The afternoon birds are singing loudly. Meanwhile, a fly at my desk is trying to get outside, but the window screens won’t allow it–maybe he’ll figure it out. There is noise and movement everywhere during this lovely season. Just outside in our garden, blackberries deep in color and bursting with juice are ready to pick from their prickly vines. And the big plum tree out front now has an abundance of ripe purple plums.
Rhubarb, a mix between a fruit and an herb since it’s from the sorrel family as Jamie Oliver notes in Jamie at Home, is one of my new spring favorites!
Rhubarb is much loved in England, and here, it’s definitely becoming more popular. Fergus Henderson’s bread dough is made with rhubarb in the beginning process. Jamie Oliver adores it, and Sophie Dahl has childhood memories of getting tummy aches from eating too much of it in her grandmother’s garden. Yes, rhubarb is sour, so it is always important to pair it with the right balance of sweetness.
Lately, I’ve been making Jamie Oliver’s “rhubarb and sticky ginger crumble,” which has a just right crumble and lots of stewed rhubarb; it’s pure, and a good celebration of those lovely pink-red stalks. I love his idea of adding fresh ginger to it; indeed as he says paired with the rolled oats it makes a great crumble.
I enjoyed stewing the rhubarb the most. A bubbling pot of rose-red goodness with just- poured-in sugar and fresh lemon juice is wonderful to witness. It looks fantastic and it smells rather pleasant–neither shockingly strong nor too sweet. It’s got that perfect friendly balance of texture, color, and flavor.
Once done baking in the oven, and waiting for it to cool, I plated a bowl of it with a swirl of organic madagascar vanilla ice cream. I gave some to a friend and she asked, “what is this fruit called again?” I said, “Roo…barb.” She enthusiastically said it was delicious and noted that the tart rhubarb paired with good vanilla ice cream offers a blissful bite.