Wednesday, March 3, 2010


It is one day away from my turn to host Come Dine With Me in Leeds.

So far we have gorged on crispy pork belly, sticky treacle pudding, cheese platters, eight-hour pork simmered in coconut milk, chocolate tart to DIE for...and the list goes on...
The bar is very high so, this Thursday, I need to work hard. In case any readers are dining with me on Thursday, sadly you won't get a chance to know what I'm cooking until it is on your plate, waiting to be snuffled.
One ingredient that will be featuring in the feast of all feasts is my veg of the month...

Last weekend, Wakefield saw the celebration and conservation of one of Spring’s most weird and wonderful fruits (or should I say vegetable) of the earth: RHUBARB.

Growers and gobblers came together for Wakefield’s Food, Drink and Rhubarb festival on the 26th and 27th of February to put rhubarb back on the map, and fight –successfully- for it’s title as a Protected Food Name by the Regional Food Group (RFG).

Some turn their noses up at this sour, pink and white celery-lookalike, but only, perhaps, for lack of experimentation. It really is a versatile thing when it is put to the test in the kitchen. Rhubarb makes great chutneys, is a perfect side to pork or duck, but where it really has the power to show off, is on the dessert menu.

I was given over 20 rhubarb stalks from friend and festival-goer, Martin S, and introduced to a spectacular recipe by Charlotte H. So, my dessert for Thursday has literally been handed to me on a plate.

Their generous gifts I shall combine, and hopefully do them justice.
But until the big's a fool for a fool.

RHUBARB FOOL (stolen from a damn good
Waitrose recipe)

450g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into medium chunks
About 150g granulated sugar
3 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
284ml carton double cream

1. Put the rhubarb in a noncorroding pan with 4 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or until tender. Add about 85g sugar, or to taste. Leave until cold.

2. Add the Cointreau to the cream. Whisk into soft peaks. Strain the juice from the rhubarb into the cream. Fold in. If it seems too liquid, whisk a little more to thicken. Fold in the rhubarb (reserve a few pieces for decoration). Spoon into glasses and serve with almond biscuits.

Don’t just stick to the rhub - look out for leeks, radishes, parsley, and chicory, also in season this month!

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