This week’s veg box from the enterprising crew at Bert’s Barrow farm shop – now a brilliant no-contact drive-thru – features the last of the fabulous Yorkshire forced rhubarb. Knowing how much we Yorkshire folk love our rhubarb, Charlotte and Jason who run Bert’s, bought out the last of this year’s crop from grower Jonny Hicks’ shed at Howden.
But rather than knocking up the usual crumble or pie, gorgeous as they are, I thought it was fitting for the rhubarb swansong to do something a bit different, so here are two recipes that will keep the lovely pink stuff in your kitchen for a little bit longer.
First up is a rhubarb jammy spread – or compote if we’re being a bit posh – which is brilliant on toast or dolloped into your morning yoghurt.
You need about 125g caster sugar, a couple of rhubarb stalks cut into small chunks, a knob of stem ginger in syrup finely chopped, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Throw the sugar into a clean non-stick saute pan and cook on a medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Don’t fiddle with it otherwise it will crystallise. Once the sugar has almost caramelised, gently swirl the pan to make sure all the sugar is incorporated. You should have a dark amber syrup.
Chuck in the rhubarb, ginger and the white vinegar and cook until very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool. Stir in salt and pepper if you like, and decant to a sterilised jar – an old carefully-washed washed jam jar will do, as long as you put it in a cool oven (about 140C/Gas 1) for 10 minutes or so to sterilise it. There you have it – a little pink unctuousness to set you up for these lock down days.
Next up is rhubarb butter, also good on toast but utterly fabulous melted over freshly cooked veg, plenty of which is available at Bert’s Barrow. Cut a large rhubarb stalk into small chunks and throw in a pan with the juice of half an orange, 2 tablespoon dollops of honey – naturally I used beautiful stuff made by Yorkshire bees – and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root. Bring to a simmer and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft but not completely mushed.
Drain over a small bowl making sure you keep the juices which are amazing drizzled over a whole chicken before you roast it. Let the rhubarb pulp cool then mix it with 125g of unsalted butter until smooth. Season with a bit of salt adding pepper if you like to give it a bit of bite. Take some cling film or baking parchment and roll into a log, twisting the ends to seal. Chill in the fridge until hard, slicing discs off to jazz up your veg as you want it.
So that’s the rhubarb used up. There’s lovely red cabbage in this week’s box too, so watch out for ideas on how to use that in the coming days. I’m now back to the kitchen to start conjuring up ideas….
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