Sometimes I become infatuated with something. These past few months its been rhubarb. Soon it will be peas and then it will be tomatoes. But at the moment, rhubarb is the thing I dream about. I have been charting its progress at the allotment for the last couple of months, taking tiny peaks at it when it was kept warm and strong under an old tin bucket, and then when it finally emerged I have been thinking long and hard about when I could twist its stalks and start cooking it.
So it was decided, Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday would be the first day of eating our rhubarb. A milestone on the calendar. We would look back in a couple of years and reminisce about the rhubarb. Sadly, dad wasn’t that well at Easter and so mum and I ate the rhubarb on Tuesday instead. If you keep rhubarb in the fridge it is fine for a couple of days.
The first recipe for what will surely be a marathon rhubarb-eating month was Poached Rhubarb in a Vanilla Syrup. It’s a Martha recipe, although I did change it slightly, which I tried last year and loved.
- 6 stalks of rhubarb cut into inch sized pieces. I stop cutting once I hit the green.
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 vanilla pod. Scrape the seeds out of one half and add the other half (whole) to the saucepan.
- Whipped cream to serve
- Boil the wine, sugar, water and vanilla for six minutes in a saucepan. Keep an eye on it as the liquid will quickly evaporate.
- Add the rhubarb and turn down to simmer.
- Keep an eye on the rhubarb. It should take only a couple of minutes to cook.
- Take the rhubarb out of the poaching liquid and reduce the liquid to a thicker syrup and cool slightly.
- Serve with whipped cream.
The thing with this recipe is that it isn’t too sweet. You can still taste the sharpness of the rhubarb but it is wonderfully complimented by the syrup. And mum and I am sure will look back on the first rhubarb of the year, the day after Easter Monday with happy memories!
If you have a rhubarb recipe I should try? Please let me know.
Such a long title! I honestly couldn’t think of anything nippy or fun. It is what it is.
Work has begun on the allotment. Mum and I are taking on half of the allotment this year, and although dad has been very tardy in beginning work on his section (!) mum and I have begun plotting and planning and this weekend we spent four lovely hours weeding and planting our first crops.
We have planted two new rhubarb plants but cannot eat from them for a year – they need time to mature. We were lucky with this rhubarb plant last year though and I am already dreaming of poached rhubarb and rhubarb tarts – expert posts and recipes in the near future.
The garden pretty much takes care of itself, we are fortunate that we have very few weeds and although the roses have just been pruned and the deadheading of the hydrangeas has also been done I know that soon there will be a hive of activity. Last autumn we set about planting more bulbs. Daffodils and irises mainly. I am still not keen on tulips in the garden and prefer to pick them up from the florist for indoor fun instead.
So, how is your garden coming on? I know the daffodils are slightly early but I couldn’t be happier to finally have some colour popping up.
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A colleague at work asked if I would be using any of the courgette flowers on our courgette plants this year. The answer was ‘no’. I love filled courgette flowers but I much prefer to watch (and then eat) a fully grown courgette. But they stayed on my mind. I had tried them before and had really enjoyed them. There is something special about them, like the whole world hasn’t yet caught on and they aren’t turning up on every street corner yet. So when I saw them at the farmers market I purchased a couple of packs.
The flower is just the shell for whatever filling you put in it. Mine consisted of 1/4 cup goats cheese, 1/4 cup cream cheese, herbs and seasoning. After taking the stamen out of the flower they are ready to be filled, twisted and dipped into batter and gently fried.
These were pretty to look at and tasted really good. The little courgette cooked enough but hadn’t gone all mushy.
The great thing about these, is that you can fill them with anything. Dorie Greenspan has a recipe in her new book for shrimp and I can imagine Parma ham working really well curled inside the flower.
Last year we made a mistake and gave the redcurrants away to a family friend. I think we regretted it from the minute we handed the fruit over. This year our aim is to use as much of our produce ourselves, preserving and canning too and then we will give what is left to friends. There are sure to be too many runner beans and green beans for the three of us. But redcurrants are the first produce that we are enjoying this year. What to make? Redcurrant Jelly of course!
We collected 3 1/2 pounds from our one bush. Back home the currants were gently washed.
The recipe is simple. Weigh the fruit (stalks included). Whatever the weight you will use the same quantity of warmed sugar.
Place the sugar in a lined baking tin and heat gently in the oven for five minutes. Place the currants in a saucepan and begin to boil the fruit. Stir the fruit to release the juice. Once the mixture has come to a boil add the warmed sugar slowly to the mixture whilst stirring.
Whilst the mixture boils for eight minutes. Make your contraption. Ours looked like this:
Yep. A stool turned upside down with a saucepan at the bottom and netting held in place at the top with elastic bands.
Once the eight minutes are up. Seive the mixture into another pot. This helps an awful lot in not having lots of pips and stalks in the netting. Slowly pass this mixture through the netting. It took quite a long time. But the result was worth it. When this is done put the jelly into your heated prepared jars and seal.
Do you have any good recipes that we can use the jelly with? I’d love to know.