Jul
05
2011
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New discoveries with rhubarb

Full of new potential

Rhubarb season is past, but I cannot resist sharing with you a couple of excellent discoveries I made with rhubarb for a couple of early summer parties. You might still be in the mood for rhubarb, with its wonderful, tangy flavor, offering so much possibility but most often relegated to that good, but a little repetitive rhubarb crumble.

A good cheeseboard is always in need of a tangy, acidic fruit contrast. For a generous cheeseboard I laid out for an early evening cocktail party (in an outrageously beautiful setting – a green clearing on a cliff overlooking a lake), I offered a large, open jar of rhubarb and apple chutney. No one knew what it was but courageously dove in anyway and spooned dollops onto the top of the chunks of cheese on crisp bread. Rhubarb seemed logical to me with cheese and the apple was a little additive to reduce the sting of the rhubarb and make the chutney a bit smoother in texture – more comfortable, perhaps? My very own harvested honey made all of the difference – raw honey rather than sugar really makes this topping into the delight that it is.

Rhubarb Apple Chutney

Fistful of rhubarb, washed, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 medium-sweet, crisp apples, washed, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Juice of half a lemon
1.5 dl or 2/3 cup raw honey
4 tbsps water

Place all ingredients in a non-metallic pan (important to cook rhubarb safely in – read more!). Allow to cook for a half an hour over low heat, or until the rhubarb is soft enough for the blender. Place the mixture in a food processor and mix until smooth. Spoon into a clean jar and seal. Serve on a cheeseboard with celery that can also be dipped into this divine mix.

At one of my early summer dinner events, a number of the guests were vegetarians, and it struck me that making a curry with lots of wonderful fruits and nuts to scatter on top would be just the thing. The idea of making a curry with rhubarb as a base wouldn’t leave me and so I decided to make my guests guinea pigs and try it out. The outcome was striking – not sure I’ve ever enjoyed curry as much as I enjoyed this one.

Rhubarb Curry
Serves 4

Fistful of rhubarb, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
4 medium-sweet apples, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 stalks of celery, washed, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 medium white onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 cm or 1-1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsps curry powder
6 tbsps olive oil
1/2 liter or 1/2 quart vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 tbsps raw honey

Sauté the onions, crushed garlic, grated ginger and curry for 2 minutes. Add the celery and the rhubarb and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Add the apples and pour over the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add raw honey and adjust seasoning. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve with bulgur, couscous or brown rice mixed with sunflower seeds. Provide a smorgasbord of condiments: banana sprinkled with lime, dessicated coconut, cashew nuts, slivered almonds and whatever else you can think of that might up the flavor and texture experience!

 

Aug
07
2009
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Newly harvested honey on flambéd fruit

Raw Honey

Raw Honey

Last night I tried out a few experimental recipes from various cookbooks I have in my kitchen library but it was my own dessert recipe, whipped up on the spur of the moment, that I got that 5 stars for.

The secret to this lovely sweet is the power of warmed, newly harvested raw honey. When I say raw, I mean honey that has not been preheated and remixed with sugar by the food industry. You can find it sold in the small boutiques and by beekeepers in your area.  As you know, I am a beekeeper, so it isn’t hard for me to find raw honey.

I had six very mature bananas resting in the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter, last year’s rosewater (liquid from aromatic rose petals immersed in brandy) and more jars of newly harvested honey than I can count, I set to work as follows:

Flambéd Fruit with Honey
Serves 4

4 mature (but not black) bananas peeled and halved lengthwise (it doesn’t matter if the bananas break into smaller pieces)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
50 g or 2 oz butter for sautéing
1 dl or 1/2 cup brandy, warmed
1 dl or 1/2 cup raw honey
Vanilla ice cream or whipping cream

Warm the honey in a small pan. Do not allow to boil. Whip the cream or remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Place 4 dessert bowls on the counter so that it is easy to assemble the dessert quickly and serve.

Douse the newly sliced bananas in lemon juice. Sauté the bananas in a thick-bottomed pan in butter until lightly browned. Don’t over-handle the bananas as they will become mushy. Flambé the bananas for your dining audience by momentarily bringing the pan near the table, throwing the warm brandy over the bananas and setting it alight. As soon as the flame has died down, spoon the bananas into the bowls and top with one scoop of vanilla ice cream plus a generous drizzle of warm honey. Serve immediately.

As with all desserts, in fact all foods, please remember to stick to small portions. This is a lovely sweet to round off the meal, not the main feature of a second meal after the first meal!

Written by Admin in: Bananas,Desserts,Fruits,honey,Sweet Food | Tags: , ,

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