Wednesday, 9 June 2010

T'is the season to eat rhubarb, tralalalalaaa

And boy are we eating rhubarb!

Inspired by my good friends on The Grapevine
I have recently been making all things rhubarb related. Short of bursting into "Jerusalem" and donning a WI pinny I'm pretty sure I'm almost ready for my membership!

Thus far I have made:

Rhubarb Schnapps.

Recipe; Rhubarb Liqueur / Schnapps

in a large sterilised jar put 2 finely sliced sticks of rhubarb
3 cloves (if liked, I hate it)
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp sugar
1 litre brandy/gin/vodka

shake well, leave in a cool dark place for 4 weeks, shaking daily.
Strain through muslin into another sterilised jar, and leave for 3 months to mature.

Here's mine, currently maturing. Looks nice and clear - better than I'd hoped for.

I have also made Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

1kg (2lb 4oz) trimmed Rhubarb, chopped
1kg (2lb 4oz) Sugar
600ml (1 pint) Water
100g (4oz) Crystallised Ginger, chopped
25g (1oz) Root Ginger
2 Small Lemons, juice only

Trim and chop the rhubarb.
Bruise the ginger well and tie in a muslin bag.
Place the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and muslin bag into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with water.
Bring to the boil.
Boil, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until the fruit is tender.
Remove the muslin bag.
Add the chopped crystallised ginger.
Return to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb is clear, stirring frequently.
Test for a set, when the setting point is reached, remove from the heat.
Skim the surface with a slotted spoon.
Pot the jam into sterilised jars.

Though I don't recall adding the water.....

Still, seems to have turned out ok.

Tastes sweet - which I guess will be down to the mountain of sugar, and has a little bit of a tang, which is undoubtedly the ginger.

I have also made two lots of chutney. Firstly, just called "Rhubarb Chutney" as mentioned by a fellow 'Grape' on-vine:

I found this by Mike Robinson:

500g rhubarb
200g brown sugar
6 banan shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove
3 garlic cloves, chopped
100g cherry tomatoes
200ml red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juice and zest

Place the rhubarb into a pan with a drop of water and add the sugar. Cook on a medium heat until softened.
Add the shallots, spices, garlic and tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Add red wine vinegar and lemon juice and zest. Simmer for 2 hours until most of the liquid has evaporated. Check for seasoning and leave to cool. Store in clean, airtight jars.

This only made a small amount of chutney - but plenty for us.

And last night I made some rhubarb and date chutney - recipe from the BBC website:

Be warned though, the recipe doesn't print out the ingredients if you press the 'print recipe' icon, which is why you'll see my scrawlings in one of the pictures.

Oh, and it needs to cook for way longer than the 15-20 mins they say, but then again that might be down to my chunky chopping?

I have also previsously made rhubarb bellini's - very successful, and rhubarb flapjacks, not so successful. They were very 'wet' and just ended up like a rhubarb version of bread pudding.

On another note, I've been tidying up the garden a bit and trying to get my sweet peas to liven up a bit. Whilst doing so I took a few quick snaps of the various flora that seems to be coming to life at the moment.

There's this one (which I can't remember the name of - so if anyone has any pointers...)


Alliums (though they look a little fuller now)

The foxgloves have finally started to show bloom too - which is always a mood lifter.

Now, I know they look a bit straggly, but the Viola just keep on coming on the hanging baskets at the back of the house. I don't have the heart to pull them out and start again!

One more thing before I go - Bean is starting to really 'get' his climbing frame (which now occupies half of the garden). He has started to attempt climbing up the various ladders, and I managed to get him sat on the swing the other day. His shouts of "weeeee" tell me he enjoyed it.

Whilst harvesting the rhubarb last night (quickly, to avoid getting drenched through) I had a quick gander around the plot and was encouraged (and a little disheartened), by what I saw. The peas seem to be doing great - as do most things, including the darned weeds.

Looks like I need to get hoeing!


Anonymous said...

The mystery flower is an aquilegia (granny's bonnet).

GowerBizAngel said...

The flower is called Aquilegia in Uk and Columbine in US, or colloquially known as Grannies Bonnet in Wales!