Saturday, 3 October 2015

Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

Roobarb and Custard- remember them?

I'm carrying on this month's 'garden produce' theme with a rhubarb special this week- as my allotment friend was kind enough to give me a big bagful.

In addition to the usual crumble- not to be sniffed at of course as it's always a favourite- I'm making a rhubarb relish to go with savoury dishes, a rhubarb clafoutis and a rhubarb and plum tatin, along with any other ideas which occur to me along the way.

So - I need two pans of stewed rhubarb- one sweet, one not so sweet.

First- stew your rhubarb!

The first is sweetened with a little golden syrup, flavoured with some mixed spice- and not a lot else. This will make the crumble.

(Crumble mix- 3 parts flour to 1 part each sugar and butter, add some flavours with cinnamon or ginger or change the texture with some rolled oats or crushed biscuits- blitz and off you go!)

Good old rhubarb crumble

I don't add any water, as the rhubarb produces lots of lovely syrup itself. If you have too much liquid, save it in a jug in the fridge and add it to different fresh fruit ( here grapes and plums) for a crumble variation later in the week.

Give some fresh fruit a rhubarb kick

The rhubarb relish goes as follows:

250g rhubarb
handful of sultanas and/or chopped dates
1 chopped onion
125 ml  white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp each salt and ground ginger

Boil in a saucepan until thick and chutney-like. Taste and adjust salt/vinegar levels.

This is just meant to be kept for a week or thereabouts so I haven't poured it into sterilised jars etc etc. Instead it sits happily in a container in the fridge- until I used it :

Firstly- to accompany grilled mackerel

Grilled mackerel with rhubarb relish

Secondly- to go with a sausage baguette and salad

Sausage sandwich with relish

And finally, a spoonful stirred into an onion and red wine sauce to go with sausage and mash.

Rhubarb and Onion Gravy

(Brown one chopped onion, pour in a cupful of red wine and boil to reduce. Add some gravy granules to thicken ( or stock, followed by a little more reducing), season, add the rhubarb to sweeten the sauce and hey presto!)

Now for the Tatin.

Take an ovenproof frying pan and melt 2 tbsp sugar in a tablespoon of water to make a caramel.

Melt sugar in water

Lay your fruit, cut side down into the caramel- I used plums and filled in the spaces with rhubarb.

Carefully start laying in your fruit
Tuck a circle of puff pastry over the top.

Cover with puff pastry
Bake in a hot oven until the pastry is risen and golden and the fruit juices are starting to bubble around the edges ( about 20 minutes).

Ready to come out of the oven
Carefully remove from the oven (don't burn your hands on the frying pan handle). Allow to cool a little before turning out onto a serving plate.

Rhubarb and Plum Tatin

Finally-the clafoutis. (A sort of sweet fruity Yorkshire pudding).

Mix together 60 g of flour, 1 tsp of ground ginger and 100g of icing sugar.
Beat 3 eggs with 100ml of milk and 100ml of cream.Add it to the dry ingredients and beat to a smooth batter.
Creamy batter

Part-cook the rhubarb with a squeeze of golden syrup- until it is just al dente.(A matter of minutes).

Lightly oil a pudding dish and spread the rhubarb over the base.

Pour on the batter mix and bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) until risen and golden.

Clafoutis straight out of the oven- it does sink a bit later on..

Dust with icing sugar before serving- and have with ice cream.

Rhubarb Clafoutis


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