There’s one thing I love as the Summer starts to wind down and that’s the amount of gorgeous fruit that we see pouring into greengrocers, rhubarb for example! I’ve always loved rhubarb and my Grandmother used to grow it, we’d have lashings of stewed rhubarb and custard or rhubarb crumble, simply gorgeous! It’s so sweet, tangy and comforting!
I missed out on the Elderflower season, I really wanted to make lashings of cordial to see me through the winter, ‘Elderflower Prosecco’ made with well….Prosecco and one part cordial, delish! I got really excited when I saw it in Ikea and tried it out but it wasn’t great. So I went hell for leather on the rhubarb!
It all started this year when a colleague of mine, presented me with a big bunch of rhubarb from her allotment, the woman has the greenest fingers you could imagine and we’re always sharing baking tips with each other. Anyway, my eyes lit up and first thing I did was take a good whiff, I love the smell of it but it’s rather sour smelling and earthy when raw so I was thinking of all the possibilities, jam? Crumble? Arrgh! Too much choice!
I decided to bake the rhubarb with some lavender sugar which is simply some lavender heads strewn into a Kilner jar of sugar and left to infuse. Lavender sugar add’s a delicate flavour and I also love to add it to shortbread too, whether you leave the heads in or sieve them out is completely up to you but for the rhubarb, I sieved them out. Just wash the rhubarb, chop it into little fingers and top with about half a cup of sugar, bake it at 170°C for 20 minutes, covered with foil and then remove the foil when time is up, baking for a further 15 minutes. You’ll be left with a syrupy, delicious baked fruit which is gorgeous with granola or with a little warm custard.
I can’t get enough of this fruit, I bought some more yesterday and made a simple syrup to which I added washed and chopped rhubarb, cooked it town and passed it through a sieve, allow it to cool and add it to sparkling wine or vodka for a nice refreshing summer tipple. I had loads left after adding it to some Cava lastnight, so, I decided to make rhubarb jelly!
To make rhubarb jelly, start with a syrup, I added about 1/2 cup of sugar to a 500mls water and heating it until the sugar has dissolved, I added about 6 stalks of chopped rhubarb, cooked it down for about 30 mins on the lowest heat setting on your stovetop. Sieve the rhubarb into a container, using the back of a soup spoon to push all the juice out. After you remove all the juice, you’ll be left with a putty like mass of rhubarb fibres, you can toss that but return the syrup to a saucepan. Soak 4 gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes and then add it to the syrup and stir on medium heat until dissolved but don’t boil. Then just choose your glasses and pour the jelly into them, allow to cool and refrigerate until set. Top the jelly with some custard and serve!