I remember when we bought our house first, we were thrilled to have a garden. After years living in tiny apartments, and especially the previous 2 years in a ground floor box of an apartment with no balcony or outside space, we were thrilled when we bought our house. It has no major front garden but has, what was to us at the time, a huge back garden with loads of potential. We had lofty dreams of vegetable patches, herb gardens, greenhouses, cherry blossom trees. We tried the lot, and then realised that neither of us are particularly green fingered. Gardening is hard work and the rewards require patience which I don’t think either of us have. In fairness most of the ideas were his but one that was mine was growing our own rhubarb. We grew it in a large pot and in fairness with got some nice rhubarb one season. By the time the next season came around, all the pot contained was weeds! So back to the supermarket to buy my rhubarb which is less hassle and while season is not expensive. Needless to say a number of years on in our house, the garden contains a rather oversized trampoline, a swing, multiple scooters, bikes, tractors, not to mention the 20 footballs and goal posts. The one thing that does remain from our original garden dreams is my cherry blossom tree.
I LOOOOOOVE RHUBARB!! Totally adore it, would eat it with anything for any meal or just for the sake of eating. One of the things I like about rhubarb is that is one of the few vegetables that you can only really get in season. So with the limited window in the year when rhubarb is a possibility I think the only thing to do is make as much rhubarb as possible. As a child, I remember rhubarb stewed with custard and rhubarb tarts which are what I would call the usual things to do with rhubarb but this year I decided I would try out some other things to do with rhubarb and add it too as many things as possible.
Rhubarb and ginger cupcakes
I like making cupcakes, because they are quick and easy, there is always enough for everyone and they look pretty. Also, who doesn’t like cupcakes! However I wanted to incorporate my first purchase of rhubarb of the year and do something a little different. So I took out “The Flavour Thesaurus” and looked up rhubarb flavour combinations and happened upon ginger. I added a teaspoon of ground ginger to my usual cupcake recipe and then a cup of finely chopped rhubarb (1cup for a batch of 12). You need to chop finely enough that it will cook in the 12 minutes or so but big enough to know they are there! To decorate them, I used a meringue-type frosting made with a rhubarb syrup! They were Yummee but I did discover some people who don’t like rhubarb!! Strange individuals!
Moelleux au Chocolat with Rhubarb Compote
After watching the second episode of Series 1 of “Little Paris Kitchen” and seeing how simple a Moelleux au Chocolat with a salted caramel centre appeared, I decided I had to make one. Of course I realised too late in the evening that I had no cream to make the caramel. So to improvise, I decided to make a rhubarb compote to accompany my molten chocolate.
I made my compote with 2 cups of rhubarb, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water simmered to 116oC for about 5 minutes. The result is a soft, sweet and tangy compote that I had to restrain myself to stop eating and wait for the accompanying cake. The cake was not the world’s greatest moelleux au chocolat but it still tasted good and the compote went fantastically with it. Of course, if you manage to have any of the rhubarb compote left over it can be used on any number of dishes. The Gastronomic Girls like theirs on yoghurt and in smoothies but I am sure the possibilities are endless.
I plan to continue my mission to find additional things to do with Rhubarb that are just as Yummee! Feel free to leave me some suggestions, maybe even savoury things