Rhubarb Memories

My love of rhubarb is a long lasting one. I have early memories of sitting on top of the rabbit hutch, legs dangling and dipping freshly cut rhubarb into a cup of sugar… I wear these sweet and sour  memories like a rhubarb coloured coat that feels really cosy.
The two bunches of rhubarb below were picked at the same time – one from the forced plant and one from the traditional patch. Rhubarb is easy to harvest as all you have to do is pull and twist the stalk at the base and it will neatly come away. From the photos you can see that the forced rhubarb has much smaller leaves but the stems are cleaner and more colourful being a beautiful pinky/red.

Compare The Rhubarb

I washed the rhubarb well, mouth watering and chopped it into bite size pieces and the taste test was completed when the rhubarb was raw. And the results? Well, the forced rhubarb was noticeably sweeter and had more of the rhubarb tang to it so I’d definitely recommend forcing it if you can.
There’s so many things you can do with rhubarb – crumble, pie, cobbler, fools and cakes to mention a few. It is also good with strawberries to sweeten it and even with mackerel (although I have never tried this combo!). Rhubarb and custard are delightful together but I had a hankering for Rhubarb ice-cream. The recipe below is really simple, there’s no churning involved and I ate a quarter of the tub before remembering to take a photograph.

Honey Roasted Rhubarb Icecream
Bear with me – I threw this together so feel free to experiment.

1 carton of whipping cream
1/3 cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of chopped rhubarb
Enough honey to drizzle

Spread the freshly cut rhubarb onto a non stick sheet and drizzle in honey. Slow roast for 20 mins or so under soft and bubbling slightly. In the meantime whisk the cream into soft peaks (not too much) and stir in the sifted icing sugar (to suit taste). Once the roasted rhubarb has cooled fold in this gently into the cream mixture, pour into a suitable container and then into the freezer for a couple of hours. I like the rippled effect but if your mix it more thoroughly you’ll get a lovely pink coloured ice-cream!

Rhubarb Icecream

Rhubarb Cake

This was a Pinterest recipe treasure I found for Grandma’s Rhubarb Cake at Dulce Dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 1/2 cups raw rhubarb, cut small

Topping:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325°F  2. Prepare 9×13 or 8×12 pan by spraying with cooking spray  3. Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl  4. Add eggs and vanilla and stir  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt  6. Alternately stir in the buttermilk and the flour mixture into the other ingredients  7. Fold in rhubarb  8. Pour into prepared pan  9. Combine sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of cake  10. Bake in 9×13 or 8×12 pan at 325°F for 40 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minsCook time: 40 mins. Total time: 55 mins. Yield: 1 cake

Rhubarb Cake

The cake had the texture of carrot cake (rhubarb is a veg I suppose) and was especially nice on Day 2. It is really delicious warmed slightly and served with a portion of the rhubarb ice-cream… but that might be one stalk too far for all but the seasoned rhubarb muncher!!

For More Rhubarb Ideas Visit My Pinterest Site  (no need to knock, just come on in!)

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Green Things

Kitchen Garden April 13

The herb border is looking rather ragged and this isn’t helped by the cats rolling around it but generally things are looking greener. Bella smells particularly fragrant at times (rather like Thyme) so I know where she’s been and when I’m out there both kitties love to roll around in the soil. It’s so good to be outside again and it’s lovely to see the currants and gooseberry in leaf – I hope to get a reasonable crop this year before the birds have a feast. I’m growing potatoes for the first time and using a black tub with drainage holes in the bottom. I’ve since covered this tub over with bubble wrap as I fear it looks remarkably like a cat litter tray!

Fairy House for Sale

The fairy garden is filling out nicely and is starting to be dwarfed by the squash, aubergine and chilli seedlings. There’s no occupants at the moment probably because of the two, furry creatures that zoom around at a hundred miles an hour before collapsing outside for a rest….

Cats In Kitchen Garden

Spring Brights

Spring FlowersMy poor little plastic greenhouse didn’t survive the high winds and neither did the pots and trays of seedlings. I’m not too disheartened though as the remains of the greenhouse was found next to my car and luckily there was no damage to the paint work! I’ve scooped up the soil and battered seedlings (RIP) and decided to wait a couple of weeks and plant directly as I can’t risk growing more seeds indoors (crious cats) and the greenhouse is now modern art.

Forced Rhubarb

I uncovered the rhubarb that has been forced (don’t think me too cruel) and was amazed at the beautiful colours of the leaves and stems. The rhubarb plant to the rear in the photo above is the same variety – this has been left to grow normally so I’m going to do a taste test at the weekend to see if the forced rhubarb is really sweeter… or just grateful to see daylight at long last!

Fairy Garden

Well, here’s the fairy garden.. it’s a nice little plot with a temporary dwelling to the rear of the garden and there is planning permission for a more suitable fairy property in the future. It’s currently vacant and the asking price is some help in the Kitchen Garden (mainly to keep the slug population in check and pull a few weeds as they pop up)… ooh, and some magical frost protection would give them free house insurance.

Fairy GardenThe kittens have been making me laugh so much. Two crab apple trees arrived in the post and before I could dispose of the box they decided to hijack it and make it their own. They’ve realised it’s great for sleeping in, hiding in, peeping out of and unexpectedly swiping at things that pass by! It’s quite a long, thin box so it doesn’t fit in the utility room very easily so it’s currently in the garden room where they use it as a hide to watch the rabbits.

Cat in a box

When the cats weren’t playing in their box they were outside chasing insects. They’ve tried stalking the local pheasants but get scared once the birds turn and look them in the eye.

Cats in sunshine

If you would like to see two fairy gardens that are fully occupied and full of fun then I recommend that you visit lovely Alys who inspired me to make a fairy garden. You can then hop over to Boomdee’s Gnome Home and have a look at her vintage vibe… I hope my fairy garden will have good occupants soon 🙂