Do extras in films really mutter rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb when they’re pretending to have a conversation? Whether they do or not, meals here are a bit rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.
I like to have a clump of rhubarb in the garden that, with little effort on my part, reliably pops up every year. First the tiniest spear emerges, followed by a bright green crinkly leaf that gradually unfolds as the rhubarb rises from the ground.
We seem to have two different varieties; one produces long, slim deep pink stems and the other stout, green stems with just a touch of red that grow almost as thick as my wrist if I leave them for too long.
Both varieties are doing very well at the moment so I’m cooking rather a lot of rhubarb.
Mostly I just mix it with some sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water and bung it in the oven for 15 minutes to make a compote. The compote can be eaten on its own, with yoghurt or folded into a custard and cream mixture to make a fool, though I only use the red rhubarb for that as the green stems make a rather sludgy looking fool. I’ve frozen plenty of rhubarb crumbles so that on cold winter days I can quickly heat them up to to eat surrounded by a moat of custard.
Here’s five more ways to use rhubarb.
1. Rhubarb with Strawberry Gin.
Nigel Slater has a recipe for cooking rhubarb in sloe gin, which makes a gloriously deep coloured dish. This variation is pinker and the strawberry taste shines through making it a little more summery.
Chop 750g rhubarb into short lengths, toss into a glass dish with 100g caster sugar and 120ml of Strawberry Gin. I cook it in a hot oven (about 220C) for 15 minutes (plus another five minutes if I’m using the thick stemmed variety) until the fruit is tender though NS recommends a good forty minutes at 160C. Eat warm or cold.
2.Rhubarb and Custard Cake.
Margot posted a recipe for a delicious looking Berry and Custard Cake but as I have no berries, I substituted rhubarb. I used only 300g rhubarb as I thought it might be a bit soggy with more. This is a wonderfully forgiving cake if you (a) forget to add the eggs so have to take the tin out of the oven and tip the mixture back in the bowl and (b) try to take it out of the tin before it’s cooled and then gather up the sloppy custardy mess and plonk it back.
3. Rhubarb Jelly.
4. Rhubarb Bitters
A subtle aromatic bitters to add a little joy to your lemonade and lime. Find my recipe here.
5. Rhubarb Flatbread
I was looking for different ways to use up the rhubarb and came across Johanna’s
Rhubarb and Raspberry Foccacia at Green Gourmet Giraffe . A little more searching and I turned up all sorts of variations. The addition of sesame seeds comes from The Shed: The Cookbook. This is surprisingly good with smoked mackerel or ham and I’d happily eat this warm for breakfast.
Next on the list is Rhubarb Relish and possibly raw rhubarb in a salad, though I’m not convinced about the raw rhubarb. Do you eat raw rhubarb?