25 August 2013

Oven baked honeyed rhubarb

Such pretty colours.
We have two large rhubarb plants in our garden.  I've mentioned them before, I know, but for those who are new to them, we have the original Champagne rhubarb known as Ruby - plus her daughter, Rubytwo.  I'm sure I've said before how they appear to be planning world domination and I am still of that opinion.

They occupy two planters on the edge of our patio area and currently, you can't actually see down the garden because of them.  Ruby is around 4-5 feet high and Rubytwo is getting there!  We were going to crop Ruby just before the hot weather hit us - and I'm thankful that we didn't.  The huge leaves that both Ruby and Rubytwo had grown were perfect for shading them from the unrelenting sunshine and I'm sure Ruby would have suffered if her corm had have been open to the elements.

Of course, because of the sunshine and heat, both plants lost a little bit of vigour and we didn't want to crop them until they had recovered.  Now, however, several good rainfalls have gone by and they're back on juicy form.

Good enough to eat.
So - time to get a sharp knife out there and crop some rhubarb.

I will be making rhubarb jam - as ever - but before then, I wanted to have some rhubarb to eat with Greek yoghurt, or ice cream or even cream if we've got any.  However, I'm not so keen on the stewed rhubarb approach as you lose the definition of the rhubarb pieces and just wind up with mushy strands.  Tastes okay - but doesn't look particularly attractive.

I had cooked rhubarb in the oven in the past and so decided to go down that route today.  I packed a lasagne dish with four huge stalks cut into pieces - there were several layers - and sprinkled with a little sugar.  I didn't want to use all the sugar they would need, as I had a mind to add something sweet at a later date when I could taste as I went along.  That way, I didn't run the risk of over-sweetening as you do when you're just guessing at it - as with stewed rhubarb.

The pieces stayed wonderfully whole and although the rhubarb did create some juice, being uncovered as it cooked helped to keep the juice to a minimum and so leave the pieces whole.

With Greek yoghurt - mmmmn!

Once the rhubarb was almost cool, I stirred in some runny honey and with a sudden stroke of sheer genius (if I say so myself!), added a teaspoonful of orange flower water.  Between the honey and the orange flower water, they transformed the rhubarb from something that was good, to something that was very special.  I just love how the addition of two separate ingredients can do that to food.

The four huge stalks made enough for 5-6 desserts with Greek yoghurt, cream or ice cream.  I almost can't wait until dessert.  Try it - I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I've even put some on my morning bran flakes.  Makes for a very zingy start to the day!


Ingredients :

4-5 large sticks of rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1-2 tbsp runny honey
1-2 tsp orange blossom water.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 160degC/325degF/Gas 3.

2.  Place the rhubarb and sugar - without any water - into the lasagne dish and toss so as to let the sugar coat the rhubarb pieces.  Arrange the rhubarb into a roughly even layer or layers.

3.  Cook uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and give the rhubarb a gentle stir so that each piece is moistened by the juice.

4.  Replace and cook for another 20 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

5.  When almost cool, add the honey and orange flower water and stir through gently.

Serve with Greek yoghurt, cream or ice cream.

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