Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Taste of Summer

I am often quite surprised at the palette of our 2 year old son and his willingness to try new flavours. I am fortunate that he has always been a good eater. He loves most foods apart from cheese (my husband and I don't like it either). He will happily eat olives, enjoy the sharpness of a lemon wedge and this week when I made sushi for tea he wanted to try the pickled ginger that we had as part of it. I thought it would be a bit strong for him but he ate it and asked for more! I am not sure I was as adventurous as him when I was a child. I remember a few things I didn't like, beetroot, cheese, eggs and rhubarb. We used to have a lot of rhubarb growing in our garden. I remember my Dad coming in with a bunch and my Mum making stewed rhubarb and custard for pudding, I had to have banana and custard instead. Its funny how tastes change, as I really enjoy rhubarb now. Last week my husband was doing some plastering for a client and he came home with a big bunch of it from their garden which I was really pleased with.

Rhubarb is in season from April to August, so when it starts appearing in the shops it is a sign that summer is on its way. It keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and can also be frozen. If you want to freeze it I find it works better to stew it first (with a little sugar and orange juice) and then defrost it when you need it to use in rhubarb fool, or with custard.  Rhubarb crumble is a favourite dessert in our house. Recently I have enjoyed making some rhubarb crumble muffins that I found the recipe for in a magazine. Rhubarb goes well with ginger so in this recipe I added ground ginger to the crumble and stem ginger to the muffin mix. Rhubarb tastes really good in a fool with Greek yogurt. The recipe below is a favourite from Delia Smiths 'How to Cook Book Two'. 

Rhubarb Crumble Muffins.
Makes 12

Muffin Mix
175g/6oz castor sugar
175g/6oz rhubarb
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml/4floz buttermik (or you can use natural yogurt)
200g/7oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 pieces of stem ginger finely chopped
Crumble mix
50g/2oz light brown sugar
50g/2oz plain flour
25g/1oz porridge oats
1tsp ground ginger
50g/2oz butter

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7
Line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases
To make the crumble, mix together the sugar,flour,oats,and ground ginger
Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it forms light breadcrumbs. Set aside
Stir the rhubarb and sugar together
Stir the oil and egg into the sugary rhubarb
Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and stem ginger and stir well
Spoon into the cases and top with a thick layer of the crumble
Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden
Cool on a wire rack
Keep in an airtight tin for 2-3 days
They also freeze well

Rhubarb Ginger Fool 
Serves 4
570g/1lb 4oz fhubarb
75g/3oz castor sugar
1 teaspooon chopped fresh root ginger
200g/7oz 0 per cent or 2 per cent fat Greek yoghurt
2 pieces of stem ginger

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
Trim and wash the rhubarb and cut it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
Then place it in a baking dish, sprinkle with the sugar and add the chopped fresh root ginger
 Bake it in the oven, without covering, for about 30-40 minutes or until it's tender but still has some shape
Drain the rhubarb, by tipping it into a sieve set over a bowl to drain off the excess juice
Place it in a food processor and whizz to a thick purée
After that, transfer it to a bowl and leave aside to get quite cold
Next empty the yoghurt into another bowl and fold half the purée into it, then divide the mixture between four serving glasses and spoon the remaining purée on top
Cut the pieces of stem ginger into small chunks and use them to garnish each fool
Cover with cling film and chill for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve

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