Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Rhubarb and Raspberry Crumble

Last weekend I made rhubarb and raspberry crumble cooked and served in teacups – an idea I have shamelessly borrowed from the recent Waitrose magazine. It was so much easier to serve like this and it looked quite cute, too; now why hadn’t I thought of this before?

I'll admit I was really nervous about the cups surviving the heat of the oven (I had nightmare visions of all the handles dropping off!) but in the event they were fine. If you decide to do this please ensure your china is oven safe and for goodness sake don’t use the cups from your Granny’s heirloom dinner service! Your nerves might be able to stand the strain but mine wouldn't...

The Waitrose recipe used strawberries but I didn't like the sound of hot strawbs so I substituted rhubarb and raspberries; their sharpness contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the crumble which also had a lovely crunch thanks to a handful of chopped almonds and a few rolled oats. I'm not a huge fan of ice-cream so I served it with pouring cream.

It’s actually given me an idea for Christmas – there’s nothing like planning ahead! Chopped apple, orange zest and mincemeat topped with a nutty cinnamon crumble – whaddya think?

300g rhubarb (weight after being topped and tailed)
a tablespoon of sugar
24 fresh raspberries
100g plain flour
60g butter
50g sugar
30g rolled oats
30g whole almonds

Chop the rhubarb into 4cm chunks and put in a saucepan with the sugar. Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes until the rhubarb is softened but still holding its shape.
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar, oats and the roughly chopped almonds.

Turn the oven on to 180C.

Divide the rhubarb between four teacups and put six raspberries on top. Sprinkle over the crumble mix, put the cups on a rimmed baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden and the juices are starting to bubble through.

Serves 4

Monday, 13 May 2013

Thoughts from the UN...!

Good grief, I’ve seen some rubbish in the news in my time, but this just about takes the bloody biscuit. The UN wants people to eat insects……dear god!

Leaving aside the fact that in some areas of the world there are plenty of desperately poor souls who are already eating insects just to avoid starving to death, has it never occurred to the brainless fools responsible for spouting this rubbish that there are ways of eating that don’t involve animal protein?

There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who are vegetarian – for goodness sake, wouldn’t you think an organisation like the UN would have enough collective brainpower to see that in the developed world, where we aren’t poor and desperate, we don’t need to eat meat, fish or insects?

I wonder if bugs and insects are on the menu at UN headquarters? No….I thought not.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Leek, Goat's Cheese and Walnut Tart

I think we’ve finally seen the last of the really cold weather, although even last week we were having overnight frosts! The Bank Holiday weekend was lovely though and we really took advantage of the weather; the raised beds in the garden are finally planted up with potatoes, sugar-snap peas, French beans, carrots, beetroots, courgettes, red and white onions and plenty of herbs; the tomato plants are sitting snugly in their propagator in the shed waiting to be put out when they’re a bit bigger.

I’ve already picked loads of rhubarb but we haven’t had a single blossom on the plum or greengage trees, however the damson has had plenty and the apple tree is absolutely covered in the most beautiful pink and white blossom as I write, so hopefully we’ll have a better crop on those than last year.

It’s been so nice to have a few days of eating more summery food again; I was beginning to think I’d be cooking soup, curries and chilli sans carne forever! My sister and BIL came to us for lunch on Sunday. My first thought was a tagine but then the weather warmed up a bit so I ditched that idea and went for something a little more spring-like – a lemony leek and goat's cheese tart served with rosemary-roast new potatoes and a warm spring salad.

A couple of things I changed in the recipe for the tart: I doubled the amount of leeks because I love them and I halved the amount of cheese. People always tend to overdo the cheese in vegetarian recipes – I think they’re afraid we’ll go short of protein!