If you’re eating with the seasons then rhubarb is currently the cream of the crop.
The spring vegetable that’s often used as a fruit is flourishing right now but it’s an ingredient that makes home cooks balk.
The problem is people don’t know how to use it beyond the classic crumble. But cook and food author Rosemary Moon says we shouldn’t be afraid of trying new dishes with versatile rhubarb.
‘People think you have to use a lot of sugar with it and we have a bit of a phobia about that,’ says the Chichester food expert. ‘But you can decrease the amount of sugar by using things like angelica. And rhubarb can be used with so many things. It works well with strawberries as a compote, or redcurrants.’
Try this recipe from Riverford Organic Farms.
Gingerbread with rhubarb and orange fool
3 tbsp black treacle
175g unsalted butter, diced
175g dark muscovado sugar
325g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
n For the fool:
500g rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm lengths
150g caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 oranges
250ml double cream
1.Preheat oven to 160˚C. Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm tray.
2.Put the treacle, milk, butter and sugar in a pan and gently heat until the butter and sugar has melted. Remove from heat and leave to cool for about five minutes, then stir in the beaten eggs.
3.Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Tip in the egg/sugar mixture and stir until it’s combined. Pour into the tray and bake for about 45 mins, until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4.Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5.For the fool, put rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest in a pan. Gently heat for about 10/15 minutes, until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat and cool. Whisk cream in a bowl – just enough so that it is forming soft peaks. Add the rhubarb mixture and gently fold into the cream. Serve the gingerbread cut into squares with a dollop of fool on the side.