Rhubarb….love it or hate it?

Well, I love rhubarb but I know not everybody does however, ever the optimist, I’m hoping to convert you with these yummy rhubarb recipes!

I’ve always been a bit green-fingered, does that make me middle aged? It probably does. We’ve had a go at growing our own veggies ever since we’ve had our own garden and now we have a pretty decent amount of space to grow them in so we’re getting braver with our growing experiments. This year we’ve planted potatoes, broccoli, kale, courgette, a variety of squashes and various beans including mangetout and sugar snap peas. I’ve also created a new herb bed which already contains a huge bay leaf tree as well as an old sage bush, and what I think is oregano, and I’ve  planted some new rosemary, mint, thyme, fennel and lemon verbena. We have a couple of different types of basil in pots by the back door as well as coriander and pak choy along with our well established strawberry bed which is just coming into flower now. I have to say, it’s pretty satisfying this gardening lark, and if I don’t forget to water it all then fingers crossed we’ll have a lovely crop this year!

So here’s my monster rhubarb plant. It’s looking a bit of a mess since the hubs had a bonfire right next to it but I have to say, it’s the most reliable of plants, appearing like clockwork every year. I get at least 3-4 crops off it and the first batch gave me the most enormous bowl to work with. IMG_0081_2

So you’re wondering what I made aren’t you? Well here’s a taster for you: rhubarb & tomato chutney, rhubarb & lemon curd, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb eton mess and even rhubarb semi-freddo! Impressed? I know I was! And knackered.

IMG_5046

I thought I’d share with you my new invention of rhubarb & lemon curd because I ended up using it in a few of the other recipes to great success. It’s sweet, tangy and extremely versatile so it’s worth making a bit batch of it and popping it in the fridge to get creative with.

IMG_5029
Rhubarb & Lemon Curd

Rhubarb & Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 3 small pots
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You will need this:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g veggie butter, melted
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3tsp cornflour
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 300ml rhubarb juice

You make it like this:

  1. Put a large saucepan of chopped up rhubarb on to simmer with a tsp vanilla, 1cup of caster sugar and 1cup of orange juice
  2. Simmer for 15mins or so until the rhubarb is soft and mushy
  3. Take off the heat and carefully strain the rhubarb through a sieve into a large jug to collect all the juice
  4. Push the rhubarb down with the back of a wooden spoon until all you have left is green rhubarb mush but the jug should be full of lovely pink rhubarb juice
  5. Then to make the curd, blitz together in a food processor or blender, all the ingredients except the butter
  6. Melt the butter and then slowly add it to the rest of the ingredients
  7. Then add in 300ml of the rhubarb juice
  8. Pour it all into a glass bowl and set over a pan of boiling water
  9. Stir every now and again until it starts to thicken (about 10-15mins or so)
  10. Once the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it’s ready to decant into your jars and pop in the fridge to set

So I’m going to let you into a secret now. I have only just learnt to make meringues. At the ripe old age of 40 (shhhhh) I finally took the plunge with my 8 egg whites left over from making the curd. I googled it. I popped them into my Kitchenaid. I added sugar. And vinegar, why I don’t know? I baked them on low for an hour. And here’s what happened…..meringue success!!

I might have made rather a lot!!

Well the kids ate all the little ones with fruit and ice cream…..nom nom they said. But I managed to keep their sticky paws off the big ones and made some proper grown up treats with them.

So I know everyone goes in for pavlova in a big way but the thing is…..I don’t particularly like meringue (I know I’m weird) and I hate cream in any form so obviously pavlova is not my favourite kind of pudding. So I was thinking about how to use this lovely meringue I’d made, minus the cream, and there it was staring me in the face….the rhubarb & lemon curd.

Of course you could make it however you wanted but I got a bit silly and made a pattern on the top (why? who knows) and then decorated it with some beautiful pink rhubarb slices. I simmered some rhubarb with vanilla, sugar and orange juice just gently for 10 mins or so until the rhubarb slices remained whole but soft. I gently pulled out all the whole slices and laid them on kitchen towel to dry off a little before cutting them thinly.

IMG_5037
Rhubarb & lemon curd topped meringue

Gorgeous isn’t it? It made a really lovely pudding and would be an easy make for a summer dinner party to share with friends. You could load on the curd, it could definitely take more than I used here, and you could top it with all sorts of fresh summer fruit and berries. Try a berry topping with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries or a tropical version using mango and passionfruit. Yum.

So at this point I had one last meringue to get creative with and get creative I certainly did. I made the most delicious, sweet, tangy, crunchy, heavenly sort-of eton mess. This is how it happened: using some of the gently simmered rhubarb from above I took a large spoonful and mixed it with some coconut cream. (I opened a can of full fat coconut milk and spooned out the thick cream off the top). This was my bottom layer. I then topped it with broken meringue pieces and a couple of spoonfuls of rhubarb & lemon curd and then I repeated the layers again. On the top layer I then added a sprinkle of crumble mixture (a handful of oats, desiccated coconut & almonds baked at 180c for 15mins stirring until golden brown) and some extra curd with some fresh raspberries for decoration.

IMG_5044
Rhubarb eton mess

Hey presto one sexy, scrumptious and sinfully delicious eton mess for dessert! You wouldn’t say no would you?!

IMG_5039
A glass of yum

So I hope you enjoyed my little bit of rhubarb inspiration! If you’ve got a rhubarb plant lurking at the bottom of your garden go and get yourself an armful and get busy in the kitchen. There’s nothing more satisfying than making something delicious from something you grew yourself.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s