Thursday, 22 January 2009

The blushing rhubarb

As unbelievable as it might seem and as embarrassed as I am to admit this, I have never cooked rhubarb in any way, shape or form. Even though I have read countless recipes that either starred or incorporated rhubarb in them, I have never actually produced any of these enticing dishes.

To put this shameful gap in my cookery skills right, I finally took the plunge and bought some beautiful, bright pink, forced rhubarb stems from my local fresh produce market yesterday morning. When I got home, I got all of my favourite cookbooks out and started looking for the one recipe that would not only do justice to this amazing ingredient but also deliver a mouth-watering result. Finally I found it, a classic rhubarb crumble with a little vanilla twist.

Chopping the stems into little chunks, covering it in vanilla sugar and tossing it around in a pan with melted butter, I wondered how it could have taken me this long to cook this wonderful vegetable. I revelled in making the crumble for the dessert, rubbing the cold butter into the soft, fluffy flour with my finger-tips and covering the gorgeous rhubarb with it. I slipped the pie dish into the heated oven with a wonderful, satisfied sense of achievement settling over me. I'm afraid I don't have a picture of the finished product, as I had several eager tasters standing around the oven as I took out the bubbling crumble, barely giving me time to spoon it into bowls. This may have been my first rhubarb dish, but I knew that it most certainly was not my last.

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