its pink feet out asking to be picked up. Admittedly my first thought was crumble but on my travels I walked past a sweet shop and my thoughts turned to rhubarb and custard.