Rhubarb & Orange is a pretty classic combination. And for good reason. It just works.
Sour rhubarb simmered gently with orange and sugar takes on a candy like flavour and aroma that will make even the heads of self professed ‘rhubarb haters’, turn. It fills the home with a gloriously sweet, almost floral scent that is just the scent of summer.
Maincrop rhubarb is just about still around, but thanks to the advent of freezers and supermarkets, you can get it year round.
Unless you’ve got some seriously strong tastebuds and one seriously strong jaw, you can’t avoid the need to sweeten rhubarb. It’s pretty cerise stalks are deceptively sour. Sugar is best, but stevia, maple, agave, erythritol and so on are all fine to use. Taste as you add, gradually, to get a flavour you like.
My favourite thing to make with Rhubarb this summer has been a glorious compote that I make in large batches and eat in so many ways. On porridge, yoghurt (coconut is amazing with it), cake, warm bread, rice pudding, waffles and pancakes and blended into a smoothie.
There’s no real recipe here, but simply take as much rhubarb as you have, chop in to chunks, smaller if you want quite a smooth soft compote (best for fritters) or larger if you want firmer fruits. Add the zest of an orange, then cut away the peel and add the fruit in pieces. Add sugar or other sweetener gradually, tasting throughout the gentle cooking in a large pot. Add spices like cinnamon, vanilla or star anise if you wish. Leave to cool once you reach the consistency and sweetness level you like. Store well covered in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.
I also love to blend buckwheat flour into the compote to make a thick batter and shallow fry fritters, that look like pancakes but have a meltingly soft centre that is perfect with even more compote and lashings of good cinnamon on top!
I’m showing off my amazing new knives from Edge of Belgravia here. They’re so stylish and they make food preparation a breeze. I used pretty decent knives before but these have remained sharp much beyond what they did. These are from the professional four piece set in the Precision Chef Knife Series. The set includes an extra-large chef knife, bread knife, filleting knife and a slicing knife with unique recesses so you can get wafer thin slices with ease. The ultimate tests for a knife for me are cutting onions and tomatoes.
Ever been chopping an onion and the knife slips and the entire onion falls apart making uniform dice impossible? Or been slicing tomatoes only for the knife to squish them and leave you with misshapen, uneven slices? They are my kitchen pet peeves for sure. Two months later and without a single sharpening, the chef knife is still gliding through both like butter.
I used the slicing knife to slice the rhubarb, not because I wanted wafer thin slices but because the recesses made it easy to keep slicing without the fruit sticking to the sides of the knife. At first I wasn’t sure what use the filleting knife would be in my vegan kitchen, but it’s actually really great due to it’s precision and delicate, thin blade. It is great for getting perfect segments from citrus and for removing the pith and not too much fruit. It can also be used to prepare vegetables like peppers, removing corn from the cob or peeling mangoes.
The set costs £79.90 with individual knives from £12.90 and other sets from £39.90.
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