Lifestyle

Tangy taste of rhubarb delights the tastebuds

Baked rhubarb with orange and vanilla.
Baked rhubarb with orange and vanilla.

SOME people don't care for rhubarb but I cannot count myself among their number.

The sharp acid tang of poached, stewed or compote of rhubarb (as far as I can tell they are all the same thing) appeals to my tastebuds (but I am also addicted to lemon juice which I add to as many recipes as I can get away with).

There is a danger of adding too much sugar; I started out using twice as much as I now use and my tastebuds have adjusted to the bite; if I order it in a restaurant I often find it too sweet.

I quite like cutting back the sugar and then serving a few stalks alongside a tiny serve of a rich, sweet dessert such as a creme caramel, creme brulee or pannacotta.

Treats such as those are best eaten only occasionally but they are so delicious you only need a small helping.

Rhubarb is easy to grow although it takes up quite a bit of space in the garden if it is robust enough.

Aptly named a gross feeder, a single crown will keep producing year after year as long as you feed it heavily, preferably with rotted manure, and protect it from winter frosts.

Even if frost does claim the plant, the crown can still recover in the majority of cases.

You can also grow rhubarb in a greenhouse with great success.

I have frustratingly had my scarlet crowns turn green for no apparent reason time after time; it doesn't affect the flavour but green rhubarb after cooking looks like nothing you'd want to put in your mouth - trust me on that.

If your crowns turn colour, you may want to add a drop or three of cochineal to the recipe if you are serving to guests.

The leaves of rhubarb are highly toxic; full of oxalic acid among other substances.

It is still safe, however, to add rhubarb leaves to well-managed compost heaps as the composting process breaks down the toxic compounds quite quickly.

You can also make an effective organic bug spray for the garden by boiling the leaves for an hour in a large saucepan.

Strain off the liquid and add a teaspoon of washing-up liquid to it; place in a spray bottle.

Spray the garden at dusk so bees are not affected. It will kill most common garden pests.

Be sure to properly label the spray bottle and discard leftover spray after a week.

 

Baked rhubarb with orange and vanilla

Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients

500g rhubarb stalks

1 large or 2 small oranges

½ tspn vanilla paste

2 tblspn raw sugar

 

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Wash rhubarb and cut into 2.5cm lengths. Place in a casserole dish.

Wash orange well and remove zest with a zester. Set aside a few strands of zest for garnish.

Squeeze juice from orange; you need around half a cup of juice. Stir in zest, vanilla paste and sugar.

Pour liquid over rhubarb and toss so each piece is covered.

Cover with a lid and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender.

Serve warm, garnished with reserved zest and with a little of the cooking juice poured over each helping.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  cooking, easy eating, food, lifestyle, recipes



Where the "who's who” in biz will be this weekend

TIME TO SHINE: Patrons at the launch of the 2016 BEATS awards at Babalou, Kingscliff.

The theme is sequins and sparkles; the guest list Tweed's top crop

Patients being treated but no access to medical records

Doctors have returned to their rooms at the Kingscliff Family Medical Services Clinic but remain in dispute over business records.

Kingscliff doctors return to rooms to treat patients

Council's $200k woes: what cops are doing about it

NSW police at coffs harbour boat ramp, arrest , gun, shots, handcuffs

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Thieves consider Tweed Council to be a "soft target"

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started