Monday, 18 April 2011

rhubarb



it's rhubarb season again... it's Spring... the birds are singing... the lambs are leaping... the bees are busy... an empty egg-shell has been found under the cherry blossom tree... I can start thieving giant rhubarb stalks from the neighbour again... all is good in the world!

... i've just been on the radio, on the lovely Vanessa Kimbell's BBC Northamptonshire show, I called in to speak to Douglas Blyde... brilliant food writer and reviewer... I wanted to ask him a few tips on food writing but of course I ended up talking about me and my food blog... we got around to talking about what's in season and of course the humble rhubarb was the star of the show... there's just so much you can do with it, both sweet, such as this divine baked Rhubarb and Almond Pudding and savoury, like this extraordinary Rhubarb Chicken... I also love simply roasting it with sugar and orange blossom honey... but one of my favourites is Rhubarb Curd, it's fantastic for making these cheeky Rhubarb Shortbread Bars but also makes a wonderful Rhubarb, Ginger and Honey Ice Cream... well, the sun has been shining all weekend, so it must be ice cream time right?

simply roasted with sugar and orange blossom honey

First we have to make our curd... now, i've cheated ever so slightly with the colour here as I prefer a deep pink and my rhubarb was quite green inside but if you're purchasing rhubarb in the shops the stalks you buy are usually much pinker anyway so you shouldn't need the food colouring...

Rhubarb Curd
400g rhubarb - cut into chunks
55g sugar (I like mine quite sharp but you can add more to taste)

6 egg yolks
150g sugar
a pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter - cubed
the zest of 1 lemon

- sprinkle the rhubarb with sugar, place it in a pan and let it sit for 10 minutes

- add a splash of water and heat the rhubarb gently until soft and there are no more chunks, then set aside to cool then whizz the rhubarb up with a hand held blender until pureed

- next, in a double boiler ( a bowl over boiling water) whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until warm, go steady and make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl or the eggs will curdle.

- add a cup of the pureed rhubarb and lemon zest and continue to stir... add more rhubarb until the desired texture and colour is reached, finally add the butter and stir until glossy

curd on the left, puree on the right

... now making the ice cream is easy, you can simply place the curd into an ice cream maker and just use this, or you can add any number of things such as cream, crystalized ginger, honey, chocolate chunks... anything really... if you don't have an ice cream maker, simply pour it into a plastic container and freeze, take it out and stir it every 3 hours or so... and you should have some curd and puree left over which you can keep in the fridge for up to a week to use in any number of ways.


... now, before you go, i'd like to take a moment to introduce a new blog to you... Belleau Cottage... i'm a little bit biased but after many months of nagging and encouragement I have finally got The Viking to start his blog... it's called Belleau Cottage - Rural Therapy and I suppose it's partly about his love of the garden and part biography but it's also a way for him to channel his thoughts and feelings about this crazy world. His writing style is excellent... very floral (excuse the pun) and a joy to read... but bear with him, he's just starting and on occasion it may seem as though he's ranting about the madness of it all, but I can promise you some wonderful gems and some delightful photography... plus you get the added bonus of seeing where we live and our wonderful surroundings here in the Lincolnshire Wolds!

eat and of course, enjoy!

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