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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with rhubarb

02Jun 12

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Pick up some rhubarb and have a go at making this Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, which you are bound to love spread thickly on your cherry and walnut hot cross buns or morning toast, dolloped on top of a blob of Cornish vanilla ice-cream, or even served as a sweet sauce with roast pork and chicken.

 

What you need:

  • 1.5kg jam sugar (it is important to buy the right sugar for the added pectin it contains)
  • 1.5kg trimmed and prepared rhubarb (so buy a little extra weight for the trimming wastage)
  • The juice and the zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 75g crystallised ginger, chopped into little pieces
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

What to do:

  1. Give each stem of rhubarb a really good wash in cold running water.  Chop it into 2.5cm slices.  In a large bowl, mix the chopped rhubarb with the lemon zest and juice, ground and grated ginger, crystallised ginger and the jam sugar, coating all of the rhubarb in the mix.  Cover the mixture loosely with clingfilm and leave it for around 2-3 hours so that the sugar absorbs into the juices of the rhubarb.  It helps to stir the mix every so often during this resting time.
  2. Take a few clean little plates and put them (empty) into the freezer – this is to bring their temperature to sub-zero.  I know it sounds curious, but it’s all about testing the setting point of the jam a little later. Trust me on this one.
  3. Pour the rhubarb mixture into a preserving pan.  Over a medium heat, begin to cook the contents, stirring until the sugar is totally dissolved.  Bring the mix up to the boil and cook on a fairly high temperature for 15 minutes until the mixture has reached its setting point and the rhubarb is so soft, it starts falling apart.
  4. To test whether the conserve has reached setting point, remove one of the small plates from the freezer and drip a teaspoon of the rhubarb mixture onto the plate.  Let it sit for 35 seconds before gently pressing it with your fingertip. If the jam wrinkles, the setting point has been reached.  If it doesn’t, it’s not yet ready, so keep cooking, and try again in a few minutes.
  5. Once set, remove the conserve from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before spooning it into your sterilised jam jars.  Seal the jars straight away, and label with the date after the jars have cooled right down. The jam will be good for six months or so.

20 minutes to prepare – 20 minutes to cook, plus soaking time
Makes: 6 x 450g jars

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12May 12

Rhubarb and Marzipan Crumble

 

Rhubarb and Marzipan crumbleSpring is in the air! Well, perhaps not quite yet. But no matter the time of year, I enjoy the occasional treat to satisfy my sweet tooth. However, knowing that I am also eating fruits and veggies helps me justify these cravings.

Rhubarb comes into season in March and is readily available in the UK until May - so there’s still a chance to get some good rhubarb, just! Every year, as soon as I see it in the greengrocer, I pick it up so I can make a favourite of mine, rhubarb crumble.

 

 

This year I made this classic crumble pudding with a sweet surprise.  In this recipe, the natural tartness of the rhubarb contrasts really well with the almondy sweetness of the marzipan.

What you need:

  • 10 rhubarb sticks
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 110g Demerara sugar
  • 110g butter, left at room temperature for a while to soften
  • 190g flour
  • 150g Marzipan, cut into thin strips

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into cubes, pop it on an oven tray, sprinkle over the water and caster sugar and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the rhubarb from the oven once it is cooked, and transfer it to an ovenproof dish.
  4. Create the crumble by rubbing the butter, flour and Demerara sugar together.
  5. Place the thin strips of marzipan across the top of the rhubarb before sprinkling the crumble mixture on.
  6. Bake the crumble in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the rhubarb mixture is soft and bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream. (optional)
30 mins to prepare, 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook
 
Makes: 4 servings

A little more about rhubarb…

The edible part of the rhubarb plant, the stalk, is technically a vegetable, though we think of it as a fruit.

Rhubarb seems to have become a popular food in the 17th Century when cheap sugar became accessible.

Rhubarb is thought to have first been cultivated in China in 2700BC.

It is said that the Romans believed that people who ate rhubarb were barbaric in nature (possibly because of its natural bitterness) and that the name rhubarb may have been derived from the Latin word rhabarbarum meaning ‘root of the barbarians’.

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