Rhubarb. My brother grows rhubarb in his garden, and spends his time trimming it back and passing it around to relatives. My Father LOVES rhubarb, he is a bit old school and likes to stew it with nearly half a bag of sugar, which succeeds in stripping your teeth of their enamel immediately. My Dads rhubarb definitely separates the men from the boys.
However, I find that my teeth are quite useful, I do like rhubarb, but think that it is often overlooked and people just don’t know what to do with it. It can be wincingly sour, tart, and just downright acidic. But it does produce some pretty colours, and when done right can be a great accompaniment to porridge or with yoghurt as a lovely compote for breakfast, or if you are a traditionalist like my Dad, he likes his rhubarb with custard for a very simple dessert. And for the more sophisticated, why not have the rhubarb compote with panna cotta?
For those of you who have never tried rhubarb, you need to take care. The leaves are poisonous and must be removed NOT CONSUMED. Only heatproof glass, enameled cast iron and stainless steel are suitable cooking utensils. This vegetable produces oxalic acid that will cause serious damage if you simmer your stalks in an aluminum pan.
We spooned our compote into glass jars that I had laying about the house and had it with creamy yoghurt, topped with crushed hazelnuts.
What do I need?
- 400g young rhubarb
- 150g Blueberries
- 3 heaping tbsp honey
- 1 orange ( zest and juice)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 2 whole star anise
What Do I Do?
- Set the oven at 160C/gas mark 3.
- Trim the rhubarb and cut it into short lengths.
- Put the pieces into a baking dish, then pour over the honey.
- Grate in orange zest, then cut the orange in half, squeeze it over the rhubarb.
- Add the cinnamon stick and the star anise, and 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice.
- Pile in the Blueberries and mix through
- Cover with a piece of foil or a lid, bake for 30 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but has kept its shape.
(Photography by David McClelland)