Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rhubarb, rhubarb

The rhubarb that I moved from our old vegetable garden to the new one seems overwhelmingly happy with its new location..
to the point that I'm not really sure what to do with it all.  I give a bunch to everyone who walks in the door (along with some eggs).  There is only so much rhubarb crumble and its variations that the family is prepared to eat (even though we have an eighteen year old English jackaroo in residence, who is, by his own admission, always hungry), and I have never found a rhubarb jam or chutney recipe that really took my fancy.

The world of Google is however, a wonderful place.  I found a recipe for roasted rhubarb and buttermilk ice cream here.
Buttermilk was originally the liquid left behind after cream is churned into butter.  Now it is basically skim milk with culture added to it, which results in a  lovely acidic flavour, not unlike yoghurt.  So good news, it is low in fat.  It is wonderful for baking and in pancakes.

The ice cream is so easy.  Roast the rhubarb till soft, mix in buttermilk and vanilla, then churn in an ice cream maker.  The flavour of the ice cream is good, but when it freezes it is so rock solid it takes an hour to thaw out and would be best on the day you make it.  I think it needs cream in the mixture.  So when I've perfected the recipe, I'll pass it on.  I roasted the rhubarb in a hot oven so it was browned on the edges and beautifully caramelised, reminding me of Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig and Honeycomb ice cream.

I had some buttermilk left over so I thought I should make a cake.  I ended up with a cross between a tarte tatin and an upside down cake, all cooked in the same pan, and yes, we do anything to save on dishes.  This came from Rachel Allen.


50g butter
150g brown sugar
400g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
200g plain flour
1 teasp baking powder
pinch salt
2 eggs
200ml buttermilk
70ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 180c.

Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying pan (mine is 26cm in diameter).  Add half the sugar and stir to dissolve.  Add the rhubarb and mix gently.  Set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk lightly.  In a separate bowl or jug whisk the eggs, add rest of sugar, buttermilk and oil.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour over the rhubarb and place in the oven.  Cook for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool for 5 - 10 minutes then turn it out.  I put a large plate face down over the pan and flipped it over.  Lovely with cream.

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