COOKING WITH / RHUBARB

We tend to look forward to Wednesday’s in our kitchens, as it’s the day we receive our weekly delivery of fresh produce from our friend Seb at Seb’s Organics. We never quite know what ‘gems’ Seb will throw into the mix, as he’s acquired a bit of a reputation for surprising us with produce we haven’t ordered… we’re not complaining!

April brings with it a gorgeous selection of fruit and veg which adds plenty of colour to our plates – one of our favourites, rhubarb.

Originally grown for medicinal purposes in the 18th century, rhubarb is both a fruit and a vegetable. Packed full of nutritional benefits which aid towards a healthy diet, rhubarb has been linked to lowering cholesterol, stimulating the bodies metabolic rate, and playing a positive role in preventing stomach cancer. It’s important to note that the leaves of the plant are not edible due to the high levels of oxalic acid – but I have another use for them later on.

This month I’m turning to Chef Alix of The Bookshop to share with us her delicious Rhubarb and Orange Posset recipe. It’s been a favourite from our Sunday Lunch menu for the past few weeks, and deserves to be added to your family cookbooks to be enjoyed for years to come.

Enjoy,
Dorian
 

FUN FACTS

1.  If you want to clean your saucepans, boil rhubarb stalks in a little water; the resultant acidic mix shines even the dullest of pan interiors in a matter of minutes.
2.  Organic insecticide: Boil rhubarb leaves in a few pints of water for 20 minutes, strain the liquid and add soap flakes to fight off leaf-eating insects.

   

WHAT YOU'LL NEED...
TIME: Prep – overnight / Making: 1hr approx. / Cooling + Setting: 2-3hrs approx.
Makes 6 portions

POACHED RHUBARB
• 1kg Rhubarb
• 3 Oranges (Zest + Juice)
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 1 Vanilla Pod  
• ½ tsp Vanilla Paste
• 1-2 Sprigs Thyme
• 250g Caster Sugar

 ORANGE POSSETS
• 1L Double Cream
• 150g Sugar
• 2 Oranges Juiced + 3 Zested

GINGER BISCUIT SNAPS
• 350g Flour
• 125g Dark Brown Sugar
• 100g Butter
• 1 Egg
• 4 tbsp Golden Syrup
• 1 tbsp Bicarbonate of Soda

METHODS...

POACHED RHUBARB

Cut rhubarb into 2cm chunks, add to a large, deep baking tray with the bay leaves, vanilla pods, orange zest, sugar and thyme, mix and leave to infuse overnight. Add the orange juice to rhubarb mixture and poach in the oven at 160 for 10 minutes or until just soft. Make sure you drain and keep any extra juice.

ORANGE POSSETS

Place the poached rhubarb in the bottom of the glasses. To make the posset, put the cream and sugar in a heavy based pan on medium heat, constantly stirring together. Once all of the sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil and take off the heat. Stirring constantly, add orange zest followed by orange juice. Once everything is combined, pour in the ready glasses with the rhubarb.

Place the glasses in the fridge for a couple of hours to cool and set. In the meantime, get the extra juice and pour into a pan to reduce on low heat. Leave to simmer until it is the consistency of syrup.

 

GINGER BISCUIT SNAPS

Preheat oven to 180C and line a few baking trays with grease proof paper. Place flour, ginger, butter and bicarbonate of soda in to a mixer until it becomes a crumb (if you don’t have a mixer, use your finger tips using the rubbing-in method to combine). Then add the sugar and mix well. Add golden syrup and egg until a firm pastry forms – if it is a little soggy, add a touch more flour. Cover and place in fridge over night (or for a couple of hours). Using a well floured surface, roll out to 5mm thick and cut out into rounds. Bake for 7 minutes at 180C until golden and crisp.

Once the possets have set sufficiently, the biscuits have cooled, and the juice has been reduced to a syrup, everything is ready to be assembled. Put a little syrup on top of the posset, break up the ginger biscuits and place on top of the posset.

Lastly, if you're looking for more exciting ways to incorporate rhubarb into savoury dishes, I recommend trying it as a sauce to accompany pork, goose or mackerel.