Rhubarb and Ginger Conserve

I know what your thinking, will this mad bohemian woman stop writing about rhubarb. Well, there is a reason to my madness and it’s very simple. I am trying to make a major effort in trying to appreciate and cook what is in season. This is for two main reasons, firstly  food tends to be fresher and therefore healthier and secondly I want to get back to being thrilled by each seasons offerings. So excuse me if I have gone a little overboard with my love of rhubarb, but I think whether you enjoy eating a fruit/vegetable, very much depends on how its been cooked, I’m trying to give you the very best chance to fall in love with rhubarb this year!

This recipe was very kindly given to me by a lovely lady called Lucy who I met on a retreat a few weeks ago in Scotland. We shared a room and yes, you’ve guessed It, I was droning on about rhubarb and I think she decided to shut me up by offering me her mums lovely recipe. I am grateful Lucy, its delicious, Thank-you x

So please give it a try before rhubarb disappears for another year.

What  you will need

2 ½ lb skinned and chopped rhubarb

2 ½ lb granulated sugar

1 inch fresh ginger peeled and bruised but left in a lump and tied up in a muslin bag

2 lemons

4oz chopped stem ginger

 How to make your conserve

1.       Previous night layer sugar, rhubarb and juice of the lemons in a shallow dish and leave overnight

2.       Place rhubarb mix in jam pan with bruised ginger in muslin bag

3.       Boil briskly for 15 mins

4.       Add stem ginger and boil for 5 mins until set (by eye or jam thermometer)

5.       Remove ginger bag and pot up in clean sterilised jars.

6.       Eat generously on toast on top of yogurt or whatever takes your fancy!

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

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I have been making tea loaf for years. It’s very popular especially when you tell people it’s fat free, but like all things that are good for you they are enhanced by a bit of naughtyness, in this case it’s a good lashing of butter on each slice! Jamie Oliver bless him, has tweaked this all time favourite by making it with Earl Grey and topping it with a lemon and earl grey syrup which takes it to another level. I tested this recipe out this weekend, the cake tin is empty!

What you will need for the cake

4 Earl Grey tea bags

400g dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas, cherries, cranberries

I orange

1 Large free-range egg

200g golden caster sugar

400g self-raising flour

1 level teaspoon mixed spice

Whole nutmeg for grating

How to make your Tea Loaf

  1. Place four Earl Grey tea bags in a jug and pour over 300ml of boiling water. Leave to brew for five minutes, remove tea bags.
  2. Place the mixed fruit into a large mixing bowl, grate over the zest of the orange and pour over the hot tea. Give it a good stir, then cover with cling film and leave for a few hours or overnight if possible – so that the fruit soaks up all the tea.
  3. When the fruit is ready, preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/gas4. Line and grease a 1 litre loaf tin.
  4. Beat the eggs and add to the fruit mixture. Next add the sugar, flour, mixed spice and grate in some nutmeg and finally squeeze in the juice of the orange, mix well it should turn into a dryish doughy consistency.
  5. Bake for approx 1 hour and 10mins, or until cooked through. To test, poke a skewer into the middle of the cake, it should come out clean. While the cake is cooking, you can make the syrup.

You will need for the syrup

1 lemon zest and juice

100g caster sugar

200ml water

How to make the syrup

  1. Place the 2 tea bags in a pan with the water and juice and zest of the lemon. Gently bring to the boil, removing the tea bags after a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the the caster sugar and bring back to the boil without stirring, keep it on a medium heat so that you have a steady boil fora round 5-10minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half and you have a golden syrup.
  3. Once the cake is out of the oven, prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick or skewer and then brush the syrup all over the top of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
  4. Once completely cool, slice and serve with butter and a good cuppa. Jamie suggests serving with Wensleydale cheese and a glass of sherry as a after dinner treat, nice one Grommit!