Friday, 23 March 2007

Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

I can just see the head of our rhubarb plant popping inquisitively out of it's makeshift plot in our garden. May I add that that this particular plant once belonged to my wife's late Granny, and it has now been shifted to 5 different houses. And it still survives and still yields a superb crop. You could say that rhubarb is a hardy thing. You can rip them out of their 'sockets' and a few days later, another stalk is on the way. If you treat them with great respect and foolow all of the rules of keeping roots intact, you can trail them up and down from Leeds and dig them a new home every year. It still survives. If the bomb drops, I'm sure our plant will still be feeding the survivors. Amazing stuff.

Rhubarb is, surprisingly to some, a vegetable. I think that people are misconceived as it is traditionally known for it's excellent qualities in a traditional crumble. As it is so bitter, it is drowned in sugar and perhaps that is why people often think of it as a fruit. Not so. It is incredibly versatile. I have used rhubarb as a stuffing for duck, in spicy chutneys and more bizarrely, in a curry. I'm not sure if this is a Northern thing, but as kids we used to walk around with great big sticks of the stuff and a bag of sugar. Looking back, I'm not sure that was a good thing to do. First of all, I preferred a bag of Sherbert Dib Dab. Secondly, I'm pretty sure the rhubarb's laxative effect would have had us all scampering to the loo after one or two chomps. Dear me, what were our parents doing to us?!?!

Anyway, I managed to get hold of a few sticks of the first rhubarb yesterday. Inspired by laziness and hence simplicity, plus the need for a sweet treat, I came up with the most basic of desserts that satisfies and works. With a packet of ginger biscuits, some Greek yoghurt and some stewed rhubarb, it is amazing what you can do. Not know for my finesse, this is the kind of dessert I would gladly serve up with pride. It is crunchy, fruity (in a vegetable kind of way) and creamy. Oh, and dead dead easy. Enjoy.

Rhubarb and Ginger Crunch Pot
Serves 2 glasses

4 sticks of rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
50g sugar (if you have vanilla sugar, all the better)
300ml Greek Yoghurt
5 Ginger biscuits
1 egg white

1 - In a saucepan, put in your rhubarb and sugar and a dribble of water. Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes or so, until the rhubarb is well stewed. Leave to cool.
2 - Whisk your egg white until it reaches soft peak.
3 - In a plastic bag, crush the biscuits with a rolling pin, ensuring that you are left with lots of biggish chunks. Then sieve the crushed biscuits over a plate, retaining the small crumbs.
3 - In a bowl, fold the larger crumbs into the Greek yoghurt. Then gently fold in the rhubarb and a little of it's pink juice to achieve a ripple effect. Lastly, gently fold in the egg white.
4 - Pour into glasses and top with the remaining crumbs. Be proud that something so simple can be so great.

1 comment:

kethry said...

I tried this last night.. well.. sort of. I'd laid my hands on a couple pounds of rhubarb from the local market (thinking, longingly, of my gran's rhubarb crumble recipe, only bettered by her apple and blackberry crumble which was absolutely to die for..) and your post, so stewed the lot when i got home.

didn't have any ginger biscuits, and i really was too tired to make a crumble, so i mixed some with thick greek yoghurt with a drizzle of honey on top and that was pretty good. I've got the ginger biccies now - gonna give yours a try tonight, and maybe make a crumble with the last bits of it on sunday. (then go back to the market next week to get some more.. !!!)

thanks for the inspiration!